Oct 19, 2015
neil

The rise and rise of Birmingham

Here’s a great new video highlighting why Birmingham is on the rise. And in case you think it’s all just hype check out this study by PwC that ranks Birmingham as the most investable city in the UK and the 6th in Europe.

why birmingham

 

Aug 4, 2015
neil

Don’t we have the right to decide when we want to die?

Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship has written by far the best response to the issues surrounding assisted suicide as raised by the case of Gill Pharoah.

Dr Saunders highlights what is at stake when someone like Mrs Pharoah who is not terminally ill, nor in significant pain decides to end their life. He comments ‘this is not really about pain, or terminal illness or disability or even old age because these are not the real things motivating those who make one way trips over the English Channel. It’s really about meaning, purpose and hope.’

assisted suicide

Jul 22, 2015
neil

The top 10 facts you need to know about our changing city centres

Having just read through Urban demographics: Where people live and work in England and Wales a report published today by Centre for Cities here are my top 10 facts I think we need to know about the changing face of city centres in England and Wales.

1. One in three people living in our city centres are aged 20-29.

2. In the UK’s larger cities (550,000+ but excluding London) nearly 50 percent of the city centre population are aged 20-29.

3. Just under 50 percent of people in city centres are single and only 22 percent in some form of live-in relationship.

4. Over 70 percent live in flats or apartments

5. Students account for 44 percent of that population (London 16 percent).

6. One third of working age living in our centres have a degree and over half have A-levels.

7. Over 50% of those who work and live in the city are professionals.

8. The population of our cities grew by 37 percent between 2001 and 2011. The suburbs only grew by 8 percent over the same time.

9. The larger cities (550,000+ but excluding London) doubled in population size between the 10 years 2001 to 2011.

10. Student populations increased by 188% in the UK’s larger city centres between 2001 and 2011

Jul 21, 2015
neil

Zach Johnson may be the Open Champion but for him Jesus is all that matters

Last night American golfer Zach Johnson won the Open at St. Andrews.  I then discovered that he is a Christian with a living faith in the Lord Jesus.

Here’s something of his testimony given in 2012.

In Early in the winter of 2002, I gave my life to the Lord.

Since then, my priorities have certainly changed. It’s not Zach’s agenda anymore. I refer to the years after high school and before making my decision as my “blind years.” Now, I can see.

Before I was one, I always thought being a Christian would be boring. In reality, it has been the complete opposite. There is joy, fulfillment and even fun! There also are challenges and trials, but knowing that my foundation lies in Jesus and what He has done for me is what is important. It’s all that matters.

And here’s an article in today’s Daily Star (a newspaper that has never featured in this blog before now!)

Zach

Jul 1, 2015
neil

Looking for advice on how to answer same-sex marriage issues?

Here are two excellent articles on how the church should respond to the challenge of same-sex marriage and the marginalisation of Christian beliefs.

This first piece by Canadian Carey Nieuwhof serves as a reminder that it’s not actually a new idea that Christians are called to be counter to the culture!

Carey Nieu

 

 

And here is a thoughtful and compassionate response from British pastor Sam Allberry

5 biblical responses

Jun 25, 2015
neil

9 free Don Carson e-books

Carson e-books

Jun 5, 2015
neil

God and the gay Christian – Tim Keller responds

For all those thinking through issues of what the Bible says when it comes to the subject of homosexuality here is a response by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York to two new books that are both supportive of same-sex relationships within the church.

Redeemer

Jun 2, 2015
neil

Want to plant a church? Here’s a chance to train with others & learn from those who have

Are you looking to plant a church? Would you like to learn alongside others from a team of church-planting pastors just what might be involved? Why not join us on Plant! a new course launched by London Theological Seminary beginning this September.

May 15, 2015
neil

The new 2020birmingham website goes live

May 8, 2015
neil

Five things to bear in mind (especially if you think the nation got it wrong)

It’s easy to complain when an election doesn’t go our way. How can we as Christians find reasons to be content whoever wins. Here are 5 answers;

1.  Any government is better than no government!

In giving us government that has enables us to live lives relatively free from the threat of violence, oppression, injustice and poverty God has given us better than our sins deserve.

2.  In Britain all the main political parties, whilst imperfect, seek to govern according to high standards.

In giving us government that is accountable to the nation and that seeks to government well we do better than many who live in countries where government is corrupt and the people live in fear.

We should give thanks then whoever gets in!

3. Take confidence that God is sovereign over government and the nations.

‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.’ Romans 13:1. This is the government that in his wisdom he has given to us.

All government – good or bad – cannot thwart his perfect plan but only aid him in all he seeks to do c.f. Psalm 22:28, 75:6-7, John 19:10-11, the whole of the book of Daniel!

4.  Do not expect too much.

Our country is not a Christian country and our leaders will govern without reference to God.  We should pray that God would work through them but we should not expect too much.

5.  Remember the gospel

a) All authority belongs to Jesus- Matt. 28:16-20

b)  His kingdom alone will be one of perfect peace, justice and righteousness and will endure for ever! Rev.5:13

c) We need new hearts far more than a new government.  Ezek.36:2-27

d)  We too were ignorant, foolish, hostile to God and his ways until he had mercy on us.  Eph. 2:1-10, Titus 3:3

(With help from Oak Hill Lecturers of old!)

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