Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great news

Bring on the house price crash I say. The average house price in London is £350,000 (11 times the average London salary). Just think: in 3 years or so, I might even be able to get on the housing ladder!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Album review: Come Weary Saints

Sovereign Grace Music have released their latest album, Come Weary Saints. If you're a Christian who never struggles with trusting God in difficult circumstances or develops your deepest knowledge of God through your prosperous sunshine-and-lollipops life, then (a) this album isn't for you; (b) go and read the Bible some more.

For the rest of us, this is a very welcome addition to the pantheon of worship music available to the church. With some notable exceptions (such as "Jesus, draw me ever nearer" by Keith & Kristyn Getty) most of the new music being written and sung is appealing to the concept that joyful = happy, which is of course only true when you're happy.

The album has some cracking songs on it, from the beautiful opening track "Hide Away in the Love of Jesus" to the retuned and chorused "Oh the Deep, Deep Love" to the haunting "Every Day".

I'm sure this album will be flying up my iTunes' "most played" list from now on. It's one to listen to when things are going well; and when your nine MSc exams are coming up in little over a week and your revision feels turgid and purposeless.

Ahem. The best thing is you can download it right now for only $9 (£4.50!) from the Sovereign Grace Music store. Get it now!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Digesting the Word (Alive)

It was a real blessing to go to Wales with 4000 others - including 2000 students - to attend the first New Word Alive conference: a conference founded on the truth of penal substitution at the Cross and distancing itself from previous colleagues at Spring Harvest.

It was apparent while we were there that the effect of the "schism" has been a lot greater than simply tightening the theological drawbridge of evangelicalism. You've probably seen the Political Compass, which plots people according to their economic and authoritarian views. It would be possible to do a similar exercise in the church, with Christians plotted according to their theological views and "stylistic" modernity. Spring Harvest's target audience was drawn from across the theological spectrum but from only one end of the style axis; New Word Alive has re-oriented the audience completely by founding itself on doctrine: it accepts people from all over the Church in terms of style, but only those who accept the truth of penal substitution.

The broad church of style was demonstrated by having Soul Survivor along to lead worship in the student celebrations. They did a rocking job, as did Stuart Townend, Phatfish and the Gettys in the other meetings. So it was very accessible, and helpful in demonstrating different ways of doing church which still focus on Jesus.

The highlight for me was definitely hearing John Piper speak on "Treasuring Christ and the Call to Suffer" over 2 nights. We are to value Christ infinitely and not simply to see him as 'useful' to get us into heaven. Using Romans 8, Piper demonstrated that everyone God called, he justified, and everyone he justified, he will glorify; and that everyone who will be glorified will suffer first. So the question is not "will I suffer?" but "how will I respond to suffering"?

I was given an early opportunity to respond to suffering when I had to spend 17 hours in bed with a stomach virus at the end of the conference. Somehow I doubt that's all God has in store for my future, but tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

John Piper's talks are available to download from the Desiring God website: Part 1 Part 2
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Monday, April 07, 2008

Under the weather


It was rather weird to wake up yesterday morning to see 3 inches of snow on the ground! Last April we were basking in 25ºC sunshine, today it's closer to 25ºF.

It doesn't bode too well for the next week at Word Alive in west Wales, hardly a region famed for its good weather... but quite frankly with DAC Attack, John Piper and Terry Virgo teaching the Word it doesn't really matter. Keith/Kristyn Getty and the Soul Survivor band ought to take care of the music as well I would think.

Edit: looks like I'm right about the weather. Check the forecast!