Radio Interview

October 23, 2017 | Posted in British Museum | By

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the joy recently of being interviewed by Andy Peck of Premier Christian Radio about my work at the British Museum.

The interview is a great insight if you want find out more about the tours. Its just 24 minutes long… Enjoy!

Follow the link  https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Sunday/The-Leadership-File/Episodes/The-Leadership-File165

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Manchester

May 26, 2017 | Posted in Devotional | By

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has taken me a few days to wrap my head around the events that unfolded in Manchester on Monday evening. For me writing is the way I process. In doing so I found myself revisiting some themes I penned on the tenth anniversary of 7/7. I pray you find them helpful….

 

22 dead.

Scores injured.

Many just beginning their lives.

Many now suffering life limiting or life changing physical and psychological wounds.

The untold consequences of this trauma, fear and anguish are going to ripple through countless lives for decades to come.

 

Easy to type. Easy to read…

 

Yet when you dip into the stories and accounts of what happened, what it was really like at the epicentre of the  terrorist’s bomb, it becomes uncomfortable.

Sickening! Disgusting! Unforgivable! All very understandable responses.

And then there is the tricky issue of ‘killing in the name of…’ and that debate is crying out to be held. Yes, countless crimes have been committed in the name of all kinds of deities but at the end of the day it is one thing do something ‘in the name of…’ it is another to truly represent that ‘name’. The question is ‘does the act reflect and represent the name accurately?’

And that my friends is the awkward elephant in the room.

It follows that there are those who will place religion in the dock. The shaking fist will accuse… ‘where was God that day?’

It was Joan Osbourne who recorded ‘What if God was One of Us?’

 

She penned these classic lines…

‘What if God was one of us… just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?’

This is the heart of the gospel. That the infinite God of the universe entered human experience and became ‘One of Us’.

He left the ‘righteousness, peace and joy of heaven’ to become the ‘Man of sorrows, familiar with suffering’. In Gethsemane as the heavens were silent, He endured His own agonising night of trauma. At Calvery as He hung naked, bled and suffocated, He became the victim of the rapist, the child abuser, the terrorist.

He was each of the strangers at the Manchester Arena whose names we will in time all forget.

He became ‘One of Us’. He understands. He has compassion. He weeps. His comfort is still flowing freely.

But the greater miracle is that on that Cross he not only represented the victim… He also represented the perpetrator.

Think on that…

We love the comfort of knowing He took our punishment for us… But Calvary was a once for all event. ‘For God so loved the world…’ What He did for you, He also did for the terrorist.

All the wrath, punishment and vengeance that the perpetrator deserved, have already been delivered…

Blow by blow…

To Jesus.

And so there is no longer a place for wrath, punishment or vengeance… for they were perfectly satisfied at the Cross.

In human hands these activities are weapons of mass destruction but never change a thing for the better. Coupled with unforgiveness they produce a toxic brew that only continues to harm the victims and not the perpetrator.

There remains only room for forgiveness and love…

For these collided head on with evil at Calvery…

And that is how the God of the universe changes everything in the ‘twinkling of an eye’…

He became ‘One of Us’…

In every sense.

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Imago Dei

September 12, 2016 | Posted in Devotional | By

 

 

remembering-9-11-670

Once again we find ourselves thinking about the tragic events of 911.
I remember the day well. I had an american colleague at the church where I worked; and as I was going about my business I felt a nudge to drop in. As I walked through the door I couldn’t get over what was being streamed on the news.

In the ensuing days the coverage was repeated… planes colliding with concrete and steel, trapped people leaping to their deaths, dust and rubble covered survivors running to safety and, as the billowing cloud cleared… the smouldering stump of what remained of the South Tower.

The truth is our news streams report hundreds of thousands of terrible deaths every year. So why did 911 shock us so much? Was it that we thought The West impenetrable to the kind of terrorism we see daily in the rest of the world? Was it because none of us could imagine a building could fall that quickly and with such devastating consequences? Was it that the outcome of that day looked too much like the disaster movies we watch for entertainment but in this one real people died?

I remember having to preach that Sunday in the light of those events… and I remember settling on why the attack horrified us so much… These victims wore suits and carried mobile phones and worked on laptops and drove cars. Just… like… us…

It is so easy to distance ourselves from the victims of disaster in the developing world, because their world seems so distant. But the 911 victims could so easily have been you or I.

I have this gnawing feeling that many of us attach more value to their deaths than countless thousands from the rest of the world because they looked like us… we bore their image and they ours.

And that is the staggering revelation from God to a world groaning under strain of sin and disconnected from its Creator… Every death matters to Him because every single victim bears His image.

In a world of compassion fatigue its worth thinking about… every life matters.

 

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Death of a Summer

September 1, 2015 | Posted in Devotional, Discipleship | By

Autumn_Leaves_Wallpaper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deny it if you will: summer has begun the slow drift of a cooling romance and soon hues of red and brown will subtly assert themselves on our collective conscience.

Primitive peoples dreaded the death that autumn spelt… Would the sun ever return to bring new life? Little did they know that in the death throes of every autumn shade, was the process of withdrawal in preparation for the new season of growth. Growth that would add limbs and leaves; growth that would add rings and reach.

Beloved! if you find yourself in a season of enforced inactivity know this…. the Holy Spirit Himself is working deep within you. Preparing you for the next season. A season of expanded growth where your added rings and reach will give increasing Glory to your Father in Heaven.

He promised Noah that as long as the earth remained the seasons would run and run. Yes there will be seasons of life and yes there will be seasons of death… but season by season there will be growth. And that growth will be IN Him and that growth will be FOR Him.

EMBRACE the season!

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One of Us…

July 7, 2015 | Posted in Comment, Devotional | By

 

 

Bus

Today we remember the appalling tragedy and horror of the July 7th bombings, which were committed 10 years ago.

52 dead.

100’s injured.

The untold consequences of trauma, fear and anguish still rippling through countless lives.

Easy to type. Easy to read…

Yet when you dip into the stories and accounts of what happened, what it was really like standing or sitting in the ‘ground zero’ of a terrorist bomb, it becomes uncomfortable.

Sickening, disgusting, unforgivable. All very understandable responses.

And then there is the tricky issue of ‘killing in the name of…’ and that debate still needs to be held. Yes, countless crimes have been committed in the name of all kinds of deities but at the end of the day it is one thing do something ‘in the name of…’ it is another to truly represent that ‘name’. The question is ‘does the act reflect and represent the name accurately?’

And that my friends is the awkward elephant in the room.

It follows that there are those who will place religion in the dock. The shaking fist will accuse… ‘where was God that day?’

It was Joan Osbourne recorded ‘What if God was One of Us?’

She penned these classic lines…

‘What if God was one of us… just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?’

This is the heart of the gospel. That the infinite God of the universe entered human experience and became ‘One of Us’.

He left the ‘righteousness, peace and joy of heaven’ to become the ‘Man of sorrows, familiar with suffering’. In Gethsemane as the heavens were silent, He endured His own agonising night of trauma. At Calvery as He hung naked, bled and suffocated, He became the victim of the rapist, the child abuser, the terrorist. He was the stranger on the 7/7 trains and bus whose names we all forget.

He became ‘One of Us’. He understands. He has compassion. He weeps. His comfort is still flowing freely.

But the greater miracle is that on that Cross he not only represented the victim… He also represented the perpetrator.

Think on that…

We love the comfort of knowing He took our punishment for us… But Calvary was a once for all event. What He did for you, He also did for the terrorist that day.

All the wrath, punishment and vengeance that the perpetrators deserved, have already been delivered…

blow by blow…

to Jesus.

And so there is no longer a place for wrath, punishment or vengeance… for they were perfectly satisfied at the Cross.

In human hands these activities are weapons of mass destruction but never change a thing for the better.

There remains only room for forgiveness and love…

for these collided head on at Calvery…

and that is how the God of the universe changes everything in the ‘twinkling of an eye’…

He became ‘One of Us’…

in every sense.

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Thankful In Advent #24

December 24, 2014 | Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized | By

iStock_000014405679Small copy

Advent declares…. ‘THE Light shines in the darkness and darkness has not overcome it!

Darkness does not and never has stood a chance against the light. If you’re battling, know this HE wins and if you belong to Him then you win too. With Jesus the ‘futures so bright you’ got to wear shades’.

Invite Him to shine in your patch this coming year… I dare you!

Not because He’s a great folk or fairy tale or a nice thought at a dark time of year. Rather because His story is History!

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—

My dear friends past and present have an incredible Christmas and may the best gifts be found by spending time in HIS presence.

‘…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us…’       ()


Listen

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (ESV)


Listen

1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (ESV)

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Thankful In Advent #23

December 23, 2014 | Posted in Devotional | By

bluechristmasangel

…an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

 

Peace on earth has to be one of the most evasive concepts to the untrained eye. In one sense you can’t blame people for wanting to take God to the cleaners by invoking The Advertising Standards Agency. There is hardly a festive season that passes by without some act of terrorism, major disaster or freak of nature wiping out countless human lives. I have to say I almost dread watching the news every Christmas Day knowing that somewhere, someone’s Christmas has been detonated… but then so was the first Christmas with the ‘slaughter of the innocents’…

What are we to do with the utopian dream? Well firstly understand that the Hebrew concept of peace is not necessarily the absence of conflict. Rather, it is that in the midst of conflict and trauma there is wellbeing in the heart of the believer!

A friend of mine spoke at World Peace Day about 10 years ago and shared this simple truth. ‘You want peace on earth? It starts with peace in here (tapping his chest where his heart was)!’

‘Peace on Earth’ is not some unobtainable utopian dream… it is a decree from Heaven’s Throne Room heralded by arc-angels. But, the reason it evades so many people is that it must first be encountered and make its habitation in our hearts.

As we hurtle towards the prezzies, turkey and festive chaos… my plea and invitation to you all is this. Make room for HIM in your heart this Christmas! The encounter and habitation of His peace starts right there.

We can be Thankful In Advent because ‘Peace on Earth’ starts with ‘Peace in me’.


Listen

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (ESV)

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Thankful In Advent #22

December 23, 2014 | Posted in Devotional | By

004-shepherds-angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.

We are so familiar with the Nativity story that all the players feel like they belong in the script.

However, the shepherds were the least likely folk to be invited to the birth of not just a king but of God himself.

In Jewish lawbooks, the Talmud, it is written that shepherds were not allowed in the courts to be witnesses. In fact the Talmud instructs that no help be given to heathens or to shepherds. Shepherds were despised because they were unable to attend temple services and to keep the rituals and ceremonial laws as their flocks kept them from practicing their religion.

Shepherds were treated with the same kind of derision and distrust as travelling communities are today… the ‘lock up your daughters and valuables’ mentality.

It is to these lowly and despised lowlifes that the good news of Messiah’s birth is announced. In fact they will go on to carry that same message to others.

Here’s the sweet heart of the Nativity story… God seems to enjoy encountering, changing and using not the wise, powerful and noble, but the foolish, weak, lowly and despised ().

We can be Thankful In Advent because that means none of us are beyond His peripheral vision, His heart and His hand; and all of us can have a place in and be part of His GRAND story.


Listen

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. (ESV)


Listen

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (ESV)

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Thankful In Advent #21

December 22, 2014 | Posted in Devotional | By

nativity-story

…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.

 

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

Consider the implications of this fact… When God came to earth He was adopted by someone who was not His biological father.

That is the stunning human interest story of the nativity… Joseph became a father to Jesus and loved him as his own. He loved, cared, nurtured and protected Jesus until he disappeared out of the gospels at some point after Jesus was 12.

In this simple picture is the heart of the nativity story… God came to be with us… so we could be with Him. Who ever believes in His name He gives the RIGHT to be called Sons of God. He adopted those who were not His by birth, will or nature.

We can be Thankful In Advent because He took us in, made us His own and loved us like one of the family.


Listen

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (ESV)

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Thankful In Advent #20

December 21, 2014 | Posted in Devotional | By

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…opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh…

When the Magi finally find Jesus (this could have been up to 2 years after His birth. The family certainly had their own house at this point) ‘opening their treasures they gave Him gifts…’ The Magi’s response to Jesus was three fold:

1. A model of worship in ‘spirit and and truth’. They recognised the truth of who He was and gave out of their own treasures that which cost them personally!

 

 

2. This act was prophetic for Jesus. His  life and death was no accident, but prophesied in advance… They bought Him gifts:

Gold symbolic for a King

Frankincense used for the worship of God

Myrrh used for anointing the dead

Seems like the Magi had a better grasp of the Messiah than His disciples!

3. A pure reflection of God’s own heart to mankind. He opened the treasury of Heaven and gave humanity the most, valuable, appropriate, wanted and needed gift… Heaven on Earth in the person of His Son.

We can be Thankful In Advent because now we KNOW what ‘Heaven’ and the Father who ‘makes it Heaven’ are like!

 


Listen

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (ESV)

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