All posts by Phil

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Hope you have a great St Patrick’s day. On St Patrick’s Day the world goes green, enjoy this video narrated by Liam Neeson.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

The Wild Atlantic Way from above

When land meets sea and nature and beauty collide, the result is a varied and majestic coastline, unique to the West of Ireland.  Wouldn’t it be great if drones were only used to create stunning footage like this. We love this part of Ireland; it is one of our favorite places on the whole planet. Some of the scenes in the video are places we go body-boarding.

“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So we are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Video: Fáilte Ireland/Raymond Fogarty.

10 Things about the gospel

 Here is a post written by Darrell L. Bock

Darrell Bock is executive director of cultural engagement and senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is an editor at large for Christianity Todayserves on the boards of Chosen People Ministries and Wheaton College, and is the author of Who Is Jesus?   He lists 10 key points on the heart of the Christian message.

1. The word gospel refers not to a kind of music; it meant “good news” in the Roman world.

The word gospel was originally about a kind of public announcement that was seen as good news. When the church took up the term, they were declaring that the message of salvation in Jesus Christ was good news. They were calling on people to repent and join the kingdom of God.

gospel red

In Greek, repent means to change your mind about something. In asking people to repent, the early Christians were saying, “Change your mind about the way your life and God work.” That need was met by the story of what Jesus had done. So they tell the story of Jesus’ work in order to share the gospel. (See Mark 1:15.)

2. The gospel is not primarily about sin.

Often, when people hear about the gospel, they think the emphasis is on sin, or more particularly, forgiving sin. That is actually only part of the story. More important is what happens as a result of sin being forgiven. There is a permanently restored relationship with God that is the key result. The gospel is more about reconciliation than about the forgiveness that leads to it (See Ephesians 2:11-22)

3. The gospel does not mean automatic salvation.

Some people think that their salvation is a given unless they do really bad things. That is not what scripture teaches. Rather, we all stand in need of salvation, but need to exercise faith in what God has done to receive it. Salvation, therefore, is received by faith by the one who turns to God seeking forgiveness. (See Romans 3:21-25a.)

Good News

4. The gospel is about grace, not works.

The salvation that comes through Jesus comes not as something we earn, but something God gives that we acknowledge we need. So, when I ask God to forgive my sin and seek his forgiveness and salvation, I am recognizing that I cannot save myself and I cannot earn salvation.

Grace is said to mean God’s riches at Christ’s expense. The point here is that his work on the cross pays the penalty for my sin and opens the door for God to forgive me and brings me back into a reconciled relationship with him. Works cannot earn salvation. Works result from salvation out of divine design and a grateful responsive heart. (See Ephesians 2:8-10.)

5. The gospel has a goal beyond heaven.

The point of the gospel is not about going to heaven, as nice as that prospect is. It is about being engaged with God forever. I like to joke that living forever is a good thing depending on whom it’s with. The good news of the gospel is that it opens the door to a restored relationship with God that he enables. So, the exciting thing is that reconciliation results with benefits starting now, not just in the future. (See 2 Corinthians 5:16-20.)

6. The gospel is about the giving of the Spirit.

Another often under-appreciated element of the gospel is that with forgiveness comes God sending his Spirit to indwell, enable, and direct us. Here is the key to the renewed relationship the gospel brings. We are not left to ourselves in our walk with God. This gift comes from the raised Jesus, who receives the Spirit from the Father and passes it on to all who call out in his name and seek deliverance from God. (See Romans 6–8; Acts 2:16-39; 1 Corinthians 15:1-19.)

7. The gospel connects us to others.

When we believe in the gospel, we become part of a large community known as the body of Christ. That body is made up of many members all of whom have been equipped to help minister to one another and a needy world. (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.)

8. The gospel connects us to a cloud of witnesses over the centuries.

We walk with and trod a path of faith many have undertaken before us. The Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11 walks through the cloud of witnesses whose trek of faith set the stage for the gospel as they hoped for what was promised. Since then, many saints have followed and joined the ranks. Those who believe are not alone, but are part of a family that spans the centuries and will one day be united before God. (See Hebrews 11.)

9. The gospel is something Moses, David, Isaiah and many others longed to experience.

We participate in a precious promise when we embrace the gospel. Jesus taught that the righteous and the prophets longed to look into what the disciples were experiencing. To share in God’s promise realized — aka the gospel — is to share in a very good, longed-for thing. (See Matthew 13:17.)

10. The gospel is so great that it is worth everything.

Jesus taught that the gospel of the kingdom was like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great price. There is joy in finding it, like a treasure discovered. Upon discovering what it is, there should be no hesitation to sell all you have to buy it — only, in this case, it is free. (See Matthew 13:44-46.)

Bonus: the gospel is for the world — an equal opportunity provider.

This gospel is offered to anyone in the world. It is a gift that can be received by anyone. All you have to do to receive the pearl is acknowledge your need of forgiveness and a restored relationship to God, understand Jesus took your place and paid your penalty, and accept the offer of life and the Spirit God gives to those who come to him for their spiritual well being. When anyone does that, they become a child of God. (See Acts 1:8; John 1:12.)

The original post can be found here. Please leave a comment.


Dealing with Disappointment

September is usually the beginning of the academic year and in ministry it is often the beginning of the year for churches and pastors. This made me think of how the year has panned out so far for me. If I was asked to describe my year in one word I would at this point describe it with the word disappointment. It seems like disappointments in my life are many this year. I know on true reflection that this year in many ways has been a good year with the Lord’s blessing and faithfulness to us. In this post I would like to talk about disappointment and how we deal with it in our lives.

We all experience disappointments in life. These can be relatively small things, disappointments that turn out to be merely a misunderstanding, or devastating choices that lead t5.17.PastorsHandleDisappointment_194562135o major life disruption and heartbreak. Yes disappointments are often quite painful for us, regardless of their immensity. When things don’t turn out the way you hoped, it may seem like the end of the world.
Many of us find it really hard to deal with disappointment. There are several types of disappointment that we encounter in our lives. For example: The job you wanted, but did not get. When your favourite team lost a game…by a point. A relationship you thought was so solid evaporated. The unexpected loss of a loved one, etc.. Disappointment comes in all sizes, doesn’t it? Any time our hopes are not realized or our expectations or desires are not fulfilled, we feel disappointed. Disappointment can be a passing emotion over a temporary loss, or it may strike powerfully when something permanently changes our lives. A major disappointment can remain within us all the time. When I ask friends how they deal with disappointment many of them would say, the best way to avoid disappointment is by choosing not to expect too much. The phrase “Don’t get your hopes up” comes to mind. There may be some truth in that, but I would prefer to have my hopes up than down any day. It is much better to have your hopes up then to be hopeless. Yes, we will sometimes be disappointed; but its still important to encourage each other to live hopefully. The first key to dealing with disappointment is to hold on to hope. We know in the very depths of our hearts and souls that God is good and has our best interests on His heart. I need to say; feeling disappointed is not a sin. How we handle it is the crucial issue. Sometimes we don’t handle disappointment well. I myself struggle with how I handle disappointment. Thoughts like “No one really cares about me” and “nothing ever works out in my dealing-with-disppointment1life” enter my mind and these are counter productive and depressing.
To counter these kinds of thoughts, I find it good to sit down and make some lists. Make a list of everyone who has been good to you and demonstrated caring. Make a list of the blessings in your life (count your many blessings!). Make a list of the times when things have worked out well for you, and include times when something that seemed negative at first eventually turned into a positive (remember that prayer that you are now glad God did not answer). Also read the Psalms. Here, you will find a desperate longing for God, and sometimes the broken-hearted pleas for God’s deliverance from trials. No matter what the circumstance, the writers of the Psalms turned to God as their source of help and hope. Another helpful thing I try to do is to fill my mind with the promises of God. One other suggestion is to “never give up”. Any person who has had even the smallest degree of success in life has faced many disappointments. It is important to remember and to keep reminding ourselves failure and disappointment is not the end of the world. Too many are not doing what they feel called to do because they are afraid of disappointment and failure. In my experience of life, it seems that the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

As always please leave a comment.