Monday, 19 September 2016

The Conversation

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear".  Jesus.

So there I was, facing an unexpected delay in my journey home from my little holiday with family this weekend, when I found myself giving assistance to a young Australian man named Daniel, who was touring around Southern England as part of his tour of Europe.
Soon, after sorting out what train we needed to wait for, we were discussing the English way of life, current political and economic changes, and the many places he had and was intending to visit, and his passion for 'certain English things', especially the likes of Tolkien and C S Lewis.

As we boarded the first train, the conversation began to focus on deeper things, especially in relation to science and how so many of our pursuits here actually seem to touch on deeper things - the longings expressed within us for 'something more'. This, in turn, when we boarded our second train, naturally lead on to talking about destiny, the big questions, and finally, focused upon the nature of God and the relevance of Jesus Christ, especially His teaching about the Father and His resurrection and the implications of this. 

Daniel had clearly been doing some deep thinking, and was eager to consider and discuss such matters with someone who could provide some pointers as to where to look next to slake his genuine thirst for wisdom and understanding about what mattered. I was delighted to spend the journey talking with such a person, and was reminded that it is as we seek (a desire that truly has to be awakened within us), God has promised that we shall find.

Lewis notes that we all have such an appetite, but often we can ignore or seek to divert its genuine purpose from where it is meant to lead us - to enquire about things that count - into far more mundane and unsatisfying pursuits.

It was truly refreshing to meet someone who was hungry to move forward, and hear the one who invites to us to come and dine at His bountiful table.

Thursday, 1 September 2016


"I haven't done such things for years, but I still find myself giving in to the irresistible temptation that if something's going to be done right, I have to do it myself".
Mike Horton - Rebels with a cause.

It's almost everywhere you look these days.
On pavements and streets, in roadside hedges or blowing around in the country...

and in People's heads.

'I'm pretty OK', the thinking goes, 
'in fact I'm probably better than just OK - actually quite decent most of the time, and occasionally even devout, so I can't really be that wide of the mark when it comes to what's needed to be truly good, even holy... I just need a little something - let's call it grace - every now and then, to give me a boost - a bit of a re-charge, and the (temple, shrine, therapy... insert what's most appropriate) I occasionally frequent and it's devotions suit just fine for that, so I'm good'.

The presumptions we can make, and the prevalence of the amenities/apparatus that panders to this in our times are as pervasive as trash on the streets.
Whatever it's particular slogan, this delusion leaves us woefully distant from the truth of what and who we really are - one look at the death of Jesus Christ and you are starkly reminded of the horror of our true situation; so far from God that He Himself had to come and give Himself to such an emptying to rescue us beleaguered, beguiled wretches from our perishing end.

The message of Christianity stands in stark contrast to all religion.
God loves us enough to give His Son to us, who saves us when we trust only in His unmerited rescue from the plight of pulling ourselves up to being "good enough". Everything else, notes Jesus, will sell us short, leave us in darkness, and lead to a bitter end.
Being 'born again' is clearly, first, about believing and trusting in what He spells out here, and being deceived (as Paul goes on to show to the Galatians) is to allow ourselves to move away from this back towards our self-baked piety.

You cannot have the freedom that Christ brings if you continue to hold on to the 'rightness' or 'value' of your own merits.

Paul tells us that he had come to see that he could only count his own zeal, devotion, virtues and merits as nothing more than rubbish - worthless, in order that he might apprehend the splendor and wonder of the gift of Jesus Christ and the singularly sufficient rescue He brings (Philippians 3: 7-9).

Religion is about sprucing up a corpse.
Christianity is about burying the dead in order that they can be raised to a newness of life that is truly outside of us.

We need to stop adorning ourselves in garbage, and become firmly anchored to the only sure and certain hope for all men and women forever -
it is Christ alone who is able to save to the uttermost.