Month: July 2007

More than meets the eye

I saw Transformers this evening with my brother at the Slough Empire. It’s been quite a few years since the toys first appeared, only slightly shorter since the cartoons last aired on the telly and the animated movie graced the silver screen. I must admit, it’s been so long, I wasn’t really sure what to expect!

I guessed because I wasn’t expecting anything, I found the film very enjoyable. The story was basic, it’s good vs. evil, with a good deal of reality blunders all over – ok, sentient transforming robots doesn’t give you a good starting point for reality, that and geeks getting the leading ladies. The jokes were usually simple, sometimes slapstick, sometimes adolescent verging on puerile (Did I say verging – some of it was cringe-worthy!) The characters are pretty basic, with very development. The dialogue was cheesy!

To an extent, that didn’t matter though, as the action was almost none stop and the effects were nothing short of amazing. This was cinema doing its magic.

If you’re not expecting a great film but are a fan of Transformers and effects rollercoasters, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for anything else, you might want to avoid!


Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Q: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A: In the fifth petition (which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors) we pray, That God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

(Question CV of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)


A slighty better game

We played Hayes Town Chapel at 6-a-side football again. The final score was a little under debate; Was it 6-0 or 7-0? Although academic as we lost again! Saying that, the game felt a lot better with possession of the ball appearing to be even. We just couldn’t finish! Ah well, could be worse! 🙂


a.m.: Psalm 134 p.m.: John 5

A song of ascents. Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from ZionPsalm 134

Just like the People of God in the Old testament, as we approach God we are to encourage one another. Not only our fellow worshippers, but those in full-time ministry. We may not think they need encouragement, but they are human just as we are.
As we worship God, we must remember that we are to put him first. The worship of God is not to be concerned with our feelings, or what we get out of it. It can be so easy to form a consumerist view of worship, going where we can get the best deal, instead of worshipping God.

Our praise should be constant, not just on a Sunday, but in our every day lives. For our God should have an influence in everything we do, from our work to our rest.

We are to worship him in holiness.

We are to know whom we worship – the Maker of heaven and earth, the holy one. It is amazing to think we are coming before the creator of the universe, it is even more amazing that we have direct access, through his Son, even though we are rebellious sinners by nature. For through his Son, we are made holy, we are made acceptable in the sight of God.

Finally, we receive blessing from God through the people of God. We are to worship him together, that we might receive his blessing. Whilst there is a place for private worship, it mustn’t be to the exclusion of corporate worship.


A distinctly French evening

After a hearty breakfast, and a run around the football pitch, a group of us headed to the BBC Proms, at the Royal Albert Hall, for an evening of Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Fauré.

The line-up was PrĂ©lude Ă  l’après-midi d’un faune, by Debussy, followed by Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor, by Saint-SaĂ«ns, and then the Cantique de Jean Racine and Requiem by FaurĂ©.

The only piece I thought I wasn’t familiar with was the Cello Concerto, but when it started up and got going, I realised I knew it. The only niggle I had was that some of the soloists were a little hard to hear, although the Pie Jesu could be heard clearly throughout the auditorium.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening, even with the inclusion of a Roman Catholic Mass for the dead in Latin!


Yodh

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
May my heart be blameless towards your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.Psalm 119:73-80


a.m.: Mark 10:31-45 p.m.: Romans 8

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mk 10:45

Jesus’ mission on earth was primarily a vicarious mission. He had come not to be served as he deserved, but to serve others and to die for them who did not deserve what he paid. For this would not be a trivial payment, but would be his death on a Roman cross. The creator of the universe would die so that the created might live. The created who had sinned against their creator.

No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. Jn 10:18

More amazingly, it was not the nails on the cross which held him, for Jesus had the power to save himself. He voluntary remained on the cross, for he loved the Father, and in so doing, loved his people so much that he would give up his life.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Ro 8:37

In most conventional human thinking, such an event would be seen as a defeat. The disciples must’ve felt defeated when they saw their Lord crucified. Yet, when Jesus cried it is finished, he wasn’t talking about himself. He had defeated death, he had paid the price of sin through his death. He took on the sins of his people, and imputed his righteousness to them. He was victorious, and would rise again on the third day.

As his disciples today we are to follow his example, not to gain salvation for he has accomplished that on the cross, but out of gratitude and a desire to do the will of the Father. Our spirits are renewed and are slowly being conformed to the image of our saviour. We are to put God first and ourselves last. For in glorifying God we will be achieving what we were designed to do, and we will be restored to the joyful state which was intended for us.


Going like clockwork

My life appears to have become a routine. Not that I’m complaining. Football on Monday and Saturday was fun and enjoyable, if slightly tiring! My violin lesson on Tuesday introduced a few new pieces and scales, as well as another opportunity to play some duets. Thursday was a bible study from Psalm 119 and Friday was spent sharing the gospel with young people from around the area in both word and deed. This evening was spent at Feltham Evangelical church to listen to a talk on Biblical parenting and then down to Windsor for a walk down the Long Walk. The only problem with this routine is that it’s not very interesting to read! I apologise profusely, but I found it to be a hugely rewarding week! I think the only unusual day was Wednesday as I picked up a bicycle, given to me by Ally as she’s bought herself a new bike, with the intention of using it to cycle to work. We’ll see how we go in that respect!


a.m.: Luke 11:1-13 p.m.: Romans 8:10-29

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, we are justified before God, and his Spirit works in us to sanctify us. That is not all though, for not only do we receive these benefits, but we are also adopted into the family of God. We are no longer objects of wrath, but we become his dearly loved children.

As Jesus points out to his disciples, and as Paul says in his letter to the Romans, we can call God our Father. Now for some of us, our image of a father may not be a great one, be it that of an absent father, or an overly austere father, or an abusive father, yet God is the perfect father. For just as we are all made in the image of God, yet corrupted by sin, so fathers (and mothers) are an image of God’s fatherhood, but corrupted by sin. So while human fathers and mothers are not perfect, God is the perfect father.

We gain access to the God of the universe through the Son, that we may bring our prayers and petitions to him, not as a remote king, but as our father. The Son and the Spirit intercede and work within us, that we may approach our father at any time.

As children of God,  he knows our needs and he abundantly gives us everything we need. For we are his sons and daughters. Not only that, but he makes us heirs with Christ, that we will inherit the glory which is Christ’s.

Even though he knows our needs, we are to pray to him, for he delights to hear his children. When we pray, we should always anticipate an answer, even if the answer is not what we want. For when we ask according to his will he will grant us our prayer, but if we ask contrary to his will, he will deny us our prayer, but we will still receive an answer. For there will be something better for us in his will.

If we are not yet Christians, God calls us to trust in his Son like a child. To repent and believe in his Son, that we might also become his children, and he will receive with open arms. For though the prodigal son spent his money lavishly but foolishly, God’s grace is wisely lavished upon those who come in the name of his Son.


Fish, fish and fish

After another sunny afternoon playing football, I met up with some of the former members of the Harlington Singers at Brown’s in Windsor for a meal. The food was great, and I started off with mussels for starters and then a seafood platter for a main course. A distinctly fishy meal, but delicious none the less. It was good to catch up with various members, to see how people are getting on, how circumstances change and a slightly broader age range than I’m accustomed to on a Saturday evening, resulting in some slightly broader conversations! A good evening.


And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air

There was a distinctly American flavour to this evening’s concert at The Royal School of Military Music, Kneller Hall. With a number of jazz and swing pieces, and a few pieces of comprising American folk and popular music, all thrown in the mix with the usual classical and marching numbers. Despite the rather damp week, the rain held off for the evening, and we were entertained by some of the military’s finest musicians. As always, the evening ended with a bang, with fireworks and a fine evening was had by all.


A Fancy Feasting second-rate sidekick…

Saw Shrek the Third this evening. After the very original first and even better second films in the Shrek series, I had high expectations for the third. As far as films go, it was entertaining, with funny moments liberally scattered throughout. There were plenty of in-jokes, be it hat tips to other films, or references to other characters the actors have played.

Alas, compared to one and two, number three was disappointing. One and two were original and had something to say. Number three was more run of the mill, with a story as generic as they come. This isn’t to say that as a film on its own it isn’t a good film. Just as part of the Shrek trilogy, it was disappointing. I hope they don’t continue this trend and make a fourth!


Tropical…

My work colleagues and I were playing our usual game of five-a-side football this evening, and the skies appeared to be clearing. The whole day was showers on and off and I wondered how the evening would be. About 20 minutes into the game, the skies darkened and then the heavens opened. It was as though someone had taken a paddling pool and emptied it on us. Within seconds we were all drenched, but it wasn’t so bad. The weather was still quite warm and so we played until our time was up. The shower was so short that by the time we finished, my shirt had dried!


a.m. Jeremiah 3 p.m.: Romans 8:10-16

In Jeremiah, God calls his people to repent. They had strayed from him and served other gods. They are is likened to a wife who had been unfaithful to her husband, using rather graphic language. For sin in any guise is abhorrent to God, but worshipping other gods was against the first commandment. Yet God is merciful and gracious and is willing to accept his people, if only they repent.

Israel refused to repent of its sin and was subsequently punished by God. Whilst Israel had served other gods, Judah had watched Israel, but learnt nothing, for Judah also served other gods. Similarly, we may watch other people sin, we may even disapprove, but we need to watch ourselves lest we fall into the same sin.

God isn’t after histrionics, for he sees the heart. Repentance is not about looking sorry, but a change of direction to follow God and not ourselves. Repentance is an attitude which doesn’t happen just once, but for the whole time we sin against God. Even as Christians, our attitude should be of continual repentance, asking for forgiveness of our God.

For ultimately, all our sin is against God. Whether it involved our fellow man or not. For if we loved God as we should, we’d love our neighbour as we should.

Yet, salvation is of the Lord. We are not so sinful as to be beyond salvation, if we repent and call upon God. For even though our sin is great, our Saviour is greater. For God is our Saviour. The creator and sustainer of the universe became our sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we can deal with our sin ourselves, but let us cling to the only one who can deal with it.