Tag Archives: church

The Trinity in Revelation – so what?

Revelation has the most developed trinitarian theology in the New Testament, with the possible exception of the Gospel of John…

At the same time as it withholds the glory of God from a world in which the powers of evil still hold sway, it recognises the presence of God in this present world in the form of the slaughtered Lamb and the seven Spirits who inspire the church’s witness. By placing the Lamb on the throne and the seven Spirits before the throne it gives sacrificial love and witness to truth (emphasis mine) the priority in the coming of God’s kingdom in the world, while at the same time the openness of the creation to the divine transcendence guarantees the coming of the kingdom. God’s rule does not contradict human freedom, as the coercive tyranny of the beast does, but finds it fulfilment in the participation of people in God’s rule: that is, in the coincidence of theonomy and autonomy.

Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge University Press, 1993), 164.

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A strategy for growing small groups


Today ( Sunday 20th July) is Small Groups Day at St Pauls.

Why is that?

Two years ago at St Paul’s, we decided to re-engineer our Small Groups year. Instead of running on the default calendar year (Jan – Dec), we moved to the financial year model (July – June). We did this for a number of reasons:

1. We found that trying to get groups up and running during January – February was very difficult. Everybody is trying to settle into the rhythm of a new year with all of its commitments.

2. We found that there was lots of competition for ‘air time’ during the beginning of the year to give small groups any profile at all. There are youth camps and the start of all the programmes, let alone the big push in our first term preaching programme. There was no space.

3. We found that asking people to think about intentionally dividing their groups to create new groups at the end of the year got lost in all of the busyness around end of school year and Christmas and summer holidays.

So, we changed the calendar.

Our Small Groups Year now begins at the start of Term 3, which is mid July. This gives us several advantages:

1. We have a clear space to have a dedicated recruitment drive into Small Groups in our church, that will happen every year.

2. We can ask people to join Small Groups at a time of year when the rest of life is fairly stable. This means people know when they have time to come out to a group. It also means our groups are stable over the upheaval that is Christmas and summer holidays.

3. We have a fixed point in the calendar (a ‘rock in the road’) that forces every small group to evaluate where they are up to, and be intentional in continuing or rebirthing or ending. This means there is a focus point for the training and sending out of co leaders who can start more groups.

4. We have 6 months lead up at the front end of the year where we can train new leaders to be ready for those we recruit at Small Groups Day.

To mark the beginning of the Small Groups year, we have Small Groups Day. We commission leaders for the year, we pray for those who are in groups, and we invite those who are not yet in groups to join.

Of course, people can (and do) join Small Groups at any point of the year. We have other processes for this. But Small Groups Day means that once a year, we have focused attention and profile on Small Groups, and an intentional recruitment drive for all those not yet in a group.

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My favourite song from the new CityAlight album

New CityAlight album “Yours Alone”, from St Pauls Castle Hill in Sydney, Australia.

Last Sunday saw the launch of the new album from the music ministry (“CityAlight”) of St Paul’s Castle Hill, “Yours Alone” (available here).

This album features 10 brand new songs written by the team at St Pauls, and 1 energetic rearrangement of a classic hymn, ‘Nothing But the Blood’. The songs have been sung and loved by the folk at St Pauls over the last 18 months, and it is a delight to record them and make them available to the wider world. A huge thank you to all of the music and production team that worked so hard to turn a dream into a reality that will serve the wider church!

I really like all of the songs that were recorded live at St Paul’s, but I do have a favourite.

My favourite is ‘Praise the Saviour’, and if you look at the lyrics below, you might see why.

Jonny Robinson

All my sin was so contagious
All my failing so outrageous
Says the Saviour, “I will pay this!”
Praise the Saviour, Jesus

I was lost once, full of hate then
If He left us who could blame him?
Says the Saviour, “I will claim them!”
Praise the Saviour, Jesus

Such a freedom! Who could earn this?
Who could pay for this forgiveness?
Says the Saviour, “It is finished!”
Praise the Saviour, Jesus

Praise the Saviour, praise the King
This our song, our song shall be! (x3)

Praise the Saviour, praise the King

Now, the Treasure of my whole life
I will stand soon by Your own side,
Says the Saviour, “Welcome home child!”
Praise the Saviour, Jesus

© 2014 CityAlight Music
CCLI # 6429010

This song combines 3 things that make the classic old timeless hymns so great, and hopefully makes this a classic being sung in 50 years time across the world as well:

1. Great theology.

2. Wonderful poetic expression of that great theology.

3. A powerful, easily singable melody.

The last verse in particular is incredibly moving, and a timely reminder of the hope that Christians have in the face of a world that forgets the eternal in favour of the here and now.

Do yourself a favour and check out this song, and all the songs (here), and may they bless you and your church.

[All the lyrics and charts are available for free on the website as well]

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