Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth?

"Stunning", "flawless", "using imagery and technology of the highest level", "spectacular", "elegant"... so the initial responses to the Beijing Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies have been filtering through. Good for them. Just one thing bothers me...

... if the budget for our very own 2012 Olympics is a third of the Chinese one, what are our ceremonies going to be like? Here's a rundown of the current plans, leaked from Sebastian Coe's bedside cabinet drawer:

1) The Krankies and the Chuckle Brothers performing a medley of hits from Oliver!, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
2) Instead of Zhang Yimou coordinating the event, we'll have the likes of Michael Winner; OR, the other option (as yet undecided) is a Blue Peter presenter running the show as a hands-on "work experience" feature for the following week's episode.
3) Bruce Forsyth tap-dancing (you gotta love him).
4) Bobby Davro doing, erm... whatever exactly Bobby Davro does...
5) Everyone who's ever been in the Big Brother house demonstrating how to make money from absolutely nothing.
6) Orville the Duck and Spit the Dog upstaging those who have a hand up their bottom.
7) Barbara Windsor doing arm exercises in a bikini.

If you're anything like me, you'll be chomping at the bit to see such a spectacle... Read more!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Life Lessons

Since the Lakeland "Revival" (it wasn't) began, I've had my fears for how people were getting excited without looking for doctrine, and so hesitate to write this without looking smug. I believe what we saw on satellite TV and read about on the internet was a genuine outpouring of God's grace; I believe what we witnessed was God's sovereign grace and a raising of witnesses' faith which continued in further healings, etc. I hope and pray the best for Todd Bentley and his family. I'm NOT suggesting that what has occurred in Florida is of the wrong origin.

However, I have had extremely grave concerns over the doctrine of Todd and his circle. I'm not going to list the issues here and add to potentially negative internet traffic, that's not fair, but email me if you want more of my thoughts. Suffice to say, many of Todd's articles are hugely errant and unbiblical, and people lap it up. However, sadly, now that the TV coverage has come to a close, it's been reported that Todd and his wife have separated. Let's not point the finger but let's learn from this:

1) Let's pray for the Bentleys; for prompt reconciliation and healing in that family.

2) Let's continue to remember in future that we need to be ever discerning in our acceptance of ministries, etc as they occur. We can neither decry immediately anything supernatural - and risk throwing the baby out with the bath water - nor embracing every 'move' of the 'Spirit' at face value. For further, see John Piper's or Josh Harris's thoughts...

3) Let us still continue to seek signs and wonders in our church - not for the sake of them, but as a divine endorsement of our pursuit of God as we glorify Him - by stepping out in faith as we seek Him and pray for healing, etc. Don't let this or other incidents/examples be an excuse to not step out further in what the Spirit has available for us and those around us. Just be sure of our doctrine at the same time...

4) Remember your family when church work sucks up so much precious time. This is something I've been struggling with over the past few months - coming home from work and starting my 'other' job. If I can't fulfil my church role whilst at work, guess who I have to steal time from? My wife and daughter. It's hard and we need to strike a wise balance. If "the harvest is plenty and the workers are few", then we're going to have to do plenty of overtime between us, but God does NOT want us to do it at the expense of our precious families. There's the old adage of "God first, family second, church third"; I've heard report of a prominent leader in my movement explaining that it depends on the season, and sometimes church comes before family, sometimes vice versa. I'm not convinced: I can see what he's saying, but I do still feel that your family should never suffer at the expense of church. Our families are a mirror of our leadership qualities (1 Tim 3.4-5) If you're too busy, then maybe it's time to raise up yet more leaders (where possible & appropriate)? Be wise, know when to say no, talk about it openly with your family, and know when you're doing too much... Read more!