Friday, 26 June 2009

Free Online Book

This has been kicking about the web since Father's Day- a free online book on fatherhood by Mark Driscoll.

I was intrigued by the title and found that it's called 'Pastor Dad' because Driscoll asserts that all Christian fathers are called to pastor their children... Nice, but if I were to write a book on fatherhood it'd definitely have to be called 'CBeebies saved my life..'

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Begg on the Confidence of Heaven…

After reading this blog post from my good friend John Caldwell, I was put in mind of something that Alistair Begg said at the ministers conference.

During the Q&A session he quoted Luke 16:

"He answered, `Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

" `No, father Abraham,' he said, `but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

He then summed up by saying:

“The confidence of heaven is in the Scriptures”

Begg was not actually speaking about signs and wonders, but about fads and fashions, nevertheless the principle is the same. We are all too prone to looking to the wrong places for power, validation and authority- the confidence of heaven is in the Scriptures.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Scottish Baptist Ministers Conference 2009

I’ve been in pastoral ministry for a year and a half now, and last week was one of the most refreshing and encouraging. I spent most of the week at the Baptist Ministers Conference in St Andrews. It was a great joy to spend some time with good friends and fellow pastors, not to mention sitting under the preaching ministry of Alistair Begg.

Here’s the reflection I put in our church newsletter on Sunday:

(From the Newsletter Sunday 14 June 2009)
Thoughts on the Ministers Conference 2009

This year was the first opportunity I have had to stay for the full Ministers Conference, and I thought I’d offer you a few thoughts on the week.

The place

The conference was, as always, held in the University of St Andrews which is a fitting home for such a gathering. Not only does the town provide a beautiful setting for us to enjoy, it is a place of great historical significance for the Church in Scotland. I had the opportunity to visit the site at which Patrick Hamilton was burned alive (at the spot now marked by his initials above.) He was just 24 years of age. Hamilton's execution was horribly botched and he took several hours to die, as the flames engulfed him he cried out “Lord Jesus receive my Spirit! How long will darkness overwhelm this realm?”

The other site I visited was George Wishart’s place of execution. He too, was martyred for his biblical preaching of the Gospel. Wishart was good friends with John Knox (who acted as his bodyguard when he went preaching!) but when it became clear that he would be arrested he told Knox to leave him, saying “one person is sufficient for a sacrifice”. As Wishart prepared for his death he prayed, then turned to the crowds and said:

“For the Word’s sake and the true Gospel, which was given to me by the grace of God, I will suffer this day at the hands of men; not sorrowfully, but with a glad heart. For this cause I was sent, that I should suffer this fire for Christ’s sake. Watch my face closely. You will not see me change colour for I do not fear this grim fire. I know surely that my soul shall dine this night with my Saviour Christ.”

The manner of these men’s deaths actually validated the truth of their message- that we can have a living personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Whilst their martyrdom silenced their own preaching, in a sense it actually served to amplify their voices and further the cause of the true, biblical, Gospel. What a powerful legacy they have left for all who desire to remain faithful to the Lord irrespective of the personal cost.

The people

It was a great joy to meet with other ministers, to share joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, to laugh and speak and eat and worship and pray together. It was particularly encouraging to meet with some of the guys I studied with in College, we are good friends, and good influences on one another!

The preaching

This year the Conference welcomed Alistair Begg back to Scotland. Alistair is a wonderful preacher and I was greatly challenged and encouraged by his three messages. He was asked to speak on “21st Century Church”, and preached on 2 Corinthians 4\5 and Acts 26. Fittingly he said that what the church needs in the 21st Century- is exactly what it has needed in every century; faithful, clear, unashamed, persuasive, biblical preaching of the true Gospel.

The point!

Admittedly I haven’t just offered these thoughts simply to inform, but to inspire prayer! Please pray for the ministers of our denomination and our land. Pray for courage and conviction like that modelled by Hamilton and Wishart. We may not be burned at the stake, but there is a cost to living and ministering faithfully in the 21st century, it is still not the path of least resistance. Pray for congregations with discerning ears and warm hearts and pray that many would respond to the Gospel in our day.

Yours in His service,


Saturday, 13 June 2009

Resolved Conference 2009

For yet another great conference from the States with free live feeds see this website.