Culprits, Victims and Faithful Believers: Exegeting the Congregation

I’ve used this phrase a couple of times on faithroots.net so I want to take a little bit of time to talk about what I mean by it. I think it is so important for those of us who want to teach God’s Word faithfully. We want to get the content and the tone of our application right. Continue reading

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Singing in the midst of suffering (2) How do I stop from seeking revenge?

So, Revelation 15-16 means I can sing now instead of seeking revenge. How do I do this?  Here are a few suggestions I hope you will find helpful. Continue reading

Singing in the midst of suffering – the reality for urban churches

On Sunday, we looked at Revelation 15-16 and we saw that God’s people are seen here singing, even though they have been suffering terrible persecution and living in a world under judgement. Our main application was that we could “sing even when suffering.”  By this we did not merely mean the ability to join in on a Sunday but singing as representing an expression of joy, trust and hope in the Lord throughout the work demonstrated by how we act and what we say, particularly about the gospel.

We noted two challenges to this:

1.       It may seem easier for those who have already come through the other side to “sing” than for those of us still in the midst of life’s troubles

2.       It is hard to have that sense of joy and hope when what we want to do is seek vengeance for what others have done.

Now, let’s be blunt, the second item is not trivial or light. I realise that when I preach a message of this kind there are people who will have experienced deep and painful suffering and abuse. A congregation may include: Continue reading

Plagues (Revelation 15-16)

The crowd are singing noisily “Going up, going up, going up.” Then against the break of play, the opposition striker gets through, one on one against the keeper, he calmly slots the ball into the bottom left corner.”

Silence falls on the ground. Then the away fans begin to chant “You’re not singing anymore” and “You only sing when you’re winning.”

It’s Sunday morning.  We stand to sing. You open your mouth and nothing comes out. You are just too overwhelmed, crushed, weary. How can you sing this morning when there’s so much trouble and uncertainty in the World? How can you sing after the week you’ve had, after your neighbour said what they did to you …and after what you said back?  How can you sing when you think about what is coming up this week -another one of your colleagues is going to be bullied out of their job because they are too old, senior and therefore too expensive? You’ve seen it coming for a while and you know it won’t be long before they come for you. How can you sing when you’ve watched the news and seen a Christian politician bullied by an angry interviewer demanding that they own up to believing something in the Bible that our world considers offensive? There’s another 7 weeks to come of politicians parading their self-interest? Continue reading

Can we talk about sin?

So, the General Election campaign is off and one of the first big questions of the campaign is “Does Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat party leader) think that it is a sin to be gay?”[1] Continue reading