a church in carrick-on-shannon

Archive for Bible

The kingdom of God is a party!

Check out Luke 15: Three interweaving stories.

They were stories about precious things lost.
He told of a woman who had lost a small fortune, a shepherd who had lost a sheep and a father who had a runaway son.

Something precious was lost and warranted an all-out search.
When it was found, it was cause for unbridled celebration.

Then he said, “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

It is not a stretch, nor disrespectful, to say that heaven throws a huge party when lost people come home to God.
And if we know anything about the Jewish concept of feasts and banquets, we can be sure that there is a lot of singing, dancing and joyful noise in heaven’s banquet halls.

So why should church be dull and boring?
Why should we subject people to mind-numbing boredom and sameness when heaven is cutting down the nets in victory?
Our church is not a show, not a performance, and not very polished. As a whole, we’re a pretty messed-up gathering of people. But God is good, His mercy endures forever and He is opening His arms to lost, broken people like us…and like you.

Please check us out…your visit would be cause for celebration!

“We don’t do funerals…we’re into midwifery”


Among the astonishing sayings of Jesus, comes this one: “Let the dead bury their own dead.” He said it in response to a man who was wavering about following him. The guy said: “First let me bury my father.” Either there was a family funeral he had to attend or -more likely, I think- he was talking about the general pull of family concerns: “I have family obligations. Surely you don’t wish me to shrug off my normal responsibilities?”

Jesus’ answer was an uncompromising YES. In one short remark he divided the world between those who followed him (characterised as those who had life) and those who didn’t (who were dead). It’s a Matrix-like distinction: those who really see the truth and those who don’t. And this difference is so utterly important that it takes precedence over everything. It’s the very first priority. Jesus “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and then all these things will be added unto you.” Get your priorities right, and everything in your life will find it’s proper place. (Check out Herman’s paper “One-way journey of endurance” on this).

I’m always fascinated by those church buildings surrounded by memorials to dead people. Why is that, do you think? In rather shocking contrast, I heard a preacher say: “We don’t do funerals. We are into midwifery.” “Let the dead bury their own dead….” “You [however] must be born again”!

church without walls and the end of the one- man- band


Checking out the Northumbria Community, we try to live by this rule.

Summary of the Rule of the Northumbria Community –
A Way for Living

This is the Rule we embrace. This is the Rule we will keep: we say YES to AVAILABILITY; we say YES to VULNERABILITY.

We are called to be AVAILABLE to God and to others:

Firstly to be available to God in the cell of our own heart when we can be turned towards Him, and seek His face;
then to be available to others in a call to exercise hospitality, recognising that in welcoming others we honour and welcome the Christ Himself;
then to be available to others through participation in His care and concern for them, by praying and interceding for their situations in the power of the Holy Spirit;
then to be available for participation in mission of various kinds according to the calling and initiatives of the Spirit.

We are called to intentional, deliberate VULNERABILITY:

We embrace the vulnerability of being teachable expressed in:
a discipline of prayer;
in exposure to Scripture;
a willingness to be accountable to others in ordering our ways and our heart in order to effect change.

We embrace the responsibility of taking the heretical imperative:
by speaking out when necessary or asking awkward questions that will often upset the status quo;
by making relationships the priority, and not reputation.

We embrace the challenge to live as church without walls, living openly amongst unbelievers and other believers in a way that the life of God in ours can be seen, challenged or questioned. This will involve us building friendships outside our Christian ghettos or club-mentality, not with ulterior evangelistic motives, but because we genuinely care.

Why do people come to church? Heating, seating and eating…


After working in this church plant for the last year, and in six other churches in the region, as you guys know, Val and I are moving to take over a Baptist church in London. Before we leave, by way of legacy, we thought it appropriate now to give you our THREE IMMUTABLE RULES (is that the right word?) OF CHURCH DEVELOPMENT. If you follow these simple guidelines your church will invariably succeed.


If your building is cold and uncomfortable, then even if people come, they will probably never return….


If you only offer me stale Rich Tea out of a grotty tin I will use that circumstance to form an opinion of the value you set on fellowship.


If I have to sit on a hard wooden pew made for a 30cm gluteus maximus then please set a forty-five minute limit on the service.

Or on the other hand….

Make it comfortable. Make it cosy. Set a high value on fellowship. Strangers become less strange over a meal. Make it so that we can relax in the presence of God and one another. Could never quite see the point of seventeenth century Bible texts, eighteenth century hymns, nineteenth century buildings…. Get the heating, seating and eating right and at least the people who gather (and me) will be ready to listen.

Internet Therapy 3


Patrolling the web for you….

…for bite-sized Theology with that just-cooked  je-ne-sais-quoi flavour….

  • Ben Arment
  • Bob Franquiz
  • Brandon
  • Church Communications Pro
  • Churchrelevance.com
  • Craig Groeschel
  • Gary Lamb
  • Guy Kawasaki
  • Mark Batterson
  • Ministry Marketing Coach
  • Monday Morning Insight 
  • Out of Ur
  • Perry Noble
  • Rindy Walton
  • Seth Godin
  • Shawn Lovejoy
  • Steven Furtick
  • Tim Stevens
  • Tony Morgan
  • The Door is open

    “A wide door has been open to me and with it are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9God is always giving us opportunities to move forward in life. It is God’s desire that you grow and reach your full potential. Anytime you take a step forward, the enemy will try to bring opposition and adversity against you. But God promises that through Him, you can overcome any opposition the enemy brings your way.When you step out in faith and the opposition comes, stand your ground and keep doing what you know to do. Keep on praying. Keep reading and speaking the Word. Keep going to church. Keep walking in love and forgiveness, and keep your heart tender. When the enemy sees that you are more determined than he is, he’ll back down and you will move forward to new levels of victory! Stay focused and full of joy no matter what comes against you. As you do, you will overcome opposition and discover the champion in you!

    Seeing things Jesus’ way


    To see things Jesus’ way, you need a special lens. We know that Jesus was misunderstood and misinterpreted in His day but have you ever thought that that was pretty inevitable? Consider this: he exposed injustice, he confronted every lie. He proclaimed a “Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees”, who revered the past, while systematically persecuting every new prophet who rose up to vindicate the spirit of the past against the institutions of the past. Read the rest of this entry »



    Unbelittleability is one of those amazing words that do not appear on a googlesearch (until now?) and yet encompass something of basic….crucial importance.

    It’s all about the way you think of yourself. When this quality develops you stop thinking about your inadequacies and you learn to define yourself by what God thinks of you.

    It’s the process going in in Psalm 139, when the writer recognises that he is “fearfully and wonderfully made”. You see it in Acts 4:24-31 where the believers redefine themselves, not in terms of the opposition ranged against them (“Consider their threats”) but in terms of the Sovereign Lord who is the Creator, Revealer and Predestinator (“You made…you spoke…you decided”). You hear it when Joel Osteen invites the people to hold up their Bibles and to declare “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am…”.

    So what does it say about you? The quotation that I’m going to use tomorrow in church comes from Leviticus 26:13. The version I have here renders it thus: “I have broken the bars of your yoke… I have enabled you to walk with head held high.” Head held high! Jesus has set you free from sin. He has broken that slavery. You’re a free man. Walk tall.

    Remember those questions that Paul flashes out in Romans 8:31-39? If God be for us…who can be against us? If God gave his son, will he not give us everything we need? If God has chosen us, who can accuse us? If Christ declares us free, who can condemn us? It’s as if he’s defying anyone to answer.

    And it makes you unbelittleable. Who can put you down when God has raised you up? You are going to heaven, man. You’re going to judge angels. “I have enabled you to walk with head held high.” So be who you really are.

    Internet Shopping 2: SPRITUAL THERAPY


    Cutie picture apropos of nothing….but here’s another liberal helping of superlative bloggery

    Congratulations to Cranach Blog for receiving the Riversmeeting God’s Golfball Award for thinking outside the box.

  • Adrian Warnock The one where all Noel’s sermons come from?
  • Albert Mohler He’s the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who also does a daily live radio show.
  • Between Two Worlds What can I say? I love bridge-builders… even the title picture had me hooked.
  • Desiring God Blog We are always referring to John Piper. Check out this uber-blog.
  • And a few hon mentions:

  • Exegetical Reflections
  • Expository Thoughts
  • Girl Talk
  • Gospel Driven Blog
  • Gospel Driven Life
  • Helm’s Deep
  • In Light of the Gospel
  • Jim Hamilton
  • Josh Harris
  • Pure Church
  • Pyromaniacs
  • Reformation 21
  • Spirit of God
  • Stand to Reason
  • Terry Virgo I once shared a lift in a Bristol hotel with this guy and I can assure you that he says “What floor do you want?” in the kindest possible tones.
  • The best is yet to come All this and heaven too.
  • The Shepherd’s Scrapbook High quality pastoral exposition
  • Tim Challies
  • Together for the Gospel
  • Word and Spirit
  • Worship Matters
  • Why do we sing?

    Right there in the centre of the Old Testament stands the book of Psalms. It stands as a monument to a great truth: that at the centre of the people of Israel was its praise. Not –as you might think- its law or covenants, nor even its checkered history, but its huge sense of obligation and love due to a living God, expressed in the words of its songs.

    And I believe that at the centre of any living church is its PRAISE. That’s why we sing. We sing in gratitude, in wonder, in sheer affection and in vital response to the God who formed us and who keeps us.

    It’s interesting to note that it is WE who sing. I don’t sing just as an individual who loves God, but as part of a massive family, an international collective who join together (in earth and in heaven) to bring praise. That “we” is very significant. We belong together.

    Ps 136 brings this alive. It’s a summons to praise. It reminds us first of who God is (“He is good!”) and what he does (“He alone does great wonders”) and how he does it (“by his wisdom”). Then the singer plunges into the connection between Creator and Created. He does not stand afar off, but is intrinsically involved with the story of his people Israel. He is the heartbeat of everything that is alive!

    That’s why we sing. We remember what God has done, but we also remember that we are part of his doings! God is alive, and still moving in history –in our history. He who “brought Israel through the midst” ((v13) still brings his people through the midst of their troubles.

    So “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good…HIS LOVE NEVER QUITS.”

    This post is from our friends in http://oasisroscrea.wordpress.com 

    And even in the midst of sorrow and trouble, we remember the Lord who holds us safe, whose love never gives out on us.

    So join us Tuesday night at TANG SPRING, DRUMSHANBO. The music will not be “Christian” as such but it is a gospel outreach nonetheless and if you guys are there, then it will praise and glorify the living God. If you have friends who wouldn’t be seen dead inside a church… they’re the ones we want to see!