Monday, 31 August 2009

The New Concealed

'Their (the medieval monks) study of the Old Testament was closely tied to their understanding of the New, for 'the Old and the New Testament taken as a whole tell the same story of the same people of God.' If the New Testament was necessary to a proper understanding of the Old, the principle worked in reverse as well: 'truth [in the New Testament] unveils the figure [in the Old] and shows forth its meaning; once revealed, the figure in turn illuminates the Truth.' Knowing Christ meant knowing Him not only from the pages of gospels and epistles, but knowing Him as He is presented in type and shadow in the Old Testament. Studying the Old Testament was thus never merely an historical interest - never a study of 'Hebrew religion' - but a central means for growing in 'compunction,' the desire for God in Christ that was the goal of monastic life.'

(A House for My Name, p 17)

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Laziness ... too much like hard work

Laziness: identifying characteristic #6

Strange to say, laziness is tough.

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway
(Proverbs 15:19)

Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in slave labour
(Proverbs 12:24)

Proverbs teaches us that laziness is counterproductive; it does not accomplish its desired end.
(Future Men, Ch 7)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Torsa Triumphs

Congratulations Malcolm
(& Torsa!)!

Out of the bottle

Click on the image below to see Rob's 'La Tomatina' photos:

Laziness: identifying characteristic #5

Compounding (becomes worse and worse, more and more complicated and tangled)

Laziness brings on deep sleep,
and the shiftless man goes hungry.
Proverbs 19:15

The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Proverbs 13:4

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Friday, 28 August 2009

New Word Alive 2010

New Word Alive 2010
serving the church, reaching the world
13-18th April
check out the promo video here

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Rob had a photo appear briefly on the BBC website!

I worship the God of my fathers

I've just been put onto this book by Mark Driscoll on being a dad.
I have not read it yet, but I'd be suprised if it wasn't full of great insights and biblical truth.
And in any case it is only a 48 page pdf . And it is free! So not much to lose then.

HT: Pete

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

US eh?

Laziness: identifying characteristic #4

Irritating to others

As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
Proverbs 10:26

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Red with envy

All being well (?) my brother should have been doing this today.
I am looking forward to seeing his photos.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Laziness: indentifying characteristic #3

All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
The wealth of the wise is their crown,
but the folly of fools yields folly.
Proverbs 14:23-24

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Monday, 24 August 2009

Dropping clangers

'...theological writing that is not marked by love is but a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. It dishonours Christ. It does not build up the Church. It lacks the spiritual maturity and theological wisdom that expresses itself truthfully, clearly, precisely, and with a love that bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, and hopes all things. Therefore, Ecclesia Reformanda hopes to acknowledge legitimate Reformed diversity, and to serve as a forum for charitable, patient listening and debate that seeks to enable the community of God’s people to discern together the truth of God’s Word.'

I'm still reading er. What they are aiming for sounds very good, very healthy and very needed.

The Koran

I missed this Sunday Times article in which Sebastian Faulks, apparently (!) no lover of Christ, talks about his recent experience of reading the Koran.
It’s very one-dimensional, and people talk about the beauty of the Arabic and so on, but the English translation I read was, from a literary point of view, very disappointing.

There is also the barrenness of the message. I mean, there are some bits about diet, you know, the equivalent of the Old Testament, which is also crazy. But the great
thing about the Old Testament is that it does have these incredible stories. Of the 100 greatest stories ever told, 99 are probably in the Old Testament and the other is in Homer.

With the Koran there are no stories. And it has no ethical dimension like the New Testament, no new plan for life. It says ‘the Jews and the Christians were along the right tracks, but actually, they were wrong and I’m right, and if you don’t believe me, tough — you’ll burn for ever'. That’s basically the message of the book.

“Jesus, unlike Muhammad, had interesting things to say. He proposed a revolutionary way of looking at the world: love your neighbour; love your enemy; the meek shall inherit the earth. Muhammad had nothing to say to the world other than, ‘If you don’t believe in God you will burn for ever’.”

Bog standard ridicule and caricature of the OT.
But interesting to read an unbeliever's take on the Koran and praise for story!

Pause and rewind and can we see that again in slo mo.....?

'There is no single chronological order in human experience. Different people learn of events in different order, and this order may affect the significance of events for them.' (p10)

'Furthermore, control of time is an important interpretative technique in narrative. Narrators have frequently found it useful to guide readers by allowing them to anticipate certain events in advance and by encouraging them to reflect on them afterwards, thereby making possible a richer experience of these events than a strictly chronological account would provide.' (p10)

'Narrative is always selective, based on some interpretation of what is important. A completely objective chronology would not only be bound to clock time but would also have to devote equal attention to each minute of the day, which no narrator does. Nor would we listen long to such an account.' (p11)

'The narrative world which the reader must comprehend in order to appreciate the literary work does not begin with 'the days of King Herod' but stretches back at least to God's promises to Abraham.' (p18)

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Well done England!

It is normal to be perfect

Sin is a disease, for it is not essential to mankind, nor an integral part of human nature as God created it. Man was never more fully and truly man than he was before he fell; and he who is specially called 'the Son of Man' knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; yet was he perfectly man. Sin is abnormal; a sort of cancerous growth, which ought not to be within the soul. Sin is disturbing to manhood: sin unmans a man. Sin is sadly destructive to man; it takes the crown from his head, the light from his mind, and the joy from his heart.

('Healing by the Stripes of Jesus' in 12 Sermons of Comfort and Cheer by CH Spurgeon, p4)

The sun was in my eyes

Laziness: identifying characteristic #2

Making excuses (that may well appear very 'rational' to him at the time!) to put off doing what needs doing now, or to justify work not done:

The sluggard says, ‘ There is a lion outside!’
or, ‘I will be murdered in the streets!’
Proverbs 22:13

but at the end of the day....

A sluggard does not plough in season;
so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
Proverbs 20:4

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Saturday, 22 August 2009


I have just started looking at the beginning of Luke with the help of Tannehill. He says some very helpful things though it has to be said that (at the moment) I am just finding my feet in this gospel!
'The reporting of unconnected events does not make a story, for a story is more than a string of incidents. In stories of the traditional kind, events take on meaning because they reveal purposes at work and represent movements towards fulfilment of a major purpose or obstacles which block fulfilment. Luke-Acts has a unified plot because there is a unifying purpose of God behind the events which are narrated, and the mission of Jesus and his witnesses represents that purpose being carried out through human action.' (p2)

Not EVEN the NHS can help here!

1. God in Infinite Mercy, Treats Sin as a Disease

'With his stripes we are healed'

'In great mercy he looks upon us with pity, and for the while treats our ill manners as if they were diseases to be cured rather than rebellions to be punished. It is most gracious on his part to do so; for while sin is a disease, it is a great deal more. If our iniquities were the result of an unavoidable sickness, we might claim pity rather than censure; but we sin wilfully, we choose evil, we transgress in heart, and therefore
we bear a moral responsibility which makes sin an infinite evil. Our sin is our crime rather than our calamity: however, God looks at it in another way for a season.'

('Healing by the Stripes of Jesus' in 12 Sermons of Comfort and Cheer - CH Spurgeon)

Friday, 21 August 2009

On the map

The Black Country is now to be recognised on OS Maps! See here.

Laziness: identifying characteristic #1

No continuity.
A lazy boy may have bursts of activity, and he may even get something done during one of them. But he does not maintain or see it through consistently; he does not persevere.

The lazy man does not roast his game,
but the diligent man prizes his possessions.
Proverbs 12:27

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
Proverbs 19:24

(Future Men, Ch 7 )

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Decision Time

We make choices in terms of four things:
  • what we want (a scale of preferences)
  • what we have (capital)
  • how much time we think we have
  • and what we know about the relationships between them (a plan).

This decision-making procedure operates under God's sovereignty.

He, too, has a scale of preferences (cf. Micah 6:7-8), capital (including mankind), a time scale (human history), and a plan (decree).

Men choose analogous to God, as creatures. Men act re-creatively, not creatively.


Not so green as it is cabbage looking

Well, Neil might have hooked me.

Being squeamish about blood I am not keen (usually) on things entitled er. So when he recently pressed into my hands the penultimate copy of ecclesia reformanda (Vol. 1 No. 1) I wasn't sure I would like it or that Neil's hope of a new subscription flying his way would be realised.

When er came out (in April?) I was far to busy learning to be a Dad, a husband to a mum and focusing on preparations for edgehill. It was all I could do to do the things God has given me to do. I couldn't take in 'academia' as well!

I guess £15 is what you pay for theological journals but at the time it seemed a lot to me. Expensive wall paper. And I was not convinced I have the revs under the bonnet to get value out of this - would I really read and understand it?

So given that I consigned er to toilet reading.

But it may not stay that way as I am loving the editorial (you can find it here).

How often can that be said? I am finding myself repeatedly saying 'Amen!'. Which I am not prone to do.

The beginning explanation for the 'ecclesia' part of the title is superb (and is as far as I have got!! Told you those revs are small.):

All true theology is Church theology, conducted by the community of God’s people, to serve the community of God’s people, in the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God in Christ. This is not to despise academic theology, but simply to locate it properly in the service of the Church. Ecclesia Reformanda therefore exists to serve the Church, primarily by serving pastors, theological students, and those who train them. Although the journal will seek to advance theological knowledge, and so contribute to academic theology, the primary goal is to equip pastors and teachers in the Church to discharge their ministries more fruitfully and faithfully. Our intention is thus unashamedly pastoral.

However, the editorial board is united by a conviction that to be truly pastoral it is necessary to be deeply theological. The Church, founded on the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself being the Cornerstone, grows to maturity through the equipping ministry of the ascended Christ’s gift of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers (Eph. 2:20; 4:11-12). These pastor-teachers are to be approved workmen, rightly handling the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). They must be those who hold fast to the trustworthy message, encouraging others by healthy doctrine, and refuting those who oppose it (Tit. 1:9). And they are to make progress in doctrine as well as in life (1 Tim. 4:15-16). Pastors must, therefore, also aspire to be theologians, precisely so that they may be better pastors.

May the Lord help them to keep their priority in this great goal (para 1)!

And boy do I need help with all that para 2 speaks of!

So I am going to read on. In the odd moment here and there!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Comin' at ya!

My object is very simple...

'I would come to the text, and I would come at you.'

'May the Holy Spirit give me power to do both to the glory of God!'

('Healing by the Stripes of Jesus' in 12 Sermons of Comfort and Cheer - CH Spurgeon)

Did you hear about ....?

He who winks maliciously causes grief
and a chattering fool comes to ruin.
Proverbs 10v10

A poor example?

(continued notes of things that grabbed me from Doug Wilson's excellent little book, 'Future Men')
A boy who learns to settle into his laziness is being prepared by his parents for a life of frustration.
The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied
Proverbs 13:4
God does not just promise poverty to this young man; He promises that it will come upon him like a thug with a gun. In the good providence of God, the lazy man is not going to be treated with tenderness. Parents who allow this pattern to develop while their son is under their oversight are asking the providential hand of God to work him over with a baseball bat.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest
-- and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:6-11

As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him. Proverbs 10:26

Parents who rob their sons of a work ethic also have taken from him one of this life’s most precious gifts – sabbath rest.

I went past the field of the sluggard,
past the vineyard of the
man who lacks judgment;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest--
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:30-34

The results of laziness are obvious for all to see and they should be pointed out.

Diligent parents use lazy boys in the community as a negative object lesson, and they labor to keep their own sons from being used by other parents the same way.

So much of this runs contrary to the way the carnal mind thinks we might come to believe it is impossible. And it is impossible, apart from the gospel of Christ. This is why the discipline of work should be imparted to a boy along with careful teaching on the meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ. This is because the foundation of a biblical work ethic is a biblical grace ethic.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Happy Holiday Memories


A boy (needs to) distinguish between the ever popular notions of
self-esteem, and the biblical concept of self-respect.

Self-esteem is found in Galatians 6:3 ‘For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.’ A boy lounging on a soft couch can fancy himself quite the working man.

But self-respect is found in the next verse. ‘But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden’ (6:4-5).

Work should not just be done, it should be proven, tested. And when it is, a boy learns the deep and godly satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Monday, 17 August 2009


Taking one thing with another, boys tend to be lazy.
This means that one of the central duties parents have with regard to their boys is the duty of teaching and instilling what used to be called a 'work ethic'.

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during
harvest is a disgraceful son.
Proverbs 10:5

Disgraceful to who?
Here is the hit! To the parents whose responsibility it is to teach the lessons of work.

(Future Men, Ch 7)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

More fun to watch

My bro has turned what must have been a long and in many ways boring event into a thing of beauty and wonder!

Monday, 3 August 2009

In a cold climate

I missed this while away. Thanks to Marc for pointing me to it. We did indeed have lots of fun. In a world where God has made bacon taste so good, his gospel so joyous and clowns with Russian accents so funny how could we not?

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Getting in the mood to take the 'wee bairn' across the border!

The Song of the Clyde

I sing of a river I'm happy beside
The song that I sing is a song of the Clyde
Of all Scottish rivers it’s dearest to me
It flows from Leadhills all the way to the sea
It borders the orchards of Lanark so fair
Meanders through meadows with sheep grazing there
But from Glasgow to Greenock, in towns on each side
The hammers ding-dong is the song of the Clyde

Oh the river Clyde, the wonderful Clyde
The name of it thrills me and fills me with pride
And I'm satisfied whate'er may betide
The sweetest of songs is the song of the Clyde

Imagine we’ve left Craigendoran behind
And wind-happy yachts by Kilcreggan we find
At Kirn and Dunoon and Innellan we stay
Then Scotland’s Madeira that’s Rothesay, they say
Or maybe by Fairlie and Largs we will go
Or over to Millport that thrills people so
Mavbe joumey to Arran it can't be denied
Those scenes all belong to the song of the Clyde

When sun sets on dockland, there’s beauty to see
The cry of a seabird is music to me
The blast of a horn loudly echoes, and then
A stillness descends on the water again
Tis’ here that the sea-going liners are born
But, unlike the salmon, they seldom return
Can you wonder the Scots o’er the ocean so wide
Should constantly long for the song of the Clyde


Optional "patter" verses to the lyrics for the "Song of the Clyde". These verses were included by Kenneth McKellar in his version of the song, and are as follows:

There's Paw an' Maw at Glasgow Broomielaw.
Goin' "doon the water" for "The Fair."
There's Bob an' Mary, on the Govan Ferry,
Wishin' jet propulsion could be there.
There's steamers cruisin', and there's "buddies" snoozin',
And there's laddies fishin' frae the pier;
An' Paw's perspirin', very near expirin',
As he rows a boat frae there to here.
With eyes a-flashin', it is voted "smashin",
To be walkin' daily on the prom:
May and Evelyn are in seventh heaven
As thy stroll along with Dick and Tom;
And Dumbarton Rock to ev'ry Jean and Jock,
Extends a welcome that is high and wide:
Seems to know that they are on their homeward way To hear the song of the Clyde."

Back from Camp!

What a great week!
Seeing Jesus more clearly from Luke
Knowing God better from Genesis
Clowning around
and Hockings didn't disappoint either!