Saturday, 22 May 2010

Read and Share DVD Bible volume 1

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Bible repeatedly says we should teach our children about God and the things of God. As a parent this is something that I take seriously although my daughter is still a toddler. How wonderful then that we can do this in a variety of different formats. Thomas Nelson have provided us with a beautifully illustrated DVD that is very watchable. On this DVD there are thirteen Bible stories that are each retold in three minutes as cartoons. These cartoons are very well done and even have a three D feel to them. The narration is excellent and while using poetic licence they are faithful to the Biblical accounts. I really enjoyed watching it with my little girl but she was just a little young yet to follow it. The DVD also has some useful resources you can print off, such as colouring sheets, which my wife finds helpful for sharing with children when she does the creche at church. She also shared the DVD with all the children in the creche and they gave it a thumbs up and so did the moms as the children sat still throughout the whole thing. I heartily recommend this DVD to parents and toddlers. I am looking forward to getting volume 2!

Fearless by Max Lucado

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

There is no doubt about it Max Lucado has been endowed with a wonderful gift, he is a genius when it comes to his writing style and he has a great imagination. His illustrations drawn from real life are riveting and he has much to teach us from his own Christian walk and that of others who have crossed his path. However in spite of some great moments especially towards the end of the book it felt to me like he had nothing to say. Part of the problem to mind is for much of the book he doesn't know who he is talking to too. He says that this is a book for Christians and for those without faith but later in the book he talks about having nothing to fear because after death we have Heaven waiting for us. This isn't true for those without Christ, as Lucado knows. The book gets better as you move on, he moves away from the easy believism suggested at the start of the book to a real vigorous self denying type of faith by the end of the book. While I was disappointed for much of the book it was nevertheless a joy to read because his style is so thoroughly readable, I just wish he had something more to say.


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

the mercy of God to undeserving sinners

Just found this excellent quote in Mark Dever's The Message of the Old Testament:

'As the great congregational minister Edward Payson said, "You cannot make a rich man beg like a poor man; you cannot make a man that is full cry for food like one that is hungry: no man who has a good opinion of himself cry for mercy like one who feels that he is poor and needy." Christian churches are not congregations of the righteous, the morally successful, and the completely obedient. Such people do not exist in the world. Christian congregations are founded on a recognition of our own poverty, our own spiritual need, and Christ's fullness. Christ died to procure mercy, and he calls you to turn from your sins and to trust in him. Oh friend leave your sins for Christ.' p194

We are always the poor who need the great physician, to forget this is to become self dependent, self satisfied and ultimately to become self-righteous which is really unrighteousness.

LORD be merciful to be a sinner!


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Ben Witherington , Noah's Ark and the problem of modern scholarship

In many many ways Ben Witherington is a fine New Testament Scholar. I have benefited from his writings on numerous occasions and learnt a lot from both his Grace in Galatia and His Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Acts. Recently on his own blog he commented on the recent claim of Some Chinese Christians to have found Noah's Ark. Whilst he is right to be cautious about this pointing out that there have been several supposed finds in his life time. He is also open to the idea that it could quite possibly be Noah's ark. His cautious comments are encouraging he doesn't want Christians to make claims in their excitement that are needed to be withdrawn after the event. My issue is not with his caution but with his understanding of the Genesis account, he writes:

What I am prepared to attest to is that geologists have long pointed out that there is clear evidence of a huge flood in the ancient near east, a flood which was spoken of not only in the Bible but also in Enuma Elish another ancient source as well that tells the story of a Noah like figure named Utna-Pishtem (see Heidel's Babylonian Genesis ). The evidence suggests a flood of the then known world, not a world wide flood as we would consider it today. And indeed it would take one whopper of a flood to put a boat 11,000 feet up on a mountain in eastern Turkey. We will leave to the flood geologists and oceanographers the issues of how big a flood it would take to put a boat where this team of explorers say they found it.

Witherington is an evangelical scholar and like a lot of evangelical scholars he is prepared to give to much away for the sake of academic credibility. A flood of the then known world rather than a world wide flood is not what the Bible talks about. What the Bible says is enough for me, the Bible says the whole earth was flooded I believe it. However it is not just the Bible, there are flood stories from all over the world. I knew this and so I asked a friend of mine from India if he knew of any flood stories from there. He came back with two accounts and both of them had a universal flood, a speaking god and a massive boat. The Genesis account is about universal judgement, Ben Witherington, you and I are descendants of Noah and we are here today because God showed mercy to one family during the flood. The horror of the flood account is hard to take ,it is not a fairytale or a delightful children's story it is a judgement that the world has never seen before or since. Yet it also speaks of two other things, it speaks of a future judgement, also on a global scale. Even greater the Ark points to God's mercy we are told that the judgement was delayed for 120 years so others could repent. We are also told that Noah found grace in God's sight, Noah received God's mercy. Today there is still an Ark which can save from God's judgement, the LORD Jesus Christ, the ark of God's mercy. Only by trusting in Him will we be safe from the wrath to come. Again his wrath is delayed so that you might find mercy.

God Bless
Stephen <><

Friday, 7 May 2010

Jerry Bridges -Love God with all your heart

A friend of mine works for Navpress and told me that Jerry Bridges who has some excellent books in the reformed tradition is a great guy, when he walks into Navpress' offices in Colorado Springs he speaks to everyone. One of the guys that writes about relationships walks in and only talks to the big wigs. It is why the emergent church thing wont last without truth, relationships are not built on the solid rock. I really enjoy Jerry Bridges, I am currently reading his devotional Holiness day by day here Bridges talks about love:

Have you thought about what it means to "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37)

Here are a few obvious aspects: you seek fellowship with Him and long to gaze upon his beauty (Psalm 27:4). You rejoice in meditating on His Word and rise early to pray (Psalm 119:97, Mark 1:35). You always delight to do His will (Psalm 40:8). A regard for His glory governs and motivates everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:31)- eating and drinking, working and playing, buying and selling, reading and speaking, even driving. You're never discouraged or frustrated by adverse circumstances because you're confident God is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). You're always content because you know he'll never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Or look at What Jesus called the "second" commandment: "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 22:39, NIV) Among other things, this would that you never show selfishness, irritability peevishness, or indifference in your dealing with others. You take a genuine interest in their welfare and seek to promote their interests, honour and well-being. You never regard them with prideful superiority or talk about their failings. You never resent any wrongs they do to you, but instead are always ready to forgive. You always treat them as you would have them treat you. Do you begin to grasp some of the implications of what it means to obey these two commandments? Most of us don't even think about them in the course of a day, let alone aspire to obey them. Instead we content ourselves with avoiding major outward sins and performing accepted Christian duties.

Well that's me convicted I am off to do some praying and repenting, praise God for Jerry Bridges and his challenging insights!!!
Stephen <><

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

fairness for all

Last night I was listening to a speech from Gordon Brown, the leader of the Labour party who is campaigning for re-election. He spoke about fairness for all, something that resonates with me.

However Joy had our twenty weeks scan yesterday, we didn't get a twenty week scan with Hannah so it was just an amazing experience. At twenty weeks the baby is moving around, fully formed in miniature, we could see their face, ten little fingers and toes it was a real opportunity to see the creator's handiwork. Psalm 139:13 says 'For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb' What occupies the womb is a little life, someone created by God, in his image and that is something that carries an enormous amount of dignity. In the UK election no-one is speaking up for the unborn, all three leaders of the main parties abstained or voted against the bill to lower abortions from 24 weeks to 20. With technological advances it is clear to see that a life occupies the womb as the Bible says and so a termination is a termination of someone who is fearfully and wonderfully made, someone created by God for His glory. If governments are going to speak about defending the weak and the vulnerable they should start with those who occupy the womb. Fairness for all should include those who are yet to be born but are already experiencing life, life in their mother's womb.

Stephen <><