Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Prayers for the Grieving 1: Close to the Brokenhearted

In light of my father-in-law's recent passing, I hope to write a series of prayers to help my friends and family as we mourn. Here's the first one:
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
(Psa 34:17-18 NIV BIBLE)
Lord, I cry out to you, knowing that you hear my cry.
I cry out to you for deliverance from the trouble in my soul.
I know I will sink deep down into the depths of depression, if you don't deliver me, please deliver me.
Lord, I'm clinging to this promise that you are close to the broken hearted. Be close to me. Let me feel your closeness - and when I can't feel it, help me to trust that you are close.
My spirit feels crushed, please save me. Thank you Father for your promise that you will save me.

Prayers for the Grieving 2: Lonely and Afflicted
Prayers for the Grieving 3: God does not willingly bring grief
Prayers for the Grieving 4: God's Holy Decision
Prayers for the Grieving 5: Send a Titus to Comfort Me
Prayers for the Grieving 6: Bring Me Up

Monday, May 30, 2016

Jesus Wept: Grieving Loss (John 11:32-35)

In light of my father-in-law's recent passing, it seems fitting to revisit the topic of mourning again. Here's a sermon I did a few weeks ago on grieving loss.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

New Videos from the Urban Ministry Program

We've just made a new playlist of videos that show what happens on the Urban Ministry Program
These include videos from our Mission module, as well as our Exegesis module.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Worshipping God with Motown

I grew up listening to Motown music with my mum, dancing together in the living room. As I got older, I was struck by that saying, 'why should the devil have all the good music?'

I wrote this motown style worship song in 2010, expressing how good God has been to me, even though I often turn away from him.

Monday, May 02, 2016

My Heart is a Bigger Problem than my Disability

Last year when May came with it's abundance of bank holiday Mondays, I was stuck indoors unable to walk. For my American readers, a bank holiday is a national holiday. My wife was heavily pregnant and unable to push me in my wheelchair. As a family, we were stuck indoors, wanting desperately to go outside in the sunshine, giving the kids fresh air to run around in - but instead we felt prisoners in our own home, prisoners of disability.

Today, is a year later, and its the first bank holiday of May. For the last couple of weeks my health has been getting better, and I've been able to move around somewhat without a wheelchair. So, for days, I've been looking forward to this bank holiday. I'm been imaging walking with my wife and 4 children around Isabella Plantations. I knew I wouldn't be able to walk far, but just to be outside in the fresh air, and not going stir crazy inside, is a taste of heaven.

Today however, I dislocated my knee, and I'm unable to walk. Its common for those of us with Hypermobility Joint Syndrome to dislocate joints, but it was proper frustrating for this to happen on the bank holiday. My plans were ruined, and I felt myself getting more and more grumpy. So I turned to God in prayer. I prayed through the Bible verse 2 Cor 12:9, asking God to show his power in my weakness.
'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.' (2Co 12:9 NIV)
I didn't know what it would look like, but I trusted that God would. I also trusted that his grace was sufficient for me in this instance. I then prayed through some other scriptures, and then came to realise that the biggest problem today was not my disability but my heart. My disability does often mean I don't get much fresh air, and that as a family we don't get to go out much. But the thing that's much worse than that is my grumpy heart. If I allow frustrations to turn to bitterness, and anger, that is far worse for me and my family than my disability. My heart is a bigger problem than my disability.

Perhaps one of the lies that indwelling sin tells me is that my disability is the biggest set back to me being a dad. If I believe this lie, my heart will be hardened by sin's deceitfulness (Heb 3:13), and I will become more and more grumpy, and less loving to my wife and children. If, instead, I recognise that my heart is my biggest problem, and that I am my own worst enemy, then I can repent of my grumpiness, and ask God for the grace to be a blessing to my family even when we're stuck indoors on a bank holiday.

Perhaps this insight is one way God has started answering my prayers today?