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Showing posts from July, 2010

On Prayer

Luke 11:1-13
Today we look at Luke 11:1-13. Jesus teaches us about prayer.
For Jesus, prayer was a central part of his life. It was at the heart of who he was and what he did.
We discover him here, praying in a certain place (Luke 11:1). He is taking time out to be with God his Father. Time to praise God his Father. Time to delight in being with God his Father. Time to seek his Father’s guidance and strength. Time to ask him for things.
That is often very different to our praying.
[I came across this extract from the film ‘Anne of Green Gables’. Anne is an orphan and has gone to Green Gables where she has been placed with Mrs Cuthbert.
"Have you said your prayers?" Ms. Cuthbert asks Anne. "I never say any prayers," Anne responds. "What do you mean? Haven't you been taught to say your prayers?" Anne replies, "Mrs. Hammond told me that God made my hair red on purpose, and I've never cared for him since." "Well," says Anne's new guar…

What is evangelicalism?

Evangelicalism: A talk given to the Ipswich Sea of Faith group.

Personal introduction: brought up within an evangelical tradition.

Immensely uneasy with labels.

cf. The Puritan, Thomas Goodwin writes, “As for my part, this I say, and I say it with much integrity, I never yet took up party religion in the lump. For I have found by a long trial of such matters that there is some truth on all sides. I have found Gospel holiness where you would little think it to be, and so likewise truth. And I have learned this principle, which I hope I shall never lay down till I am swallowed up of immortality, and that is, to acknowledge every truth and every goodness wherever I find it”.
Other influences on my own Christian development: flirting with the charismatic movement; and time spent in an Orthodox seminary.
What is evangelicalism?
Not new. In fact, it has been at the heart of orthodox Christianity from the very first believers.
John Stott: “The evangelical faith is not a peculiar or esoteric v…

Getting our priorities right

Luke 10:38-42
We know what it is like. You’ve done everything: cooked the dinner, cleaned up, tidied the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher and loaded it again, unloaded the washing machine and hung things out to dry. And they just go through and read a book or watch television. It happens a lot in our house.And it really is very annoying when the slave gets stroppy and asks you to do something.
And of course, our sympathies here are with Martha.
She is the one who has invited Jesus into her home She a real doer, a servant.
Martha is the hub of the community. Other people may have the ideas, but she is the one who buckles down and does the work. She is the one who recruits and motivates and manages the volunteers. She is on the committees that actually do the work: the friends of the school committee, the summer fete organising committee; and when the theatre put on a fundraising event, she is there on the front line.
And I’m sure that here, Martha is the person who makes the synagogue run…

The Good Samaritan: how do we love?

Luke 10:25-37  The parable of the Good Samaritan
This is one of the few stories which many people still know from the bible. The phrase ‘Good Samaritan’, although never used in the passage, has entered the English language. And we have the ‘Samaritans’.
It is a passage which Christians have interpreted in different ways.
Earlier interpretations focussed on the story as an illustration of salvation. We are the man on the road; Old Testament religion (legalistic religion) embodied in the priest and the Levite, did nothing for us. Jesus comes, and has compassion on us. He saves us at great cost to himself. That of course, is true. But I don’t think that it is what this passage is about.
This passage really is about how we live. It is about ethics and virtue. Notice how the little word ‘do’ appears several times (v25, 28, 37)
‘Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ [I notice that the lawyer says ‘inherit’. That is significant. At least in his language, he realises that whatever he…