Month: August 2009

Forum

I will be away at forum for the coming week, from Monday until Friday, so there won’t be any blog posts from me until I get back. For those who don’t know, forum is UCCF’s summer training conference-type thing aimed particularly at CU leaders. I’ve not been before, but I have high hopes for the week. I hope to (in no particular order):

  • Encourage people from other CUs, and be encouraged by them
  • Make and renew friendships
  • Finish reading A Call to Spiritual Reformation (or at least read a large portion of it)
  • Get some serious praying done
  • Enthuse about freshers’ week
  • Sharpen my iron (Proverbs 27:17)
  • Have fun
  • Grow to love the Bible more after a whole week of listening to preaching from it
  • Is there any chance of learning to unicycle properly?

Love of the loveless

I’ve just been listening to some Eels songs on spotify, and noticed an interesting lyric in one. It went:

God shine your light down here
Shine on the love
Love of the loveless

I don’t know if anything profound was meant (I don’t suppose so) but it did strike me that it’s a plea which describes exactly what God has already done. By sending Christ (who is the light of the world, John 8:12) to earth, God has shown love to the loveless. We have nothing in us to commend us to God, and even our best efforts at good living are filthy rags in His eyes (Isaiah 46:4). Our only access to God comes through Jesus (John 14:6) who came to earth so we could repent of our wrongdoing (Luke 5:32) and be accepted by God (1 John 1:9).

The Eels capture it quite nicely in another of their songs, in which they sing:

You don’t need a thing from me
but I need something big from you

And now, in the title of another Eels song, “I need some sleep”.

Bridge building

God doesn’t build bridges, He divides seas.

John Piper (2007)

This quote is from one of John Piper’s blog posts, and reminds me that God’s ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8). Also noteworthy is Piper’s following (and sobering) comment:

Usually [God’s] people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them.

One thing I know

There are only two things of which I am sure: one is, that I am a miserable sinner; and the other, that Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour.

John Newton

Presumably based on that quote:

I remember two things very clearly. I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.

John Newton in the film Amazing Grace (2006)

Was Newton’s a Biblical prespective?

One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.

A man born blind, John 9:25

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

The apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:2

Principles of personal witness

This outline of a recent Bible study at my home church may be helpful for some readers. It was entitled Principles of Personal Witness and delivered by one of the church deacons, Martin Sellens.

Biblical examples of personal witness

  1. Philip (John 1:43-51)
    Philip was called by Jesus (v43) and had a desire for others to meet Jesus (v46), so he found Nathaniel, told him he had found the Messiah, and invited him to come and see. Christ promises great things for believers.
    So, you found the secret message?
  2. Samaritan woman (John 4:29-30)
    Again, the invitation is to come and meet Jesus. The question is asked “Could this be the Christ?” and investigation is encouraged.
    It’s just because I want a blank line in the formatting, that’s all!
  3. Demoniac (Luke 8:38-39)
    In v38 the healed demoniac begs to stay with Jesus, naturally enough, but is told to go and share with others what Jesus has done in his life.

Four principles for personal witness

  1. Let your light shine (Matthew 5:13-16)
    The Lord commands us to let our light shine so much that God is glorified. The light will be attractive to some, because it is godly, but others will prefer darkness because the light reveals their sin. We live in dark times, and if our witness is weak, what will show the world their need for the Saviour? We need a living relationship with God for our light to shine, just as a torch needs batteries for it to work. We need to ensure our spiritual batteries do not go flat.
    This will really muck things up if the background colour of this blog is changed!
  2. Be ready to give an account
    We not only need to believe in our hearts, but also confess Christ to the world (Romans 10:9). A readiness to speak about Christ is part of our preparation for life (Ephesians 6:15). It is a vital part of who we are, and it is as foolish not to prepare as it would be to go for a long walk without shoes. We need to be ready for this with reverent meekness and fear of God (1 Peter 3:15).
    To be honest, I’m running out of things to write in these gaps
  3. Recognise the need of people to be saved
    We will only reach people if we see their plight. Jesus was moved with compassion, seeing people like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34) and weeping for a whole city (Luke 19:41) because He saw the urgency of the situation. The reason Christ came to earth because He saw our lost and helpless state. We need a Biblical sense of urgency (1 Corinthians 7:29-31) and must make the best possible use of our time (Colossians 4:5).
    If you found these messages, please post a comment so I know about it!
  4. Pray
    We need to pray for ourselves and others (Colossians 4:3), making use of practical planning such as prayer partners. We must be watchful to pray continually (Ephesians 6:18-20). Paul knew his responsibility as an ambassador of Christ, and knew he was to “go and make disciples”. This responsibility requires prayer for the Lord’s strength, opportunities and boldness.

I hope you find that interesting and, more importantly, helpful.

Successful but sinful

Lesbian teacher’s affair with a pupil

was the shocking headline of an equally shocking story in the free Metro newspaper yesterday. The story goes as you might, from the headline, expect. It takes place in an independent London school which charges parents the not inconsiderable sum of £13,000 to have their children educated there. A 26-year old trumpet teacher has been caught in (and admitted to) a five-month long lesbian affair with a pupil she taught, and has been suspended and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Helen Goddard must have seemed to have everything she could want. She was a prodigious trumpet player from a young age, even performing in an Olympic opening ceremony before finishing school. She was young, beautiful and had a good job in a prestigious establishment. She seemed popular and could surely want nothing more.

But her earthly success is tinted by (now public) spiritual failure. She is, like the rest of us, a sinner. In her case this worked itself out in a headline grabbing scandal. For most of us it is easier to conceal our wrongdoing, but it is equally impossible to be rid of it. Sadly Helen’s ability on the trumpet will not be considered by God on the day of judgement. Neither will her career record. Only one thing will be considered – her perfection. Or more accurately, her lack thereof.

Unless she has faith in Christ. I am obviously unable to comment on whether or not she has that saving faith, but if she does then her eternal destiny rests not on her own (lack of) perfection, but on Christ’s perfect perfection. What grace it is on God’s part to forgive all who come to him. We may hide our evil hearts from our friends, but we cannot hide them from God. Let us be thankful, if we are His, that our salvation relies on Christ alone and not our respectability.

As an interesting side note – how would our churches treat Helen Goddard if she came to worship on a Sunday morning? Would we exhibit Christ’s grace despite knowing what she has done?