Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The 3-legged stool of holiness…

I have just returned from a great weekend at Pill Corps with my good friends Alan and Carol Young.

I preached on the 'three legs of holiness...'

Holiness is like a 3-legged stool, if any of the legs are longer/shorter/stronger/weaker than the others then the whole thing becomes unstable and collapses.

What are the three legs of holiness?

Love, Obedience and Sacrifice.

Holiness can only ever be a response to God's love ('with eyes wide open to the mercies of God I beg you brothers to offer your bodies as living sacrifices…').

That response (our love for God) must result in acts of continued and uninterrupted obedience and greater revelations from God ('if you love me you will obey my commandments and I will send … the spirit to you').

Ultimately this mix of love-fuelled obedience will lead to sacrifice (consecration).

The result will be an unbridled embrace of God's will and a rejection of the world and all its ways (materialism, consumerism, hedonism, selfishness etc.)

Paul sums it up perfectly:

"With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity."

(Romans 12:1-2)

Unless this paragraph summarises our personal Christian faith and practice we face an uncertain eternity and cannot possibly be fully effective for God.

Let's fall in love with God all over again!

Grace and peace, Andrew

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes and infants…

Are children born with certain gifts? Do we come into this world equipped for our God given vocations (should we choose to follow his path)?

Once a quarter at Dartford we have an afternoon 'praise' meeting, which is organised and led by the children, those who want to are given the chance to preach.

Tomorrow, my youngest daughter, Bethany will preach her second sermon (she is only 11).

She came to me this morning with all the aplomb of a veteran preacher and said do you want to read my sermon Dad, it didn't take long because I wrote it down in my sermon book ages ago so I just had to tidy it up – what do you think? I'll let you work out for yourselves what I thought by sharing the sermon below (any typos or bad grammar are hers – the sermon is posted without any sub-editing from me).

My sermon!


Talking is socializing you could not get through life happily without socializing.

Some of you may be like me and love talking. You don't have to know me much to know that once I get going I'm talk, talk, talk if someone is talking to me they don't fit a word in edge ways.

Praying is talking, you're talking to God. Some people love praying like I do talking. I don't know if any of you watch Larkrise to Candleford but Thomas Brown the postman loves to pray! It's important for us all to pray as it would be if god lived on earth in human form how important it would be to talk to him every day. More over some people find it a challenge to pray; but they shouldn't. When you pray you don't have to be formal, like your meeting the queen - even though he's a king. He'll just be happy you're going to chat and don't worry because you can just go on and, he may not talk like you talk to friends but you may get a feeling that just lets you know he's listening! In our bible reading Samuel gets a call from god. It's not a call like you call up your friend to say you are coming to meet them down the town or a call like someone calls you to dinner; but god always calls us in some way. Maybe not so much of a call but you could have a sort of feeling inside you that made you feel all nice or another way, a prayer could have been answered like someone being healed or maybe you make a life changing decision that you couldn't work out before! In a family we talk to each other, if there is a big decision to be made you have a family meeting. We are a family and we should talk to each other and we should talk to God, we should as Thomas brown says in Larkrise to Candleford 'we must endeavour'. Either way God's always there listening and will be there till you're there with him in heaven!

Thank you for listening!

Xxx J

Grace and Peace,

Andrew (and Bethany!)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Holiness or hell!

One of the blessings of blogging is that it provides us with an opportunity to make ourselves accountable. We say things in our blogs and our words go around the world! People create an impression of the writer based upon what they read and expect them to behave in a certain way.

In June 2006 I published what I called a 'holiness manifesto' – a series of resolutions concerning how I would live my life. The manifesto was a genuine response to spiritual conviction.

Sadly, I have fallen well short of my self-imposed standards; however the conviction that created those resolutions simply will not go away!

So I'm going to commit to it again – a 'manifesto' day of renewal if you like J

  • Starting each day with God, I will confess my sins, thank him, intercede for others, seek his will and absorb his grace.
  • I will adopt a simple diet and drink only water.
  • I will not waste my words or abuse my freedom in Christ.
  • I will not neglect my family.
  • I will remember that rest is a command and obey it.
  • I will use the minimum of natural resources.
  • I will fight for social justice.
  • I will shop ethically.
  • I will hate sin but adamantly refuse to hate the sinner.
  • I will review each day in prayer and record my thoughts in a journal.

These resolutions are not a legalistic attempt to win God's favour or earn salvation but reflect a heartfelt compulsion to ensure that my lifestyle reflects my faith.

Love and prayers