a church in carrick-on-shannon

Archive for Contemporary Theology

John Piper – How Does a Person Make a World Wide Difference?

Carefully fall into the river


On Sunday last we visited the African church near us. Pastor Ayo was speaking on Luke 5, on the call of the first disciples and the command of Jesus to “launch into the deep.” The disciples, you remember, had toiled all night and caught nothing. They were disconsolately washing their nets when Jesus commandeered one of the boats as a preaching platform. After the impromptu sermon, he encouraged the weary fishermen out into the lake to fish once more and Peter (probably) sighed “We’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, at your word…” They cast the nets and are astonished at the immediate and abundant catch. They signal to their partners in the other boat to come and help them with the catch.

This is where I got excited. I knew the story, of course, but I began to hear what God was saying to our church. In the face of weariness (“We have toiled“)  and discouragement (“and caught nothing“), we encounter Jesus and respond(“nevertheless, at your word…”). The harvest is plentiful…immediate… “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers.” And then they “signalled to the partners in the other boat.” My friends, we are the partners. We are partners in the gospel. IGod is calling us to partner these other Christians in the town and help  with the harvest. Launch into the deep. Or, as in the Engrish picture “Carefully fall into the river.”

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
  • 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 »

    Ricky Gervais does Creation

    Watch the clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaEj3g5GOYA and reply in the box.

    Offended? Challenged? Spurred to write a) angry letter b) reasoned rebuttal?

    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 laugh?

    rhbmeet.jpgThursday, July 06, 2006

    This religious revival is a laughing matter

    I am standing behind the main stage at a huge rock music festival in Illinois called Cornerstone.

    For the past 24 hours, I’ve been hammered by thunderous sounds of modern Christian rock, in large part an ocean of thrash bands complete with tattoos and piercings, but very much with Jesus in mind.

    I’ve been on the religion beat a lot lately, and have become aware of a great struggle among Christians to determine what their faith will be, can be, should be in America today.

    In Florida recently, I met Rodney Howard-Browne, a South African minister who believes faith is, literally, a laughing matter.

    When he speaks, hundreds of people in his congregation are seized by what they call holy laughter. They chuckle, guffaw, howl, and scream with mirth as, they say, the Holy Spirit fiills them. Sometimes the laughing fits last for minutes, sometimes for hours.

    I have no idea how to judge the sincerity of their belief, or even if I should, but whether faced with laughing crowds or mosh pits, I hear Christians all over asking if their timeless faith is changing and wondering if that is good or bad.

    What do you think?

    Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 5:18 PM ET

    So sad (frightening and confusing)

    I’m so sad..

    (and frightened and confused).

    Most of you at Rivers will know that G. overdosed a couple of days ago. Some of the guys are going down to the funeral on Tuesday. It’s sad because his life was just beginning. Some of you were with us at Mary’s a few weeks back when he prayed to let Jesus into his life.

    It’s frightening because there is just so much addiction ruling our lives all around here….

    It’s confusing because sometimes you think that as soon as someone becomes a Christian all their problems are over. Sometimes, the opposite is true. When you come into the real world of God, the pressures can mount.

    Remember Cirroc, the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer from Saturday Night Live in the 90’s. As he would speak to the jury, he would always say “I am just a caveman.  Your world frightens and confuses me.”

    Join the crowd. 

    I read a story posted about a woman who bled to death in a convenience store while others shopped.  One lady even took a picture of the dying woman with her cell phone.  Frightening and confusing.

    In the midst of everything frightening and confusing in this world, we’re reminded of 1 Peter 3:14

    “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened.”

    Don’t be afraid. Now is the time to trust him more. In a frightening and confusing world, the rock stands firm. Even when your life threatens to crumble… the rock stands solid.

    (Thanks to http://floatingaxhead.com/2007/07/08/this-world-frightens-and-confuses-me/)

    Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!