church

Theology

The Company Man


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Over the years I’ve engaged with sincere, Jesus-loving leaders that seem to function in one of two ways:

1. Company Men (Loyal to Denomination, Construct, Internal Methodology)

2. Kingdom Men (Able to Honor & Enjoy the Broad Diversity of the Body) (more…)

Bible, faith, vlog, vlogger, vlogging

Introducing Counterfeit Vlog


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We’re excited to introduce you to the new Counterfeit Vlog – a collaboration of Firebrand Notes and Sanity’s Cove.

A prophetic call in the midst of darkness isn’t going to sound like a wood pigeon cooing in the trees; it will sound like a foghorn reaching into the wildest oceans:

Averted disaster vs. placated slumber.

Our longing is to glorify the Name of Jesus and to save as many from error as possible.

As Psalm 85:10 says, the kingdom of heaven – like a King who prepared a wedding banquet for His Son – is the perfect marriage of Love and Truth.

You can discover more about this exciting new resource by clicking through to the new Counterfeit Vlog site here.

Just as John the Baptist cried in the wilderness with a message for the people of God, confronting and comforting every fake kingdom on Earth, so we pray that this resource wakens us all increasingly to the beauty of Jesus.

As Edinburgh’s Thomas Chalmers put it in the 19th Century,

The expulsive power of a new affection

Bible, Eschatology, Evangelism, Prayer, terrorism, Theology

Masquerading Messengers of Light


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In Matthew chapter 10, we read Jesus sending out His sheepish yet hard-core company of followers into a dangerous world with the gospel and an express set of instructions that are particularly interesting – particularly interesting because He usually didn’t prescribe formulas for miracles. There was no Visa, no North Face apparel, no weekending bag picked up for a snip at T K Max – just the gospel and a heart and mouth of Spirit-drenched faith.

Fledgling in their spiritual authority, Jesus told them to speak to the houses that they entered (v12), monitor the activity of their peace (v13), find the places that were deserving of their presence and to shake the dust from their feet in protest against the places that weren’t (v14). [Related reading: The Places We Call Home]

Church, Wake Up!

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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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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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faith

An Atrophy of Faith


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A Brave New World

An amazing Brazilian couple we’ve recently made friends with came over to our house last night for dinner. Monday evening isn’t exactly the usual time of the week for having friends over but it suited our guests who have a very hectic working schedule that involves them both regularly working into the early hours of the morning – via pretty unsociable patterns – and Monday was a day off. Having only previously met and talked briefly at church, we were about two minutes into conversation over dinner when it dawned on me that this beautiful couple sitting opposite us were mighty in faith!

About a year ago they had made the decision to radically relocate their lives, along with their two children, from Brazil to Scotland simply because God had asked them to. Now we were enjoying dinner together as they both shared stories about the goodness and the power of God in their lives. With all of the many challenges you can imagine in moving from one country to another (employment, schooling, food, weather, culture, language, friends etc etc), they are now prayerfully waiting on the Father to show them how He wants to use them in this brave new world.

Faith is a Muscle

In the natural world of exercise and health, when you regularly participate in resistance training your muscles get bigger (hypertrophy); when you don’t get involved in said resistance training your muscles waste and become weak and small (atrophy).

I had worked in the world of fitness and health for more than ten years so when my new friend used this phrase (faith is a muscle) to explain his understanding of the key difference between the Brazilian and UK churches, it struck me powerfully. But mainly it registered forcefully with me because it was a phrase that had come out of the mouth of a believer who was truly living by faith in front of my very eyes!

It was also because I am someone who does regularly lift weights to keep in good physical condition that this metaphor had a profound impact on me: it’s all very well training and looking after your physical muscles but if you’re not exercising your muscle of faith you’re weak on the inside. I hate the idea of being weak and flabby in the physical so how much more horrible is the thought of being a weak and flabby spiritual man of faith?

Primed by the miraculous, awe-inspiring stories of our friends, I wanted to start exercising faith there and then!

Comfortable Christianity

Thinking about this simple analogy for the spiritual life of faith, how healthy is your faith, would you say?

Chat to someone about it.

Do you feel like you exercise your faith regularly or perhaps you feel a little out of shape?

People don’t exercise in the natural for lots of reasons many of which are often very valid but perhaps God is asking you to talk to Him about starting to exercise your faith in a new way?

What does the Bible say?

“…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Romans 10:17

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