Posts Tagged ‘ypc’


I’ll be honest and say that Sunday night was fairly hard for me to follow, so there’s probably more of my own thinking here than John’s.  His theme tonight, ‘living between the times’
Romans 8:18-27

When climbing Mt Errigal with my good friends at dying to live teencamp this past summer, we found that at the top though we’d come so far that there was another peak just beyond the one we climbed to (see photo below, just didn’t take one of the 2 peaks at the top).  Such was the feeling of the Jews when Jesus arrived. They had assumed that when the messiah came all the ‘day of the Lord’ prophecies would be brought into place and there would be no more crying, pain etc.  However when Jesus came, he announced this kingdom saying the kingdom is here, but also still to come!  And we now live between these two great moments in HIStory.  Between the 1st and 2nd coming of our Saviour.  The first coming marked the start of the era of grace, the 2nd starts judgment and eternity.  So how do Christians view the world, what’s their world view?

The Gospel is the world view:

  • It’s unashamedly realistic (5:18+8:18).  The Christian’s world view is not prosperity Gospel, Paul writes here about sufferings and that they aren’t even worth comparing with the glory that will be reveled.  The kingdom is not fully here yet, we still live in a mixed up world with messed up people.
  • It’s supremely hopeful and heading somewhere.  The Christian does not want to go back but forward!  This is a sure hope.  Like watching a recorded football match after the game is played, you already know the outcome, you know your team has won, so no matter how tense the games gets you can sit back knowing victoryhas been won.  It’s with this sense that we view the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of ourselves!  It’s in this light that we go through sufferings and live life.
  • Mission is the great mark of this age, it’s as far as the church is concerned the age of mission.

Three things about this world view

  • We live here in Creation.  We live as created beings, and we can see God’s glory in the world of creation, both nature and in other humans, we see much goodness, caring etc in our fellow man.  The Glory of God is all around us.  However we know this glorious world is also distorted by the fall, and the sin of every generation.
    • Spoiling what was good/frustration.  Whether we think about a wild dog taking a sheep’s life for the fun of it, or a natural disaster wiping out whole cities, or the HIV virus, there is a spoiling of what is good in this world.  A frustration that things aren’t just working out the way they should!
    • Bondage to decay.  Order to disorder, energy to no energy.  From the moment anything in our world starts it begins to slow/decay, a baby’s ability to learn becomes less and less, a brand new car starts to wear out, a flower blooming will wither and fade, a great mind will become crippled by alizermers, a great athlete will be hindered with arthritis. Things are loosing their energy and order all around us.  Everything and everybody is getting older.  
  • We’re looking forward to the new age.  ‘Glory’ is the best summary of the new age (after Christ returns)
    • Christ’s glory will be visibly on display.  This glory will fill heaven and we will worship the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah!
    • Our glory. New non-perishing bodies, which wont get older. ‘We shall be like Him’, our righteousness will be complete. Total and full relationship with our God!
    • Creation’s glory.  New heaven and earth.  In This new age everything will be new/renewed.  Creation will be free from it’s bondage to decay.
  • We now have the first fruits of this new age.  Like after a deposit is paid on a house, the smell of heaven is in our nostrils!  We just can’t wait to get there and we know it’s coming!  Like when you’re really looking forward to a nice wee cup of tea after milking the cows, you open the back door and smell fresh scones coming out of the oven, you know/hope you’re in for a good tea.  

So too when we begin our walk with Jesus, it’s nothing short of wonderful.  We get lost in worship, one of our friends comes into the kingdom, we see someone healed, our minds get more enlightened to the wonder of God. The Christian life is wonderful (full of wonder) and yet we know that our walk with Jesus isn’t as close as it could/should be, our christian life is tinted and spoiled by our fallenness.  Yes, this Christian life is just a foretaste (a smell) of what this new age will be like.  This is tasting the first fruits before the feast, sampling the wine before you have it with your stake!  So our small amount of being lead by the spirit will be total in heaven, our attempt at live righty will become total righteousness in heaven. Our relationship with God will become intimate, organic and undistorted in heaven.  Our faith, sight. Our hope, reality. Our joy, full. 
The deepest pleasure we can imagine and the most horrific suffering we find in the Christian life will be nothing in comparison to the Joy of living in this new age!

These ‘longings for this new age’ are the stamp of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our citizenship is now in heaven.
No wonder we feel wonder and frustration!  

We are to be people of hope and patience, longing for heaven.
So with our feet on the ground and our heads in heaven, may we live in worship and obedience.  

May we live this hope. 
May we draw others into this hope. 
May we have faith! 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my series on John Woodside’s themes from the YPC.  It’s interesting making yourself look at what speaker says then putting it in your own words and condensing it. I think it’ll help this teaching sink in, certainly proves the saying, ‘you get out what you put in.’

Standing on Grace.


THE RETURN OF THE KING (ypc – saturday)

Ok so if you’re looking for major controversial stuff you wont find it here! John Woodside continued in his encouraging style for the 4th night.
Saturday night; The return of the King (the problem of death).
Main passage 1Thes 4:13 – 5:11

All the below thoughts are Biblical and are mainly found in the passage, though for flow I haven’t reference a lot of them but happy to if you like!

There is 2 outcomes in life for the Christian.
1 we die and meet Jesus
2 Jesus returns and we meet Jesus. 
Paul looks at both here. Ch 4:13ff mainly death, Ch5:1-11 mainly the return.

3 things about death:

  1. Grief.  Death grieves us. Jesus wept.  Christians are not ashamed of tears.  Death is never emotionally good news, however we grieve with Hope! The massive difference between a believers and an unbelievers death is Hope!
  2. Anger.  Death is wrong.  It is an intruder into how God designed us to live, we were not meant to experience it! It came through sin, and it’s not natural, though it has become the norm it has never become normal, it rudely and unapologetically interrupts life!
  3. Hope.  Jesus broke death’s back.  Though we will have to go through it (unless we see Christ’s return) we have Hope a sure Hope that death will have no sting.  Jesus demonstrated that death for everyone is not the end but is a stop on route to somewhere else.

5 things about Christ’s return:

  1. Certainty.  (4:15) Just one look at the other promises like Luke 19, when Jesus predicts the temple to be brought down then in AD70 it happened, so you could see how the early believers didn’t think it’d take at least 2000 years! But the promise is still labeled ‘certain hope’.
  2. Manner.  Jesus will come back visible and these events will be beyond imagination. Like trying to tell a baby still in the womb what the world is like, so it’s hard for us to grasp heaven/new-earth and the return of our saviour!
  3. Timing.  This is one thing we can be certain about, we don’t and will never know when the return will happen, anyone who claims to have insight on this is lying!
    1. To the unbelievers it will be unexpected and unwelcome, the image is like a thief!
    2. Believers should not be surprised Paul says. And we’re to look for signs
      1. Natural signs.  Famines, earthquakes, war/unrest
      2. Anti-God signs.  Tribulation, false teaching, anti-Christ(spirit/men/man)
      3. Gospel signs.  All nations reached
      4. Social normality.  People will be marrying, working, eating etc
  4. Purpose.  The purpose of Christ’s return to bring, in it’s totality, God’s wrath and salvation to people.  The sheep will be separated from the goats, some will get the wrath of God and the others will get the fullness of their salvation. For the Christians it’ll happen like this, return, resurrection, rapture, re-union.
  5. Challenge.
    1. Conversion. If you’re not in the kingdom, surly after reading this you can see the importance! Come to God for he is near and the era of grace may soon be over!
    2. Comfort. We’re (as Christians) to be encouraged by these words.  Paul finishes talking about both death and Christ’s return by saying, encourage each-other with these words.
    3. Vigilance. Be ready. Be prayerful. Keep your armour on.

Sometimes what was taught and what I’ve learned are 2 different things.  Here’s what I learned from his talk, I was very tried this night due to a long day however John’s simple and humble style of teaching still made me chew over his words as I lay in my bed!

Standing on Grace.

THE PEOPLE OF THE KING (ypc – friday)

Ok so Friday nights talk is very difficult to sum-up however I’ll give it a go!  John took us through the life of the church from Acts 2 all the way till 2012 in half an hour. And as one not studied too much into church history I speak as one informed not the informer!  So my summery is this. 

‘The true church of God has been and is consistently being pushed into distraction and consistently has to remember her mission. However Jesus is accomplishing His mission of redemption of the world.‘ 
It seems that God is well used to using sinful, mixed-up people, people who are being saved to achieve His plan of redemption of the world.  I was greatly humbled to be proclaimed a part of King Jesus’ great work. That He would want to use us is simply mindblowing!

There is 3 challenges that have faced the church down through the ages.

  1. Persecution.  Both of christians and also christians persecuting non believers.  Both are sore on the church, but the later, History has told us is very sore on the churches real growth! Remember belief cannot be forced!
  2. False teaching.  The main false teachings down through history has been.  Jesus never became fully man.  Jesus is less than God.  That you can work for your salvation.  We need to be sure that Jesus is both God and man and is our only hope for salvation.  believing anything get’s us into more than trouble! 
  3. Disunity.  This came when the church started to assign bishops then argued which bishop was the most important, so the bishop of Rome ‘won’ and eventually became the pope. And you know where all that has brought the church, divided to say the least.
    If anything but the Word of God becomes a more important decision maker in the church, Disunity will happen and probably rightly happen.  The church must be open to reforming from the word of God, not from anywhere else.

Well that’s what I took from the talk, it wasn’t a talk with much given practical application.  But I will add one.  ‘Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You, hope is stirring hearts are yearning for You!’  The church and people are longing for God to come close to them, and God is working, He is at work and ‘Christ will have the prize for which He died, an inheritance of nations.‘  What a hope, to know where things are going to end up, brings a great sense of peace!

Standing on Grace

THE KING HAS COME (ypc thursday)

Night 2: Passage, Mark 1:9ff

So last night we were looking at the fact that the Jews though doing an ok job at keeping the sacrifices going it was only a temporary measure, just like sweeping sin under the run, or putting on a long sleeve shirt to cover your dirty elbows.  This was only for a while so that God could still work with the Jews, He could still meet with the high priest once a year and keep His promise to favor them.
Until man had a real chance at being made right before God, yes we needed a redeemer!  That old high priest and sacrificing lambs was only temporary we needed the Great High Priest, the Spotless Lamb, the both Devine and Human, to come and make a way possible for God to embrace His longed for children (from all nations) as he did with adam before the fall! And so here come’s Jesus after 30 years of so called silence he announces his first sermon, and it’s not long!
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (1:15)
‘alright Jews it’s showtime.’ Jesus proclaims the main title, the ‘kingdom has come’, then the sub-title ‘repent and believe’.  That’s great, just wonderful!

Jesus says this after Satan having him for 40 days, no man in history has been able to resist Satan’s call to forsake God, not one! Except Jesus.  Jesus after proving to Satan that he has power over him as a man, announces the kingdom of God and the entrance program. Then knowing full well about the other kingdom, (the kingdom of darkness), he shows his power over it, by casting out demons just by telling them to be quite. (1:25ff)

“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.  The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”

Jesus goes on in that first couple of Chapters to show he has power over sickness, disease, nature, death and then in Ch 2 he forgives sin!  The only one who can forgive is the one who is offended, Jesus forgave the paralysed man showing his place as God (the one who is offended at sin) Himself, with us! What a Redeemer. God has come himself.  To show us how to live, to give us signs of the coming kingdom and to redeem us from sin and death.  Jesus took on man’s sin, entered death, disarmed Satan and Death and broke free bringing forth the new kingdom, which we can live in.  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  

This kingdom which we can now enter has a program, we now have a foretaste of what’s to come which will come fully after the resurrection when we will have a new heaven and earth.  So we live in this tension (see my wee diagram) where we see some people getting healed but not freedom from sickness, poor old lazarus had to die twice, but in heaven there will be no death!  So we are in the kingdom of God, but it’s not fully here yet.
This is why Christians pray ‘God let your kingdom come!’

So the question when we think about outreach is to we push for this kingdom or keep announcing the entrance program?  Simple answer, both!  Jesus healed and fed and looked after people physically but his main role and the commission he gave to us at the end of Mark’s gospel is to go out and preach the good news!  The same ‘good news’ that, at the start of the gospel (1:15) Jesus calls us to repent and believe in, he now calls us to announce!  That the kingdom of God is accessible and near!  So our outreach is 2 fold, it’s the 2 wings of the plane, we need to announce the entrance program (repent and believe) and we need to show what the kingdom is like (care for sick, poor, outcast. Living a life of worship and prayer).

God help us announce and live!

Standing on Grace

THE KING IS COMING (ypc – Wednesday)

I’m currently leading worship at a conference in Derry, (ypc Bible week) great week of Bible teaching for adults, YPC stands for Young Pensioners Conference!  Anyway, ‘John Woodside’ is speaking and I hope to convey something of what he says each night here in just a few quick fire points, He’s a great simple Bible teacher, and Church leader, seeing the God given growth of 2 churches under his leadership in Kilkenny (18years) and Drogheda (18 years) in ROI.

So 1st night:
Theme. The King is Coming. (story of the OT) (Gen 1-3)
3 questions that this passage answers are: Who’s in charge, God.  Then what’s wrong with the world, Sin.  What does the future hold then, there is a redeemer
From the 1st prophecy in the Bible (Gen 3:15) on, the Bible is always looking forward, sometimes it records the present and mentions the past, but it is always looking forward!
As the Jews would of wrestled these answers it became clear that God was in charge that sin was the worlds and our personal problem, but the question is what was the redeemer like or who would he be? Would he be mighty or humble? Would he be Devine or human? Would he be meek or glorious? Would he be a priest, prophet, king, servant?  Who will his people be, the Jews or the gentiles?  Would he be forgiving or over ruling Etc.
You can see how the Jews would of been confused! But us looking back at the OT prophecies coming true we can see that Jesus was indeed all of the above. 
Jesus is what Isaiah clams, Mighty God (Is 9) and also a servant (Zech 3:8; Is 42:1).  He was the great high priest, a prophet and a king.  He was both Devine and human. 
You see what man couldn’t make sense of God could!
So we’re left with great peace knowing that, as followers of Jesus; God’s word is truly Devine, that He is sovereign and we can have confidence in His goodness.  But throughout this assurance, it’s clear we need to pay close attention to Jesus our king, the Jews couldn’t make sense of what sort of a redeemer Jesus would be, and we now know!  And maybe we at the moment we can make sense of where God is leading us, or what He is doing with the world!  May we rely on His word, His sovereignty and His goodness.  And Gaze ever more openly, lovingly and obediently at our King, Servant, High Priest and Sacrifice… JESUS!

Standing or Grace

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