James's Weblog

Not "Letters to the Seven Churches"

Tue, 18/10/2016 - 12:36 -- James Oakley

It's customary to refer to Revelation chapters 2 and 3 as the "Letters to the Seven Churches".

As I've studied, and we've preached, our way through these chapters, I'm not convinced that's the best heading to give them.

In fact, the whole of Revelation is a single letter. It's an epistle, like Philippians is. We get that from verse 4 that begins:

“John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace …”

The whole of Revelation is a letter. It was written to seven churches in Asia Minor.

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I Stand at The Door and Knock

Tue, 11/10/2016 - 15:13 -- James Oakley

I've heard Revelation 3:20 used many times in an evangelistic talk: Jesus stands at the door of your life and knocks — will you let him in? Here's the verse:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

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Tech Tips: Be Careful Forwarding Mailing List Messages

Tue, 04/10/2016 - 10:58 -- James Oakley

Here's a simple tech tip for you.

You're signed up to some mailing list. It could be for special offers from a business you shop at. It could be a newsletter for a charity. It could be just about anything. In comes something that you think is particularly helpful. You think "I'll forward this to my friends".

Just pause before you do so.

All (well, almost all - I'm sure there are exceptions) mailing list software will rewrite any hyperlinks within the email.

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Fearing and Loving God

Tue, 27/09/2016 - 15:13 -- James Oakley

Sometimes I hear it said that Old Testament ethics can be summed up in the command to fear God, and New Testament ethics can be summed up in the command to love God.

Related, it is sometimes observed that the Old Testament summary of the law is ten sentences that prohibit ("Thou shalt not" - those making this point usually do so quoting the old fashioned way of putting that), whereas the New Testament command is two sentences that are about love ("Love the Lord your God with all …; love your neighbour as yourself".)

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Jesus never said: I am a potato

Tue, 13/09/2016 - 12:25 -- James Oakley

"Mum, why did that man say that Jesus was a potato?" So asked the three-year old girl.

Did I say that? Well, not exactly. But it was something like this:

We were looking, a few weeks back, at John 12:23-33 during our all-age service. Jesus has been approached by some Greeks (who were not Jews) who asked his disciples if they could have the chance to meet Jesus, too. Here's what Jesus said in reply:

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Was, and is, and is to come

Tue, 23/08/2016 - 11:35 -- James Oakley

3 times in the book of Revelation we get this phrase - “Who was, and is, and is to come”.

“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne” (Revelation 1:4)

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” (Revelation 1:8)

Greek Audio Bible: Revelation Chapter 1

Tue, 16/08/2016 - 10:55 -- James Oakley

I'll put this up here, because this may be of help to someone else at some point, but I'm a bit tentative about doing so.

In working on preaching from Revelation chapter 1, I found it helpful to make an audio recording of the Greek of that chapter. Once I'd got to know any vocabulary that I had to look up at first, it gave me an easy way to become more familiar with the chapter, at the same time cutting through the risks of being over-familiar — you have to concentrate while listening to this.

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