Sunday, 31 July 2011

The woman at the well

We have a service of believers baptism tonight & and I am speaking on the woman at the well.
I think I am right in saying it is one of the longest conversations Jesus had with an individual recorded in the gospels. The fact that the conversation took place between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, shows how radical and counter cultural the Christian faith is.
I loved this  video (that I found on youtube) which sums up the womans feelings so well

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Thank you John Stott!

I heard today that John Stott had died
I never spoke to him personally,but his life had an enormous impact on mine,  many years ago I heard him preach at All Souls, and I have read and learned from so many of his books. as i look on my bookshelf  I see a number  including "The Cross of Christ" ,"Basic Christianity" and"Issues Facing Christians Today"

 I  am preaching through Acts at the moment& I have leaned heavily on Stott's excellent commenatry in the Bible Speaks Today Series.

John Stott gifts were matched by his character and his humility.He understood that in the topsy turvy world of The Kingdom ,the greatest person is the greatest servant.

Here is a brief clip from his last sermon. He was an old man but still preaching a powerful message

At the conclusion of this sermon, Stott asked everyone to bow their heads for a few moments of silent prayer. Everyone did so, and when they lifted up their heads again and opened their eyes – the stage was empty.

No rousing send-off, no applause, no presentations of flowers – nothing, in short, to distract attention from the Christ whom Stott has proclaimed so effectively, and with such modesty and humility, for so long.

Thank you John!
Rest in peace and Rise in glory!

a couple of tributes Here and here

Cornerstone team visit to town centre building

Steve who has been our very capable and kind contact with the developers ,was good enough to take time to show the Cornerstone team round our town centre building last night . A couple could not make it ,but those who did were certainly impressed at the vast changes since many of them had been on site.
Apologies to those who are a bit tired of pictures of the development, but they are consistently among the most popular posts on the blog, as people associated with the church now (and in the past) have a look at progress. here are the the latest pictures

New member welcomed at front door ;)

Not the babtistry!


Upstairs 1

Upstairs 2

The stairs!
The Team !(Howard and Sandra couldnt be there) who have put so much work into this project

All in all a very good evening and we were delighted to see the plans of so many decades heading towards fruition
To God be the glory!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stories of triumph over adversity

Stories of Triumph over adversity

Saw this article on the Christian Medical Comment website.
Some of the links are interesting given the cureent debate over assisted dying/suicide

Monday, 25 July 2011

Would you like to join our missional community?

This both amused me and reminded me that to coin a phrase Grace is free but it is not cheap!
Commmitment to the fellowship of believers is critical

All one in Christ Jesus

On Sunday we continued our series in the book of Acts .We looked at Chapter 16 which describes Paul's second missionary journey ,this time accompanied by Silas.The thing that struck me was that on the journey there must have been many converts, but in Phillipi we are told about only three. The businesswoman Lydia ,the demon possessed girl ,(most commentators assume she was converted), and the jailer.

Three different people who as Stott points out are racially,socially,intellectually and psychologically worlds apart, and yet  are united in Jesus Christ  & become founder members of the Phillippian church.
The gospel  unites in one family those who believe
We also shared communion together.In communion we don't just remember that Christ died for me(though thank God He did!) but that Christ died for all and to create a new community from every tongue and tribe and race and indeed (if we think about the church triumphant ) from every age

I felt a very heavy heart as I watched the news this weekend which focused on the terrible massacre in Norway and the unbearably sad consequences for the victims families that will endure long after the TV cameras and other journalists have moved on somewhere else. Although the murderers motives are not yet fully clear,it seems his purpose was to divide and destroy.
The hope of the gospel is that  ultimately good will triumph over evil ,light over darkness and hope over despair
It is a message that Christians should not only share but demonstrate as well
In the words of a popular song when I was a young Christian- They will know we are Christians by our love

Friday, 22 July 2011

More photos town centre building

We had another  meeting about our new town centre building this morning  and afterwards went on site to see progress.
All is going well.the roof goes on in the next week or so and the internal walls are now satrting to be built.
I am sure it will be a great space to work from, and a great building to work in
We still have some decisions to make though about the building. We are also very keen indeed to get an atrium on the front.
As always I had my camera phone to take some photos with

Inside downstairs

Upstairs (love the big windows!)

As the time goes on I feel nervous but also very excited about all that God will do!


Thursday, 21 July 2011

On the Verge

Having read, and enjoyed, and been helped by many of Alan Hirsch's books I guess I am going to have to read this one as well!On the Verge

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

To be in your presence

By nature I am an activist. I may tell people that" who we are is more important to God than what we do" but I don't always practice what I preach. I am always thinking about the next thing I should be doing,the next call I should make, the next sermon or script I should write,the next email I should send,the next idea, or the next meeting I should have.
I think it was Oswald Chambers who said " Don't let love for the work of God or even love for the word of God replace love for God Himself"
I need to heed those words and therefore appreciated this article Has mission become our idol?
I will try and learn from it!

The quote from Vanier which I spotted in the comments on the article is also worthy of contemplation

“The more we become people of action and responsibility in our community, the more we must become people of contemplation. If we do not nurture our deep emotional life in prayer hidden in God, if we do not spend time in silence and if we do not know how to take time from the presence of our brothers and sisters, we risk becoming embittered. It is only to the extent that we nurture our own hearts that we can keep interior freedom. People who are hyperactive, fleeing from their deep selves and their wound, become tyrannical and their exercise of responsibility only creates conflict.” Vanier, Community and Commitment."

Monday, 18 July 2011

Mark Driscoll -again!

 A few days ago I published my thoughts on the latest  Mark Driscoll  controversy here
Many other bloggers did the same .Most were hostile to what Driscoll had put on Facebook
One blogger has however done some more  research, and while not defending Mark, does put what he says in the context of his past life and present ministry
It is worth reading, and he asks some good questions click here Internet Monk

Summer Days

When I was a young minister I used to bemoan the fact that everything seemed to slow down in August.There were less meetings .I wanted to get on with the work!

As I  have got older and (at least in this regard!) wiser,I have come to appreciate the slower rhythm of church life in the summer holidays.
It gives many people, not least the many volunteers who do so much great work, the chance to catch their breath and hopefully relax, with family and friends, and be renewed both physically and spiritually

This past year has been enjoyable ,exciting and at times exhausting! Partly ,that is the natural consequence of adding a  building project to an already busy church life,partly it is that I am feeling my age!

Of course there are church things happening in the summer including Holiday clubs for both children and older people but we have very gifted people organising and running them without my involvement ,so I am looking forward to reading,to thinking ,to praying and to planning for a busy autumn.
2nd, 3rd & 4th August 2011 in the Church

In case however any of you older readers are in the area and want to come along above  is the publicity for Senior Moments! More details will appear  here Shrewsbury Baptist website

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Living or Dying from Eternal Echoes blog

Thought this was such an inspiring post from Sally' blog that I would repost it here
Eternal Echoes.
It is well worth reading!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Square Mile Course

We are now preparing a lot of stuff for later in the year.
Among the things we will be doing together as a church is The Square Mile Course here
The publicity says this:

"Would anyone in your community notice if your church ceased to exist?

Square Mile is an Evangelical Alliance initiative which aims to catalyse and equip Christians to take a truly integrated approach to mission, expressed in four dimensions:
Mercy: demonstrating God's compassion to the poor
Influence: being salt and light in the public life of the community
Life Discipleship: equipping Christians for missional living as workers & neighbours
Evangelism: faithful and relevant communication of the gospel"

The promo video is here

Anyone else done the course? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Mark Driscoll Facebook

I have read some of Mark Driscoll's books .I appreciate many of his gifts .I agree with some of his theological stances and disagree with others..
He is a better preacher,writer,communicator and leader and generally more holy guy , than I will ever be.
I was therefore amazed to see this on his facebook status

"So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?"

We Christians shoot ourselves in the foot so often! Perhaps I lack a sense of humour ; I don't think his status  is very wise nor do I think it is very kind and the book of James makes clear our words are important

 I must always remember  that all people matter to God ,Jesus died for us all we are all sinners
It is all  about grace. Jesus loves sinners so often in the church we don't give the impression of even liking them very much

I am persuaded on the value of Christians engaging with social media and have blogged on it here
I value robust discussion on a variety of things
People are allowed to disagree with each other

I just don't see what is to be gained by this and there is potential to hurt

As my mum used to say if we cant think of anything nice to say (on Facebook or anywhere else) perhaps we shouldn't say anything at all?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Radio Shropshire talk 10th July 2012

I walked up the hill ,passing St Chad’s church  on my left,  crossed over the road  went ,through the blue gates and into The Quarry park

Despite the fact it was a beautiful morning the place was almost empty , two  dog walkers who had the easy familiarity of people who had met many times before ,were chatting near the entrance, as their canine friends chased each other round and round in ever increasing circles,  In the middle distance  a young couple who had eyes only for each other were sitting on the grass in the sunshine.
They were oblivious to my presence as  I crossed the park and walked down  into the  deserted dingle ,admiring the incredible beauty of the gardens, splashed with vibrant colour, and the skill of those who created, and indeed maintain,  such a peaceful and enjoyable place.

Coming from Shropshire I am biased but to me it is one of the most beautiful town centre parks I have ever been in!

Reading a sign by the entrance I learned that The Dingle had been created by The Shropshire Horticultural Society between 1875and 1879.
Subsequent  generations have benefitted massively from their vision and enjoyed the fruits of their creativity and their hard work
It is  a wonderful legacy to us all

On the journey away from the park and back to the hustle and bustle of the town centre I reflected on legacy
We human beings have on average 70 -80 years on this planet ,it is not a long time and if time  passed slowly when I was a child ,it seems to be passing rapidly now
What is your legacy ?I am not speaking about money ,or houses or things but what will we leave to subsequent generations?

Our church hope  to shortly open a new town centre building  in Shrewsbury  , we want it to be flexible ,attractive and accessible for today’s generation but we also hope it will be used to bless those who come after us.
But if buildings were the best legacy then Herod would be greater than Jesus for Herod built some great buildings!
However  Pericles was surely right when he said  “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone but what is woven into the lives of others.” By that reckoning Jesus wins hands down
Our days are short .the best legacy we can leave behind is not our possessions but the quality of our lives,the way we live
The Old Testament prophet suggests what this good life might look like
 What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Jesus said the 2 great commandments were to love God and love our neighbour .If you do that you may or may not be featured on a blue plaque or find your name in the history books, or carved in stone,  but you will have left a great legacy for your family and for your community

What will you leave behind? Whether people recognise it or not; In some small way  will you leave the world a better place than you found it?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

King James Bible

Many years ago I worshipped at Hamilton Baptist Church in Lanarkshire ,Scotland.
It was a fairly traditional but very active and thoroughly evangelical church.  I owe the church a great deal as it nurtured my young faith
The minister at the time was Gordon Heath who was a great preacher and became a mentor to me.

Gordon  preached from the Authorised King James version of the Bible.
As a young Christian I remember proudly showing an elderly deacon at the church a new copy of The Good News Bible which I loved (because it was easier for me to understand).The deacon carefully examined my new bible ,looking a the line drawings,checking some of the the verses against the AV,comparing the translations.
After what seemed ,he handed the Good News Bible back to me with the memorable comment.. "Och...its alright son....,but I prefer the word of God"

For many generations in the English speaking world the King James bible was the only version of God's word the people had access too.I can still quote from it today

This year is the 400th anniversary of the King James version and NT Wright  press here  writes about some of the issues to think about when translating the bible.It is a lenghty article but well worth reading

Friday, 8 July 2011

Story of Everything

I never really got on with flannel boards but I must say I love this kind of thing.It is a very clever and original way of telling an old and true story.It neatly encapsulates great truths about God
 I will use it in church sometime soon !

  Thanks to Changing Worship website for directing me to it

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Church without walls!

Thought this would be a good discussion starter on what church should look like from Church from Scratch

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New pictures of new town centre building!

Our new town centre  building is going up so fast now!
Dropped in for 15 minutes today with our long serving (and suffering !) church administrator Liz.

The roof will go on in the next month or so!

Monday, 4 July 2011

choosing to die

Thanks to The Simple Pastor  for this link on the question of Assisted Suicide here from The Christian Medical Fellowship
It is well worth reading and the comments below offer an insight into the issues- though some comments  generate more heat than light!
I worked for a time as a (part time)hospice chaplain and I believe the answer is in better palliative care which should become more widely available; as  a recent report recommended here