May 24, 2014
neil

Birmingham the second best city in Western Europe to invest in.

US Analyst puts Birmingham only behind Barcelona when it comes to cities to invest in across Western Europe.

1. Barcelona

2. Birmingham

3. Dublin

4. Madrid

5. London

May 20, 2014
neil

What if you’re not really having the time of your life?

A very helpful article on life in your 20′s.

 

 

 

 

 

(HT: Ash Cunningham)

May 19, 2014
neil

All you need to know about how to spend your money

Want to know what to do with your money? Randy Alcorn in his book The Treasure Principle highlights 6 keys to shape our attitude to wealth and giving. 

Key 1: God owns everything. I’m His money manager. (We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted – not given – to us.)

Key 2: My heart always goes where I put God’s money. (Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.)

Key 3: Heaven, not earth, is my home. (We are citizens of ‘a better country – a heavenly one.” Hebrews 11:16)

Key 4: I should live not for the dot but for the line. (From the dot – our present life on earth – extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in heaven.)

Key 5: Giving is the only antidote to materialism. (Giving is the joyful surrender to a greater Person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.)

Key 6: God prospers me not to raise my standard of living but to raise my standard of giving. (God gives us more money than we need so we can give – generously.)

May 12, 2014
neil

Learn the true way of coming to peace

In my reading this morning I came across this section from a sermon on 1 John 1:1-4 by Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843). M’Cheyne is perhaps best known for his advice in a letter he wrote that the key to transformation in the Christian life is ‘For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ’. The extract from the sermon on 1 John 1:1-4 applies this call to consider Christ to the daily battle many of us face in fighting our fears and anxieties.

Learn the true way of coming to peace.-It is by looking to manifested Jesus. Some of you think you will come to peace by looking in to your own heart. Your eye is riveted there. You watch every change there. If you could only see a glimpse of light there, oh, what joy it would give you! If you could only see a melting of your stony heart, if you could only see your heart turning to God, if you could only see a glimpse of the image of Jesus in your heart, you would be at peace; but you cannot,-all is dark within. Oh, dear souls, it is not there you will find peace! You must avert the eye from your bosom altogether. You must look to a declared Christ. Spread out the record of God concerning His Son. The Gospels are the narrative of the heart of Jesus. Spread them out before the eye of your mind, till they fill your eye. Cry for the Spirit to breathe over the page, to make a manifested Christ stand out plainly before you; and the moment that you are willing to believe all that is there spoken concerning Jesus, that moment you will wipe away your tears, and change your sighs for a new song of praise.

For an introduction to M’Cheyne you might like to listen to John Piper’s lecture and for more on how looking to Christ helps us to live for him this blog post is really helpful.

Apr 21, 2014
neil

The unstoppable gospel – China is about to become the world’s most Christian country

China already has more Christians than members of the ruling Communist Party according to the Economist. Now its set to become the world’s most Christian nation and all in a country that severely represses the church.

Apr 18, 2014
neil

Is Richard Dawkins leading people to Jesus?

Fascinating article on the Telegraph web site on the intellectual bankruptcy of the new atheism espoused by Dawkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worth a reading this weekend is this Spectator article on the inability of atheism to provide a foundation for morality and ethics. In Douglas Murray’s piece ‘Can human life be sacred in a post-Christian world?’ his honest answer is ‘it’s disturbingly hard to say so.’

(HT: Tony Watkins)

 

Apr 13, 2014
neil

Spurgeon on overcoming your fears

Each evening before I go to sleep I read one of CH Spurgeon’s evening readings from Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (available on-line here and in audio here).

One of my favourites is April 8th, Spurgeon on fear.

‘I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me’ Psalm 23:4.

Behold how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss! Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit’s power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content. Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross—a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and His person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, “Philosophers can be happy without music;” and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn. In Thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

Apr 9, 2014
neil

Impacting our cities – a conference for everyone!

2020birmingham will be holding its annual conference on Tuesday 3rd June in Birmingham. At the heart of our commitment to mission is a belief that to reach our cities for Christ we need to see churches planted that in turn will plant churches.  We need nothing less than church-planting movements of all shapes and sizes. At our conference this year Richard Coekin of Co-Mission Network in London will share something of a vision to plant 360 congregations in London over 25 years.

But to reach the people of our cities it won’t be enough even to plant many more churches.  To impact our cities we will need churches established that can creatively engage with the gospel across culture, class, ethnicity and every sphere and interest of life. The focus of this year’s conference will be to ask what might it look like for church-planting movements to engage our communities and impact our cities for Christ

If you live in a UK city (or have a heart for our cities) and want to think through what it might look like for you to work towards a church-planting movement where you are then why not join us. If you want to consider what it might look like for your church to engage through social action, the arts, politics and more  then this could be a good place to meet with others who are also seeking to engage their communities in this way.

Here’s a short video introducing our conferences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have become all things to win all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor. 9:22-23 (NIV 2011).

Apr 3, 2014
neil

How to buy the best commentary for every book of the Bible

Looking for help in buying the best commentary? Here’s an excellent resource to guide you to the best commentaries to buy on each book of the Bible. Whether you’re looking for an introductory or more technical commentary all levels are covered and each is well introduced.

 

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Mar 28, 2014
neil

This is Birmingham

Stunning photos of our city by Tom Cornbill

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