Three words that shook the universe

 The End

There are three words that are amongst the most powerful ever spoken. Whilst there are other candidates for the top spot, these three words shook the universe to the heart. 12 letters that broke the grasp of hell and rewrote our future and destiny.

It is finished.

So simple, but with them being uttered as Christ hung on the cross they would signal a complete change to mans relationship to God.

No longer would satan have a claim to our souls.
No longer would we need to live in fear or regret.
No longer would our past dictate our future.

The book was rewritten and those three words, which contain within them the heart of Gods plan, brought an end to our seperation from our Father.

Do you grasp the earth-shaking power of those words? I think the answer to that, if we’re honest with ourselves, would be “sometimes”

It’s easy for us to grasp the eternal outcomes, maybe because we can’t fully envision what that enternity is, but the immediate outcome is so easy for us to lose.

“It is finished” means that the sins I committed yesterday are dealt with. It means that the stain of my past is removed. It means that, through grace, I don’t need to be afraid of letting God down by sinning in the future.

Now I’m not saying that it’s a carte blanche to descend into hedonism and debauchery, it’s not, but what it does mean is that those oh-so-human slip ups are dealt with. They are done. The slate has been wiped clean of all that we have done, and all that we will do because IT IS FINISHED.


See His love nailed onto a cross
Perfect and blameless life given as sacrifice
See Him there all in the name of love
Broken yet glorious, all for the sake of us

This is Jesus in His glory
King of Heaven dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me

Greater love no one could ever show
Mercy so undeserved, freedom I should not know
All my sin, all of my hidden shame
Died with Him on the cross, eternity won for us

Such love, such love
Such love is this for me

(c) Tom Lockley

The Confused Disciple – Perspective without Hindsight

Disciples Perspective

Reading the Easter story is really like reading a murder mystery where you know the ending. You know whodunnit, you know the police triad of information (Means, Motive and Opportunity) and you can see all the clues as you are reading it . In fact, if you’re like me, it’s easy to find yourself almost screaming for people to open their eyes and telling them that it’s just so obvious.

I’ve heard people say, on many an occasion, that it would have been so easy to be a believer when Jesus walked the earth – and yet that also falls into that same trap. We can say that because we know the ending, we see all the pointers and we can directly interpret the prophecies in the old testament as pointing to Jesus.

If we take a step back, if we forget all that we know that followed and try to put ourselves in the position of Peter – we can get a much more sympathetic and a massively different perspective on events.

So cue the scooby-doo wiggly lines and, with a huge dash of artistic licence, let’s try to imagine that we’re there nearly 2000 years ago:

Continue reading “The Confused Disciple – Perspective without Hindsight”



Boy, there’s a word to conjure a mixture of images in a mind. It may make you think of a sporting event with roaring supporters, or maybe screaming fans at a concert. For the more intellectually-inclined it might bring to mind two sides of a heated debate. It could even leave you with a knowing smile and a hint of a blush.

It’s a word that has some much resonance at this time of year for a completely different reason. During Holy Week it awakens thoughts of a triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, through to the intimacy and ultimate betrayal of a meal with close friends. Images of humiliation and mocking, followed by an excruciating death and then the ultimate joy of a resurrection.

All for passion.

All because there’s a God who is so passionately in love with His people that He sacrificed His Son to reach out to us and to clear the debt of our imperfect lives. All because He Loves ME… and YOU. Not “the human race” as a faceless mass of people, but each of us by name.

It’s sobering, heartwrenching, heartwarming, mindblowing, humbling and so much more. The infinite creator of the universe, so passionate about ME that He would go through all that… for ME.

I can’t tell you how much this impacts me to the core of my being. Even when I was away from God, there was always something about Easter that tugged at me (I always put it down to the raw emotions I was used to feeling rather than anything else – boy was I deluded)

Spend 5 minutes this week, just 5 minutes, and think about what happened 2000 years ago and why. Then ask yourself “what should it mean to me?”

Is the "Modern Church" too disconnected from the "Traditional Church"?

A.K.A. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

This has been an issue that I’ve wrestled with quite a bit over the years, as some people are acutely aware, and I figured that it was about time I tried to formulate my thoughts into a more cohesive discussion. Why now? Well, we had an interesting time during communion at Trent vineyard the other month plus there was a great discussion at small group recently and a comment on Facebook seemed to generate some interest (even though Facebook deleted my replies rather annoyingly)

So what am I basically asking here? It’s a bit difficult to summarise succinctly but basically have a lot of “Modern Churches” lost touch with the good parts of the “Traditional Church’s” heritage?

For many, a “traditional church” conjures images of hymn sandwiches, “Stand Up, Sit Down, Head Bowed, Kneel Down, Stand Up, Head Bowed, Kneel Down, Sit Down” and so on accompanied by a raggedy choir, dodgy organ playing, dusty pews, complex liturgies that are so archaic you can’t understand them and a sermon so dry it makes the Kalahari desert look like a vast ocean.

Counter to this the “modern church” is relevant to today, full of life, full of people, exciting and a great place to be – especially with flash bands, lights, videos and more.

The “modern church” is a success that is growing, the “traditional church” is a dinosaur that is dying out.

Now I *love* the “modern church” and have no intention of returning to a dull and lifeless building anytime soon, but I do think that we have drawn a line between old and new and essentially said that never the two shall meet.

And that saddens me.

Liturgy can be an immensely powerful part of a service – if there is meaning and life and understanding behind it.
Hymns can convey wonderful biblical truths and be an amazing expression of praise and worship – if they aren’t mired in too much Olde English.
The Lords Prayer is *the* way to pray an means far more than just a droning repetition – we preach it on a Sunday, but don’t pray it on the Sunday.

A creed is now “a statement of belief” but only mentioned in welcome literature and membership courses – we never declare it loud and proud so that people know immediately where we stand.

Yes, all of the above can easily becoming dull and meaningless. They can all become “tradition” with no passion to them. But they can also find their way deep into memory so that years later the words pop into your mind and can be a comfort and a reminder.

In many ways I believe that the “modern church” is closer to the New Testament idea of Christians meeting than the “traditional church” is. But I also think that we’ve lost a big part of our heritage, and the legacy that some of the great Christians have left us.

Do I want a hymn sandwich? No. But I would like to sing “And Can it Be” or “How Great thou art” (yes, I know that has Olde English in it) every now and then.

Do I want to return to the ASB order of service? No. But I would like to hear the communion done that way every now and then.

Do I want to recite dull and droning words week after week? No. But I would love to hear a declaration of faith that can be triumphantly proclaimed.

Do I want to have 20 minutes of lifeless prayer punctuated by “Thanks be to God” every Sunday? No. But if we’re preaching the importance of “The Lords Prayer” then surely we need to be praying it and teaching it in our Sunday Schools (or whatever name you want to call your multimedia-kids-meeting)

There are some “Mega-Churches” (which are a separate talking point!) in the States that surprisingly do have elements of tradition – standing when reading the bible as a sign of respect for the Word, declaring a statement of belief in the bible before reading from it. I also know that there are “modern churches” here in the UK that try to incorporate elements from the “traditional church”, with mixed results. I’m not foolish enough to believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution, and I also know that I’m where I am because I choose to be a member of this Church – and it’s a Church I love.

I love the Church. Forget the “modern” or “traditional” tags – we are The Body of Christ and multiple expressions are a great way of meeting individuals own personalities and preferences. I just struggle with the fact that there are kids growing up in the church who don’t know the Lords Prayer (and yes I know there are parental responsibilities as well), I can’t believe that there is room for people to belong to a Church without fully knowing the core beliefs, and I cannot accept that the only good song is less that 10 years old.

There has to be a balance that can take the best of what history has learnt, apply it to a biblical church and embrace the joys of modern worship, teaching, environments, technology and more.

As a final thought, and I don’t know the answer to this, but would the original Christians have had any form of liturgy within their gatherings – I can easily believe that the Jewish converts would as they would surely have embraced the Old Testament history and their own Jewish roots and applied that to their Christian worship.

Please, feel free to comment below – I’d love to know your thoughts and views!

Music Review: ‘Warr Acres’ by Warr Acres

Title: Warr Acres
Artist: Warr Acres
Genre: Worship/Pop/Rock

iTunes / YouTube / Spotify


  1. Undignified
  2. Sound The Alarm
  3. You Are Joy
  4. Maker of Miracles
  5. Hymn of Remembrance
  6. Shout Your Love
  7. Heaven Bound
  8. Saviour, Crucified
  9. Hold To This Truth
  10. Shadow of The Steeple
  11. Our God Lives

Review: Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love music – and especially how much I love Worship. From the hymns of old that stir the passions and build a solid bedrock, to the intimacy of a Vineyard album, to the all out big style of Hillsongs – and about everything in between (well, with one or two notable exceptions)

I got sent this album to review for the Cross Rhythms website, along with three others, and listened to it pretty soon after opening the jiffy bag.

Just so you’re aware, I hadn’t heard of this band and had done no research at the point of my first hearing it so I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t anticipating the sounds that burst out, nor the depth of the lyrics that accompanied them.

It didn’t take long to dig out a wealth of information on the group, they’ve got quite a presence in the States and are actually the worship band formerly known as VMusic from Victory Church in Warr Acres, Oklahoma (hence the name). With the addition of some new members, a tweak to a more pop/rock sound, and a more “commercial” image they have recreated themselves as this eclectic mix of tunes with worship still at the core.

When I say”commercial”, that isn’t a negative remark – please don’t get me wrong there! But they’ve shifted from the stage based worship leading image that you see in the VMusic videos on YouTube to the very dramatic and quirky-mainstream style that is visible on their video for Undignified (see the HD link at the top of this article, or the lower res video at the bottom)

So we have here a band that has re-imagined itself, kept it’s core heart of worship oriented music and launched this collection of songs – some that were previously recorded with VMusic and others that are brand new. What is the end result of this?

One word sums it up – WOW!

Seriously, this is a brilliant album that mixes up inward, upward and outwardly focussed lyrics to both build faith, praise our Creator and challenge us to get off our blessed assurances and look beyond the four walls of our churches.

“Undignified” is a rousing opener that leaves you in no doubt as to the passion of the band. The vocals are provided by Dove Award nominee Kristy Starling and the lyrics are a bold declaration of praise and worship. If this song doesn’t get your toes tapping and your head bouncing then you’ve probably not got the volume turned up as there is no way this song can be enjoyed as a passive listener.

“Maker of Miracles” is a wonderful ballad style song but with an uplifting chorus. The words pick up on the life and words of Christ, as well as His promises, bringing a real sense of majesty, awe and hope as the duet of Kristy along with Lael Louthan rings out and surrounds you with a sense of the majesty of the King.

With its catchy and somewhat retro beat, “Heaven Bound” is a great pop track – but don’t make the mistake of dismissing it as a jaunty bubblegum tune as the songwriting passions cut through once again full of scriptural roots, uplifting visions of eternity and the ever-present thick vein of worship that runs through this whole collection of songs.

I could go on and on about the tracks, they are all worthy of mention, but the one I really do need to mention is “Shadow of the steeple”. This is a call to action that leaves you in no doubt of what our call is – to get out and be Jesus to the people around us, on the streets, in our neighbourhoods and in the communities that we live in. Those comfy chairs in our churches suddenly feel rather itchy, those pews are definitely growing thorns as you take in the words of this brilliant song.

I can’t wait to hear more from these folks – I am genuinely excited by what I hear and I cannot stop listening to these songs. Go listen to the album on YouTube, Spotify or Last.Fm and then buy it. You won’t regret it and you may find yourselves being challenged, energised, raised up and drawn closer to God as the passionate heart of the music pumps out your earbuds/speakers/tin-cans.

Score: 5/5

Warr Acres – Undignified