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Posted in Relevant News Rachel Jones|10:01 AM BST|April 24th 2014

A new report this week showed that “violent crime is continuing a long-term fall in England and Wales”. Data from hospital emergency departments shows a 12% fall in injuries from violent crimes, with 32,800 fewer victims than the previous year. With just one exception, violent crime has fallen every year since 2001. It’s not an isolated trend either. One expert is quoted as having said: “Violence is falling in many Western countries and we don’t know all the reasons why”.

There are a number of possible reasons. The experts link the fall in violence to declining rates of binge drinking. Disposable income has fallen as the price of alcohol has increased—and, intriguingly, the cultural attitude to alcohol among young people appears to be changing. Perhaps all those TV adverts and tedious PSHE lessons in schools spelling out the dangers of excessive drinking have proved effective.

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Posted in Relevant News Carl Laferton|3:40 PM BST|April 23rd 2014

Dear David,

Thanks very much for putting Christianity back on the front pages of the papers by claiming, as our Prime Minister, that this is a Christian nation. I notice that you’ve been getting some flak from people who don’t think this is, or should be, a Christian country.

And the thing is, David, that they’re right.

This isn’t a Christian nation. And it never has been. There’s no such thing as a Christian state, with borders and land and law enforcement and so on. There was once a nation that collected all God’s people into one place, with civic laws and a penal code and so on. It was called Israel, and it existed until Christ came, and explained that his kingdom is not of this world, recognizes no borders, and whose only land in this world right now is the hearts and bodies of his subjects, what he called 'his church' (that's not the same thing as the Church of England, David, though part of that denomination's membership are included in it). It’s only because Christ came and turned the centrifugal force of Old Testament Israel into the centripetal force of the New Testament church that our nation has any of his people living in it at all. While Israel was to be a light to the nations, now the church is to be the light in the nations.

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Posted in Relevant News Alison Mitchell|4:55 PM BST|April 22nd 2014

Did you know that yesterday was Charlotte Brontë's 198th birthday? I didn't. But Google kindly told me when I logged in.

Did you know that today is Earth Day? Again, I didn't - but Google came to the rescue again, with an animated doodle this time. I enjoy those ones - do you? They keep me on the Google page for longer, and reinforce whichever special day it is. My favourites are the games - especially when they reinvented Pacman, a game I spent far too much time on as a student…

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Posted in On to a Good Thing Phil Grout|4:16 PM BST|April 22nd 2014

1. Everyday Church ebook - just £6!

Get the ebook version of Everyday Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis for just £6!.

2. The Preacher’s Cheat-Sheet

Tim Challies shares two lists that help him prepare to preach.

3. Every Christian’s 2nd Most Important Book

Garrett Kell at All Things for Good considers the second most important book for every Christian.

4. What will they hear next weekend?

After the Easter weekend, Aaron Armstrong looks at this question.

5. And finally...

This week's video of the week, ‘The Reality of the Resurrection’:

 

 

Found something that you think should make it on to the On to a Good Thing round-up? Send it to: ontoagoodthing@thegoodbook.co.uk

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Helen Thorne|12:42 PM BST|April 22nd 2014

Last weekend I decided to do a straw poll. I asked a selection of my friends a simple question: why did you leave church as a teenager?

There was a range of answers. Boring services, lack of peers, pressure of studies all reared their head. But there were 3 others factors that loomed much larger:

Faith wasn't shown to be rational

"I had questions. Lots of questions. I was being bombarded with science and secular philosophy at college and it didn't fit with what the Bible was saying. I wanted to understand why. I asked my youth leaders to explain how I could be sure that the Bible was right and the teaching I was getting Monday to Friday was wrong (or of less importance). They simply told me to believe. I guess it wasn't a heretical answer by the church's standards but it wasn't a helpful one. It left me with the impression that Christianity was a blind faith rather than a faith based on reason and facts. And so I walked."

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Posted in Useful Resources Dean Faulkner|11:31 AM BST|April 22nd 2014

As we look back on Easter 2014, it is plain to see that the church has a very different place in our society now to that of the 20th century. Where the church was a fairly focal point of both local life and the state as a whole a hundred years (maybe even 30 years) ago, now the church is seen to have no real place in society. We have become a nation that used to be Christian, now Jesus is no more than a name from the past or a baby that appears at Christmas.

This is why Everyday Church is important for us to read. Not just leaders of the church, but also the 'everyday Christian.' What Chester & Timmis do is to show the state of the church as it is today and how we 'should do church' in light of the culture we live in. Their argument is for us to show our culture that church isn't a building but a life lived as Christians together.

There isn't anything radically different here compared to other books of a similar nature but it is a model that is clearly producing fruit in a tough area of the UK. The authors want to show us how living lives with gospel intentionality has been far more beneficial than just getting people to come to an event in a church building. This is so helpful to be reminded of and the examples they give of how it has been worked through in their ministry add weight to their argument.

What they do in Sheffield won't exactly fit into every church setting throughout the country but their heart for the lost people of the UK will. This book is invaluable if we are to reach a culture/country with the love of Jesus and the hope of eternity.

Read more HERE and get the ebook for just £6 until midday on Thursday. Use code ece0414 at the checkout.

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Helen Thorne|3:00 PM BST|April 21st 2014

"But I don't want to sit down... I want to be out doing something..."

A familiar cry during the Easter break. Children liberated from the structure of school, and fueled with more chocolate than might be ideal, want to bounce. And why not? They are children after all!

But how can parents (and grandparents and aunts and godparents and friends) harness some of that boundless energy and creativity and use it this week to help their children understand the gospel better?

One way is to encourage them to tell the Easter story not just listen to it. A drama, a puppet show, a powerpoint presentation, a collage or painting, a photo story, an acted scene videoed and edited by them, a song written and performed all engage children (and adults for that matter) in the Easter story in new ways.

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Posted in Fighting the Monday Feeling Rachel Jones|6:00 AM BST|April 21st 2014

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Romans 6:4-7

Posted in Useful Resources Mike McKinley|3:00 PM BST|April 20th 2014

In first-century Israel, there was an elaborate process for preparing a body for burial, using spices and ointments and a linen shroud. But Jesus died on a Friday afternoon, and the Sabbath—the day of rest—began at sundown on Friday evening. People would take time on Friday to prepare their food and get things in order so that they wouldn’t have to work on the Sabbath.

All of which meant that the people who wanted to bury Jesus didn’t have much time. Jewish custom forbade this kind of activity on the Sabbath, and so Jesus’ body only received half the attention it would normally have received. The faithful women who had been with Jesus noted the location of the tomb and went home to prepare the spices. Their plan was to wait until after the Sabbath was over and then, as soon as it was light on Sunday, go and try to find someone to move the stone at the entrance so that they could properly prepare the body.

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