Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bible Ready 2011

Now's the time to be getting ready (printing off) your Bible reading plans for next year so.... are some links to Bible Reading Plans - including ones for those with a track record of falling behind or biting-off more than they can chew reading-wise.

Read through the Bible for Shirkers & Slackers (different part of Bible each day of week - not dated so no big sense of falling behind if a day is missed)

The Discipleship Journal Reading Plan - Bible in One Year (readings for 25 days per month so inbuilt catch-up time - also not dated)

NIV Whole Bible in a Year

The McCheyne Plan (whole Bible once & NT & Psalms twice) & others can be found at:

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Christmas Joke EVER

Q. What did Adam say to his wife the night before Christmas?

A. It's Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips for talks over turkey

Some Christmas faith sharing tips from Andy Lloyd-Williams.

‘always be ready to give a reason to everyone who asks you for the hope that you have...’
(1 Peter 3:15)

Christmas is a time that can present almost unique faith sharing opportunities with non–Christian friends and family. People we care for but might not see that often. In light of this special dynamic, the question we need to ask ourselves is: are we ‘ready’ for Christmas? That is, are we ready to provide reasons for the hope that we have if a family member or close friend asks us what Christmas is really all about?

So here are four bite sized tips, not on how to cook the perfect Christmas day turkey, but more importantly on how to share your Christian faith this Christmas.

Tip 1. Be ready with the Gospel.
A few years ago now, over the Christmas meal table a non-Christian relative asked me the question: ‘Andrew, what does it mean, Jesus died for our sins?’ So I proceeded to draw the answer to this heart stopping, million dollar question on my Christmas napkin - using the classic picture of a stick man on one side of a canyon, God on the other, and Jesus on the Cross bridging the two sides as the only way people can get back to God. Now, whatever picture or explanation you use as you share the Gospel (e.g. ‘2 Ways to Live’ is really good for this), the point is: Be ready to share the gospel in a very simple way. Because if you’re not, who else will? Uncle Bob who has had too many Sherries and is fast asleep on the sofa most certainly won’t be.

Tip 2. Be ready to ‘defend’ the Gospel
Many of the questions we might be asked are likely to be in the realm of apologetics. Can I suggest that we prepare for Christmas with a few answers up our-sleeves. For example, answers to questions about suffering, the exclusiveness of Christianity and science.

Helpful books that deal with these type of questions are: Tim Keller’s ‘The Reason for God’ and Lee Strobel’s ‘A Case for Faith’. Both provide some basic answers to issues that may come up at the Christmas table.

Tip 3. Be ready and not ashamed of the Gospel
Being fearful, ashamed or embarrassed of one’s faith in Christ is not a new phenomenon among Christian people. If it were the NT wouldn’t have needed to encourage the early church with the words, ‘do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord’ (2 Tim 1:8).
Don’t worry what people think! The news of Jesus is ‘good news’, amazing news in-fact, and not something to be embarrassed about.

Many people are looking for answers and are often willing to listen to someone who has a real faith. Additionally, very few people have considered matters of faith to the depth that you will have done in the week to week teaching you get at Church. Not to mention your own personal study.

Remember aggressive ridicule may come from people who are just very insecure about what they don’t know - such as their very own eternal destination. So approach Christmas not with pride, but in a humble confidence in what you do know – not living in fear of what you don’t.

Tip 4. Be ready with but with gentleness and respect
Finally, remember, it is not about trying to win an argument or prove you’ve got all the answers. By doing this we will often lose a person’s respect and ‘turn them off’ Christ. Therefore, having a gentle and respectful manner and attitude is very important.

You need also need to know when it is time to quit. Sensitivity is required to know if someone is enquiring out of a heart of interest, as opposed to scoring some points or arguing just for the sake of it. Make sure the latter is not you!

The Power of Guilt

Times journalist Robert Crampton writes about his decision to cut back on his heavy drinking and points to an unfashionable truth....

Maybe we need to rediscover the motivating power of guilt. The received wisdom these days is that guilt is a pointless emotion. You hear it said all the time and it is totally wrong. Guilt is a valuable resource if used as motivation to stop doing a bad thing. Guilt is the biggest motivation I have used to get myself in order. Summon up your guilt, your shame, and you can use it to overpower desire.
The Times Magazine, 11/12/10.

Of course guilt without the Gospel - is just misery without medicine. But as a starting point for seeing our need to change and pointing us to Jesus then RC has more insight than most modern lifestyle gurus (including some Christian ones) who write today.

See also an old post: The Gospel's Guilty Secret.

Friday, December 10, 2010

SNAG 11th December: CANCELLED

Apologies but due to the weather & continued travel disruption December's SNAG has been cancelled.

Hopefully we can rearrange David Robertson's planned visit another time.