Tag Archives: Trinity

Home by another way – A Scripture Index – Pentecost

The gospel of the  Holy Spirit – Acts 2 (page 143)

The sound of three hands clapping – one of my favourite ever sermons – John 16 on the Trinity (page 153)

The cheap cure – The miracle in the water – this was rather a profound sermon when I read it, although can’t remember the exact circumstances exactly which reminds me I must write such things down – 2 Kings 5

Out of the whirlwind – Job 38

Perfect in weakness  – 2 Corinthians 12 (page 170)

To whom can we go – Joshua 24, Ephesians 5, John 6

Famine in the land – Amos 8 (page 182)

The yes and no brothers – Matthew 21 (page 189)

The Wedding Dress – Matthew 22 (page 194)

Bothering God – Luke 18 (page 199)

God of the living – Luke 20 (page 205)

God’s handkerchief – Revelation 7 (page 210) – For all saints day


John Ortberg, 15th September 2013, Transcript is here

Begins by talking about community- that if you have relationships then you are less likely to die in the next year (“Join our house groups otherwise you will die”) and you are more likely to catch cold (“Isolated people are snottier”).  This all comes from a man called Robert Putnam who wrote a book called “Bowling Alone”.

Talked about the first three verses of Genesis, and that already we see God, Spirit and Word – the inner ring at the heart of all social circles.  We must live in such circles of sufficiency.

Community is where we grow.  We can hypothetically believe in Love, but then we can meet real people and suddenly that becomes too difficult.

In community we learn acceptance of each other – it is not for nothing that the two dimensions of the cross point up and across.  This is brought out in Ephesians 2 and John Ortberg says that hear you can insert any kind of hostility instead of Jew and Gentile.

We serve in community.  Volunteering comes from the Latin to give up, and giving up is what God does on the cross.  He is the ultimate volunteer.

Then talks about the kind of community that we need to be – each of us serving and honouring our different gifts, and that is the community of God.

Community is where we are healed and make ourselves accountable to one another. The human is the only animal where we talk about ourselves being naked.  Every other animal does not need clothes.  But we need a place where we can be unveiled to one another.

We die in community

We are resurrected in community

Joseph of Arimathea and the Inner Ring


Then as Jesus dies something happens – for centurion. It is s change in grabbing on to all that is essential. He goes boldly to Pilate. Joseph is now willing to risk everything to bury Jesus.

He is bold in his actions.

He is generous in what he has.

A tomb was a status symbol. A symbol of family wealth. He has brought Jesus into his family space. He is going to have to say to his family “Guess who we are going to spend eternity with?”

And he becomes humble. This buying of linen and wrapping of Jesus. It is a horrible thing to do. This is a cadaver which has been crucified. It is an awful, horrible job. It is normally the women who do this, certainly not the men and certainly not powerful men.

Joseph and Nicodemus are crossing lines all over the place here. The kind if people that the world needs.

This relates to the being born again of John 3. If you want to come in you are going to have to start from nothing. This is the reason good people hate Christians, why many Church goers refuse the gospel we are told that everything good that I do, but that everything I do counts for nothing. Can we not start as an adolescent or teenager. Can i start with a bit?  No you start as a baby, with nothing.

What is it about the death of Jesus that changes?

Joseph has a reality check. He has been trying to hold things in balance. When Jesus he sees thus world that he is clinging on to for what it is. That the works that he is investing  in is not the solution but the problem.

We are trying to keep Jesus in this radical gospel. Unless something radical changes, this is the road to hell.

Joseph took the body of Jesus – something profound in this. He is the one who first takes the body of Jesus. We have to take into ourselves to take the death of Jesus like the Eucharist.

Jesus is a member of the ultimate inner ring. The most exclusive club in everything.
From all eternity they have existed loving and adoring each other.

The doctrine of the Trinity  says at the heart if reality is not a hierarchy if service but a co-dependency of self giving love.

Jesus  left the inner ring. Mark 10:45 probably about the most important verse in Mark. If you want real power to change the world you have to do what I do.

Your job is not to be served but to serve.

Look at the quote from Lewis on the problem of pain.

“In self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives Himself in sacrifice; and that not only on Calvary. For when He was crucified He ‘did that in the wild weather of His outlying provinces which He had done at home in glory and gladness.’ From before the foundation of the world He surrenders begotten Deity back to begetting Deity in obedience. And as the Son glorifies the Father, so also the Father glorifies the Son…There is joy in the dance, but it does not exist for the sake of joy. It does not even exist for the sake of good, or of love. It is Love Himself, and Good Himself, and therefore happy. It does not exist for us, but we for it.” (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pp. 136-38)

Three things that flow from this transformation.

1. Being a Christian is not a matter of being happy. It is if you being so transformed. This us about you being so bad Jesus had to die for you. It is about you being so loved that Jesus died

2. The church will be an odd community.

3. It is not about living with others circling around you but Jesus circling around you and this is the essence if what it is to serve Jesus.

The Spirit and The Feminine

A Treasure We Don’t Understand

Phyllis Tickle at Mars Hill – 3rd May 2009

Very funny intro about not being a true feminist because she has seven children.

Spoke about the 500 year cycles of Church history, and being in the great emergence

Also spoke of prophecy of Joachim of Tournee who spoke about history being divided 2000 year cycles

2000 – 0 – the era of the Father

0- 2000 – the era of the Son

2000 – 4000 – the era of the Spirit

And after that 1000 years of the dispensation.

Exegesis of Genesis 1 – the “Let us” of God, the parts of God, including the feminine – this includes the Shekinah (the ineffable glory and beauty of God) and Sophia (the wisdom of God).  This is not Trinitarianism.

That in each faith we have to cling to our mysteries, these are the parts that we fall down before.

Best way to think about this is to think of H20 and that this is something that we do not know ever as H and 0, but at different times as water and ice and steam.  The best fleshing out of this illustration which I have never been particularly sure of.

Then to Genesis 18 – the three parts of God which visit Sarah

Talks about the three language groups (Latin, Syriac and Greek) that come out of the room at Pentecost, and how these are the forebears of the three great strands of Christianity (Western, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern).

Goes through and Icon which is about this, and explains the meaning of the icon – which is a picture of Genesis 18 and also a picture of the Trinity.

Then talks about the Nicene creed and the Filioque clause (The Filioque clause made interesting, and it’s importance understood – not just an argument over semantics).  For Tickle, the Filioque clause created a hierarchy of Father, Son and then Spirit which relegated the Holy Spirit.  In addition, the Spirit’s identification with the feminine also relegated its importance in patriarchal Western thought.

Tickle then talks about Bet Qu’ol – the daughter of voice, the voice of God which is replaced by the Spirit, but is still present in the gospels.

Trible then moves to John 14, and the feminine task of home preparation in “I go to prepare a home for you” (not sure how accurate this is, check out Rob Bell here).

There is also a closing section on the Spirit who draws beside (the Paraklete), with a quotation from Kipling’s “Mother of Mine, O Mother of Mine”.

The knowing of the Spirit, is an erotic relationship.  Augustine talks about this in his Confessions

“Late have I loved you Oh beauty ever ancient

Ever new

Late have I love you, you were within me, but I was outside

It was there that I searched for you

In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things that you created

You were with me but I was not with you

Created things kept me from you

Yet if they had not been in you, they would not have been at all

You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness

You flashed, you have shown and you dispelled my blindness

You breathed your fragrance on me

I drew in breath

And now I pant for you

I have pasted(?) you, now I hunger and thirst more for you

You touched me and I burned for your peace”

That’s the love affair we are invited to.

C.T.Studd – The Biography – Part 4

A gambler for God

  Key Words Evangelism Risk Adventure
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 127
  Quote On Studd after his mission committee told him he could go to Africa, but not (on doctor’s advice) south of Khartoum:

Penniless, turned down by the doctor, dropped by the Committee, yet told by God to go, what was he to do? “The only honest thing.” Once more he stake all on obedience to God. As a young man he staked his career, in China he staked his fortune, now he staked his life. A gambler for God! He joined the ranks of the great gamblers of the faith: Abraham, Moses, etc. in Hebrews xi, and the true apostolic succession, “Men that have hazarded (gambled with) their liver for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

No wonder he once wrote, “No craze so great as that of the gambler and gambler for Christ was ever cured, thank God!”

His answer to the committee was this, “Gentlemen, God has called me to go and I will go. I will blaze the trail, though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger men may follow.”

He carried out his Master’s word to the letter “He that shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall find it.” The next twenty years were to prove the truth of the last paragraph, “shall find it.”

  References The gamblers of the Faith (Hebrews 11)
Risked their lives (Acts 15:26)
Life for my sake (Luke 17:33)
Loses his life (Matthew 10:39)
Loses his life (Mark 8:35)

Christ’s etceteras

  Key Words Humility Service
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 136
  Quote For this purpose we have banded ourselves together under the name of the Christ’s etceteras, and invite others of God’s people to join us in the glorious enterprise. We are merely Christ’s nobodies, otherwise Christ’s etceteras.

Later Studd writes (page 138)
We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear?

We will have the real holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.

  References The two builders (Matthew 7)

The committee I work under

  Key Words Committee Structure Employment Service
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 142
  Quote Studd:

The committee I work under is a conveniently small Committee, a very wealthy committee, a wonderfully generous Committee and is always sitting in session – the Committee of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We have a multi-millionaire to back us up, out and away the wealthiest person in the world. I had an interview with Him. He gave me a cheque-book free and urged me to draw upon him. He assured me His firm clothes the grass of the field preserves the sparrows, counts the hairs of the children’s heads. He said the Head of the Firm promised to supply all our need, and to make sure, One of the Partners or rather Two, were to go along with each member of our parties, and would never leave us or fail us.

Go Therefore

(The Johannine thunderbolt of Matthew 11:27 comes closest; within the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 13:14 is most similar). The other highpoint is to do with the divinity of Jesus (you can tell a verse refers to the divinity of Jesus when the New World Translation starts to mess around – check verse 17 here), nowhere else in the gospel is Jesus worshipped like this.

There seem to be two things going on here.

The first is timing: that Matthew is only prepared to reveal to us the true identity of Jesus once we have read about his crucifixion and resurrection. Matthew seems to be suggesting that you cannot rush to the divinity of Jesus and the nature of God, these things have to be understood firstly in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The second thing is impact: the minute that Jesus is revealed (“all authority has been given me”), there is an imperative (“Go, therefore”). insight into the nature of God must lead to action.


The section begins with “And the eleven” – a sign of inadequacy, fracture and past failure. The fellowship is sent out fully aware of its vulnerability and past failures. However it does not wait for perfection before being sent. Similarly “some doubted” – Jesus does not spend time chastising or pastoring the doubters – they receive the same command. You obey, even when you doubt (which seems to me to be the key different between this doubt and the doubt of James 1:6-7.

All The Nations

Much has been mentioned in recent years that the command to make something disciples of the nations, of the ethnoi, has a post-modern equivalent in the command to reach people groups, the contemporary tribes. The command is something like “go therefore and make disciples of the goths, the punks, the skate-kids, the geeks, the nerds, the oldies, the yuppies, the Generation X-ers, the Baby-boomers, the bankers, the single parents”.

My own view (having done a wee bit on ethnic groupings for the forthcoming Ruth paper) is that “ethnos”, nation, must always contain an element of biological descent. You totally choose to belong to a nation, or decide who else belongs. Nations are partly self-selecting, but in the main decided by circumstances outside our control.

There is a comparison here with the command to “love the neighbour” – you love the ones that circumstance gives you, not the ones that you choose.

An application of this is that you deal with folk in the context you find them, that you deal with them corporately and that you do not exercise too much selection in terms of which “type” of folk you go after.

Disciples Not Converts

This is something that has strong present resonances – that it is the job of the Church and the leadership of the Church to equip their people with a depthful faith. Willard says much about this, in his call for the Church to concentrate more on discipleship and view conversion as a side-effect; as opposed to concentrating resources on conversion and then leaving people to their own devices after they have made a regular commitment.

There is much on this in my current reading through 1 Corinthians. Paul is not so worried about baptisms, and more that he preach and that he build a Church which can survive the fire of Jesus’ return.