Archive | April 2009

Joseph by Liam Goligher

Although you should never judge a book by its cover, I think that among the myriad of exceptions, you’ll find this book. It would be very unlikely that you would ever have spend to hours trying to find this book, minutes even. This book does stand out, on the outside and the inside as I’ll explain.

There is so much to say about this book, so many lessons learned, so many golden nuggets that I don’t have time or the fingers to put it into text – suffice to say that I have suddenly realised how much I have to learn in the Christian life, how little I truly know!

With any Christian book, the ultimate aim is to bring glory to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and this book doesn’t fail. After reading, I scoured my bookshelf for a book that would help me to gain this awe of Christ that Goligher spoke of, as the Bible demands again and again. I wanted to develop a greater understanding of the actual price that Christ and His Father paid on the hill Calvary.

This book shed light on my many hidden failures. I realised how envious I am as a Christian of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts that far surpass my own. I’ve also learnt how I must deal with sin, using Joseph as an example and the brothers as a warning. Entertain or flee.

There were two massive comforts that I found. Firstly, the providence of God. The whole book centered around this theme. It inspired my awe of God, it overwhelmed me! Every tiny, seemingly insignificant, event in my life is in God’s plan. Goligher used the amazing story of Joseph to emphasise God’s part in my life, the whole 100% of it!

There is so much I could say, but I’m not going to save you the money of buying the book!

The second comfort was that change is real with God.

People can change, and God is in the business of making all things new.

It’s easy to fall into the pit sometimes of thinking that life will always be like this. “I’ll always be proud, arrogant, ignorant, etc. it’s part of who I am.” Goligher uses the story of Joseph to blow this totally out of the water. These character vices can seem like impenetrable caverns, or impossible mountains. Yet I saw, whilst reading this book, the exciting fact that God can change me and God will change me for the sake of His own glory, yes, but also for my future glorification. Agreed, I will struggle my whole Christian life with sin, but God during this time on earth will transform me to the image of His Son. But as Goligher explains, we can so often get impatient;

Usually this transformation is not an overnight event, although that is the kind of thing we all tend to look for in life… It is more often a work that takes place over the long term, as the Spirit of God does His work within us, gradually weeding out the roots of sin in our hearts and loosening our grip on this world and its values.

This definitely is a good read. Go and buy the book, read it, then leave your comments here!

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Christian Guys and Masculinity

Great article I’ve just read on the Pyromaniacs’ website. Alot of guys (including myself!) can sometimes try to act as manly as possible so you don’t look in any way effeminate. But it’s not the outward appearance that matters (yeh, I know such a cliché), but how sound you are in gospel understanding, in biblical understanding.

Real manliness…is defined by Christlike character. Not just the Gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild-style character, but the full-orbed fruit of the Spirit rounded out with strength, courage, conviction, and a stout-hearted willingness to oppose error and fight for the truth—even to the point of laying down your life for the truth if necessary.

Here‘s the article guys. Then let’s get up and do something!

The Hidden Hand of God

He hides himself so wondrously,
As though there were no God;
He is least seen when all the powers
Of ill are most abroad.

Thrice bless’d is he to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field when he
Is most invisible.

Fredrick William Faber (1814-63)

“Porn and Pastor Papers”

Just read this great post by Dan Phillips on the Pyromaniacs website. I only just discovered the site a couple of days ago after being introduced to it by a trainee pastor – the first post I read was a big stab to the heart mingled with a sudden realisation that lately I have been by-passing my own pastor and treating others such as Piper, Mahaney, Dever, Driscoll etc. as my pastor instead.ttin

The link is here.

Their website is a bit messy, they need to give it a good clean up, but from what I’ve read so far the writing’s good and that’s really all that matters.

John and Betty Stam – Missionary Martyrs

John and Betty StamI’ve just finished Vince Christie’s book about the missionary martyrs, John and Betty Stam. It’s a tiny book but so chock-full of challenges, encouragements and Jesus Christ that I found myself writing lots of notes.

I have to admit before reading this book I had no idea who these people were – suffice to say I felt very differently after this book. This book challenges the idleness that I find so much within my life especially at a time when God hasn’t called me to a huge work such as John and Betty Stam were. I loved the way that we are shown the backgrounds of these two ordinary people, whose faith was so strong and their hope in Christ was so real that anybody could see that there was something different about them.

The greatest challenge to my thinking came in the last chapter. This quote was penned by a close friend of John and Betty, Clara Scott:

We have been thankful that from the first we committed our three precious ones into the Lord’s hands, and have prayed that His name might be glorified and His will done. We have, of course, prayed that, if it be in accordance with His plans for them, their lives might be spared to witness to His great power to release from physical danger. But at the same time we, if His name could be the more glorified through the sacrifice of their young lives, were still willing to give up our treasure into His hands, knowing that He would not carry out such a purpose unless the greater glory would result through their death than through their living witness.

john_betty_stam_mediumThat last sentence was so hard-hitting that I suddenly realised how selfish I had personally been over the past few days. Many times I had fears of suddenly becoming blind or being unable to walk or whatever, but these words totally blew my thoughts out of the water, He would not carry out such a purpose unless the greater glory would result through [it].

The second quote is one by a young woman who heard about the incident and desired immediately to join CIM (today’s OMF):

I do not fear death, but would be happy to die in China or here for Christ’s cause. The chief desire would be that my death should be a means of leading precious souls to Christ. Being human, I naturally dread suffering and distress of body, and abuse at the hands of wicked men. But I really believe that I have faced all these possibilities and counted the cost. This tragic and terrible happening does not frighten me but, rather, makes me regird myself with the armor of God.

Do we all feel like this? Do we all feel a sense, not to go to China or Vietnam or Peru or wherever, but to live lives that constantly lead precious souls to Christ? There is a ministry or mission for all of us, whether it be at home or abroad, whether it be in the workplace, home, school, youth group – are we obeying God living lives that glorify Christ? It is frightening, of course it is, but as the young woman just said we should not run away in fear, but regird ourselves with the armor of God.

Finally, listen to this prayer, written by Betty herself:

Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever.  Fill me and seal me with Your Holy Spirit.  Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.

Can you say this prayer truly?

The Gospel Coalition

This truly is an amazing site for those who want to really want to delve deeper into their Christian lives. There is such an overwhelming flow of information, links, videos and articles that there is no excuse for the Christian to be severely ignorant. There is even a theological journal for those who want to go even further, free to download.

There is a list here of everyone involved in the project, so you know what you’re dealing with. If you’ve read some of their books you know how Christ-centred these people are.

Here’s the link, so what are you waiting for?

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