Three More To Go…

Services that is. Holy Week is always a full week. We do 10 services in 7 days. My boss and I share the preaching – this year I preached 5 times. My boss has Easter Day so I just lead the services and celebrate Communion.

Happy Easter Everyone. May you know the truth of the glorious resurrection!

Yes, Thank you Carl Trueman…

Carl Trueman has a wonderful article on Conferences and the super apostle mentality that such conferences can foster. Trueman does not expect his thoughts to be taken on board, but they should be. IF YOU RUN A CONFERENCE, PLEASE READ AND THEN TAKE ON HIS SUGGESTIONS. Let’s hope and pray that some are listening to this! Here are some snipets…

The key problem for conferences in the USA is that of 1 Corinthians, i.e., superapostles.  American culture is obsessed with celebrity and we need to be aware that the American church is thus likely to be very susceptible to this….

First, market conferences on the basis of content not speakers.  Send a clear signal – from the design of the webpage to the wording of the fliers – that it is what is to be said, not who is saying it, that is important.   Indeed, maybe one could be really radical: do not even let people know who is speaking; just tell them the titles of the talks….

Second, why always bring in the unrepresentative guys from the huge churches?  Instead, bring in at least 50% of your speakers from churches of, say, 300 people or less.  They do, after all, represent the majority of churches in the country….

Third, do everything you can to make the speakers just people in the crowd.  No special seats for them, no special dining arrangements.  Just let them melt back into the masses once they have spoken…

Read the whole article HERE

Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus As A Cynic-Saint by Andrew Byers

Andrew Byers has hit a nail on it’s head with this book. What is the nail? That too many believers today have a cynical faith. Cynicism has become rampant.

What is a Christian cynic? They are those who criticise everything while maintaining a degree of allegiance to Jesus but also often quoting Jesus’ harrangues against the Pharisees and religious leaders.

One of the descriptions Byers throws out about the Christian cynic was very thought provoking as well as troublesome. He writes “Christian cynics sometimes delight in watching fellow believers tread on life’s land mines, and their flaunted skepticism can even become the means by which the faithful forsake their faith.”

To be sure, Byers has called out a big issue in the life of the church.

Christians cynics are damaging the church. They are damaging the church because their disillusionment, whether with the world, the church, leadership, or because of doubts, has taken a hold of them and it has become the driving force of their nature and that is when you have cynicism.

It begins with disillusionment.

Now, Byers points out that disillusionment is not necessarily a bad thing. Disillusionment is often about reality – seeing the situation as it really is; that things are not going well; that we are struggling; that the future is uncertain. Saul, who became Paul, during the three days he was blind in the house on Straight Street was probably disillusioned; disillusioned that all that he thought he was doing was in fact wrong.

But Paul does not end up a cynic.

Disillusionment unchecked will end in cynicism. What stops disillusionment from becoming cynicism for a Christian is the Resurrection!

Again, Andrew Byers writes “we need to foster and teach a Biblical spirituality that embraces the grim reality of our ex-eden life along with the joyful reality that God is making all things new.”

We need to accept reality. But we do so in the reality and light of the truth of the resurrection because our sins and this world can only be dealt with if Christ rose from the dead!

Remove the resurrection of Christ and ALL that is left for a Christian is cynicism. Paul himself tells us in 1 Corinthians 15; “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”

This is really an excellent book on a subject which is very rarely tackled.

Highly Recommended.

Where Is The Moral Line Drawn?

It appears the BBC has crossed a moral line. They are about to televise a program they recorded whereby they watched a man, with motor neurone disease, take a cocktail of lethal drugs at the Swiss Clinic Dignitas. They filmed his final hours of life and his eventual death. This program, which will be screened on BBC2 has caused some outrage.

The show’s presenter, Sir Terry Pratchett, the novelist, himself a supporter of euthanasia and suffering from a rare form of Alzheimer’s, says that “I believe everybody possessed of a debilitating and incurable disease should be allowed to pick the hour of their death.”

However a Conservative MP has said that the program is “pushing back a moral boundary.”

But what moral boundary is being pushed back? The fact that euthanasia is being openly practiced in Europe or that the show will televise something which the majority of us want to desparately ignore – the process of death?

I have been with people as they have died in hospitals and hospices. The moment of death for most it is not as dramatic as some of the things you see on the film screen today. What makes this program so controversial is not WHAT they will see (a man slowly stopping breathing) but the reality that one day that WILL BE THEM. This program will confront those who watch it with something most of them wish to ignore – death.

Our culture desperately seeks to avoid death. We have hidden the process of death away. But it is a reality we all face.

I am against Dignitas. I do not believe active euthanasia is right. But in an age where moral boundaries have been pushed beyond the limits in so many areas of life and that people accept that killing babies in the womb is acceptable I find it interesting that on this issue people are wanting to draw a moral line. The film star Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek fame) has become patron of an organisation campaigning to legalise assisted suicide in the UK.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, the 70-year-old said the choice to have an assisted death “should be a right”.

“Should the time come for me… I would like there to be a choice I might make about how I die,”

Patrick Stewart reveals the heart of the issue – that human beings should have the right to choose the when and the how of their death.

It is the sign of the complete seperation of humanity from God – it is our right to be born how we wish, live how we wish, do what we wish, and die how we wish. It is the final removal of God from the human life.

The process of death is one of the times where God can come and change a heart. I think we will be shocked at how many people are in heaven because they converted on their death bed, as they threw themselves in their despair, as death approached, on the last hope, Jesus Christ.

But now, the call is to take even that hope away. To allow people to take their own life, at the time of their choice, to thrust themselves into eternity before they have reached a place where they may call on the name of God.

And this is what is tragic about the whole movement for assisted suicide and the Dignitas movement. In their belief they are taking away suffering and pain, they may in fact be encouraging people to their deaths only to find that they are eternally seperated from God and that their suffering has not ended.

Ten people killed in the Afghan city of Kandahar in reaction to the burning of a Koran in the US

This website says this about the killings of UN people in Kandahar:

As predicted… what has been almost entirely lost in the discussion is the fact that Muslims have the free will to restrain themselves when offended, if they so choose.

For which other group would such behavior be accepted as normal, as a logical and inevitable response? Fill in the blanks. Mix and match as you like. “__________ go on rampage after two preachers of the __________ faith burn their holy book, the __________, 20 dead.”

Muslims ought to be insulted at the low expectations for them, and embarrassed by their co-religionists who are also burning utterly, completely, obviously unaffiliated churches in Pakistan over Jones’ and Sapp’s burning of the Qur’an. But of course, they’re getting the better part of that double standard.