Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remember, Remember...

They say an elephant never forgets, and I've not got much evidence to prove them wrong, but one thing I do know is that it is
very easy for a Christian to forget.

I was chatting with some mates over lunch last Sunday. They were girly types, let me say by that I mean they were actually girls, and being girls some of them kept 'memory boxes', aka shoeboxes (or in one case a suitcase!) full of bits and pieces from their life to date. Now I'm not against tucking away the odd ticket or wedding programme to remind me of good times, but these guys had taken that to the extreme: school shoes, drawings, journals, you name it they stored it in their attic. The difference between them was that one of them had been advised by an older friend to get rid of all that stuff on the basis that 'its all gonna burn', whereas the other one was all for keeping items that pointed her back to moments of knowing God's goodness.

As part of our training on the Associate Scheme we've been reading through the Old Testament, and it's been pretty striking how regularly Israel is called upon to 'remember', or worse still are rebuked for 'forgetting'. The big event that they often seem to forget is how God rescued them from Egypt, an event that completely defines them as a people. But more than that, it seems the idea of remembering God's work in their lives is engrained into the very being of their world. Joshua is told to build a pile of stones to remind Israel of God's provision in crossing a river, and even the very naming of places and people seems to promote a constant looking back to God's activity in their history.

Now, I see that as you move forward to the NT you see the apostles constantly drawing us back to the cross of Jesus as the defining moment in history where God rescued his people. But my question is whether we're still pretty poor at recalling God's 'everyday' grace in our lives, and not just last week's blessings but that moment 20 years ago too.

To caveat all that, I guess we wanna be protective against the danger of not spotlighting the ultimate moment where we were united to Christ as we repented and believed. And we wanna have a good biblical theology that understands how God blesses his people, i.e. we don't wanna promote a drift into the stuff of the prosperity gospel.

But if we truly believe 'it's all by grace', then wouldn't we be able to look back at our lives and be able to say exactly
that, rather than in a general vague sense? To look back on answered prayers, particular moments when it was hard to trust God but we kept on anyway, times where rejoicing in suffering was a very real experience, the surprising joy of unexpected provision, God's sovereign hand in bringing together certain events, incidents where we could really testify to the beauty of the church working to care for its members.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Truth Claims are banned???

Halfway through the KCLMS CU's week of events, and we're facing upto having been told by college authorities to change the name of our lunchtime talks on all publicity, so that they
no longer make truth claims.

It strikes us all as a little odd that a truth claim can be so threatening that a univeristy society made up of around forty students in a college full of thousands is required to turn objective statements to fence-sitting questions.

It was nearly two years ago now, but this letter from Richard Cunningham, Director of UCCF, to the Guardian newspaper, is well worth a read on the importance of freedom of speech meaning exactly that, whether your chosen belief is a subjective haphazard approach to the world or whether you have an actual opinion. All the more stunning given we're dealing with the context of the university.

Monday, November 10, 2008


A not even vaguely original idea from Bish and Ed, but still a good way of learning to count my blessings and give Him due praise! Seven blessings from the last seven days.

1. Dialogue Suppers: Really good times with Marcus, Nat, Matt & Josh. Stereotypes broken down. Christians getting together to put on events. Fajitas. Being forced to think.
2. Housetime: Time with the boys. And a few hours spent painting a seven metre long banner, all in the name of...
3. ...Marriage: Joel got down on one knee to ask Naomi to marry him. She said yes! And our 'Will you marry me?' banner got unfurled along the cliffs of the Kent coast. A pleasure to see mates meet and plan to marry.
4. Romans 3.21-26: Time to sit down with the guys at RML and see Jesus' cross in all its glory - the perfect solution to a massive problem. God Propitiated. I'm Redeemed and Justified.
5. Being at Home: Good to get the train up to Wirral, chill out and see the folks and be together, as well as missed merciless banter with JR and Conners.
6. Real Ale and a good chat: Talking through the challenges and opportunites of being a Christian in the workplace over a sweet pint with Phil. Is there a better way to end a busy day?
7. The Essential Mix: the clue was in the name. Lots of Bond-related banter, tourist-manipulating missions, and a brilliant time with Gwilym Davies getting us to think about what it means for us to be God's new creation people.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wise Thoughts for a Busy Week...

'The great cheat by means of which the devil and antichrist delude the world, is to make them continue in the form of any duty, the form of preaching, or hearing, or of praying. These are they that have 'a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof; from such turn away' (2 Tim 3.5).'

John Bunyan, Praying in the Spirit