Using the NIV Audio Bible
The new NIV audio Bible read by David Suchet is superb. Simply superb. It’s not just that he has a British voice (although I do think that hearing the Bible read in your own language is just, well, easier). He sounds like someone who believes what he is reading (which he does). Now, the NIV may not be your translation of choice. Even that does not matter, for when it comes to listening to long passages, you want a translation that is easy on the ears and comprehensible, and even if you don’t use the 2011 NIV in church (which a growing number of us do), it certainly ticks that box. It’s one of those resources which I count it a joy to commend.
But how do you use it in church? Here are three ideas over the next few days which, incidentally, will apply to any good audio Bible.
1. Use it yourself
I don’t know about you, but I am always trying to find ways to make sure God’s word comes to me freshly. I don’t mean that in a gnostic kind of way. I simply mean that as I study the word of God day in and day out there is a real danger of staleness. I’ve found that listening (rather than reading) has transformed this.
I can take in longer passages. Sure, I’m not studying detail in the way I might get my nose in the text, but who says one is better than the other anyway? I’ve found that using an audio Bible regularly has given me a new enthusiasm for reading God’s word (and not just studying it). Ultimately that benefits me and my congregation too.
Sorry: websites cannot save
Sorry if you’ve missed us! We’ve been hacked and have had to do some serious reconstruction work. But we’re back and the booking system is now up and running.
Fortunately, we don’t put our trust in princes or human beings who cannot save (Psalm 146.3).
We extend this skepticism to websites too.
I am proud to be associated with Evangelicals Now. I think reading and praying through Christian news to be an essential part of living out the gospel. If you know nothing about EN this little video will help. Where did they get that winking granny? Love it.
EMA 2014 missions project
One exciting development at last year’s EMA was our decision to promote an overseas book project. We have so many resources in the English language available in the UK that it seemed to us right and proper to remember brothers in less fortunate circumstances overseas. Working together with Crossway and tenofthose.com and thanks to the generous gifts of EMA delegates, we sent hundreds of books to Johannesburg Bible College. This year we are hoping to repeat the same thing, except this time we want to support pastors, evangelists and church planters in North India through the Word Conference, a kind of EMA that happens every autumn in Delhi. Here is the video. Please do help. And if you’re not coming to the EMA but would like to contribute, please get in touch with the office. Thank you, on behalf of your brothers serving in difficult places with limited resources.
And so it begins…
Please join us in praying for today’s EMA. We long that God would graciously use our time together to build gospel ministries and relationships. We are welcoming almost 1,000 people in ministry from 30 countries, although the majority are coming from the UK. We represent something like 620 churches, almost evenly split between Anglican and Free Church (with just a few more non conformists: come on you Episcopalians!!).
We pray that the content would be greatly used. But we also pray that this significant cross-denominational gathering would give us a deep confidence in the gospel and in good and godly gospel relationships. May Christ be at work!
Lots of funnily dressed men come to town
No, it’s not the Tour de France. True, 180 sweaty men in lycra does seem to make the news. But we’ve got 1,000 (hopefully not too sweaty) men in chinos, and quite a few women too (not in chinos and definitely not sweaty). Yes, tomorrow sees the start of the Evangelical Ministry Assembly at the Barbican centre in London.
Tickets are available on the door, so you can still come and join us. We’d love to see you. And we’d love to ask whether you would pray with us that we’d have a happy, safe, blessed time. We long to be challenged from God’s word about following Christ and serving Christ.
Some will come with heavy hearts. Please pray that they would be built up and renewed. Others will come doing well. Please pray that they will be moved to keep going and be a help to others. Some may come doubting ministry. Please pray their confidence would be renewed.
Above all we long that men and women would be built up in their great calling to serve and proclaim Christ Jesus.
Some people will even bring a bike.
You may have noticed that the PT material has now migrated to a new website, much easier to use and navigate and mobile and tablet friendly. That means the PT app will no longer be supported. Do enjoy the new site. More about it in the next few weeks, including some of our thinking behind it and how to get the most from it. It’s been reasonably well tested, but even so, let us know any glitches so we can fix them. Enjoy!
Not losing heart
enkakeo means to lose heart or be discouraged. It’s an important Bible word and appears 4 times in the New Testament. The verses are worth considering:
- Luke 18.1. Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow precisely so that the disciples should pray and not lose heart. This is a tricky parable, but we’re helped because Jesus tells us the application before we start! In order to not lose heart we need a constantly refreshed vision of the sovereignty of God who hears and answers prayer.
- 2 Cor 4.1, 16. These verses are about not losing heart in the apostolic ministry that first Paul, and now we, pursue. In order not to lose heart we need a constantly refreshed vision of the nature of Christian ministry and God’s sovereignly ordained means for revealing his Son.
- Eph 3.13 is about Paul’s suffering, a cause which might affect the Ephesian brothers and sisters. Our own suffering, or even the suffering of others is enough to knock us back, but we need a constantly refreshed vision of Christ as Lord (v11) even in the darkest days.
- 2 Thess 3.13. We must not lose heart in doing good, or, to put it another way, not grow weary of doing good. If our faith is only ever in our heads and does not flow from heart to action it is no faith at all. It is dead, in fact. We need a constantly refreshed vision of gospel living that believes the gospel and applies it to all of life.
Are you losing heart? Right now. We need faith in the God who is sovereign, confidence in the method and message, a clear knowledge that Jesus is Lord and a desire to live out the gospel in every area of life.
Make that your prayer. As I will mine.
These are my abbreviated notes from a short devotional talk by David Jackman.
Pastoral integrity and Job 22
I’m enjoying Job in my personal devotions at the moment, making much use of Christopher’s new commentary which is superb. I’ve got to chapter 22, Eliphaz’s last speech, and it’s a ripper. In it, Eliphaz basically calls Job to repent. You have definitely sinned, no arguments (vv1-11), he says. God punishes sinners and he’s punishing you (vv12-20). But repent, he urges, and God will bless you (vv21-30):
- God will give you his presence
- God will hear your prayers
- God will grant you prosperity
- God will make you a blessing to others
Within the context of the Old Covenant, it all sounds very plausible. There is only one problem, a problem that we know about because of Job 1-2. Job has not sinned. He is innocent.
To call on a penitent believer to repent of sins he is not aware of is to compromise his integrity. The well-calibrated conscience, informed and convicted by the Spirit of God, will prompt the believer to repent day by day of the sins of which he or she is made aware. But to press this believer to repent of sins he has not committed is a grotesque rape of his integrity.
Earlier in the chapter, Christopher has put it like this:
I well remember a leader at a Christian youth event choosing this as a passage for a Bible study and how our hearts warmed to the invitation to make God our gold, to find delight in him and enjoy his blessings. But when we read this text in the context in which Eliphaz says it, we will see that it is not a spiritual invitation to intimacy but rather the pastoral equivalent of rape.
Strong stuff. But important nonetheless if we are to maintain pastoral integrity.
How to get and retain the attention of your hearers
Just re-reading Spurgeon’s Lectures to my Students in order to write a contribution for a book and I’m gripped once more by Spurgeon’s chapter brilliantly titled “Attention!” In it, he sets out how to obtain and retain the attention of our hearers. Here are the headlines. Make of these what you will, but there is a lot of godly wisdom here….
- Make sure there is plenty of fresh air. “The next best thing to the grace of God for a preacher is oxygen.”
- Always say something worth hearing
- Let the good matter you give them be very carefully arranged.
- Be sure to speak plainly.
- Attend to your manner of address.
- Do not say the first thing that comes into your head.
- Do not indulge in monotones.
- Vary your speed and voice.
- Do not make the introduction too long.
- Do not repeat yourself.
- Do not give a complete summary of theology every time you preach.
- Avoid being too long (do not go beyond 45 mins!!).
- Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit.
- Be prayerful! The attention of your people can only be achieved by their being led by the Spirit of God into an elevated and devout state of mind.
- Be interested yourself.
- Use a good number of godly illustrations.
- Surprise people. Do not say what everyone expected you to say.
- Make people feel that they have an interest. “I never did hear of someone going to sleep in the reading of a will in which they expected a legacy.”
- Don’t let people wander around. “Deacons and sextons trotting over the place are a torture never to be patiently endured and should be kindly but decidedly requested to suspend their perambulations.”
- Be yourself, clothed with the Spirit of God.