(Sorry that this is not of interest to many of you.)
This is the sermon outline which I shall use this morning at Carey Hall in Leicester, it focusses on Acts 11:19-26. The church at Carey Hall is about to change dramatically with a Sri Lankan, Tamil speaking, congregation taking over the building and the remaining people of the ‘original’ English speaking church scattering to other churches in the locality. May they go in the same spirit as those first believers entered Antioch many centuries ago:
Well perhaps I should rephrase that, I hate badly organised and poorly structured meetings. Christians are very good at such events – maybe it stems from our idea that we have to be nice all the time? Anyhow if you are even vaguely like me, then Michael Hyatt has some useful ideas to help sharpen things up. Full post is here, the headlines are below. I honestly think most of running a good meeting is pretty obvious – but maybe many times we don’t think before organising or going to a meeting.
Establish hard edges. Good meetings start and end on time.
Create an agenda. Agendas should always be circulated in advance of the meeting, so that people know what to expect and how to prepare.
State the desired outcome. If you are the leader, it is important to know exactly what outcome you want from the meeting. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have arrived?
Review the minutes and action items – from the previous meeting.
Take written minutes.
Clarify action items. Who is doing what and when is it due?
Determine the next meeting date.
Good pornography – from a Christian perspective that has to be an oxymoron. I have long held the view that the reason the world views the sex the way it does is not simply because of sin but because sex is such a great and beautiful gift of God that the devil wants to destroy all sense of God within it. Put simply, God likes sex (he created it) and the devil is out to destroy all that God made “good”. Sexual intimacy is designed for marriage not freedom of expression.
Tim Chester’s book (which I have not yet read) Closing the Window has great chapter titles which really tell the story and should steer you away from such material.
- It wrecks your view of sex.
- It wrecks your view of women.
- It wrecks women’s view of themselves.
- The porn industry abuses women.
- It’s a sin against your wife.
- It wrecks families.
- It is enslaving.
- It erodes your character.
- It wastes your time, energy, and money.
- It weakens your relationship with God.
- It weakens your service.
- God’s wrath is against people who use porn.
I have never met a Christian who does not have some opinion about what church should look like, be or do. We read our Bible, think, pray and then say what we think. I came across two lists on a post at the GraceWorks site:
This list offered by the IX Marks site, which is very popular and influential at the moment.
- Biblical theology
- The gospel
This is the list suggested by GraceWorks:
- Divinely empowered sacrificial love
- Proclamation of the gospel
- Mutual submission
- Spiritually gifted mutual ministry
- Biblical teaching and practice
- Leadership through example and service
- Care for the poor, the marginalized and oppressed
They obviously come from different perspectives though I wonder if they are speaking the same language just using different words? Can’t help wondering if I / you were a church leader what would the list look like – and would your activity reveal your priorities?
This is an initial outline of what we shall cover in the ethics course starting in the new semester – it has a few gaps as I am waiting on some other information before confirming assessment etc. I have included the EBI course outline along with my initial summary of what we shall cover in the lectures.
Popular culture has offered numerous stereotypes of what a “Christian” should look like. I have rarely seen a credible representation of what most Christians look like offered on tv, (maybe I should change that to never?) It would appear I am not alone, as the report below suggests. Although I don’t watch Eastenders I know it is very popular and will reinforce negative ideas of what it means to be a Christian. I guess my concern is not necessarily about what tv says but about what we find in the church today. How do we appear before God and men? Finally, in the quotes at the bottom of this page, Francis Frangipane poses the same question and challenges us to live up to the call of the Spirit of God within us.
“The Spirit of God dwells in us. In this light let us ask ourselves again the age-old question; “What is man?” We know how we appear to other men, but if God is truly within us, how do we appear to angels or devils? What light marks us in the spirit-world, what illumination surrounds us, what glory declares to the invisible realm: ‘Behold and beware, here walks a son of God!’
Think of it: The Spirit of the Creator, who purposed in the beginning to make man in His image is in you … now!”
“The Book of Psalms tells us that God covers Himself ‘with light as with a garment’ (Ps. 104:2 K.J.V.). The apostle John declares ‘God is light’ (1 John 1:5). And James refers to the Father as ‘the Father of Lights’ (James 1:17). You and I are the ‘lights’ that God has fathered. We are children of God and, as such, the light of His Presence shines within us. As our hearts are purified by Truth, the splendour of God’s glory expands around us; and like our Father, we also cover ourselves ‘with light as with a garment’.”
“When true holiness exists in a Christian’s life, it produces a luminosity, a glow around that individual.
From the moment Christ enters within us, we are holy, set apart unto God. This kind of holiness is the same sanctification that made the utensils in the temple holy: holy because they were used in service to the Lord. They had no virtue in themselves; their material substance did not change. Christianity, in general, is holy in that sense. But the holiness we are seeking is the fulfilment of having been set apart. We are seeking a holiness that mirrors, through us, the Presence of God in Heaven. We are seeking both His nature and His quality of life.”