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St Francis Drive
Kings Norton
B30 3PS

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If I Have Not Love

January 16, 2017

I could build a mighty empire

Or be living on the streets

I could wear the finest jewellery

Or some coloured plastic beads

I could drive a rusty banger

Or a big old SUV

I could entertain the down and out or dine with royalty


But if I have not love then I am just a clanging cymbal

And if I have not love then I am just a lot of noise

I must lay my pride aside, preferring others needs

O Lord help me to love


I could speak with words of beauty

But still have a heart of stone

I could fill my mind with wisdom

Try to deepen what I know

I could look as though I’m listening

Or could cry at my TV

But it really stands for nothing if it’s only serving me


But if I have not love then I am just a clanging cymbal

And if I have not love then I am just a lot of noise

I must lay my pride aside, preferring others needs

O Lord help me to love


Jesus, You’re my great example

For You have shown your love to me

And in response I now must follow

In loving others faithfully


But if I have not love then I am just a clanging cymbal

And if I have not love then I am just a lot of noise

I must lay my pride aside, preferring others needs

O Lord help me to love


I can’t take all my possessions

To the place that I am heading

But love stays, love remains, love paves the way.

Looking to Jesus

January 12, 2017

[from Shamim]

“Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity!” Psalm 119:37

Dear friends, do not gaze upon any sin…

for looking breeds longing,

and longing begets lusting,

and lusting brings sinning!

Keep your eyes right — and you may keep your heart right.

If that first woman had not looked upon the forbidden tree and seen “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,” she would not have plucked and eaten the forbidden fruit — and we would not have been the children of sin and sorrow!

O friends, if we begin to look upon iniquity, we shall almost certainly fall! There are some sins that we poor, frail creatures cannot endure to look at.

like_a_moth_to_a_flameWe are as moths near a burning candle — the only safety for us is to get out of the room and fly into the open air. But if we go near the candle — we shall certainly burn our wings and, perhaps, even destroy ourselves!

Just so, we must take care that we do not get used to sin. I believe that even the common reading in the newspapers of accounts of evil things is defiling to us. If we habitually read such things, we shall come, at last, to think less and less of the coarser forms of vice than we ought to do.

Nothing can keep us away from the fangs of sin, like falling into the embraces of Christ. Looking unto Jesus, is the great remedy against looking unto sin!

Turn away my eyes from vanity, my Lord, by filling them full with a vision of Yourself and holding me spellbound with that grandest spectacle that eyes of men, or angels, or even of God, Himself ever saw — the spectacle of God Incarnate bearing our sin in His own body on the Cross!

Keep your eyes fixed there — and all will be well.

(Charles Spurgeon: 1834–1892)



January 10, 2017

I was at a prayer group last night where we were encouraged to pray with big vision. Here’s a flavour of what was shared with us.

Pray for God’s presence where you live, work or study, in your families and communities. The message was that prayer is a battle where we need the shield of faith and the Lord to strengthen our use of the sword of the spirit, taking us deeper into His Word.  Do we treasure the scriptures and  use them to give us authority as we pray?

It’s the 500th anniversary of what in 2017? The Reformation, which shook the world and reshaped history. The prayers were bold: for an awakening that would move into every level of the nation’s life; campuses, colleges, schools, the media, government. Is our desire that there would be so many conversions that it would actually change the character of Britain, the prayer that God would bring substantial change in the church, nation and reaching into Europe?

We were reminded of the prayer  of the Welsh revival: ‘More Lord’ and then ‘Even More’. Do we pray for greater vision and expectation? ‘Lord, stretch our faith.’

Is the church in Britain today frozen?  Is there a need to re-discover the wonderful dynamic power of the gospel, and prayers for revival that fill us with compassion and a deep passion for the lost? Let’s pray for a mighty mobilisation of prayer in our church and beyond.

The final challenge we were given: to start the year focusing on God’s presence, God’s promises and on prayer. As we  pray, may we all see our extraordinary God glorified in 2017.

I felt encouraged to pray.

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A New Year Poem

January 3, 2017


[From Alistair Macleod]

The following poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, was quoted by King George VI in his 1939 Christmas Day broadcast to the British Empire.


And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.


hands-407388_960_720So heart be still:
What need our little life

Our human life to know,

If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife

Of things both high and low,

God hideth His intention.


God knows. His will

Is best. The stretch of years

Which wind ahead, so dim

To our imperfect vision,

Are clear to God. Our fears

Are premature; In Him,

All time hath full provision.


Then rest: until

God moves to lift the veil

From our impatient eyes,

When, as the sweeter features

Of Life’s stern face we hail,

Fair beyond all surmise

God’s thought around His creatures

Our mind shall fill.

Posted in: Devotional

An Advent Prayer

December 27, 2016

We have been reading Tim Chester’s The One True Story during advent and I want to share the prayer that the book finished with:

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the true Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father, who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the true Jacob, the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which you guard. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in your glory is not ashamed to acknowledge his brothers, however lowly and abject their condition. And I entrust myself to you.

41rom7jhoul-_sy344_bo1204203200_Lord Jesus Christ, you are the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing your law on the tables of our hearts by your Spirit. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the faithful captain and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are my victorious and noble king David, bringing by your hand all rebellious power to subjection. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are my magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing his kingdom in peace and prosperity. And I entrust myself to you.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are my strong and powerful Samson, who by his death has overwhelmed all his enemies. And I entrust myself to you.

(Adapted from John Calvin, 1509-1564)

Santa vs Jesus

December 17, 2016

Classic Glen Scrivener…

Posted in: Evangelism

Spiritual Sayings of James Mason

November 6, 2016

[from Shamim]

*The goodness of God satisfies our emptiness,

the mercy of God satisfies our sinfulness, and

the grace of God satisfies our unworthiness.

*What sin is there, which grace cannot pardon?

What heart is there, which grace cannot soften?

What soul is there, which grace cannot save?

*The more God’s justice was magnified in His Son —

the more was His grace magnified in the sinner.

*God humbled His holy Son — to exalt His saving grace.

*God’s faithfulness performed what His grace promised.

Grace drew the covenant — faithfulness keeps it.

Grace called us — faithfulness will not cast us off.

*Abusers of God’s grace — are treasurers up of His wrath!

*There is grace in the desire for grace

— as there is sin in the desire for sin.

*Though God in grace has done great things for you — yet consider what in justice He might have done to you.

*While we carry a sense of grace in our conscience to comfort us

— let us carry a sense of sin in our memory to humble us.

*We can never thank God enough for His patience — which has kept us so long out of Hell; nor for His grace — which so earnestly invites us to Heaven.

*All who are elect — are vessels of grace;

all who are regenerate — are patterns of grace;

all who are saved — are monuments of grace;

all the work of Heaven — is to sing the loud praises of grace.

*It melts the heart to think that God is as full of grace — as I am as full of sin!

He is as free to forgive — as I am to offend.

He has daily grace — for my daily sins.

*The heart of man is such a barren soil that no good can grow — there unless almighty grace plants it.

Grace is an immortal seed, cast into an immortal soil, which brings forth immortal fruit!

Posted in: Bible thoughts

Big Questions about the Bible

September 14, 2016

This autumn we are looking forward to three special meetings on Sunday at 6pm where we’ll be discussing some big objections to the Bible.

Sept 25th – Unreliable? “full of myths and fairy tales made up by the Church.”

Oct 30th – Immoral? “vengeful, misogynistic and genocidal.”

Nov 27th – Intolerant? “homophobic, transphobic and bigoted about sexuality.”


The aim of these Big Questions meetings is twofold:

1) to equip one another as Christians to ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But doing this with gentleness and respect’ (1 Pet 3:15).

2) to engage non-Christians in robust but respectful dialogue, seeking to persuade them of the truth of Christianity (2 Cor 5:11, 10:5).

We are well aware that coming to repentance and faith in Christ is much more than being intellectually persuaded of the truth of Christianity. It requires no less than the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, bringing conviction of sin and new life in Christ (Eph 2:1-5). We look to God alone to do that work as we seek to proclaim Christ and demolish every argument against him.

As we do so we must not forget the relational context of evangelism.  As Glen Scrivener argued in an excellent blog post recently, we need to be asking thoughtful questions as well as giving thoughtful answers. Two basic truths that help us do that are: Everyone is different” yet “Everyone is the same.


Posted in: Apologetics, Evangelism

The Green-Eyed Monster

September 5, 2016

Yesterday morning we thought about the subtle sin of envy – that green-eyed monster, as Shakespeare called it. In his book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges warns that a competitive spirit can be a form of envy – an obsession with our own glory and reputation, a selfish need to be better than others. We should strive to be good stewards of what God gives us (1Pet4:10), and diligently do our best (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24) but our motive should be God’s glory not ours, serving others not beating them.

One of the ways we must guard ourselves against this is by watching how we communicate to others – are we stirring up envy and jealousy by boasting of our what we have or have done? Sometimes its not what we say but how we say it that tips it over into boastful envy-inducing language. Social media is a minefield for this sort of thing so we must be careful. It reminded me of a clip by Brian Regan that I shared on the blog some time ago. Envy is no laughing matter but I think humour can be used to make a serious point…


Posted in: Sanctification, Sermons

Do we love God’s Word?

September 4, 2016

[From Shamim]

“Your Word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it.” Psalm 119:140

Do we love the holiness of the Word?

The Word is preached — to beat down sin, and advance holiness.

Do we love it for its spirituality and purity?

Many love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezekiel 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers — but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts purified.

These are like a foolish woman who paints her face — but neglects her health!

Do we love the convictions of the Word?

Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins?

It is the minister’s duty sometimes to reprove.

He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit — but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine handle, but without an edge!

“Rebuke them sharply!” (Titus 2:15).

Dip the nail in oil — reprove in love — but strike the nail home!

Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, “You are the man!” — do you love the reproof?

Can you bless God that “the sword of the Spirit” has divided between you and your lusts?

This is indeed a sign of grace, and shows that you are a lover of the Word.

A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word — but not the reproofs:

“You hate the one who reproves — and despise him who tells the truth!” (Amos 5:10).

“Their eyes flash with fire!” Like venomous creatures that at the least touch, spit poison!

“When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him!” (Acts 7:54).

When Stephen touched their sins — they were furious and could not endure it.

How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?

When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry.

Who cares for medicines that will not work?

A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.

When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart — we would have it found out, and executed!

We do not want sin covered — but cured!

When we can open our heart to the sword of the Word and say, “Lord, smite this sin!”

When we are thankful for a reproof.

Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.” (Psalm 141:5).

David was glad for a reproof.

Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man — would he not be thankful?

Just so, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death — shall we not be thankful?

A gracious soul rejoices, when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess of sin!

He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear:

“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:12).

To conclude, it is convicting preaching which must do the soul good.

As a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring — so a nipping reproof prepares the soul for comfort! 

John MacDuff (1818-1895)

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