Jesus

Eschatology, Jesus, Jesus Come, Marriage, religion, second coming, Theology

Ready: Living Prepared For The Coming Storm


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Living urgently, alertly and appropriately replete in the 21st Century has been the focus of this blog series so far. Thomas, Andy and Joshua have kindly helped us to honestly consider our Christian lifestyles, provoked by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and to what extent we’re living with urgency or lethargy, with alertness or sleepiness and with souls well-fed or deficient in even basic, Bible nutrition.

A Complete Waste of Time

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Bible, Jesus, psalms, Theology

Speak 


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Psalm 29 pictures the holy voice of Yahweh as being like a thundering force of such powerful glory that it breaks Cedars of Lebanon, strips vast forests back to their bone and provokes adoring worship in all the earth.

His speaking voice is like a cloud of stone-softening exhale as Kings and Presidents plot, as ethne balk and as nations conspire in vain. 


But, to those who *know Him*, John 10 describes His voice as a Shepherd’s call into closer proximity, something more akin to a calling-by-name through gentle, Galilean accents of parental knowing. Indeed, Father God is always speaking like the perfect trailing sentence – always present & always continuous. 

The communication of His heart to yours will, at times, be subtle and even mistakable; in other moments, it will be so flooring that nothing & no-one could lead you to conclude that He hadn’t and isn’t speaking. 

Occasionally, His voice will sovereignly crush the persistent traffic in your mind; more often, it will emerge like the warmth of sunshine on your face as you determine to silence it first.

Bible, God, Jesus, Jesus Come, second coming, Theology

Ready: Living Urgently in a Messed-Up World


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Kissing a Lifestyle of Convenience Goodbye

I’ll be up front – I am writing this at the worst possible time for my family and me. Rachel and I are in the throes of moving from Thailand to Vietnam. Not only are there the logistical challenges of visas, accommodation, flights, ‘yard sales’ (to borrow a term from our American friends) and endless packing, there’s also the emotional upheaval of goodbye meals with friends and colleagues, daily ‘lasts’ of what have been routine activities for the past five years, and a variety of emotions that range between excitement, sentiment and a growing realisation that we have little idea of what we are heading into.

We had our final packing day on Tuesday, and then we officially leave Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Thursday. In fact, since this is scheduled to go live on the second Friday in April, you’re most likely reading it on our very first day as official residents of Hanoi. Oh, and add a three and one-year-old into the mix, and you will be rightly wondering if spending time writing this is the wisest use of my time… and you’d be in good company with my long-suffering wife. (Editor’s note: thank you, Rachel!).
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Jesus, Jesus Come, second coming, Theology

Ready: Introduction


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What’s This All About?

Most of you who read Firebrand Notes on even a semi-regular basis will know that about eighteen months ago we produced a film/music project called Jesus Come. Not only were Mairi and I really pleased with the way the project turned out, we passionately believe in the message that it carries: that the world is in a desperate, desperate mess (more than we can see) and people are hurting (beyond our capacity to understand); Jesus Christ is the only hope to bring justice and order and He is coming again.

For generations, the church has flitted between the excessive polarities of, on the one hand, talking about the Second Coming too much (while doing very little) and, on the other, focusing on an ‘attractional’, ‘relevant’, seeker-sensitive model of church (while failing to teach disciples to live in the reality of His coming).

In both cases, the gospel is generally more of a fix-my-life-make-it-better prescription than it is an invitation to surrender, suffer, die and live in the evangelistic power of the early church.

Houston, we have a problem.

What Is The Problem?

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God, Jesus, Love, Theology

The Hardest Lesson I’ve Ever Had To Learn


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Broken-down World

The sting of injustice is never pleasant. Like an incurable disease plaguing the entire world, all of us can see injustice functioning on a global scale every single day. We witness Robert Mugabe, corrupt Bankers, terrorism, famine, Rogue Traders, lazy Landlords, disallowed goals that have crossed the line, recruitment processes that look legal but that are internally rigged, false imprisonments, false biblical teaching, the ivory trade, endangered tigers, abuses of power, human trafficking and a whole other nightmare of unimaginable dysfunction that, somehow, manages to endure.

Despite the rare pockets of glory, our best efforts to act justly and the promises within the redemptive mission of God, we still live in an unjust, broken-down world.

Global becomes Personal

Global injustice like this is meant to provoke us into faith-filled action and to woo us into the caring shelter of God, but, like a nauseating hors d’oeuvre before our eventual main course of numbness, it has a nasty habit of shutting us down. (more…)

Culture, emotions, Jesus, Mental Health

In His Wings


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A Process of Healing

‘But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.’ Malachi 4:2

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Four years ago I started praying for answers to major family difficulties that Nick and I had been facing at that particular time and that now, years later, seem ridiculous to still be praying about. I had (and still have) quite a naïve view of prayer and was holding out firmly for the moment when it would all make sense, when there would be full resolve and I could finally say “this is why this and that happened”. (more…)

Jesus

Be Born In Me


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Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Especially if your experience of life going into Christmas (*Festival of the Christ*) this year is one of ‘manger mess’ be encouraged by this supreme song.

With love & blessings

Nick & Mairi

“Be Born In Me”

Everything inside me cries for order, everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow of an angel or a warrior? If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?

Someone tell me I am only dreaming, somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes

And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees…

Holy is He; blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me

Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me

I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end

Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem

Be born in me

All this time we’ve waited for the promise, all this time You’ve waited for my arms

Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected, so we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me

I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end

Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem

Be born in me

I am not brave
I’ll never be

The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy

I’m just a girl

Nothing more

But I am willing, I am Yours

Be born in me, be born in me
I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end

Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem

Be born in me

 

Bible, Jesus

Look at the Lamb (Day 20)


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Day 20 – Nick

Summary of Chapter 20

Verses 1-10: Mary Magdalene was distraught with grief and couldn’t sleep so she goes to be as near to Jesus as she thinks she can. Even being near to a dead Jesus is surely better than no Jesus at all. But the stone rolled away and an empty tomb? Mary’s anxious mind first jumps to further insult to injury rather than a miracle of God in her midst. (more…)

Bible, Jesus

Look at the Lamb (Day 19)


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Day 19 – Nick

Summary of Chapter 19

Verses 1-16: The first 8 words of this chapter take one second to read. Scenes from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ come to mind as we can only imagine what this ‘flogging’ looked like. Isaiah (52:14) gives us a better idea, approximately 760 years before, who details the Lamb for us,

But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human and, from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

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