The Trinity - An Introduction for Jehovah's Witnesses

I've been meaning to do this for ages but I've now met the excellent Chris the Witness online and our conversation has prompted me to write a short introduction to the Trinity with Jehovah's Witnesses in mind: The Good News That

Christ's Love Compels Us - A Sermon

Enjoy this brilliant sermon on 2 Corinthians 5 by Mike Milmine: DOWNLOAD

Two Poems from my Youth

It's National Poetry Day apparently, so here are a couple from my teenage years. The first was written just after arriving in the UK from Australia (aged 14) Yoh-ghurt, Vite-amins, Sconns (to be performed) Yoh-ghurt,

Three All Age Songs and a Talk for Harvest   Notes for a Harvest Supper talk given recently How many

Tweety Pies

Would assisted dying encourage the hastening of relatives' deaths? Spurgeon saw the danger in the 19th century. — Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) August 9, 2015 CH Spurgeon on Psalm 88: The

The Nature of God - Triune from the Beginning

I've been listening to a lot of Muslim - Christian debates. Here are three that have interested me recently - each of them with Dr Shabir Ally. Firstly there's James White vs Shabir Ally on whether the earliest witnesses to

Psalm 88 Sermon

Can despair be praise? It can when it's prayed. TEXT

Mission in Isaiah - God's Outgoing Glory, Worship and Holiness

MISSION IN ISAIAH (audio) Mission in the life of the church is often thought of as a balancing act. On the one hand, church exists to glorify God. On the other hand, we exist to reach out to the world. On the one hand, we

The Trinity – An Introduction for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Posted on by Glen in 321, evangelism, trinity | Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages but I’ve now met the excellent Chris the Witness online and our conversation has prompted me to write a short introduction to the Trinity with Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind:

The Good News That God is Trinity:

Here’s a 5 minute gospel explanation where the Trinity is front and centre:

It’s Not So Strange, Really It Isn’t

I hope from this video you can see that God’s “THREE-ness” is not weird. It’s good news. God is an eternal Father forever loving His Son in the communion of the Spirit. If that sounds strange, consider four sets of Scriptural evidence:

How God existed before the world began: There are many verses that speak of God’s pre-creation life and they always describe a lively interplay of Persons (e.g. Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). Before the world began the Father was loving and choosing and speaking to His Son in the joy of the Holy Spirit (see for example John 17:5, 24).

How God presents Himself to us now: Jesus is constantly presented as “the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1; John 20:31). In other words, He’s the One anointed by the Spirit beyond measure, who is also the Son of the Father. To know Jesus is to be introduced to the THREE. But these THREE are clearly ONE. These Persons are united together in the closest possible love relationship. e.g. Jesus speaks of the Father being IN Him and He is IN the Father, and it all happens IN the Spirit (John 14:10, 16-18, 23). You simply cannot understand the Gospels at all without doing business with this united three-ness to God.

How we know God: The Bible is clear about how we know God. Jesus is the Way to the Father. The Father is known only through His Son (Matthew 11:25-27; John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6). This true spiritual knowledge can only happen by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13-16; 12:3). Therefore God is known as a Father revealed in the face of His Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How we are saved by God:  The Bible is even more clear about how we are saved. God the Father gave us His Son by the Spirit. If we receive His Son (i.e. believe in Jesus) then we get filled with His Spirit and brought before His Father. According to the Bible, believers are adopted into the very life of God (see John 1:12-13; 2 Peter 1:4).

These shouldn’t be controversial points – it’s basic Christianity. And the shape of it all is triune. When Christians articulate the doctrine of the Trinity they are not trying to impose an alien structure on the gospel but simply to explain the contours of that gospel.

Why don’t I find the word ‘Trinity’ in my Bible?

The word “Trinity” is simply a convenient label to describe the truths above. In both Old and New Testaments God is described in terms of THREE-ness as well as ONE-ness. The word Trinity is trying to communicate this. God is a UNITY of THREE – a TRI-UNITY – a TRINITY.

No-one needs to use the word “Trinity” – it would be fine to drop it from our vocabulary. It’s just that we’d soon end up wanting another word to describe what we find in the Bible. If we read the Spirit-breathed Scriptures, we meet the Father in the face of Jesus Christ. This united THREE-ness is foundational to our Christianity.

Deity, Difference and Oneness

As we read the Bible it becomes clear that the Three Persons exhibit deity, difference and unity.

Deity: Each Person is God. (cf John 17:3; Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 3:17)

Difference: The Persons are distinct from one another. (cf Matthew 3:16-17)

Unity: The Persons are so united that they are “in” one another (cf John 14:10, 16-18, 23)

This last point should be obvious – there cannot be a Father without Him having a Son and the Spirit of the Son cannot be without the Son (cf Galatians 4:4-6). The Three do not simply get on well with one another – they constitute one another and have done so eternally.

One devastating problem for the Jehovah’s Witness account of God is that, for them, Jehovah is not fundamentally Father. If Jehovah has not eternally had his Son then he is not eternally a Father. But for the Christian, God has always been life-giving because He has always had His Son; He has always been communicative because He has always had His Word (John 1:1); He has always been wise because He has always had His Wisdom (1 Cor 1:31); He has always been radiant because He has always had His Light (Hebrews 1:3). As an orthodox Christian I cannot help but think that Jehovah, according to the Watchtower, is life-less, mute, thoughtless and dark.

Roles, Authority and Being

From Scripture it’s plain that there is a flow to God’s life. The Father sends the Son. The Son never sends the Father. The Son obeys the Father. The Father never obeys the Son. Jesus can say things like “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). Paul can say things like “God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Trinitarian Christians have never denied or been threatened by these verses – we rejoice in them. They speak of the flow of God: from the Father, through the Son and by the Spirit. The Persons take on different roles and there is clearly authority within the Trinity. We can speak rightly of a First, Second and Third Person of the Trinity. All this is perfectly straightforward. The problem comes when anti-trinitarians imagine a completely unwarranted conclusion: namely that such an authority structure makes the Son or the Spirit lesser beings than the Father. That would be a bizarre conclusion for two main reasons:

First, we know in every walk of life that roles and being are very different. If I told you “My boss is greater than I” you’d know exactly what I meant: he has authority over me. You would not conclude that my boss was a greater being than I, I hope! Similarly with the headship point in 1 Corinthians 11. The parallel is with marriage – husbands are the heads of wives as the Father is the head of Christ.

A JW once told me that 1 Corinthians 11:3 was Paul “completely ruling out the doctrine of the Trinity.” I asked him if he thought this verse meant God was a greater being than Christ. He said “Yes.” I asked him if, by parallel, I was a greater being than my wife. He paused and then said “Yes.” Flabbergasted I asked for clarification. He said “Well you call the shots.” I told him he clearly didn’t know my marriage. At this point his female partner was so outraged that he had to pull her away from the door-step and down the street. I yelled after her: “You know that woman are equal in being to men… AND CHRIST IS EQUAL IN BEING TO THE FATHER!!” (They haven’t been back).

It’s obvious that roles and being are different. That’s reason number one that the roles in the Trinity do not make the being of the Son or Spirit lesser. But there’s a second, more fundamental, reason why we can’t conclude that the being of the Son or Spirit is lesser…

Second, the Persons are completely and indivisibly united. We can’t think of the Father without the Son, or the Spirit without the Father. There is no “being” of God underneath or besides the three Persons. The being of God is the one, unified life of love which the Father, Son and Spirit share. And so of course they all share in that life together. There isn’t a separate or separable being of the Father and another of the Son. The Father-Son-Spirit relationship constitutes the unified being of God. There can be no “greater” or “lesser” when it comes to this being, because the Father, Son and Spirit in their life together are the being of God.

Some Objections

Chris tweeted me some verses to consider. I think that what I’ve said already will explain them:

In Revelation 3:12, Jesus calls the Father “my God.” Very good. I should hope so. The Son has always looked to His Father in the Trinity’s united life of worship and joy.

In Colossians 1:15, the Son is called the Firstborn. Does this make Him the first creature? Clearly not, because by Him all things were made so this very verse teaches that Christ is Creator and not creature. “Firstborn” in the Bible is about inheritance – David was the “firstborn” even though, physically, he was the eighthborn! (Psalm 89:20,27).

In 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul calls God the head of Christ. Absolutely. In the same breath he says that husbands are heads of wives. If you think the role of headship entails a greater being then you blaspheme Christ and denigrate all women.

In Matthew 24:36 Jesus says the Father knows the hour of His return but He, as Son, does not. Again, within the flow of the life of God this is exactly what we would expect. The Father sends the Son. Jesus does not do anything of His own initiative. He entrusts all things to His Father and will go when sent. This does not undermine His divine identity but expresses it as the Sent One of the Father.

A Question of My Own

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, allow me to challenge you on your doctrine of God assumptions. Perhaps you think that unitarianism is an obvious or default doctrine of God. If you do, I suggest that this assumption comes from Aristotle and not from Scripture. I contend that Moses’ doctrine of God is not and never was the Watchtower’s. Moses and the Prophets spoke of a unified but multi-Personal revelation of God, from Genesis 1 onwards.

If you are a JW I challenge you to study these 24 Old Testament passages and see how a unitarian doctrine of God cannot handle the Scriptures – even the New World Translation. There has always been more than one Person called Jehovah – therefore the question is: to which Jehovah are you witnessing? Jesus is the eternal Son – whose eternal nature has always been to be Jehovah. Jesus is LORD!

In Conclusion

Last year I preached on John chapter 1. A JW who was 30 years in the Watchtower came to me in tears at the beauty of the Trinity. He’d never been taught the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, only the Watchtower straw-man version. I said to him “If Jesus is only a servant of Jehovah then all he can do is bring you into his own slavery.” He said “That’s exactly what it’s felt like: slavery.” I continued… “But if Jesus is the eternal Son, then He’s come to share with you His life of love in the family of God.” We prayed gratefully to the Father and that man was liberated from slavery into the freedom of the children of God.

I pray that you too will know this freedom.


Christ’s Love Compels Us – A Sermon

Posted on by Glen in sermons | Leave a comment

Enjoy this brilliant sermon on 2 Corinthians 5 by Mike Milmine:


Two Poems from my Youth

Posted on by Glen in creative, poetry | Leave a comment

It’s National Poetry Day apparently, so here are a couple from my teenage years. The first was written just after arriving in the UK from Australia (aged 14)

Yoh-ghurt, Vite-amins, Sconns (to be performed)

Yoh-ghurt, Vite-amins, Sconns,
Yoh-ghurt, Vite-amins, Sconns,
The ways of saying these words are obeying
Rules of expanding your cultural standing.
You’re making a case for social debase,
By cruelly denouncing the ways of pronouncing,
Yoggurt, Vittamins, Scoanes.


Big Issue

Big Issue, Big Issue,
A tool to accrue street cred,
As I tread down the no-through lane,
Diplayin’ my copy for all the world,
My lips smugly curled at the end,
As I pretend to have read it.
I haven’t.
Instead it’s there to combat the stare
of the next vendor as I pass,
Upholding the farce of my middle-class trauma.
“No thanks!” says I, “Already read it.” I lie,
And sell mine on round the corner.

Three All Age Songs and a Talk for Harvest

Posted on by Glen in sermons | 1 Comment




Notes for a Harvest Supper talk given recently

How many people grow their own food? (What do you grow? How much of what you eat is grown on your own land?)

By and large the way I get food is to buy it. I go to the supermarket, I pay a certain amount of money and I get what I pay for. My sustenance comes from commercial relationships. Tit for tat.

It is interesting that atheism is overwhelmingly found in urbanized, industrialized, technologized settings. We might think it’s the norm but of course atheism is shrinking globally. And the only places it clings on really are urbanized, industrialized, technologized cultures – places that are far removed from the harvest.

But as soon as you start thinking of harvest you are taken away from those kinds of thoughts. Because harvest is something near magical isn’t it? Scattering seed into soil – what on earth?! How is that going to do anything? And yet, a few months later, up it sprouts – this bountiful harvest – so much more than you ever invested just bursts out of the ground to feed us.  Atheism might be for city dwellers but those who live around harvests are much less atheistic.

Christians say that Harvest tells us about the nature of God. He’s an overflowing God of generosity. He’s not a mercantile force of “tit-for-tat.” He’s a Niagara Falls of blessing.

1 John 4:8 God is love.

He doesn’t dole out blessings with a teaspoon but has always been overflowing.

Christians say “Grace” because they recognise that everything is undeserved mercy. Life is about gratitude.

We recognise this when it comes to children – for urbanised people the maternity wing of the hospital is about our only  contact with the bounty of creation. And it completely takes us off guard. But this is what reality is like according to the Bible. A near magical reality of new life bursting forth – seemingly from nowhere. And the whole thing speaks to us of God’s nature. Think about it…

Kids come into the world needy and we shower them with blessings. And when they get to age 18, do we open up the books and demand repayment for two decades of food, shelter, clothing and taxi service? No. But hopefully they then stand on their own two feet and pass it on to the next generation. Grace flows downhill.

Here’s how it works spiritually…

Verse 9-10:

 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus gives us His life and takes from us our death. This is what love does – it pays the cost to draw near. This is how God’s love flows to us. And now…

Verse 11: Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 We pass it on. Grace runs downhill. No wonder at harvest we seek to share our bounty with those less fortunate. The whole thing reflects the very character of God.

Harvest puts us in touch with a deep reality. God is a God of bounty, a God of love. He has overflowed to us in Jesus and life is about gratefully receiving Jesus and flowing out to the world, to bless those who are without.

This church is a great place to explore these truths more. Please join us…



Tweety Pies

Posted on by Glen in humourous, tweets | Leave a comment

CH Spurgeon on Psalm 88: The mind can descend far lower than the body, for it there are bottomless pits… …The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways and die over and over again each hour… Under the influence of certain disorders everything will wear a sombre aspect and the heart will dive into the profoundest deeps of misery… It’s all very well for those in robust health and full of spirits 2 blame those whose lives are sicklied over with the pale cast of melancholy… but the evil is as real as a gaping wound, and all the more hard to bear because it lies so much in the region of the soul… Reader, never ridicule the [depressed], their pain is real. Though much of the evil lies in the imagination, it is not imaginary.”

Preacher: the Bible is not a reservoir to bring us back to, it’s a river already flowing. Preaching is part of the Bible’s dynamic movement.

Faith is never described in the Bible as a response to evidence per se. It’s a response to the word /the gospel /preaching /Christ crucified

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” Martin Luther

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.” Luther

Israel was chosen in light of the Seed and for the sake of the nations. God’s people are those who are “in Christ” and “for the world”.

What is the Bible? The users manual? Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth? No. Most fundamentally it’s the Spirit’s testimony to the Son.

What is Bible reading? Your pious offering to God? No, His personal offering to you: “Behold my Son!”

“You are designed to be a burden to me and I… to you. [Our life] should be one of ‘mutual burdensomeness.'” John Stott

What did you expect? This is the Lamb’s world.

Some thoughts for preachers: “The preacher’s movement does not consist so much in going towards the congregation as in coming from Christ.”

“Preaching is `God’s own Word’, that is to say, through the activity of preaching, God himself speaks.” (Barth, Prayer & Preaching)

[More Barth] Preaching is “announcement” more than “description” (P&P). This is because the Bible is already “proclamation in writing” (I/1

The purpose of Judgement Day is not to inject uncertainty into our future.
Judgement is God’s way of securing our future from all evil.

“I will give my life” – the pig-sty’d prodigal.
“I will find my boy” – the running father.
One resolve intends slavery, the other: sonship

Eastbourne has many gleaming saints who’ve learnt the secret of contentment and many grumbling souls who have not. *Old age* does not mature

Athanasius (on Psalms): “He suffered for us and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression.” Early Church PSA.

How did Jesus go about “breathing on His disciples” in John 20:22? Dunno, but He’s given us the Bible so He can keep doing it (2Tim3:16)

The Lamb unlocks the scroll.

The median date for the folios is 4 yrs b4 Muhammed received his revelations. The latest is 5 yrs b4 the Quran was supposedly written down. Imagine finding a copy of the sermon on the mount dating to Jesus’ infancy. That’s the problem 4 this ‘oldest Quran’ (LINK)

“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot. (I think it was Jim Elliot, I heard it on a podcast while doing admin).

“Be the place the violence ends”. <- Francis Spufford's excellent summary of "turn the other cheek".

We’re through the worst of it. (Romans 13:12)

Earth’s heaven is heaven’s hell.
Heaven’s heaven is earth’s hell.

Virtue signalling: the essence of Pharisaism (Matthew 6); the engine of social media.

If you’re struggling it’s very likely that friends will “say the wrong thing”. But it’s also very likely that you will hear the wrong thing.

“Now that I have washed your feet, you should wash mine”? No grace runs downhill.

“God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” Martin Luther

Just had a Great chat w a Muslim using Jay Smith’s conversation starter: “I think Jesus is God & the Bible is God’s word do u have an opinion?”

It’s not just that God condescends to reveal Himself. Incredibly His condescension reveals *Himself*

Whatever else is said about Pharaoh’s hardening, understand that he is not a random individual but the head of the house of the wicked.

The “exclusivity of Christ” is the good news that God is *none other* than the One who died for the world.

What is ultimate reality?
The one: monotone.
The many: cacophony.
The Three: harmony.

Salvation is not a taxi, it’s a free bus.You neither drive nor pay. You find yourself with others on the bumpy road to a sure destination.

Trinity is not a problem to solve, it’s the answer.

It’s a unitarian god who really makes no sense. How can an eternal monad ever break free from the prison of their own transcendence?

The Bible doesn’t tell us to *reach* Israel so much as to *be* Israel in reaching the world.

Forgiveness does not abolish the need for good behaviour. Forgiveness assumes those ethical expectations and then establishes them truly

Just used the self-checkout or “mirror” as I call it

Babies smell incredibly good considering they spend their days marinating in urine.

Well done England. You have won the Worst Ashes Ever.

Well done bowlers. You’ve thrashed the batsmen 5-0 in this #Ashes #bbccricket

Well done Australia – you outgunned England with both bat and ball – AUS: 2565/80 versus ENG: 2365/81

This hasn’t been a great game for the neutrals #ENGvSWI

At the Chick Pea Speedway, we get pulses racing.

Try my inflatable crystal ball. It’s clearbuoyant

I hated being School Superintendant. I should have quit while I was a head

Don’t be taken in by conspiracy theories. They’re all just government plots to discredit their enemies.

I’m allergic to placebos but thankfully my doctor says she’s got just the sugar pill to cure me.

My therapist just doesn’t get my underlying motivation. Shame

I invited Usain Bolt to play the lead in my Robert Louis Stevenson play. Unfortunately he can run but he can’t Hyde

[Smiling actor turns to camera]
“Here at Spines For You…”
[Extreme close up}
“… We’ve got your back.”
[BAFTAS all round]

I’m sorry I called you emotionally stunted. No hard feelings?

The Nature of God – Triune from the Beginning

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, covenant continuity, evangelism, pastoral theology | 1 Comment

I’ve been listening to a lot of Muslim – Christian debates. Here are three that have interested me recently – each of them with Dr Shabir Ally.

Firstly there’s James White vs Shabir Ally on whether the earliest witnesses to Jesus confessed His deity:

White argues that the earliest sources unashamedly confess the deity of Christ – the “Carmen Christi” of Philippians 2, the “NT Shema” of 1 Corinthians 8 and Mark’s Gospel speak of Jesus as Yahweh. Fascinatingly Shabir seems to concede as much, at least over the Philippians 2 material, but then claims that this must be a corruption of the earliest beliefs. Why? Because we know that the Jews were monotheists (which Shabir conflates time and again with “unitarians”).

Shabir wriggles off the hook because he claims that the Old Testament is unitarian. If this is so then NT trinitarianism must be a corruption and the Quran must be correct in saying that the Christians have changed their book. His wriggling is very unconvincing, obviously, because the evidence James brings is without question the earliest. All Shabir can do is to claim that beneath the Scriptures there must lie an original unitarian faith in Jesus that gets developed in trinitarian ways over time. It’s all a “just so story” but he gets away with it because he asserts that the OT is unitarian.

The second debate I watched recently was Jay Smith versus Shabir Ally. Watch Jay’s 35 minute opening statement from 17:55 where he brings devastating critiques of the historicity of the Quran and its transmission:

Shabir responds with numerological hocus pocus from 53:45. As Dr Ally waxes lyrical about the number 19 in the Quran your jaw will hit the floor (but not in the way Dr Ally hopes). It’s astonishing that this would be put forward in a serious debate and take up so much of Dr Ally’s argument. Jay’s historical critique of the Quran remains completely unanswered.

But still Shabir wriggles off the hook because, well, we all know that the NT must be corrupt? Why? Because it changes the doctrine of God from the OT.

Ok then, step forward Nabeel Qureshi. I loved this debate. Just listen to Nabeel’s opening statement from 8:15.

Here Nabeel is hitting where it hurts. I love that he questions whether Tawhid (Islam’s unitarianism) is the simple doctrine of God that Muslims claim. Actually Tawhid involves Muslims in all sorts of difficulties. If Allah is alone, how can he break free from the prison of his own transcendence to communicate with creatures. Some Muslims speak of the word of Allah existing with him in eternity which is really the only way you could have true revelation from Allah. Only if the Quran is an eternal communication could it communicate the eternal God. But of course as soon as you say that you are threatening Tawhid because you have something alongside Allah.

In Christian theology the eternal Word who is God from God is not a problem. He’s the solution. Without Him God must be mute and we must be left in the dark. Nabeel was right to press Shabir on the question of the Quran’s eternality, it goes to the heart of the Islamic doctrine of God and forces the Muslim to the horns of a dilemma. Either God does not have an eternal word and thus we cannot know that Allah is transcendent or he does have an eternal word and Tawhid is completely compromised.

More fundamentally though Nabeel establishes that the OT, in its own context and on its own terms, is not unitarian at all and could not be read unitarianly. This is where I have found evangelism to Muslims gaining most traction. When you show that Yahweh is face to face with Abraham and then rains down judgement from the-LORD-out-of-the-heavens (Genesis 18:1; 19:24) you show that Moses’ doctrine of God is nothing like Mohammed’s.

Have a watch and enjoy Nabeel’s arguments. And if you want another couple dozen more OT Scriptures – see these 24 verses that cannot be read unitarianly in the Hebrew Bible. We simply do not see a progression from unitarianism to trinitarianism in the Bible or history. What we see in the Scriptures is a compound unity to God with three Persons who may take divine titles. We see this from Genesis 1 onwards. Unitarianism is not the pure origin, it is the much later corruption. This corruption began with the Rabbis reacting against the early Christians and continued with the heresy of Islam (much aided by pagan philosophy).

One thing I admire about Islam is its comprehensive view of history. For them Adam is a Muslim, so is Moses, so is Jesus – and they all taught Tawhid. The Christian view of history ought to be similarly consistent. Adam is a Christian, so is Moses, so are all true prophets – and they were all trinitarian. These are the arguments that truly fight fire with fire in Muslim-Christian debate and these are the truths that make sense of our Christian faith: triune from the beginning.

Psalm 88 Sermon

Posted on by Glen in My videos, sermons, videos | Leave a comment

Can despair be praise? It can when it’s prayed.


Mission in Isaiah – God’s Outgoing Glory, Worship and Holiness

Posted on by Glen in evangelism, mission, sermons | Leave a comment

Isaiah Future- William_Strutt_Peace_1896MISSION IN ISAIAH (audio)

Mission in the life of the church is often thought of as a balancing act.

On the one hand, church exists to glorify God. On the other hand, we exist to reach out to the world.
On the one hand, we worship God. On the other hand, we evangelise.
On the one hand we seek holiness. On the other hand we sully ourselves by going out into the world to make disciples.

Mission is considered a counter-balance to the other activities which we know to be important. And maybe we think it’s a major counter-balance. Maybe we think it’s incredibly important and the mission side of things dominates how we shape church life. At that stage the glory / worship / holiness people say “You’ve forgotten our core business in the church!” And the evangelistic people say “You’ve forgotten the lost!” And probably both sides will make excellent points as they debate each other. But they’re both wrong if they think that theologically there’s a trade-off. Theologically there’s no trade off.

Here’s my central contention for this morning: The glory of God, the worship of God, the holiness of God are thoroughly missional. Such that you cannot have the glory / worship / holiness stuff without the outreaching / evangelistic / missionary stuff. And if you think you can have holiness without outreach, you haven’t just lost outreach – you’ve lost both. Because these things come together. It’s a job lot.

This morning we’re going to look at Isaiah and see that Glory and Worship and Holiness are thoroughly outgoing things because God is fundamentally an outgoing God. If that’s true, what does it mean for our churches?…






Scrivolity in 100 Puns

Posted on by Glen in comedy | Leave a comment

I’ve written a pun a day over at my Scrivolity tumblr. Tonight I hit 365. So to celebrate here are 100 of the less terrible ones…

  1. My brother sequenced his whole genome and put it in a spreadsheet. I said, Bill, you’ve excelled yourself.
  2. What is “vicarious research”? Asking for a friend
  3. – Those are killer shoes!
    – Not really, they’re moccassassins
  4. I tried to invent a single-digit number system but it proved untenable.
  5. An A-Team fancy dress party? Not sure I can’t face it.
  6. “And now to round 3 of our genetic engineering quiz: Fingers on buzzards…”
  7. When I solved the anagram “COUNT A SNAIL GROT”, I thought: congratulations are in order.
  8. Remorse code: the language of hopes dashed
  9. I’m working on a basic introduction to Americanisms. It’s called “’Pacifiers’ for ‘Dummies’”
  10. I hear your canal boat sank. My gondolances
  11. I like the M6 but Spaghetti Junction’s a major turnoff.
  12. Every time I hear a hypochondria gag I wonder if I’ve got it.
  13. I’d like to open a massive clothing store called “Big Ts” and then refuse to sell any T-shirts.
  14. My general knowledge is appalling. My sergeant knowledge is little better. I’m a rank amateur
  15. What? Redoing a Steven King horror as a Pixar adventure story? You couldn’t make It Up.
  16. I once owned a cheese-eating insect. Briefly
  17. Yul Brynner isn’t competitive about musical roles. He knows it’s all about the Thai king part
  18. My boss hates over-familiar greetings so if I catch myself saying “Hiya”, I always follow up with a devastating karate chop.
  19. If you still don’t know why Jesus died, I’ve got two words for you.
  20. – You’ve lived 30 years on Loch Ness and never discussed the monster?
    – It never came up.
  21. I could tell he went to public school. He had that harrowed look.
  22. I’d love to join your miniature Hindustani band tonight. Unfortunately I can’t get a baby sitar
  23. If you think I’m going to remake an 80s B-movie you’ve got another Thing coming.
  24. – Can you recite any of the Nazirite vows?
    – Not off the top of my head.
  25. I will pass your English exam, you mark my words
  26. The filthiest radiographer was “X-ray Ted”
  27. I don’t think the Scarecrow was stupid, I just think he made a lot of straw man arguments.
  28. Psychic extremists need to find a happy medium.
  29. I can never properly calculate my Body Mass Index. I’m a bit dense sometimes
  30. Camus was a tricky philosopher to get your header round.
  31. Shout Out to all the scapegoats
  32. I can confirm now that I’m a bishop
  33. “There was Damon Albarn, Alex James, and, to be honest the rest is a bit of a blur.”
  34. Trojan Horse: one trick pony
  35. * France’s greatest prosecutor was Jack Hughes
    * Italy’s worst lawyer was Mia Culpa
    * Israel’s greatest legal expert was the Jewess Prudence
  36. I’m not saying John Williams is a drug addict, just that he’s always making arrangements to score.
  37. The calmest lizard was the camemileon
  38. The first salvaging contract for the Titanic has been awarded. Well done guys, take a bow.
  39. I get an obscene amount of money for each stanza of poetry I write. It’s perverse.
  40. – Those Japanese poems are genius.
    – Meh, I’d call them High IQ.
  41. Every time I ask my wife for specifics she says “Wocka, Wocka, Wocka.” She’s fozzie on the details
  42. I know tasseography and oceanography sound like fun but you’ve got to read the teas and seas
  43. My beautician is draining excess fluids from my body. I’m pretty pumped
  44. At the Flatliners World Championships they always play sudden death
  45. You want to add your fancy “wearable technology” to my trusty Casio? Not on my watch.
  46. If you like building personalised lighthouses that’s your own lookout.
  47. Cuba’s big problem has been finding a successor to Castro but no one wants to play second Fidel
  48. If it’s all the same to you I’ll call you a monist
  49. - Ready for our orthopaedics exam?
    – Yes I’ve really boned up. Have u studied the narcotics directory?
    – Think I’m up to speed
  50. Is it just me or does the word synaesthesia smell purple?
  51. - I can’t stand all you cattle ranchers.
    – Why?
    – Cowboys, the lot of you.
    – Cowboys??
    – You herd.
  52. Those who lose their faith go off the depend.
  53. - You say Standby
    – I say Hibernate
    – Standby
    – Hibernate
    – Standby
    – Hibernate
    – Let’s call the whole thing Off
  54. My mate’s IQ is very average. He’s a simple ton. (Sorry if that sounds mean)
  55. As the tribute band played Hoppipolla I thought “Close but no Sigur.”
  56. Phew! Survived Pamplona. Dodged a bullock there.
  57. I love collecting Hebrew words, can I get an Amen?
  58. Depict Europe’s tallest mountain? I’m drawing a blanc.
  59. I tried ordering from “Pistachios To You”. It’s driving me nuts.
  60. My boss has me ranking colas all day long. It’s soda grading.
  61. Knuckle sandwiches are fine. Just roll with the punches.
  62. The iCloud’s fine but Dropbox gets my backup
  63. Gangrene costs an almondy leg
  64. Wait a minute, did seahorses invent water polo?
  65. Unfortunately sauciers are often reduced to stock phrases. Jus saying.
  66. Are you depressed by continual commands to exercise? Chin up
  67. I know it’s a long shot but any chance of a yard of vodka? (Don’t be mean spirited now!)
  68. Don’t ask a nihilist to hoover. Nietzsche abhors a vacuum.
  69. Stoics want to correct my spelling. They have no affect.
  70. “Death by Sunburn” was never a form of capital punishment in Britain. That’s a summery execution.
  71. Hang on, aren’t we all hoarse whisperers?
  72. Is bad spelling getting you down? Their their.
  73. If telemarketers cold call me I usually throw the phone across the room. It’s just one of my hangups.
  74. Thanks for your manicuring advice, I’ll file it away.
  75. My whole life’s a mistake. Even my blood’s a typo.
  76. – You said you’d work in my restaurant last night?
    – I said I can’t wait!
  77. Britain is so sceptical it defies belief.
  78. I just grew the perfect root vegetable. It’s a real turnip for the books.
  79. “A pox on both your houses” was a rash pronouncement.
  80. Agnosticism could be wrong, you never know.
  81. You think I’m obsessed with Bob Holness? O please!
  82. I’d like to breed racing deers. I hear you can make a fast buck.
  83. I couldn’t bare it if they outlawed nudism.
  84. My stripper name is Mobius. I NEVER show my backside.
  85. – I’m totes soz for making fun of your hearing aids…
    – Really?
    – Yeah, deffo.
  86. Just entered a yodelling competition. I’m in with a shout
  87. – How come all roads only lead to Rome?
    – Cos there’s no two-ways about It.
  88. I’ve come up with a thousand separate arguments against scholasticism. They’re a bit a-Thomistic
  89. Colonel Sanders: Chick magnate
  90. The temple drummer refused to accompany the service but I had him bang to rites.
  91. Phwoar, binary code! That’s a noughty one
  92. I’ve invented an abbreviated form of morse code – for when you just want to dash something off.
  93. Unsure about artificial intelligence? One day it’ll be make your mind up time.
  94. “Yeah, it’s called a Weep-aphone. A WEEPAPHONE for crying out loud.”
  95. Ah, the Aztec priest, there’s a man after my own heart
  96. Is it just me or is solipsism nuts?
  97. 0K magazine leaves me absolutely cold.
  98. If you like Pop, you’ll LOVE Bublé Rap
  99. They don’t like you shrinking the Pyramid of Cheops. Small wonder.
  100. I’m competing in the World Anaesthetics Championships but I reckon I’m only there to make up the numbers.

And then, my favourite kind of pun – a tortuous spoonerism – at 101.

My father quit his job cleaning Tube tracks after they asked him to double as a late-night ghost-buster. He doesn’t fluffer ghouls sadly.

Not sorry.


Tweet’ll D

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On the cross, the Father offered Christ to the world.
In the word, the Spirit offers Christ to me.

Poor? Brokenhearted? Mourning? Bound? Christ is good news, comfort, gladness, freedom, a robe of praise & righteousness #Is61 #EnjoyYourDay

Just been asked my sexuality on a form. NO idea how to answer. Going with: “Happily married to a woman, thanks for asking.”

How is God three & one? The First thing we say is “Differently. God is 1 *Being*, 3 *Persons*. Not 3 beings. Not 1 Person. No contradiction!

“Dear God, once again, I’m *really* sorry for that sin?” “What sin?” (Hebrews 10:17) #EnjoyYourDay

I Really like the English Standard Version. I just wish it used more standard English.

EG: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy” (Phil 1:3-4)


We spend our lives trying to become wise, righteous, special, free. We have it all in Jesus: 1Cor1:30 #EnjoyYourDay

Your handsome, righteous Warrior King is God from God. He’s soaked with the Spirit of Joy and He LOVES His bride: Psalm 45 #EnjoyYourDay.

A life of faith, hope and love isn’t the price of salvation, it’s the prize: yours for free in Jesus (Col 1:3-6) #EnjoyYourDay

We call it freedom when we follow our natural desires.
Ephesians 2 calls it slavery.
If that sounds paradoxical, think Addiction

Three guidelines for biblical interpretation:
1) It’s the word of *Christ*;
2) It makes wise the *simple*;
3) It’s meant to be *preached*.

“Sorry, snowed under” “I’m not a miracle worker” “I wish u hadn’t told me that”: Things u won’t hear from Jesus. #TalkToHim #EnjoyYourDay

“Who are you in the story? *Jesus* is the Good Samaritan. I’m the guy by the side of the road.” #nwunited15

Who are you in the story? *Jesus* is Joseph, the Spirit-filled ruler. I’m the brother he forgives and blesses

Who are you in the story? *Jesus* is the bold Seeker and Finder. For some reason He pursues dormant lost me as His treasure (Matt13)

It’s extremely significant that Darwin and Dawkins are good writers. Storytelling changes the world

Just imagine it: the Father selecting a sacrificial Lamb “for your sake” – His precious, eternal, spotless Son. 1Peter1:17-20 #EnjoyYourDay

The Cast of Psalms
1. The LORD
2. The Blessed Man/Anointed King
3. The righteous in Him
4. The wicked
Every Psalm’s a combination of these 4

When the Lord acts for the sake of His own name He’s saying: “I’m not saving u cos of what you’re like, I’m saving u cos of what I’m like.”

God’s glory is expressed in His utter self-giving: in eternity, in creation, in salvation. But we don’t suck that grace out of Him, it flows

Sore, Snake-bitten, Sullen? The Son of Man was lifted up for you. Look and live. John3:14f #EnjoyYourDay

#Psalm22 Christ goes to the depths of the earth so He can reach to the ends of the earth.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory. Just as there is no Son-less God, there is no Sun-less glory. God’s glory is eternal self-SHARING.

Therefore when God acts 4 His glory it’s the very opposite of self-centredness. He is determining always 2b the outgoing, radiant Self-Giver

Eph 1:18-23 – The power of His resurrection is in you, the purpose of His resurrection is for you #EnjoyYourDay

How do u picture the love that God *is*? (1Jn4:8) Not the warm fuzzies of a group hug – it’s the love that took Christ to the cross (v10)

“Whoops!” “Never thought of that!” “My hands are tied” “It’s beyond fixing” – phrases our Father never says #EnjoyYourDay

1 Peter has a verse about being prepared to speak. It has 105 verses about being prepared to suffer.

God’s love, which is completely yours in Jesus, is Forever, Fatherly and Forgiving: Psalm 103 #EnjoyYourDay

Some put their bios in the third person. Mine’s in the Second Person (Galatians 2:20)

“I’ve died and gone to heaven” – words describing a euphoric experience. Words describing every Christian. Col3:3 #EnjoyYourDay

Radical liturgists set the world to rites

I couldn’t bare it if they outlawed nudism.

Anti-nudists are so clothes-minded

The opposition to my nudism consists, largely, of vested interests.

I have an annoyingly brief argument for nudism so bare with me

My stripper name is Mobius. I NEVER show my backside.

- I’m totes soz for making fun of your hearing aids…
– Really?
– Yes, deffo.

The 9th circle of Dante’s inferno is shaped like a noose. I was puzzled, then I thought: Why the hell knot?

My wife’s family have no idea why she married me. Pity.

Probably the most helpful movie for your youth group to watch is “Dude, Where’s Micah?”

If you don’t mind I’ll call you a physicalist.

Genesis: Snakes and Ladders
Psalms: Hide and Seek

Galatians: Noughts and Crosses
1Peter: Simon Says

Joshua: Conkers
Romans: More than Conkers

Leviticus: Pass the Pigs
Jonah: Keep Away

Joel: Cricket(s)
Revelation 8: Hurling

1 Samuel 4:18 – Snap!
Matthew 28:2 – Boulderdash