TCH Sheffield are currently in the middle of a teaching series in Hosea called The Passion of God: A Heart for the Harlot. The talks of which can be found here.
We’ve learned that we belong to a passionate God; a God so passionate that he did everything, at great cost to himself, to welcome us home. Hosea has shown us how passionate God is for a people who are faithful to Him. We see God’s righteous anger at Israel’s sin that doesn’t fit with them being His people and also God’s future promise of grace that He will win a people for Himself. Seeing God’s passion for a passionless people who worship other things is jarring. God demonstrated his passion for his people when he asked Hosea the prophet to marry a prostitute who was ultimately unfaithful and yet Hosea still goes out to the market place to buy her back from slavery to her lovers. God’s passion for his people is immense and yet His wrath falls on those who throw this back in His face like the Israelite’s were.
Praise God that this wrath, this passion for holiness, has ultimately fallen on Jesus so that we might be the blameless people that God desires. The passion of God is so clear at the cross. In that gruesome setting as Jesus hung there dying the most horrific death He demonstrated his love for the unlovely. Jesus was a man of passion to his very last breath. He had passion for the Father’s glory since he said ‘not my will but your’s be done’ and he had a passion for the lost as he died to pay the penalty they deserved that they might share in his glorious inheritance. We worship a God of passion. This has illuminated for me a line from a song we regularly sing in TCH, written by one of our own…
Our King is a king of passion
‘It is finished!’ he cried out and gave up his life
So we could be his family:
Our King is a king of passion.
So often we sing the words of song but never really get what they mean on deep level that impacts our emotions. God has used the book of Hosea to bring that line from that song home to me in a big way. Jesus shows us that we worship a God of phenomenal passion.
This week I have rather bizarely had several conversation about the Sun. It’s mainly because the weather has been getting better recently and we are pretty close to the first proper day of spring after one of the harshest winters in 30 years. It’s great because the sun is out more often now, the time of daylight is getting longer and the first signs of new life in our window box are starting. Continue reading
We have just begun a new series in our Sunday gatherings based around Tim Keller’s excellent book The Prodigal God. It’s all about Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:11-32. Today we watched the 40 minute DVD explaining the parable. It was just Tim Keller on a stage with a table, some chairs and some plates and glasses. It was very moving, even though I have read the book twice and heard Keller’s talk on the parable countless times.
I was blown away yet again by Jesus being the True Elder Brother. Jesus went out and searched for us to bring us back into the Father’s family. He brought us back at great expense to himself. It didn’t just cost Him money or status, it cost Him everything, his very life. I was close to tears when Keller explained how Jesus was stripped that we might be clothed in his robe of righteousness; that He wasn’t given a fattened calf, He was given vinegar; He steped down from Heaven to save us not merely go to the next town. It cost Jesus everything to to bring us home – it cost Him his very life. Continue reading
I have been encouraged by my good friends and Gospel partners, Rob and Beth. They have recently moved to Perth (Australia) to be involved in a church plant. They decided before they went that they were going to communicate what was going on with them to us folks back in England through the medium of a blog. They however observed that they did not want their blog to be like the many other Christian blogs out there which seem to portray their ‘blogger’ as a bit of an untouchable gospel hero who never seems to do anything wrong and always seems to be having deep theological holy thoughts – Yeah right!
I have to admit I have fallen into this trap with my blog in the past. Its become so uninteresting and detatched from life with boring long posts that are so infrequent that no one even reads it! So I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. I am going to blog more regularly and not wait until I have something super holy to say. I am going to blog about normal stuff and not try to make it sound long and eloquent. It’s going to be unfilitered from now on. It’s time for some blogging of the nitty gritty of my life; the hard stuff; the day-to-day; the mundane; the daily fight. Essentially, real gospel blogging.
Shai Linne - Storiez
I love the idea of talking about the story of the Gospel; how it is truly is the greatest story ever told…and unlike so many stories told it’s all true! In fact it is the overarching story of the history of life the universe and everything. It is pretty awesome to speak to people about how God’s great story of winning a people for His glory intersects with their life stories. Continue reading
I have recently been listening a lot to Shai Linne, an American christian rapper. Steve Timmis was introduced to his music by Shai’s very own pastor when he was over in the states recently. Since Steve drew him to our attention in our church meeting a few weeks ago I have bought his two albums and have been listening to him daily. His work is immensly encouraging. Here’s why…
Shai Linne is one of a group of young christian rappers in states attempting to win hip-hop back for Christ. They use awesome hooks, beats and MCing (rapping) to bring glory to God through lyrics which are heavily laiden with bible truths and the centrality of Christ. All this has helped coin a new phrase – ‘Lyrical Theology’. Continue reading
Filed under Music, Theology
Last Saturday we had Robert Banks (Christian author, theologian and scholar of first century church) come to visit The Crowded House. He took a session on household church in the first century and what that might mean for us today. Firstly I want to headline the fact he was using the pastoral epistles in much of his material, which allayed the fears I had when I read Paul’s Idea of Community. I obviously was barking up competely the wrong tree from my reading of the book- I am very pleased to be proved wrong! Continue reading
Filed under Church, Mission