Weird Church in Wired Magazine

17 May

Read here today about a pretty strange kind of church – one which is entirely online. I guess there may be one or two good points to be made, but with all that comes with web-anonymity I can’t imagine it’s the best way of forging meaningful relationships and building one another up as brothers and sisters… or maybe I’m just old-fashioned?

How about this from their statement of faith:

“God is revealed to seekers by many different means, including creation, the Bible, the life of Jesus and the Spirit-filled witness of the Church. St Pixels is one expression of that historical, international and universal Church. We aim to create sacred space on the Internet where we can seek God together, enjoy each other’s company and reflect God’s love for the world.”

We recognise that this statement of faith does not go as far as some Christians would want it to.  However, at St Pixels we are intentionally “vague” because we want as many people as possible to feel part of the community….

Therefore, beyond the above statement in the Core Values, there is no official view on matters of faith.

Certainly sounds vague to me! No thanks, think I’ll stick with the real thing.

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Resurgence: 7 Ways to be a missionary in college

11 May

From the Resurgence

1. Know non-Christians

It seems like common sense, but too many campus ministries are set up to babysit nice, moralistic, hypocritical youth group kids and create a bubble around them. As Christians, we have to be outwardly focused. As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us into the culture. It’s so much easier to share the gospel if you belong before you ask people to believe (John 20:21).

2. Think about where you will live

Make your living situation missional: meet new friends and build relationships to see students meet Jesus instead of secluding yourself with people who all act and think the same way you do. Grab a Christian friend and move into the wildest apartment complex in the neighborhood. Don’t conform, but be a movement of change in an area where it’s desperately needed.

3. Join the Greek system

There’s instant community established by living in the Greek system, and people in sororities and fraternities know everyone. Once you’re in, you become really well connected and are able to be on mission in an extreme environment. Yeah, I know: they sin a lot. So does everyone else in college (1 Cor. 9:19–23).

4. Get involved (not just at church)

Join a club related to your major, hobby, or interest. Stop saying yes to every church obligation and begin seeking how the gospel can apply to all areas of life. Build relationships by playing intramural sports on a team without all your Christian friends.

5. Start a small group in public

Instead of meeting in a house or apartment, start gathering in a coffee shop or study hall. This will not only allow you to support the local community, but it might also allow somebody else to eavesdrop on a worthwhile conversation.

6. Serve the community

Get involved with a local non-profit or service center. By serving the community alongside non-believers, you’re doing the work that Jesus calls us to do by being missional not only to the populations you’re serving, but also to the people you’re serving alongside.

7. Practice radical hospitality

College students aren’t known for being the most financially well-off or generous people around. Buying a classmate coffee or lunch is a small sacrifice that can speak volumes and make a huge statement in demonstrating grace. This could also mean driving the drunks home from a party and sharing the gospel with them the next day as you take them to get their car.

You have a few short years to reach people who will scatter throughout the world and live for something or someone. The key to being a missionary on a university campus is believing Jesus is worthy of every student’s worship, for his glory and our friends’ eternal joy!

[http://theresurgence.com/7_ways_missionary_college]

Christian Institute Election Briefing Paper

30 Apr

Download the Election 2010 briefing paper

Baptism

1 Mar

Got baptised last night. Here’s what I had to say:

When people ask how I became a Christian, on one level, I’m not quite sure. I was blessed to grow up in a home with parents who made sure that the Bible and the truth of the gospel was never far away, and I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t believe that I was a sinner, that God had every right to punish me and yet that he wouldn’t because Jesus had taken my place on the cross. Having said that, I do distinctly remember praying “the prayer” asking God to make me a Christian every time I was invited to at a young age, and I guess I probably was saved from quite early on, even if I didn’t fully grasp all the implications for my life.

Life trundled on and for a long time, especially as a teenager, although I didn’t have any extreme moments of rebellion, there were plenty of things in my life which didn’t commend the gospel to others. There were I think two different Toms depending on the situation. At church I was respectable Tom, always doing what I was told, and always giving the right answers in Sunday school or youth group. Then there was the other Tom at school and with my non-Christian friends. I was often militantly evangelistic, telling everyone they needed to be a Christian and they were going to hell etc with very little grace or compassion. And at the same time the difference between what I said and what I did left me open to justifiable accusations of hypocrisy.

As I’ve grown older and matured, learning how to live as a Christian in every area of life has been a slow process and it’s one that will undoubtedly continue until I die. But God is gracious, and while I still have a long way to go, I am assured that he is at work in me to make me more like Jesus.

My three years in Cardiff have been a time of huge spiritual realignment, not least as I have been forced to defend what I believe more than ever before. Yet by God’s grace I remain convinced of the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ. I came to Cardiff feeling pretty sorted about God etc – probably with a sense of pride that I came from a respectable Church, believed all the right things and I was convinced I would come along and impart my wisdom and sort everyone else out. How wrong I was. My time on the Christian Union committee was so valuable in shaping my understanding of what it means for Christians to be united for the sake of the Gospel.

So while I’m not sure of times and dates, I am absolutely sure that Christ died for me and that now my future with him is secure for eternity. The challenges, disappointments and joys of life have only convinced me further that I belong to a sovereign God who works out all things for his glory and the good of his people. With this in mind, I am being baptised today as a symbol of my life being united with Christ as I look forward to eternity. As Paul says… “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Athens: Mars Hill

17 Feb