I have never been afraid to state my opinion. Coming from a family who don't talk that openly about a lot of things, it's something I have tried to counteract in my adult life. However the trouble with stating an opinion is that you are faced with a dilemma if you are proved wrong. You either ignore it and pretend that you didn't state your original opinion or you confess you were wrong and show evidence to the contrary. I took time to state my unhappiness with Mark Driscoll's ministry and why I wouldn't be going to "Together on a Mission" this July - but Terry Virgo and Luke Wood between them managed to convince me that the price would be too costly to miss Brighton altogether! So I admitted that.
Just so with my concern on an over-emphasis on the Cross of Christ. I have always been somewhat bothered with SGM's preference in this area. "We will never move beyond the Cross" and so on and so on. Ern Baxter preached a masterful sermon on the "Neglect of Resurrection" and I think that is still a problem. Surely Cross and Resurrection must stand of necessity together. If we are going to use the "Cross" as shorthand for the "Gospel" then let's be clear in preaching to make plain that there is more to the picture than Jesus hanging broken and bleeding on the Cross. The story didn't end there! Because if it had done our faith "would be in vain".
I am thrilled therefore to see that C J Mahaney took time to preach on this recently (HT: Tony Reinke) - the video just won't play on this website so here is the link. To make up for this lack of video footage I thought I would post some far more awesome quotes from Rob's last sermon on "Resurrection Power" - this is from "Invading the Impossible Part 11"!
"The Resurrection is more than a historical fact, it's more than a doctrine - it has to be a daily life experience ... When the Resurrection is preached not just as a historical fact, not just as doctrine but when it is preached with apostolic revelation of how the power of the resurrection relates to daily living then you will see much grace come upon the Church and great power for the miraculous will be manifested in the Church".
And finally I've been relatively quiet this weekend because I had a near-death encounter that somewhat shook me up. I was driving down the M25 to a engagement and was in the fast lane (travelling under the speed limit for the cynics among you!) and my driver's front wheel blew out. I have never had this happen to me before so was somewhat terrified by the very loud bang and the resulting chaos. I must testify however to the manifest Presence of God in the car and on me at the time. I felt absolutely no terror or fear (until it was all over and I was a bit shaky!) - and I absolutely knew that it was not my time to die ... yet. Henceforth I was absolutely safe.
Those who know more about cars than I do tell me that I am incredibly fortunate - apparantly a driver's wheel blowing out at that speed should have caused at least an impressive overturning of the car but I absolutely knew that angels were present in the car enabling me to keep some degree of control over the car. My dear friend Julie said something very profound in an email to me when I told her about it - that I think is true:
"I'm convinced for every time we're aware of our lives being saved there are many more we're unaware of. Every time I drive by an accident that has happened minutes before I think of things that delayed me at the last minute and kept me from possibly being on that spot to be in the accident. It does shake you up though! The devil can't get rid of you that easily though I can see why he'd give it a shot!".
Here's the offending tyre!