Thursday, October 22, 2009

18 months

Every month we have a date night on the 22nd, since we got married on the 22nd April 2008. This month was extra special as we where in Lake Garda. Lake Garda is beautiful! Just like my wife...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What is Christian Ministry?

It is determined by God's own ministry
- which is revelation and reconciliation

Jesus came to do the ministry of the Father

- which is seen in servanthood, obedience and compassion

So every act of ministry should reveal something about God

Monday, October 12, 2009

St John's Crumlin

Got to speak in this lovely little church on Sunday night. I was given the text Matthew 16 v24"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

I struggled all week with this text. What does it mean? I have heard talks on this about sacrifice, denying yourself, fasting and the like but it didn't sit well with me.

What was Jesus saying here? Was he being literal or was he trying to teach something?

My mind went to Luke 18 v18-30 when Jesus has an encounter with the Rich Young Ruler. When Jesus said "sell everything you have..then coem follow me." did he actually mean it literally or was he trying to teach something different?

In the passage before (Luke 18 v15-17) Jesus says, "Anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." So Jesus was saying you got to live a dependant lifestyle rather than an independant lifestyle.

I believe that if the RYR had gone away, sold everything and come back to Jesus, Jesus would have sent him away again, to do something else, until the RYR would give up and say 'I can't do it Jesus, I give up, I need you.'

So getting back to Matthew 16, was Jesus giving this formula in order to make people realise that they couldn't deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow him? Was Jesus trying to produce brokeness and dependancy? Or does Jesus actually want us to deny ourselves?

Then I read the whole chapter, looking for some context and notices how Peter was a main character in the chapter. In verse 17 Jesus blessed Peter. In verse 23 Jesus rebuked Peter. So was verse 24 about Peter? Was Jesus predicting what Peter would do? Was Jesus stating what he would do at the cross?

So with these questions I wanted to take the words of the verse and explore them. Denying yourself - well Jesu spredicted that Peter would deny him in John 13 v36-38. Peter denied Christ in John 18 v15-18, 25-27.

In John 21 we have Jesus asking Peter to "follow me". I believe Jesus wants us to follow him, even when we mess up and even on the good days.

Methody CU weekend

This was me with the soldier, athlete and farmer. The athlete is Christine Murphy, who is now in Upper Sixth, and whom I have known since she was 4! Christine stills refers to me as "OSCAR", a character I played in a daily drama in Newtownbreda CSSM. Good memories but boy does that make me feel like I'm getting to old for this!

I've been trying to develop the DOC talk and turn it into a weekend. Its really interesting speaking to another group of young people on what they think a Christian is. Young peoples thoughts and beliefs have definately changed over the years. Seems to be more liberal in a way. The most interesting discussion was around the whole idea of 'clubbing'.

I had a great time with this bunch and as a Wellington College boy, they got me a tshirt stating "STEVIEP LOVES MCB" - delightful!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

John the Baptist

This should be the motto of every preacher.

Some other comments I heard today which stuck with me:
- "Be yourself sanctified!"
- Have confidence in what God has given you to say

When we come to a text or are given a text to preach we should:
- unfold the text
- teach the text
- return to the text
- look out for words that integrate

This can be best seen in John 6v31. Jesus takes a quotation from the OT,"He gave them bread from heaven to eat", and begins to unpack and teach it.

"He gave them" - found in verse 32-33
"bread" - found in verse 35, 40
"from heaven" - found in verse 38
"to eat" - found in verse 53

Also in verse 41 Jesus said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven"

So when you get a text you should look out for the words use and try to use the Bible to teach the Bible. I know this is a bit cryptic but its fascinating!

Monday, October 05, 2009

The older brother

Last week I was at Global Leadership Summit in Bangor Elim. Some great sessions, teachers, communicators, passion, advice, wisdom and insights. I love being in that environment where you can hear and listen and process and spunge.

One session that stands out with Tim Keller speaking on 'Leading people to the Prodigal God.' Now I've heard talks on the Prodigal Son before - loads of talks. Years ago I heard Dave Johnson speak on the older brother and it blew my mind. Tim Keller added to the insight by asking these questions:

"How do you handle criticism?" and "What should we do in response?"

Our reaction to criticism will be based upon what brother we are. He encourages the older brother to get a new level of repentance which will in turn get us to a new level of joy. The older brother is to look at the things we do right and repent for our right doing. The thing that separates us from God is not sin but good deeds.

Now my wife rightly pointed out that if ur doing so called good deeds with wrong motives, they aren't good! Anyway will try and get my hands on this book and read more about it

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Matthew 9 v35-38

I spoke on this passage at Orangefield Presbyterian today and you can download it here