Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tuesday Teaching| Hosea 14 - 'Return to the Lord'

We come to the final sermon in our series in the book of Hosea with Philip Jensen. We're in Hosea 14.

Phillip Jensen - Hosea 14 from Audio Advice on Vimeo.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Happy 100th Birthday!

Today marks 100 years since the birth of Francis Scaeffer. A number of articles have been written to mark this occasion and show the significance of his life and thought. Here are just a few of them:
Happy Reading!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Not an Atom More or Less

Charles Spurgeon:
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes—
that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens—
that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses.
The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence—
the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Supreme Expression of Our Faith

What does a faith-filled Christian look like? What is it that shows that a persons faith is in God, and that they are confidently trusting in all that He has promised?

Martyn Lloyd-Jones' answer is that a faith-filled Christian is a praying Christian. He sees prayer as the greatest expression of our faith, when he says:
Prayer, in many ways, is the supreme expression of our faith in God and our faith and confidence in the promises of God. There is nothing that a man ever does which so proclaims his faith as when he gets down on his knees and looks to God and talks to God. It is a tremendous confession of faith. I mean by this that he is not just running with his requests and petitions, but if he really waits upon God, if he really looks to God, he is there saying, ‘Yes, I believe it all, I believe that you are a rewarder of them that diligently seek you, I believe you are the Creator of all things and all things are in your hands. I know there is nothing outside of your control. I come to you because you are in all this and I find peace and rest and quiet in your holy presence and I am praying to you because you are what you are.’ That is the whole approach to prayer that you find in the teaching of Scripture.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tuesday Teaching| Hosea 13 - 'The Only Saviour'

We come now to the penultimate video in our series in the book of Hosea. This week we are in Hosea 13, where we see 'The Only Saviour'.

Monday, 23 January 2012

"Grave and Serious, Though Cheerful and Pleasant."

Recently I came across this quote by Albert Barnes through Tim Challies. Barnes is here speaking about the Christian demeanour, and how we carry ourselves through life, he says:
Christians should be grave and serious, though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake, and that the world has too. They are redeemed—not to make sport; purchased with precious blood—for other purposes than to make men laugh. They are soon to be in heaven—and a man who has any impressive sense of that will habitually feel he has much else to do than to make men laugh. The true course of life is midway between moroseness and levity; sourness and lightness; harshness and jesting.  Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, bland, courteous—but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things—but pleasant affable and benignant. Think not a smile sinful; but think not levity and jesting harmless.
It's worth giving thought to this. I guess most of us will incline to extreme or the other. Barnes calls us to neither extreme, but to be both serious and cheerful. It is worth being aware which direction we naturally move towards, so that we might be able to correct ourselves. To those of us inclined to be more serious, we need to be exhorted not to forget joyfulness and cheerfulness. To those of us inclined to the other extreme, we need to be exhorted to more serious thought, reflection and conversation.

This is worth thinking about because our demenour not only effects us, but also has a lasting impact on those around us. What does a joyful seriousness or a grave cheerfulness look like? What impact would such a demeanour have on those around us? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but it is something worth thinking about, and is perhaps something that we've not thought much about before.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Influencing a Younger Christian

What influence are you having on younger Christians? The influence we have on those who are our younger brothers and sisters in Christ is not neutral. Either we are encouraging them to grow in loving Jesus all the more deeply, or we are encouraging them to increasingly love other things. It is therefore vitally important that we think through what kind of influence we are having.

Don Carson points out one important aspect of being godly influence on a younger Christian. He says:
If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.

If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.

Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Monday, 16 January 2012

Technology and Your Brain

Recently I read Tim Challies' excellent book The Next Story. Tim helpfully navigates us through the impact technology is having on us and the world around us, and helps us to think about how we live faithfully in a world that has been shaped by the digital explosion. It has greatly helped me think biblically about the technology that is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, and has challenged me to be more discerning and deliberate about how I use technology and guard against 'being owned' by technology.

Mike Wittmer has written a short post on what technology is doing to us, how it is affecting and changing us. If we are not careful, technology could have a serious effect on our Christian lives without us realising it. Mike's article is worth reading as a spur to getting down to some serious thinking about technology and the Christian life. You can read his article by clicking here. He lists five big things he's learnt from the reading and thinking he's done on what technology is doing to us:
1) It does not connect us as much as we think
2) The internet is giving us Attention Deficit Disorder
3) Google encourages distraction rather than reflection
4) The internet is destroying our memories
5) The internet never forgets
Immediately we can see that this has major implications for our Christian lives. Think about it. If the internet affetcs our attention, distractedness and memories, then surely this will have serious problems for as as we try to seriously and thoughtfully meditate on and memorise Scripture. If technology does not connect us as much as we think, but disconnects us, shurely this will have serious implications for building Christian community in our local churches.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday Teaching| Hosea 11 - 'The Lord Who Loves'

We continue with our series in the book of Hosea with Philip Jensen. This week we're in Hosea 11, where we see The Lord Who Loves.

Phillip Jensen - Hosea 11 from Audio Advice on Vimeo.

Monday, 9 January 2012

What's the Difference?

The following video is a discussion between John Piper and Darrin Patrick on what the Bible teaches about manhood and womanhood. That is, what it means to be a man, and not a woman; and what it means to be a woman, and not a man. This is a very helpful short video and well worth the 15 minutes it will take to watch this.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Why the Church is So Important

Some helpful thoughts from Simon Austen on why the church is so important in God's purposes:
It is both humbling and exhilarating to think that the local fellowships of believers, of which we are all a part, are pictures of what God is going to do in eternity. Until that day when the new heavens and earth are created and the visible unity God purposes are seen in their fullness and glory, the only visual point of contact between the heavenly realms and the earthly realms is the church. That is why church is so important and why church is so difficult. Satan does not want the church to be what we are – for when we live rightly, then it becomes apparent to Satan that his days are numbered, and to the world that the power and purposes of God are in operation. As we love one another and live as the church, the world sees that we are disciples and the principalities and powers get a foretaste of their future destruction.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tuesday Teaching| Hosea 10 - 'The End of Affluence'

Happy new year! It's a Tuesday morning, and we're going to continue where we left off last year in the book of Hosea with Philip Jensen, as we get back into our regular Tuesday Teaching posts. This week we're in Hosea 10.