Project Timothy March 2013:
“Imagine you’re playing for the greatest team in the world – of course that’s Manchester United (*mutters under breath*, and is met with a chorus of laughter from the room). You’re playing against Real Madrid, and the referee is having an absolute shocker! (more laughs). Your team is losing and the manager decides to bring you off – not a bad idea (*mutters under breath*, chuckles from the floor) – for the greatest player in the world, that’s Wayne Rooney (by now the room is bursting with hilarity) of course. Your team is awarded a penalty and Wayne Rooney steps up to take the penalty, and of course he scores and your team goes on to beat Real Madrid… and of course the entire tournament which is how it should have been. So you’re sitting on the sidelines watching from the bench, here’s the man who, in your place, takes the winning penalty for your team. What do you do? Do you say, “its nothing much, its not me who’s scored…”? Of course not! You leap for joy and shout, “We’ve scored! We’ve scored!” because your team has scored and won! That’s essentially what Jesus did – what we call ‘penal substitution’. (although I must add, not penalty in the penal sense of the word!). He has taken our place and won the approval of God for all of us. And we can celebrate our Champion’s victory.” (Ministry Matters Seminar, 9th March 2013, Saturday @ Kay Poh Road Baptist Church)
That was just one of the many clear analogies and bubbling examples given by Richard Coekin who delivered the seminars at Project Timothy this year. Richard is the director of Co-Mission and senior minister of Dundonald Church in London. He is also involved in ministry in Westminster – speaking regularly at lunchtime meetings and leading a bible study in the House of Lords. (His sermons can be found on The Gospel Coalition here).
There were two night expositions on the book of Joshua, of which my AG (25) went for the second. Here’s a sharing by Shermaine:
On Friday, a bunch of us headed down to Bethesda Church to hear Richard Coekin speak on Joshua 14 and 24. However, what started out as a time of learning turned into a deep shock for me as the night progressed.
“Shopping is equivalent to pornography!” Hearing these words from the speaker’s mouth halfway through the sermon really caught my attention (as I thought somewhat guiltily about the clothes that are on their way to Singapore right now). It was such a drastic comparison, I guess I never thought about things in that way before. But I am going ahead of myself. This statement really struck a chord with me, and I’m hoping it caught your attention too. Now, back to the sermon topic.
The sermon Richard preached on was ‘The Reason We Persevere’. I’m not going to type out the passage here, so you have got to open the bible and read it for yourself. The passage starts off with the topic of inheritance. Just as the Israelites received their inheritance in the land of Canaan, we too, have an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. How then can we receive this inheritance right where we are in our lives right now? Basically, by having wholehearted faith like Caleb. Wholehearted faith is the reason we can persevere.
Wholehearted faith in God’s promise took away Caleb’s fear. This very faith enabled him to trust in the Word of God and to see things in God’s perspective. Confidence in God took away Caleb’s fear when he went to explore the land of Canaan. Even as everyone else was afraid, wholehearted faith altered Caleb’s view of the opposition. This very same faith enabled him to stand up against the crowd of frightened Israelites, and for that, he was rewarded.
Here, Richard (I am calling him this for convenience sake, he isn’t really my friend though) gave a really good story that I really must share. It helped to put things into perspective. There was once this shoe company that sent somebody to go to Africa and set up a shoe shop there. So this guy went over and set up a shop to sell shoes to the people. However after a month, he called the main branch and said, “The people here all do not wear shoes! There is no way the shoes are going to sell! There is no business to be done here!” So saying, the guy packed up and went back to his home country. Not deterred, the shoe company sent another guy to the exact same location to set up a shoe shop where the first guy failed. After a month, the guy called back and said, “The people here all do not wear shoes! Send all the shoes that you can, as quick as you can!” Moral of the story, its all a matter of perspective. Do you have faith that your God is great enough to overcome all challenges?
This very same wholehearted faith made Caleb willing to fight. Even though he was older at the age of 85, he was still as ready to fight for the Lord and go to battle with confidence in God’s help. His faith also provided the ambition of his life and made him welcome a challenge. Right around here, Richard started to talk about what we value in life. He talked about pornography for the guys, and then related it to shopping for the girls. I’m not too sure if he went a little off track after that to talk about how Caleb and his wholehearted faith, is the ideal guy. Girls would want to marry a guy with wholehearted faith that really stems from knowing and loving the One true God, and vice versa. So, then, are we like Caleb in our faith? Are we as convicted in our hearts? Personally for me, I guess its time for a lot less shopping in my heart (Gasp, porn!) and a whole heart of faith in the one that really matters. Because wholehearted faith in God’s promise will prove to be worthwhile.