grace

Theology

The Draft


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Next Friday we’ll be releasing a “group think” film called “The Draft – A Conscription of Conscience”.

It won’t be the kind of film to watch while eating a McDonalds. (more…)

books, Theology

Vimeo Showcases Jesus Come


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This year has been very busy throughout. I’m certainly not complaining though because it has also been a very fruitful year.

In the summer we released the groundbreaking book Body Zero – Radical Preparation for the Return of Christ.

We had a publisher all lined up, a contract signed, sealed and delivered but, as the 1st of July approached, (the release date that I knew the Lord had given me), they started to get cold feet. So, long story short, I pulled the book from them and made the brave decision to go completely independent.

Here’s a wee video of behind the scenes of that hectic first couple of weeks in July:

Following the release of Body Zero, the book fell into the hands of the very kind team at Prophecy Today UK who reviewed it very warmly, plugging it for us in their magazine and again in their newspaper a few weeks ago leading up to a Christmas.

You can read the Prophecy Today UK review here.

Consequently, we’ve had to go back to our superb printer and arrange a second print-run!

We’ve also wanted to have “taster” vlogs available for each chapter; something to whet the appetite amidst the busyness of life as well as providing a glimpse of the author where it might be harder to discern tone and nuance from the black and white of a page.

These are now all available, away from the distractions of Facebook and social media, on Vimeo’s showcase service.

You can watch all of the vlogs here and order your copies of Body Zero here

We also have an epic Kickstarter crowd-funding project from January 2020 if you would like to invest… or know someone else who would?

Maranatha!

Eschatology, Evangelism, Jesus, Theology

What Do You Think of Jesus?


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Jesus. You might love Him. You might hate Him. You might reduce Him to fanciful notion and religious crutch. Jesus. Regardless, I have come to find Him to be irresistibly, insatiably and authentically Who He said He was: the Way, the Truth and the Life – the only reconciling way to know and embrace the Father. Jesus. Very God of Very God. His loving Presence unmistakeable, incomparable. His eternal, infinite reality transcendent over everything physical and emotional and spiritual, making perfect sense of our incomprehensible smallness. Jesus. He is Sanity in anxiety; He is all substance found in faith. I don’t think we really know what it means to abide in Him; I don’t think we really know what it means to pray. So much of life and so much of “church” conspires against these bread and butter inheritances. Some wittingly some unwittingly. Either way, I believe God wants to revive us through tears. No man lives via bread alone. Check out my vlog on prayer via my author’s page here and, if you haven’t already, grab a copy of Body Zero by clicking here.

Is there more to life than this? Heck yes. The supernatural life of a disciple of Christ… enough wasted time. We need to be radically prepared for His return.

emotions, forgiveness, grace, mercy

The Mystery of the Spectacular Ordinary 


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For several years I have been struggling to forgive a very serious series of incidents that have had a major impact on my heart and mind as well as Mairi’s. Detail is unnecessary. But, suffice to say, I have been wrestling with the cognitive wisdom of ‘knowing’ that forgiveness was needed, for my own sake, but not quite knowing how to get my heart there. (more…)

Bible, Prayer, Suffering, Theology

Tired of Terror


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Our Father

Who art in heaven

Hallowed be Your Name

Your kingdom come, Your will be done

On Earth as it is in heaven

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who’ve sinned against us

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory

Forever and ever

Amen 

Jesus Come

Culture, Poverty, Theology, Welfare

Mr Cameron, Please Take Note


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According to PM David Cameron in his 2015 Easter speech that most of us have heard, the UK remains a Christian country because the government help to repair Cathedrals and older church buildings that, supposedly, represent the ‘living active force’ who are the local church.

Mr Cameron also pointed to the phenomenal welfare efforts of the church in specific terms of homelessness and poverty relief.

Spotlight on this Living Active Force

Here are just two specific examples of this living active Christian force that meet many needs in our fractured society but who are not necessarily synonymous with Cathedrals or dilapidated church buildings. (more…)

Bible, Theology

Hosea 2: The Promise of Allurement


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Learning to Breathe

The previous post’s title from this series suggested and even seemed to promise an acclimatising to the spiritual geography of the book of Hosea. But do you feel any more acclimatised having read it? Do I feel any more acclimatised having written it?

Maybe slightly; nowhere near fully or enough.

My main conviction is that this peculiar acclimatising – to the theme, to the prophetic message and the application of Hosea – is of Everest scale for us. It’s so grand, so important, so deeply distressing, that we will be seriously tempted to skim over the chapters to maintain our equilibrium rather than setting up a base camp in it and learning a while longer.

So here we are at base camp, looking up at the stars. Our most basic, human function of breathing is now something that we’re having to think about – reflex has regressed into a discipline.

It’s exhausting.

There is a higher summit – it hangs overs base camp like a shadowy, silhouetting God, incarnate in ancient rock.

Who is He?

Recapping – Hosea 1

For both men and women, it’s essential to harness the mind’s imagination in thinking what it must have been like to be the man Hosea:

God has come to you and asked you to marry a Prostitute. He has come to you and asked you to build a family from the adulterous lineage of a Harlot. He has come to you and told you to take a path that will absolutely smash your social standing and confuse the compass of all of your male sensibilities.

God has come to you and He has commanded the obliteration your male ego.

But God has done this to reveal the tectonic power of the inner chambers of His heart and, at the same time, the panoramic pinnacle of His Everest love for us. He is showing us His deepest, highest, widest affections through the churning heart of a husband bereft of the love and loyalty of his wife.

Punishment and Promise

Let’s Read Hosea 2:1-13

  • The futures of Gomer and Israel seem to be hanging in the balance, swinging back and forth like an eternal pendulum. Rebuke is the word of the day but there is the hope of restoration.
  • God is grieved by the betrayal of His people and very deeply. We’re supposed to be imagining what it’s like to be the man Hosea but only to understand the heart and nature of our Maker. Put yourself in Hosea’s shoes – you’ve just married the woman you love, despite her past, but now she runs off with other men that love her. She has sex with them. She is paid to have sex with them. Your honeymoon is the shock that your wife still loves her sinful past more than the present with you.

Perhaps Hosea was imagining the marital bliss between Boaz and Ruth and feeling let down by God

  • We’re shown the inner mechanics and thought trains of both adulterous wife and forgiving Husband, (‘she said…’ v5 cf. ‘therefore I will…’ v6). So there’s an exchange of emotional responses.
  • In the Old Testament, Father God is often understood as being angry – that’s understandable – but every time you sense God’s anger, try to instead imagine God as being grieved and as being gutted rather than as just waving His great, big, cosmic stick around in fury. I’ve found this a massively helpful distinction in coming closer to the heart of God. When you imagine how hurt and bereft and sad and confused and betrayed Hosea must have felt, think of God being forgotten by His bride. (v13). Remember: this is about God not about Hosea; Hosea is pointing us to the heart of God.

We need think of God as being betrayed and distraught rather than just as angry.

The Promise of Allurement

Therefore I am now going to allure her…

  • God’s response to the betrayal of His heart is  the gracious promise of allurement:
v.al·lured, al·lur·ing, al·lures

v.tr.

To attract with something desirable; entice: Promises of quick profits allure the unwary investor.

v.intr.

To be highly, often subtly attractive: charms that still allure.

n.

The power to attract; enticement.
  • Verse 14 is where we begin to learn about the dimensions of the love of God, contrasted with Hosea’s undoubted struggle and Gomer’s flagrant abandonment of covenant.
  • Can you imagine a love that loves like this? Hurt, gutted, sick-to-the-stomach, can’t eat or focus or sleep…this is the picture of God we’re given through the humanity of Hosea’s disaster. And yet, God responds by promising allurement: God resolves to show us how incomparable, how much better He is, how much more desirable than anything else in order that we will come to our senses and love him voluntarily and whole-heartedly as we should. From every charming sin, every unknown idolatry, every diluting agent of our love for Him, God promises to allure us back into the bliss of full betrothal covenant…of ecstatic union and oneness.
  • The LORD conquers the indecision and double-mindedness of His people by restoring them. He pours out instead of drawing back.

I will show my love to the one I called, “Not my loved one”

I will say to those called “Not my people” , “you are my people”

And they will say

“You are my God”

Bible, Marriage, Theology

Hosea 1- Acclimatising to the Mess (& the wonder)


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The book of Hosea is full of a kind of beauty that will take our breath away…if we will let it.

I’m taking Chapter 1 today, solo, just to set the scene, then 2 & 3 together next week and then a couple more posts to cover the remaining 12 chapters. Boom!

1:1

  • Remember in verse 1, crucially, the context has been set like some kind of historical GPS for us. (More detail here).

1:2

  • Then verse two begins the first of two prose/narrative sections that act as book ends on the more poetic middle of the book that we’ll come to in another post.
  • We’re assured straight away that this is the LORD speaking – as though we needed reminding – bringing to mind 2 Timothy 3:16 that “…all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…”. This is Hosea speaking but it is the Lord of all creation who is speaking through Him.

In order to speak prophetically to a Nation and to achieve redemption and righteousness for them, God invades, exposes and demands the masculinity of Hosea’s ego, his social and spiritual reputation, his lineage, his peace, his joy, his sanity, his sexual satisfaction and purity and, most ultimately, the emotional bed of his heart.

(more…)

Education, film, theology

Transforming Grace


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I’ve spent all week directing a new promotional film for the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh

Here’s a little teaser in time-lapse form of our friend Grace being transformed 

It’s going to be epic…