What the Preacher Saw (The Enigma Sermons 4)

Ecclesiastes brings us the observations of Qoholet (the preacher) who is king in Jerusalem (1:12). He sees himself as in position to do this because of his great wisdom (1:16) and so he makes the pursuit of understanding his life project (1:13, 17). Remember that we have seen already how his perception is that life is an enigma, vapour like, hard to pin down, like chasing the wind (1:2, 14. Here are some of the things he observes about this enigma as he tries to pin things down). Continue reading

Advertisements

Will you remember me? (The Enigma Sermons 3)

The other week, when I wrote about the danger of anti-Semitism, I set it in the context of remembering and forgetting. Generation to generation, we are forgetful. So, we lose the significance of 6 million Jews killed in the holocaust, we forget our own nation’s sorry history when it comes to Anti-Semitism -the expulsions, the rejection, the scapegoating, the deaths – and we turn a blind eye to how serious this is and how widespread as it crosses the political spectrum. Continue reading

Should we listen to/use Bethel music in worship?

Here’s a little follow up to my article on Bethel.  One of our young men asked me a couple of weeks ago about Bethel and music. You see, one of the reasons they have a high profile is because of the music they’ve produced.  They wanted to know if it was okay to buy, listen to, use the music in worship. Continue reading

Planning, Integrity and true Purity (Proverbs 16)

Anyone been for a health check-up recently?  Eyes, teeth, heart … maybe the full MOT.  How did you get on?

Have you ever done one of those life check-ups? How’s your overall well-being? This isn’t just your physical health but how are you doing emotionally, is your life a success, what’s your status -financial prosperity etc?

One of the things that God’s Word does for us as we gather each Sunday is it provides a life check-up. Earlier this year we did a “whole church health-check when we looked at Revelation 2-3. This one is a bit more about each of us as individuals. So how are we doing against the following markers of a “healthy life.” Continue reading

The wise and foolish Builders – OT version (Proverbs 14)

Blenheim palaceThe other week, we visited Blenheim Palace. It’s an impressive tourist attraction, an elegantly designed building set in acres of beautiful parkland.  As well as being a tourist attraction, it’s actually the home of the Marlborough family. However, a number of commentators have observed that it wasn’t so much designed to be a home as a memorial to John Churchill, victor at the Battle of Blenheim.

So what does it take to make a home? Continue reading

The Disciplined Life (Proverbs 12)

It’s not often that you get away with calling someone stupid is it? But that’s exactly what Solomon does in Proverbs 12.

” To learn, you must love discipline;

it is stupid to hate correction.” Continue reading

Seeking the Good of the City (Proverbs 11)

Why does it matter how our politicians, celebrities and business leaders behave? Why the tabloid obsession with their misdemeanours? Partly it’s just gossip. But a big part of it links to a sense of justice – that good people should do well and when they do, we all do well.

It’s why we get behind the underdog -especially if they have a compelling back story. If an X-Factor’s singing ability is in doubt do a VT about how they love their nan!

It’s why we care about seeing the right people elected for the right reasons. It’s what made the referendum so hard for many – on the one hand a perception of rulers who were remote, unaccountable, self-interested but on the other hand people stirring up hatred for their own ends.

And there was a time when the simple thing for Christians was to simply go to church, enjoy their faith in private and not to connect those things up -privatised.  However, there’s been a renewal of the idea that our faith should influence our engagement with public life. Some people talk about our responsibility to seek the welfare of the City. Continue reading