Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bible Books Meme

1. Name the five books (or scholars) that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible. Note that these need not be your five favorite books, or even the five with which you most strongly agree. Instead, I want to know what five books have permanently changed the way you think.
2. Tag five others.

1.  David Pawson.  Was the first theologian and Pastor whose work I really got into and shaped the way I approached theology and attitudes to church.  Very conservative evangelical whose work on leadership and church I would now disagree with.  I would probably disagree with most of his work now, although I'm sure there are things I would want to affirm that he has written.   Introduced me to guys like Wayne Grudem and John Piper.

2.  Tom Wright.  Has helped me grapple with concepts of heaven and the kingdom in new ways.  Has enabled me to read scripture in new ways and understand the Bible in terms of culture and context.  

3.  John Colwell.  A lecturer at Spurgeons who blew my mind open in the first year.  His books Promise and Presence and Living the Christian Story are still important to me in terms of how I understand God and the Church.  His lectures were always controversial and stimulating.  Shame he's leaving Spurgeons to go back into Pastoral ministry!

4.  Pentecostalism.  I read a whole range of the weird and wonderful when I first became a Christian and so many were about 'Apostolic Power!' and the like.  A lot of the books came out of Pentecostalism and while I would read these books now and struggle, they did introduce me to the person of the Holy Spirit and have helped me to desire to meet with God in more intimate ways and to seek God in enabling me to be minister who prayed for God's Spirit to heal and transform lives.  

5.  Rob Bell.  His theological generosity has been hugely helpful.  Enabled me to read and study the Bible with fresh eyes.  Also helped me to read scripture through a mission lens and thus led me to guys like Hirsch, Frost and Mclaren.   

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Term Over

My last day at college today for this term. Means I have 1 year left at college and will then be moving away to somewhere new in July 2010.

Looking forward to the change.

Spurgeon's has been so so good. Going to miss it.

Got lots to think through before I leave, and lots coming up, like my trip to India in September. Have a look here for more on this.

Had my training day for that trip on Saturday. We learnt about the people we would be working with and the sort of things we would be involved in. We will probably spend some time with a Pastor who does a lot of village evangelism. In the last 4 years he has planted....

670 churches!

Looking forward to meeting him!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Brief excerpt from a recent essay I wrote - Mission

Perhaps mission can be understood in light of the Nazarene Manifesto, a belief that the Church is called to continue the mission that Jesus himself declared he was on, to release the oppressed and declare the year of Jubilee.[1]  It is a mission that God has been on throughout the narrative of scripture, seen powerfully through the story of the Israelites in slavery in Egypt when God hears the Israelites crying out, ‘During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.  So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.’[2] The Hebrew word for cry used here is sa’aq which is an expression of pain or being wounded, a cry for help and a question asking if anybody saw, will anyone come to my help?  It is the cry that God responds to and sends Moses.  It is a cry that the Church has been called to answer to help deliver people out of pain and wounding.[3]  So mission is a calling to go to the land of oppression, to go to ‘Egypt’ to the ‘Israelites’ and seek to bring these people out of the land of slavery towards a better land.  In today’s culture our ‘burning bush’, the means through which we hear the cry of the oppressed, are vast, with endless communication possibilities. While it is important to see and hear these messages with caution,[4]we can nevertheless have vast possibilities of seeing the oppressed, finding out where they are and then going to them.  ‘Egypt’ may be our own community or on the other side of the world, but wherever it is, the Church is called to go and address the oppression that exists there. 


[1] Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."  Luke 4:14-21

[2] Exodus 2:23-25 NIV

[3] Walter Brueggemann says that the Exodus cry is the ‘primal scream that permits the beginning of history.’  He says that sa’aq is ‘a cry of misery and wretchedness’ and ‘a militant sense of being wronged with the powerful expectation that it will be heard and answered.’  Brueggemann, W., The Prophetic Imagination p 11-12

[4] "What is truth?" Pilate asked,’ (John 18:38) which is a very pertinent question with today’s media.  

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Banksy is an absolute genius.  Check out his website if you haven't done so yet.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Great Quotes

'My best moment? I have a lot of good moments but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan.'

and of course

'When the seagulls folow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.'
Eric Cantona

'I could dance with you until the cows came home. On second thoughts, I'd rather dance with the cows until you came home.'
Groucho Marx

'I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.' Mother Teresa

'Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from somthing they have deep inside them; A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.'
Muhammed Ali

'I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.'
Martin Luther King

And lets finish with a bit of Tommy Cooper ;0)

"A blind bloke walks into a shop with a guide dog. He picks the Dog up and starts swinging it around his head. Alarmed, a shop assistant calls out: 'Can I help, sir?' 'No thanks,' says the blind bloke. 'Just looking.'"