Showing posts from September, 2011

Paternoster power!

I've enjoyed reading books by the magnificently named Dutch Sheets, & the even more unlikely Preston Sprinkle this week! We just don't make names like that in the UK.
My favourite quote of the week comes from a proper, solid, sensible British name, Richard Foster. His classic on Prayer is every bit as worth reading as Dutch Sheets. Both will get you out from under the sheets earlier in the morning and onto your knees.

Writing of the Lord's prayer, Foster says:
"For sheer power and majesty, no prayer can equal the really is a total prayer. Its concerns embrace the whole world, from the coming of the kingdom, to daily bread. It is lifted up to God in every conceivable setting. It rises from the altars of the great cathedrals and from obscure shanties in unknown places. It is spoken by both children and kings. It is prayed at weddings and death beds alike.
The rich and poor, the intelligent and illiterate, the simple and the wise - all speak this prayer…

Rob Bell vs William Booth

Bell or Booth? Opposite ends of the theological spectrum, yet compellingly provocative in their own way.I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins’ this week, alongside some great old sermons by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army & agitator of the comfortable religious of the late 19th Century.

They are uncertain bedfellows on the surface – Booth’s strident, hell fire Victorianism sitting uncomfortably on the Ikea sofa alongside Bell’s skinny decaf gospel for post moderns.
Whatever you think of their eschatology (their views on the end of everything), you’ve got to love their overwhelming desire to impact society with a gospel which is far bigger & broader than simply preaching salvation.

Both are desperate to engage relevantly with their prevailing culture, using creative language that builds a bridge for the good news about Jesus to travel across.
Both are longing that we get out of our comfortable Christian places, roll up our sleeves & get our hands dirty being the …

Work, Rest & Romanians

We have been right over the last few years to learn much about rest, leisure, family time, date nights, fun with friends in church life. We’ve been right to turn from a frenetic, 'church meetings every night & 3 times on a Sunday' works mentality - Out from a need to be seen to be working hard for God, & into a grace fuelled rhythm of life which releases us from legalistic busyness.
However, perhaps we are in danger of losing the strong New Testament exhortation to work hard as we partner with God. Is it just possible that we risk settling so snugly in the slippers of our 21st century lifestyles that we now think it’s just going to happen or someone else is going to do it?

Whatever culture (legalistic church or lazy postmodernism) we have unthinkingly soaked up – the scriptures encourage us to get up on our feet & work hard by the grace of God for the spread of the gospel. This is an exhortation to hard work like we have never known, but allied with the beautiful re…

Jeremiah Lanphier & the longest thirty minutes.

As we conclude a powerful week of prayer today in East Grinstead, let me encourage you with one of my favourite prayer meeting stories. Whether you have been to our meetings or you read this in another part of the world – allow these words to catch your attention.

On 21st September 1857, a businessman named Jerimiah Lanphier invited workers to join him for a Wednesday lunchtime prayer meeting. His purpose was to reverse a decline in church attendance & Christian living.
On the first Wednesday he paced up & down the room borrowed from the Dutch Reformed church, fear & anxiety growing as the minutes ticked by. No workers appeared, no prayers came, only his. Jeremiah persevered, he decided to pray the full hour as publicised. Then, as the clock turned 12.30, he heard the first steps into the room. Eventually six came, ready to pour out their hearts for those outside of Christ.
Twenty came the second Wednesday. Within six months, 10,000 businessmen were gathering daily in New Yo…