Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

On the Bible

Believing the Bible is not always the easiest or most popular thing to defend. There are many things that God asks us to believe that are not really logical contradictions but are mysteries or paradoxes, matters that we cannot fully explain. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity, or the hypostatic union of Christ (the union of Christ’s human and divine natures in one person), or God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, are doctrines that fall in this category. Why can we not explain fully what the Trinity is like? It is because there is nothing in all creation that is exactly like the Trinity! There is no other being that consists of three distinct persons, with each person possessing the whole of that being in himself, and yet the three together are only one being, not three. How can this be? It is not a contradiction, but it is a mystery beyond our comprehension.

And then there are other doctrines in which God does not ask us to approve something that is evil or wrong, but asks us to believe things that are emotionally hard for us to receive, at least in this age. Such doctrines include the doctrine of hell (with the eternal conscious punishment of the wicked), and the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in relationship to evil, for example.

In these matters that are not easy to defend, and in many more, the question is, will we believe them, not because we can explain them fully, and not because we enjoy them and take delight in them in our present state of understanding, but simply because God’s Word teaches them and we submit to his Word?

Wayne Grudem, in his chapter in Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Matthew Henry

Note, When wickedness has become general and universal ruin is not far off; while there is a remnant of praying people in a nation, to empty the measure as it fills, judgements may be kept off a great while; but when all hands are at work to pull down the fences by sin, and none stand in the gap to make up the breach, what can be expected but an inundation of wrath?
From his commentary on the whole Bible, Genesis 6:11-12.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Reformation or Revival?

I’ve recently been thinking a bit about the differences between reformation and revival. How are they similar, how are they different, and what one do we want, and why?

I see reformation as being based entirely on the Scriptures. What do they say? How are we basing every aspect of our lives on the Bible? It’s about taking the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture seriously. It’s about renewing our minds to think God’s thoughts after Him.

I see revival is about getting excited for God. It’s about feeling the emotions of God. It’s about fervour.

It’s so interesting to see who wants which one. My church wants revival. We call out in services for revival; have prayer meetings for revival. And reformation is never mentioned.

And many of the people I read and listen to are the other way around. They call for reformation, not revival.

I worry a little about revival. I know part of that is about the fact that I don’t fully trust God. But emotions that are not based squarely on the Scriptures are prone to going off on dangerous tangents. I’ve been burned enough times by people telling me that I lack faith because I haven’t been instantly healed (etc) to know the potential bad results of revival that isn’t based on the Scriptures. And when we live in a time of complete Biblical illiteracy, revival apart from the Scriptures is a real possibility.

On the other hand, reformation can easily become over intellectual, set apart from everyday life. It can end up in the kind of scholastic dialogue that argues over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (which actually is an interesting discussion over the nature of the metaphysical nature of spiritual beings, but you get my point).
So, I suppose the question is, what are you praying for? Reformation or revival? I think I need to be praying for both.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Building the Blocks

I read the other day that "more money is spent each year on chewing gum than on world missions."

Think about that for a minute..

We spend more on something we put in our mouths, chew for a while and spit out- than we do on bringing Jesus to those who need Him as much as we do.

"So because you are lukewarm- neither hot or cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelations 3:16

Do you know what breaks my heart about this the most? How many of you have ever stepped into a wad of chewing gum that someone carelessly spit out- not once caring about the person who would come along and step it in? Isn't that in essence the same thing we do to kids like Norma...

From this post at Building the Blocks

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Acts 22

For you will be a witness for Him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. (verse 15)

God has orchestrated every detail of our lives, preparing us to be witnesses to His glory. Things we would far rather never to have happened turn out to be instrumental in His plan to glorify His name amongst the nations.

How terribly comforting this is! Paul’s previous persecution of the church served to demonstrate the human impossibility of his conversion. While he knew that his were immeasurably great, he did not despair, but instead used them to point to the incredible mercies of our Saviour.

This is the attitude that I need to have. I am a sinner – such a sinner! But what Jesus saved me from is my testimony. It is what God uses to have me witness about Him to the ends of the world. And while there are so many aspects of my past life, especially before I became a Christian, that give me pain, God takes each one and transforms it for His glory. What an incredibly gracious God we serve!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

John Piper on Martyrdom

How likely is the crisis of martyrdom today? Perhaps a better question is: How important is martyrdom today? How impor¬tant is suffering for the sake of taking the gospel to the nations? George Otis Jr. shocked many at the Second Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Manila in 1989 when he asked, “Is our failure to thrive in Muslim countries owing to the absence of martyrs? Can a covert church grow in strength? Does a young church need martyr models?”

From his book Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ

Monday, 19 September 2011

Acts 20

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received for the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (verse 23)

Paul did not shrink from the possibility of martyrdom. He knew that that was what Jesus had ordained for him. His one desire was to glorify God in each small act. That he would be willing to lay his life down every day in countless small ways, until the day when he would be asked to give up his life to the glory of God.

What a contrast for us now days – me especially! I shrink from even those small daily acts of surrender that glorify God, like speaking sweetly, or offering to do something extra to help someone out, or keeping patient even when those around me are testing my patience to breaking point.

We prepare for martyrdom in the little things – the little self-sacrifices that no one but us and Jesus notice. We need to embrace them as Jesus embraced His cross; to run towards them as Paul ran towards his martyrdom. A seed needs to be willing to die in order to bring forth new life. We need to be willing to die, too, and die every day, in order to bring forth a harvest of souls that will praise God for all eternity.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Every ideology is about having dominion. The only question is…which ideology’s dominion places Christ where He belongs (He is, after all, the Author and Creator of the universe…does that count for anything?) and results in liberty and justice for the human race? Which ideology brings about the establishment of true order, civilization, and rational thinking? Which ideology can be proven by empirical evidence, logic, and rationality? Which ideology is TRUE?

And that is the crux of it all.


Dominion Theology was the widely held belief of the Church for 2,000 years. It was one of those “no-brainers” for the Reformers and the Puritans. I mention those two groups in particular because they are two of the most intelligent, studious, and influential groups that have risen in the history of the Church. They studied their Bibles, wrote prolifically, and lived out the Word of God in every facet of life. They are the founders of the most blessed and free nation in the world. Really…giants in history. Perfect? Of course not, but nevertheless, examples for us to consider as we compare our own modern version of the Christian life to their ardent pursuit of God in all things.

From this article at Visionary Womanhood.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Head Coverings part 2

The first thing I noticed about wearing a head covering was that I prayed more. Not in more depth, but more frequently. I would feel it move a bit on my head, or see a reflection in the mirror, and I would be reminded that I was to pray continually. So I would offer up a prayer to God, and keep praying until I got distracted (which is disturbingly quickly). I made a real effort to make these prayers selfless prayers – most of them have been for orphans and nations that have a large orphan population in them. And while I might not ‘feel’ like my prayer life is that much greater, I am seeing results, simply from this slightly more frequent prayer!

The second thing I noticed was along similar lines. I am now much more conscious of the kind of witness I am to the world around me. And while I’ve already been mistaken for someone of another religious faith, the fact of the matter is that I am now pretty much instantly recognisable as “religious”, even if not necessarily instantly identifiable as Christian. It has changed my behaviour a little – I make more effort to be polite and let other people go first (etc) in queues. I’m not perfect though – I took the head covering off for 10 minutes while I went into a bottle store to get some champagne!

The next thing that I noticed was just how vain I am. I’m really, really, REALLY vain. I have been so tempted to take my head covering off because I don’t look as pretty with it on. And just writing that fact horrifies me! To do something disobedient to the Lord because then my appearance will be nicer? Even if it is an extremely minor thing (which head coverings is – our salvation certainly does not rest on something like that) this is still horrifying! As someone who always thought of themselves as being someone who took all aspects of Scripture seriously once I understood them, this was a real eye-opener for me. Am I really that shallow? Basically, yes, I am.

Which leads to the next point. I always thought of myself as the kind of person who took Scripture seriously. Someone who was a Berean, who searched the Scriptures myself and formed my own opinion as to what the contents said. After all, I’m a Calvinist who goes to church with a bunch of Arminians. I’m a quiverful Christian. I believe that adoption is awesome. And I believe all these things in spite of facing lots of opposition from those around me about these views.

But wearing a head covering showed me that this is NOT the case. I kept on thinking… wow… this family doesn’t have their family wear head coverings, and they are a really godly family. Much more than me. And so-and-so doesn’t. Nor does such and such. Maybe I’m wrong. They can’t be wrong. They’ve had more experience in this than me. Maybe I should just go along with what they are doing… after all, they are godly women.

The thing is, I can’t imagine any of these women telling me that I should copy them over what I believe God has said in His Word. They might (indeed, they evidentially do, or else their heads would be covered) disagree about my interpretation, but they would all encourage me to follow God’s Word as my standard, not their lives.

Wearing a head covering has really uncovered a lot of self-centredness and pride in my life, even though I’ve only been wearing one for a little over 2 weeks at the time of writing this. (Posting will come out at a later date, if you’re a friend who is tallying up dates.) It needed to be uncovered, and I need to work on these issues – and no doubt more, which will appear as time goes on. But I am so very thankful to the Lord for revealing these serious character flaws in myself, using such a little thing as a small bit of material.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

English Standard Version (ESV)

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Head Coverings

When I was a baby Christian, first reading the New Testament for the first time, I noticed in 1 Corinthians 11 that it calls for women to wear head coverings while praying or prophesying. I thought of the few Christian women I knew – none of them wore a head covering. I decided that I was probably reading the passage wrong – after all, I was a baby Christian, and these people had been Christians for a long time. So I put the passage aside.

The next time I read the passage I was part of a local church. (I moved about 2 weeks after becoming a Christian, and spent the first few months of my Christian walk unchurched and not in contact with any older Christians.) The passage still seemed to speak of wearing a head covering for prayer and prophesying. So I asked, and was told that that was a cultural phenomenon, strictly for the Corinthian church within the area so as not to offend unbelievers. I thought about it, and assumed that these people really had done more study on the subject than me, so until I had thought it out I’d go with their view. And each time I read 1 Corinthians 11, that is what I thought. It still didn’t make sense to me, but I was willing to let it go.

Recently I was reading a John Piper / Wayne Grudrem book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. One of the contributors was going through that very argument. And I got to the end or the argument and thought, “That just doesn’t make sense. There is nothing in the passage that argues that it is a cultural norm and not a Biblical one. Indeed, the passage implies that it is a Biblical norm.” So I got out every Bible version I had, and read each and every translation. My conclusion was that I needed to be wearing a head covering for church and prayer.

I went out and bought some very basic head coverings, and wore them that night to a prayer meeting. No one said anything, or even noticed. During prayer, God reminded me that we are to pray continually, without ceasing. So I decided that I would wear a head covering throughout the day. I thought, based on the non-event of wearing a head covering to one church event that this would be simultaneously easy and yet would have me grow closer to God through my obedience. Well, the second of those was right. But as for the first one… it’s easy to put the head covering on, but keeping it on… that’s another story…

To be continued…

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

John Piper

Christ has prepared a love offering for the world by suffering and dying for sinners. It is full and lacking in nothing—except one thing, a personal presentation by Christ himself to the nations of the world. God’s answer to this lack is to call the people of Christ (people like Paul) to make a personal presentation of the afflictions of Christ to the world.
From his book Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ

Monday, 12 September 2011

Acts 19

And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying gods made with hands are not gods. (verse 26)

It’s interesting how often it is that the non-Christians who see that the gospel will completely transform their area. They know that Christ transforms – they just don’t like it. Demetrius the silversmith knows the effect that Christianity will have if it continues in his city – it will result in people putting away their idols, turning from the false goddess Artemis, and living lives of purity. He knows this, and he hates it, and so he stirs up as much trouble as he can for those who follow Christ.

If only Christians would see this! We are called to transform the whole world for Christ, not to stay inside our churches and do nothing while the world goes to hell. We need to be out there, making a difference by being radiant lights for Christ; ministering to the poor, caring for the orphan, and doing all the good we can.

When we do this, we will face opposition. The world does not oppose Christians who are exactly like themselves. It does not need to. It opposes those who are glorifying Christ. So don’t see opposition as a sign of failure, but of success! We can transform the world for Christ, through Christ, with Christ, and for His glory!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

John Piper on Martyrdom

Each year David Barrett, Todd Johnson, and Peter Crossing publish their annual “Status of Global Mission, Presence, and Activities, AD 1800-2025.” One of the most sobering items in this seventy-nine-item report is called “Average Christian Martyrs per Year.” The global number for 2008 was 175,000. That’s 479 Christians every day who lost their lives as a result of being a Christian.
From his book Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Acts 17

And Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus. (verse 7)

It was rare to be persecuted for being a Christian. No, you were persecuted for being a Christian and nothing else, for having no king but Jesus, for believing that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Believing that Jesus is higher than Caesar is what got most Christians into trouble.

It is the same today. Christians are relatively safe as long as they are not exclusive. Jesus can be their God, but we mustn’t stop others from having their own gods. We mustn’t proclaim God’s standards; they are to ‘intolerant’. Sadly, much of the Christian church has succumbed to the world’s standards. I’ve sat in sermons where the preacher has declared that the phrase “I am the way, the truth and the life, and nobody comes to the Father except through me” is just for Christians. Churches are splitting over whether practising homosexuals can be ministers. Purity is laughed at. We must be like the world in order to escape being persecuted.

This is not the way! Rejoice in your sufferings, for in suffering, even in small amounts, we show our Saviour to be worthy, to be the only one worth living and dying for. When we suffer for His sake we demonstrate to the world a small portion of just how great He truly is.

Friday, 9 September 2011

John Piper

More and more I am persuaded from Scripture and from the his¬tory of missions that God’s design for the evangelization of the world and the consummation of his purposes includes the suffer¬ing of his ministers and missionaries. To put it more plainly and specifically, God designs that the suffering of his ambassadors is one essential means in the triumphant spread of the Good News among all the peoples of the world.

I am saying more than the obvious fact that suffering is a result of faithful obedience in spreading the gospel. That is true. Jesus said suffering will result from this faithfulness. “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). I am saying that this suffering is part of God’s strategy for making known to the world who Christ is, how he loves, and how much he is worth.
This is both frightening and encouraging. It frightens us because we know that we may very likely be called to suffer in some way in order to get the breakthrough we long to see in a hard frontline missions situation. But it also encourages us because we can know that our suffering is not in vain and that the very pain that tends to dishearten us is the path to triumph, even when we can’t see it. Many have gone before us on the Calvary Road of suffering and proved by their perseverance that fruit fol¬lows the death of humble seeds.

From his book Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Acts 14

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and poisoned their minds against the brothers. SO they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord. (verses 2 and 3a)

Those who did not believe did all they could in their power to hinder the spread of the Gospel. They poisoned the minds of those who had not yet heard, and worked their way up to the process of stoning Paul and Barnabas.

In the world’s eyes this means that the spread of the gospel would be slowed, maybe stopped completely. But in God’s eyes it meant a greater power to preach, a greater witness, and a statement greater than any with words – that Christ is better than prosperity, better than respect, better than life.

Which eyes do we choose to see from?

I am aiming to see from Christ’s prospective. His glory is all that matters. I am slowly becoming more and more willing to become a fool for Christ, knowing that when I demonstrate that He is worthy, most worthy, with all my life, I will be a light unto the world, and that my light will burn in brighter contrast when the world in all its darkness stands against me as I stand for Him.

His glory alone matters.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

From The Saint’s Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter

A heavenly mind is also fortified against temptations, because the affections are thoroughly prepossessed with the high delights of another world. He that loves most, and not he that only knows most, will most easily resist the motions of sin. The will doth as sweetly relish goodness as the understanding doth truth; and here lies much of a Christian's strength. When thou hast had a fresh, delightful taste of heaven, thou wilt not be so easily persuaded from it. You cannot persuade a child to part with his sweetmeats while the taste is in his mouth. O that you would be much in feeding on the hidden manna, and frequently tasting the delights of heaven! How would this confirm thy resolutions, and make thee despise the fooleries of the world, and scorn to be cheated with such childish toys.
Chapter 11

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Acts 13

For so the Lord has commanded us, saying “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (verse 47)

We are saved, but we are saved unto a purpose. That purpose is to be a light for all, especially those who have not heard the Good News of the Gospel. God had made us for that purpose. He has commanded us.

And yet how few Christians are light! How few of us (myself included!) demonstrate God’s love, God’s holiness, God’s glory, where we are, where most have heard the Gospel, even if they have not accepted it. Instead we cover our light, trying to make ourselves as much like the darkness as possible. We end up looking just like the world. And then the world will never come, not if they are relying on our witness. (Thank God that the Holy Spirit draws many in spite of us!)

We are such a witness at home, and no witness abroad. We not only cover our light, but we refuse to carry God’s salvation to the ends of the earth, even though that is God’s command. We need to snap out of it. I need to snap out of it, and get going with God’s plan of being a light unto the world.

Monday, 5 September 2011

AW Pink

The new birth is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears due to a temporaryremorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits andthe substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practising ofnoble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by thehand, signing a pledge-card, or "joining the church." The new birth is no mere turning over a newleaf but is the inception and reception of a new life. It is no mere reformation but a completetransformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting.

From The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Acts 12

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (verse 5)

The church did not bother with petitions, or “Free Peter” campaigns. They did not send people to ‘case out the joint’ and make plans to bust Peter out of prison. They did not bribe officials. They did not protest outside the building, blocking off traffic. Nope. They called a prayer meeting.

It isn’t bad to make plans, or to sign petitions for the release of prisoners, or any such thing. But it is bad if we fail to pray. For it is when we pray that God chooses to act on our behalf, and His ways of getting things done is remarkably efficient. I mean, how many of us could bring Peter out of the jail, removing his chains, bringing him past the armed guards, causing gates to open without keys or doormen, and after dark, when gates were typically bolted firmly shut? I know I could never do it. I don’t think a single person could, however adept at escapes they are. But God can. And God delights to answer the prayers of His children.

I know that I need to spend more time in prayer, diligently seeking for the things that are important to me. God delights to answer! And His answers are always more than I can hope or dream of.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Horn of Africa

This isn't a Christian organisation, but there are lots that you can be donating to (Feed the Hungry, World Vision, Compassion, etc). Let's act in order to save lives!

Friday, 2 September 2011

From The Family by J.R. Miller

Nothing in the home life needs to be more carefully watched and more diligently cultivated that the conversation. It should be imbued with the spirit of love. No bitter word should ever be spoken. The language of husband and wife in their intercourse together should always be tender. Anger in word, or even in tone, should never be suffered. Chiding and faultfinding should never be permitted to mar the sacredness of their speech. The warmth and tenderness of their hearts should flow out in every word that they utter to each other. As parents, too, in their intercourse with their children, they should never speak save in words of Christlike gentleness. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that children’s lives can grow up into beauty in an atmosphere of strife. Harsh, angry words are to their sensitive souls what frost is to the flowers. To bring them up in the nurture of the Lord is to bring them up as Christ himself would, and surely that would be with infinite gentleness. The blessed influence of loving speech, day after day and month after month, it is impossible to estimate. It is like the falling of warm spring sunshine and rain on the garden, causing lovely flowers to spring up in every nook and corner, and filling all the air with sweet fragrance. Only beauty and gentleness of character can come from such a home.

From chapter 7, “The Home Life”.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ezekiel 16:49

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, and excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”

When we think of the sins of Sodom, we tend to think of the overt s*xuel sins that that nation indulged in. After all, one such sin is named after the city. But they weren’t the big things for God. The big thing was their self-centredness. They had no concern for God (being proud, no doubt claiming how they were self-made men) and their using all of their wealth on their own pleasures.

Whenever I read this I think of the modern Western church. It regularly amazes me at how selfish we are, how much we spend on ourselves. I get told again and again how “generous” I am for giving so much. And I look at the amount I spend on myself and I see how truly selfish I am. Yet I do give more than the average person, while doing it on a part-time childcare salary. I look at others and wonder how they can’t see their incredible ignorance. How can they be content to eat out every day when they could be making sure that someone can actually eat that day? How can they be content stuffing their houses with more and more material “treasures” when their treasure vault in heaven has only a few moth-eaten rags in it?

It’s so easy to look at what others are (not) doing and think about how much more I am doing. But that is not God’s standard. God’s standard is loving Him with all my heart, mind and strength and loving my neighbour as myself.

Let us all look at our lives and see if this verse is true of us, if God would condemn us for enjoying luxury when we could be helping others. Are we really any better than Sodom? Or do we simply have better technology, cleaner moral living and more accurate theology?