discipleship

Evangelism, God, Jesus, Jesus Come

Ready: Steady, Go


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The Urgent Call to “Go”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matt 5:10-13

I have been in love with Jesus just over fourteen years. I still vividly remember the day that I finally stopped running from God, repented of my sin and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Everything changed in an instant. The Holy Spirit flooded my soul with the most glorious love, joy, peace and ecstasy. Words are utterly inadequate to describe what took place then and the loving Presence which continues to follow and fill my life to this day. I will say I knew that heaven and hell were real, that death had lost its sting, that I would spend eternity with my heavenly Father and that, well, EVERYONE needed to know about the reality of this crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. So I started getting out there in the sea of humanity, going after the lost, opening my mouth and telling people about Jesus. The rest has been salty, bewildering and exciting history! (more…)

faith, religion

The Necessary Itch of Faith


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I appreciate the courage to rethink and examine the Christian faith as a response to the difficult (even distressing) loose ends that there can be for all of us in this life – like a kind of jazz music that ‘just doesn’t seem to resolve’ or sit pleasantly with us (any more).

But, without wanting to disappear down a rabbit hole by immersing myself in all the nooks and crannies that I’ve seen on Facebook lately, I’d like to just say one thing (in two halves) that, though likely to be disregarded as  being too simplistic or naive, remain the absolute and inescapable centre of these multifaceted debates. This needs to be said because although these conversations are personal in origin, to some, they nevertheless manage to create very public ripple-effects in the lives of others when they’re broadcast:

a) The Christian faith is a biblical faith, i.e. it is unashamedly based on the written word of God, regardless of how you respond to it personally. Christianity never pretends to be anything other than utterly biblical and the serious study of the biblical text will show far fewer grey areas or ‘interpretation weaknesses’ than we might like to think. The problem is that we don’t study it seriously enough.

b) The Christian faith is also just that: faith. If the starting (and ongoing) point of Christianity becomes anything other than faith then it ceases to be biblical and, therefore, Christian. This is not to say that faith is incompatible with general enquiry or even a millennial type of examen, but it does mean that you can spend an eternity trying to ‘work stuff out’ to find the illusive musical resolve of the jazz, but it will never come without faith…faith is always required despite our varying urges to fight and even rage against this order of design.

forest-landscape

Therefore, the Christian faith is not compatible with scratching the itch of needing to ‘know’ that something is real before ‘knowing’ it is true – in the sense of needing to ‘see before believing’ – in other words, the bible says you can ‘know’ THE truth by seeing but only via a sight that comes by faith.

Finally, it’s worth saying that examining the Christian faith can (and should) be done while still exercising faith…it is solidly robust enough to endure historical, philosophical and theological enquiry while still recognising that, at its core, is this mysterious but indispensable element called faith.

Christian FAITH – you may call it blind, childish or even ludicrous, but it will always remain the staple ingredient for any saving vision or relationship with Jesus Christ.

And He remains EVERYTHING

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Mark 10:15

Blog, Digital Media, Short Films, Smart Phones, Social Media

Our Soul Aim


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Hurtling as we are towards the bridge between the end of one year and the beginning of yet another new one, our “reflective, creative, dreaming” hat is firmly in place. 

As just one part of this, clarifying our ‘soul aim’ will help us to help you as much as possible.

So, what is the soul aim of Firebrand Notes? Quite simply, to:

“Help every viewer to love Jesus as they should

We have some mega news coming up in the New Year about our latest media resource that, more than two years in the making, promises to smash up any form of spiritual boredom or apathy or confusion or illiteracy about how to live an effectively Jesus-riveted life for the glory of God.

  • Do you have a smart phone?
  • Do you love crisp, digital media?
  • Do you want to live for the glory of God?
  • Do you want to be as fruitful as you’re supposed to be?
  • Do you want to help people to grow in faith?
  • Do you want to read Matthew 28 and have inner peace that you’re doing what Jesus wants you to be doing?

It’s our soul aim this coming year to help you ‘tick’ each of these ‘bullets’ as your next 12 months begin to unfold towards another ‘year wiser’…all by awesome design not lazy default. 

We’re praying that we’d all learn to love as we should

Would you be up for tracking with us? 

*Sign up to the blog*

In the mean time, check out our eschatalogically epic drone film from 2015:

 

Bible, Church, Discipleship, Theology

Great Doors


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If you look at the very end of 1 Corinthians 16, you’ll read Paul describing a spiritual reality that I believe is at the very heart of effective Christian ministry, fruitful discipleship and that is also one of the most difficult lessons to learn as we mature in faith as ‘ordinary’ men and women.

Grab a coffee or can of diet Coke or a Kit Kat or something; I think it deserves the spotlight for 5 minutes: (more…)

1 John, Church, Culture

Back Stories


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We all have back stories – recorded and unfolding narratives of the span of our life forensically written by the sum of our experiences: great highs, often greater lows, innumerable memories all woven together in the finest detail to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art, hanging as a priceless tapestry in the inner gallery of our heart.

We don’t always want the public to view our own piece hanging there and we don’t honour the pieces that we see of others every day.

Do we walk through these galleries we’re in every day paying cursory glances at the pieces on display? Or could we stop to really look at what we see?

A biblical perspective for back stories is a faith-primed hope of a better future – all because of Jesus: He promises to never leave us alone and in the fullness of time to make all things new.

The difficulty with back stories is that we even struggle to know and understand our own let alone those of others – they require attention, thought and counsel. But understanding and attending to our own will help with our understanding of others.

The thing is – because everyone has come from somewhere, is currently somewhere processing the past and dreaming of a future; and because they are in fact headed somewhere into an unknown place, we must treat each other with the love that John talks about in 1 John. (I won’t quote chapter and verse but how about picking up your Bible, reading 1 John and noting the correlation between our love for Christ and our love for each other?).

See what I mean?

My prayer for myself and for you is that we would draw the same boundary lines as Jesus draws: grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace [until it becomes annoying, ‘unfair’, even ridiculous] upon grace upon grace. You’ll need an eraser for sure; so will I:

We all know the feeling of being found outside of the boundary lines that others have drawn for us, (even in ink), essentially leaving us in relational exile where grace has run dry; but in the power of the Holy Spirit of God we can all be prayerful students of back story masterpieces and come to truly understand that each piece really does paint a million words.

Prayer

Watching from Weakness


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So the Lord Jesus was experiencing a pain and anxiety that is barely imaginable to you and me: the sin of the ages descending on Him like a black cloud, transferring to Him like a deadly disease, isolating Him while the Father’s back begins to turn. Jesus was needing His brothers to pray for Him. (more…)

Prayer, Theology

: Lengthy


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‘Lengthy’. That sounds like a negative word, right? Unless, perhaps, I’m referring to a holiday in balmy Malaga, by a pool-side, reading Robert Harris, eating paella, sipping San Miguel. But, I did say yesterday that I would look at how it applies to Jesus and prayer.

 
We don’t like to wait. None of us do. Or, if we have to, only for very short times that seem reasonable to us. When it comes to the things we want, we ‘want them now’. Obviously, this is both a Universal human condition, (our inherent desire for instant gratification), but also a peculiar product of the tick-tock, treadmill, consumerist age in which we live. It gets all over us like a materialist mist – we can observe it clearly for what it is when we’re far away out of its reach, but, within it, we’re oblivious to the effect of its density. And it’s getting worse, generation by generation.

 

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