Keith Green and the Apostle Paul, (formerly Saul of Tarsus). Two men. Two hairy men. That they both had awesome, well-developed beards is beyond question. (more…)
My afternoon has been pleasantly hijacked by an Instagram post of my former Pastor, Paul Scanlon.
I have said publicly many times that I respect Paul from a deep heart level – though we barely know each other – and I genuinely did before being blocked by him on Instagram for expressing a respectful question and my subsequent objection at being being ignored/mocked. I was part of his Bradford congregation between 2003 and 2011 and grew in many ways during my eight years serving there under his ministry, including two years of my life invested in his leadership academy.
However, this afternoon, I have disagreed fairly strongly with one of his Instagram posts because I believe he is wrong (more…)
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!
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.
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…)
An Unlikely Bride
The Disney fairytale Cinderella is a story about an unlikely bride mistreated at the hands of her guardians but who eventually rises from the doldrums of her slave labour to become the star of the ball and the stunning wife of Prince Charming. The tale is a love story of redemption, beauty, justice and power, all punctuated by the sweet grace notes of gospel-joy.
More specifically, as the supernatural source of Cinderella’s salvation, The Fairy Godmother’s presence in the story is a poetic type of the gift-giving Spirit of Power in the life of the Christian. Cinderella herself typifies a specific gift of the Holy Spirit that we’re urged to long for – a gift that enables our tasting and seeing of the joy to be found only in God. (more…)
This is the seventh and final post that I’m going to do on the book of Hosea. But seventh in the series though it may be, I want to treat it as though it is the first and the last.
Layered over the timeless theology of this minor Prophet’s book, and this series, has been a certain amount of poetic thought. I hope it’s been clear; I hope it’s been helpful.
But, in just a few paragraphs, what is the message of Hosea? (more…)
Mairi and I have only known Crystal for about a year but have had the privilege of hosting her on a few occasions in our home. We connected via a legendary mutual friend, (famous for his excessive coffee consumption and beard), and hit it off immediately.
One of the reasons we connected was because of our shared passion for Jesus, prayer and gospel-centred mission.
Crystal is now heading up 24-7 prayer across Scotland, based in Edinburgh, and I wanted to invtite her to share her story to prime some more full-on excitement about what God can do with a life laid down in fanning our primal passions for committed prayer! (more…)