Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
It's no reason for pride, that's clear. It's total grace. And yet without it, without being bathed in the plan of God, without taking time to grasp God's acted-upon will for us (as Romans 8 tells us) we rob ourselves and others of the comfort, security, refuge that the Psalmist loved to sing of. Anyway, here's the song:
From times eternal you have chosen me
Fixed by your counsel secured by your will
I see your purpose in saving me
I marvel at such undeserved mercy
No condemnation in Christ,
No separation from the love of God,
I can claim assurance tonight,
It is your work; it is your will
Your word tells me of my destiny
Planned long before my first breath
And it's destined through all history
The king of love; that he should die for me
Neither death nor life, neither depth nor height,
Can separate me from the Love of God in Christ
To know your working through everything,
That is my good, that is your will.
To make me more like Christ
To bring him glory, to be his family
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Pierced for our Transgressions, the new book on the doctrine of penal substitution from Sach, Jeffrey, and Ovey, is already out of stock at publishers IVP having only been on sale for a month. Beginning with Moses are offering a special discount on it - it will be one of those books you'll still appreciate having on your shelf in thirty years, I'm sure. If you haven't checked out the site, or you're not really sure why so much of a big fuss is being made out of what happened on the cross, then do click here. It's packed full of info, downloadable sermons, and even some free song downloads.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Tearfund said 53% of people identified themselves as Christian, compared with almost three-quarters who had in the last census in 2001. But it said that its survey indicated that three million people who had stopped going to church, or who had never been in their lives, would consider attending "given the right invitation". This could be a personal invite, the chance to accompany a relative or friend, or the offer of help during difficult personal circumstances, it said.
This is encouraging news - that both the term 'Christian' seems to be being abandoned by those who ten years ago would have used it to classify anyone white and British, and that still many are open to 'considering church'. People draw graphs and pie charts and try to work out what 'the church' will look like in 10 years, but so what? The Bible teaches and shows that God is faithful and will keep his church from falling, and then on the last day the true church will be revealed as those who are saved by the name of Jesus Christ, for 'there is salvation in no one else' (Acts 4.12).
If, as many say, it becomes increasingly harder to proclaim his name, and remain on the right side of UK law, then surely many will leave gospel-believing churches, and yet, as has always been the case, people will hear the word of life and believe, for it is God who will gather his elect. As Joel spoke of our day, 'it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'. Great hope, despite whatever trials and tribulations may - no, make that will - lie ahead.
Tearfund's president, Elaine Storkey, told BBC Radio Five Live that a lot of people would be unsure what to expect if they did visit. "The church for a lot of people is a very strange place these days. They're not familiar with what's going on inside the building, with the form of service, with the way people gather, with what they say, how they pray. "So the first thing they have really got to wake up to is that there is this big cultural gap between churched and non-churched." I've no doubt all of that is true. UK churches must seem incredibly weird to someone who hasn't grown up in that environment. Paul was concerned for the non-believer in the church gathering in 1 Cor 14, and so should we be. We should be only boasting in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; there is the foolishness.
More on the tearfund report here.