I wonder which is your favourite season of the year? I have been enjoying the warm sunny days this September as we have enjoyed an extended summer.  However winter is on the way and as I write I can see that the trees are just beginning to lose their green lustre as their leaves turn to yellow, orange and red. There are few sights as splendid as an English hillside covered in russet trees glowing in the fading warmth of the autumn sun.

Whenever I see a sight like this the words of the song “Indescribable,” composed by Chris Tomlin, come to mind which has a line that mentions the ’colours of fall’. The rest of the song attempts to capture other breathtakingly beautiful features of the natural world: massive mountain peaks, vast ocean seas, white glistening snow, distant burning stars, and the diversity of the animal kingdom. The climax of the song comes in the refrain where, having absorbed the magnificent splendour of the universe, we are drawn to worship God as creator. Having struggled to use poetry to express the beauty of creation, how much more difficult it is to accurately convey the majesty of God – hence the line ‘indescribable, uncontainable’.

In the book of Job we read how this powerful and wealthy man systematically loses everything, his children, his flocks, even his health until he is left destitute and alone. Even his friends prove fickle as they accuse him of sinning against God. Naturally Job wants answers, and he wants vindication and he cries out to God in his anguish.

God’s answer? To ask Job where he was when the world was being made.

In his response, God catalogues the wonders of creation. Gradually Job begins to comprehend the awesome, indescribable majesty of creator God and his own insignificance. Job recognises the futility of seeking explanation and instead responds in worship.

Living in the 21st century we know more about the mystery of the universe, and the natural world than at any earlier time in history. Yet if anything the wonders of creation seem more magnificent than ever. When you next look out and see breathtaking beauty in the natural world, allow yourself to gasp in wonder at the indescribable, uncontainable, awesome creator God who made it.

This blog post featured in the October 2014 edition of Hook Focus

The mystery of election

“Many mysteries surround the doctrine of election, and theologians are unwise to systematize it in such a way that no puzzles, enigmas or loose ends are left. At the same time, in addition to the arguments developed in the exposition of Romans 8:28-30, we need to remember two truths.

First, election is not just a Pauline or apostolic doctrine; it was also taught by Jesus himself. “I know those I have chosen,’ he said. (Jn. 13:18).

Secondly, election is an indispensable foundation of Christian worship, in time and eternity. It is the essence of worship to say: ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory’ (Ps. 115:1). If we were responsible for our own salvation, either in whole or even in part, we would be justified in singing our own praises and blowing our own trumpet in heaven. But such a thing is inconceivable. God’s redeemed people will spend eternity worshipping him, humbling themselves before him in grateful adoration, ascribing their salvation to him and to the Lamb, and acknowledging that he alone is worthy to receive all praise, honour and glory. Why? Because our salvation is due entirely to his grace, will, initiative, wisdom and power.”

Quoted from Authentic Christianity 1995 John Stott and Timothy Dudley-Smith.