Raised for our Justification Romans 4:25: the forgotten verse?

"...delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25) I first got arrested by Romans 4:25 when writing my book Raised With Christ (also available in Logos Bible Format).To me, this verse is the pivot on which the whole of the epistle to the Romans turns. Everything so far in the letter has been building to this point, and these words summarise what has gone before. What is more everything Paul writes after this flows from the word THEREFORE which immediately fol … [Read more...]

Pastor, this Sunday preach the resurrection boldly!

Easter Sunday is coming soon. And for many churches it is the biggest Sunday of the year. It is our day more than Christmas.It is the one day of the year when Christians loudly celebrate the risen Saviour. It is the resurrection of Jesus that saves us.And yet, some pastors reading this will be hiding a guilty secret. They are dreading to preach this Sunday.I remember several years ago now when I was asked to preach on Easter Sunday thinking 'Oh, no I will have to preach on the … [Read more...]

If God feels distant, maybe our hearts need cleansing

Do you want to know God? You may have been a Christian for years, but you may feel that you don't experience or KNOW God. Do you feel distant from God sometimes? I definitely do. In fact I am currently gradually finding my way back from a period where God felt a million miles away.This is not how God intends us to live as Christians.If you seek him, it IS possible to find God and experience him. There is a way back to him.Many of us today have become alienated from the experience t … [Read more...]

Would preaching like Jesus be welcome in your church?

Would your church cope with hearing preaching like Jesus? Has it ever struck you how very different the preaching of Jesus is to the preaching in the average church today? So much so, that if a young man came to your church to "preach with a view" like Jesus preached, I suspect he would be more likely to be politely thanked rather than asked to become your pastor.In this post I will simply highlight some of the differences between the preaching of Jesus and many modern sermons. I'm not … [Read more...]

Is failing to utilise evangelists properly killing the Western church?

Evangelists are the lifeblood of the church. We neglect and alienate them at our peril. Could it be that the fact that so many of them are wounded, and not fully functioning in our churches is one of the main reasons the Western Church is heamorraging members, not growing from strength to strength?Who are your great heroes of the faith in years gone by?  Chances are many of them were evangelists.  Perhaps you are thinking about Wesley and Whitefield who racked up thousands of miles in s … [Read more...]

ONLY the truth will set you free (not fake news or alternative facts)

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) This is not a political post.But in an age when 'alternative facts' and 'fake news' rule, it is time to remind ourselves: truth matters.It really worries me that the very concept of truth is under attack, not just by Trump, but also by the media he so hates, and the fake news we see every day online. Just one example recently was Mark Hamil becoming just the lastest celebrity forced to deny his own death on … [Read more...]

The fuss about Trump inauguration crowds has made some people delusional

Its official. Recent research has shown that the divisions in the USA are so great it has led to some people becoming delusional.The Washington Post reports the most staggering thing I have read so far in this whole saga. A full 41% of Trump voters when shown the photos of Obama's and Trump's inauguration crowds claimed that the  photograph with more people was Trump's. That is just plain not true. No repeating a mantra of 'alternative facts' changes red into green. But even more shockingly … [Read more...]

How can I walk with God without falling?

Many of us have forgotten what it is like to walk without a sat nav guiding us.Even when I go nordic walking in the forest I tend to rely on my phone's map app to direct me.We miss therefore some of the sense of the metaphor 'walking with God' that the Bible intends.Walking with God doesn't mean we never take a wrong turn and even get lost.It doesn't preclude stumbling and falling.God promises to be the voice saying 'You are going the wrong way'And to pick us up when we … [Read more...]

How not to hear “away from me I never knew you!”

Many.Let that word sink in a moment.Many.Not a few.Not a theoretical group.Not a hypothetical warning.Many.Notice how complacent they are.Feel the pride.They think they are in.Prophesying. Casting out demons, mighty works.Perhaps we could add preaching and leading.Maybe writing a blog.Doing things 'in Jesus name'Part of the 'in crowd'Looking terribly spiritual to others.But not to the Lord.No to the … [Read more...]

It’s a good time to look to Jesus, humble ourselves, and pray

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) If you are anything like me you are only too aware that 2016 was not a perfect year. The New Year gives us a sense of moving on which can be very important. The past can be reflected on, repented of, and we begin 2017 with a fresh start.But, by now, perhaps already you have … [Read more...]

“You have eaten and drank, now work, and enjoy it!” – The Bible

"There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work" (Ecclesiastes 2:24, HCSB) If you are anything like me you have eaten way too much food over the last few days. The Bible is clear that we can and should enjoy our food, and enjoy our rest. But it is no surprise that the verse I am looking at today comes from the same book of the Bible that says 'There is a time for everything . . ." (Ecclesiastes 3).It is good to "eat, drink and be merry" you are only being Biblical! I … [Read more...]

2016: Annus Horribilis or Year of Great Blessing?

There is no question this has been a remarkable year both personally and in the public consciousness. I have been reminded of the Queen's famous description of 1992 as an Annus horribilis when in typical British understatement she said, "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure."2016 is a year when we have been very conscious of the deaths of what seems like a remarkably large number of celebrities. The stars of the sixties who have clung onto fame ever since are … [Read more...]