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The gospel

Proverbs Day Twenty-One | Not missing it!

By | Blog, Devotionals, Discipleship, Doctrine, Foundational, Holy living, Leadership, Life change, Love, Loving the poor, Preaching, Provoked Within, Salt, The Bible, The gospel, Wisdom, Witnessing

The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. Proverbs 21v3

I am deeply provoked and sobered that I could miss the really important things in following Jesus. In addition I could spend too long and too much effort on the things that matter a whole lot less.

Jesus really was unflattering about those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. What these folk taught or said might be true, but it needed to be demonstrated not just declared. Failing to do this may make us guilty of “crushing people with unbearable religious demands and never lifting a finger to ease the burden” (Matthew 23v4).

I see more than ever that a relentless pursuit against performance and pretence will be good for me and for others I share life with. God is not fooled. He knows what we do for show and what we do for Him. He knows whether we operate in the Kingdom or out of it. I want to help people discover, follow and serve the Jesus of Matthew 23. He said it as it was, saw it as it is and changes us despite ourselves.

Therefore, I am learning in a new way the high value Jesus places on justice, mercy and faith. These are matters of the heart (Matthew 23v23). That is wisdom!

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Proverbs 21v3

Proverbs Day Sixteen | Bags

By | Blog, Death, Doctrine, Foundational, Revelation, Suffering, The Bible, The gospel, Wisdom

The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. Proverbs 16v11 (NLT)

A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. Proverbs 16v11 (ESV)

This proverb strikes me as a beautiful description of the sovereignty of the cross. The justice, mercy, love and wrath displayed on the cross – God’s chosen means to administer justice and apply forgiveness through the sacrifice of the second Adam (Jesus) in order to deal with the sin of the first Adam.

  • The cross is right
  • The cross is just
  • The cross is His work not ours

Let us boast in the bag entitled “the Cross of Christ” not the one with our name on it.

Proverbs Day Thirteen | How to get rich?

By | Band of Brothers, Bible memorisation, Blog, Character, Church, Connection Groups, Discipleship, Foundational, Holy living, Life change, Membership, Preaching, Revelation, The gospel, Wisdom

This afternoon I spoke on how we keep growing in maturity – emotional and spiritual. Things like:

Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Proverbs 13v11 (NLT)

Some people want to grow fit, rich and important. We want to grow in wisdom, stature and grace. The principle from Proverbs 13v11 applies to both.

In the talk I mentioned a little survey that I have used, and found helpful, to help me take a snapshot of my overall emotional maturity. You can access it here. How am I (Emotional and Spiritual Health.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Proverbs 13v11 (ESV)

Conversation with Simon and Helen Moores re Street Pastors

By | Blog, Life change, Love, Loving the poor, Prayer, The gospel, Witnessing

We have just had a really encouraging afternoon together with Simon and Helen Moores from Spring Terrace Church.  They have been involved in the Swansea Street Pastors for a number of years and we were able to chat with them about that work. For the recording of the conversation click here.

They have provided me with a link for a video about the work in Swansea which is well worth a watch.

Why scatter?

By | Church, Doctrine, Holy living, Leadership, Salt, The gospel, Witnessing

I was so encouraged this week to hear how one of the Connection groups met to pray for North Korea, particularly our brothers and sisters living there.

Using brilliant creativity they were able to simulate something of what it might be like for disciples of Jesus living under the North Korean communist regime – a country where the church is forced to scatter.

The gift of creativity provides many benefits. If one of these is that it stirs us to prayer and good works, then I say more!

For a while now I have wanted to take the opportunity to outline some reasons why we do not always meet together as a church on a Sunday. We call these occasions The Hill Scattered.

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How do we respond when Jesus enters the house?

By | The gospel, Worship

Luke tells us in his account (Luke Chapter 7:36-50) that a man called Simon asked Jesus to eat with him. This news spread and others were eager to join in the meal. One such person was a woman tainted by immorality. As she entered the house Luke noticed she was carrying this beautiful jar filled with extremely expensive perfume. As Jesus reclined to eat (no dining chairs back then!) she kneeled at his filthy mud stained feet, and cried on them. She took the highest most honourable part of her body, her hair, and used it to clean the lowest and least honourable part of his, the feet. Then she kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. The owner of the house was stunned that Jesus found this behaviour acceptable saying to himself “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Jesus knowing what Simon was thinking told him a story about two men. One of whom who was released from a large debt, whereas the other was released from a smaller debt. Jesus asked “Who do you suppose loved the money lender more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” As the truth of this story sunk in Jesus looked at the woman, and said to Simon, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Simon thought he was a man who had a small debt redeemed. His worship reflected this. It cost him little and showed little. The woman considered she had a huge debt that was redeemed. Her worship reflected this. As a church when we gather together, we effectively invite Jesus to eat with us. When we do, are we a people who consider a small debt has been redeemed or is it obvious we love much, because we have been forgiven much? The latter expression of worship means that we will leave encouraged with Jesus saying, as he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”.

Don’t Waste Your Life 6.

By | Holy living, Life change, Provoked Within, The gospel, Worship

Dont waste your life

Being happy in God [is] the way we glorify him. This [is] the reason we [are] created. Delighting in God [is] not a mere preference or option in life; it [is] our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Therefore to resolve to maximise [our] happiness in God [is] to resolve to show him more glorious than all other sources of happiness. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God [are] the same.

Extract from page 30. Don’t Waste Your Life. John Piper.

If you wish to purchase the book click here.

Don’t Waste Your Life 5.

By | Holy living, Life change, Provoked Within, The gospel, Worship

Dont waste your life

If there is only one life to live in this world, and if it is not to be wasted, nothing seemed more important to me than finding out what God really meant in the Bible, since he inspired men to write it. If that was up for [constant debate or only subjective opinion], then no one could tell which life is worthy and which life is wasted.

Extract from page 24. Don’t Waste Your Life. John Piper.

If you wish to purchase the book click here.

Don’t Waste Your Life 3.

By | Holy living, Life change, Provoked Within, The gospel, Worship

Dont waste your life

How many times must you look up before you see it? There is an answer. The answer, The answer, my friend, is not yours to invent or create. It will be decided for you. It is outside you. It is real and objective and firm. One day you will hear it. You don’t create it. You don’t define it. It comes to you, and sooner or later you conform to it – or bow to it… Yes! There is an Answer with a capital A. To miss it would mean a wasted life. To find it would mean having a unifying Answer to all my questions.

Extract from page 17. Don’t Waste Your Life. John Piper.

If you wish to purchase the book click here.

Don’t Waste Your Life 1.

By | Holy living, Life change, Provoked Within, The gospel, Worship

Dont waste your life

If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of his own death. You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and he bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God’s. Therefore, the Bible says, “Glorify God in your body.” God made you for this. He bought you for this. This is the meaning of your life.

Extract from page 9. Don’t Waste Your Life. John Piper.

If you wish to purchase the book click here.