Friday, August 28, 2015

The Holy Spirit and Love

There is a video circling the Internet that doesn't really do much to show that we as Christians have grasped the greatest virtue in the area of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 13 - Love!

In it a person who identifies himself as a prophet invades the stage of a well known preacher, who obviously does not share the same view on the Gifts of The Spirit, and shouts and screams at the preacher.

After the so called prophet is removed the preacher in turn ridicules him in front of his audience.

Whatever my beliefs on the subject the name of the Holy Spirit was not exalted in this exchange.

Yesterday I sat and listened to a couple tell me simply how the Holy Spirit had showed up in a real time of need and uncertainty and made a real difference.

They listed miracle after miracle and talked about the peace and comfort that God the Holy Spirit had provided for them. The selling of a house in impossible situation, the "coincidence" of a door closing at last minute, the provision of a job at just the right time, the list went on and on.

The interesting thing to me is that one of the couple is from a pentecostal background and the other a brethren background and belief system. But yet that have been married and in ministry together for nearly 50 years.

Their story will probably never do the rounds on the Internet like the sensationalised shouting match I mentioned before.

But their simple faith and obedience has seen the Holy Spirit at work in their life in a miraculous but almost anonymous but certainly common everyday way.

If the greatest is love i am always left scratching my head with a puzzled look on my face when people "use" the Holy Spirit to cause such tension and division in the body of Christ.

It is no surprise that the Holy Spirit decided to inspire Paul to insert the most amazing passage on love right between two passages on the working of the the Holy Spirit in the Church! Doh!

Old Innovation

Change and innovation in church life and ministry is prized by many and resisted by others.

Following advice by Rick Warren to ensure in reading that the whole of church wisdom was dipped into from the ancient to the modern, I keep being surprised how much of modern innovation is actually quite old.

Reading about Samuel Medley a preacher and hymn writer who lived from 1738-99 I found that he was looked on as a bit of a rebel who did things a little different.

He was renowned for preaching on just one word. But, Not or His..

Frustrated that his congregation couldn't sing the hymn's because of a shortage of hymnbooks, he ditched the hymnbook and printed the songs on broadsheets. On attending the service he handed everyone a copy and all could join in. I'm wondering if he was the first to remove the hymnbook? Long before the argument I remember in the late 70's in my home church about the use of an OHP?

He would also often, pen a hymn, that went with the text he was preaching that day. Was he the first to plan a service so that one spiritual point or lesson could be empahasised in the minds of his congregation.

This was also done by none other than the famous John Newton and his friend and hymn writer William Cowper. Each week they would meet up in the orchard that connected their two Olney homes. John would share his text and topic and William would compose a song that would reinforce the message. These were often at the same rhythm as the looms in the local lace mills would beat at so people could sing as they worked.

Reading a little of our history would really help us contextualise the present. Maybe the new thing we get excited about is really quite old and not to be prized or feared but to be held lightly in the shadow of the infinitely important - the message of Jesus

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Beggars Prayer

Samuel Medley, preacher and hymn writer, of the 1700's penned the following hymn as a description of himself. For me its like looking in a mirror and seeing myself. I am so thankful for the perseverance of God with a sinner like me.

A beggar poor, at mercy's door,
Lies such a wretch as I;
Thou know'st my need is great indeed,
Lord, hear me when I cry.

With guilt beset, and deep in debt,
For pardon, Lord I pray;
O let thy love sufficient prove
To take my sins away.

A wicked heart is no small part
Of my distress and shame;
Let sovereign grace its crimes efface,
Through Jesus blessed name.

My darkened mind, I daily find,
Is prone to go astray;
Lord, on it shine, with light divine,
And guide it in thy way.

My stubborn will opposes still
Thy wise and holy hand;
Thy Spirit send to make it bend
To thy supreme command.

Affections wild, by sin defiled,
Oft hurry me away;
Lord, bring them home,
nor let them roam
From Christ, the Living Way.

A conscience hard does oft retard
My walk in holy peace;
Let it by thee made tender be,
And all its hardness cease.

My memory bad, but what is sad,
Can folly still retain;
O fill it, Lord, with thy sweet word,
And let it there remain.

Before thy face I've told my case;
Lord, help, and mercy send;
Pity my soul, and make me whole,
And love me to the end.

Samuel Medley 1738-99

Sunday, August 16, 2015


by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centred. Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.