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Posted in Fighting the Monday Feeling The Explore Team|11:00 AM EST|December 19th 2014

Christmas is just around the corner, and perhaps you’re beginning to feel the pressure. These two verses from Hebrews are a powerful reminder of why Jesus was born, and died, as a human:

Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

 

  • Why did Jesus have to be physically born as a human, according to these verses?
  • What does Jesus’ death achieve according to these verses?
  • Why are people so enslaved to the world?

 

We want to cram in all the experiences we can before we die. We value our lives and others’ by our achievements and wealth. Setbacks at work or with relationships crush us. The Bible shows us that we are enslaved to this world because of the fear of death that lurks deep within us. Which is really a fear of what lies beyond death: the awful judgment of God.

And Christmas is all about putting an end to that fear. Jesus is the serpent crusher, who overturns the fall and the curses from Genesis 3 through his death on the cross. And the result for those who find forgiveness and new life through Christ is that they are no longer enslaved to this life, but look to the next in confident hope.

 

  • Praise God that Christmas means no more fear of judgment and death, but a glorious freedom in how to live now.
  • And talk to the Lord about ways in which you are still tempted to be enslaved to this world.
Posted in The Good Book Quiz The Quiz Team|7:57 AM EST|December 19th 2014

What did Mary ride on to Bethlehem?

  • A horse
  • A donkey
  • We aren't told.
  • A bicycle

How many wise men were there present?

  • Seventeen.
  • Three.
  • We aren't told.
  • One.

Where did Joseph and Mary spend the night?

  • In a motel room
  • In a stable
  • On the main floor of a relative's house
  • In the local inn

What guided the wise men to the stable?

  • The star
  • The scriptures
  • An angel
  • GPS

Where did Mary and Joseph live?

  • Bethlehem
  • Nazareth
  • Jerusalem
  • Syria
Posted in Useful Resources Dex Fletcher|7:10 AM EST|December 19th 2014

As the year draws to a close and people make all sorts of Top 5 for 2014 lists, we thought we'd do our own. And add a little competition.

Over the past few days, we've be telling you our Top 5 selling books for 2014. And here it is, our top selling book for 2014:

 

Questions Christians Ask: Is God Anti-Gay by Sam Allberry: It's a practical and sensitive exploration of the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. 

 

"I can’t figure out why we haven’t had a book like this before, but it’s just what we need. Allberry, a pastor in the UK who himself struggles with same-sex attraction, has written the perfect book to hand to skeptics and wobbly believers. The tone is irenic, the content firm, and the length manageable (less than 100 pages). Allberry covers the necessary texts and answers–in an intelligent, yet brief and winsome way–the most common questions and objections. I will be recommending this book often in the years ahead."    

Kevin DeYoung Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing MI.

And the winners are... 
Thanks to all who entered the competition. Congratulations to Vic, Tracey, Brian, Buneme & Mary. We'll be in touch shortly and get your books to you as soon as we can!  

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Helen Thorne|6:21 AM EST|December 19th 2014

They’re everywhere at the moment. There are the small children – usually girls – swathed in white sheets and gold tinsel all poised to enter stage left and address the tea-towel clad shepherds and associated stuffed sheep with “tidings of great joy”. There are the cards we’re sending and receiving. There may even be one on the top of your tree. But what exactly are angels? And what do they do when they’re not announcing the birth of our Saviour? Here, this Christmas time, is a quick Q&A about our angelic neighbours:

How many are there?

Lots! They are described as being “innumerable” (Hebrews 12:22) and numbering “thousands and thousands” (Revelation 5:11). Heaven is thronging with angelic beings.

Can we see them?

Rarely. There are, of course, notable occasions when angels appear to humans (Luke 1-2) and it seems that there are times when we may meet angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2) but they are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14) and not usually visible.

How are they organized?

Not in families. Scripture indicates that they don’t get married (Luke 20:34-36). But there do seem to be some groupings. The archangel Michael is described as leading an angelic army (Revelation 12:7-8) so there’s clearly some order.

What do they do?

They worship God (Hebrews 12:22; Psalm 148:2). They protect us (Hebrews 1:14). They sometimes bring divine judgment (2 Samuel 24:16-17; Acts 12:23). They watch believers (1 Timothy 5:21). They rejoice when someone becomes a Christian (Luke 15:10). And they battle Satan’s minions (Revelation 12:7-8). As well as passing on the occasional message from the Lord (Acts 8:26). And they do all this in great power (Psalm 103:20).

Do they ever sin?

Yes. They seem to have the capacity to make moral decisions and some of them have chosen to rebel against God (2Peter 2:4). Those who have sinned have been sent to hell to await judgment – judgment that will be carried out by us! (1 Corinthians 6:3).

How should we relate to them?

It’s great to be aware that angels are real and working for the glory of God and our good.

  • They’re an encouragement - When we’re singing praises to God, they’re praising too.
  • They’re an example – Constant in their worship.
  • They’re a witness - When we’re sinning, they’re watching.
  • They’re a protection – Looking after us in line with God’s will.

 

But

 

  • There’s absolutely no point in praying to them. We have but one mediator between us and God and that’s Jesus (1Timothy 2:5).
  • They’re not God. To put our trust in them rather than our Saviour is idolatry and just plain wrong (Colossians 2:18).
  • So it’s entirely consistent with their revealed nature and will that they would much rather we think about Jesus than about them!

This blog post originally appeared on 20 December 2012

Posted in Useful Resources Dex Fletcher|7:44 AM EST|December 18th 2014

As the year draws to a close and people make all sorts of Top 5 for 2014 lists, we thought we'd do our own. And add a little competition.

Over the next few days, we'll be telling you our Top 5 selling books for 2014. The competition is to guess the top selling book. We'll send a free copy to the first 5 people who guess the correct answer. Comment on the Blog, reply via Twitter, comment on Facebook. We could let you know all sorts of terms and conditions, but we're all friends here!

 

Today is the last day for sending us your guesses. Competition closes at 11am tomorrow (Friday 19 Dec).

 

Today, coming in at Number 2 is: Original Jesus by Carl Laferton: A funny, faithful introduction to Jesus, comparing him to other versions of "Jesus". Perfect for giving away. 

 

"Laferton simply and attractively walks through Luke's Gospel and in a simple, interesting and relevant way speaks into our culture, which increasingly thinks it's OK for the individual to invent their own view of Jesus. This is a book worth anyone’s time. I loved reading it, and I'd love my friends to read it."    

Rico Tice Associate minister at All Soul's Langham PLace and co-author of Christianity Explored.

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Tom Beard|4:08 AM EST|December 18th 2014

I was just reminded of this really helpful article I read last year. Hugely wise and practical advice, like:

Accept the day isn’t fully yours and that you’re just called to be faithful. God knows you long for your loved ones to know the Lord. Be a servant to your family and ask God to give you eyes to see them as he sees them. Also don’t forget to reflect upon how God has changed you and your family over time.

Be prepared to say ‘Grace’ at the dinner table. As the token Christian, it may well fall upon you to do the ‘Christian thing’ at the table. You might even want to volunteer! Have a good Gospel-centered ‘Grace’ up your sleeve for this moment.

Read the rest of the article by the Australian Bible Society. Highly recommended!

Posted in Useful Resources Dean Faulkner|8:53 AM EST|December 17th 2014

And hot on the heels of it being our number 3 bestseller this year, we're offer the The Third Day for just £1.

A faithful and contemporary graphic realisation of Luke 22-24 for young adults and teenagers. This resource will introduce the biblical account of Easter to teens and young adults who enjoy reading illustrated graphic media.
 
Buy the book HERE for just £1 until midday on Monday. Use code ttd1214 at the checkout.
 
Please also take a look at our Christmas book Light in the Darkness illustrated in the same style.

 

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Dex Fletcher|8:40 AM EST|December 17th 2014

As the year draws to a close and people make all sorts of Top 5 for 2014 lists, we thought we'd do our own. And add a little competition.

Over the next few days, we'll be telling you our Top 5 selling books for 2014. The competition is to guess the top selling book. We'll send a free copy to the first 5 people who guess the correct answer. Comment on the Blog, reply via Twitter, comment on Facebook. We could let you know all sorts of terms and conditions, but we're all friends here!

Today, coming in at Number 3 is: The Third Day Alex Webb-Peploe's faithful and contemporary graphic realisation of Luke22-24 for young adults and teenagers.

 

"In an age that wants to sex up and dumb down the gospel, Alex and Andre's commitment to let the Word of God speak for itself is like cool water for a weary soul. It's powerful to see something so strong in both gospel faithfulness and creativity. Get a copy"    

Nate Morgan Locke Youth Evangelist and author of Soul from Christianity Explored

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Alison Mitchell|4:25 AM EST|December 17th 2014

For two evenings this week I was present when emergency alarms were sounded.

 

Emergency no. 1
Monday night's was spectacular - and also quite funny. As I waited at a c-c-cold bus stop, a 71 pulled up, and a guy with a HUGE package got on. The bus driver took one look and refused to let the guy travel on the bus.

Driver: "That's too big. You can't come on here."
Guy (wearing earphones): "What?"
Driver: "It's too big."
Guy: "What?"
Driver: "You can't come on the bus."
Guy (still wearing earphones, and now having touched in with his Oyster card to pay the fare): "What?"
Driver (very loudly): "It's too big!"
Guy (eventually taking earphones out): "What?"
Driver: "That's too big. You have to get off the bus."
Guy: "But I've paid!"
Driver: "You still have to get off the bus."
Guy: "But I've taken this on other buses."
Driver: "You're not bringing it on this bus."

(and more of the same for at least another five minutes - driver refusing to let him stay, guy refusing to get off)

 

Then suddenly…
Bus (yes, honestly!): "This bus is under attack! Please call 999!"

(and the same message for at least a further five minutes - driver sitting with his arms folded, guy refusing to get off, bus asking for help)

Eventually…
Two police cars hare up with sirens blazing. Where's the fight??! The bus driver explained. The police couldn't quite believe it and checked with me twice that nothing else had happened. The guy STILL refused to get off the bus… for several more minutes… amazing! But eventually he got off, the police zoomed off somewhere more exciting, and my K2 bus arrived.

 

Great fun.But the thing that really struck me was how people reacted to the bus alarm. "This bus is under attack! Please call 999." It was serious. Very loud. And non-stop for five minutes. And no one did anything.

 

I had prime view of it all, so knew there was no danger - but that wasn't true for the many people passing by on the pavement OR the people on the top deck of the bus. Nobody stopped (except to stare). No one tried to help. No one got off the bus in case they weren't safe. Pretty much everyone presumed it was a false alarm - didn't mean anything - and just carried on with whatever they were doing. Interesting…

 

Emergency no. 2

The previous night also included an emergency alarm. Like many of you, we had our carol service. It was terrific in every way - brilliant atmosphere, fantastic music, great mix of traditional and modern, thoroughly Bible-centred, and a wonderful opportunity to praise and thank God for the gift of his Son. 

 

The message came from John 1, about Jesus "the Word" and "the true light", and our need to receive Him. It wasn't blaring out of a bus's speakers - but it was an emergency alarm just the same. The call was clear - to investigate, to find out, before it's too late.

 

And I find myself wondering: did any more people take that message seriously than the one about the bus? I hope and pray they did…

Posted in On to a Good Thing Dex Fletcher|10:00 AM EST|December 16th 2014

1. Come Home for Christmas

A short video from UCCF about coming home for Christmas.

2. The Pendulum of Growing up Christian

A great little poem from Nicholas McDonald about the realities of being a Christian.

3. Glen Schrivener and Carl Laferton speak...

Listen to them discuss why Tricky was written; how to have a Jesus-centred approach to evangelism; how Christians can speak about homosexuality in conversations with non-Christians; and much more.

4. Christmas Carols Radio

They play none-stop traditional Christmas carols choral music, with Bible thoughts on the nativity. Listen here.

5. Pilgrim's Progress for Free

Desiring God are giving away eBook version of Pilgrim's Progress for free. Get it here!

6. And finally...

Our video of the week, 'Tommy the Tiger' from St. Thomas Church, Norwich:

 

 

Found something that you think should make it on to the On to a Good Thing round-up? Send it to: ontoagoodthing@thegoodbook.co.uk

 

 

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