Urban Mobility

A speaker at our CPI Urban Midlands Hub recently touched on the challenged of mobility amongst urban communities. They commented that at one point they were part of a church where they said that every year they had to grow by 30% to stay the same size. In other words, they saw about 1/3 of the congregation move on every year. Continue reading

Exegeting my own heart

Preachers need to do three types of exegesis

1. We need to clearly understand the text

2. We need to know the congregation we are speaking to

3. We need to be aware of our own hearts.

 

The third one, exegeting myself, means being aware of where God is challenging us, this includes where he disagrees with and rebukes us but also where he encourages and comforts us. In other words, I pray “Lord speak to me that I may speak…”  It means being aware of where my biases, hobby horses, cultural assumptions etc are.

Here are some things that might help us to do this. Continue reading

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

The Bruised Reed means … (6) A challenge to Christian leaders

Sadly, a lot of people who feel that they have been bruised and damaged would say that this damage happened where we should least expect it and from people we would hope for more from.  They have experienced the tyrannical, crushing and abusive rule of church leaders.  Continue reading

The Bruised Reed means …(5) Restoration for those damaged by false teaching and spiritual abuse

We started by talking about recovery for the abused. Sadly, not only do we see victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse but we also see a lot of victims of spiritual abuse. This happens when religious leaders use their authority position to control and manipulate. Continue reading

The Bruised Reed means….(4) Patience and strength for challenging and difficult relationships

In Sunday’s talk, we said that our response to Jesus, the different kind of leader was first of all to put our trust in him as our Lord. We can do that knowing that he “will not crush the bruised reed.”  We also saw that with his Lordship comes the call to follow his example. Continue reading