"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Loving God

March 13, 2018

“Jesus replied, ‘“Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
(Matt 22: 37 - 38)

What does it mean to love God? Maybe some of us would struggle to answer that question.

When I was younger I used to be taken by my Gran to see my great Auntie Nellie. I used to love going there because I knew that at the end of the visit I would be given 20p spends. Did I love Auntie Nellie? The truth is that I didn’t really even know her. I went to her house, not because I particularly wanted to see her but just because I wanted to receive what she gave me.

Do we sometimes approach our relationship with God like that? Do we want him, not for who he is but for what he gives us? Sometimes we forget that we were created to serve God and not the other way around.

Often it is easy to be ego-centric and see ourselves as the centre of our world, trying to fit God around that view. We ask: what has God done for me? The truth is that God should be the centre of our world. We should love God for who he is and not just for what he does for us. It is true that part of our love response to God is thanks and praise for the way he provides for us and answers our prayers, but our relationship with him should be much deeper than just that. God is not some sort of divine cash machine.

If we think of God in that way, then what is our relationship based on when circumstances take a turn for the worst? Has God stopped being Good? Has God stopped being Just? Has God stopped loving us? No - God’s character never changes (Heb 13: 8) which is why we need to love him for who he is in spite of whatever circumstances we happen to be going through. Paul knew this secret:

“I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances.”
(Phil 4: 11)

Think about any close relationship - marriage, friendship, parent-child - in all these relationships we want to be with the other person, not just because of what we will receive from them, and not just because of what we can give to them, but because we love them and we just can’t stand not being with them. That is why, if we really love God, we shouldn’t find praying and reading the Bible a chore.

A husband doesn’t have to discipline himself to spend time with his wife, a mother doesn’t have to be forced to read a letter from her child and friends don’t feel that it is an unpleasant obligation to have to spend time with each other. They want to be together. Something has gone drastically wrong with our relationship with God if we do not enjoy spending time with him. Here’s a word of encouragement from the Bible:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thess 5: 16 - 18)


16 fascinating Bible facts

February 22, 2018
  1. The Bible didn’t originally have chapters and verses. Scholars added chapters in around A.D. 1227 and verses in 1555.
  2. The Bible was written in 3 languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
  3. The full Bible has been translated into about 670 languages and the New Testament is available in 1521 languages.
  4. Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament.
  5. There are nearly 100 quotes or references to Deuteronomy in the New Testament.
  6. The middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 118: 8 “It is better to take re...

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10 Christian podcasts to grow your faith

February 7, 2018

This is the third post in my series on recommended podcasts and there are some absolute gems to discover.

(1) Nomad 
Topic: Interviews with Christian thinkers
Frequency: Fortnightly
Run time: Variable. Usually about 90 mins.
This is my current favourite and I listen to it while I’m swimming (on a waterproof MP3 player). Tim and David present a fascinating showcase of thoughtful viewpoints. Topics range from ecology, uncertainty and consumerism to LGBT identity, the arts, and mission-shap...

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Bountiful conference: Transforming others through our gifts

February 5, 2018
This weekend I had the privilege of speaking at the Bountiful Women's conference in Sevenoaks. My workshop was entitled 'Transforming others through our gifts' and we looked at some key biblical principles regarding gifts and well as women using their gifts in mission from the early church in the gospels and Acts, through church history to the present day. We also looked at practical and creative ideas to use our gifts in evangelism and social action.

Listen to the workshop here

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What's wrong with the world?

February 2, 2018

The word ‘sin’ isn’t used much these days is it? We talk about making ‘mistakes’ as if it’s accidental. We talk about ‘inappropriate’ behaviour (a bit like wearing ‘inappropriate’ shoes for a night out). We talk about ‘misconduct’ as if someone wasn’t paying attention in deportment lessons and has been presenting themselves is a sloppy manner. We say ‘oh well, nobody’s perfect’ to excuse lying, selfishness, being deliberately horrible to people, holding grudges...

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The Monk and the Woman

January 24, 2018

Two Buddhist monks, on their way to the monastery, found an exceedingly beautiful woman at the river bank. Like them, she wanted to cross the river, but the water was too high. So one of them took her across on his shoulders.

The other was thoroughly scandalised. For two hours he scolded the offender for his breach of the Rule: Had he forgotten he was a monk? How had he dared to touch the woman? And worse, carry her over the river? And what would people say? Had he not disgraced their holy Rel...

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4 reasons to memorise Scripture (and 6 apps to help)

January 15, 2018

In the 'olden days', most children went to Sunday school where one of the things they would have learnt is to memorise Scripture. These days, many of us are growing up with a poor knowledge of God’s word and relying on our Bible apps on our phones. And yet memorising Scripture is vital. Here are 4 important reasons why:

(1) Warfare

We can become complacent and forget that we’re engaged in spiritual warfare and yet the Bible says ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you’. Je...

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Bamboo toothbrushes and justice for the poor

January 1, 2018

Christians - especially evangelicals - are sometimes rightly criticised for being environmentally irresponsible and simply not caring enough about living sustainably on the earth. It’s hard for church to be attractive to my ethically aware friends when they’re confronted by hundreds of disposable plastic communion cups. And I must admit that for a long time I thought of environmentalism as an ‘optional extra’ rather than an integral part of my obedience to Jesus.

It’s clear right fro...

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Hiraeth - Biblical reflection video

December 31, 2017

Over Christmas, I did some reflecting on the concept of 'home'. I came across the word 'Hiraeth' in a book I was reading and it got me thinking. ‘Hiraeth’ is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. It is a "strange, conflicted feeling of incompleteness, the boundless longing for a home from which we feel we have been exiled." [Glynn Harrison, A Better Story P. 149]

The best of this world and the worst of this world inspires my longing for home, so I made a short video to try a...

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Book recommendations 2017

December 21, 2017

As I look back on the year, one of the highlights has been the amount and scope of reading I've done. This was an intentional move which was fuelled by me deleting all the games from my phone in February. I have really loved re-discovering the many benefits of reading books.

In 2016 I read 40 books. In 2017 this increased to 134! There has been a total mixture of themes from science to humour via typography and transport. It’s almost impossible to pick favourites, but I’ve chosen...

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