Friday, 31 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #6

Chapter 6 - Beholding the Wonder of the Truine Persons in Relational Community.

While the Father embraces and revels in his position of being supreme in the Trinity, so too do the Son and Spirit embrace and revel in their positions as second and third respectively. No competition, no jealousy, no bitterness and no dispute exists among these Persons...

Unity and diversity, identity and distinction, sameness and difference, melody and harmony - these are the qualities that mark the rich texture of the life of the one God who is three. p157

So ends the final chapter of this extraordinary book that Terry Virgo recommended at the Brighton conference.

To be honest, I feel a little overwhelmed with the content.

Whilst reading it, I have felt like a tree in the spring-time that is drawing up vast amounts of new sap. It's as though I have drunk 'sweet, refreshing water'; I feel like I have been peering into the Holiest place and seen the wonders of God as never before.

What I am saying is that is have been more than a 'good read'. It has been a tonic to my inner man. It has enlarged my delight in our Truine God. It has done me good.

Get hold of a copy, read it slowly, and tell me what you think!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #5

Chapter 5 - Beholding the Wonder of the Holy Spirit.

'When the Spirit came into the world, it is so clear that even though the Spirit proceeds from the Father, he is also sent from the Son (John 15:26; Acts 2:33). Yet although the Spirit is sent from both the Father and the Son, he shows no resentment. The Spirit accepts this role. He embraces it. He joyfully, willingly takes the position of third - all the time third'. p129

I initially felt uncomfortable with Ware's conclusion that the Holy Spirit takes the position of third, all the time third. I guess it exposes my desire to jockey and compete for the winning first place ... who wants to come third in anything?

As Brits we love the underdog ... yet the Holy Spirit is no underdog. He willing embraces being third not because he can't do any better ... rather because it is an expression of the harmony with the Father and Son.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #4

Chapter 4 - Beholding the Wonder of the Son

Marvel at the submission of the incarnate Son to the Spirit over whom he, in his eternal existence, had rights of authority.

Marvel at the willingness, the humility, the condescension of the Son to submit to the leadership, the directives, the enablement of the Spirit. In particular, take to heart the level of the son's submission to the Spirit when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil'. p99

I naively assumed it was fairly easy for Jesus to fast for 40 days and then be tempted by the Devil. After all, hadn't Jesus just been affirmed by His Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit?

But, on reflection, it is truely marvelous. For Jesus to follow another's lead, (one who je you previously had authority over) to a place of solitude and thirst and hunger and perilous temptation, is an amazing act of trust and submission and humility.

Jesus is the wonderful, eternal, fully divine, matchless, 'humility personified', second person of the Truine God.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #3

Chapter 3 - Beholding the Wonder of the Father

'While the Father is supreme in the Trinity, while it is His plan and purpose that is accomplished through the Son and Spirit, yet the Father chooses not to work in such a way that the Son and Spirit are sidelined. In fact, the Father refuses even to be noticed first and foremost, in order that the central attention might be given to his Son'. p56

My central attention is given to Jesus, He takes centre stage in my divine affections. I have such a deep, raw, primal love for Jesus. Jesus the 'man' and 'my brother' propels me to him. And yet, behind this is the supreme, humble, God the Father.

I have never thought of it like this - to see both the Father's humility and authority demonstrated as the Son does the Father's will.

The Father's will is for the Son to be glorified, this in itself further magnifies the Father's glory!!! Beholding the wonder of the Father is no small thing.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #2

Chapter 2 - Beholding the wonder of our Truine God; historical overview

'The three members of the Godhead work together in harmony. Not in unison, but in harmony. "Unison" expresses a form of unity, yet has no texture or richness. "Harmony", however, communicates the idea of a unified expression but only through differing yet complementary parts.

So it is with the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not identical persons, but they are harmonious in accomplishing one undivided purpose, one undivided goal, one common work, since they each posses fully the one, undivided divine essence' p42

I am so enjoying the clarity of his writing - to send time reflecting on our truine God is actually 'exciting'. I literally have a welling up of joy as I reflect on how beautiful is the relationships within the Godhead.

Great chapter. Great Truine God!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Father, Son & Holy Spirit #1

I have started reading Bruce Ware's book on the Relationship, Roles and Relevance of the Trinity. My plan is to blog on each chapter to help me engage with the material, so here goes...

Chapter 1 - Beholding the Wonder of Our Truine God: importance of this doctrine.

In this chapter he outlines ten reason to focus on the wonder of the Trinity and his eighth reason thrilled me:

'The triune relationships of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit cause us to wonder at the socio relationality of the triune God ... In this tri-Personal relationship the three Persons love one another, support one another, assist one another, team with one another, honour one another, communicate with one another and in everything, respect and enjoy one another' p20.

I love being around people who know each other really well and still love each other! To be around good friends whilst working hard, or simply relaxing together, is both a joy and a tonic to me. To be in good relationship, to know and understand one another, to respect and value each others differences and contribution is a slice of heaven for me.

To see again the roots of this joy is traced to our Truine God compels me to press in to persue an even greater expression of 'triune team life'!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Crossing the Divide

Sometimes I read a book that resonates with where we are as a church.

‘Crossing the Divide’ by Owen Hylton is such a book. He argues that crossing the divide and embracing diversity is at the very heart of God’s plan and purposes for the church.

As a church community we have made a really good start in this area. Approx 20% of us who gather on a Sunday morning are not 'White-British', compared to 16% of Reading. Our challenge is to continue to embrace our diversity by acknowledging the barriers between us (the ones in our minds!).

Over the next month, why not invite someone to your home for a meal who isn’t like you. Invite someone who is different in age, background, colour, language or race. And ask them to tell their story. Owen says “Who we eat with says something not only about our faith but about our relationships”.

Let’s be those who don’t settle for simply being part of a diverse church, but those who have, and value, diverse friendships.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Being dad stuff

A few people have asked for some of the ppt material from my sermon on Sunday - so here they are...

The books I recommended:

Douglas Macarthur, 5 Star US General, quote:

By profession, I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder – infinitely prouder – to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle field but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in Heaven.'

Here’s the anonymous quote:
One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.

And my attempt at a diagram to depict 'keeping priorities in balance':

Colossians Series

This Sunday we start a 6 week series looking at the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Colosse.

This letter to a church plant will always have a special place in my heart because I spent the first 18 months of RFC's life preaching my way, verse by verse, through it (I stopped at Chapter 4v6).

Somehow (in spite of my rookie preaching) the church grew. I suspect the letter's teaching on the preeminence of Jesus and us being alive in Him; on not letting others disqualify you as you put on your new self; and living life as the house hold of God, set the foundations for growth at RFC.

Do try to read this letter through before Sunday morning - it's only 4 chapters and packed full of grace and truth and life (it is Jesus-tastic).

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Yesterday we joined forces with 3 other church in the south of Reading to put on a Funday for the community. I guess we had about 4000 people through the event over 4 hours. The Whitley based Life-Groups took the lead on this and they did any excellent job!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Spit Roast, Paint & the Royal Marines

Last night we said thank you to the extended leadership of the church with a whole lamb on a spit roast, a proper BBQ! It tasted fantastic, as did the Pimms and lemonade. As a church we have a superb team of leaders, be that AV team, SUPA, creche, welcome, youth, kids church & life group leaders. Do also personally thank them for all their hard work in serving us all.

This morning a team came in to help paint the office walls. Tradition dictates that the FP students get to choose the new colour for the wall in the admin area. I think they will choose bright pink, just to annoy Scott ...

At lunch time I ran with Cameron Duncan who is joining the Royal Marines next Monday. I tried to keep it a slow and steady pace but the guy is a machine. Five months of fitness training to prepare for next week, made a 5 mile run look like a doddle for him ... whilst I nearly maxed out on my heart rate trying to keep up with his 'slow' pace. Oh to be 21 again!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Being dad

"Listen, I can be the President of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both". President Theodore Roosevelt of his oldest daughter.

This Sunday I plan to speak on fatherhood and the role of being a dad. Clearly there are so many ways I can take this but wondered if you have any questions or areas that it would be helpful for me to look at.

Either leave a comment or send me an email.

FYI - Driscoll's helpful ebook 'Pastor DAD'

Friday, 10 July 2009

Highlights from Brighton

Martin & Andrew Cracker - father and son together on a mission.

Joel Virgo's message on the armour bearer.

Sharing a 'room with a view' with Gav 'chocolate boy' Thomas.

Terry Virgo.

'Homes that change the world' training track.

Being with 29 other RFCers and the chats in the bar after the evening meeting.

Early morning runs with Simon Allen.

Being part of something that's so much bigger than RFC.

Meeting old friends.

Meeting with God.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

My son is a dude

This afternoon I left the leadership conference in Brighton and travelled back home to watch Joshua in his school leavers production.

He had a big part, loads of lines and had to groove to some of the songs. Like many dads tonight, I was so proud of my son.

I really enjoy watching Joshua play football and train on the athletics track. But to see him initiate involvement in his school play, learn lines and do really well on the night has opened up new avenues of joy for me.

God is good and my son is a dude.