Loving this video by Desiring God.
Hope you love it too…
Loving this video by Desiring God.
Hope you love it too…
Yesterday at the Courageous Men’s Conference we premiered a brand new short film that has been created by Andy Toovey of 2V Studios. It is a film that has literally been several years in the making. The idea was birthed from a conversation that I had with Andy about 2 years ago about how the story of the foolish young man and the adulteress in Proverbs 7 could be applied to the folly of young men pursuing sexual gratification through pornography on the internet.
Andy developed a screenplay and soon afterwards we were out on the streets of Newport shooting the film.
However, as Andy’s workload increased, the footage remained untouched for a long time…until recently! We agreed that the Courageous conference would be the perfect event to launch the film so Andy got to work. As you’ll see below, it was worth the wait!
The finished product is effectively a partnership between TorFilm and Red Community. It is my hope and prayer that it will be used by God to communicate a dynamic Biblical warning to young men (and women) about the dangers of pornography and that as a result many will be saved from this wretched online deathtrap.
There are many things that I love about this film. One of those things, however, is that it features Newport’s fanmous Chartist mural. We had no idea that just a few months after shooting this the mural would be controversially destroyed by the local council. It also features Newport bus station as it was before its extensive renovations. Therefore this film has captured something of the history of Newport.
Essentially I’m writing to big up the Good Book – the real, tangible paper version of it!
Pretty much everyone I know (who owns a smartphone at least) has the Bible on their phone. Myself included! My personal preference is the ESV app – which is seriously slick. However, I’m also quite partial to the Bible.is app cos it actually reads the Bible to you, which is great if you’re busy doing the washing up etc. I also refer to my Olive Tree app from time to time as it contains the Behemoth of all Bibles – the ESV Study Bible on there! And I am well aware that there there are countless other versions that people like to use, such as YouVersion. It is truly awesome having Scripture in your pocket ready to rock and roll straight away. It’s convenience is one of the greatest assets of having pixelated Scriptures in your pocket. The search functions are also class and it is most definitely cool being able to read in the dark e.g. in bed!
There is also a lot to like about having the Bible on an iPad too. Indeed it’s quite remarkable how many pastors and preachers seem to be stepping into their pulpits these days with an iPad under their arm! I guess having your Bible AND your notes in one place is kinda handy. But all that said, I refuse to put down my trusty hard copy in order to trade it in for pixels. Sure I love my ESV app and intend to keep using it regularly. But I wouldn’t swap it for my old school hard copy version in a million years!
Do I think Scripture on paper is more spiritual than the pixelated version?
Absolutely not – truth is truth!
So why make the case for paper over pixels?
For what they’re worth, here’s my 6 reasons:
I can’t remember exactly when the last time I went to Soul Survivor was. It was sometime in the late 90’s. I only remember 2 things about the event – firstly that I was there with Michelle. Secondly, that the main speaker that week was Louie Giglio. We’d never heard of him before, but each day his Bible teaching totally blew our socks off.
However, for both myself and Michelle, our strongest memory of that week was the last sung worship session after Loiue’s final message. During one of the songs, Louie came back on stage and in a moment of Holy Spirit inspiration he walked us through the whole Bible, showing us Jesus in every single book, exalting Him as the central figure of Scripture. The One who it’s all about.
I recently found a transcript of Loiue’s rant online and thought I’d post it here
Hope it’s a blessing to you: (more…)
Tomorrow I am privileged to to be speaking at Headlight – an open day event at WEST that is being run in conjunction with WEST, Ignite and SOW. Essentially Headlight is all about getting stuck into God’s Word (one of my favourite subjects) and I’ve got the job of unpacking the subject of Finding Jesus in the Old Testament. It promises to be a fantastic day, so if you’re free, why not join us? The details are below.
You can also visit the Facebook page here.
This post is primarily for members of the Hill City Church family, though the rest of you are free to listen in too! Essentially what this is all about is pulling together 2 issues that we as a leadership have been asked about loads of times over the last few years at Hill City, namely:
Hill City is a very young church and these are timely and important questions that demand a response. Therefore, what myself and my co-pastor, James, are proposing is that we as a church – all of us – dedicate the first month of 2012 to reading through the epic book of Proverbs together. Proverbs is a book that is loaded with nuggets of wisdom. It consists of 31 chapters, which is convenient as there are 31 days in January. What we propose is that we read a chapter each day until we’ve finished the whole book.
It’s our firm belief that studying the Bible together will help us ALL to better understand its truth and live more godly lives as a consequence. Here’s how I suggest we go about it:
TUNE IN: Try to open your Bible at a time when there are minimal distractions (turn off your TV, phone and music!) Before you start reading take some time to pray to God and ask Him to speak to you.
LISTEN UP: Don’t just read the words but listen to what God’s actually saying to you. It might well be that of all the nuggets in the chapter there is one in particular that stands out to you.
GET IT DOWN: Take on board what God is saying. Get it down by writing it in a note book or on a post-it note that you can put somewhere prominent like on the fridge or the back of the toilet door.
LIVE IT OUT: Whatever God says to you – do something about it and watch Him change your life and your world!
SPREAD THE WORD: We want to hear how God is speaking to us as a church through the Proverbs – so here’s what we suggest: Text each other, plaster Proverbs all over your Facebook and Twitter accounts (after all – the Proverbs is essentially King Solomon’s Twitter account!) On top of that, we are going to make space during each Sunday morning service in January for people to share ways that God has been encouraging/challenging/blessing them through the Proverbs.
So there we have it.
See you on January 1st in chapter one…
The reason why I’ve placed the Bible at the very top of the guidance hit-list is simply because it isn’t just one option among many when it comes to seeking God’s will for our lives. No, this is the BIG one. If in the process of seeking God’s guidance you receive nothing from His Word then I would argue that you are on VERY dangerous ground because the Scriptures still are (as they always have been and always will be) God’s primary means of speaking to His saints. Whether through your own personal devotions, as part of a group Bible study or as you sit under the public teaching of the Word, you can be sure that God is speaking.
The question is are you listening?
So often we don’t hear what God is saying because we are listening for something specific or looking for God to rubber-stamp what we already think, rather than allowing Him the space to say what He wants. A classic example of this would be in the area of relationships. Some girl catches a young man’s eye and he immediately turns to the Word desperately hunting down a Scripture that confirms that she’s to be his wife. That scripture never comes because all the while God was saying either “I’ve got someone better for you down the line” or even “I’m going to bless you with a life of singleness because that’s going to be best for you.” The problem wasn’t that God was silent, it was that you were approaching the Scriptures with an agenda!
A few things to bear in mind when it comes to hearing God’s voice through His Word would be as follows:
1. The Bible is living, active, sharp and precise. (Hebrews 4v12)
Anyone who thinks the Bible is antiquated or irrelevant has never truly come to terms with it. Even now in our 21st Century world – the Bible continues to speak, bless, inspire, encourage and guide men and women all over the world (including me) in extraordinarily profound ways. If we believe that God is alive and that His Word is also alive then surely we can trust that He can and will speak into our own lives and situations.
2. If you hear His voice – be ready to respond obediently
God’s Word carries a weight and an authority that demands a response. If we approach our Bible’s as mere “life coaching” or “good practice handbooks” then we are clearly not hearing the authoritative voice of the God of the Universe, because when you hear Him speak – you know that action must follow. Moses helpfully lays out for us what responding to God’s Word should look like:
“You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 13v4)
When seeking God’s guiding voice into your own life, be prepared for the fact that He might (in my experience He often does!) tell you to do something or go somewhere that is completely undesirable to you!! Are you ready to obey at all costs? Maybe you’re not hearing God’s voice because you know what He’s going to say and it demands more from you than you’re willing to give! If that’s the case, don’t bother waiting for His Plan B – there isn’t one. It’s obedience or bust!
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1v22)
3. The Bible speaks into the here and now AND the there and then
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119v105)
God’s Word has something to say to you where you’re standing right now! God isn’t only concerned about mapping out your future and giving you the BIG picture, He’s also intimately concerned with all that you’re involved in today and wants to lead and guide you in your friendships, vocations, financial dealings and personal struggles. However, Scripture also has plenty to say about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Praise God that there IS a big picture for all of us! God has got a perfect plan (Jeremiah 29v11) and He is more committed than we are to see those plans fulfilled! Therefore the important thing is to make sure that you’re in the right place spiritually to both listen AND obey what God is saying to you today, and also to trust that He will say all that needs to be said to you in the right way and at the perfect time. That requires great faith and patience.
4. The God who wrote the Bible (2Timothy 3v16) is the same God who explains it to us today (John 16v13)
Only those who repent and trust Christ for salvation can receive the Holy Spirit and enjoy the power and grace of His work in their lives – this includes helping us to discern his voice and understand His Word. Therefore, those who haven’t trusted Jesus and who haven’t received His Spirit will never know the joy of knowing God’s guidance through His Word. The problem’s not that the Bible is dead, it’s that they are dead (spiritually – Ephesians 2v1) and they need a heart transplant for God’s Word to ‘work’ for them:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.“ (Ezekiel 36v26-27)
Similarly, if a Christian is in deliberate sin and refusing to repent, this too will affect the work of the Spirit in their life because the Spirit is Holy and constantly waging war against sin. So if you’re a Christian and you haven’t known God’s presence, voice, comfort or guidance through Scripture recently – it may be time for a spiritual MOT!!
My advice to any Christian who is seeking God’s help for guidance and direction is this: Wait. Be patient. Be holy. And if He hasn’t spoken to you through His Word yet then don’t take ONE STEP until He has!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”