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Rest – where does it fit into a Christian’s life?

Rest – where does it fit into a Christian’s life?

By on May 7, 2014 in Blog |

Finding enough rest is an issue I have battled with since I was a young child. I struggle to find time to rest and even when I am resting I feel lazy and can only think about the list of things that I should/ could be doing! Part of the reason I have decided to write about rest is because of this difficulty. It is something that has been highlighted within my study at KST and is having a huge impact on my life. In September 2012 during our module on Genesis, Dave Perry spent some time teaching on the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3): what this meant for people at the time and importantly what it means now. The key point that struck me was this: ‘God is so effortlessly in control of his world, he can take a day off!’ For the last year and a half I have taken 24 hours ‘rest’ each week, generally falling sometime between Saturday and Sunday. When I say ‘rest’ I mean that I’ve put away anything related to my job. I have found this an extremely helpful and refreshing discipline – it allows me the time to ‘switch off’ from the work which can become all encompassing. However, here’s the bad news: I often do not feel ‘rested’ after this break, as I fill it with jobs like cleaning the house or completing assignments! Rest is not only relevant in the specific context of the Sabbath, it actually ‘becomes a powerful theological theme throughout the Bible. Joshua 21:44 says “The Lord gave them rest on every side…”; Mark 4:38- “Jesus himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion…”; Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. What is rest? The dictionary defines rest as “cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength”. What does it really mean to rest? What does this mean in a Christian context? We don’t want to cease to do the work of God. Does this mean ceasing from ‘secular work’? (if there is such a thing?!) Does it mean taking family time and not attending church ‘meetings’? I’ve been thinking about what...

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10 Reasons to Consider KST

10 Reasons to Consider KST

By on May 6, 2014 in Blog |

  Have you seen our student blog posts and wondered whether KST is for you? Prospective students are welcome to visit us for free to see KST in action (see taster days), but if you’re unable to make it, the following is for you… We asked our current students to review a recent teaching weekend and asked them:   “What was the highlight of your weekend at KST? Here is a selection of their replies: 1. “The sense of community on the course”. 2. “Having time to worship and pray together”. 3. “The teaching and fellowship time with others”. 4. “Finding out that things in my life have been used by God even if I did not know at the time, and that I am part of something bigger than a local church – God’s kingdom”. 5. “The spontaneous sharing of communion during the lectures”. 6. (From a 2nd year student) “Realising how far I had come since this time last year. Meeting up with friends”. 7. “Studying soteriology with Steve Jones – it raised lots of things to chew over. He helped me to reflect on the nature and content of mission in a new way”. 8. “Great teaching, but also loved the way we all passionately engaged in conversation about our last assignment over coffee, then over lunch and even in our free time. It is a privilege to be part of KST”. 9. “Really good to have time and space to catch up with people. I didn’t know much about the book of Revelation, but Steve Thomas took the fear of the unknown out of it”. 10. “The topics all came together more than I expected them to and left me with a fresh sense of how awesome God is (in the real sense!) and challenged me to re-prioritise my own worship of Him and rethink my approach to the great commission”. KST offers a fantastic learning environment, which is about more than just accumulating knowledge. Our courses are truly transformational – helping you grow in Christ as you apply your heart and mind to study. If you are interested in studying with us please contact...

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Water water everywhere

Water water everywhere

By on May 3, 2014 in Blog |

When you’re immersed in something, there’s often nothing better than trying to step back and look at the situation through God’s eyes. I have not quite been literally immersed in it, but the recent flooding affected me wherever I went. A few weeks ago I started with trying to get to the King’s Centre in Oxford for a Sunday meeting of our church, with waters lapping against it. Then from Oxford to Swindon by train on Monday morning, with the train travelling at a walking place where the water covers the tracks. Only to work in an organisation which funds flooding research and to work closely with the Met Office and Environment Agency on this. Mercifully, I live up a hill, so only a flood of Noah’s proportions could affect me there! The flood recorded in Genesis 6-9 was the “natural” event that delivered an irreversible step change in the planet. Many of those taking a creationist position on the origin of the world reflect on the fact that ‘the waters above the firmament'[1] may have been a water vapour layer above the earth’s atmosphere that led to a highly protected environment where dinosaurs could live and woolly mammoths could later be found in an arctic location where they would not have survived the cold[2]. The flood was caused by this water falling on the earth. Whatever your inclination concerning these early stories of Genesis, it is fair to say that traditions of deluge are found amongst all the great traditions of the human family and these agree to a substantial degree with the Biblical account. The most remarkable of these traditions is that recorded on tablets prepared by order of Assur-bani-pal, the King of Assyria, with copies dating back to 2000 BC[3]. There is one major difference in the Bible from the other narratives: the flood story ends with a covenant, reinforced by a rainbow (another natural phenomenon)[4]. God promises never to flood the earth again. I find it fascinating to see that, in spite of localised flooding occurring at different points in the Bible, when it reaches the climax of history, the judgements of God in Revelation are accompanied by earthquakes and hailstorms rather than floods.[5] (Interestingly,...

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Does the church grow its own vegetables?

Does the church grow its own vegetables?

By on Apr 30, 2014 in Blog |

Some time ago I was quite amused when I heard the speaker at a large Christian gathering suggest that ‘the church grows its own vegetables’. Taken at face value it’s quite a witty comment; but if you go beyond the humour, there’s a serious point being made about how people are equipped in churches to engage with scripture and grow in to maturity. The author of Hebrews (in chapter 5) rebukes the church on its lack of understanding of the most fundamental truths of God, using the analogy of infants needing milk whilst the mature feast on solid food. He uses similar language writing to the church in Corinth. As new Christians they had been supplied not only with spiritual blessings but also with every spiritual gift (1Cor1:4-9). Likewise the Corinthian believers seemed to have a taste for the breathtaking but failed to evidence a maturity which equalled their ability to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Cor3:1-4). Reading those passages has made me wonder if a letter from Paul or one of the other apostles to the church in the UK in 2014 would bear some of the same language characterised in 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5? Firstly let me say I love the church and more importantly God loves the church. It’s described as the bride of Christ and a man doesn’t take a bride who he isn’t utterly in love with! I really appreciate all that I have learnt in my local church. Without doubt I would not be the Christian I am today without it. My church has encouraged me to serve, pray and enabled me to encounter the life changing power of God. What (and I don’t think it’s on its own in this) it hasn’t been so good at is equipping me to engage with the Bible and grow into that maturity Paul is talking about; which is one of the reasons I decided to enrol at Salt & Light Ministries’ Bible School. At King’s School of Theology I’m learning to use the tools of how to interpret scripture to understand what the text meant then (exegesis) and to apply its meaning now (hermeneutics). Authors Fee & Stuart suggest that anyone...

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Nothing new under the sun

Nothing new under the sun

By on Apr 21, 2014 in Blog |

It can’t have escaped your notice – and if it has, where’ve you been? – that we’re living in a post-modern age. You don’t have to understand the term, spend any time analysing the philosophical idea or even care, but you’ll recognise the characteristics of the culture. Individualism, consumerism, relativism, pragmatism, spiritual subjectivism, nowism – ‘we want it all and we want it now’ –are features (or should that be symptoms?) of a PO-MO culture (that’s post-modern to you and me!) We engage with them on a daily basis. No, more than that, we’re immersed in them and generally subjected to them from all directions 24/7. As much as we’d like to be unaffected by their influence we pretty much can’t help it; we’re a product of post-modernity and being the passionate, theological and missionally-minded Christ-followers we are this is a problem. How do we share the good news of the necessary and saving work of Jesus Christ in a culture that has no need of a saviour? How do we talk about forgiveness and atonement with a culture that scorns absolutes? And how do we talk about justification and sanctification in a culture that no longer has a vocabulary for it…? I read that the Evangelical Alliance has begun an initiative asking how we should contextualise the message of the gospel for the 21st century, exploring what it should sound like and how we can communicate it to different sectors of society. How do we bring the whole gospel to the whole world? Exactly what our question should be: “How do we frame and phrase the gospel to be all things to all people?” We know the gospel is true and true for all people. The challenge is making it relevant to everyone without changing its central message or compromising the character of God. An unbalanced emphasis on ‘God is love’ leads to universalism; inclusiveness without righteousness leads to the redefinition of marriage… As real as it may seem – ‘I feel it so it must be true!’ – it’s misguided to think it’s harder than ever to win the lost. Many even say it’s easier in an age of spiritual seeking and acceptance of any and every...

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WHY ?????????

WHY ?????????

By on Apr 19, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Sue suggests listening to this song whilst reading her blog. This  is my lovely husband Nick – he is Missions Director for LifeChurch Manchester.  He became ill after a trip to Kazakhstan in October 2010.  (Don’t let that put you off going, it’s a great place!).  I have watched him suffer over the last four years; he has had major surgery for ulcerative colitis, crohns and various other problems. The other photo/image is of Job!  I am very proud of how Nick has handled suffering, given that he is not as blameless and upright as Job.  Yet there have been times when, like Job, I have shouted, screamed, cried “Why????”, particularly whilst out running.  Often in my mental anguish I have been trying to relate “our” experience to the unchanging character of God.  One doesn’t have to live long to experience suffering and frustration.  When unexpected and unexplained things happen and it all goes horribly wrong, where do you run to? As Christians if we neglect to read the book of Job, it will be to our own detriment. I have discovered that  it is a unique contribution to the word of God. I even wonder was Job the greatest believer of all time? Would I have included Job in the canon?  A few more nice psalms perhaps?  Job shows us that God allows suffering.  There is no escape from His sovereignty, yet He cannot be credited with evil. Is this a test of faith for Nick and I?  Does God have divine confidence in us? Should we take only good things from God and not trouble? (Job 2 v10).  We perhaps make God in our image, considering Him as we would like Him to be or how we think He should be. Using our own mind as a compass, we can struggle to make sense of apparent unfairness. Job has provided both a backbone and a language for our pain. In my darkest moments, seeing my husband suffer, Job’s wife’s words were not far from my tongue. “Are you still holding on to your integrity?  Why don’t you just curse God and die?”  I am not proud of this and I do not believe we are called to...

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