Thursday, August 24, 2006

Book Recommendation - Sam Storms, Convergence

This is not a review so much as a recomendation. A personal conflict that has been within me for a while is how do I connect the larger pieces of my theology for consistant ministry, particulary my reformed doctrine and my charasmatic convictions. I.e. how does presestination based soteriology fit with practical exercise of the gifts of prophecy, healing, and tounges? Sam Storms has been there. Storms is an exceptionally gifted theologican, historian, and exegeite, and has a true practical and pastoral approach to word and spirit based ministry. After finishing his book, Convergence, I felt affirmed in my faith and my theology, as well as challenged to defend my calvanistic doctrine and practice more expectantly my charasmatic convictions. Thanx Sam Storms, for you warm, biblical, and practical addittion to the debates, visons of a unified way out, and biblical hopes to truly see a word-spirit convergence.

Buy the book here,

Read an interview with Dr. Sam Storms here,

Learn more about Enjoying God Ministries here,

Green Tea

The Lord has given us so many natural beauties to settle us in peace, and rest us in tranquillity in godly and joyous ways. He gave us calm oceans, he gave us snow-topped Alps, he gave us the horizon, and he gave us green tea.

A friend introduced such a drink to me only two years ago. Unfortunately, it was not a product of a 1000 years Chinese crafted art, but instead a product of 39p ASDA smartprice. After a curious, nose curling whiff, I ventured further (bravely I thought) to take the tiniest of sips through my pursed lips. - I can honestly say that I do not believe I have tasted anything so unbelievably vile in my whole and entire life, and I as child I had a hobby of eating paper.
- This unfortunately put my off the drink completely ever since. -

However through the wise counsel of a very wonderful lady, I have decided to re-address, nay conquer the fear that has tried to take anchor within my tea-less soul. Her counsel was roughly along the lines of; 'hmmm, I’m not sure 39p ASDA smartprice attempt at the Chinese beverage is really a relative way forward. Perhaps you should try something a little more refined?' And so I did, I splashed nearly four times as much on a small box of organic authentic green tea-bags, filled the cup, and took the plunge, expecting death and disaster, however, being strangely rewarded. A curious sensation overcame me, this was...nice...I like this tea, yes...its good. Hmmm. And indeed I am now, Tim Gough, liker of green tea.

Yet this is more than my public confession and allegiance to that wonderful drink, it is to share with you some of its benefits, in the hope that you too, may find green tea. Green tea has its foundations in China, and for thousands of years they have claimed its medical benefits. Recent studies are beginning to support these allegations. The 1994 Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a study suggesting that drinking green tea reduced the risk of oesophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. Further, Purdue University researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also apparently research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol. In fact, Green tea is now known to help prevent cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, infection, and impaired immune function.

This is partially due to the high amounts of catechin polyphenols anti-oxidants, which inhibits the growths of cancer cells, actively destroys cancer cells (without damaging healthy tissue) and strengthens your body’s immune system.

Further, the 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released research, which suggests green tea actually helps dieters to burn calories, and can act as a healthy addiction placebo against excess caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.

In fact, the only negative reports of drinking green tea at the moment is insomnia, and this is simply because green tea contains caffeine. However on average, a cup of green tea contains 30 times less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

Green tea is wonderful, it helps keep us healthy, it provides a wonderful warm drink substitute to heavy caffeine British tea or coffee, and it is a great addition to a bath or sit in the garden. Enjoy this wonderful sense of peace, and health, with a great taste. ...Enjoy green tea.

Intresting Thoughts from D. Field on Global Warming

- thanx David, v-helpful food-for-thought .

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Emotive Singing+Music in Worship

Is it not a beautiful thing when our emotions are stirred and affections awakened by the wonderful things in God's character, His divine plan, and His free and unconditional Gospel?
Why then, as evangelicals do we often feel anxious when either these affections awaken them in us or show themselves in others during music in worship? Surely the act of telling God in such a creative way is primarily about stirring and warming our hearts in joy and love as appropriate responses to His character, plan, and Gospel? -Or at least Jonathan Edwards believed so when he said:

'And the duty of singing praises to God seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned why we should express ourselves to God in verse rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only that such is our nature and frame that these things have a tendency to move our affections.' [Religious Affections - emphasis mine.]

Note, as John Piper writes, 'it is the affections that make worship authentic.' When we place our boundaries in our times of music so tightly so that they engulth emotional reaction to the music, which stirs our hearts to be in a place where we can turn the truths of God we are singing about into praise - we are enguthing the authenticity of our worship to God. Of course we must be careful not to get over-emotional in ways which stir emotions as an end in themselves, this is dangerous and at worse idolatry. Yet we must allow our emotions to be stirred within music, and poetry, so that we can be in a better context emotionally to receive and respond to the beautiful truths in God's word. -The same principle was applied by the puritans in preaching, they would use the most emotive language and imagery to open or create a 'wound' if you will, then they would fill that wound with Biblical substance.

Lets not be a people that honours God with our lips but our hearts be far from Him (Mtt. 15:8), let us long after and desire to be 'true worshippers [who]...worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him' (Jn. 4:23).

Think and meditate upon those biblical giants and their hearts emotional response to their God. Think on David who comes to God with a 'broken and contrite spirit,' (Ps. 51), or Paul as he 'rejoices with great joy' (Phil. 4:10), or upon Christ himself as he is 'filled with anger and grief' (Mark 3:5) or His earnest desire to gather his people as a mother hen, her chicks (Lk. 13:34). - I'm sure you can think of many times throughout scripture the correct response to God is one that is immersed in and emerges from an emotional and affectionate stirring of ones heart. Perhaps you can recall in your own experience, the times where you have felt the greatest faith in God as the times where your emotions have been situationally stirred to call out to him in utter dependence, or great joy and thankfulness.

Lets allow our stony dispositions and occasional harness be rocked and melted by music and singing in worship, so we can appropriately respond to our Father in an affectionate, and praising way. To Him be all the glory! Amen