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“Ministers are to cultivate gifts of preaching and prayer through study and diligence; they ought also to cultivate the capacity of composing spiritual songs and exercise it along with the other parts of the worship, preaching and prayer”.

So says the great hymn writer Isaac Watts.

I don’t really want to say much more than that, except that I’m going to try and write a lot more congregational songs in 2012 (keep up to date with them here). Will other gospel ministers join me?

It’s not complicated. If you’re daunted by the idea, find a familiar hymn tune, and a bible passage you’re going to be preaching on and start writing… Perhaps use your sermon points as themes for each verse, with a chorus that has the overall point as its content. If you want any help/input please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Ok, its not going to work very well as a nursery rhyme, but I wanted to share this illustration Steve Timmis used the other day in conversation (with some elaboration)….

There is rightly more and more talk about ‘affection’, thanks to the likes of Piper and his hero Jonathan Edwards. We all have affection for something – that is there’s something that captures our attention, imagination, time, effort, hopes, fears… What the gospel does is redirects our affection towards God.

But how? Through whipping up emotion in worship sessions? There is a very important place for music stirring the emotions (see Edwards again). But often my affection is far from God. So what should I do? Cue story…

Imagine Will and Affection are going out for a walk. They come to the bottom of a hill and Will turns to Affection and says ‘over that hill is the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen.’

Affection of course is not impressed. He can’t see it, and worse still he can see a nice bench at the bottom of the hill. He’s tired and not about to waste more energy to see a view that may or may not he quite nice.

But Will is not to be deterred. He grabs Affection and drags him kicking and screaming up the hill.

As the finally come over the crest of the hill Affection’s jaw drops… And he simply says ‘wow’.

I have to say that Will has had to do this with my Affection many times. But low and behold every time that Will is acting on a promise of God, I’m left saying ‘wow’.

On Sunday we kicked of a series using the ‘Prodigal God’ material from Tim Keller.

In prep for this I found this video on youtube.

I’m not a big fan of Coldplay (I think they’re a little overrated), but ‘Fix You’ is a great song (once you get past the slightly weak intro – or perhaps he intended it that way?).

Anyway – a good song, well used… and slo-mo that isn’t cheesy.

Enjoy! I did, even if I did cry…

Over the past weeks we’ve been working through Revelation. We’re now looking at how Revelation helps us understand and critique particular situations in our age. As a ‘working example’ in this introductory talk, I looked at the issue of abortion.

You can hear the talk here.

Working example: Abortion.

Read Revelation 18:11-13

Babylon/Rome were hailed by the world for what came out of them.
If you were to ask the Monty Python question ‘what has Rome ever done for us?’ you may well come out with a list like Revelation 18:12-13.

They’ve done lots for everyone in the Empire!

But perhaps you might not have given quite the list John does.
Look at the end of v13.
John tells us that they also trade in human souls.

This could refer to slaves, but it seems to be something deeper than that – the fantastic trade of this empire cost lives.
It was built upon the bodies of those who died as it hurtled on.
The materialism and the comfort of the Empire was paramount, and it did not matter if people died to achieve it.

That seems to be what people thought.
When we see this image of Babylon falling in Revelation, do the people rejoice that this consumerism built on death has ended?

No – they weep!

The gods and idols of their material wealth were so dominant that they would literally trample over human lives to achieve it.

I read Revelation 18:11-13 and it makes me uncomfortable.

Because it looks a lot like our country.

Our society is built on 4 things – consumerism, materialism, hedonism and individualism.
What makes our nation ‘great’ in the eyes of so many around the world is our freedom to shop!
We have access to material wealth on a scale never known before in history.

What we see in Revelation 18 was probably only accessed by the privileged few, even if it was desired by many.

Whereas today we have so much stuff – widescreen plasma TV’s, sports cars, holidays in the sun around the world, leisure facilities, cinema’s, theatres that are accessed by anyone and everyone.

The gods that perhaps everyone wanted to follow in John’s day can be followed with great diligence today.

We have come to expect pleasure, on demand comfort, a life plotted out the way I want it – and we’ve come to expect those as human rights.

But at what cost?

Do we see the dead and the bruised that suffer at the hands of these despicable gods?

I want to show you some of those who have died because of this. Read the rest of this entry »

Below is some teaching I’m doing this morning in our team about fasting… It’s based mostly on John Piper’s book on the subject…

Fasting :: Some studies in Matthew

1. Fasting… expresses our dependence on God and reveals our idols

Matt 4:1-4

How do you feel when you are hungry?

Are there other things without which you find it hard to function?

Read Matt 4:1-4

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus had just been baptised. At his baptism God declares that Jesus is his son, with whom he is pleased. These words echo Psalm 2:7 where David, the greatest King of Israel and her representative, is described in such a way. Not only is the representative of Israel described in this way but Israel herself is too, for instances in Exodus 4:22. God declares Jesus to be his Son, the ‘true’ Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

On Sunday I’m preaching on Acts 11.

One of the most striking things from our series on Acts is the fact that the movement you see taking place is unquestionably God’s movement. Humanly speaking everything is against it succeeding. People are out to stop the followers of Jesus through physical force, the apostles appear completely disorganised (how often do you find them having to send someone to a place to find out what God has been doing there?!). And yet the movement keeps on going. It crosses racial and religious and cultural boundaries in an unprecedented way.

Gamaliel was right in Acts 5. If the movement was of human origin, it was bound to fail. But if it is a movement of God then that’s a whole other matter.

The video below is designed to illustrate this…

Michael Tinker is a professional musician and part of the Crowded House which is a church planting initiative in Sheffield and around the world. He's a follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, member of a Gospel Community, Musician and avid follower of fashion...

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