Thursday, 29 April 2010

Spending time with God

Spending personal time with God is so important for Christian believers. Like money, time is a currency and how we spend it says alot about our priorities. And yet for so many of us the discipline of personal time with God remains such a challenge. We may say that God is at the centre of our lives and yet in reality he frequently is squeezed to the margins.

I've been reflecting on this since meeting with a bunch of good friends the other evening. We meet about once per month to discuss the Christian life and learn from each other. I'm the odd one out being well into my 50s with most of the other guys being late 20s! It's great to challenge each other and talk through personal struggles as a believer. One of them re-iterated just how hard he found it to settle down to a regular time with God. We suggested that like much else in life it could be helped by planning. So if it was intended to spend some time with God in the morning why not plan what part of the Bible to read the night before-indeed why not go to bed early enough the night before to make it happen! Someone quoted Rico Tice as saying that if someone saw him still up and about at 11pm that he had clearly planned not to spend time with God the next morning!

Thankfully the Christian gospel is based on grace and not performance, so we needn't beat ourselves up. But, as John Newton says in one of his 'letters to a nobleman', 'from the time we know the Lord, and are bound to Him by cords of love and gratitude, the two chief points we should have in view are, to maintain communion with him in our own souls, and to glorify him in the sight of men.'

The best short article I've read on this is by Tim Keller when he speak about prayer life that nourishes the soul. It's well worth a read.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

'But the gospels were written so long after Jesus's death'


friend also believed that the gospels were written sometime in the 2nd century-maybe 100 years after Christ.

But no, the evidence supports a very early composing of all the gospels, probably within 30-40 years. Take a look at this helpful article for some detail. Watching a programme about the London blitz on TV last night was very moving. There were eye witness accounts of that fateful time in London's history and folk were speaking of events 70 years ago!!! There was no reason to doubt the veracity of what they were saying. In an oral tradition such as 1st century Palestine why should we doubt the eye witnesses?

Take a look at this 3 minute video of Richard Baukham New Testament scholar from Cambridge University (previously St Andrews) speaking about the value of the eye witnesses in the New Testament

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

"I wish I had your faith"


had lunch with a friend last week who would like to have a faith but finds there are just too many obstacles. "You can't trust the Bible....how can there be one try religion (and any oine version of it)...what about evolution...and the resurrection?" And....it was a long lunch.

I'm not sure that I was very convincing but a couple of things that came our of our conversation struck my friend. If the resurrection accounts are fiction and if the new testament is just propaganda then why would they record that the first person to see the risen Christ was a woman? That may not strike modern reader as especially noteworthy, but in 1st century culture a woman's testimony just wasn't valid, she couldn't appear as a witness in a trial nor even give evidence for herself. It always had to be men. And yet here is (at least it's not been repeated!) the greatest 'incident' in the history of the world and who confirms it, but a woman?

My friend also doubted the truthfulness of the New Testament, 'since it was written hundreds of years after Christ'. I think this myth has grown as a result of some of Dan Browns stuff in the Da Vinci code. In fact the gospel accounts were written within decades of Jesus' death. Anyway more of that tomorrow.

Friday, 16 April 2010

"You're not as miserable as you were"


beginning to realise that patients really are a rich source of lyrics for a new country and western song. Today's gem came from a wife accompanying her husband to the consultation. I had prescribed a Prozac type anti-depressant drug some 4 weeks previously and this was the follow up. She spoke first and pronounced the improvement in terms of reduced miserableness.

As many doctors know there is always some significance in the patient who is accompanied by a spouse (or the 40 year old man accompanied by his mother). Whether it be, 'just making sure he tells you everything' , or an attempt to gang up on the doctor to get something done, there is extra care needed in conducting such consultations. In the current case I think it was a case of genuine concern and a wish for speedy recovery of a husband who had become increasingly morose and lacking in energy.

It did remind me of how the patient treated with the anti-depressant often fails to notice progress until after close friends and family have seen a positive change. So the accompanied patient need not necessarily be too daunting-it might be of some real help.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

'I've been so spotty since you've been gone'


I quite like country music, especially of the blue grass variety. Some of the words and titles of songs are quietly amusing.

This afternoon I was greeted by a cheerful patient with the words, "I've been so spotty since you've been gone". I really thought she was going to burst into song, but she really meant it. I had been on holiday for 10 days and her eczema had flared up and she'd been 'so spotty'.

She laughed when I suggested that that would make a great title for a country and western song and happily agreed to me blogging about it!

But just to say that skin problems really can be awful. What is often not realised by those who do not have a skin problem is just how much aggro and loss of self esteem can be associated with a bad psoriasis and or eczema or acne. Interestingly one of the formal measures of impact of disease on the patient, scores skin disease as higher than angina and diabetes.

Doctors, nurses and others involved in healthcare should not underestimate dermatological disease.

Here endeth the lesson.



Monday, 5 April 2010

More resurrection

For a great talk on resurrection listen/download to this talk given yesterday at my church by Ray Evans our senior pastor-it's good stuff.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter morning

'The power of his resurrection' Phillipians 3.11

George Campbell Morgan was a noted preacher in London till he died in 1945. He tells of a time when travelling in Italy,
'I saw the grave of a man who had died centuries before who was an unbeliever and vehemently against Christianity, but a little afraid of it too. So the man had a huge stone slab put over the grave so he would not have to be raised from the dead in case there is a resurrection form the dead. He had insignias put all over the slab saying, 'I do not want to be raised form the dead. I don't believe in it.'
Evidently when he was buried an acorn must have fallen into the grave. So a hundred years later the acorn had grown up through the grave and split that slab. It was now a tall towering oak tree. I looked at it and wondered, if an acorn, which has biological life in it, can split a slab of that magnitude, what can the acorn of God's resurrection power do in a person's life?'

The resurrection of Christ is not just an historical event (challenged I know by many but ably backed by the evidence) but brings with it a power to change our time and our eternity. Take a listen here (be patient, he starts speaking after a couple of minutes!!) to a mind stretching talk on the resurrection by Tom Wright the current Bishop of Durham.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

Whatever else people may say in rejecting Christianity I would ask that the the events of that first Good Friday be pondered. One of the great contemporary Christian hymns helps us...take a listen..

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

FINAL CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

"The Power of the Cross"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music


The Long Walk

It's always a bit chancy to give someone a book. A little like recommending a restaurant. Will others like it? Will the service be as go...