Why do we live for the weekend?*

For the last two years The Royal Bank of Scotland has conducted a survey to discover how students spend their money. They report that the ‘average’ student spends £51.48 purely on entertainment, during every single week of term. That doesn’t include the £15.82 spent on clothes and cigarettes. Isn’t it staggering that a student can afford to spend hundreds of pounds every month simply on keeping themselves entertained? But before you start to heap all the blame on students, take a look at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s report:

What many do not consider is the escalating cost of enjoying a student lifestyle. Not only do students have to budget for obvious costs such as rent and socialising, but there are also many hidden extras: …like food, …library fees and course books.

Now perhaps I’m just being old fashioned here, but I thought the point of going to university was to learn! Not according to the bank. Library fees and course books are thought of as a hidden extra. The obvious cost, is the cost of socialising. And who thought to put the cost of food on the list of ‘hidden extras’?

[Read more…]

The man after God’s heart

I’ve been tremendously helped by Dan Doriani’s A Man After God’s Heart which I’d thoroughly recommend to every Christian man. It’s honest, biblical, and Christ-centered. The extract below is one I can certainly relate to:

The man after God’s heart is a sinner, and everywhere he goes, he participates in societies of sinners. At work he puts down his rivals; he shades the truth to get a slight advantage. At home he rebukes his children a little too harshly for sins he showed them how to commit. With a friend, he puts up an argument even when he knows he is wrong, because he would rather be wrong than appear to be wrong. In athletic contests and checkout lines, he chooses not to correct errors made in his favour. He would weep over it all if he were not so cold. I know it; at least I know it, we think. We cling to the Gospel, but even our clinging is tainted because we are too glad that our sin is covered, and not sorry enough that we did it. We even need to repent of our repentance… The man after God’s heart knows this and so returns again and again to the beloved Gospel.

Mac Video Help Needed

Adobe QuicktimeMany visitors to this site arrive because of my video presentation of S M Lockridge’s “My King” – it’s by far the most popular page on the site. And as a result, I’m frequently asked about a version of the video that will play on a Mac. I’ve done my best to accommodate this – even purchasing Quicktime Pro – but the uncompressed version of the video is 1Gb, and it crashes Quicktime (at least it crashes the PC version of Quicktime). I’ve also tried to output directly to Quicktime, but I can’t get the settings right, I’m left with a really poor quality end-result.

So, I need some help it getting this on a Mac format. Is there anyone who is familiar with Quicktime and Adobe After Effects, and is willing to try and make this work? If so, you can either suggest what settings for me to use, or I’ll send you the files you need to produce the video yourself, so that you can return a Quicktime video to me for uploading on this site.* If you’re familiar with video-effects software but don’t own After Effects, you can download a demo from Adobe which will give you 60 days to get the job done!

Several people have also asked me for a tutorial to get the video onto DVD. If anyone would like to write (or has written) such a tutorial, I’d be happy to publish it here, or link to your site. Ideally the tutorial should be simple to follow, and use only free software, though tutorials for the major packages such as Roxio and Nero would also be useful.

I’d be very grateful for any help.

* I have purchased several of the source images, and they are licensed only for my use, so I’m not able to allow others to use them in modifations or keep them for their own purposes, sorry.

“The prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the final coming”

The quote that heads this article is not a quote from me. It’s one from of the champions of cessationism, Eusebius. There have been several posts in blogosphere over the last few months giving the impression that the Church Fathers’ were almost entirely cessationist. That is only partly true. Notably absent from the discussion is the impact the Montanism had on the early church.

Montanus was a heretic, who believed he was a prophet and had new revelations from God. It is widely acknowledged that prophecy died out from the church shortly after the heresy sprung up. But what the cessationists don’t often tell you is how this heresy was dealt with. Take these extracts from that arch-opponent of Montanism, Eusebius (he’s quoting from fellow-opponent, Miltiades):

For if after Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia, as they assert, the women with Montanus received the prophetic gift, let them show who among them received it from Montanus and the women. For the apostle thought it necessary that the prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the final coming. But they cannot show it… – Eccl. Hist. 5.17.4

[Read more…]

You are what you read

David Edelman decided to create a photo-mosaic of himself, using the bookcovers of all the books he owns (HT: Librarything). This was simply too good not to copy. Even better (given my recent resolution), thanks to LibraryThing, it took me less than five minutes.

So here is my version – not of myself, but of my favourite book (click for the full size):
Don't Waste Your Life

It’s generated using Librarything and AndreaMosaic.

Engadget as a great tutorial for AndreaMosaic. The explains how to use the software. But you’ll need all your book cover images first. Let me just show you the quickest way of getting your book cover images. [Read more…]

If your computer causes you to sin…

…cut it off!

It’s high time I posted to explain my whereabouts over the last several months. Of course, I haven’t really gone anywhere at all, but my presence in cyberspace has been virtually non-existent. The more astute among you will have noticed I’ve kept reasonably up to date responding to comments, but there’s been no new posts for nine months. Let me explain why.

Last February I explained I was having some health problems. The gist of it is that a shoulder condition means I should limit the amount of time I spend at my PC and driving. That in itself is not a problem – the problem was that apparently the limit should be very significantly less than the 80 or so hours I was spending at the desk or at the wheel.

But there was another, more pressing problem. Time pressures in ministry meant that deadlines were being missed, my research had passed its deadline, and my wife was [Read more…]

We’re free from the Law!

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the glorious doctrine of Christian freedom in the next few days, but wanted to whet your appetite with this wonderful quote from Andrew Murray. I’ve added one tiny word for clarification in a sentence I had to read 10 times before I understood it – other than that these words have stood the test of time.

Freedom is counted in Scripture as one of the greatest privileges of the child of God. There is nothing in history for which nations have made great sacrifices except freedom. Slavery is the lowest condition into which man can sink, for in it he can no longer dispose of himself. Freedom is the deepest need of his nature.

To be free, then, is the condition in which anything can develop itself according to the law of its nature, that is, according to its disposition. Without freedom nothing can attain its destiny or become what it ought to be. This is true alike of the animal and man, of the corporeal and the spiritual. It was for this cause that God in Israel chose the redemption out of the slavery of Egypt into the glorious liberty of God’s people, as the everlasting type of redemption out of the slavery of sin into the liberty of the children of God. (Ex. 1:14; 4:23; 6:5; 20:2; Deut. 24:8)

On this account, Jesus said on earth: ‘If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ And the Holy Scriptures teach us to stand fast in the freedom [Read more…]