Well Worth Reading

[display_podcast][photopress:respectable.jpg,thumb,right]One of the reasons I write so few blog posts is that I’m too busy reading excellent posts from elsewhere. Let me share with you some recent highlights:

Should I stay or should I go?

[photopress:keithfalconer.jpg,thumb,right]I was challenged tonight by these words of Ion Keith-Falconer given as he left Scotland to serve as a missionary to Muslims in 1886.

There must be some who will read these words, or who, having the cause of Christ at heart, have ample independent means, and are not fettered by genuine home ties. Perhaps you are content with giving annual subscriptions and occasional donations, and taking a weekly class ? Why not give yourselves, money, time and all, to the foreign field ? Our own country is bad enough, but comparatively many must, and do, remain to work at home, while very few are in a position to go abroad. Yet how vast is the Foreign Mission field! The field is the world. Ought you not to consider seriously what your duty is ? The heathen are in darkness, and we are asleep.

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Life, Death, and Harry Potter

[photopress:hp7_high_1.JPG,thumb,right]Don’t worry, there are no spoilers for Deathly Hallows in this post!

I confess. I’m a big fan of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books – and have been since I discovered Chamber of Secrets nearly ten years ago. I understand why some Christians baulk at the concept of good witches and wizards, but frankly I just cannot see the difference between Rowling’s writings, and those of Tolkein, and countless tales of Merlin and King Arthur which I grew up on.

The Bible is clear, witchcraft is wrong. But if I lay aside every book that contains things that are wrong, I will only ever read the Bible. The doctrine of common grace – not to mention that of common sense – surely demands otherwise. We should be far more worried about books who’s subliminal messages are opposed to Christian virtues than we should about Harry Potter. A great deal of children’s literature promotes lifestyles that are directly opposed to Christian values and morality. It relatively simple to sit down with your young son or daughter and say “Real witches and wizards are not like Harry Potter. Look with me at what the Bible says”. It is much harder to say, “The underlying meta-narrative of the book you are reading runs contrary to a Christian worldview”. In other words, we ought to be much more wary of the devil’s subtle attacks, and his great desire for us to accept as normal that which God says is unnatural. Harry Potter is an easy target, but surely it should not be our primary target.

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Moving on to pastures new

[photopress:bethel_clydach_1.jpg,thumb,right]Regular readers of this blog will be quite used to long periods going by without seeing any new content. But it’s time I explained my current silence.

For the last several weeks it’s become increasingly clear that the Lord is calling me to a new work. He has been very gracious, and led me step-by-step. Yet it is also true that the pace at which God has caused things to happen has been remarkable indeed.

Through a variety of means, during the month of April it began to be clear that the Lord was bringing my ministry in St Mellons to an end. This came as a great surprise, as I have always been (and still am) very happy in the church. But the Lord was clearly moving me on. It seemed as though He was leading me to a particular church, and as I began to push a few doors, that sense increased.

But just before I opened the very last door on that route, on the 6th May this year, I fulfilled an ordinary preaching engagement at Bethel Evangelical Church in Clydach, near Swansea. I enjoyed my day there, and the congregation were encouraged by my preaching. They invited me back, this time with a clearer sense of purpose on both sides. Now I was in a quandary. Would the Lord lead me along a clear path to one church, only to draw me to another at the final door?

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Blogging can ruin your life

[display_podcast]Blogging can ruin your lifeI know I promised my next post was going to be about whether charismatics are really New Testament believers, but today’s post from Martin Downes was too helpful not to share. He’s been running a series of interviews with Christian leaders, and today he posted the second part of his interview with Carl Trueman. Carl had been struck by 1 Timothy 1:5-7, where Paul writes:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Those who desire to be teachers, rather than simply desire to teach are in danger, Trueman says. I then goes on to add a timely warning to those of us in this present generation:
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Audio blogging (Podcasting)

[display_podcast]Audio BloggingI’ve decided to experiment with Podcasting, and will be uploading an audio version of each of my posts, for a little while at least. If no-one listens, then I’ll quietly pull it, but it’s little extra effort, and maybe some will appreciate it. This post is not very exciting as a demonstration, but I’ve added audio to my previous post, so that will give you a little flavour of things to come.

I’ve grown to love podcasting, and have my MP3 player set up to download about 10 sermons a week from different sources: John Piper, Alistair Begg, Liam Goligher, Sinclair Ferguson and many others. It’s a joy to be able to listen to these men preach on my way to and from work.

Given the choice of listening to this blog or to these men, I know which I would choose! But I am grateful for those who trust me with their time in reading my thoughts here, and even more so to those who take the trouble to interact with my posts. I enjoy the art of blogging, and have greatly benefited from it. If Podcasting brings in a few more readers who will help me to hone my writing and sharpen my mind, then the extra effort will be more than worthwhile.

My next few posts, by the way, will return to the question of whether Charismatics are really New Testament believers. We’ll look first at the gift of healing, and then I trust at territorialism. I look forward to hearing your comments on those subjects.

Preaching the Whole Counsel of God

[display_podcast]I came upon this sermon of Spurgeon’s during my time in theological college, and it has stuck with me ever since. It is vintage Spurgeon, but the truths ring as clear today as they did in 1859. Here’s an extract, but the whole sermon is well worth reading, if simply to understand Spurgeon’s passion for souls and God’s glory:

[Paul] had preached ALL the counsel of God. By which I think we are to understand that he had given to his people the entire gospel. He had not dwelt upon some one doctrine of it, to the exclusion of the rest; but it had been his honest endeavour to bring out every truth according to the analogy of faith. He had not magnified one doctrine into a mountain, and then diminished another into a molehill; but he had endeavoured to present all blended together, like the colours in the rainbow, as one harmonious and glorious whole… He had, doubtless, sins to confess in private, and faults to bemoan God. He had, doubtless, sometimes failed to put a truth as clearly as he could have wished, when preaching the Word; he had not always been earnest as he could desire; but at least he could claim this, that he had not wilfully kept back a single part of the truth as it is in Jesus…

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