Wednesday, 29 June 2011

1 Kings - Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath

I recently had the privilege of preparing and preaching 1 Kings 17v8-24, which for those of you who don't know is the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath.

My biggest challenge and concern was how to preach Christ faithfully.
Attached is my sermon manuscript. I tend to preach from a full script, but it often changes as I go. So what you read it not exactly what I will have said, but near enough.
From what I can remember when I preached on Sunday I expanded a bit on Jesus' resurrection and what it means but other than that if you'd been there you would have heard something very similar to the text.

My reason for posting is not for recognition, but for any helpful thoughts or feedback on whether I hit the right notes in terms of preaching Christ. Preaching Christ from the OT is something I have not really had the chance to do before, and when I have preached from OT passages in the past I have not thought as much about specifically preaching Christ in a very explicit way.

Here it is

Friday, 17 June 2011

Mumford and Sons - Roll Away Your Stone

Finally, the third installment of the series looking a some Mumford and Sons songs.
You will have noticed that after doing the first 2 songs on the album, this one is number 4. My plan is not to look at each track on the album, but just a selection.

Here are the lyrics:

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don't leave me alone at this time
For I'm afraid of what I will discover inside

You told me that I would find a home
Within the fragile substance of my soul
I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think
And yet it dominates the things I've seen

Seems that all my bridges have been burned
You say that's exactly how this grace things works
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think
Yet it dominates the things I've seen

Stars hide your fires,
These here are my desires
And I will give them up to you this time around
So I'll be found with my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

You, have gone too far this time
You have neither reason or rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine.

There are just a couple of things I'd like to comment on.

The second verse in which the song-writer speaks of filling the void in his soul or his life with "things unreal" is a very poignant thought.
Here is a quote from Bernard Levin which speaks of something similar:
Countries like ours are full of people who have all of the material comforts they desire, yet lead lives of quiet (and at times noisy) desperation, understanding nothing but the fact there is a hole inside them and that however much food and drink they pour into it, however many motorcars and television sets they stuff it with, however many well-balanced children and loyal friends they parade around the edges of aches.

The world in which we live is all about instant gratification. We want everything yesterday. The advance of technology serves to fuel those desires within us. I wouldn't say that family, friends, and possessions are unreal in the sense that they have no value at all, but if they are what you live for, ultimately they are unreal. All these things are good gifts from a wonderfully loving and gracious God. They are to be enjoyed in the context of a relationship with Him.
Tied in with this is a sense of something greater that we all feel, even if we have suppressed it so far that we would claim not to. The interesting thing is the the song-writer realises it steals his character.
I think that is because we are made to delight in God alone. We are made for a relationship with the Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can only find true rest, satisfaction, joy, meaning and purpose there.

The chorus is also a very honest assessment of the world. Darkness does sound like a harsh term, it sounds a little bit extreme. But as the writer says, it dominates what he sees. That's right isn't it, the news spekas of it daily, facebook pages, tweets and other sources often contain stories that make us sad, angry and despairing, do they not. Yet, this is exactly what the Bible speaks of; the world being a dark place, full of sin, sadness, sorrow, suffering. And even more strikingly that we are the source of it.

So what is the solution? Well, the song hints at. It does seem that all bridges have been burned. Paul writes in the letter to the Romans that no-one is righteous and before God we stand guilty, how can a holy God forgive, justify and yet remain just? (See Romans 3v21-26) It is grace in Jesus Christ.
The song speaks of grace, and it is right. That is exactly how grace works, its not a long walk home that sorts the problem of the heart, but the welcome you receive with the restart. In Christ Jesus we are freely redeemed by grace through faith in Him. What an amazing salvation!!!
We get a new heart and a new start in Christ!

I am sure there are many more things that could be discussed here, but I feel the post is long enough. I haven't really touched on the final lines of the song or the bridge. The last lines I missed as I don't now if the writer is speaking to God telling Him that He has no right to take His soul or not.

Comments welcome as always!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Jesus in the OT

Here is a great little article about the Glory Cloud in the OT.
It shows how the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, who would come to earth in human form as Jesus was living and active in the OT.
There is much more that I have not read and much more I would have to think upon to see Jesus more and more in the OT but I liked this little article as it was quite simple, clear and to the point.

I hope you enjoy it.