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Showing posts from July, 2013

Monday's Bible Teaching at AblazeUK

The first main meeting of the day on Monday was the fantastic Bible Teaching with Pastor David Dando. David preached from 1 Samuel 30:1-11, 16-24 on “Recovering What the Enemy has Stolen”. 
In 1 Sam. 30, David was living among the people of Goliath. Yet he didn't spiritually prosper at that time. As far as we can tell, there are no Psalms written during that period. How had he ended up in such a state? We see that in 1 Sam. 27:1. David had gone from asking God to thinking to himself and making his own plans. But unbelief and mistrust always bring their consequences. David was looking at God through the mists of his circumstances, rather than looking at his circumstances throughout the radiance of God. The spear in the hand of Saul was clearer to him than the oil in the hand of Samuel. 
But the turning point comes in 1 Sam. 30:6 -”David strengthened himself in the Lord”. We don't know the reality of God's strength until we come to the end of ours.
How did David strengthen hims…

Sunday at AblazeUK 2013

I'm going to write about the whole of Sunday at Ablaze this year in one go, as the morning and evening sermons were really two parts of a whole. Emmanuel Mbakwe began the day by reading Psalm 24 and then welcoming foreign guests, one of whom was Pastor Timothy Jack, the National Leader of the Apostolic Church in Australia, who opened in prayer.
Jonathan Morgans brought prophetical ministry in the morning meeting. The Lord spoke saying, I am the King of Kings; I am a mighty Warrior for you. And today in this place you will know me as those things, but you will hear me sing over you. Whether you are close or far away; whether you are broken, addicted, or right in my plan and purpose for your life, I want you to hear me sing. Wherever you are I want you to know that the Mighty Warrior sings a love song over you.

Saturday Night at AblazeUK 2013

AblazeUK kicked off tonight with this year's theme of “Total Recovery”. And so I'm kicking off my convention summaries. (Let me just explain what I mean by that so you know what to expect. over the next few days I'll try to report on the convention meetings, so what you'll get is basically a summary of the sermon and any prophetical ministry. some of it might be the exact words used, other bits will be summary of what was said – it just depends on my notes from the meeting.)
So here we go with the Saturday evening meeting. Olivia Crolla led us in worship as we sang the praise of Jesus, whose blood and righteousness is our only hope. Sam brought prophetical ministry, telling us that the Lord sees our weakness, yet wants us to know His strength to pursue, overtake and recover. This is not a period of retreat to sit back, but a period to recover what the enemy has taken. It is a time to plant new assemblies. It is a time to recover the backslider.

Book Giveaway: How to win the Books at AblazeUK

Over the last fortnight I've been introducing you to some good books that I want to give away at AblazeUK. This post is just to put all the information about how to win the books in one place. So below you'll find links to the reviews of each book, as well as when I'll be giving it away.

So, how can you win the books? All you have to do is be the first person to ask me at the time listed below for each book.

Can you win more than one book? Possibly. I'll give each book to the first person to ask me for it who hasn't yet won a book. But, if you've already won a book, and want this one too, then ask anyway, because, if no one who hasn't won yet asks, then you may still win. (I do want all the books to go to good homes!)

One Forever (Reviews of the Books I'm Giving Away 6)

Well, we've made it to the last of the books I'm giving away at AblazeUK. Of all the books in the giveaway, this is the one I've read for the first time most recently. In fact, I had passed it by a few times, until I read Glen Scrivener's glowing recommendation and realised what I was missing out on. For this book is fantastic! If you've ever wondered what the Bible means when it talks about being 'in Christ' or been left scratching your head when the preacher goes on about being united to Christ, then read this book and see.

Rory Shiner not only explains what it means to be united to Christ, but does so in an accessible, readable and memorable way. It's only 88 pages long and can easily be read in an evening. (I read it one Sunday afternoon while waiting for the lunch to cook.) And yet the contents aren't the sort that will evaporate after an evening. Rory Shiner explains this central doctrine of the Christian life in ways that you'll remember.…

Captured by a Better Vision (Reviews of the Books I'm Giving Away 5)

Some of the other books that I'm giving away are favourites of mine. (You'll even find them on the wee bookcase at the bottom of the blog.) This one is a bit different; I'm giving it away because it's a book I often end up giving to people, and I'm sure there's someone who'll benefit from reading it.

Often at conventions and things the pastors are asked to pray for people. And on different occasions like that people have asked me to pray for them about struggles with pornography. And as I've talked to people on such occasions, I've often seen two things: hopelessness and the search for a law-based solution. In fact, perhaps it would be better to put those the other way round, for I think it's the deep down realisation that a law-based solution won't work that leads to hopelessness. So I pray for people and try to point them to Christ and His grace. But that set me off on a quest to find a grace-based approach to dealing with the sin of porno…

Life in the Trinity (Review of the Books I'm Giving Away 4)

I've already reviewed Life in the Trinity, so I'm reposting that below (which explains why this review is a wee bit longer and more detailed than the others).

Appropriately for the nature of the book, I'll be giving it away after Monday morning's Bible teaching. All you have to do is find me and ask!

Donald Fairbairn, Life in the Trinity: An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers (Downers Grove: IVP, 2009)

The next time I teach an introduction to theology, this is the book I’ll make my students read. At less than 250 pages, Fairbairn’s book is far from a complete Systematics and, in fact, it bears very little resemblance to other comparably sized introductions (like Frame’s Salvation Belongs to the Lord or Grudem’s Christian Beliefs). Life in the Trinity isn’t a bite sized overview of all the individual doctrines of systematic theology, but rather a glorious glimpse of the big picture, a big picture well summed up in four words in the title: Life …

A New Name (Reviews of the Books I'm Giving Away 3)

Emma Scrivener has written the best testimony book I've ever read. Now, you might be tempted to pass over A New Name because of the word anorexia in the subtitle. But don't. Yes, it is a book about anorexia; but at the same time it isn't.

And Emma Scrivener can write. This book will grip you. You'll laugh. And you'll cry. My sister came to visit last summer, and ended up spending two days glued to this book. It's a compelling story, a moving story, and ultimately it's a story that glorifies Christ. And that's why it's the best testimony book I've read. Emma doesn't glorify herself (far from it), and she doesn't glorify anorexia. But she does glorify Jesus. And she does so in a real way. The danger with testimonies (as I mentioned yesterday) is that they can easily fall into a pattern something like this: everything was terrible (but really exciting!), then Jesus, now everything's wonderful. (Now, of course, that's to overly simpl…

Reflections After the Tony Anthony Incident

I was really saddened to read the reports about Tony Anthony over the weekend. (Evangelical Alliance Statement here. Fuller report on Ship of Fools.) Yet, at the same time, I'm really glad that this inquiry was undertaken and that the truth has come out. Although we may be tempted to lament the scandal, the truth is always best.

Anyway, here are just a few thoughts in the aftermath. There isn't really a logical progression here, so think of these five thoughts as variations on a theme.

1) Evangelism is about pointing people to Christ. And so we should be more wary of pointing people to ourselves. Now, it can always be a great temptation to point to the dramatic change that Christ has made in someone's life. Yet, the danger is that we put more focus on the person who has changed rather than on Christ.

The Good God (Reviews of the Books I'm Giving Away 2)

Book number two in the giveaway is The Good God by Michael Reeves. Yesterday I said that today's book was my joint-favourite book. In fact, if I had to pick just one favourite, this would be it. In many ways it's the best Christian book I've ever read. And just like we gave a copy of The Cross Centered Life to everyone in the Anderlecht assembly, last summer in Leeds we as a presbytery gave everyone a copy of The Good God. You see, it's so good I wanted everyone in church to get to read it.

Now, I could say that The Good God is a book about the Trinity (which it is), but that might give many of you the completely wrong impression about this book. In no way is it a complicated doctrinal treatise. And it's got nothing to do with mathematics or logic problems. But then again, the Trinity isn't really about complication, mathematics or logic problems - it's just unfortunate that that's where our minds often go when someone mentions it. This book is about w…

The Cross Centered Life (Reviews of the Books I'm Giving Away 1)

As I mentioned at the end of last week, I'm going to be giving away a few books. I'll actually give them away at AblazeUK, so, alas, you can only win them if you'l be there. But, I don't just want to give away the books, I want to tell you why I'm giving them away as well. In other words I want to tell you why these books are good. So even if you're not going to Ablaze (or even if you don't win the competition), hopefully these posts about the books will point you in the direction of some good reading.

The first book I'm going to tell you about is The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney. Some of the books in this giveaway are books that I give to people quite often, and this is one of them. One summer in Belgium, we as a presbytery decided to give everyone in the church a book as a gift to read over the summer holidays. The other elders asked me to recommend a book for the gift, and without hesitation this was the book I recommended. And without hesita…

Book Giveaway and AblazeUK

Yay! I'm quite excited as I have some good books to give away. As it's only a fortnight until AblazeUK (the Apostolic Church's UK annual convention), that's where I'm going to give the books away. So, if you're not going to Ablaze, sorry, you can't win the books, so maybe you can think of the upcoming posts telling you about them as good book recommendations instead. If you are going to Ablaze, then you might be going home with a good book.

Today I'm just going to tell you what the books are, but between now and convention I'll tell you a bit more about each of them (and also how to win them).

The Living Dead! (You can't do theology without them)

The world of theology is the world of the living dead, and necessarily so. You see, our temptation (to which we so easily succumb) is to make theology all about me and my Bible. Now, theology is about one of those things (the latter, just in case you were wondering), and it does involve both of those things. But it doesn’t only involve me reflecting on Scripture. It also involves the living dead, whether I like it or not!

I am not alone

The living dead won’t go away just because I pretend they don’t exist. But if I pretend they don’t exist, I’m perhaps more likely to be harmed than helped. If I pretend they don’t exist, I can’t distinguish between baddies and goodies (which is overly simplistic, I know, but hey, it works with the whole ‘living dead’ thing!).

Two Necessities for Every Pastor: 2) Think Theology

Last time we talked about the importance of exegesis. This time we’re moving on from exegesis to theology (as you do). In the environment in which we live and minister today, it’s very easy to outsource and hence downplay both theology and exegesis. So many other things are being presented to pastors as ‘essential’ that the time consuming work of exegesis and theological reflection can easily appear too demanding and best left to someone else. Yet, my argument is that we outsource exegesis and theology at our peril. Christ works powerfully by His Word, and our ministry is essentially a Word-ministry.

2) Think Theology

Okay, so we can see the importance of exegesis readily enough. But theology? Yes, theology. Now, you might be tempted to think I’m biased here. After all, the word theology is in the name of this blog, I used to teach theology at a seminary, and I’m working on a PhD in systematic theology. But I assure you, none of those are the reason that I say that thinking theological…

Two Necessities for Every Pastor: 1) Exegesis

I say pastor, but that’s only because ‘every apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher’ would make for rather a long title, but these two necessities are really for all ministers. I’m not saying that they’re the only two necessities, but these are two which seem to be increasingly and more easily ‘outsourced’. And what are they? Exegesis and Theology! As more and more of the advice on pastoral ministry seems to be aimed at social workers, let me just remind you of the vital importance of these two things that we can so easily take so much for granted that we forget altogether. (By the way, prayer might also fall into the same category!)

1) Do Exegesis!

Exegesis might seem like a big scary word, but it’s just studying the Biblical text carefully to understand what it means. And that’s exactly why it’s so important. For all our authority as ministers comes only from the Word of God (see e.g. Hebrews 13:7). We are called ‘to prayer and to the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:4), so…