Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Are you a Pharisee?

22 Oct

As yet another politician fell by the wayside recently because his private life did not match up with his wholesome public persona I was reminded yet again of Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees.  Everyone who has read the Bible knows that the Pharisees are the bad guys of the Gospel story.  They were the ones who hated Jesus and certainly Jesus reserved his harshest criticisms for them.  As a result, it is easy to condemn the Pharisees for their cold religion and hypocrisy.  However, even as I read about their failings, I fear that if I am honest the spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well in my heart.

Jesus’ major problem with the Pharisees was their hypocrisy.  They put on a show of religion, ostentatiously obeying all the laws and fulfilling all the important religious obligations, however, their godliness was only on the outside.  They were not willing to admit their sinfulness.  The outward appearance was white but their hearts were black.  As a result they refused to listen to Jesus.  Jesus famously said that he had come to heal the sick not the healthy.  Jesus’ message of salvation was for the sinner, not for the righteous.  Continue reading

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Hymns: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

21 Oct

At Church in the Bank we love to sing hymns. Hymns are a rich heritage of beautiful theological truth combined with moving and memorable melodies. I think we would miss a lot if we didn’t sing them, and if we didn’t take time to think about their words. So, let’s have a think about Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, a hymn written to the grace that we are given in Jesus. This is the first of three blog posts – one on each verse (that is commonly sung today – there are other verses that have dropped out of use).

Come Thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love

This verse is a prayer of orientation Continue reading

Praying in small groups

20 Oct

[This post is courtesy of Col Marshall, posted on The Briefing 22nd November 1994.]

If there is one sure-fire prayer point in small groups, it’s praying that God will make us more prayerful! Everyone believes in prayer; everyone recognizes that we need to pray more, but everyone has trouble making it a priority. Put it down to the bustle of 90s life, or simply to sinful, independent hearts—either way, we can always find something which is more pressing a task than speaking to God in prayer.

Prayer ruts

Most Christian groups pray. Most Christian groups easily drift into prayer ruts. Our times of prayer become hurried intercessions, a quick vote of thanks at the end of the Bible study, prayers for the sick or ‘those who aren’t with us’, or general prayers for more love and peace. Of course, these are all great things to pray for, but we usually end up praying for them by default, because we don’t put in the time and effort to think about what to pray. Continue reading

Why New Churches Should Sing Old Songs

13 Oct

[This post was reblogged from The Gospel Coalition website; written by Stephen Miller on 07th October 2012]

A  B  C  D  E  F  G

H  I  J  K  LMNOP . . .

You’re singing along, aren’t you? This catchy melody was responsible for teaching you one of the most foundational facts you ever learned.

That’s the way music works. It teaches. It forms us.

We don’t need scientific studies to know that music and melody fuses truth into our memories and intellects. We can all observe how melody infuses meaning, emotions, affections, and experiences into words. It takes lyrics to new heights and depths that they couldn’t go on their own.

Continue reading

‘What it means to be God’s man’

12 Oct

Recently the guys at SNAC met together to enjoy some great food and fellowship. Tim Booker joined them to discuss and challenge the guys on the idea of ‘What it means to be God’s man’.

Check out some of the great things the guys had to say about the night below …

What did you think of the night?

Rob: It was very encouraging to be challenged again to be a christian man, to take initiavtive and to stand firm in this world.

Tim: I found tonight to be a real challenge – but a good one!

What are some of the biggest challenges facing christian men seeking to live a godly life?

Greg: Consistency, it is very difficult to remain consistent within this world

Pete: I would have to say breaking out of the comfort mold that we like to live in within Australia

What can you and your christian brothers do to help eachother live as ‘christian warriors’ in this sinful world?

Eddie: To continually pray for each other and look into God’s word and rely on that as our guide

Cam: To combat this sinful world Christian guys must be comrades. We’ve got to bite the bullet and open up to one another. We need to share our victories and our battles. We need to read God’s word and pray together. We need to be more like a Band of Brothers than a lone ranger; more like the A-Team than James Bond.

What was your biggest take away from tonight?

Tom: That as a Christian guy I need to focus on fulfilling a mans duty under God

James: To not to be lazy and just sit at home

Adam: To be a man for God who is willing to take his stand and do his duty

Apologetic evangelism: an oxymoron?

22 Sep

[This post is courtesy of Phillip Jensen, Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney posted on The Briefing 25th August 2012.]

Apologetic evangelism is neither apologetics nor evangelism. Since the language of today is apologetic, and certainty is considered arrogance, how then can we evangelise modern, or post-modern, society?

Evangelism is the declaration of the great news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is the announcement of God’s victory in his Son; the proclamation of the coming of the age of salvation. It calls upon people to repent and tells them to trust Jesus for their salvation. It assures them of the full, complete forgiveness that Jesus has won for them and the new life that his Spirit brings them.

There is nothing to apologize for in evangelism. It is the most wonderful news that we will ever have to tell anybody. Judgement over, condemnation passed, sins forgiven, new life commenced, eternity awaiting us as we grow in God’s loving grace.

But today the world accuses those who speak with such confidence, of arrogance. They ask: Who can really speak of knowing the truth that will set you free? Continue reading

Get it into your head!

17 Sep

I love talking to older saints who have grown up with good Christian teaching.  There are many reasons why I love that but one of the main reasons is that they really know God’s word.  When I say ‘know’ I don’t mean they just know the ideas, the really ‘know’ the Scriptures so that they can bring God’s word to bear on any topic or conversation.  In past generations Christians worked hard at memorising Scripture, but this habit has been lost for many of the generations that followed.

We teach our children memory verses, but do we learn them ourselves?

In fact, I wonder if for many they ever actually applied themselves to memorising verses at all.  Instead, I wonder if that is just a wonderful side effect of regular quiet times – spending time in the Scriptures each day.  Perhaps the reason people of my generation don’t seem to be able to quote the Scriptures is that we have got out of the good Christian habit of daily Bible reading? Continue reading