A throw of the dice?

After Judas had gone his own way and thrown away God’s gift of purpose for his life, the disciples selected two candidates to compete for the missing post of apostle and threw dice. Matthias ‘won’, according to the story.\r\n\r\nBut I wonder if they had waited – rather than select the best candidates around at the time, and had prayed rather than thrown dice, whether Paul, who seemed to be God’s choice, would have come into the church sooner?\r\n\r\nIt seems that their criteria for selection – length of service, the new candidate should have been there from the beginning – was nowhere near the criteria God used in choosing Paul.\r\n\r\nWhich reminds me of Neil Cole’s comment, that the leaders of the church of the future are no yet in the church.

The Last Question

The last question the disciples asked of Jesus was about nationalism.\r\n

“Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel now?

\r\nJesus’ response tells us that they had missed the point of the previous three years.\r\n\r\nThe last words Jesus said to the leaders of his emerging church framed their work in local, regional, national and global terms.\r\n

“…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, even to the ends of the world”

\r\nWe need to globalists, not nationalists or localists.

10 Spiritual Disciplines for Living Well

Working in inner city and urban parishes tends to demand a simplified approach to spiritual life, hence ‘The Big Four of Discipleship’ or ‘The 4 Ws’\r\n\r\nBut sometimes more nuance is required, so this morning I jotted down these 10 disciplines I’m trying to build into my life. The are – in no particular order -\r\n


  1. reading scripture
  2. \r\n

  3. prayer
  4. \r\n

  5. experiencing solitutude
  6. \r\n

  7. reading books
  8. \r\n

  9. observing a sabbath rest
  10. \r\n

  11. worship – by which I mean songs and hymns
  12. \r\n

  13. fitness
  14. \r\n

  15. memorising scriptures
  16. \r\n

  17. helping others
  18. \r\n

  19. giving to others.
  20. \r\n

\r\nIt’s a beautiful Saturday. I wonder how many of these can be achieved wandering around the city?

Acts 23 – lessons in spiritual guidance

The apostle Paul has a sense of God’s guidance in Acts 23:11, where it records God as saying “Now you’re going to be my witness in Rome”.\r\n\r\nFrom then on Paul makes no plans of his own, and the details of various plots work together to bring Paul to Rome.\r\n\r\nWithout going into the whole story (it’s definitely worth reading in Acts) the numbers of people involved are huge.\r\n


  • Chief Priests, High Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees – the religious establishment.
  • \r\n

  • The Roman Captain, 2 centurions, 200 soldiers, 75 cavalry officers, 200 light infantry – the political establishment.
  • \r\n

  • 40 murderers on a pact to starve unless the kill Paul.
  • \r\n

  • And Paul’s nephew, who warns the Roman Captain of the guard of the plot to kill Paul.
  • \r\n

\r\nLet’s say around 600 people, working over 24-48 hours, which resulted in Paul being put under house arrest in Rome.\r\n\r\nSometimes Paul ‘decided to move on’ (Acts 19:21), then other times he acted on dreams, or visions, or the Spirit ‘stopped’ him. And then there were 600 unconnected people working together.\r\n\r\nIt seems that God is flexible on how he works out his purposes – with us, in us,through us, and through others.