Though his unconventional style is mildly shocking to the ears of this particular English preacher, who can no longer claim to be in his middle years, Mark Driscoll, coming clearly through my iPod in this last week, has been a huge blessing (www.marshillchurch.org).
As I walked to my office, in hopefully not a vain attempt to lose a few pounds, my spirit was soaring as I heard his outstanding commitment to preaching Christ. His Biblical perspective was magnificent. Verse after verse insisted first on Christ’s humanity and then on His deity. How wonderful to hear preaching so centred in Christ albeit with fascinating contemporary asides. How rarely one hears sermons so exclusively about Jesus and simply talking about Him, focusing on Him, glorying in Him and feeding my soul.
I have also been extraordinarily blessed, and wrote to the author to tell him so, in reading Christopher J.H. Wright’s magnificent book The Mission of God (see my review on the review page). It is so motivational to grasp the grand sweep of God’s historic world plan initiated in the promise to Abraham and being fulfilled as we preach the gospel in city after city and nation after nation.
I was particularly happy to follow that book with Stephen Dempster’s book Dynasty and Dominion in the IVP series New Studies in Biblical Theology. (To be honest there are very few in that series that have not been commendably helpful and although I must personally confess to being a theological lightweight, I enjoy mixing with the heavyweights sometimes.). Against the backdrop of Wright’s book, Dempster’s focus is on God’s intention for man to have dominion as expressed in His initial commission to Adam restated in Psalm 8 and repeatedly expressed in multiplied Scriptures running through the Old Testament. I was stimulated in reading it, particularly following on from Wright’s book since there was very helpful overlap, though Dempster’s focus was more specific. He made so many Old Testament Scriptures so much more relevant in my understanding.
To the unbelieving eye I am sure history looks like one random event following another, but when you know history’s Author your perspective changes.
One further ingredient to my week, which made me chuckle with delight, was hearing about a local pastor’s experience at the supermarket last week. The woman working at the checkout told him that the last person to go through (who had sadly now disappeared out of sight) had told her that God loved her and had a wonderful plan for her life! Lifting her face, she asked, ‘What do you make of that?’ He was delighted to tell her precisely what he made of that! The story is unfinished but let’s be encouraged to keep on sowing even though somebody else might reap.
God promised Abraham centuries ago that his obedience would have international implications. I guess Abraham had never heard of supermarkets, but every time we keep telling the story, the promise is being fulfilled.
Follow up to recent USA visit
On my return from the USA last week it was great to hear of healings following prayer times while I was there. Particularly thrilling was a breakout of healings at Christ Church in Kaiser, Missouri, where one lady was healed from an allergic backlash to eating fish and also from asthma. Since my being there she has happily eaten salmon with no problem and went for a 1-mile run without use of her medicine and with no related difficulties. Also another lady, whose spine was out of line, straightened up, and a further lady with a hip out of line, which gave her great pain, ran around the church building.
Over a dozen or so also came forward at Christian Fellowship in Columbia, Missouri, to testify that they had been healed on the night that I prayed for them. Praise the Lord! God keeps telling us that a new era has started for us. I intend believing Him and keep on pushing the door and looking for fresh manifestations of His presence and power.