Thursday, 19 March 2009

Valley of Vision - 4

Another extract...if you haven't got this book...but it!

"May I confide in his power and love,
commit my soul to him without reserve,
bear his image, observe his laws, pursue his service,
and be through time and eternity
a monument to the efficacy of his grace,
a trophy of his victory...

Help me not only to receive him but,
to walk in him,
depend upon him,
be conformed to him
follow him,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trial, but thankful for my state...

Perceiving nothing of myself, may I find in Christ
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

I spent a little while thinking about a few of these phrases this morning in my devotion...what does it mean to be 'a monument to the efficacy of his grace'? Or how can I increasingly grow in 'perceiving nothing of myself'?

Friday, 13 March 2009


''Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man'' CS Lewis

For those interested I discovered these great little humorous pictures over at Hugh McLeod

Not all are appropriate, but all are funny.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Is this the way joy works? Often being joyful is something we make a decision towards and often it can be a natural overflow of the heart. I don't think there is either a wrong or right answer. I would however tentatively suggest as Christians joy should be an increasingly natural reflex of the heart, as we mature in our faith. However I have do doubt there will be time upon time in which we choose to be joyful, despite our circumstances.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Taylor Mesple

For those interested in the actual song/music, it is a cover of a Bruce Hornsby song. For those interested in the performer, Taylor Mesple is a song writer, producer and session artist. He is fantastic!

How Do You Think?

Some of us can't help but think in terms of pictures and all things visual. I have a friend/mentor who always paints his ideas in picture form...things often just make more sense this way, they have greater potency to broaden the minds horizon and cement ideas. Often they are unavoidable; it is so natural it is for us to use pictures to convey ideas within of speech. Indeed already in the short space of two sentences I have used two pictures...the idea of painting and of cementing (for those who missed it).

Others, instead of thinking predominantly in picture form, think in terms of story. Like a picture, a story adds weight to an idea helping us to think about it more has a strange efficacy and power to influence or thoughts; it connects us to idea, it places us within the idea. The best stories are often are not those most far fetched or exciting or dynamic, but those which portray real life most effectively, those with which we can connect most easily, most naturally.

What thing do these two things have in common...I think it has something to do with the fact that both picture and story engage the imagination. Instead of thinking about a concept from a far, the imagination places us within the very centre of the idea itself. Instead of enveloping the idea, the idea envelops us; instead of perceiving the idea, the idea perceives us. When we can engage the imagination in the learning process I think it becomes firstly a more enjoyable process, but also a more effective process.

I am no psychologist, this is just me thinking allowed. Feel free to engage with these comments. Do you agree or disagree? In what ways do you tend to think? Do you think some people have a greater degree of imagination?

Monday, 9 March 2009

More mind mapping...

So I've been checking out some more mind maps...
They can look amazing, if done well. I think.
Here are some examples.
The last one is my favourite.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Mind Mapping...

Have you ever used mind mapping? Are you a complete novice in the field of mind mapping? Are you an experienced mind mapper, with many highlighters, colour pens, and rulers? Have you even heard of mind mapping? Whatever category you fit into, MindMeister might be worth checking out anyway.

Here is an example of my to make big.

So, why is Mind Meister is a good idea?

1. It's quick and simple.
2. It's a good step towards forming a plan, presentation, essay etc.
3. It's a good visual aid.
4. It's free (you can upgrade to a premium package however).
5. It's group friendly.
6. You can share it, embed it, print it, email it, download it.
7. It's clean and tidy...even if your not.
8. It's a web-based program (access and edit anywhere)
9. Create a group user name and password for you friends to edit the mind map

The Freedom of Forgiveness - 2

''Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'' (Galatians 1:1 - 5)

Everything about the starts of this letter is typical, but there are a few things we can draw out from the outset.

First of all Paul emphasises the nature of apostleship. He is an apostle, and this is something you can just choose to be…God makes you an apostle; you are chosen by God. You see, Paul was as far from God as anyone could be. He thought he was doing God’s will in persecuting the early Christian Church, but he completely missed the plot.
But in verse 1 he says look at me… I'm an apostle now; I serve Jesus now. I know you can’t quite believe it when you look at my old life, the way I used to live, but now look at me…can’t you see the change. It’s obvious this was nothing I could have done for myself, but something only God could have achieved.

Isn’t this like the Christian life? If it wasn’t for God wouldn’t we all be still walking in the ways we used to live? Wouldn’t we still be entangled by the same old sins, doing the same old things, time and time again…and we wouldn’t even know it.But God in his grace was as verse 16 says ‘pleased to reveal His Son to us’…pleased to reveal his grace in order that we might walk with Him, in newness of life achieving all the plans he has set before us. For Paul that was being a great preacher, for you it may be something completely different.

It’s important to remember that forgiveness of sins is a free gift of God…it is something God does in, we can’t strive towards it, we cannot rationalise and we cannot earn it. It’s his free gift. Paul is contrasting it with circumcision, which although is probably free, if you are a grown man it certainly isn’t gift. More importantly circumcision is something we do to ourselves, it boasts in ones own personal righteousness, it doesn’t give thanks to God. Obeying rules…keeping the law…circumcision... they never give thanks to God.

New birth, new life in Christ is something God does, something he initiatives. The Spirit is the sign of a believer, not circumcision and only God can give the Spirit. Why is this? This way only he gets the glory...Paul goes onto say in verse 5…’to whom by the glory forever and ever.’ The freedom of forgiveness, the freedom of new life should always lead to praise and thankfulness.

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Freedom of Forgiveness - 1

I preached a Sermon (it feels weird to say...yes I preached my FIRST sermon)at Bournemouth Christian Union the other day. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work even before I had begun to was just so right. I therefore thought I would do a short five part blog series on the Freedom of Forgiveness.

Now freedom is something that has been fought and campaigned for probably more than other thing. It is something of immense value to all people.

Great wars revolve around issues of freedom…The American Civil War a battle for freedom, the Second World War, the Iraq war…despite the many hidden agendas, most great wars revolve around the issue of freedom. Now these things are obviously very noble and upright and we would whole heartedly agree with them; however freedom is never that straight forward; it’s always a subjective thing. I am sure you have all heard the phrase ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’…it’s a real problem. Also we have things such as the great push towards sexual freedom in the 1960’s which continues to do this day. Freedom is a virtue however many things masquerade freedom.

The Bible is essentially one big story revolving around this issue of freedom. Adam and Eve walked in freedom with God. They enjoyed communion with Him daily, enjoying relationship without restriction or inhibition. However when they disobeyed God and ate the fruit, the freedom that they once enjoyed is lost forever. From this point onwards God’s great mission is the restoration of that free relationship.

We have the story of the Exodus, a great story in which God wins the freedom of His people from the oppression of their Egyptian slave masters. He then gives them specific festivals and meals which are to remind them of their freedom.

This great exodus story foreshadows an even greater exodus this time led by God himself, Jesus Christ. Right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he gives us mission statement…he says this ‘’The Spirit of Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

On the Cross, Jesus Christ achieves the ultimate freedom for his people, leading all people who trust in Him through the great waters of sin and death and into freedom.

Finally we catch a glimpse of the story’s end in Revelation 21 we in which we see every tear being wiped away, every curse is being broken and death finally defeated and all creation being set free once again. God is the God of freedom.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Big Picture

For those of you who enjoy photo blogs, this is possibly the bestone I have come across in along time.

The photos covers many areas, most commonly current affairs and authentic national culture. Seriously...this is definitely worth 10 minutes of your time.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Bookshelves are Beautiful - 2

I been compiling some more photos of awesome looking bookshelves. If you have a book collection you are particularly proud of, why not email me a photo and you can have your own personal post!? Or perhaps there is a way you store or organise your books that you think is pretty unique, which again you could share with blogdom...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Bookshelves are Beautiful

7 amazing bookshelves...

This is excellent incentive for me to continue buying books...despite my inability to keep with reading them all.

Valley of Vision - 3

Another excerpt from Valley of Vision.

One thing I wish this book is missing is a reference for each prayer, at the moment each one is anonymous with a long list of sources at the end. Anyway here goes...

"Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
born was like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love:
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself

Herein is power:
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in dissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created

Herein is wisdom:
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery
he came, God incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf
to work out perfect righteousness for me.

Indeed our salvation won on the cross was not something done before God in His presence, but actually something done in His very being. It was not just something done by His divine approval but in His divine will. It was not something merely done for Him by another person or servant, but made complete in Him very self.

Praise God for our salvation not just by Christ, but in Christ.