Somebody asked me the other day as to why I called the church The Hill.

Before Swansea was on the radar, I had been thinking and praying about church planting. God had been speaking to us about being sent out again. Not surprisingly I began to mull over what name I might give the church this time… Previously I have been involved in church plants called The Crown and Gracechurch.

I had around the same time frame began thinking about the reasons for blogging and was reading Acts chapter 17 one day and the following verse really stirred me:

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. Acts 17

The New International Version says that he was provoked within. Paul was placed into a landscape of idol worship.

In his excellent book Counterfeit gods, Tim Keller writes:

Each [society] has its “priesthoods”, its totems and rituals. Each one has its shrines – whether office towers, spas and gyms, studios, or stadiums – where sacrifices must be made in order to procure the blessings of the good life and ward off disaster. Page xii

In other words whilst blood is not literally flowing out of the gym or the office or the nightclub (albeit sometimes I am sure it is), in all these places there is still human sacrifice, and ultimately disappointment because none of these counterfeit gods can deliver what the human heart is looking for.

The human heart takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the centre of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfilment, if we attain them. Page xiv

Every human being must live for something. Something must capture our imaginations, our heart’s most fundamental allegiance and hope. But, the Bible tells us, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, that object will never be God himself. If we look to some created thing to give. us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts. Page 3

Paul’s response to being provoked within was to mingle amongst the people of that culture preaching Jesus and the resurrection (verse 18).

This is the reason for the name of this blog. I want it to be said of me that I preached Jesus and the resurrection.

Paul was then taken during to the strategic centre of the whole city of Athens, a place known locally as Mars Hill. Here he spoke powerfully about God.

19 Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.”

We want the church to be a strategic centre in any city. We want the meeting place of the church to be the place where believer and unbeliever discuss the things of God. We want the church to be like The Hill in Athens, full of people eager to listen, and full of people like Paul who are able to share God’s good news with them. And in the end we want the result to be similar:

32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers.

Shortly after this moving to Swansea came on the radar, and of course there is no better place to have a church called The Hill, other than in a city on a hill. May this church be a city within a city, a city that preaches Jesus and the resurrection. A ‘mountain’ in Swansea which helps, alongside the other Jesus-preaching churches here, fulfil the promise of Micah:

2 People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” Micah 4