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My Best Reads of 2015

I have a confession to make – I really enjoy reading good theology and having my thoughts challenged.

Having spoken to a number of friends, I’ve found I am not alone. So, because of that, I wanted to shout (well, write) about some of the books that have really made me think and/or challenged me personally. I pray that they may be useful to you too… Continue reading

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The gospel in the linen

Happy Easter!

I don’t know whether you went to an Easter service today, but if you did, you may have come across a book referred to as ‘John’s gospel’. It is read in many churches over the Easter period and no doubt will be heard many times more today. The author tells us that he wrote his book “[so] that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. (John 20:20)

Now, if you were to give John a chance to tell his story to you (and I’d highly recommend you do), you would notice very quickly that John writes with a very clear aim. He only includes information that adds to his message – after all he states that there are things he left out to make it readable! (John 20:19)

Chapter 20 is the key moment in John’s book. It presents the familiar story of Jesus coming back from the dead. Something unexpected though seems to appear. John makes a big deal out some strips of the linen left in the tomb. For someone, as we’ve seen, who is trying to keep their story precise, surely that could have been omitted?

I’d like to show you that the linen is actually quite exciting. In fact, I want to show you that the gospel can be found in the linen. Intrigued? Well let’s get started…

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My Best Reads of 2014

As we approach the end of 2014, we can expect to see a lot of reminiscing. This of course will lead to the trend of ‘top 10 lists’. Some of these helpful, some interesting, and some that really did not need to really be thought about.

Quite a few people have asked me what I’ve been reading, so I thought it would be a good idea to briefly review the best 5 books I’ve read this year. Hopefully it’ll fall into the helpful camp, if not being somewhat interesting.

So without any more hanging about, I present the 5 best books I have read in 2014!

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Questions

Where is God’s presence?

Over the summer I was invited to preach at a couple of churches. This was a great privilege and I pray that my words helped people in their walk with God. One worry that struck me though just before the service was what should I wear as I stand at the front?

A number of people informed me that I should be myself, whilst others suggested I should wear a suit either because I was in a ‘holy place’ or that my taste in “novelty tshirts” was embarrassing! In the end I went with the classic jeans and shirt approach – casual but smart.

One possible choice from my wardrobe...

One possible choice from my wardrobe…

Rummaging through the clothes pile of advice, I discovered an underlying question behind some of  the comments and potentially behind my initial worry…

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A view of Facebook's logo May 10, 2012 i

‘Baa, I’m a Facebook user’

Something interesting is happening in the way people receive news. A step backwards to a time when newsboys would be standing on the street, and information would be passed by word of mouth from person to person with no ability to corroborate the story unless you were affected first hand.

Of course, back in 1900 this was acceptable we did not have the Internet with wonders such as Google, Wolfram Alpha and (ahem) Wikipedia to answer our every question. So with the recent controversy over “Kony2012” and other such ‘viral’ news pieces it did make me wonder what had happened to the common sense that people used to have.

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The worth of a degree

So for those of you who know me, and have spoken about degrees, you probably know where my opinion falls on the matter of higher education. I honestly believe that degrees have almost completely lost their worth. This is a matter that I’ve discussed with a lot of people. Those who went to, those at, those thinking of going and those who have not ever touched the university experience.

Let me give you some history. Back in 2007 I was in my final year of secondary school, applying to universities (six in my day) and hoping to get the grades. We had just had the tuition fee increase to £3000 (not a match on the £9000 today), but that was just the normal. Nobody really cared about the potential debt and everyone was going off to get the ‘university experience’.

So did my degree go wrong? Is that why I have my views?

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