Sunday, 6 January 2013

Photos of New Zealand

For those who like photos - my photo blog - with occasional reflections on life in New Zealand can be found HERE at 'Orion turns cartwheels'

Through the bible in a year

As it is still early in the year, it may be worth pointing out that I am encouraging my congregation to read through the Bible in 2013

There are some hints and tips for how to approach this, HERE

The scheme through to the end of February HERE

And a daily reflection on one or more of the readings - the latest is HERE - but if you follow the categories tab at the left hand side of the blog 'Through the Bible in a Year' It will take you to the most up to date reflection

Blessings in the LORD on your reading and Life in Him, this year

Sermon for January 6 - Epiphany 2013

I have moved the blog to a new site - but realise that this one still gets quite a bit of traffic

For those looking for my more recent sermons then follow this link

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bible Study notes for Sunday July 29th - 2 Samuel 11

Bible Study notes for Sunday July 29th

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21 - Jesus feeds the 5000 and walks on the water

(You might like to read all three passages first to get a feel for how they might fit together)
For the sake of time we’ll concentrate just on one of the passages for now, again the passage from Second Samuel, but keep in mind the feeding of the 5000

Have someone read it through slowly, whilst everyone else listens - (not following in your own bibles) - asking ‘what catches your attention in this passage? Does it leave you with questions?’

[At whatever point you have but a few minutes left for Study, Make sure to leave time at the end to read it through in this way at the end - ‘What is Christ saying to his church in these verses?’ is there a message for us at St John’s? Respond in prayer]


1.  So this week we return to the story of David, and the well known story of his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah
1.1.                      There are several fundamental principles of our life under God operating here - take a moment to read Genesis 3:1-7 and bear it in mind as you continue the study.
2.   Last week David was at rest and looking around for something to do. Remind one another of what came to David’s mind.
2.1.                       David’s thought seems to be ‘what can I do for the LORD?’. Refresh your memory of the LORD’s response to David (2 Sam 7.8-11)
2.2.                       Discuss the question “Which more commands our attention and our actions, that which the LORD has done for us, or that which we think we might do for the LORD?”
2.3.                      What Does the LORD require of us?
3.  The Old Testament narratives are not mere recounting of events. The writer skillfully draws our attention to certain features [This is why retelling Bible stories in a disconnected manner is unhelpful - we miss the deeper underlying story which is being told. In this respect a more literal translation is also a great help] In this weeks reading we note that David has not gone out with his army to battle. He has remained in Jerusalem
3.1.                      Compare 2 Sam 11.1-2 with 2 Sam 7.1-2
3.1.1.    What are the differences?
3.1.2.    What are the commonalities?
4.  In both cases David responded to what he ‘saw’
4.1.                      Read Jesus teaching from the sermon on the mount, Matthew 6:19-24
4.1.1.    Note that Jesus puts the teaching about our eyes between a teaching on our treasures and our hearts, and about serving God and Mammon. How does this correspond to David and Bathsheba?
4.1.2.    What does this suggest about the problem with our ‘eyes’
4.1.3.    We talk about ‘setting our heart’ on something, or on a course of action. In both cases his response was wrong, in the second calamitously so - By what Sense is David ‘shown’ his errors? (2 Sam 7:4-5; 2 Sam 12:1)
4.1.4.    Reflect back on the primeval sin in Genesis 3 - what is the fundamental conflict regarding the senses?
4.1.5.    In 2 Sam 11:2-4, David ‘Saw’ and ‘took’ Bathsheba - Reflect once more on 2 Sam 7:8-11 - Here David is Told that it is the LORD who has provided all that he needs and more. Next week as the story unravels further and David’s sin comes home to roost, part of the Word of the LORD to David is couched in the same terms if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight 2 Sam 12:8-9. What is the fundamental principle of faith underlying: the response of Eve in the garden; David and Bathsheba and the provision of Bread for the 5000? (You may also like to reflect further on the response of the Father to the Elder Son in the parable of the Prodigal ‘Everything I have is yours’)

[Reading the narrative of 2 Samuel, we may well miss the import of 2 Sam 7, so great is David’s fall in 2 Sam 11, yet it seems clear that David’s heart was wandering from Devotion to God, back in 2 Sam 7. His heart was not set to respond to God’s command, rather he was already looking to be his own lord, casting around for something he could do for God from his own instigation. Becoming the creator of a new reality. Setting himself up as God]

5.  Read the passage from Ephesians 3 - How does this Speak to all we have thought about today? How well do we Hear this? Why does this magnify the significance of ‘praying continually’ as St Paul puts it?
6.  Give thanks to the LORD for is goodness to us. Pray for a heart to desire only to respond to his living Word, the source of Life.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Sermon for Sunday July 22nd, 2012

Sermons and longer pieces have followed the elves and now can be found at

This week's is to be found HERE