Month: October 2009

Enfys Gwenda Hankey: 27th Sep, 1945 – 28th Oct, 2009

mamguJust a very quick post to let you all know that at 10pm last night my mam breathed her last breath and left this cold world to go and be with her Saviour, Jesus, in the beauty of heaven. She died peacefully and with the same Christian dignity that she has displayed throughout her life and especially in her final days. As you’d probably expect these last few weeks have been incredibly draining and emotional, yet we as a family have known so much of God’s comfort and sustaining grace during this time! I have never felt so ‘prayed for’ in my life and my dad and sister probably feel exactly the same. We have been blown away by the daily evidences of God’s grace to us all, even in the smallest of things, and I will be posting up a whole load of personal reflections in the coming weeks. In the meantime, however, please just keep my family in your prayers and rejoice with us in the ultimate victory of the gospel!!

Diolch Iddo!!!

Dai

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Sustained By Prayer

Sorry that I haven’t posted anything up in the last few days. Basically the doctors have told us that my mam is in the last days/hours of her life now and so me,  my dad and my sister are spending most of our time with her in the hospice until she goes to be with Jesus. Incredibly her faith remains as resolute as ever and yesterday as I sang a hymn to her as she slept she joined in as best she could despite her frailty. It was inspiring! To say that it’s been emotionally, physically and spiritually draining would be a huge understatement, though we as a family have been sustained by the grace and power of God and this I believe, is a direct answer to the faithful prayers of so many – so thank you all!!

For obvious reasons I haven’t been posting much up during this time but once it’s all over there have been so many lessons, blessings and truths that I will be writing about. In the meantime please do continue to pray for us all.

God bless you

Dai

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful creator” (1Peter 4v19)

Bitesize Truth

Hill City Church is pleased to introduce We Win – the first episode of Bitesize Truth – a brand-new series of short films that seek to unpack big, Biblical truths in a simple, accessible way. The series will feature myself, James Richards, Pete Evans and others and will be updated as regularly as creativity and circumstances allow.

Let us know what you think:

Banksy

wall-and-pieceFor my birthday today my precious wife bought me a book that I was really keen to get my hands on. Wall and Piece is a collection of art from the provocative genius of street art – the enigma that is Banksy. While not all of his stuff is exactly wholesome, I don’t know of any other artist quite like Banksy – a street artist for sure, but not your classic graffiti painter. Banksy has an ability to create works of sheer brilliance that will always provoke a repsonse – sometimes anger, sometimes laughter, sometimes empathy, sometimes conviction and sometimes awe! As if that wasn’t enough, the fact that no one actually knows who he is makes him even more intriguing.

Anyway, I’ve decided that from now on (at least for a little while) I’m going to showcase a different piece of Banksy art each week. Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to comment should you feel fit.

Because it’s my birthday, let’s start with a light-hearted one…

steamrollerwarden

Sanctified Rap

shai linneOne of the most significant things that happened to me while I was away in Sheffield last week was my introduction to the music of Shai Linne – a Christ-exalting rapper from Philapdelphia. Basically I just can’t believe that I never came across this guy before – he’s a flippin’ legend!

He’s pretty much a hybrid of Snoop Dogg and John Calvin!

Without any shadow of a doubt his album The Atonement (that I downloaded immediately) contains the most profound lyrics that I have ever heard by any Christian artist. Just rock solid theology that revolves around the person and work of Jesus, coupled with sick beats and slick rhymes. The two stand-out tracks for me are firstly, Atonement Q&A in which Shai Linne explains all the big Bible words that most preachers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole (expiation, propitiation etc). Secondly, Mission Accomplished – the only track I have ever heard that unpacks Limited Atonement (in a clearer and more helpful way than I’ve ever heard it presented by anyone else ever!)

In short, if you like Hip Hop and reformed theology – YOU HAVE TO BUY SHAI LINNE’S MUSIC!!! You can visit his Myspace page here. I’ve also embedded a YouTube video of WOTM Radio’s response to Atonement Q&A – it’s hilarious!

Thank you Lord for blessing this man with grace and skills that give such glory to Your Name!

The Gospel: What’s In It For Jesus?

bible_lightAs part of Hill City’s current teaching series on Ephesians, I recently preached a sermon called Grace-Fuelled Prayer, based on Ephesians 1v15-23. It’s a fantastic message to both meditate on and to preach, but there was one truth in the passage that stood out so profoundly that it has radically altered the way that I understand and apply the gospel to myself, and will almost certainly affect the way that I preach from now on! In fact it’s made such an impact on me that I thought I should blog about it.

It’s all to do with the subtle tendency that we all have to get selfish with the gospel. Not so much in the sense of keeping it to ourselves, but more in both our understanding and our application of the gospel. I think what I’m trying to say is that when I think of the gospel – it’s always in terms of what I get out of it. Stuff like (in no particular order): Forgiveness, love, hope, peace, joy, grace, mercy, heaven, life abundant, life eternal, Jesus…

And it’s all true and it’s all awesome and it’s all good stuff and it all needs to be preached! But here’s the thing that’s gripping me right now – what’s in it for Jesus? Sure when we have received all these immense blessings that come from receiving the gospel, our hearts can only really respond in one way – passionate worship!  But is our worship all He wants? Is it even all He deserves? Check out these verses:

“…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1v18-19)

This is Paul’s prayer for the church – that God would literally open the eyes of our hearts to see not only the reality of our own hope in the gospel (that’s what’s in it for us), but also the riches of His own glorious inheritance in the saints – in us!

What’s in the gospel for Jesus?

We are!

I am!!!

That just sounds insane to me, but the Bible doesn’t lie – Jesus isn’t just after our praise – His reward in the gospel is the people He died to save. We were redeemed to give glory to Jesus purely through being His people. His inheritance! Even typing this I can’t help but feel overwhelmed, humbled and awe-struck by that truth. We get Jesus. He gets us – it just feels like He gets the rough end of the deal – but He doesn’t! This was the promise and plan of the Triune God from before eternity – that the Son would die and rise to gain a beautiful bride – promised to Him by the Father and quickened by the Holy Spirit.

“The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2v7-8)

It’s actually all over the Old and New Testaments!

Eternity will not be all about us walking around heaven, wide-eyed, ecstatic, buzzin that we only got to be there by the grace of Jesus and falling face-down in worship every few seconds (although that will be cool!) Eternity will primarily be all about the Triune God rejoicing and delighting in the glorious inheritance won by the Son through the finished work of His own beautiful gospel.

After all it is HIS gospel.

May we never make it about anything or anyone else!

Scott Thomas Interview

scott-thomasDuring my Acts 29 coach training course last week I managed to grab a 10 minutes with Scott Thomas (Director of Acts 29) to do a little video blog. However, the footage was unfortunately a bit random to say the least – it was essentially Scott talking to my shoulder for 10 minutes – and therefore not particularly suitable for a video blog! However, the good people of Acts 29 have grabbed the audio file and posted it on the Acts 29 website as an audio interview, so you can still benefit from Scott’s pearls of wisdom.

If you want to check it out you can find the interview here. You’ll also find a photograph of all 5 UK coaches, along with Scott Thomas, and it’ll probably take less than a second for you to see from the photo just what an odd-ball I really am in the world of church planting. Let’s just say…I’m different!

Thanks to Scott and Adriel of Acts 29 for saving me the hassle of sorting the interview out myself.

You’re legends!