Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas, what a great idea!

I love Christmas, I love the presents, I love the turkey dinner, I love spending time with family and friends but most of all I love that it is about God's love. John tells us that God so loved the world that He sent His one and Only Son into the world so that whoever believes on the Son shall have eternal life. The Son came because God loves us, that is awesome! I love that at the centre of Christmas is Jesus, the Christ. I love that no man thought up Christmas, it was God's idea. In Genesis, while Adam is still hiding in a bush God comes looking for him. Whilst He comes in judgement He also comes in mercy. The serpent is told that the seed of the woman shall crush Satan's head. That Satan's handiwork would be crushed through the one born of a woman. Later in Genesis, God calls Abraham from paganism, God's idea! He tells him that his seed would be a blessing to all nations. By the end of Genesis we know that this seed will not only be a descendant of Abraham but that he will be of the tribe of Judah.

Luke chapter 2 tells us of a bunch of shepherds. Shepherds in the C1st were not known for their piety, actually it was quite the opposite. They were regarded as the scum of the earth. While people were waiting for the Messiah in those days, these shepherds were not waiting. They were not likely to have been in a prayer meeting when the Angel showed up. The appearing caught them totally off guard. Maybe moments before they showed up they were drinking and swearing, laughing and mocking each other. These were tough rough guys. Yet they were the first to hear the message of the gospel. Good news of great joy. A Saviour has been born who is Christ the LORD.


Our greatest need is not reformation but transformation. Our greatest need is for the damage of sin and the curse of death through Adam's sin and our own to be removed from us. Jesus came to crush the head of the serpent. It is fitting that this message was given to Shepherds because He had come as the good Shepherd to lay down His life for the sheep. He was also the spotless lamb who John the Baptist said "would take away the sins of the world." He came to save us and to live a perfect life, the life that we should live, and then to die in our place.


It is amazing that the word the Angel used according to Luke is Christ not Messiah because that is a message in itself. Good news for all people. While some Jews were waiting for the Messiah not many Gentiles were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. Yet Luke (a Gentile?) writes to tell us that the Angel said good news for all people, Christ has come. David was described as the LORD's anointed or Christ but David had much blood on his hands, he was a sinner, at the end of his life he bows his head in shame and points away from himself to another yet to come. This is true of every King, every High Priest and every prophet. Throughout the OLD Testament there are types of the Messiah to come but they are mere shadows. Jesus is not the LORD's anointed like David, He is the Anointed LORD, fully man and fully God. A mediator between God and man to bring about reconciliation to mankind.


Luke starts chapter 2 with Augustus, master of all he sees, ruler of the greatest empire at that time. Caesar Augustus was regarded as LORD and as a god. The chapter moves on to tell us of the baby born to a lowly peasant woman and placed not in a palace but an animal feeding trough. Yet the Angel tells us that this baby, not a baby born in Rome, is the LORD, and by this he means LORD God. Paul tells us in Colossians that all things were made through Jesus, through Him and For Him. He is LORD of the universe and the Christmas message is that this God, the creator and sustainer walked amongst us, that God became a missionary to restore a lost world to Himself and that is extremely good news. That is why I love Christmas because it was God's idea.

Merry Christmas

Stephen <><

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Calvin on the gift of salvation

I read this succinct comment from Calvin, in Joel Beeke's 365 Days with Calvin this morning.
'Faith is purely a gift from God, so people may not praise themselves for having come to the light of the gospel, in which they have found happiness and salvation. Instead, they ought to glorify God, for they are indebted to him for choosing and calling them to salvation. '
Salvation from a Calvinist perspective is completely a work of God, God working with one energy monergism, or as some people put it one handed salvation. When we consider that salvation is all of God and that the only thing we contribute is our need and our sin then God gets all the praise.
Glory to God in the highest!
Stephen <><

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Calvinism and Evangelism

Joy and I have just returned from a three week visit to the States, where I got to share a platform with my father-in-law at a School of Evangelism, attend my bro-in-law's wedding and where I got to visit two Bible centred mega churches, one less Bible centred megachurch and a growing new reformed church. My father-in law also gave me his copy of Christianity Today on Calvin the Comeback Kid.

The headline article reminded me of a comment a friend of mine made before we left for our trip, he said why are none of the great evangelists Calvinists? He then proceeded to name several evangelists most of whom were Calvinists. Calvinists are always perceived as being pre-occupied with election and unoccupied with evangelism, this is a misconception. As Mark Dever says, many Calvinists are terrible at personal evangelism but so are many Arminians. Some of the greatest evangelists of the past were Calvinists. Here is a wonderful quote from Timothy George's excellent article from C.T. in September 2009:
The elect are not the elite. There is no place in Calvin's thought for the kind of spiritual snobbery reflected in the old camp-meeting ditty, "we are the Lord's elected few/let all the rest be damned./There's room enough in hell for you,/we don't want heaven crammed!" The true Calvinist preaches the gospel promiscuously to all persons everywhere, aware that God alone infallibly knows all those who belong to Him.

In Calvin's day, Geneva became a great center for church planting, evangelism and even "foreign" missions: a group of Protestants supported by Admiral de Coligny carried the message of Christ to the far shores of Brazil in 1557, more than 60 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. William Carey, the father of modern missions in the 18th century, went to India with a Calvinist vision of a full-sized God- eternal, transcendent, holy, filled with compassion, soveriegnly working with His Holy Spirit to call unto Himself a people from every nation, tribe, and language upon the earth. -C.T. September 2009 p.30

The new reformed church I visited was a baptist church where before they went reformed, the church had had no conversions or baptisms from outside the congregation for years. They are now reaching college students with the gospel and are seeing both conversions and baptisms. They estimate by the end of the year they will have 50 baptisms. Awesome for a small college town.

Let us all be promiscuous in sharing the gospel with the whosoever!

Stephen <><

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Song worth singing

I was talking recently with some evangelicals of a different theological stance and they asked me what God was saying to me at the moment. I got to share how I am utterly amazed that as a sinner I have received God's undeserved kindness and how that brings real joy to my life. I was coming home from work a few weeks ago and was moved by Lamentations 'Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed.' How easy it is to forget that we do deserve God's wrath rather than his mercy. Forgetting that it is His love poured out into lives each day which stops us from being consumed by His holy wrath. Isaiah 12 talks about a day when someone will sing 'I will give thanks to you O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away that you might comfort me.' The realisation that we do deserve wrath is something worth singing about. That God and God alone is our source of strength, that He is our song and that He has become our salvation. Understanding the wrath we deserve is not morbid, it is delightful. It is delightful because it shows God's gracious kindness towards us as more marvelous. Grace is more amazing when you understand that you were a wretch.

Stephen <><

Friday, 16 October 2009

An awesome gospel tract

I remember with horror the first christian tracts I ever saw, I think they are called Chic tracts and contained cartoon pictures in black, white and red. The red often represented blood from the period portrayed in the Left Behind movies and they really needed to be left behind themselves. Living Waters however have produced some attractive gospel tracts in the style of £10 stirling, I found yesterday you can't give them away fast enough. On the reverse they ask the million pound question. Will you go to heaven? It then asks have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, used the LORD's name in vain, or looked at someone lustfully? It then presents the bad news that if you have you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart and deserving of hell before articulating the gospel. In the last British census 70 % of people claimed to be Christian probably believing that they are good and that good people go to heaven. This tract shows that we are not good because we all fall short of God's standard. These tracts are a useful tool to awaken the conscience to its need of the good news before presenting it. These tracts are very portable too as they can easily be placed in a wallet but don't try to spend them as it might lead to disappointment.
p.s The note is for one million pounds, I wonder if that is because it has a picture of a credo-baptist on it.

Monday, 12 October 2009

why Christians should blog

It has been a while since I blogged hasn't it? It's not that I have come to the conclusion that blogging is unimportant but at the moment what with parenting, working and preaching I seem to have little or no time to blog. A blogging friend of mine, pastor Jonathan Hunt whom I have never met but whose blog I enjoyed has given it up. I wish he hadn't he had a lot of good things to say and his character came out. I have been reflecting on why we should blog and this is my reasoning.
In the C14th an English priest by the name of John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English for the first time. He isn't given the credit for that, that honour goes to William Tyndale whose translation was 200 years later, this was after the invention of the printing press, allowing Tyndale's work to spread easier and faster than Wycliffe's.
The writings of Wycliffe did make it across the Chanel to Bohemia where a young priest by the name of Johan Hus was convinced by Wycliffe's writings and started a mini reformation. The reformation of Europe would have to wait a further 100 years for the preaching and writing of Martin Luther whose writings spread across Europe like a Californian wildfire spreads across a dry forest. The reason Luther's impact was greater under God was the invention of the printing press. Luther took whatever means he could to spread gospel truth across the information super highway of his day. In the C21st we can communicate gospel truth with the use of the Internet. This is the reason why I blog. Here I sit, I can do no other, God help me.

Stephen <><

Friday, 4 September 2009

Theology and the Preacher

Yesterday I enjoyed a discussion about what is a preacher and what is a theologian. Sometimes, sadly, they are very different. I know of theologians who cannot preach, worse still I know of plenty of preachers who "don't do theology." I was reminded by Al Mohler that the calling of a pastor is the calling of a faithful theologian. Mohler writes, 'Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to those pastors who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians-teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith.' R. Albert Mohler 'He is Not Silent' p.105

Mohler goes on to say, 'The Pastoral calling is inherently theological. Given the fact that the pastor is to be teacher of the Word of God and the teacher of the Gospel it cannot be otherwise' p.106

Mohler rightly sets this in context- theology is not the result but the means, the means to faithfulness in preaching, in mission and in discipleship. ' Being faithful to this theological task will obviously require intense and self-conscious theological thinking, study and concentration. If the church is to be marked by faithful preaching, God-honouring worship, and effective evangelism, the pastor must give concentrated attention to the theological task' p.109
I am thankful to God for Albert Mohler and theologians like him who believe in the authority of scripture and the power of God to change lives. I am thankful for my time at HTC where I encountered lecturers like him. We need to pray though that the church will love to grapple with the Word and to seek preachers who preach it and live it.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Lewis Fest

This past week I have been enjoying something of a C. S.Lewis fest, last night Joy and I finished watching the Disney version of the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Today I got to pick up a new book called Planet Narnia by the Rev Dr Michael Ward, Last weekend I got to listen to Michael discuss his book with Laura Miller an American atheist who also loves the Chronicles of Narnia and she has written a book called 'The Magician's Book'.

A Couple of Years ago Christianity Today devoted a whole issue to C. S. Lewis, as I recall the editor suggested that Lewis was like the patron saint of American Evangelicalism, which is very ironic as 1. We don't have patron saints in Evangelicalism and 2. Because Lewis was neither American nor an Evangelical. Yet Lewis has a lot to offer evangelicals, because he did have what can only be described as an evangelical conversion and in his autobiographical book 'Surprised by Joy' Lewis tells us of his conversion first to theism (when he becomes the most reluctant convert in all of England) and later his conversion proper. Lewis became the most famous defender of Christianity in Britain in the C20th and his work 'Mere Christianity' is still unrivalled (although Tim Kellar's 'The Reason for God is a great alternative) as a discussion starter. In recent times I have heard several attempts to refute Lewis tricotomy by the new atheists "either Jesus was a mad man, a demoniac or who he claimed to be" they propose a fourth that Jesus was simply mistaken but surely that comes under number 1, No rational person would claim to be God and simply be mistaken without needing to stay at the funny farm. I can't remember how I got acquainted to Lewis' work but I have always appreciated them even when I disagree. I am looking forward to reading Planet Narnia as Michael Ward believes he has found a deeper level to the Narnia books where Lewis provides a defense of Christianity using medieval cosmology, now who doesn't love a conspiracy theory?

Stephen <><

I am somewhat unusal as a C.S.Lewis fan in that I read 'Mere Christianity' years before I read the Chronicles of Narnia due to a misspent childhood. I am looking forward to reading the books with Hannah and hopefully she will love them as much as I do.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Raw Driscoll-Vintage Church

Driscoll- Warts and All
I have just finished reading Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears and this is by far the best book from them yet. Driscoll receives a hard press from some conservative Christians because of his immaturity but this is a little unfair. Driscoll presents himself warts and all, we know his failings because he is happy to share them. He is happy to share them because he wants to show that in this world only Jesus is the good guy and that even pastors are in need of grace. I find this refreshing as too many mature believers wear a mask pretending to themselves and everyone else that they don't sin anymore.

Driscoll reveals his maturity in the chapter on discipline-firstly, just by including a chapter on church discipline as very few books on the topic would include a whole chapter on this vital subject. Driscoll reveals that rather than lacking any sense of sanctification, as his critics claim, he has a high regard for the holiness and purity of Mars Hill Church and for the body of Christ as a whole. Secondly, he shows a concern for those who are the victims of someone who is in need of church discipline and sets out Mars Hill's practice on discipline. He also shares how they can come back and his disappointment at some churches who take in members who are under discipline. His pastoral hope for those who are under church discipline is that they would repent and be restored to full fellowship. It is his desire to protect the disciplined believer's family from the consequences of the discipline as much as is possible. He also argues that whilst the believer is under discipline we shouldn't treat them as before but neither should we avoid them when we see them rather we should be seeking to urge them to repentance and restoration.

Driscoll has also been accused of being too culturally affirming yet he is faithful to scripture arguing for male elders only- in spite of this being unpopular in culture at large and in large sections of the evangelical church. He points out at one point whilst we might aim to be cool, we are called to follow Jesus, share the gospel and warn people about the judgement to come so we will not be perceived as being cool.

The Missional Church

A currently in vogue phrase which few people seem to understand, Driscoll points out that a missional church is not some church where there is no pastor or the pastor is a young dude who doesn't shave and has a couple of tattoos but no understanding of truth or mission. Rather a missional church is concerned with mission both on a global and local stage. Therefore a missional church seeks to train disciples to be missionaries to their unreached neighbours. They do this in the same way missionaries in far flung places do, by dressing the same and speaking the same language. It seeks to make disciples through a word centred ministry therefore it also preaches and practices repentance. A missional church is aware of the community and seeks to be a community within the community. A missional church wouldn't encourage what happens in so many places where believers drive for miles to do church and then drive miles again out of that neighbourhood back home. A missional church seeks to be a blessing to those on the outside, Driscoll shares how one bus driver spoke to a visitor to Mars Hill and said that Mars Hill was a force for good in the city.

Finally in the early chapters Driscoll sets out what a church looks like, he speaks in general terms before narrowing down what Mars Hill looks like. In this section he argued very briefly for believer's baptism and I for one was very convinced :-).

This book is a good example of a warm hearted Bible centred theology from a pastor in the reformed tradition for the C21st.



Saturday, 11 July 2009

Calvin and his children

Yesterday was the 500 anniversary of John Calvin's birth, Calvin was a frail and fallen human who loved his Lord and saviour. He was also sanctified and tireless devoted to serving God in Geneva. The sales of his books were used to support the french protestant refugees who had fled France. Calvin is one theologian amongst many throughout the history of the holy catholic church (catholic with a small c). He also preached almost every day and during periods of sickness and towards the end of his life would preach either from his bed or be carried to church. He is not original in some sense because he proves in his institutes that he stands in the tradition of Augustine and many others. He did not start the reformation that honour goes to Martin Luther. He is not the only classical trained theologian of the period, so why are those of us who are reformed or "predestinarian" called Calvinists? I think the answer in part is because Calvin's Geneva produced many little Calvin's as both English and Scottish pastors and theologians sought refuge in Geneva and then took the theology they had learnt from him back home. This was then transported to the New World as the Puritans took that Theology with them. While Luther's theology stayed pretty much in Germany following his lack of interest in the theology of the Swiss reformers at the Marburg debate.
A second reason why we are called Calvinists is because he wrote a lot more his commentaries are still in print and still readable, these have been used and delighted in for centuries. His institutes whilst not a systematic theology are a complete guide to his theology and you don't find the same sort of writing from any of the other reformers. I enjoy Calvin's commentaries and think the Institutes are a wonderful example of a warm hearted theology and I am glad to be one of Calvin's theological children.

Friday, 3 July 2009

a citizen of a faraway country

Our daughter Hannah (now 6 months old) received her American passport in the post yesterday. She is now officially an American citizen and the paper work says that she 'acquired United States citizenship at birth.' What is unusual in Hannah's case is that she is now a citizen of a place that she has never been to. She has a passport and will be allowed entry as a citizen but as yet she has never even visited the States. What makes her a citizen is not where she was born or anything else that she has done, she is a citizen because her mom is a citizen. She acquired American citizenship at birth because one of her parents is American. This reminds me of salvation if we are born again even though we have never been to heaven we are still citizens of heaven. Our citizenship was acquired at the cross and we received it when we were born a new. We will be welcomed in because we are citizens and not through anything we have done but because as I Peter chapter 1 says "The Father through His great mercy has caused you to be born again". We are aliens and strangers in this world because we are citizens of a faraway home.
As I am writing this on the 4th of July may I take this time to wish all my American family and friends a happy 4th of July (although I don't understand why you would celebrate not being part of Great Britain) :)

God Bless
Stephen <><

Monday, 22 June 2009

The Great Evangelist

This last weekend Inverness hosted The Highland Festival with Luis Palau and it was good to see the great evangelist at work. I don't mean Luis Palau I mean the Holy Spirit, Palau's style isn't refined, his sermon was messy but from the heart but it was really great to see people visibly coming under conviction of sin and God saving them. I do not see the wind but I could see the effects of the wind of the Spirit blowing. Many young people made responses how many of them are real God alone knows but we can leave it to God. Palau preached about heaven and hell, the cross and the judgement to come as well as giving an invitation. He clearly presented the gospel although from an arminian perspective. He continues to do great work at 74 years of age and has preached the gospel to over a billion people throughout the course of his life. I am thankful to God for his servant, it did make me wonder though where are the Calvinistic evangelists? Some of the greatest open air evangelists of the past were Calvinists but there doesn't seem to be any now adays. We should pray for God to raise up more evangelists and seek to be more evangelistic ourselves.
God Bless
Stephen <><



Friday, 12 June 2009

Earl and the Gospel

Joy and I have recently being enjoying the TV show my name is Earl, the show is based around the life of a man named Earl, surprisingly enough. Earl came to a crisis point through all the bad things that he has done and he repented, well no he didn't repent. Instead Earl is seeking to do good for all the bad that he has done. He has a list that he is working his way down, the problem is the list keeps growing. In trying to undo the wrong that he did in the past he finds himself in new situations where he causes hurt and needs to make restitution. Earl's problem is the human problem it would not matter if we had a thousand life times to put right our wrongs because all we would be doing would be adding to our list of wrongs. There is nothing we can do to pay for the wrong that we have done, not that trying to undo the wrong we have done is not commendable. Our problem is we cannot undo the sin itself, nor can we make restitution to God. David says in Psalm 51, against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. If we are to be put right we need to come to Him who we have offended and seek His forgiveness, that can only happen through trusting in the atoning work of His Son, whose name is Jesus. Still 'My name is Earl' is a funny show, sit back and enjoy.

God Bless


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Luther on preaching

I came across this excellent quote this morning from Martin Luther on the primary role of preaching the Word within the church:
" Now wherever you hear or see the word preached, believed, professed, and lived, do not doubt that the true ecclesia sancta catholica (Christian, holy people) must be there.... and if no other sign than this alone, it would still suffice to prove that a Christian holy people must exist there, For God's Word cannot be without God's people and, conversely, God's people cannot be without God's Word.
As quoted by Al Mohler in a Feed My Sheep, A Passionate Plea for Preaching. p.1 (looks like its going to be a fantastic read)
Stephen <><

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A man with a plan

Last week I got to attend an event at Inshes Church of Scotland, chaired by Lord Mackay "introducing" the new principal of HTC. Hector Morrison was the former vice principal under professor McGowan so there will be no surprises or sudden changes in theological emphasis. On the night it was good to hear several students and former students tell of their experiences of the college and how God has used it to shape and develop them.
The best part for me was hearing Hector share his vision for the college. He spoke of all the different ministries former students are involved in, in various places throughout the world. He then shared how he would like the college to partner more with the local churches. He is a passionate man with a pastor's heart, in fact during my undergraduate time at HTC if there was a situation brewing it was Hector that people turned to for help, for his spiritual wisdom and tender heart. Hector would like the college to train people in evangelism by introducing courses and through evangelistic activities. The college is in good hands, because God's man for this season is in place.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Gospel freedom

Tim Chester sums up the freedom and joy of Christian living in 'You Can change' :-
Freedom and Love
Let's sum up our motive for change: to enjoy the freedom from sin and delight in God that God gives us through Jesus. I want to highlight four things arising from this definition.
First, growing in holiness is not sad, dutiful drudgery. It's about joy. It's discovering true joy- the joy of knowing and serving God. There is self-denial, sometimes hard and painful, but true self-denial leads to gaining your life (Mark 8:34-37). There will be times when we act out of duty, but we do this believing that duty leads to gaining our life (Mark 8:34-38). How often have you reluctantly dragged yourself out on a cold night to pray with others only to find yourself energized and blessed?
Second, change is about living in freedom. We refuse to go back to the chains and filth of our sin. We live in the wonderful freedom that God's given us. We're free to be the people that we should be.
Third, change is about discovering the delight of knowing and serving God, our job is to stop wallowing around in the dirt and instead to enjoy knowing God. We give up our cheap imitations and enjoy the real thing. All too often we think of holiness as giving up pleasures of sin for some worthy but drab life. But holiness is recognizing that the pleasures of sin are empty and temporary, while God is inviting us to magnificent, true, full and rich pleasures that last forever.
Fourth, becoming like Jesus is something that God gives to us. It's not an achievement that we offer to him. It's enjoying the new identity he has given us in Christ. it begins with his work for us. He has set us free from sin and offers us a relationship with himself. P.41
As Evangelicals we are often lapse to fall into legalism or liberatianism the cure is still the gospel as Piper says, "you'll never,never, never, never, never, never, never out grow your need for the gospel"

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Calvin and the Gospel

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:23

'In the gospel, we hear how familiarly God addresses us when he promises pardon (Luke 1:78). We can know salvation by embracing the mercy of God that he offers us in Christ.
It follows, then, that what the prophet now says is true, that God does not will the death of a sinner. God meets the sinner of his own accord. He is not only prepared to receive all who fly to his pity, but also calls them toward him with a loud voice when he sees how alienated from all hope of safety. Note that the manner in which God wishes all to be saved, namely, that they turn away from their wicked ways. God does not wish all men to be saved to renounce the difference between God and evil. Rather, he stresses that repentance, or turning aside from wicked ways, must precede pardon.'
365 days with Calvin published by Day One

I love it that Calvin lets the text speak rather than imposing a different position on the text, Calvin was prepared to hold his beliefs in tension.


Sunday, 3 May 2009


I have decided today to change the name of my blog to reflect more my personal testimony, one of my first blog articles was called the testimony of a defrosted Calvinist. I have always loved reading and the discovery of reformed theology made a deep impact upon me. Over time though my heart grew cold and I replaced God with Theology. Praise God though several events led to my defrosting. Reading Desiring God several years ago introduced me to a warm hearted Calvinism, (it is actually at the heart of Calvinism and you can find the same heart attitude in Calvin, Edwards, the Puritans and the moderate English Evangelical's of the C18th), a theology that delights in the transcendence of God in all His glory and seeks to live a life of service from the heart. Then a while later we were singing Matt Redman's 'I'm coming back to the heart of worship' at church and as we sang it I thought to myself, its good that Redman realised that worship music isn't the heart of worship but God. That night I realised that I had replaced God with Theology and so I prayed to give up the books and the studies because it's all about God. In the morning I was reading Acts chapter 18, the part where it talks about Apollos 'who was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public dispute, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.' I felt the LORD had given me back theology but now it was as it should be centred on Him. I want my life and my blog to reflect the theology of Jesus, that loves God and seeks to love and serve all people in the church and without. To reflect the freedom that Christ has bought for us at Calvary's cross. The re branding is inspired by a quote from John Flavel who said " never look for warm fire underneath cold ice."

Monday, 20 April 2009

total church- totally worth reading

On Saturday I finished reading Total Church- by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis which I enjoyed immensely. They have a radical view of how to do church and are committed to being a gospel centred community rather than doing church three hours a week. The book appeals to me because the authors are reformed and yet responding to the challenges of reaching out in the C21st. At times I think they make too much of their new approach but as they close the book they acknowledge that 'This book has suggested changes that could, and should, be made to the life and mission of the church. But the future of the the church does not lie in changing its structures. Far more important than any ecclesiastical or missiological innovations is a passion for God.' p.199 This really comes out in the book, they are total church because they are totally committed to God.

One of their closing comments, 'There is a lot of talk today of 'gospel ministers', 'gospel work', 'gospel churches' and so on. There are some good reasons for this use of the word 'gospel,' since other definitions of identity are proving inadequate. But we must be careful not to depersonalize our faith. In believing in the gospel we believe in Jesus Christ. To be gospel -centered is to be Jesus-centred. A gospel worker is a servant of Jesus Christ. We must not reduce Christianity to intellectual arguments or principles of ministry, however gospel-hyphenated they are. Our focus must be on the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

I love being married, but I love being married because it unites me with my wife. In the same way I love the gospel, but I love the gospel because it unites me with my Saviour. We are not saved by principles or strategies, but by a person. Propostional truth is important, the suspicions of postmodernism notwithstanding. But propositional truth is important because it points me to the person who is the Truth with whom I have a relationship by grace.' p.202

I heartily recommend this book!



Sunday, 19 April 2009

God's mercy to me a sinner

I have the joy of doing the early shift with my daughter Hannah, she is an answer to prayer, a specific prayer. Joy and I had been praying for a child for 4 years on the final occasion I was praying and an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I knew I could stop praying because my prayer had been answered. So confident of this I told my friend Daniel of Reformed Revolution fame that Joy and I were going to have a baby soon. Little did I know that it would be very soon. This morning as Hannah feel back to sleep I was overwhelmed with the generosity of God who hears me a sinner.
While reading my Bible I read Mark's account of Jesus' 'love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your mind and with all your soul and your neighbour as yourself.' Again I was overwhelmed as I thought on my failure in both these departments. To be fully committed to the LORD would mean that love for neighbour would follow. Although I am pretty sure I don't hate anyone I am also sure I don't love my neighbours, but that isn't what Jesus commanded us to do, he commanded us to love our neighbours like we love ourselves. I know I have abundant self-love, and at the core of my being I am self centred. This morning I was able to pray with a sense of shame and my sinfulness but also delight in the God who loves me and forgives me. I asked that again he would hear this sinners prayer and empower me to love Him as he deserves to be loved and to love my neighbours as I love myself.

Stephen <><

Saturday, 18 April 2009

a church 10 yards from hell

Recently I had the privilege of visiting a church in a really tough and deprived area of Scotland. When I was going some of my friends from college said, "oh you don't want to go there it's rough." This church was really in a tough area, social housing problems, crime and drugs. Yet the church was awesome they are reaching refugee's with the gospel, these refugees are finding refuge in Jesus. One of them was an orphan who grew up in an Orphanage, she said at her baptism "I grew up in an orphanage without a mother and father but now I have a Father and I have a family. The church has a lot of middle class people but they are seeking ways to communicate the love of Jesus in practical ways to their neighbours. I found it a wonderful experience as I look forward to where God calls me I want to seek to serve those who are broken and unloved and show them both in word and deed the God of love.
I think quite often we Christians miss this, we have developed what Luther called a church of glory rather than a church of the cross. We need to remember that a church 10 yards from hell is a slice of heaven on earth.
May God Bless you

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Word and Spirit

I am really excited by a book I had recommended to me called 'Total Church' a radical reshaping around gospel and community. The writers Tim Chester and Steve Timmis both reformed in theology and probably emerging in a Mark Driscoll style. In the first chapter 'Why Gospel?' they argue for Word and Spirit ministry:
Churches can also polarize between intellectualism (what you think is what matters) or emotionalism(what you feel is what matters). In some churches issues of the heart and emotions have become functionally absent. We acknowledge their importance, but they feature little in our lives.' They go on to say, 'It is tempting to stress the need for balance as if a little bit of word and a bit of Spirit or a bit of intellectualism and a bit of emotion. But this is unhelpful. The truth is that in the Bible word and Spirit always go together.' p.29
On the next page they offer this caveat, ' Spiritual experience that does not arise from God's word is not Christian experience. Other religions offer spiritual experiences. Concerts and therapy sessions can affect the emotions. Not all that passes for Christian experience is genuine. An authentic experience of the Spirit is an experience in response to the gospel. p.30.

May God bless us as we seek to be not only people of the book but people of the Spirit.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Christian Hedonism in the C16th

Alongside my morning Bible reading I have been reading 365 days with Calvin: I forgot to take it with me while I was away Friday and Saturday so it was good to catch up this morning. Part of the reading for 20th March was the following:
Praise Ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that fearth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. Psalm 112:1
In the second clause of the verse, the prophet specifies that the fear of God includes delighting greatly in his commandments. The addition of this explanatory clause is quite apparent, for while people boldly condemn the law of God, yet it is also common for them to pretend that they fear God. The prophet refuses such impiety when he acknowledges that no one is a true worshiper of God who does not endeavor to keep God's law. The prophet makes a significant between a willing and prompt effort to keep the law, and one that merely consists of servile and constrained obedience.
We must therefore, cheerfully embrace the law of God in such a manner that our love of it, with all its sweetness, may overcome all allurements of the flesh. Mere attention to the law is fruitless. A person cannot be regarded as a genuine observer of the law unless he truly delights in the law of God and renders obedience that is agreeable to God.
Joel Beeke the editor offers these thoughts for meditation: Do you esteem God's smile and frowns to be of more value than the smiles and frowns of people? Do you welcome any means He May employ to urge us on to obedience.
God Bless

Are you a functional deist?

This morning at CBC we had the privilege of having Dr Jamie Grant from HTC preach, Jamie's style is warm and conversational. His text was Isaiah 54, during his introduction he gave us a short history lesson on Deism. Reminding us that the Deists believed in a creator God who had created the whole universe, but like someone who winds up a grandfather clock and then leaves to function on its own. The deists believed that the creator God just left the universe alone, there is no personal involvement. He said the problem for many Christians especially in the Calvinistic tradition is that we understand that God is LORD, creator, King and ruler but we live as functional deists, this side of the cross we might recognise that God loves the world but we are less sure that he loves us. To us the idea that God is interested in our day to day circumstances, in our work, our home life isn't something that even enters out minds, we are in danger of being functional deists. In Isaiah 54 God tells us through the prophet that he our maker, the LORD of the heavenly armies is our husband. That is the most intimate language that God could use to describe his relationship with us. Our Maker is our husband he is concerned in a loving way for us, he provides for us and he shares himself with us. He is also our redeemer, Isaiah isn't talking in Pauline language he is talking about the Goel, or the kinsman redeemer. The kinsmen redeemer who fills the post of getting a relative out of trouble.
We have a personal relationship with God, we can share with him every need, every hurt and every desire of our hearts because he cares for us! God is creator and is all powerful and is not only willing to side with us but is able act on our behalf for His glory!

Stephen <><

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Christianity in Crisis 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff

Seeing this book back in print and updated for the C21st makes me happy and sad at the same time. Hanegraff’s original edition of Christianity in Crisis did an excellent and complete job of showing that the faith teachers have a different Jesus and a different Gospel. Yet the sad part thing is the faith teachers are still in business, dressed in pure wool suits, and fleecing the flock. I remember being devastated as a young Pentecostal going along to hear Benny Hinn. I never read anything but the Bible and was looking forward to the signs and wonders, but I went to hear him. What I heard was heresy, Hinn said temptation only came when we are far away from God. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way as we yet is without sin. in Reality temptation comes the closer you get to God. Secondly, Hinn said, the flesh is our fallen nature, John tells us that Jesus came in the flesh. That was a painful evening leaving me feeling all alone, then I came across Christianity in Crisis and found out I was not alone and indeed the crisis I had stumbled upon was bigger and much worse than I had thought. Hanegraaff shows that the faith teachers God isn’t the sovereign omnipotent God of the Bible but a genie who responds to the force of faith. Hanegraaff builds his case in the words of the faith teachers themselves.
This new version isn’t a new book but it has new characters, the flawed theology of the faith teachers is the same as ever. Some of the faces have changed, Hank has built in quotes from Joyce Meyer, Joel Olsteen, Rod Parsley and “the latest shooting star” Todd Bentley. Hanegraaff rightly refers to Bentley as a shooting star so much so that by the time of printing he is a spent force. This isn’t the case for Christianity in Crisis, this is a book that is well researched, easy to read and is very necessary. Although I no longer move in circles where the names of the faith teachers come up on a daily basis a visit to the local version of a national Christian bookstall reveals that the faith teachers are still the best sellers. People are being deceived by the faith teachers and need to hear what they are saying in light of Scripture. This is a book that deserves to be read, the original book had a tape version which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that these were not the words of Hanegraaff but the faith teachers themselves. I hope Thomas Nelson bring out an up to date audio version.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

How Can A Good God Let Bad Things Happen- Mark Tabb

When I first started this book, I was a little disappointed because it was not a philosophical discussion. I was filled with dread anticipating another book filled with more cliché easy answers to this perplexing question, yet that was not the case at all. Mark Tabb recognises that he as American (like any of us in the West) cannot speak of discomfort in the same way as Christians living under persecution. However he has previously served as a pastor, he is a volunteer fire fighter and serves as a chaplain to his local fire department so he has faced people with real problems. He says while we are in seminary or discussing theology we might be able to talk about two will’s within God. Yet it is difficult to talk about the secret will of God to someone who has just lost their loved ones. Mark Tabb takes us on a journey through Job he notes that Job is not afraid to ask God why, rather than trying to clinch his teeth and pretend to God that everything is just fine which is the foolish thing that we do.
Tabb recognises that God is sovereign and that everything will work out for the believer in eternity but we do not have the answers to the difficult questions of human suffering. For example, he rightly points out that we cannot say that God is using our circumstances to refine our character to someone who goes through repeated family loses, loses all their wealth and is regarded as a righteous man before that happens as in the case of Job. In fact in the book of Job, he doesn’t receive any answers as to why God allows him to suffer. At the end of the book, Job sees the LORD and accepts what the LORD has done in his life.
It is clear that Tabb has been around people with real tragedy and has been able to stand alongside them. He reminds me that sometimes pointing to Romans 8:28 isn’t helpful just being there for someone is. Tabb answers the question from a Bible perspective he shows that taking the Open Theist view will not work because God is sovereign and all powerful. The book is well written, Tabb doesn’t go for an easy answer to the most perplexing question of all. I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

though he is dead he still speaks

I was reminded yesterday of Jonathan Edwards connection to several great movements of God even after his death. Firstly, Edwards had a good connection with the first Scottish Presbyterian split they offered each other mutual encouragement when Edwards was fired from his job and the disruptionist group left the Church of Scotland. Edwards was sent a copy of a little Scottish book on prayer, this influenced his book "A Call to United Extraordinary Prayer.." which was very influential in stirring revivial again after Edwards' death, influencing both in his native America and here in Britain.

After his death Edwards influence continued amongst Scottish Presbyterian splits, Thomas Chalmers one of the leaders of the Free Church of Scotland said, 'My theology is that of Jonathan Edwards.' In the only Free Church I have attended regularly there is still a feeling of Edwards warm vibrant Calvinism.

In England the Particular Baptists were caught up in the snare of hyper Calvinism it was through the rediscovery of the Calvinism of Jonathan Edwards that revealed to them a more evangelical Calvinism and created the environment for the modern missionary movement by influencing people like William Carey.

In the C20th the Welsh preacher Martyn Lloyd Jones was greatly influenced by Jonathan Edwards and MLJ himself influenced a generation of evangelical ministers.

In the USA, John Gerstner, R. C. Sproul and John Piper have created a new generation of Edwards disciples, this is a good thing as Edwards offers a robust warm Calvinism.

Long may his legacy continue!

God Bless

Stephen <><

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Scott McKnight and the Neo reformed

I read with Interest Scot McKnight's comments about the new reformed yesterday and thought it was a little unfair.
In the past I have appreciated McKnight's defence of scripture against Dan Brown's distorted interpret of church history. However his understanding of truth is influenced by post modernism and so that is where is problem with the reformed begins. In Coffee house theology McKnight says that he lost a bet and was forced to read Calvin's view of baptism. He believed that Calvin was just a bully with a pulpit. If he had read the rest of the institutes he would have found warmth there. He rightly says that Calvin was a man of his time but it was also clear he had no time for traditional reformed theology.
McKnight suggests that the new reformed have moved penal substitution from the periphery to the centre of theology. Penal subsistition has never been a perpherial part of theology. Yet McKnight does the exact opposite, In 'Atonement as Story' McKnight removes the atonement from the centre of Christianity to the periphery. He wrongly suggests there is no hint in any of the “I have come”statements to suggest atonement. He tells people (for the shock factor) that ‘Jesus didn’t come to earth to die for their sins.’ Yet Jesus said I have come to lay down my life on behalf of the sheep in John 10 implying subsitution. McKnight is wrong about the “I have come” statements, Jesus states that he has come to give his life as a ransom for many in Matt 20:28.
McKnight believes that the new reformed place to much emphasis on complimentarianism as if it was a major issue. As a complimentarian I have several female friends who are preparing for ministry and they know where I stand. I don't believe that because of their views they aren't Christians and this issue doesn't eat away at me, the issue I have with them is not complimentarianism itself but with their doctrine of scripture. One of them doesn't always agree with the apostle Paul because it is clear where he stands on the issue.
The new reformed unlike traditional reformed people are actually more open to other evangelicals. On the villiage green we stand with other evangelicals who love their bibles and are seeking to live for Christ. That doesn't mean we wont enjoy the debate over issues of disagreement. Theology has always been done that way. McKnight recognises that we get together, but so does every other group within evangelicalism and without.
All the major players within the new reformed Piper, Keller, Carson, Driscoll, Mahaney etc are Bible focused and are unlikely to quote the WCF or any other creed in their sermons. Keller and Driscoll could hardly be accused of placing tradition alongside scripture.
The new reformed have a high view of Scripture and truth which goes against the grain for McKnight and his emergent friends which is where McKnight's problem with the new reformed arises.
God Bless

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Come and Worship Together

Adrian Warnock is offering a chance to win a free copy Of Mark Driscoll's new book Vintage Church on his blog. It got me thinking what do I think about church? There have been times in my life as a Christian when I have found church a real struggle. The last few years I have grow to love the local church though because it is at the church that we get to join with other believers and exalt Jesus together. I love corporate worship times and this is at its best at my home church because you also get to see it lived out in the lives of your brothers and sisters. There is no other place on earth where Jesus is exalted like in church.
Having had a baby recently far away from home neither Joy's family or my family have been there but our church family have stunned us, with meals, with gifts and with love. A reflection of the fact that we as a church are a family.
Worship includes the preaching of God's word where we get to listen into the word of God expounded, I love good preaching (I also dislike with a passion poor preaching that fails to interact with the text). For me preaching either listening to it or even better doing the preaching is an act of worship as the Holy Spirit draws us in to hear with our ears and experience something wonderful with our heart. Good preaching that challenges us and changes us to become conformed to the image of God, what can be greater than that?
I am looking forward to becoming part of the church exalted when we shall gather with the global victorious church, diverse in colour, tongue and expression but all perfectly reflecting the likeness of Jesus.
So what do you like about church?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Max Lucado ----- For the Tough Times

I have read three of Lucado’s books previously, one of them Just Like Jesus I remember being impressed with his story telling ability but thinking that he had nothing to say. Also I read He Chose The Nails, which was better and shows that Lacado has a good understanding of atonement, although not from a reformed perspective. I found this book For the Tough Times a little to short for the subject matter, for the most part it felt like a pep talk from a couch before a football game. In fact at one point taking Paul’s words from Romans 8 he talks about God being for us, his illustration is of God being on the sidelines cheering us on, being at the finishing line to embrace us as we finish. Although I agree God is for us, the illustration left me wondering do we worship God or does God worship us?
Although he did cover how God uses suffering to produce character in the believer’s life, the introduction and the closing prayer suggested keep going things will get better. He used David, Joseph and especially Job to illustrate this, but did not really get to grips with how suffering can be a gift. In the closing prayer Lucado says ‘Most of all do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw in this tragedy, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence ended. Goodness suffering etc, he goes on ‘Turn this Calvary into an Easter.’ I would really like to ask him what he was thinking at this point. The atonement is a one off event, he knows this, so what does he mean? Maybe he is talking glibly about our “Calvary experiences” As Christians are we called to experience resurrection every day? Or for us to take up our cross and follow Him? I was also wondering what the young Joni Erickson Tada would make of the pep talk after she took her dive and found herself disabled, would she find hope in the tough times? I am not sure that she would.


Christian Hedonism in the 4th Century

I came across this prayer of Augustine from his confessions:-

Hear my prayer for pardon, Lord, lest my soul faint under your discipline, and do not let me fail in acknowledging before you your mercies, by which you have snatched me from all my most evil paths, that you might grow sweet to me beyond all the allurements I followed, that I might most powerfully love you and hold fast your hand with all my being, and to the very end you might tear me from temptation.
For, look, Lord, my king and my God, let whatever that is useful which I learned as a child serve you. When I was learning trifles you disciplined me, and forgave me the sin of the delight I took in what those trifles held. In them I learned many useful words, but such words can be learned in serious contexts, and that is the safe path in which children should walk.' (Translated by E.M Blaiklock)
Notice Augustine laments his wasted youth on fleeting pleasures, even when those pleasures were intellectual pursuits. His desire is know his God more so that God might grow more sweet to him. He realises that the more he knows God, the greater will be his awe and his desire for God will grow stronger and the fleeting treasures of this world will pale as a result. I think Augustine was a Christian Hedonist!
Shalom <><

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

a secret gospel

Inverness probably has the most evangelical churches in the UK, there seems to me to be more respect for Christianity here than elsewhere. Yet I got a real shock today, I was reading Mark Driscoll's book 'Death by Love' whilst enjoying a cup of tea, a lady walked by and asked how love could be demonstrated through death. So I explained the book was talking about Jesus' death for us, the gospel, a fantastic opportunity. When I said that God loved us and sent His Son to die for us the guy on the next table asked. "Is that some hidden secret Gospel." I explained that to the contrary it is the gospel! I thought it was ironic that I was reading a book by the pastor of Mars Hill church and the reaction I got was like the men of Athens, what strange teaching is this.
The more I think about it, this guy's ignorance isn't his fault, this is a day of good news and we are obviously keeping it to ourselves, who else is to blame for this guy never hearing the gospel in his 40 plus years? Granted he might have heard it before but never taken any notice but I am for one am going to ensure that his response prompts me to be more effective in presenting the gospel to lost and broken people in need of good news.
God Bless
Stephen <><

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

hot off the Navpress

A friend of mine from Colorado Springs just emailed me to let me know that Navpress have just launched a free book to bloggers scheme. You can find the details at Navpress.

Come on Crossways/IVP you know it makes sense!

Stephen <><

Monday, 12 January 2009

John (Calvin) The Baptist

I know Reformed people of all different denominations would like to claim Calvin and I know as a Baptist I don't really have a claim on the king of the Presbyterian system however.... I was surprised to find him arguing:-
Matt 3.6; Mark 1.5. The were baptized of him... confessing their sins. The evidence of their repentance was this confession, for as the Lord binds Himself to us in the sacraments as in His own writing, so in faithfulness should we in turn respond to Him. in Baptism, it is testified that our sins are remitted us, and He calls us to repentance. So that men may offer themselves properly for baptism, a confession of sins is required of them, otherwise the whole action would be nothing but an empty mockery. We must note that here adults are being spoken of, who we know are not to be admitted into the Church indiscriminately, not to be initiated by baptism into the body of Christ unless they are first examined.' 'A Harmony of the Gospels' (Eerdmans/Paternoster) P.118
He goes on to say of Christ and John's baptism 'We infer that he had no intention at all to distinguish his baptism from that which Christ ordered His disciples, the continuing practice which he wished to keep alive in the Church. Nor did he contrast the visible sign with another sign.' P.126
I love it!!! No mention of infants, covenants or circumcision. Maybe I can claim Calvin after all ;-) looking forward to seeing what he says in Acts.
God Bless

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Happy Birthday John Piper!!

Today (the 11th of January) I believe is the birthday of John Piper, Mark Dever describes Piper as an evangelical superstar. I am sure Piper would hate that description but John Piper is probably my (and many other people's) favourite living preacher! His humility adds to his appeal, I got to meet him a couple of years ago and he is very self-effacing. I have met several other leading evangelical preachers and some of them seem to believe their own press, that isn't true of Piper. Hi passion for the word is enthusing and dynamic! His war time mentality is a real challenge.
I was introduced to Piper through my affiliation to the FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches) as he came and spoke at one of our conferences. Sadly I had read a negative article and didn't like the sound of him. That was a big lesson for me to make up my own mind about someone rather than trusting orthodox criticism. When I first read Piper's Desiring God I felt a kinship to the central reformed theology but it caused a reaction I wasn't expecting, my ultra-reformed, ultra-conservative cold heart started to melt. I started to care for people again and had a new zeal for godliness. My religiosity came crashing down and I felt myself re-reborn.
I still enjoy reading and listening to Piper and occasional leave myself open to further promptings. For example it was through reading Don't Waste Your Life that I felt it was now time to listen to the voice of God that had been calling me for years. I am so grateful to God for John Piper!
Happy birthday John may our God continue to use you mightily for the glory of God!
Stephen Barton <><

Saturday, 10 January 2009

some churches say the funniest things

Having applied for a few church vacancies now, I have noticed a lot that I wouldn't apply for.
There was one instance where a church advertisement said, "we are a non charismatic church and we pride ourselves on a closed table." Now you might agree with both of those things but would you really want to start an advert about yourself with what you don't believe.
Other churches write that the man they are looking for will be...
An experienced preacher of the word, an evangelist, with a pastoral heart. A family man with children. He will be expecting to preach twice on Sunday's, and mid week. He will chair all meetings, be a good administrator and well organised. He should visit the flock on a regular basis and have the gift of encouragement, (notice that neither Paul nor Jesus could apply). The church has a manse but cannot afford to pay a salary.
God Bless
Stephen <><

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2009 The Year of The Calvinists

This year is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, another but less important anniversary is it is now 20 years since I was last fashionable. As Calvin will be in fashion this year I thought I would jump at the opportunity to get on the band wagon.
I have recently finished reading T.H.L Parker's biography of Calvin.
You can tell that Calvin is Parker's hero. Parker leads us briefly through Calvin's early life, but as the details of Calvin's conversion are sketchy he doesn't speculate but moves quickly through Calvin's education to his fleeing France because of persecution. Parker concentrates on the act of providence that sent Calvin to Geneva and away from his desired life of scholarship.

Parker presents a reluctant but gifted pastor with a real heart for the gospel and for people, (although it would be wrong to call him a people person). We also get to see that Calvin with weak health endured much suffering because of his stand for Christ. He was something of a workaholic and responded to letters from Evangelical leaders throughout Europe, it took a long time for him to be persuaded to do this through a Secretary.

Parker does deal with the messy controversy involving Servetus (although I felt he tried to hard to get Calvin of the hook). Parker did point out Calvin's faults because Calvin did, his temper was a constant matter for prayer for Calvin.

I have one other biography of Calvin but this book presents a better picture of Calvin the man.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the very occasional dig at the later Calvinists, Parker's theology would be nearer Karl Barth's. However this is very occasional and for the most part there is a genuine admiration for Calvin and a desire to present his life in the best light.

As I have read the institutes last year I have set myself the challenge to read Calvin's 12 volume New Testament commentaries over the next 12 months.

God Bless

Stephen <><