Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some jottings on Marriage I might use with wedding couples

Christian Marriage
some notes and extracts from the Common Worship Marriage Service

Invented by God – “The Bible teaches us that marriage is a gift of God in creation”

“a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh” – united together in a new relationship

Purposes of marriage:

(1) CHARITY / PARTNERSHIP – love, friendship, companionship - “Marriage is given, that husband and wife may comfort and help each other, living faithfully together in need and in plenty, in sorrow and in joy.”

(2) CHASTITY / PURITY – sex - “It is given, that with delight and tenderness they may know each other in love, and, through the joy of their bodily union, may strengthen the union of their hearts and lives.”

(3) CHILDREN / PROCREATION – family - “It is given as the foundation of family life in which children may be born and nurtured in accordance with God's will, to his praise and glory.”

A covenant – vows – promises – commitment – solemn binding agreement

“N, will you take N to be your wife?
Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her,
and, forsaking all others,
be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”

A life-long exclusive relationship – “forsaking all others, be faithful as long as you both shall live”

“I, N , take you, N ,
to be my husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love, cherish, [and obey],
till death us do part,
according to God's holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.”

Unconditional promises: for worse, poorer and in sickness – given great security – makes working at making your marriage the best it can be in your own interests!

“N, I give you this ring
as a sign of our marriage.
With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

“Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.”

The full text of the marriage service is available at:

Some key Biblical passages:
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25
The Song of Songs (a love poem in the Bible, a picture of the relationship between God and his people)
Proverbs 5
Matthew 19:1-9
Ephesians 5:22-33

Some books on marriage from a Christian perspective:

Christopher Ash, Married for God: Making your marriage the best it can be (Nottingham, IVP, 2007)

David Harvey, When Sinners Say “I do”: Discovering the power of the Gospel for marriage (Shepherd Press, 2009)

Pete Jackson, Preparing for Marriage: God’s Plan for your Life Together Study Guide (New Malden, Good Book Company, 2007)

Timothy & Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2011)

Nicky & Sila Lee, The Marriage Book: How To Build A Lasting Relationship (London, Alpha International Publications, 2000)*

Rob Parsons, The Sixty Minute Marriage: Transforming Your Relationship in One Hour (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)*

Michael & Hilary Perrott, The Highway Code for Marriage (Farnham, CWR, 2005)*

John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Nottingham, IVP, 2009)

Winston T. Smith, Marriage Matters: Extraordinary change through ordinary moments (Greensboro, New Growth Press, 2010)

Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the realities of marriage (Nottingham, IVP, 2010)

Simon Vibert, The Diamond Marriage: Have Ultimate Purpose in your Marriage (Fearn, Christian Focus, 2005)

Douglas Wilson, Reforming Marriage (Moscow, Canon Press, 1995)

* - less full-on Christian content

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Christian Primary School Assembly on Hope

The theme for our assembly today is “hope”

To help us think about hope we’re going to have a quiz.

3 possible answers – A, B, or C

[PowerPoint or volunteers to hold up cards; show of hands]

(1)   How many planets are there in our solar system (around our sun)?

A: 9 [scientists used to think this till Pluto was downgraded]
B: 8
C: Not sure [some scientists say we don’t really know]

(2)   How many stars are there in our galaxy, the Milky Way?

A: 200 billion
B: 400 billion
C: Not sure [guesses range between A & B]

(3)   How many different types or species of animals are there in the world?

A: 2 million
B: 100 million
C: Not sure [There are 2 million known species, but there may be as many as 100 million]

[My questions are educational (!) but maybe a bit hard? A friend suggested some that are easier and maybe more fun:]

(1)   Will it be sunny on your birthday? [Yes, No, Not Sure]
(2)   Will you get a letter in the post on Monday? [Yes, No, Not Sure]
(3)   Will you have your favourite food for supper tonight? [Yes, No, Not Sure]

[These 3 questions also have the advantage that (like hope) they focus on the future.]

There are lots of things in life we can’t be sure about.

We sometimes talk about “hoping” for something when we’re not sure about it.

Hope is about what’s going to happen in the future and often we can’t be sure about the future.

So we might say, “I hope I’ll get top marks for my homework”
“I hope I’ll get a bike for Christmas”
“I hope it will by sunny for my holidays”
But we can’t be sure about those things.

But the Bible tells us that as Christians we have a sure hope.
The Bible says to Christians:
“Our hope is like an anchor for the soul, sure and secure.”
(Hebrews 6:19, approx.!)

[What’s an anchor for?]

An anchor holds a ship firmly in place.
You want it to be sure, certain, firm and secure.
Well the Bible says a Christian’s hope should be like that.

The Bible tells us we can be sure that God loves us and will take care of us, because Jesus died and rose again for us.
God has proved his love and power to us, so we can be sure about them.
We can have confidence for the future, confidence in God and his promises.
If we trust in Jesus we can be sure of heaven and the New Creation.

Let’s say pray and say thank you to God for that sure hope and ask him to make us confident in it.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Camp Training Day Jottings

DV (?!) I'm going to bore and scare some of the camp leaders with some of the following:

Our aims, vision, ethos, values, ways of working etc.
Some things I want to say!

Strapline: The Best Week of the Year! SERIOUS FUN!
Primarily “spiritual” aims – in the context of a great, safe, fun holiday – what will they remember?

A motto text for camp / ministry: Colossians 1:28-29

Case studies… Some real dreams (prayers):
-          the members who comes to Christ in repentance and faith for the first time
-          the members who takes strides forward with Jesus – e.g. Bible reading – the next X
-          the family that’s turned around by the witness of Jemima’s changed life
-          the leaders who discovers new passions and gifts
-          the churches that flourishes
God knows what impact camp can have - only eternity will reveal it – Mark 4:20

COMMITMENTS (stating the obvious and the impossible!):
Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the Gospel, for the glory of God
Bible – the authoritative infallible Word of God (CPAS basis of faith in handbook)
Prayer is vital
The power of the Spirit indispensable for real inner transformation – resurrections! – miracles!
To the Members – genuine love and concern, e.g. listen to them
To local Churches, “imperfect” as they may be
To Families and to honouring parents
To the team, service, self-sacrifice – look out for and help one another, pray & communicate
Doing what you have been asked to do promptly and well (e.g. not needing chasing)
No supermen or women – mutual dependence
Grace, forgiveness, kindness, help one another
To God’s sufficient grace, his strength in our weakness (2 Cor 19:9)
Gospel unity – “in essential, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love” – in diversity
(One body, many parts; different gifts)
Growing as leaders – a culture of training, trying new things, constructive feedback
Striving for excellence without being neurotic – doing the best we can – (godly mediocrity)
Hard work, Rest, Play, fun, laughter – be prepared for a tiring week – day off before & after camp – time off each day? – time off in the week?
Camp, Safety, Reputation, Child protection
All year round (postcard, reunion, pray), Long-term? Camp next year?!

Mission, Maturity, Ministry; Making Disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples….
Evangelism, Nurture, Service; Self-starters; Teach a man to fish
(Don’t assume “Josiah Christian” is unconverted and needs a crisis experience)
Help everyone to take the next step with Jesus

CPAS Ventures, Overall leader, planning team, adjutant, dorm leaders

Read the Handbook and act on it!
Be committed to the commitments above
Try to be godly, have a sense of humour, take responsibility, prepared flexibility – be prepared!
(First camp can be a bit bewildering)
We are all weak sinners saved by grace not by our performance!
Look after yourself and look out for others; communicate
Ask if you are unsure / need help / have any questions!  Pray! Enjoy!

Some jottings on Mark's Gospel for our Camp Leaders

A re-cap / re-introduction:

Mark 1:1 – title / headline / introduction

“the beginning” – cf. Genesis 1:1 – New Creation

“gospel” – Good News! – epoch changing news, a victory in battle, a new king

“of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]” – The man Jesus (Saviour) the Messiah, anointed one (King)

3 key themes:

(1) Who is Jesus? – His identity & person – especially up to 8:31 – who is this? 2:7; 4:41; 6:1-3, 14-16; 12:35-40; 14:61-62; 15:39

(2) Why did he come? – His mission & work – especially 8:31 onwards – 8:31-22; 9:31-32; 10:32-34, 45; 14:21, 24, 36

And so,

(3) What does it mean to follow him? – Our response & discipleship – 1:15-17; 3:34-35; 4:20; 5:34; 7:28; 10:14-15; 10:29-30, 47; 12:29-31; 14:1-11

Theme (1): The authority of Jesus the Christ the Son of God (& God the Son) – 1:1, 11; 9:7

“authority” – 1:22, 27; 2:10; 3:15; 6:7; 11:28f, 33

Over sinners (!) 1:17-20; 2:13, 17
Over sin 2:7, 10
Over sickness 1:29-34, 41; 2:11f; 3:5, 10; 5:21-43; 6:54-56; 7:31-37; 8:22-26
Over Satan & evil spirits 1:13, 23-28; 34; 3:11-12, 27; 5:1-20
Over the storm & sea 4:39; 6:45-52
Over scribes 1:22, 27; 7:1-23
Over the Sabbath 2:28

The transforming power of meeting the real Jesus in the Scriptures; bow the knee to him; Jesus more than capable!

A key turning point passage: 8:27-38 – all 3 themes
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Man (Daniel 7), who “must” suffer, die and rise
Following him means going the way of the cross, denying self, losing your life to save it

Jesus the pattern for disciples

A discipleship theme (3): self-sacrificial Christ-like humble servant-leadership is true greatness

9:33-37; 10:35-45

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Science & Christianity

We're very much looking forward to Dr Steve Jeffery helping us with the relationship between Science & Christinity on Mon 24th June in Warbleton Church Rooms. Further details here.

In the meantime, you might be interested in Glen Scrivener, these items from the St Helen's Bishopsgate website and Dr Andy Sach on the subject.

I notice the good folk at St Helen's also reccomend Prof John Lennox's website.

No doubt there are lots of other excellent resources out there. What would you reccomend?