More then ever – the world needs church

‘This brings me to one of the more controversial elements of historic Christian plague ethics: We don’t cancel church. The whole motivation of personal sacrifice to care for others, and other-regarding measures to reduce infection, presupposes the existence of a community in which we’re all stakeholders. Even as we take communion from separate plates and cups to minimize risk, forgo hand-shaking or hugging, and sit at a distance from each other, we still commune.

Some observers will view this as a kind of fanaticism: Christians are so obsessed with church-going that they’ll risk epidemic disease to show up.

But it’s not that at all. The coronavirus leaves over 95 percent of its victims still breathing. But it leaves virtually every member of society afraid, anxious, isolated, alone, and wondering if anyone would even notice if they’re gone. In an increasingly atomized society, the coronavirus could rapidly mutate into an epidemic of despair.’ Lyman Stone ‘Christianity has been handling epidemics for 200 years

Church interrupts the rhythm of a fallen world with the breath-taking, life-giving food of the gospel. Church is the only place where real life is found. Church is the closest place to heaven on earth. Church is where Jesus meets with people. Now more than ever the world needs church.  Continue reading

North Halifax needs Jesus

The kids were excited by the sight of a policeman on their walk to school this morning. As they walked past Rach realised that the whole street on our corner had been cordoned off. It was open last night when Rach had been along there to pick up some tea from the chip shop – so something must have happened over night. Apparently the only thing the kids at school wanted to talk about was what might have happened.

This afternoon we found out that a young lady, only 23, was stabbed to death there at 5:30am this morning, and boy of 16 has been taking into custody over the incident.

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Church: Help Through Jesus – Life From Jesus

What is Church?

The first question I wanted to answer at our first ever launch team meeting was: ‘What is Church?’ Now – happily – no one in the launch team was actually asking this question! But really – isn’t this a question we should be continually asking, and making sure we have clear in our minds? What is church? What is our mission? Who are we, what are we meant to be doing? Continue reading

What does it mean to be culturally engaged?

“We want to be a church that engages with the surrounding culture” – but what does this mean? What does it look like? And isn’t it dangerous/compromising?

These are all good questions! For some the concern in such an idea is that the church will water down certain truths for the sake of not offending the culture. I understand this concern! You need only look around briefly to see churches that have compromised, whether it be on their stance on certain sins, the exclusivity of Christ as the way to God, or even a dismissal of certain essential elements of worship.

So to answer question of what we mean when we say we want to engage the culture in a relevant way – let me first of all make clear two things we do not mean by it…

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So I got a tattoo…

IMG_1250I have wanted to get a tattoo for a long time – but if I was going to get one, I wanted to be sure of it, and I wanted to get something that was significant enough that I would want to have it etched on my body for the rest of my life.

Over the past 10 years i have been discovering reformed theology. It started with TULIP, and then Calvinism. Then it was Luther and the reformation, the five Solas, saying goodbye to pietism and now fully embracing a confessional Christianity through the 1689 baptist confession of faith… the theology of the reformation has become foundational to my understanding of who God is, and what the gospel really means! But as great as Calvin and Luther and these great fathers of the reformation were; as clear and clarifying as these creeds and confessions had become – it wasn’t them that thrilled me – it is the Jesus they proclaim! Continue reading

Trick or Treat!

Tonight I went Trick or Treating for the first time in my life… and I’m thinking about doing it again…

You would think that a good Calvinist and Reformed Baptist would be writing about the 500th anniversary of the reformation today, and not Halloween – but it is precisely because of reformation theology that I can write this post, where as a few years ago I never would have dreamt of it.

We never went ‘Trick or Treating’ when I was a kid, it just wasn’t something our family did. “Well, we’re Christians, and Christians don’t really ‘do’ Halloween.” I grew up accepting this, and believing it – I didn’t fully understand it, but I trusted my parents, and the teaching of my church’s tradition. I love that my mum and dad were careful about what they exposed me and my brother to, and that they trusted their own church leaders. But now that I’m a pastor and a parent myself ‘because my mum said so’ is no longer a good enough answer! I needed to work through it myself. And part of that process was talking to my mum about how they came to the decision they did when I was a child.

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Because He Lives

Today marks the anniversary of Nana’s death.

Nana was a really special lady, and I still miss her, I still get a catch in my throat whenever I sing ‘In Christ Alone’ or when singing the third verse of ‘Because he Lives’ (we happened to sing that several weeks in a row at church whilst Nana was ill in hospital). But whilst I still get choked up because I miss her, I’m not scared for her, I’m not even worried I won’t see her again – in fact I’m certain I will!

I take great comfort in knowing that Nana knew Jesus – Continue reading

Mary did you know?

“Mary did you know… that a song was going to be written on the assumption that you suffered a severe bout of amnesia the moment the angel had left you…”

Pentatonix did a great rendition of this song a couple of years ago, and its currently got over 91.5 Million views on YouTube! But the problem with that is that over 91 million people have heard some pretty poor theology…

Theologically it is a weak song. But…I have a confession…I quite like it! Having said that, I also enjoy Wizzard’s ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ and Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas everybody’ but I don’t want to sing them in church! Nor does me enjoying them mean there is any spiritual worth to them. But I think there is something about ‘Mary did you know’ that is worth commending, and it is this: Continue reading