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Showing posts from August, 2014

Book Review: A Praying Life

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One of the things we've been thinking about as a leadership team in our churches is encouraging people to pray. Clearly it should be a Christian priority as it was for Jesus and his disciples (e.g Mark 1:35; 14:32-40; John 17; Matthew 6:5-15; Philippians 4:6-7). However, most of us find prayer a bit difficult.

The church has various things to help. We pray together in services fairly formally. We pray together at Praise and Prayer fairly informally. We've had a set of informal services based around prayer.
However, in Philippians 4:6 Paul writes: “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV) and in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he instructs us to “pray continually” (NIV). He exemplifies this, as we see in his letters, which are peppered with his prayers for the churches. So prayer should be more than church run events. Prayer should, it seems, be part of life.
This is where the book A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller comes in. …

Ministry Matters: The Gospel - Part 1

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I'm planning a column called Ministry Matters covering my understanding of some core things for our church magazine and for this blog - a way of outlining my values.  I plan to cover: the gospel, the Christian life, the church and Christian ministry over the next year.  With those things in place I'll be able to cover some more controversial issues I think.

Here's the first column.
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As the now not-so-new vicar of St Peter's and St Luke's, I thought it might be about time for me to show my hand so to speak. If you attend the churches you may well have picked up some of my emphases and views on different things – I hope so! However, I thought it might be useful for me to have a column in the magazine where I systematically address some of those “What does the vicar think about...?” questions.
I plan to start with perhaps the most foundational question: What is the Christian message? Or to use the biblical language, What is the gospel?
Maybe the answer should be obv…

Be Holy! - September Magazine Article

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I'm planning to write a few magazine articles about holiness, the first of which is below.
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I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44 NIV)
The concept of holiness has mostly fallen out of use in our culture. Probably the only context in which we hear of it is when someone is described as being holier-than-thou, which as well as being a body-piercing shop in Manchester (Google provides all kinds of useless information!), is usually an insult about being a self-righteous so-and-so.
But holiness is an important concept in Christianity. The book of Leviticus is all about being holy. On the one hand there is a constant reminder that God is holy, which means that he is separate from sin, morally pure and blameless. On the other hand, there is repeated call to the Israelites to be holy themselves, because their God is holy (Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7).
In one sense, God has already made his people holy at this stage in Israel…

Enjoying The Keswick Convention

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We went to the Keswick Convention again this year. The seventh year in a row for us and once again we found it a tonic. I wrote the article below for our church magazine.  I hope in time some of them will come and hear some good Bible teaching there.

I would have to say that there are issues with Keswick.  There was less Bible teaching this year (we went to week three and I was especially disappointed with the Bible-lite options). There was more emphasis on women speakers (although the tent was noticeably emptier at the one I heard, thankfully as she went perilously close heresy because the only relationships worth having are mutually submissive!). I wonder if the All One In Christ motto is being strained.  Certainly I would wish there was a clearer chairman.

Despite those things, there were many encouragements and I hope conservative evangelicals will continue to be involved and an influence for good.

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The Keswick Convention is a Christian Bible teaching convention held in the beauti…