Friday, 14 June 2013

Radio 4 Minutes

(Radio) 4 minutes of comic genius. Enjoy. 

Gospel perspective adjustment

Here's a perspective on life not often heard (I expect) in the Scottish Parliament:



And here is another perspective: 
“Let me entreat you to be far from the thoughts of leaving this land. I see it, and find it, that the Lord hath covered the whole land with a cloud in his anger; but though I have been tempted to the like, I had rather be in Scotland beside angry Jesus Christ, knowing He mindeth no evil to us, than in any Eden or garden on the earth.” [Samuel Rutherford]
More strong words from a Scot who was entranced by the person, the works and the promises of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Lions Down Under

Looks like this must have been a load of fun to film:

How could they do that to a baby?


That is what people are saying after a newborn baby boy in China seems to have been flushed down a public toilet. 'How could the parents do that to a baby?'

But we should know exactly how they can do that to a baby. We are doing worse, not in extremely rare cases, but to a fifth of babies here in the UK:
In 1967, the Abortion Act came into force, resulting in a huge surge in the number of abortions performed in the UK. The ratio of abortions to life births increased from 1 in 46 in 1966 to 1 in 3.8 in 2010. That's right, for every four children that make it as far as the delivery room, one was deliberately killed in the womb. Next time see a handful of kids playing in the park, spare a thought for the one who never got the chance. [this comes from Steve Jeffrey's blog post: The Truth about Life Expectancy]
And all off this hot on the heels of the conviction of Dr Kermit Gosnell in the States. The moral high ground is not geographically located in the 'West' on this one. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

A Case Study in Conformism

Brendan O'Neill writes perceptively in this article about the intellectual and rhetorical landscape of the last decade's so called 'debate' over same-sex marriage. You might say he writes bravely even. And that, really, is his point. 

In the course of his piece he quotes Christopher Caldwell's paper 'Gay Rites':
 ‘Public opinion does not change this fast in free societies. Either opinion is not changing as fast as it appears to be, or society is not as free.’
Mmmm.  

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Science Fiction

I was reading about idols as objects of mockery this morning in Jeremiah 10:15. 
And then this video shows up on my youtube page.
Huh! The idol of history (amongst others) gets what is coming!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Joseph Poulton Interview

Joseph on ITV Calendar! Nice advert for CATS!
click to link to the video ( I couldn't work out how to embed it!)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Magical!

If you haven't seen it already, go and see CATS
It is on tour at the moment. And at it's The Grand till the weekend. 

Mr Mistoffelees is especially Magical! 
Nice one Joseph Poulton
You can see him in action behind the scenes here:

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

corrupt beyond all hope?

So long as we are aware that we are wicked, we are not corrupt beyond all hope. Our present dissatisfaction with ourselves is a good sign. We have only to be careful that we do not get too disheartened and abashed to do anything about it. (p27 Creed or Chaos? )

Sunday, 24 March 2013

snow chance

I couldn't resist building this when clearing the path this morning. 

Baptism won't save you

Or is anyone hearing this who is relying upon his or her baptism? I do not care whether you were baptized as an infant or whether you were grown-ip - it make not the slightest difference, if you are relying upon it. 
If you think that the act of baptism is the thing that saves you and puts you right, whatever you may be doing with your life, you are in the identical position of the Jews. As they relied on circumcision you are relying upon baptism, whether it is sprinkling or immersion, or anything else you make like - mode, again, it does not matter. 
Anyone who relies upon it, and upon it alone, is in the position of the Jew who was relying upon circumcision. [see Romans 2:25-29]
 (p156  Romans: 1 to 3: 20 - The Righteous Judgement of God An Exposition of Chapters 2 - D.M Lloyd-Jones )

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

helping parents not to parent

The view seems to be that it’s just about all right for women to give birth, but after that can we please separate them from their young as soon as possible, for the sake of the economy?
Peter Hitchens at his spicy best giving the 'narrative' of how men have again stuffed up women, but this time with the help of women (feminism). Read the article here.

Dave Thomas is to thank for putting me onto it in his own piece responding to the recently proposed £1200 'gift' to working mums (it is here and well worth a read). 

Does God care what we eat?


Singing with saplings

This morning's car journey was huge fun. I just massively enjoyed singing along to Songs for Saplings Vol 1 (we got through 7 songs in a 20 min journey). 
Truly these CD's are one colossal blessing ... fun and formative. Child friendly but in no way childish. 
In days of unsteady economics an investment truly worth making (digital download is $5 per album! So not even an investment - A BARGAIN!).  

Dave Thomas has helpfully blogged about the whole series. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

grace all the way back

God himself, in many different ways, prepares for his gracious work in human hearts. He aroused in Zacchaeus the desire to see Jesus (Luke 19:3), produced distress in the crowd that listened to Peter (Acts 2:37), caused Paul to fall to the ground (Acts 9:4), disconcerted the jailer at Philippi (Acts 16:27), and so directs the lives of all his children even before and up to the hour of their rebirth. 
Even if on their part they have not yet received the benefits of reconciliation and justification and have not yet been born again and given faith, yet they are already the objects of his eternal love, and he himself already leads them by his grace to the Spirit, who alone can regenerate and comfort them. 
All things, accordingly, are connect by divine prearrangement to their subsequent 'enlistment' and calling in the church. Conception and birth, family and lineage and people and land, upbringing and education, development of heart and mind, preservation from hideous sins, above all from blaspheming the Holy Spirit, or perhaps abandonment to all sorts of wickedness, disasters and judgment, blessings and benefits, the preaching of law and gospel, distress about sin and fear of judgment, development of conscience and the felt need for salvation: all this is grace preparing people for rebirth by the Holy Spirit and for the role that they as believers will later play in the church. 
True: there is only one way to heaven, but many are the leadings of God both before and on that journey, and the grace of the Holy Spirit is abundant and free. Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and Timothy were brought into the kingdom differently from either Manasseh or Paul, and each performed a different task in the service of God. Pietism and Methodism tend to ignore these leadings, limit God's grace, and want to convert and mold everyone according to a single model. but Reformed theology respects the free sovereignty of God and marvels at the riches of his grace. (p40 Reformed Dogmatics: vol. 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

good people resist grace

When he (Paul) spoke of the Gentiles being 'without excuse' (Romans 1:20), there was no dialogue with them; they were silent, as if acknowledging the justice of their condemnation. It is the moral man, not the corrupt Gentile, who is disposed to argue, and to resist the unsparing and unqualified judgment that he is in the same predicament as the other, and in the same need of the grace of the gospel. 
It is significant, too, that this form of argument continues right to the end of the section, at Romans 3:20. The respectable, moral or religious man is much more difficult to convince of his need of grace than the other, and it is long before Paul an arrive at his verdict that 'the whole world' (including the good pagan and the religious Jew as well as the corrupt Gentile) is 'accountable to God' and guilty in His sight (3:19). (p35 Power of God: Exposition of Paul's Letter to the Romans)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Is 'same sex' marriage good for society?

It really kicks off at 3:57 with Peter Hitchens' introduction. It is meandering. And long. And frustrating as debates can be. But it is very good. And don't whatever you do miss the last 15 mins.


Monday, 25 February 2013

Space Academy - Preparing For Launch


We are very grateful to God for an excellent Space Academy. Perhaps you have seen the video? 
This post is just in case anything we have done can be useful to anyone else. I might be able to post a bit more in time ... but this is a starter. Please ask for more in a comment if you are interested. I'd be very happy to help in anyway I can.
Logos:








Space Academy - to eternity and beyond


We are all back to earth safely having had a great time! 
Check out the video:

Friday, 22 February 2013

Down to Earth Service



We have had a superb week at the Space Academy. It's been out of this world. 
And it is not over yet.

We re-enter the earth's atmosphere on Sunday! 10.30 am. 


Join us to witness the Space Cadets become fully fledged Space Academy Astronauts, to hear the Space Academy Song, to find out which team is heading for the stars and to explore all we've been learning all about God's Planet Plan.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

given up?


In view of the content I also did a 'Table Activity' for those Infants/Juniors at church to do 'out' during the Sermon. Romans 1 & 3 scratch cards. 

Huge fun to make (if a little fiddly). Here is the template.
I was very indebted to this website: Artmind. You'll find there all you need to know how to make a scratch card


Friday, 15 February 2013

Dying in infancy

A model of a baby at 12 Weeks

Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,[12] who works when, and where, and how he pleases: [13] so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. [14]
Westminster Confession 10.3

12. Genesis 17:7; Luke 1:15; Luke 18:15-16; Acts 2:39; John 3:3, 5; I John 5:12
13. John 3:8
14. John 16:7-8; I John 5:12; Acts 4:12

Thursday, 14 February 2013

blindingly obvious

Sorry, I've been ill since Sunday, so this is a bit late, but here are the notes of last Sunday's sermon. We continue our series in Romans. It is unpolished I am afraid - but will be mostly intelligible I think. 
 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Goody

Our children love Goody O'Grumpity. Yesterday I came downstairs to find the kitchen floor, both children and my wife covered in flour. A lot of mixing, kneading and such like had gone on copying Goody using the recipe in the back of the book. 

The house smelt amazing as it cooked. 

And the end result was a cross between a loaf of bread and an enormous hot-cross bun. 

Very nice with butter. 



Grace in the Green Room

I've just discovered that we (Grace Community Church) have made it to the ASDA 'greenroom'! 

We sang there at Christmas - see here for the video and story.

what next?

After biblical faith wanes, a people can maintain habits of thought and of self-restraint. The ethic remains after the faith that bore it departs. But eventually a generation arises that no longer has the habit, and that is when the behaviour changes radically.  
p xvii IDOLS FOR DESTRUCTION

Thursday, 7 February 2013

An evangelical redefinition of marriage

Last Sunday night I was called on to preach in the evening as well as the morning.  Without a lot of time to prepare and in light of Tuesday's Vote in the House of Commons I spoke about the Redefinition of Marriage amongst evangelical Christians. 
The elephant in the room. 
e is for ... education. 

The notes and handout are below. 



We closed the service with a hymn I had never sung before, but which I am very glad to have stumbled on. 

God of grace and God of glory,

On Thy people pour Thy power.
Crown Thine ancient church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour,
For the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil ’round us,
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Set our feet on lofty places,
Gird our lives that they may be,
Armored with all Christ-like graces,
In the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
That we fail not man nor Thee,
That we fail not man nor Thee.

Save us from weak resignation,
To the evils we deplore.
Let the search for Thy salvation,
Be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving Thee Whom we adore,
Serving Thee Whom we adore.


[In case you are parachuting into this blog ... and think this is all very serious and REFORMED (aka dull) or something... the morning service was our monthly 'Parade' Service, carrying on a series in Romans. It included the smashing of an egg, explosions, Powerpuff girls and the playing of SNAP's 'I've got the power'.]


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Homosexuality and shellfish

A very helpful 12 minutes addressing the issue that troubles many or is brought up in debate: Christians just pick and choose regarding the Levitical Laws. Why say that homosexuality is wrong when we happily eat shellfish, wear 'mixed cloth' and the rest?
{It is worth remembering that 'pants' mean 'trousers' in the States [first 30 seconds!]}

Monday, 4 February 2013

everybody can

Everybody wants to be an astronaut. 
If you are at Infant or Junior School and in or around Tipton ... here's your chance! 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Prison to Pulpit


Once an abused, addicted, homeless, Christian-despising criminal, Mez now serves as senior pastor of Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, and founder of 20 Schemes, a ministry dedicated to building gospel-centered churches for Scotland's poorest communities ("schemes"). Here's their vision:
Our long-term desire is to see Scotland's housing schemes transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ through the planting of gospel-preaching churches, ultimately led by a future generation of indigenous church leaders. . . . We believe building healthy, gospel-preaching churches in Scotland's poorest communities will bring true, sustainable, and long-term renewal to Scotland's schemes.
The Gospel Coalition 

31 status

Stumbled on this doing some prep for eXcel (we are in Proverbs this term). 
31 status. 
Interesting. 

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Good Advice - Jamie Soles

This album is as good as it's CD Cover is bad. 
So it is EXCELLENT!
"Built on the premise that children prefer food to fluff, Good Advice treats children like grown-ups; it does not talk down to them, or play to their natural foolishness, but rather builds on the expectation that the child will one day be an adult. These are songs to grow by." [Jamie Soles]
This song list will give you a sense of what it covers (and if you click on the song name it will take you to a sample): 














Our 4 and 2 year old love this. But not as much as we do! I think Jane and I have learnt much more than they have. 
And what other children's albums are there that tackle Cain and Abel, Nadab and Abihu, Achan and Rahab?! 
These songs are slowly becoming the sound track to our home. We pray that this would be more than merely in song but in deeper holiness and happiness in Christ. 

Here are the lyrics of one of our favourites: 

Marah (Exodus 15.22-27)  [click for a sample]

There at Marah where the water was bitter
The people got bitter too
They said “Give us better water
Than this bitter bitter water!”
They grumbled and complained all day
“We don’t like manna!
We want new shoes!”
How they pouted, sulked and whined
But if they would have trusted the Lord their God
Then things would have been just fine
What do you think that the Lord will think
When He hears your voice today?
Thankful trust or angry lust
As you grumble and complain all day
So learn a lesson from the Israelites
Let your words be sweet today
You will wander in the desert UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD!
If you grumble and complain all day!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Burns Night Feast

Below is the menu for our Burns Night Meal last night. 
I would very much recommend the Hairy Biker's take on Haggis, neeps and tatties (the whisky sauce makes it I think!). We were not so keen on the dessert. 
But it was the first (can that be true?) Burns Night Meal, of our marriage. I might do that again sometime ... I had forgotten how good Haggis is. 

followed by


Friday, 25 January 2013

UK Brain Drain


Four of them are related to us: a nurse, a doctor, a banker and a management consultant.
This is both personally a heartache and nationally a big problem. Our economy is losing skilled, energetic, productive and innovative men and women. And their children. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

one another



How to treat one another in Christ's church, wherever we live, whoever we are:

love [1 Peter 1:22; most of 1 John!]
at peace and living in harmony [1 Peter 3:8; Romans 12:16] 
forgive [Col 3:13
agree [1 Cor 1:10]
be humble [Eph 4:2] 
accept [Romans 15:7]
forbearing [Eph 4:2]
kind and compassionate [Eph 4:32]
greeting with a kiss [1 Peter 5:14]
don’t judge [Romans 14:13]
don’t lie [Col 3:9]
don’t grumble [1 Peter 4:9]
don’t slander [James 4:11]
show hospitality [1 Peter 4:9]
confess your sins to  [James 5:16]
be kind [Eph 4:32]
be devoted to  [Romans 12:10]
serve [Gal 5:13]
do good [James 2:16]
instruct and teach [Eph 5:21; 1 Thess 5:11; Romans 15:14]
comfort and encourage [2 Cor 2:7]
rebuke/admonish* [Col 3:16]
spur on [Heb 10:25]
pray [Eph 6:18]


*NB remember prevention is better than cure!! (Hebrews 3:12-13)

This is a very wonderful/exciting/terrifying/prayer inducing/amazed by grace thinking/action taking/repentance making/Christ delighting/Spirit depending list of commands.

Lesbian Professor to Pastor's Wife

Rosaria Butterfield has written a book called: The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Carl Trueman has reviewed it, saying: 'I do not agree with everything she says; but I did learn from everything she wrote. It deserves the widest possible readership' So it sounds like a book to read once it makes its way to this side of the pond. Amazon.co.uk don't seem to have it yet, except for kindle 

In the same blog post [which really is worth a read] Carl Trueman (a Black Country Boy abroad in the States) amusingly and astutely writes about the Daily Mail 'protocol' and Christian Testimonies like this:

The second problem is what I call 'The Daily Mail protocol.' For those who live in blissful ignorance of Britain's newspaper, The Daily Mail, it is an absurdly right wing production which covers exactly the same kind of bedhopping kiss-and-tell scandals as the other, more notorious tabloids, but it always does so with an air of moral outrage and splenetic indignation. Thus, the reader has access to all of the prurient details of the latest activities of some ghastly boy band but without feeling that they have dirtied themselves in finding out the information. Such, it seems to me, are many of the Christian memoirs that become popular with plotlines such "I was a murderous biker/a porn star/a drug addict/a politician but then I found Jesus." If we are honest, most of us read such books for the salacious details of the preconversion life of the author, not the testimony to God's grace. Indeed, I have often thought of writing my own Christian autobiography: 'I was a basically well-behaved studious teenager from a good home and then I found Jesus and continued to be basically well-behaved and studious.' Unlikely to make it to the Barnes and Noble Top Ten, I suspect.
Hear hear. 
But this is not that: 



How an Unbelieving Lesbian English Professor became a Pastor's Wife

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Eight chapters in one verse

The righteous will live by faith ... or ... 
He who through faith is righteous shall live.
(Romans 1:17)
Which ever reading is followed, however, the quotation becomes the 'text' on which  the exposition of the next eight chapters is based, with 'the righteous' and 'by faith' occupying the Apostle's attention in 1:18-4:25, while 'shall live' is dealt with in 5:1-8:39.  
(p 26 Power of God: Exposition of Paul's Letter to the Romans, James Philip)
If you are flush with cash get this ... it is expensive (between £30 and 50!!) because it is out of print. Paul Levy is right about it.) However don't despair because another version of James Philip's Notes on Romans (mostly the same) is FREE online at St George's Tron. Bless them. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Romans Introduction

I have messed up our church news webpage (oops!). I'm not quite sure what I did. But it spectacularly does not work now. So, until I can get that fixed, I thought I would post  our Romans series so far here:




Wednesday, 16 January 2013

economics must be taught!

... we live in a society plagued by an activist government. Unlike other scientific disciplines, the basic truths of economics must be taught to enough people in order to preserve society itself. It really doesn't matter if the man on the street thinks quantum mechanics is a hoax; the physicists can go on with their research without the approval of the average Joe. But if most people believe that minimum wage laws help the poor, or that low interest rates cure a recession, then the trained economists are helpless to avert the damage that these policies will inflict on society. (p8-9 Lessons for the Young Economist - Robert Murphy)

An intriguing evangelistic shape to this: ('only economics can save us')! But still very interesting nonetheless and hard to argue against the importance of studying the real exchanges of real people in all their vast array. I thought economics was dull and irrelevant when I chose not to study it at school. How wrong I was. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What is a 'fair price'?

Last night I observed our lads at BB doing a very simple Banana Role Play Game. I don't know where it came from - possibly BB HQ? But it presented itself as an exercise in economics (the 'banana trade') and in justice. By the end it seemed more like an exercise in propaganda for FAIRTRADE™ - even if that wasn't the intent.

So five minutes digging yielded some interesting fruit. There is another side to this! 
  • an Adam Smith 2008 report about Fairtrade: unfair trade
  • a short documentary film The Bitter Aftertaste: 




The terms 'fairness', 'that's not fair', 'fair trade' were all used a lot both by the material last night and by the lads in response to the 'scenario'. But, I think it is fair to say this 'fairness' business is not as simple as an emotive call to side with (poor) workers of the world against the (evil) 'rich guys' [in this case 'LESCO' ... mmm, some more propaganda going on!].  This is  especially so when the role play game consisted of only one worker, one producer, one exporter, one importer and one supermarket - thus eliminating a very important aspect of trade. Choice. 

So it reminded me. 
Watch out for banana skins! 
It is possible to slip on one. Even if it is fairly traded. 
Maybe especially if it is fairly traded. 

So, back to the question of a fair price. What is a 'fair price' ... whether it is a 'fair' labourer's wage (in this case he or she is selling their labour to someone who wants to buy it) or the amount we pay for the bunch at the supermarket?
'any price agreed upon between a willing buyer and a willing seller the just price, that alone is what makes it the just price.'
'People exchange goods in a market economy to their mutual advantage. Each party to an exchange values what he receives more than what he exchanges for it. Both parties are better off after an exchange than they were before the exchange. In a free market, suppliers compete with suppliers and buyers compete with buyers. Suppliers do not compete with buyers. The only exchanges that result in winners and losers are Christmas gift exchanges between parents and children. But even that is a voluntary loss. Competition for business between suppliers reduces prices, which is to the advantage of the consumer, while the bidding of consumers against each other for goods raises prices, which is to the advantage of the supplier. The free market allows suppliers (who naturally want the highest price they can get for their goods) and consumers (who wish to acquire those goods at the lowest price possible) to come together in harmony.' 
[from The Myth of the Just Price]

Saul or Paul

This is something that has puzzled me for a while. We encounter Paul the apostle in the NT under two names: Saul and Paul. A common misunderstanding that I had until recently is this: that Saul the Pharisee changed his name to Paul when he came to faith in Jesus. 

At first glance that seems reasonable because:
a) there is a tradition of name changes that correspond to important moments in a person's life (Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Simon/Peter).
b) When we first encounter Saul, he's persecuting the church and standing by as Stephen is stoned (Acts 8:1). Later, however, in Acts 13-28 the missionary, apostle is referred to as Paul.
Conclusion: he changed his name when he accepted Jesus as Messiah. 
Sounds reasonable, right?

On closer investigation, however, we find out this is not the case. 
First, Saul is converted or called in Acts 9. He's baptized and engages in apparently a significant period of Christian discipleship and ministry under the name of Saul. In Acts 13:1-3 Saul along with several others are leaders in the church at Antioch when the Holy Spirit sets them a part for the Gentile mission. In Acts 13:6 Saul is called Paul for the first time ("But Saul, who was also known as Paul, . . . ") on the island of Cyprus. For the rest of the book and in all of his letters he is referred to as Paul. So what is going on?

Saul was a Pharisaic Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. If Jewish tradition were followed--and there is no reason to think it wasn't--he was given his Jewish name on the day of his circumcision. So Saul was his Jewish name, the name of Israel's first king. 

But Saul was a Roman citizen as well which means that he needed a Roman name. Perhaps Paul was taken because it was a family name or the name of someone who helped provide citizenship to his family, we don't know. But the name Paulos in Greek means something like "little fellow." 

So when Saul is around Jews, he uses his Jewish name. But when Saul is around Greeks and Romans, he uses his Roman name. In Antioch where the Jewish population of Christ-believers was significant it made sense that he'd use his Jewish name. But during the Gentile mission, he encountered primarily, well . . . Gentiles. So he used his Roman name then. 

I am not sure of the significance of all this. Probably nothing. But it has bugged me for a while and I am glad to be getting a little clearer.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The righteousness of God makes me ...

Martin Luther's wrestle with Romans 1:16-17:
“I was angry with God, and said, ‘As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the Decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with His righteousness
and wrath!"
 
“I hated Paul with all my heart when I read that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel” 
“At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ 
There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by the gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness of God with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ 
Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me.” 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Is there Space for you?



Why Did Paul Write Romans?


Pick up and read!

Augustine in great crisis of soul, captive to his lusts, yet drawn to God was ‘weeping in bitter agony of my heart’ when ...”suddenly I heard a voice from a nearby house chanting as if it might be a boy or a girl (I do not know which), saying and repeating over and over again ‘Pick up and read, pick up and read.’ At once my countenance changed, and I began to think intently whether there might be some sort of children’s game in which such a chant is used. But I could not remember having heard of one. I checked the flood of tears and stood up. I interpreted it solely as a divine command to me to open the book and read the first chapter I might find. ... So I hurried back to the place where Alypius was sitting. There I had put down the book of the apostle when I got up. I seized it, opened it and in silence read the first passage on which my eyes lit: ‘Not in riots and drunken parties, not in eroticism and indecencies, not in strife and rivalry, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in its lusts’ (Romans 13:13-14).
I neither wished nor needed to read further. At once, with the last words of this sentence, it was as if a light of relief from all anxiety flooded into my heart. All the shadows of doubt were dispelled. [The Confessions (Oxford World's Classics) Bk 8.29, p153]