Week 5 of Reading Between The Lines

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How can God expect me to have faith?

This week I'm at the University of East Anglia to help the Christian Union with these events. Last night I spoke on the topic "What do Christians actually believe?" Afterwards there was a great question about faith which I

Week 4 of Reading Between the Lines

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Tweets Compendified

We serve the church in its mission to the world, how can we serve you? https://t.co/CvHtIksmWG pic.twitter.com/yhTghE5nLR— Speak Life (@SpeakLifeUK) January 23, 2016 JAN 15 BIOY: In judgement “God will never

Week 3 of Reading Between the Lines

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Angry Evangelism

I've come across far too many angry evangelists for this to be a coincidence. Out we go, door-knocking, flyering a uni campus or getting into conversations on the streets. (I'm a believer in first contact evangelism so I'm often

Who is Jesus in Islam and Christianity?

Here's my dialogue with Adnan Rashid from 2 December 2015. Unfortunately the video seems to have been lost but not the audio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pen28zQ_KIk&feature=youtu.be AUDIO My opening talk is

Microbe Logging

Happy 1st Birthday Ruby. That means it's one year since this epic piece of atheist evangelism... https://t.co/vNn9GZSWlo — Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) January 2, 2016 DAY 1 BiOY: The Man our Tree of Life(Ps1) The

Week 5 of Reading Between The Lines

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How can God expect me to have faith?

Posted on by Glen in evangelism, faith, gospel | Leave a comment

UEACU events

This week I’m at the University of East Anglia to help the Christian Union with these events. Last night I spoke on the topic “What do Christians actually believe?” Afterwards there was a great question about faith which I answered so badly I thought I’d have another go on the blog. Here’s what I wish I’d said…

How can God expect us to have faith? It seems so uncertain.

We all live by faith. Whether we are Muslims, Christians, atheists, agnostics, we all live by faith. I mean this in at least two ways.

First of all, we all must trust the testimony of others. Only a small fraction of my knowledge has been attained through direct observation, scientific experimentation or mathematical proof. For the rest, I’ve been told it. Teachers have told me, books have told me, journalists have told me, my parents have told me. I can have all sorts of rigorous standards which I expect these sources to adhere to. But I simply cannot personally fact check everything I’m told. I have to take it on faith.

I once made this point in a conversation and the other guy said “No, you can check your knowledge scientifically and if you don’t, it’s not certain knowledge.” I said “I can’t scientifically assess the truth claims of my wife.” He said “Yes you can.” I said “No I can’t. If I seek to falsify each of my wife’s statements (falsification being at the heart of the scientific method) I wouldn’t have a wife to assess!!” The scientific method is great for some truth claims but by no means all!

Nonetheless there are things that I know apart from such investigations (i.e. that my wife loves me, that she is trustworthy, that she has always been called “Emma”, that she is beautiful, that she is “right” for me, that she exists, that this world exists, etc, etc!)

So that’s the first point. So much of our knowledge comes to us in ways other than direct observation / scientific experimentation / mathematical proof. We live most of our lives by the testimony of others. In other words we live by faith.

There’s a second sense in which we live by faith. We all have a view of the world that depends on larger commitments to truth, beauty, goodness, etc. You might object and say “I don’t have any larger commitments. I am completely neutral as I build my view of the world from the ground up.” But then I’ll ask you, “Why do you do it that way?” At that point you’ll have to justify that particular method of interpretation and this will reveal a worldview that precedes and shapes your approach to the world. It’s inescapable. None of us can say “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.” Even that turns out to be a kind of worldview. Everyone has commitments of the heart and mind that go deeper than the facts.

Here’s the Christian worldview. There is a God who is before, behind and beyond this world. There is a Father loving His Son in the joy of the Spirit (find out more here). This personal, good, truthful, beautiful, loving God is the ground of all being. From this God comes everything else and we are intended to participate in the life of this personal, truthful, beautiful, loving God.

Jesus came as the expression of God lived out in our humanity. He took on Himself the consequences of our vicious, wicked, lying, ugly, hatefulness and then rose up from the dead to offer us His kind of life. Connection to Him puts us in touch with what is most deeply true about reality: that there is Goodness, Truth and Beauty bound together in love. In other words, Jesus reconciles us to God.

This is the framework from which Christians view the world. And I’d like to suggest that it makes sense of reality in a way that no other view does. Here we have a very high regard for truth. We will want to assess the world rationally and rigourously. But we also see that there is a personal, an ethical and an aesthetic dimension to truth that must be explored too. Beneath and beyond the axioms of mathematics and the findings of science, there is love. Here in the Christian view is a grounding for our dearest intuitions – that personal relationships are what’s most important.

We all live as though love is the greatest reality. Only the Christian can ground that intuition in something deeper than wishful thinking. The atheist does not have love as the ultimate reality. The theist-in-general does not have a God who is essentially love (since a single-person God cannot be love). It is Christianity that actually gives to the world a pair of spectacles that brings the world into proper focus.

Christian faith is about adopting these spectacles (rather than any other).

If the question is “Why does God expect us to have faith?”, the answer is: Everyone has faith. What God wants is for us to have the sort of faith that actually fits us, fits the world, fits ultimate reality. He says “See the world like this. Doesn’t that make sense of you, me and everything else?”

C.S. Lewis said this: “‘I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen. Not only because I can see it but because by it I can see everything else.”’

This is another way (a much clearer and more succinct way!) of saying the same thing. You can get to grips with the sun in two ways. You can look at it (carefully!) but you can also look at everything else in its light. Both kinds of looking establish the reality of the sun.

The same is true of Jesus (who, incidentally, claimed to be the Light of the world, John 8:12). We can look at Jesus to see this God of love walk the earth. Here is something we can investigate and I urge you to do just that. Pick up one of the four biographies we have of His life, read, pray, chat it through with others. This is what it means to “look at the sun.” At the same time we can look around at a world which Jesus illuminates. You can say to yourself “Could it be true that the Jesus-God is the deepest reality in this world? Could it be true that His kind of truth, beauty, goodness and love are what’s ultimate in the world?”

When you put the two together you have a “Sun” that accounts for the sparkle. You have an Explanation for the light that we prize in this world.

As I look back at my conversion I see these two things going on. On the one hand I was reading the Gospels and in them encountering the unmistakable Light of Jesus. It got to the point where I could no more deny that He was Lord than that I could deny that the sun was bright. There is something self-authenticating about the Light of the world – He recommends Himself just by the force of His own compelling personality. At the same time though, I was listening to the Blues Brothers on repeat: Everybody needs somebody to love. It was striking me forcefully that love was the deepest reality in the universe. And all of a sudden these two things came together: I saw a sparkle in the world and I had found a Sun to explain it. There’s a word to describe this kind of eureka moment: faith!

Why does God expect us to have faith? Everyone has faith. But which faith actually fits? I’d urge you to pick up the Gospels, shoot up a prayer and say “God, if you’re there, shine!” See if the Jesus you meet there doesn’t make sense of everything. It’s worth a shot, don’t you think?


Week 4 of Reading Between the Lines

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Tweets Compendified

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In judgement “God will never forget the needy”(Ps9). Indeed His Spirit-filled Servant won’t snuff out even a smouldering wick (Matt12) #BiOY

Israel, the paradigmatic believer, is born out of fighting the God-man, the Face2Face LORD, (the Angel, Hos12:3) and losing. Gen32 #BiOY

When, ch33, Jacob= received graciously (cf prodigal, Lk15) it’s an experience of Christ (v10) ‘To see yr face is like the Face of God’ #BiOY

The word of Christ is seed: looks unimpressive, grows exponentially. Pray it would do its work today. #Matthew13 #BiOY

“Reuben said this to rescue him… and take him back to his father. (Gen37:22). Spoken like a true firstborn. #BiOY

Matthew13:44-52 Who is the great Seeker, Finder, Rejoicer, Redeemer? What’s that? Us you say?? Think again http://kingsenglish.info/2015/08/29/pearl-of-great-price-3/ #BiOY

The pure, innocent, beloved son, Spirit-filled, wise ruler is raised from the pit to the throne to save the world. Gen40ff #BiOY

We struggle in the storm. Jesus comes down from on high to tread on the abyss and say “Take courage, I AM, don’t be afraid.” #Matt14 #BiOY

Judah guarantees his brother’s safety, volunteers as substitute, bears the shame and speaks in his defence. Gen44-45. Ditto Jesus. #BiOY

The worst characters in the Joseph story are the brothers. What do they get 4 their evil? The fat of the land! http://kingsenglish.info/2015/02/12/fat-of-the-land-3/ … #BiOY

Think how dreadfully the brothers behaved. Now how graciously they’re saved, forgiven & blessed by the beloved son, the Spirit-filled King.


The way to inclusion is the gospel. To imagine that inclusion is a matter of tightening *or* relaxing laws is legalism.

FINE 2not call OT “Trinitarian” 4 historical/linguistic reasons
NOT FINE 2consider it “Unitarian.”
That fails historically And theologically

Unitarianism is not simple theologically,
nor original historically,
nor basic methodologically.
Yet so many Christians assume exactly this.

Our multi-personal doctrine of God is not a deviation or development from a more basic monadic doctrine. It’s precisely the other way around

I’m happy to be the wrong side of history if I’m the right side of His story.

Personal evangelism is not about spiritualising the odd conversation, it’s about humanising all our interactions.

Can u really believe the resurrection?
– U mean can I really believe that love is stronger than death? Sure. Can u believe the alternative?

Incredible article by Frederica Mathewes-Green: When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense

Jonathan Edwards, The Miscellanies: “[God manifests his glory] not that he may receive, but that he [may] go forth…”
…the main end of his shining forth is not that he may have his rays reflected back to himself but that the rays may go forth” #OutgoingGod

Just reassured someone that “it’s ok, your faith will never be pure.” Trouble is I used voice recognition and faith translates as face.

This “Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies” in Jesus really is the most compelling truth in evangelism

If u only read the OT Christologically where the NT explictly does so u have a low view of the NT. Ur refusing to *learn* from the apostles

Life overwhelms me = fear (Gen15:1-3)
Love overwhelms me = faith (v4-6)
Faith overwhelms fear = assurance (v7-21)

“When ur unfollowed do not unfollow in return. Instead favourite them liberally. In so doing you will heap burning coals on their heads.”

Equality does not mean interchangeability. Want proof? Try telling your kids “I love you all interchangeably.”

Week 3 of Reading Between the Lines

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Angry Evangelism

Posted on by Glen in evangelism, gospel, ministry, preaching | 2 Comments

Angry-PreacherI’ve come across far too many angry evangelists for this to be a coincidence. Out we go, door-knocking, flyering a uni campus or getting into conversations on the streets. (I’m a believer in first contact evangelism so I’m often doing this kind of thing (see here and here).)

Almost always these are two-by-two scenarios, so there I am with a fellow evangelist and we get chatting to someone about Jesus. Within 90 seconds my partner is agitated. This happens all the time. Maybe the non-Christian is showing scant regard for the importance of their own soul. Maybe they’re denying their inherent sinfulness. Maybe they have the temerity to question certain gospel events. But pretty soon the non-Christian turns out to have actual non-Christian views and my Christian partner gets antsy.

Suddenly the Christian turns the conversation towards the conviction of sin, the inevitability of death, the judgement to come etc, etc. All of these have their place – absolutely – but I often wonder whether these are raised out of frustration and the desire to sledge-hammer a way through a conversation that hasn’t gone as planned. I don’t think I’m imagining it. I think that there are a lot of angry evangelists out there. And not just “out there”.

I still remember (with more than a wince) a carols service I preached at 12 years ago. Workers piled into our central London church for a lunchtime sing-song and some mince pies. I vividly recall drawing attention to the carol before my talk: “Do you realise what you’ve just sung? O Come Let Us Adore Him. Adore Him? Such praise of Jesus! Doesn’t that turn your English stomachs?” Yes I used that phrase: “Your English stomachs.” *sigh* I can still picture the looks, the shifting in the pews, the ultra-awkward festive refreshments afterwards.

I was trying to draw attention to the person of Jesus – how incredible that billions would sing adoration to Him even after all these years. But what came out was anger, snarkyness, frustration, superiority. Ugly stuff.

I see this kind of thing quite a bit. Christmas and Easter services are prime examples. The preacher is often found saying: “And where have you been the other 50 Sundays of the year??” with their tone if not their words.

What’s going on?

Several reasons might be given for a Christian’s angry evangelism:

  • a failure to grasp the gospel (we don’t see it as good news, so we put all our focus on “hard truths”)
  • a failure to grasp the nature of evangelism (we think of it as delivering an ultimatum rather than the offer of Christ).
  • a failure to grasp the bondage of the will (that the unregenerate “cannot see” 2 Cor 4:4)
  • a failure to have any non-Christian friends (such that non-Christians genuinely surprise and threaten us).
  • plain old self-righteousness.

I think these are going on all the time in evangelists, in evangelical pulpits and, let’s face it, in me. And it’s ugly.

But let me here draw attention to something else going on. Essentially it’s a view of evangelism that sees humanity as standing on either side of a “decision for Jesus.”


Now there certainly is a vital distinction between those in Christ and those who are not. But this kind of evangelism revolves around, not Christ, but the decision.

On this understanding an “evangelistic sermon” is not so much a sermon full of the good news. It’s a sermon imploring non-Christians to make a decision. Such preaching makes Christians feel bored (because they’ve already made the decision) and non-Christians feel got-at (because the preacher is clearly not addressing their own flock but taking aim at the visitors).

Let me suggest a far more important line that should define our preaching. This line is between the “life of heaven” and the “life of earth” – between God’s righteousness and our sin.


Only one Person stands on the right side of this line. Only Jesus. The rest of us – Christians and non-Christians – are on the wrong side of His story. In evangelistic preaching then, we don’t speak over the heads of Christians to hit our real targets – the unwashed. We speak to the children of Adam and reveal the problems of Adam. These problems are common to all, but praise God, there’s a solution for all. Jesus is the “life of heaven”, He is God’s righteousness and He’s made available to all. Christians need Him and need to look to Him constantly (not just in a one off salvation-moment). Non-Christians too need Him and need to look to Him for the first time. But the problems addressed are the problems of all and the solution proclaimed is available to all.

But what does preaching look like on that first paradigm…


Someone from the right side of the line condescends to preach to those below. And the essence of their message is an “arrow up” – it’s an exhortation to make a salvation decision (the way that the preacher has already).

So preaching comes from on high and it’s message is for those below to make their way up. Not so on the second model…


Here the preacher is on the side of the hearers – part of the same problem but also offered the same solution. And so this is the essence of the message: arrow-down! In the law, heaven does indeed stand above us and condemn us. What is revealed from heaven is, first, the wrath of God (Romans 1:18ff). But this wrath is revealed to all humanity and convicts all alike of sin. “But now a righteousness from God has been revealed” (Romans 3:21). Here comes the gospel and, once again, it is arrow-down as Christ is offered to lost sinners.

Christians need this gospel. Non-Christians need this gospel. No-one should feel superior. Everyone is humbled. No-one should feel uniquely “got at”. Everyone is lavishly “given to.” What place does anger have on this understanding.

But what understanding do we have? And how does it shape our preaching?


Who is Jesus in Islam and Christianity?

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, covenant continuity, evangelism, islam, My videos, trinity, videos | 2 Comments

Here’s my dialogue with Adnan Rashid from 2 December 2015. Unfortunately the video seems to have been lost but not the audio.


My opening talk is from 27:08-48:30 and then Adnan and I took questions from the audience before finally questioning one another.

With Adnan RashidI absolutely loved the evening. We were well hosted by the Postsmouth Uni Islamic Society who provided the refreshments. There were about equal numbers of Christians (from the Christian Union) and Muslims in the audience. At the end scores of Muslims personally requested John’s Gospels. I drove home buzzing. When you talk to Muslims about the gospel you speak about the things that matter: Who is God? Who is Jesus? Is the Bible the word of God? What is salvation? How can I know I’m right with God?

My approach for the opening 20 minutes was to unpack John’s Prologue a little bit (as a taster to encourage folks to keep reading John). In particular I explored Jesus as the divine “Word of God”. If Jesus is the revelation of God then it is not a question of whether He passes the “divinity test” set by others.  Divinity is what we see in Jesus. And, as you read through John’s Gospel, what an attractive divinity we see!

The first objection to this would naturally be: What about the Old Testament? But of course John is talking about the Old Testament. He is emphatically not saying that Jesus-the-Word is a New Testament novelty but an eternal reality – since the very “beginning.”

Therefore I took time to demonstrate that Jesus is the divine Word of God from Genesis onwards. I think this is vital in Muslim evangelism. Whenever the Muslim is able (either tacitly or explicitly) to present the Trinity as a New Testament novelty they score a massive advantage. Whenever the Christian is able to demonstrate the Trinitarian Old Testament they make a devastating case. It really is that important.

Of course it’s that important – it’s essentially the question, “Is Jesus really “the Word of God” or is He merely the best Word of God, the seal of a series of improving words about God??” If we falter here then we have begun on the Arian trajectory that, historically, flowered with Islam.

For this reason I pointed people to these 24 Old Testament Scriptures that cannot be understood with a unitarian doctrine of God. Moses and the Prophets were emphatically not unitarians and their writings cannot be understood unitarianly.

A monadic doctrine of God is not primary historically, it is not simple philosophically/theologically and it cannot be basic methodologically. In short, Trinitarianism is not an offshoot of some more fundamental Unitarian understanding. Quite the reverse. Unitarianism is an heretical offshoot of Trinitarianism.

Recently the question has been raised of whether Christians and non-Christians worship the same God. Many who say Yes have based their case on the Old Testament and/or the claim that, of course, we worship the same God as the Jews (e.g. Miroslav Volf and Bruce McCormack). The argument goes, if we’re content to say that Christians and Jews worship the same God, then the door is open to say that those other monotheists – Muslims – also worship the same God.

It seems to me that many evangelicals are uncomfortable with this “same God” position, but they don’t have a sufficiently Christ-centred, Trinitarian understanding of the Old Testament to be able to refute it. I’d urge them to revisit the issue of Christ in the Old Testament (perhaps start with this series of posts). This is not a needlessly divisive distraction but a crucial point about the basic nature of our God.

Look out in the next week or so for a podcast follow up (you are subscribed to The Evangelist’s Podcast I hope??). I’ll discuss the debate and some of these implications in greater depth. But before then, have a listen to the debate. And it might help if you saw the POWERPOINT SLIDES for my opening talk.


Microbe Logging

Posted on by Glen in tweets | Leave a comment

The Man our Tree of Life(Ps1)
The 1st Adam planted in the garden(Gen2) yet cursed
The 2nd Adam planted in our humanity(Matt1) to bless #BiOY

“Be wise u rulers” (Ps2). Adam was not (Gen3) but the truly wise came to the “child born King” (Matt2), God’s global & eternal Refuge #BioY

Death&judgement swallow us all (Gen5&6) but the LORD comes thru the waters(Matt3) &arises to wake us from death & lift our heads (Ps3) #BiOY

Having come thru the waters/40day judgement (Gen7-9 / Matt4), Christ brings His blessed kingdom as the Wisdom-filled Royal Son (Prov1) #BiOY

Babel’s way: self-exaltation=>scattered (Gen11).
Jesus’ way: meekness=>inheritance (Matt5).
Jesus’ is the way of joy, even now (Ps5:7) #BiOY

Ps5: Curses on the wicked But Matt5: Blessings. How? In Abe’s Seed “all nations will be blessed” (Gen12) cos He was cursed (Gal3:13f) #BiOY

Christ=Priest of God; Word of God; & Messenger of God who comes in grace to the successful; the suffering; & the sinful (Gen14;15;16) #BiOY

Don’t worry (Matt6). Wickedness won’t prosper (Matt7;Prov1). The Judge will do right (Gen18) and more, He’ll righteousify u (Gen15/17) #BiOY

God rains down His stormy judgements (Ps7; Gen19; Matt7) but He remembers His covenant & extends it to the filthy & far off (Matt8) #BiOY

DAY 10 BiOY:
As Suffering Servant, Jesus gives us His life 4our death; His peace 4our chaos; His sanity 4our madness; His mercy 4our mess (Matt8-9) #BiOY

DAY 11 BiOY:
As Jesus forgives, heals&raises (Matt9) He’s not giving a divine proof so much as a demonstration of Man’s true authority (v8) -> Ps8 #BiOY

DAY 12 BiOY:
Proverbs does not say Live wisely & u’ll be wise. It says UR foolish so come to Wisdom, receive the Spirit & u’ll start to live wisely #BiOY

The law reversed (Gen25:23) while the man of faith, Abe, has ‘obeyed’ laws that don’t exist, ch26:5! The Offspring makes sense of it #BiOY

“I was born reddy.” (Esau, Genesis 25:25 ) #BiOY

DAY 13 BiOY:
A good for nothing schemer is clothed in the firstborn son & blessed beyond measure (Gen27). “I will be glad and rejoice IN YOU” (Ps9) #BiOY

DAY 14 BiOY:
The proud resist. The oppressed take refuge in the Son (Ps9) as little children b4 His Father. This=God’s eternal life&rest (Matt11) #BiOY

If your desire 4 “holiness” is not precisely & without remainder a desire to love God & neighbour, what u really want is 2b holier than thou

If new birth was about all about conversion moments, Nicodemus would be a bad poster-boy. (John 3; 7; 19)

On Twitter celebs can mask how insecure they are. On podcasts it becomes painfully obvious.

One implication for pastoral care: Let people talk. When words flow the heart is revealed. One of our biggest problems in church life is we only have Twitter length chats.

If you want to get to the heart you have to go long form.

When the Son defers to the Father we are not seeing a denial of the Trinity but an expression of it.

When we see the Father-Son dynamic their equality of being is not denied but described. The Spiritual Father-Son relationship IS God’s Being

God doesn’t really ask you to love the world. He does that. You love your neighbour.

God’s cure for a despairing heart: Take to aspirin’ and call Me in the mourning.

Every time we ask God to prolong our lives we’re asking Him to defer our true healing.

The surest way to kill your ministry is to seek your life in it.

“I really feel like in 2016 I need to lose my identity in Jesus.”

A good Muslim is a slave of Allah. A good Buddhists is one with the universe. Even the worst Christian is one with Jesus

Materialist: a slave 2 impersonal laws
Buddhist: one with an impersonal cosmos
Theist: slave of a personal God
Xian: one with a personal God

I feel like social media is making us all more moral. Hopelessly, horribly, wearyingly moral.

To the right we face Islam. To the left secularism. Both are historical deviations from orthodox Christianity: of the 7th and 17th centuries

Islam tries to deal with an unmediated God. The Enlightenment tries to deal with an unmediated world. Both need Christ.

“There are two books, the book of God and the book of the world”

The name of God acc. to Numbers6
The LORD the Fountainhead of blessing
The LORD the radiant Face
The LORD the personalising Peacemaker

Low churches don’t get rid of liturgy they spread it across the week. Less structured on Sunday often means Very structured 4everything else

“He who loves his wife, loves himself.” Eph5:28. This statement is not reversible. You can’t just love yourself and claim ur loving yr wife.

In this way God can be said to love Himself, but He does so by loving us. His other-love is so vast it draws us in Christ into His very self

And even as we come in on God’s own life to be loved – that life is other-centred. The Spirit unites us to Christ to be loved by the Father.

Week 2 of Reading Between The Lines

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Another Tweet Silo

Posted on by Glen in tweets | Leave a comment

Muhammed. Darwin. Jesus. Mao. The State. The Free Market. Each can produce extremists, right? So think: whose radicals harm? Whose help?

If the West can’t see IS as theological maybe it’s cos their eg of religion (the western church) is so untheological.

Part of why the west only deals in political/cultural/psychological motivations is cos the western church has only dealt in those.

Sometimes debates about atonement sound like a skirmish at the temple over which sacrifice is more important. All the while Aaron’s ignored

In the Sumerian myths, humanity was created in order to feed the gods. In the Bible, God makes Himself food for us (John 6:51)

Recently I was in a service where we repeatedly sang to God “Consume me.” I’m glad for a worship tradition centred on consuming Him.

Jesus said “You must be born again.” He didn’t say you must know when it happened. And He definitely didn’t point u to your own experiences

The two lies Twitter whispers: 1. Send that snarky comment now, you won’t regret it. 2. Send that deep thought later, you will remember it.

Repentance and faith are not two hurdles to jump, more like two sides of the same coin. And that coin – Christ Himself – is given to us.

There really is no “salvation” in the Quran. There are only the “successful” and the “losers”.

“The Father is never without the Son, for it is impossible that glory should be without radiance or the lamp without brightness.” -Nyssa

Sin disqualifies you from praying like sickness disqualifies you from the doctor. (Mark2:17) We come to Christ *in* our need.

1 Proclaim the gospel as subversive of “religion”
2 Wait 5 secs til someone quotes Jam1:27; 1Tim5:4
3 READ those verses
(No-one ever does 3)

Nothing subverts “religion” like James 1:27 and 1 Timothy 5:4. They say: “Wanna see our “religion”? Check out our orphan care.”

So essentially the only 2 references to religion in the whole Bible are utterly subversive of the idea of “religion” as commonly understood.

Dear Christmas Preacher, ur right “Jesus didn’t stay in the manger.” But the point is not that “He grew up” it’s that “He descended further”

Christmas preaching – maybe even more than Easter preaching – sorts out theologians of glory from theologians of the cross.

You have come into a sizeable inheritance. — The New Testament

The Quran could have done with a strong editor. And maybe a narrative arc. In fact just a narrative would have helped.

Learn from history’s central figure, hear the world’s bestseller, see humanity’s largest sociological movement, pray, drink tea. #trychurch

Jesus: the eternal RADIANCE of the ever-shining Glory; The eternal WORD of the ever-speaking Father; The eternal SON of the ever-living God. 

The love that God IS (1 John 4:8)…
is the love that came down at Christmas (v9)…
and is now ours through the cross (v10)

When John asks us to picture “God is love”, he doesn’t give us a heavenly group hug but a crib and a cross.

Knowingly or unknowingly, every proposer / opponent of bombing is standing on the Bible. Just War vs Pacifism is a deeply Christian debate.

Preach 4 decision=>communities of the strong whose zeal needs fortifying
Offer Christ=>communities of the weak whose faith needs feeding

Atonement is extremely limited. It’s in Christ alone. But in Him there’s all the forgiveness in the world.

Most folks’ reaction to a baby: “Who’s a clever boy?” The wise men worshipped. So were they wise? Answering that Q is the heart of Christmas

You don’t have to feel forgiven. At times all you can do is look to Jesus – guilty sinner that you are – and let Him be your righteousness.

You don’t have to feel hopeful. At times all you can do is look to Jesus – in the midst of your despair – and let Him hope for you.

Church leaders are shepherds. “The professionals” are like vets. Vets can be life-savers. But shepherds always maintain their pastoral care.

Learn contentment where UR;
Accept it as a gift;
There’s an evangelistic purpose;
Ultimately UR free
Love&do what u want;
Not long now

The virgin birth: because man cannot make a Messiah.

Virgin birth in atheism: a cosmos from nothing
Xity: Jesus from Mary
Life from non-life in atheism: abiogenesis
Xity: Jesus from the tomb

Christ is Pictured, Present and Promised in the OT. Eg Gen 22: Pictured in Isaac, Present as the Angel, Promised as the Seed

Another eg… Genesis 3 Present: The Voice of the LORD God walking… Pictured: The clothes of skin Promised: The Serpent crushing Seed.

Another eg… Exodus 3
PRESENT: The Angel of the LORD; The I AM
PICTURED: The burning (but not consumed) bush

Christ in Isaiah 6
PRESENT: The appearing LORD (Jn12:41)
PICTURED: the fiery coals of atonement
PROMISED: the Holy Seed beyond exile.

Some Christians refuse to see OT theophanies as, specifically, christophanies *because of the trinity*. This confuses and concerns me >

< Trinity means we can be certain who the appearing LORD is (John1:18). He is the Only Son – as the fathers unanimously testified till Aug.>

<Beyond the Fathers let’s heed Calvin, Owen & Edwards: LINK. Christ is THE Image of the invisible God


Culture wars: Luke 15 without the father.

We’re all self-justifiers: living by law; judging others by that law. In this sense there are no licentious people, only brands of legalism.

Exhibit A: Twitter Outrage™

Last Christmas, I gave Him my heart,
But the very next day, I gave it again.