inexpressible and filled with glory


Following Jesus is Not Safe
16 February 2010, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Persecution, Sermon Audio | Tags: , , , ,

Last Friday, I spoke at a combined youth event at Casula in south-west Sydney. The event was called Elevate and it was awesome. There were a number of youth groups there, over 100 youth and I had the privilege of speaking to them from God’s Word. I spoke from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 – ‘following Jesus is not safe’. I used the testimonies of persecuted Christians from Vietnam and Colombia to illustrate the points below. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the event and I received good feedback. I’d love you to have a listen for yourself:

Following Jesus is Not Safe

SUFFERING SHOULD NOT TAKE US BY SURPRISE

DEATH IS NOT THE END, SO DO NOT LOSE HEART

DEATH IS NOT THE END, SO RISK EVERYTHING

Thank you to everyone who was praying for this event and for me. I trust that God is answering your prayers in the lives of the youth who were there on the night.

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Elevate: Please Pray
11 February 2010, 2:52 pm
Filed under: General | Tags: , , ,

I’m speaking at Elevate tomorrow night at 1930. Elevate is a youth event that started in 2008 in Liverpool and grew steadily through 2009. It’s about youth groups getting together as the body of Christ to hear God’s Word taught and to declare the praises of King Jesus. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to speak to hundreds of youth from God’s Word and to challenge them to risk everything for the gospel.

In preparation, I’ve been spending time in 2 Corinthians. It’s one of my favourite books. I particularly love what Paul says about the place of weakness and suffering in the Christian life. I’m speaking from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 with a particular focus on suffering and the resurrection. Here is my outline:

SUFFERING SHOULDN’T SURPRISE US

DEATH ISN’T THE END, SO DO NOT LOSE HEART

DEATH ISN’T THE END, SO RISK EVERYTHING

I’ll post the audio up here after the event. But for the time being, I value your prayers and support.



Cracked, Crazed, Unimpressive
1 February 2010, 11:53 am
Filed under: General | Tags: , ,

My good friend and co-worker for the gospel Sam Atwood recently posted reflecting on the year to come. We’ve both been reading through 2 Corinthians and his thoughts on what he’s been reading and his approach to 2010 are worth checking out:

Things are winding up for the year. My uni internship is falling into place, ministries are gearing up, the rhythm of life is returning after its January break. And despite dropping some responsibilities this year, I still find myself thinking “What have I got myself into?!”

How am I going to accomplish what is before me?

In the midst of being reminded of my sheer inadequacy and weakness, I am reminded of God’s strength…It is not me, but Christ who works in me. I am a jar of clay – cracked, crazed, unimpressive. I pray that will show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to me.

Am I still worried about some things? Yes.

Do I have doubts? Yes.

But I hope that God will continue to humble me as well as do his work through me.

Read the whole thing here.



Humility at the Golden Globes
19 January 2010, 8:54 am
Filed under: General | Tags: , , ,

I was listening to the radio yesterday and I heard this quote from Meryl Streep accepting the award for Best Actress at the Golden Globes:

I just want to say that in my long career, I’ve played so many extraordinary woman that I’m getting mistaken for one … I’m very clear that I’m the vessel for other people’s stories and other people’s lives.

I was so surprised to hear her genuine humility. I guess humility isn’t a characteristic that you often come across in celebrity culture (not that I really keep up with it).

But her reference to living out other people’s stories and other people’s lives also really stuck in my head. I’ve been reading through 2 Corinthians lately and this idea of being a vessel for a great story or someone’s life seemed to make a connection with what I’ve been reading.

As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of living out the greatest story ever told, and the greatest life ever lived. Check this:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10.

I find this such a challenge, to take up our cross, to come and die with Christ so that his life might be revealed in us and the light of the glory of God might shine into a dark world. We live out a great hope, don’t we? – that this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. And so we do not lose heart, but instead endure with joy and humility as we await the dénouement of the greatest story ever told.