Adoring Christ: Communion with God

11 01 2010

I recently listened to a lecture by Tim Keller called ‘Adoring Christ: Communion with God’ that captured some of the throughts I have been wrestling with over the last couple of years.





What God can do

20 11 2009

“When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend on education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.” — A.C. Dixon





A praying life

29 10 2009

Last week on holidays I read a book on prayer called “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. It was very stirring for my prayer life. Here are a couple of excerpts.

“To teach us how to pray, Jesus told stories of weak people who knew they couldn’t do life on their own. The persistent widow and the friend at midnight get access, not because they are strong but because they are desperate. Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life.

How desperate are you? The prayers of Jesus are cries of desperation:- “Father if you are willing take this cup from me”. “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

“The gospel, God’s free gift of grace in Jesus, only works when we realise we don’t have it all together. The same is true for prayer. The very thing we are allergic to-our helplessness-is what makes prayer work. It works because we are helpless. We can’t do life on our own.”

“The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God’s will, it is trying to discern and then disown my own. Once I see that, then prayer flows. I have to be praying because I’m no longer in charge. Either I see all of life as a gift, or  I demand that life have a certain look to it.”

What a great challenge to be praying like Jesus in desperation because we are weak and so desperate. What a great challenge to be praying ‘not my will, but yours be done.’ What a great challenge not to be praying God this is the decision ‘I’ have made in isolation from you and your people but guide me and lead me into your will through your Word and your people.





Unreached people of Indonesia

22 06 2009

indo mapIn my prayer time this morning the country in focus by Operation World was Indonesia. I was confronted by the facts below. A great cause for prayer. We need to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers to send to preach the Gospel.

Sumatra is the largest unevangelized island on earth. Most of its peoples are staunchly Muslim. If it were a nation, only 9 other nations would have more unreached peoples. Sumatra is the home of 52 known unreached people groups consisting of 25 million people. Of the 52, 48 have no indigenous churches and 34 of them have no known gospel workers.

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:35-37





Praying the heart of God for the nations

17 06 2009

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” 1 Chronicles 16:31

After spending the weekend with David Cook the Principal of SMBC I was propelled further forward in my thinking about being a ‘world’ Christian. David constantly has ‘the world’ on his heart and mind because he is always being informed about the lives of graduates across the world. He talked about many who are facing major struggles and trials but continue to have their faces lifted to the Lord and so have a concern for the ongoing ministry of the Gospel of Jesus. It gave me a renewed conviction to continue praying for the work of God across the world that flows out of his heart for the nations that we see expressed throughout the whole Bible.

The way I am reminded to do this and what helps me be focused in doing this are a few things. Firtly I receive prayer letters from friends who working in different parts of the world. Secondly I have the Operation World page as one of my homepages. Thirdly I subscribe to the weekly Voice of the Martyrs email.





Sermon Delivery – John Piper

3 06 2009

JPSermon Delivery – John Piper Interview

…there are a thousand details I could say about the preparation moment as far as poking at the text, but the preaching moment is the same. You plead with the Lord. I do APTAT, before I stand up.

 

 

A—I admit, O Lord, that I can do nothing of any lasting value.

P—I pray for self forgetfulness, for fullness of the Holy Spirit, for love, for humility, for passion, for zeal, for prophetic utterance that may come to my mind while I am preaching so that I can say things that I hadn’t prepared that might penetrate where nothing else would.

T—I trust a particular promise from the Lord that I have found in my devotions early in the morning. So today I read Deborah’s song in Judges 5 as well as Psalm 84 between 6:30 and 7:00 this morning, and pointed out a verse to Mark as we were sitting there. “Oh my soul, ride on in strength.” That was my word this morning. The Lord gave a word from his Word this morning: “Ride on in strength.” So I take that. That’s my T: trust. So as I am walking up, I am saying, “This is your work. It has come. Don’t leave me here. You have got to do something here. I am counting on you.”And he is saying, “I got this under control.” He is God.

A—Then you act. You have got to do it. It is your hands that are moving. It is your voice that is moving. You have got to do this. Walking by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, bearing the fruits of the Spirit is a mystery. “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10, ESV). That is the mystery. So sermon preparation is: You put out when you are preparing and when you are preaching. You put out, but if you have prayed and done APTAT and God is merciful, you won’t be putting out. He will be putting out.

T—Thank God. And when you have acted and you go sit down, you thank him. He is going to do, and is doing what he is going to do, and he regularly does more than you think he does. I don’t think after 28 years of preaching that I can correlate with any degree of confidence my sense of effectiveness in the moment and the true effectiveness of the moment. I don’t know any keys to know how to correlate those two. This keeps me from being too excited or too depressed. The Lord will be sure to put me in my place if I do the one and lift me up if I do the other, because he said, “I am working out there in ways you can’t make happen at all. You thought that was a good thing to say? That wasn’t it. You missed it. That wasn’t what did it. This thing over here that you didn’t even know I gave you did it, and you will find out in heaven that that happened.”

John Piper interview at t4g





Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

22 05 2009

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual SecretOn my recent holiday I read a book about the devotional life of Hudson Taylor. It was a means of grace from God to refresh my soul. I share some excerpts to help you see why.
“I thought that holiness, practical holiness, was to be gradually attained by a diligent use of the means of grace. There was nothing I so much desired as holiness, nothing I so much needed; but far from in any measure attaining it, the more I strove after it, the more it eluded my grasp, until hope itself almost died out…
When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known if before.”
Here is the sentence:- “But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.”
Hudson Taylor continues:- ” Ah, there is rest!” I thought. “I have striven in vain to rest in him. I’ll strive no more. For has not he promised to abide with me – never to leave me, never to fail me? And he never will.”
“How then to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all he is for us: his life, his death, his work, he himself as revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not striving to have faith…but looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity.”