Tag Archives: Gift

Gift and Regifting

This is the sermon from January 18th, transcript is here.

This is all motivated going through giving as a key love language, and that if anything is the love language of God, then this is it.

Many ideas come from Peter Leithart’s book “Gratitude: An Intellectual History”.

It says that Jesus is the most influential person in the history of giving, undermining the Roman system of Patronage (quite a lot of detail on this here) which was all about calculated giving, and giving to create an oppressive sense of obligation.  Jesus was completely removed from this idea, and that in this agape took on Rome, and agape one.

Continue reading


March 17th 2013 – Transcript is here


Begins by talking about the amount of stuff that we have (and later the realisation is that the thing that we consume eventually consumes us) and the whole storage industry (and a nice link with the man who built barns because he didn’t have enough room for his stuff).

There is also some meditation on keystone habits – habits that can have a transformative effect on us – like food journalling being one example.  The keystone habit of the early Christians was generosity.  They were not known for what they believe, but for their generosity.  The biggest worry that John Ortberg has about his congregation is not that they have the wrong doctrine, but that they are consumed with the love of money.

We will say things that money is not important, but that is a lie that we tell ourselves.  Look at our gameshows, they betray the real things that we value.  Nobody has a gameshow called “What wants to have a good character” or “What wants to develop more deep friendships.”

Final points are:

1. Generosity is how I learn the best stuff in life isn’t stuff.

2. Generosity creates radical humility before God

3. Generosity strikes at our keystone sin – the first sin was the sin of consumption

4. Generosity is God’s keystone habit

Finishes with a reverse offering where everyone is given a dollar bill with the legend on it “In God we Trust”

All In – Serving



Ministry is that which is called, that which draws strength, which blesses others, which grows me.


The idea that Ortberg says that the Holy Spirit calls to something that only we have been given to do, and the tragedy of the gifts not being used.


Gifts are like carrots that the farmer has at the market at the end of the day, you either give them away or they go rotten.


We need to talk about Rewards, because Jesus spoke a lot about Rewards, and how they are given when we give of ourselves, and the joy of God saying to us “Well done.”


Nancy sat on the seat for the whole of this talk and she did not talk, and actually she found this quite comfortable, and she was able to think about a few other things that she needed to do, but actually she was called to get up out of the seat an serve.


Talks about the story of David Livingstone when he was a small boy in Blantyre, when the offering went around, not having any money, and being so inspired by what Christ had done for him that he put his whole self into the basket.


I think about this flawed man Livingstone with many problems, and with a legend that does not always tally with critical history, still being so much more because he put his whole self into the basket.

The Boy Is The Gift



The gift is the boy.


We miss the gift, the gift is a confusion to us, a source of irritation, something that that we don’t understand, something that vexes us, something that we rarely appreciate, and it is the boy.


I love the fact that he comes from Hamilton, attends Townhill Primary, and I also love the fact that in real life his name is Lewis.


One of the great gifts of this nativity play and the shows that are on at this time of year, is that a group of people who irritate you, who arouse in you great emotions of tiredness and irritation and fury are unveiled for us as the gifts that they are.


And the great message that we have at Christmas, is that the boy is the gift.


And we don’t spot it…


This is the gift, this child, this baby boy.


Sure there is a gift that the boy holds in his hands,

It might be a toaster, a DVD player, a hot water bottle, his and hers matching dressing gowns,

And they will be unwrapped, they will be appreciated,

But the gift, really is something that will stay with them longer than all these things


The gift is the boy.

What they see, these parents through blurred eyes, is the gift,

But what they see above all, what we have delighted in through this whole advert

With his funny expressions, his hope that that wizard magic would speed up time,

What we remember, what they spot in this moment

Is that the gift is the boy

People Sing Songs About Him

People sing songs about him at Christmas time.

Because our deepest emotions, our deepest truths about him

Are found in song


Mary sings, and Zechariah sings and Simeon sings and the angels sing.

They sing, because songs are the place where people are able to rejoice in the gift.

In amongst the busy-ness, the fury, the irritation, they are the place we spot the gift.


This the time of year I receive the most hymn requests,

The place where people are most passionate that their hymns is included,

Because in the hymn people want something

And I suggest it is that they need, want to, at some deep level

Spot the gift.

We Sing Songs

So in song we will sing to the people we love

“you to me are everything, the sweetest song that I could sing, Oh baby”

“All I want for Christmas is you”

“after all, you’re my wonderwall, baby, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.”

“you’re my bridge over troubled water”

“The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you”

“You’re just too good to be true 

‘t take my eyes off you 
You’d be like heaven to touch 
I wanna hold you so much 
At long last love has arrived 
And I thank God I’m alive 
You’re just too good to be true 
Can’t take my eyes off you”


And we will sing to this baby

“God of god, light of light”

“Veiled in flesh the godhead see, hail the incarnate deity”

“Hail the heaven-born prince of peace, hail the sun of righteousness”

“King of all the world”

“beloved and fair, Christ the Redeemer is here, saviour since thou art born”

“The prince of glory was his name”

“the everlasting Light, and the hopes and fears of all the years”

“heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign”

“Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray”


The gift this Christmas is the boy.

We sing songs, because somehow song unwraps the gift for us.


He is the friend in every lonely circumstance

He is the wisdom in every confusion

He is the sacrifice to remove every guilt

He is the price to set us free from every tyranny

He is the brother who gives us a new family

The teacher who shines light that we can see

The power who helps us become the best hopes we have for ourselves

He is the prince who has defeated evil

The king who promises justice

The love that will not let us go

The God who alone is worthy of our best


And he is given to us


As the ancient prophet put it

And urges us to see

In our prayers, our allegiance, our intention, our love

Unto us a son is born

Unto us a child is given


This Christmas, we sing

And in our singing we spot the gift

The gift is the boy