Month: January 2011

Relay 1 summary

The observation which struck me the most after Relay 2 was how different I though it was from Relay 1. At Relay 1 I wrote a summary of what I learned, which was largely theological.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’ll either become proud or despairing. Instead, remember you are compete in Christ. Trust me, you don’t need anything else, even for a short confidence  boost. No, really, you don’t! You know He is gracious. You know He is faithful. Now live in that truth. Walk in Christ, and remind yourself of His grace. Don’t delay – remind yourself now, and be thankful. Knowing that the gospel of Christ’s grace really is powerful, be unashamed of it. Speak to people about it. Be joyful in it. But be faithful – it is a valuable treasure, and you must not change it, for it cannot be improved, only ruined. How could you even begin to try to improve upon Christ on the cross? Keep the cross central, for that is where the atoning blood of Jesus belongs. This deals with our biggest problem – not sin, but God’s settled, righteous fury at our sin. This atonement is explained in the Old Testament, and the New Testament shows the cross of Christ is where it is fulfilled. Our union with Christ means we bear the punishment for our sins not in ourselves, but in Christ. This is truly radical, and every thought and belief needs testing at the cross, to be discarded or cherished. The cross destroys our self-confidence, and replaces it with confidence in God. It is vital (in the truest sense of the word) that you open your Bible and study it, not for information but to gaze at the crucified Saviour. As you understand this gospel, and grace in Christ, ensure you pass it on faithfully. To do this you need to study it carefully and love those to whom you pass it. Christians will already know the gospel, but faithfully remind them of it. Always remember, rejoice in Christ as you grow in Him.

You are complete in Christ because of God’s grace on the cross.

[Edit] My summary of Relay 2 is now also online.

This is not the blog you are looking for

Since Monday I’ve been residing in the “unusually luxurious” Cloverly Hall on the Relay 2 training conference. As a consequence I’ve not had the opportunity to write a blog post for today. Next week I daresay I’ll post some reflections on the conference, but if you find the intervening period just too long to cope without something from me, I have provided the following for your viewing/reading pleasure:

The holy hustle

Hustle is a brilliant TV programme about a fictional group of con artists who each week scam someone out of a large sum of money. A huge theme of the program is morality, with each episode working on the basis of the hustlers being in the right morally, if not legally.

I should warn readers that this blog post is about last night’s episode of Hustle. I won’t be revealing any details of the hustle, but there is a spoiler for another plot point so don’t read this if you’re planning to watch Hustle later. (more…)

Let them leap to hell

I don’t often post stuff midweek, but this quote is worth reading.

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

C.H. Spurgeon

Found at Tim Challies’ blog.

Why blog in 2011?

Apparently the 4th of May is the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in Jamaica, the start of Napoleon’s exile in Elba, and Margaret Thatcher’s election victory which made her the first (and so far, only) female prime minister of the United Kingdom. And it is of course Star Wars day – May the 4th be with you, and all that.

But for me the 4th of May 2009 marked the start of something, namely this blog. I kicked things off with my reasons for blogging. Then I entered a flurry of activity, posting 17 more entries in the rest of the month. Then, once my initial enthusiasm settled down, I sporadically posted whatever rubbish sprang to mind at a rather slower rate.

A year and a half later, the blog is still here, and in recent months I seem to have settled into a comfortable rhythm of scheduling my thoughts to go online at 3pm every Saturday, with only occasional midweek entries. Why am I doing it?

The main reason for writing a blog is that, quite simply, I enjoy it. It’s not a chore but a pleasure to produce a moderate amount of writing. It’s not a high priority for me, which is why I couldn’t sustain blogging much more frequently, but I do enjoy a bit of writing. It’s been pleasant to put my thoughts on various issues into words, and it has forced me to think some of them through more.

I hope that my writing has become more interesting over the last year and a half. I’m not an especially creative person, but perhaps writing is something that gets the creative juices flowing just a little. Very occasionally I’ll produce a sentence I think rolls of the tongue well, or is particularly apt for capturing a certain thought. Hopefully the sentences themselves are ignored, their construction subsumed by their meaning, but I appreciate the mental effort of producing them.

I don’t really use the blog to keep friends up to date, which was one of my original intentions. Partly I suspect this is because most of my friends don’t read it, but mainly because I think when I write about what I’m doing without any opinion it is boring to write. Presumably it is also boring to read. If you don’t believe me, check out the ill-fated ‘week in retrospective’ series.

The last of my original intentions was to share by thoughts about God. It’s fair to say this has become more dominant than I intended, with this being the first post in several months to not have much relevance to Christianity. Thinking through my faith in more depth has been an especially big part of my life in the last few months and clearly this overflows into my choice of blog topics. I don’t see this as a problem though, and I daresay I will continue to draw blog posts from my thinking about the Christian God. I hope that in doing so I stimulate your thoughts.

Why do you enjoy blogs (whether you read them or write one)?

Another new resolution

Last year I explained why, despite my scepticism, I made a new year’s resolution. It seems to have been beneficial, so this year I intend to make another.

Last year my concerns with making a resolution focused on them either being naively optimistic or being made without any expectation of change. Throughout this year I’ve seen that my last resolution was neither of those things. However, my resolution this year is quite different, and my concern now is more along the lines that it may encourage me to be a functional legalist.

My resolution is to memorise some scripture every week. Some weeks this may only be a verse, other weeks it may be a longer passage. That’s not the point. The point is that memorising the Bible is a valuable habit to develop. It’s been recommended to me by mature Christians, I’ve read books advocating it, but more to the point it’s a very Biblical thing to do. Psalm 119:11, for example, indicates memorising God’s word is a way to combat sin.

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

I hope to make it a regular discipline to memorise portions of the Bible, but I also hope to avoid acting as if it’s something which somehow makes me a better Christian, or is necessary for God to love me. It’s neither of those things, but it is something which I’m sure God will use to shower His grace on me.

Happy new year to you, may it be filled with grace and peace!

What new year’s resolutions (if any) have you set yourself, and why?