Monday, October 26, 2009

What is Scripture?

This is one of the blogs I just received from my RSS feed of the Resurgence Blog. Assuring and inspiring I thought:

What is Scripture? The good news is that we are not the first to try to answer this question. In fact, 2,000 years of Christian history provide us a tradition of helpful answers.

Inerrant, Trustworthy, and Authoritative
The Bible is inspired by God, is without error, and does not misrepresent the facts. It is entirely trustworthy and is the final authority in everything it teaches. The Bible records the drama of redemption in both the history of Israel and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As Christians we acknowledge both Jesus (John 1:1-4) and Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as the “Word of God.” Christians should not focus solely on Christ and treat Scripture just like any other “classic text.” Nor should we focus so much on the Bible as God’s divine inerrant word and treat Jesus as simply a character in a small part of the texts.

Scripture Reveals Jesus

Jesus is the message—God participating in human life, coming near to us, bringing his good news, expressing God’s love for us, dying as our substitute, rising as the victor over death, and building his church as a community of grace. Jesus is not just the main person in one of many events in the story of God’s people. Jesus is the final revelation of God’s drama of redemption. Humanity sees God in full light in Jesus. Jesus is God’s ultimate word about human life and the Bible is God’s word about God’s self-revelation through human life. This is what Christian theologians have been saying in various ways for 2,000 years.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here are the Joshua series Videos Part V - thanks Vimeo

18th October - Living life without the fear- Joshua Week 5 - Simon LJ from X1 Video on Vimeo.

Here are the Joshua series Videos Part IV - thanks Vimeo

11-10-2009 - Simon LJ - Joshua - Part 1 #1 from X1 Video on Vimeo.

C.S. Lewis on what to read - Old or New?

Here is C.S. Lewis writing in an introduction to a work by Athanasius about what he would urge others to read as practice.

"It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more
delightful to acquire. This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology.

Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even
myself. [To be replaced today with M. Driscoll or J. Osteen or J. Meyer] Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old

Very few of us read what forces us to think preferring instead to have the thinking done for us often to the detriment of original depth and quality.

Oh yes, and please don't read what's not being written here! I'm just encouraging reading the ancients....


Monday, October 19, 2009

"Living life without the Fear" Week 5

So 5 weeks in, and I feel as if we are barely scraping the surface of this 'immense' book of Scripture.
This week was one of those weeks when a preacher is acutely aware of the challenging nature of what Spirit has given him to share. I felt certain not to rush on from the first nine verses of the first chapter as there was one more notable command from God to Joshua (and very much to us today) that seems to me a pivotal condition of him enjoying the fruit of the 4 promises noted last week.


At a point where Joshua would surely be expecting some divine strategy or superior elemt of war with which to encouter the enemies within 'The Promised Land' God says only this:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
God basically says to him

“THIS, THIS Joshua! (Scripture) If you want to be ‘prosperous & successful’, if you long to enjoy the stunning array of promises that I have just laid before you then READ THIS, STUDY THIS, LIVE THIS LOVE THIS EAT THIS!”
Joshua was to feed on (meditate) the words of the book of the Law that Moses had been entrusted and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write.
Within the verses ( 7 - 9) you can see there appears to be a four part 'way' by which to feast on Scripture, the food for fearless living:
1) ‘know God’s word’ – Be constantly looking at in order to fulfil command of having it as guide; Joshua would need to get it from ‘ark of covenant’ often
2) ‘talk about God’s word’– (Josh. 1: 8) Clearly Joshua was to be conversing about the bible in his normal day-by-day contacts with family, soldiers, friends.
3) ‘meditate on God’s Word’– Meditation implies reasoning about the Word & deducing things from it. Meditation has application as its goal.
4) ‘obey God’s Word’– The last element in this list of requirements is the most important... Not only know it, speak, obey it...he was also and chiefly to obey it. NOT TURNING TO LEFT OR RIGHT. Keep on Line determined by God’s word.

It is impossible to over-emphasize the need for us as 21st Century believers to apply this command and this process to our lives. I say this because, and I quote my words from Sunday:
"Feeding on God’s word is absent from so many of our lives, it is an afterthought after glutting ourselves on the lies of our culture through media over-saturation...People are more willing to believe the ‘fiction’ of Dan Brown, the quasi-biblical teachings of 80% of the Christian world over and above the profoundly glorious truth of scripture!
And it’s wreaking havoc! We become emaciated, withered followers of Jesus being kicked about by our enemies and unable to engage in the battle necessary for us to claim the glorious promises offered to us in Christ!

Feast on the divine truth of God for faith for fearless living!


Monday, October 12, 2009

"Living life without the Fear" Week 4 - Quotes

Here are some quotes to help:

“ It is wonderful that the same leader [The Captain of the army of the Lord] is with us...Must we struggle today in our own wisdom & puny strength? No – the power is there...Are we to know the power of this Leader? Well, then let us get our shoes off! Let us never forget the words of Paul: ‘I am the slave of Jesus Christ.’ If our shoes are not off before this leader, we will not know his power...[T]he Person at the burning bush, the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, the captain of the Lord’s host, Jesus Christ – this one is still with us.“
- Schaeffer

“Our tendency is to decode this into narcissistic terms. But let’s trust God for more than that. God doesn’t function just in cosmetic terms. He’s not in the business of tummy tucks & nose jobs or of making life easy. He’s in the business of transforming us into His image. He’s in the business of helping us to serve Him, meeting the deepest needs of others who hurts, who are in pain, who need deliverance from sin, who need their bodies healed and their minds restored. God is in the business of helping us to lead people to a personal, vital relationship with Him, the Saviour Lord.”
– Huffman Jr.

“Jesus said ‘Go’ to his disciples, and that word has resounded around the globe. It moves the heart and fires the soul. The commission comes from heaven. The Christ who left heaven’s glory and spent himself so utterly is in my heart urging me to go as he himself went. His presence with me responds to His mighty word to me – ‘Go!’ I am caught up in the eternal thrust of God. I cannot escape it, for I am part of it; the word lives to me & lives in me – ‘Go!’”
– Peckham

"We are living for something glorious. We are seeking to be radically different. Our mandate is to engage the destructive elements of society, to bring God’s presence, God’s love, and God’s truth where there is emptiness, hate and endless lies. The reality of ‘missional’ living is intense confrontation with the world the flesh and the devil and we will need inconceivable strength and courage.
But it is not a strength we work up or make happen, it is the faith in the promises of God and the person of God that give us the supernatural strength & courage of God. It is reciprocal."
- Leigh-Jones


"Living life without the Fear" Week 4

Ok, we finally entered the magnificent book of Joshua for real this week. We have spent 3 weeks trying to give a helpful background to this time in the life and history of the Israelite people, this man Joshua, and of course the stunning relevance to our own lives and situation.

I intended to preach one sermon from the first nine verses but of course on deeper investigation discovered that there was more than enough Spiritual Meat to chew on for 2 weeks.
So we entitled this weeks sermon

The major emphasis of the sermon was as follows


Within these few verses God gives 4 Immense promises to Joshua in preparing to enter the promised land that are so real for us as New Covenant believers. Those 4 are -
BEING IN THE WILL OF GOD -right there, right then God had Joshua exactly where he wanted him. We too have this promises if we respond to the leading of the Spirit.
THE POWER OF GOD - Vs. 3 & 4 All the power made available to Moses in his leading the people is promised to Joshua. This power is promised to us, see Acts 1: 8; I Jn. 4: 4; II Cor. 10: 4; Col. 1: 11.
THE PRESENCE OF GOD - Vs. 5, 8 Far greater than the promise of Power was this glorious promise of the actual presence of the 'I Am', YAHWEH the living, redeeming, covenant keeping God. That promise is for us see Acts 2; Heb. 13: 5; MAt. 28: 20
THE SUCCESS OF GOD - Vs. 8 Not to be reduced to human, narcissistic terms. The success of God is the joy of living in such a way that our lives draw other to His glorious love.

Note: These promises are made to a people on mission.


"...see here that Joshua receives promise and assurance one after the other and then suddenly he is told he needs to be STRONG & COURAGEOUS. In fact God is almost like a stuck record on this one see vs. 6, 7, 9 (x2), Deut. 31: 6, 7, 8, 23.
Why is this the case? Surely after these magnificent words spoken to him he could have sat back on his camel-skin couch, munching on some dates and catching up on his favourite episodes of ‘Survivor: Sinai Desert ’ on his Sky+ box.

The opposite is true. It is exactly because there were such promises to claim, so much to be possessed that Joshua would need all the strength and courage imaginable. To embrace all the joy and the fruits of this new place there would need to be constant conflict against and eradication of all that would deny that.
It is exactly the same today! Every great promise of Ephesians 1 and which are distributed on almost every page of scripture are not delivered to us devoid of living within the reality of a fallen, secular, fear-inducing culture."

So that was the gist of it. There are stunning promises available but as is promised in II Tim. 1: 7, the need for Faith-inspired Strength & Courage to posess the promises.


Monday, October 5, 2009

The Bible: "All Christ"

So, so many people seem to remain distant from the Old Testament of the bible, seeing it as inferior to, or unnecessary now that we have the New Testament. (It's typically just laziness, but...)
I recently read a brilliant insight into the importance of reading the bible as a whole book (not as a library of different books) and that included the primary reason to read the OT: CHRIST!
Here it is

"... We call this book the Bible, and we divide it into two portions, the Old Testament and the New Testament. What does this mean? It means that the Old Testament and the New are both concerned about the same person, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. The OT is the preparation, the promise, the prophecy of His coming. There, back in Genesis 3, you have it; the whole thing is put so plainly. Who is the seed of the woman that is going to crush and bruise the serpent's head? It is none other than the Son of God, and He did it upon the cross on Calvary's hill. The Old testament from beginning to end points to Him.
Then what is the NT but the glorious fulfillment of every type and shadow? He is the substance of all the shadows. He is the great antitype of all the types. He is the fulfillment of everything that God had indicated He was going to be. So there is the bible - OT, NT - but it is all in Christ. The plan, the purpose, the way of redemption are always in Him
." -Lloyd Jones

Don't just read it, eat it!