The first week of my daily vlog for 2016.
Watch, Share, Subscribe, Comment. Let me know what you think...
In 2016 I'm going to be video blogging my way each day through the Bible, phrase by phrase. We will travel from Genesis to Revelation - from "In the beginning" to "Hallelujah", stopping off at each famous line along the way. Lines like "The writing's on the wall", "He gave up the ghost", and "They turned the world upside down."
Hopefully it will give you an overview of the Bible's big story but most of all I trust it will give you an enlarged picture of Jesus Christ: the origin, centre and goal of all Scripture.
In advance of these 366 posts, I've been doing some pilot episodes as a Christmas devotional. They're just shot on my phone at home and are a bit longer than the 6-7 minute episodes scheduled for the new year. But have a look...
In the new year we'll shoot them on proper cameras and the episodes will be shorter but you get the idea. If you want to join in on Reading Between The Lines, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and/or like our Facebook page. That will keep you up to date with each new devotional.
With prayers that this will bless, encourage and equip many,
“Every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Ebenezer Scrooge.
I like the darkness... at least it’s cheap,
I keep adjusted to the gloom, the creeping doom,
that soon consumes the earth in tombs,
I hum its tune. Assume its tone and make my home right here
in the only world we know.
This world of woe.
Let others throw their festive flings,
I think I’ll keep my five gold rings.
Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves,
She loves the doves.
Yeah shove it on the card above.
...No never fear my dear, I’ll pay it all...
For now we’ll drink to Christmas cheer!
And deck the halls with tinselled bling,
Forget what our tomorrows bring
We’ll raise a glass of festive sherry,
Eat and drink and be quite m...
Merry Christmas everyone! And what's your wish for me, my son?
A hamper full of festive fun!
With snowdrops, rainbows, furry mittens;
unicorns and mewling kittens.
Santa's sleigh may bring them near, but were you good for me this year?
Why YES, I think. I didn’t sink as low as some I know...
Father Christmas, mind your own business!
The kids might believe but they are naive.
I know for certain, I see through the curtain.
But when you strip it all bare, what exactly is there?
See Scrooge looks darkness full in the face,
embracing the chill but he loses the will to hope
The Shopper copes better, throws off fetters,
wears garish sweaters, but becomes a debtor,
spending now but nothing later,
tending down into death’s crater.
Santa offers Christmas cheer,
the most wonderful time of the year,
but is it real?
At least Scrooge knew the deal with the dark.
In this stark world can we face facts like Scrooge?
Then paint it rouge like the Shopper?
Proper banter like Santa,
But below the Ho, Ho, Ho, can we know a truth beneath treacle?
Good news of great Joy for all people?
Are we able to strip back to the stable,
This fable made flesh, our Maker enmeshed in the mess.
To bless us, possess us, and be heaven’s Yes to our race.
To embrace us in grace, evermore in our place.
Pledging flesh, blood and bone. To exchange a throne for a manger.
Endangering all to be present to you. To be God’s present to you.
If you’re Santa or Shopper, or any such thing.
If you’re shepherd, or Mary or Joseph or king.
For this the herald angels sing.
In Him the Light shines and all is forgiven.
To you this Christmas Child is given.
Can despair be praise? It can when it's prayed.
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Plus, here's some stuff you're welcome to rip off if you like...
Here's an idea for an all-age sermon / school assembly. It's a game of pass the parcel where the parcel is a poisoned cup. There's a song to go with it:
Also for Maundy Sunday, I love this setting of When You Prayed Beneath the Trees.
Forget the singer, Christopher Idle's song's in my top 5 all time hymns.
Seed Song (Jesus is the Seed who dies and rises to bring life)
Easter Morn (the song that became 'Firstfruits' - no round)
Little Fish! (Jesus is bigger than death)
Dev Menon: Death Part 1 (Good Friday)
Dev Menon: Death Part 2 (Easter Sunday)
John Behr: Death the Final Frontier
John Behr: Taking Back Death
Some Easter .
Feel free to DOWNLOAD the video and use it in church / youth group / wherever.
And here's me explaining the teaching behind the video
Our other spoken word videos:
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It's the fairy tale we all believe in - connection, completion, love without parting. The merest glimpse of it captures our hearts. But is the fairy tale real? Is there such a thing as endless bliss, unconquered love and a happily ever after?
Countless failed relationships and a beckoning grave cry out No. Love does not seem to have the last word in our lives - decay, disease, divorce, depression and death does. Can we really believe in love?
The answer is Yes, but only because there is a love despite our deserving, a love stronger than death, a love beyond this world. Jesus makes the fairy tale true - not just for bright-eyed young couples on their wedding day. Because of his blood-earnest, death-defying love, Jesus can bring us all into the ultimate romance. Whatever your relationship history or status, this bliss is for you!
Me: beside myself with you.
Beyond myself in you,
Become myself anew,
Belongs, this self, to you.
Me: behold the world in you.
Besotted with the view,
Bewitched by all you do,
Beguiled by guileless you.
This bedtime tale
Though countless fail
Though pride derail
Though death curtail
We believe this.
Beseiged by hatred’s hiss
Beset by graves' abyss
Betrayed despite our kiss
We believe this.
But is this bliss true?
Or only for the few
And then sinks from view
Is it true?
Beneath the tale,
Before we fail,
Beside what’s frail,
Beyond death’s vale?
Is it true?
Not only for the few
And then sinks from view
Is it true?
Me: deep held in my disgrace.
He bends now face to face,
Becomes me in His grace,
Befriends me, takes my place.
Me: bestowed the world for free.
Bequeathed by royal decree,
Become as one: He with me.
This, beneath all other glories
This, beyond the bedtime stories
This, beside your marital station
This, love’s sweetest consummation.
This is true.
Never to sink from view.
Not only for the few.
This bliss is for you.
They look fresh, bright and lively, surrounded by family, fun and festivities - Christmas trees are a great picture of our human condition. We too may dress ourselves up in achievements and surround ourselves with great experiences, but we're perishing - cut off from our true Life-source in God. Thankfully, Christmas gives us the answer. Real life has been born into our world. In connection with Jesus we "may not perish but have eternal life."
Please share the video and offer true hope this Christmas.
See our previous Christmas videos here.
A new paper for Union Theology: Intimacy With God.
Some 2 minute answers to questions about evangelism
A longer seminar about Gospel-Shaped Gospelling
Two evangelistic talks for St Nick's Sevenoaks
My talk on John 1:1-18 for students in the South East starts around the 10 minute mark...