Month: April 2010

The Hard Corps

Really thrilled to be writing this post as it gives details of the book that I have just been commissioned to write by the Good Book Company. The story goes like this…

2 years ago I encountered the Mighty Men of David in the pages of Scripture and have been inspired by them ever since. Their courage, skill, never-say-die attitude and passion for their king just gets me excited and ready for some righteous ruckus! Anyway, it was at this year’s Men’s Convention that I looked around at all the men and thought ‘I’d love this lot to meet the Mighty Men.’

So I went home and prayed about whether God wanted me to write a book to do just that. I felt a liberty to do so and so with God’s help I sketched out the outline for a book based on the account in 2Samuel 23. I wrote an introduction and a rough first chapter and sent it to my friends at the Good Book Co (who already publish one of my tracts). I wasn’t sure what they’d make of the concept as the opening words of the introduction read:

“A quick glance around the church today and you’d be forgiven for thinking that when a man starts following Jesus he has to trade in his testicles for a pair of open-toed sandals.”

Incredibly, I received an email last week to confirm that they want to publish the book and are committed to helping me finish it! Obviously I’m buzzin’ cos from where I’m sitting God is all over this and that’s what counts! So here’s the lowdown:

  • The book will be called ‘The Hard Corps: in the trenches with David’s Mighty Men’
  • It will be roughly 20,000 words.
  • It will consist of an intro, 7 full chapters, a practical Combat Training section at the end of each chapter, an outro, and a series of Bible studies for men at the back of the book.
  • Just like Yorkie bars it’s not for girls! It’s going to be completely geared towards men and will be honest, blunt, gritty, provocative and shamelessly gospel-centred.

Please pray for me to know God’s help in getting this book written quickly as I want to get it done before my twins arrive in October! (I’m still working on A Beautiful Day too!) Above all please pray that God will enable me to write a book that is creatively fresh, helpful to men and glorifying to God.

Safe!

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Grace vs Religion (What T-Shirt Are You Wearing?)

Had such a good laugh at HomeGroup last night that I just had to post this!

As two of our Hill City heroes were waiting on the sofa for their cup of tea, the irony of their contrasting T-Shirts became apparent…and hilarious…and blog-worthy!

Hero #1 (let’s call him Cliff) was sat there sporting a classic carpenter-brown T-Shirt with the word “Justified” emblazoned across the chest. It’s a very smart T-Shirt (available from www.truthexpressions.co.uk – commission please Jim!!) and preaches a message that is all about the beautiful, saving grace of God in Christ:

“we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2v16)

Hero #2 (let’s call him Alvin) was wearing a quite different T-Shirt. A classic red Nike number it may have been, but the message was quite different from the T-shirt next to him. “Just Do It” is the anthem of every religion under the sun as it suggests that we can somehow get right with God by our own efforts, which is obviously bull:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2v8-9)

Obviously this is only a fun post and I don’t for a single minute think that hero #2 is actually religious or in anyway heretical for flexing his Nike T-Shirt! But it has provided a brilliant little illustration with which to lay out a serious challenge.

One T-Shirt promotes man-centred, self-glorifying, religion. The other revels in Christ-centred, God-exalting grace!

Which T-Shirt are you wearing?!

The Multi-Faceted Jewel of The Gospel

The day before Good Friday I posed this question to my friends in the Twitter world:

“What one word best sums up what the cross means to you?”

Loads of people got back to me and to my astonishment – every single person gave a different word! I must confess that I found it really interesting, so I thought I’d ask the same question to the Hill City faithful at our Good Friday service the following morning. Again, incredibly a catalogue of different words. Here’s some of the different words put forward:

  • Love
  • Grace
  • Freedom
  • Hope
  • Forgiveness
  • Rest
  • Thirsty (as in John 19v28)
  • Sacrifice
  • Investment
  • Diolch (for my non-Welsh readers that’s the Welsh word for ‘thanks’)
  • Inexhaustible
  • Salvation
  • Fear (reverent)
  • Forgiveness…

There were quite a few others – but these are the ones that I can recall 10 days later (love and freedom were the only two words that cropped up more than once!) So while this was hardly an in-depth and widely researched piece of market analysis, it’s still apparent that the cross carries multiple meanings to many different people. And I love that because it’s not like some were right and some were wrong. The cross is about love and forgiveness and sacrifice and grace etc. all at the same time.

That’s the beauty of it!

The cross is literally a multi-faceted jewel that only gets more impressive, more fascinating, more captivating, more awe-inspiring and more precious the more time you spend studying it. I still remember that when I was first saved I couldn’t get over the fact that the cross said that I’m fully forgiven forever! It was a facet of the jewel that I just couldn’t get enough of – it was the best news a sinner like me could ever hear and I was simply mesmerised by it!

However, as I have grown as a Christian and gone through different stages and experiences of life I can honestly say that there are other beautiful aspects of the cross that I have come to appreciate. When I’ve felt lonely or betrayed the cross has reassured me that God loves me. When I’ve messed-up and felt like I’ve pushed God too far away I’m reassured by His promise of grace to the dying thief. When my mam was dying it was the empathy of the suffering servant and the promise of eternal healing by His stripes that gave me strength.

I’m no longer naive enough to think that I will ever be able to fully appreciate every awesome dimension of the cross of Christ all at the same time. When you hold a jewel up to the light you can only see one precious part at a time. However, it’s as you slowly turn that jewel in the light that you get to see that there’s even more beauty around every corner that’s still waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

May that forever be our experience of the multi-faceted jewel of the gospel.

Bunk Bed Bliss

Hoping to do a slightly more theological post a bit later later, but couldn’t resist posting this up now.

As you’d imagine the news that we’re going to be getting 2-for-the-price-of-1 deal on babies in less than 6 months time has come as a massive blessing and obviously we’re buzzin to the max! However, living as we do in a not-very-big 3-bedroom terraced house along with 2 crazy kids and a 7-stone canine freak – everything kind of feels quite small at the moment! Our car’s definitely too small and we’re now faced with the challenge of how our precious new twins are going to fit into the current sleeping arrangements.

Well, for what it’s worth they seem to have come up with their own solution and decided to share their idea with Michelle at her check-up scan on Tuesday.

Kinda looks like they want bunk-beds!!