Friday, 28 January 2011

CS Lewis- cautions for 'Mere Christianity'

There's been a bit of a resurgence in appreciation for the work of CS Lewis of late, probably in no small part due to the cinematic success of The Chronicles of Narnia. I've benefited from his work personally and know that many of my heroes in the faith have too, John Piper in particular often cites Lewis.

All of that said, praise for Lewis is often heavily qualified within evangelicalism; cautions are issued alongside commendations. Kevin DeYoung does a great job of showing why here.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dedication- What’s it all about?

It was a great blessing to be able to conduct the dedication service of the son of good friends on Sunday.

Here's what dedication services are about:

In a dedication service parents commit to lead, teach and train their children in God’s ways.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9


In a dedication service parents promise to ‘give their child’ to God. That is to say, they acknowledge that God is in charge, that His plans for their child’s life are better than their plans. Their desire is that his will be done and his name honoured through their child’s life.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 1:27-28


In a dedication service the parents acknowledge that they are insufficient for the task. They need the help of others and, most importantly, of God. Therefore the congregation commit to help and we pray for God’s Spirit to lead and strengthen and bless.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
    It’s builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1

Friday, 21 January 2011

Dr Bruce Ware - Preaching that instructs and rebukes

I thoroughly enjoyed Dr Ware's visit to Scotland at the weekend, and am delighted that his talks are now available for free online. Enjoy.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Calvin on the treasure that is prayer

'To know that God is the Lord, to know that everything good comes from him, to know that he invites us to ask him for what we need, and yet not to call on him and pray to him, is like knowing of a treasure hidden in the earth and, through indifference, to leave it there, without taking the trouble to dig it up.'

John Calvin - Truth for all Time

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Liam Goligher moves to Tenth (and offers us a great resource in the process!)

My own journey to Airdrie Baptist was from a Presbyterian background. Dr Liam Goligher has since his time in Airdrie, moved in the opposite direction, recently accepting a call to Tenth Presbyterian.

So I'll admit it, I was a little disappointed that our church never got a mention in the search committee's 'recommendation booklet' but it is, nevertheless, a great resource. Well worth saving and filing away for the next time your church is looking for a new pastor. If you find yourself wondering what sort of questions to need to be asked by a search committee, and what kind of process followed, it's really helpful.

Also thought Dr Goligher's answers to questions such as 'What is your theology and philosophy of ministry?' and 'What do you believe is the greatest challenge people face in global cities today?' were very insightful.

Will be a little sad to lose another gifted and godly Scottish minister to the USA, but wish him every blessing in his ministry in Philadelphia.


Saturday, 1 January 2011

O Love beyond compare

For many of our friends at Airdrie Baptist, 2011 brings some serious health concerns. A much-loved member of our church family died yesterday, making this time even more poignant than usual. 

I read the words of a new-year prayer from the Valley of Vision posted by Tim Challies and found them particularly weighty given all that we are facing. They articulate the Christian's gratitude for the year past, and a real gospel-centred confidence for the year ahead, without being twee, naive or inauthentic.

How thankful we are that in all of the uncertainties of tomorrow, we can be absolutely certain that: 

great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. (Ps 117.2)

Here's the prayer:

O Love beyond Compare,
Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.

Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.