Monthly Archives: March 2006

Quote Of The Day: Oswald Chambers

From Valuing the ordinary – an extract from Vicky Calver’s book Illusions Of Grandeur comes this quote from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest (October 21st reading):

We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises – human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.

It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people – and this is not learned in five minutes.

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Quote Of The Day: Oswald Chambers

From Valuing the ordinary – an extract from Vicky Calver’s book Illusions Of Grandeur comes this quote from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest (October 21st reading):

We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises – human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.

It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people – and this is not learned in five minutes.

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Science And The Bible

The Evangelical Alliance have reprinted in two parts (here and here) a lecture by Ernest Lucas on Science and the Bible, with particular reference to the first creation story in Genesis. He deploys Augustine, Calvin and Galileo against both Richard Dawkins and creationist fundamentalists. Well worth reading.

(You may need to sign up to the EA’s Leaders-Digest to access the site.)

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Miroslav Volf, Free Of Charge, chapter 4

Continuing my weekly reflections from my Lent groups that are studying this book:

I think the common feeling from last night’s discussion is, he could have said it so much more simply. Due to the late arrival of our book order, yesterday evening was the first session where the group had been able to read the chapter ahead of the meeting. Although how many completed the chapter is a debatable point. It certainly seemed to them and to me that this is not written at as popular a level as you might expect for an Archbishop’s official Lent Book. Even I had to re-read one or two sections to grasp what Volf was saying, and I have two theology degrees.

Essentially the message was an orthodox Christian view of forgiveness via atonement, holding onto substitutionary atonement and satisfaction while not divorcing the Father from the Son. But the use of technical theological language didn’t help. The good thing fo me was I had to be on my mettle to find easy ways to explain substition, satisfaction, untion with Christ and imputation. I think people understood my explanations. My concern is how daunted or discouraged the group will be for the final two weeks.

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Jesus Changes Name

Give yourself a Monday laugh and read this:

Offbeat News :: Jesus changes name

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Is it biblical to speak of a ‘personal relationship with Jesus’?

Challenging article here:

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Pimping Jesus 2: Is the language of “a personal relationship” biblical?

Not quite sure what I think of this on a first read – it has implications for all the ‘intimacy’ language so beloved of the Vineyard movement and others, some of which is based on a dodgy reading of the Song Of Songs.

But I suspect the article is a hyperbolic over-statement in some respects: it’s not entirely fair to speak of the ‘absence of Jesus’ in the light of the Pentecost, for example. The silence of Jesus, maybe. Which is not to say I disagree completely with the call to recover the language of lament from the Psalter. The writer is making an important point, but maybe the pendulum has swung too far.

What do you think?

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Is it biblical to speak of a ‘personal relationship with Jesus’?

Challenging article here:

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Pimping Jesus 2: Is the language of “a personal relationship” biblical?

Not quite sure what I think of this on a first read – it has implications for all the ‘intimacy’ language so beloved of the Vineyard movement and others, some of which is based on a dodgy reading of the Song Of Songs.

But I suspect the article is a hyperbolic over-statement in some respects: it’s not entirely fair to speak of the ‘absence of Jesus’ in the light of the Pentecost, for example. The silence of Jesus, maybe. Which is not to say I disagree completely with the call to recover the language of lament from the Psalter. The writer is making an important point, but maybe the pendulum has swung too far.

What do you think?

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Forgiveness: Lesley Bilinda

I’ve just received this email and am happy to publicise it:

Hi,
Came
across your blog the other day, and noted that you quoted from the Sunday Times
article on forgiveness. 
You may be interested to know that the DVD featuring Lesley Bilinda’s
story – Hunting My Husband’s Killers – is now available. It follows her story,
as she returns to Rwanda 10 years after the death of her husband in the
genocide, to try and find and forgive the killers of her husband. The DVD has a
number of extras, including short scene extracts with discussion points to get
groups (such as church housegroups etc) talking about issues of forgiveness, a
response to genocide and the church’s involvement in the
atrocities.
Feel free to pass this link on!
Warm regards
phil knox

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Miroslav Volf, Free Of Charge, chapter 3

Tonight was full of ‘aha’ moments. Two in particular: firstly Volf’s treatment of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2 and 3. His idea that the withholding of the fruit is actually a sacrament of giving, because it reminds us that all things are from God was felt to be like switching a light on a difficult text.

And when he discussed the sins behind the reluctance to give, selfishness and pride came as no surprise. Indeed they came up in our discussion before I introduced his teaching. But sloth – that one hit us. And it made perfect sense. We wondered why we hadn’t seen it before. It was terrific also to connect the work of the Spirit in several ways with the conquest of sloth.

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Miroslav Volf, Free Of Charge, chapter 2

Second meeting of the Lent group tonight. Big question from the group: if God is so generous in his giving, does Volf adequately deal with the problem of suffering? Not that we expect complete answers, but we wondered how Christians in the developing world might read his eulogy to God’s generous giving. Granted, he has all the stuff about how God sometimes gives through others in order that they may learn how to give – you might invoke that a little bit – but the issue wasn’t directly addressed and needed to be.

Big plus point to this chapter: near the end where he talks about how giving equalises between giver and receiver, as opposed to the way our culture elevates the giver and humiliates the receiver. We thought of TV telethons – Children In Need, Comic Relief, etc, where organisations proudly parade their giving. Yet as Volf points out, Christ who was rich became poor for our sake so that we in our poverty might become rich (and not in the prosperity gospel heresy sense of this verse).

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