Archive for the ‘In the beginning…’ Category

Slow down

Tuesday February 27, 2007

As much as I love spending time thinking things through as I write, I don’t have the time over the next few weeks to do it as much as I’d like. So I’ve set myself a rule not to spend time here apart from on Sundays – that way I can hopefully feast on the Bible and the gospel and be ready for church in the evening, and the rest of the week focus on working and serving. I’m currently working on the first chapter of Habakkuk which is sobering stuff, but I’m going away for the weekend so it’ll be a while before I get to finish it. That means I have something to look forward to while I’m in circuits lectures, though.

You do not have, because you do not ask.

Friday November 10, 2006

I have heard this sentence from James 4:2 quoted by people who want Christians to pray more, which seems a pretty good aim. (Though having had a quick skim of the surrounding verses, I’m not sure that we can take it as straightforwardly as some would like. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s about asking God but that’s another conversation for another time.) Certainly there are plenty of people who want us to pray more, because we all know that in this culture we don’t pray enough. We would all say that prayer changes things – and indeed that it’s vital to our lives – but few of us would be comfortable when reading Paul talking about his own prayer life.

So I decided a little while ago that my personal project this year would be to learn about prayer. There are some books I want to read (which I’ll talk about in a minute) and I want to talk to other people about it. But something rather odd has happened over the last couple of days. Previously, I wanted to want to pray, I wanted to be good at praying, I wanted to improve my relationship with God (though for that, see the next post), I wanted not to cringe when I read Paul. But something’s happened. I want to pray! A few things happened to bring about this change, and I thank God for their timing. I might even write about some of them here sometime soon.

So, what’s the plan? First, it’s to pray – that God will make me a pray-er, that I will rejoice in this gift he’s given us, that I will pray and that my prayers will glorify him. Then it’s to ask a couple of my friends to keep talking to me about prayer and keep me excited about it. To learn more about prayer, because there are so many verses I don’t understand and time’s I don’t know what I’m meant to do, there are four books I want to read. The first is A Call to Spiritual Reformation by DA Carson which is on my bedside table at the moment. Then the Bible Speaks Today commentary on prayer, FF Bruce’s book on the subject and Valley of Vision, a book of prayers written by the puritans, to guide and encourage me. Fourthly, I’m going to post thoughts here. Much of this will be reflections on what I’m reading to ensure that I do reflect on it. There may also be random thoughts that I have and want to preserve. Please do comment, and share encouragements, advice and grace.

Sabbatical

Thursday October 26, 2006

A prayerful,┬áin-depth study of the Scriptures with a genuine desire to hear God speak and apply his words to our lives is fantastic. A joyless mission to understand the position of every comma for the sake of the comma rather than God turns discipline into legalism and the Bible into a book of torturous complexity and effort. It stifles Bible reading. It leads to pride in my understanding and despair in my lack of it. Most of all, it distracts from the God which the Bible is here to reveal. I am sad to say that this is where I have allowed this blog to take me. So I’m taking a break.

I’ll still be an avid note-taker in sermons, read good books, get stuck into group Bible studies and treasure the time I spend in personal reading of the Bible. But I’m going to stop coming here, so that I can read a paragraph of the Bible without feeling that I have to be able to write ten on it. I’m going to stop speaking and try to listen. I hope to be back, but I won’t be until God has transformed my heart and my attitude towards his Scriptures and my time.

I don’t know if anyone will read this, but if you are I wish you all the best in your own searching of the Bible. If you are looking for a companion on your journey I can recomend you talk to someone at church or read the Bible Speaks Today commentary series. But most of all, don’t forget to listen to the Holy Spirit as he guides you through God’s word. He wrote it, he knows. That’s certainly my prayer for me.

God bless.

Simple things…

Monday October 9, 2006

By way of introduction, let me point you to something a fantastic US pastor wrote: “Laugh, really laugh. Because funny stuff is happening all around you. (Sometimes because of you.)” (And if you want something to start laughing at, look at some of the other ‘Friday Funnies’ on that blog.)

I’m not sure how much I let myself laugh at what goes on around me (or in me) so I want to see. I’m going to keep this going daily to keep track of what things that happen actually make me laugh – and if in the process I bring a smile to someone else’s face, or encourage them to laugh at themselves as well then that’s a bonus.

Let (by God’s grace) the laughter commence…

A quick link…

Thursday January 26, 2006

Before I start, if you wouldn’t call yourself a Christian, can I ask you to check out this site?

http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/

It explains the Christian message clearly, quickly (it’ll take maybe five minutes to read) and with stickmen :) It’s got nothing to do with old men and dodgy hymns, just a really simple fantastic free gift.

If you are a Christian and you haven’t seen “Two ways to live”, look at it! It’s a great reminder of the basics of our faith, and a great way to explain it.

Now that’s done, I’m getting into Luke. I’m starting from chapter 5, just because that’s where I am in Search the Scriptures.

God bless,
Richard