Sep 072007
 

I’m preaching the sermon at Harvest Thanksgiving in my placement church on the 23rd. The lectionary readings for that Sunday are very appropriate and I particularly liked the one from Amos:

Amos 8:4 Listen to this, you that trample on the needy and try to destroy the poor of the country.
8:5 You say to yourselves, “We can hardly wait for the holy days to be over so that we can sell our grain. When will the Sabbath end, so that we can start selling again? Then we can overcharge, use false measures, and fix the scales to cheat our customers.
8:6 We can sell worthless wheat at a high price. We’ll find someone poor who can’t pay his debts, not even the price of a pair of sandals, and we’ll buy him as a slave.”
8:7 The LORD, the God of Israel, has sworn, “I will never forget their evil deeds.

When we consider the effects of globalisation and ‘market forces’, who’s to say that things have changed much today? Our quest for cheaper goods, our throwaway lifestyle, our desire for more exotica (be it food or whatever) has a global impact. And there will always be someone ready to supply that need all the while exploiting the supplier to make their own profit.

We may make our outward show of ethical behaviour, but behind it, what’s really going on? Whether wilfully or in wilful ignorance, we can’t ignore the effect our consumerism has at a global level. All the more so if we claim the name Christian yet hold the lives of others in contempt.

Downloads

 

These pages contain various files which I’ve created or found elsewhere. They may or may not be useful to you but you’re free to download them as you choose.

Sermons are typically 2500-3000 words, which, at a typical presentation speaking rate, is around 20-25 minutes.

General

Download: Exegesis models  Exegesis models
» 115.3 KiB - July 3, 2011
A somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at methods of exegesis.

Sermons+Talks

Download: 1John1  1John1
» 310.5 KiB - March 1, 2009
Apostles' Creed - I believe in God. Reading from 1John1:1-10

Download: confusion  confusion
» 243.4 KiB - January 20, 2009
A short reflection on John 4, Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

Download: Jeremiah29+Luke17  Jeremiah29+Luke17
» 51.5 KiB - October 17, 2007
'Us and Them' themed sermon challenging a parochial view of where and in whom God is at work.

Download: Harvest thoughts  Harvest thoughts
» 56.0 KiB - September 27, 2007
Sermon delivered at KHR on Harvest Thanksgiving. Readings from Amos 8, 1Timothy 2 and Luke 16. Theme of global responsibility.

Download: Psalm14+Ephesians3  Psalm14+Ephesians3
» 47.0 KiB - August 29, 2007
Sermon based on Psalm 14 and Ephesians 3:14-21

Download: Hosea4+James3  Hosea4+James3
» 50.0 KiB - August 29, 2007
Sermon based on Hosea 4:1-3 and James 3:13-18

Resources

Download: Easter Jigsaw Labyrinth  Easter Jigsaw Labyrinth
» 28.9 MiB - March 21, 2011
An Easter-themed labyrinth resource.

Download: CH4 Hymns  CH4 Hymns
» 102.0 KiB - September 2, 2010
Spreadsheet of CH4 hymns cross-referenced to CH3, MP, SoGP and CG. Many thanks to Andrew Sarle for letting me make this available.

Study

Download: What_Do_We_Hope_For  What_Do_We_Hope_For
» 449.9 KiB - April 1, 2009
Honours dissertation exploring NT Wright's thoughts on eschatology, hope, resurrection.

MTh Research

Download: Dissertation - Converging Conversations  Dissertation - Converging Conversations
» 480.7 KiB - August 20, 2010
MTh dissertation. The need for 'intentional' dialogue if the Church of Scotland is to engage effectively with new forms of church.

Download: Essay - Tentative Steps towards an Emerging Kirk  Essay - Tentative Steps towards an Emerging Kirk
» 204.1 KiB - August 20, 2010
MTh Research Essay 2 An analysis of the Church of Scotland's engagement with Emerging Church through a 2009 report from Ministries Council and Mission and Discipleship Council.

Download: Essay - Looking Beyond the Labels  Essay - Looking Beyond the Labels
» 206.2 KiB - August 20, 2010
MTh Research Essay 1 An investigation of some of the underlying issues behind some of the 'post-' labels commonly associated with Emerging Church.

Download: Essay - Unity In Diversity  Essay - Unity In Diversity
» 270.5 KiB - August 20, 2010
Mth Research Essay - Barth Course Using the creedal church mark of 'One', this essay critiques Emerging Church from a Barthian perspective.

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Aug 282007
 

Not the film, but a random title that popped into my head when I was reading my Bible study notes.

Anyway, I found today’s reading very challenging and not a little scary. The series is on redemption and today’s passage is Galatians 5:1-12 with an emphasis on freedom from the Law. I had one of those ‘woah!’ moments as I was reading it when one of those ‘big picture’ pieces fell into place (and left me wishing it hadn’t because it means I’ll need to do some more thinking).

The particular part that has got me thinking is verse 6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Given Paul’s obvious anger in this whole passage, it’s something he’s serious about and, I guess, we should consider seriously as well. He’s basically saying that if you follow one bit of the Law, then you need to follow all of the Law and you will be judged by the Law. But Christians aren’t redeemed through the Law, rather, through Grace and faith in Jesus. That faith is demonstrated by our love for Jesus, for one another, for our world. It’s demonstrated through following the loving example of Jesus – selfless, indiscriminate, abundant, unquestioning.

So for, so easy (hah!), but the bit that I really need to spend time in prayer and reflection about is the whole idea of when do we apply ‘the Law’ and when do we respond in love? It’s that old ‘the Bible says’ chestnut. Are we applying what it says in a legalistic manner, or we applying it because it’s an example of how God wants us to behave? The obvious one is homosexuality. Condemned because the Law (the Bible) says so (arguably), yet, if we apply that Law, why not the others? Why is this one different? Is there a balance to be struck? But that’s just one small (albeit controversial) example. Does it not also spill over into the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ attitude so prevalent in churches?

More thinking required.