Monday, 15 October 2012

God's grace and our 'effort'

This is very much in the category of 'musings that may end up being circular but writing them down helps' :-)
In Romans 11:1-5 where Paul begins with the question "Did God reject his people? ", he continues with a line of argument that contains, in v4-5, the following statement.....(God said) “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
As I read this and because I am slow of mind I saw that interesting but ultimately tricky to fathom (well tricky for me)  link between grace (God's unmerited favour) and our actions or choices. In this passage God did not, in His grace, simply choose a bunch of people at random - as presumably all of them were equally undeserving irrespective of their past actions, no, in His grace He chose those who had chosen not to bow the knee to Ba'al.....
So, if their actions, or in this case inaction in relation to Ba'al, did not somehow merit God's grace it certainly pulled them from the line and into the group who had a chance to make the final team!
I am not entirely sure what the implications of this are other than to suggest that grace is not as black and white as some would have it! If you are not fundamentally 'calvinist' in belief (and I am not) then we believe that those who have been saved have at some stage made or arrived at a decision to do something - repent at the very least - after which grace is experienced far more comprehensively than ever before and certainly in a destiny changing way.
BUT the choice to make that decision has to be ours and ours alone otherwise it is meaningless,even unjust, for us to receive benefit from an action that wasn't ultimately our own choice while others in the same position come under judgement. That would be more like the arbitary activity of a capricious deity not one who is characterised by truth, justice and love......
So, what am I left with? I believe grace is God giving us something,or doing something on our behalf, that we do not deserve and cannot earn but that He can also choose to operate in a way that singles out those who have acted righteously and make them the beneficiaries of gracious decisions that He chooses to make. They are gracious because He did not have to make any such decision but having done so He sets criteria to be met by those who will 'benefit'....
OK, think I'll stop now and move to something how big is the universe?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Intimacy and awe

I found a great blog article from New Frontiers on Intimacy and Awe in our relationship with our Father:


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Examine ourselves

Kings Church, Edinburgh
2 Cor 13:5

Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith:test yourselves

The next verse shows what Paul means by this - it is NOT primarily about what they believe and what they do (although Paul gets round to that ) - first and foremost it is about 'is Jesus IN you'? This is the main purpose of God's actions for and in humanity - this is the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah - he will be IN our hearts. Has there been a point in your life at which or after which your life was different because Jesus became part of your life and began making a difference ....
This is being in the faith - this precedes what we believe and what we do. This is why Paul can talk about all the things the Corinthian Christians did ( greed, sexual sin etc etc) but they were Christians!!

IF you know you are IN the faith (as described earlier) then are you letting that FACT impact all you believe and all you do? Are you letting Jesus do all He wants to do in and through you - is our life beliefs and actions becoming more and more aligned with Jesus.

We are not called to believe and act in certain ways in order to become a Christian, we are given the desire and ability to do so WHEN we become a Christian...... after we are IN the faith.

Gordon Fee: ethical teaching in the bible isn't there to regulate our behavior , it is there to illustrate what 'keeping in step with the Spirit' will actually look like .

Theae teachings are word descriptions of God's character, to which we are increasingly aligned as we keep in step.

Phil 1:6 - great promise
'....he who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion'

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kings Church, Edinburgh

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Funding Kingdom enterprise

I had the privilege this week of attending the first Kerygma Fund event, held at M&G Investments in London.... and what a night!
A friend, Matt Bird, the brains behind the outfit, (I'm sure ably supported by a host of others) developed a 'dragons den style' evening at which 5 short listed charities, all involved in front line evangelistic work, gave a 6 minute presentation to an invited audience. Following all 5 presentations people from the audience pledge any amount they wish to one or more of the charities.......

What a difficult choice that is because all of them were brilliant, inspiring, operating at thr sharp end of kingdom activity.

I have rarely attended a more inspiring and informative event andcan totally and wholeheartedly recommend the work of every single charity that presented....

Regenerate see
Working with kids, young adults, gang leaders and drug dealers on south London estates and have some tremendous stories and examples of what can happen when our God, who has a heart for people gets hold of people with a passion for God. The Kingdom advances using a double decker bus, music studios, trips to Romania and Kenya and gang members mentored....

Christianity Explored
Compelling evangelistic material based on the simple structure of Identity, Mission and Call from Marks gospel.
The words of a converted Muslim who came to faith through the course:

'Jesus walked off the pages of the bible and into my life'

theMediaNet are part of and they work with media professionals who are Christians - support, resources, fellowship, advice, prayer,networking......
They are developing an intensive course for media professionals helping to eqip them for a lifetimes work as a Christian in what can be a very 'hostile' environment.

CVN Christian vision for men
Really dynamic ministry with a heart, and a plan, to reach 1 million men in the UK. They are passionate about reversing the trend which is increasingly turning the church into a 'man free zone'
They are down to earth, plain speaking and operating way out beyond the place where men would consider attending an Alpha course.... they want to bring men to the point where an Alpha course is a very real option......

DNA (Pioneer Trust)
Training  and equipping disciples for a life of Kingdom effectiveness.....

Give them all a visit, it's well worth it and see which ones touch your heart.......they all left their mark on me

Monday, 12 March 2012

The company of the dead

There is a way, and I know it well
It is right and good to travel along
For this is what my readings tell
And what my observations inform me
Yes,I know it well

As a reader of books on mountain walks
I know the mountains well
But without ever a foot set on a hillside

Never the gale driven rain lashing down
Never the gentle breeze cooling the heat of the sun
Never the refreshing water from the clear stream

But the pictures and descriptions were superb
Quite enough to realise what its like
I know it well

AndI talk so knowlegebly about mountain craft that,
I have been asked to lead a weekend climbing party!

And then it hits home hard
I know about, but do not understand
BecauseI have never actually walked the paths of which i've read
For that would demand far too much risk
No, I have preferred to rest in the company of the dead.

Proverbs 21:16 NIV84

A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.