New Book: The Gospel at Work

By chris.tapp on 10th February 2014.

Just a quick note to bring to your attention this new book which we hope will be massively helpful for us as we think about what it means to be Christians in our workplaces.

One review says…”"As the authors progress through their subject, they provide a brief, but sound, theology of work, and then progress to practical matters: choosing a career; finding that difficult balance between work, family and church; handling difficult bosses and co-workers; being a Christian boss; and sharing the gospel at work. In every case they work outward from the gospel into practical counsel and guidance.”

Sounds great! Let us know if you read it, and what you think.

A note from Chris

By chris.tapp on 12th July 2013.

Hi there,

This is just a quick note to let you know that, from September, I will be moving on from the lunchtime talks as I have accepted an offer to become the new Assistant Minister of Spicer Street Church in St Albans. This is an exciting move for us as family (the church is where my wife used to work and so she has lots of friends there) although it is with a heavy heart that I will move on from my role at Covent Garden Talks.

I have been involved at the lunchtime talks for seven years now, four as a punter and three as part of staff team and it has been a great privilege to serve our heavenly Father as we look for the advance of the Kingdom amongst the workplaces of this unique part of town. I will certainly be staying in touch and, as I’m not moving very far, hope to be able to pop in and pay a visit every once in a while!

I am also delighted to be able to let you know that the role of heading up the lunchtime talks will be taken on by Andrew Holt. (You can hear an interview with Andrew here). Andrew will be joining from St Helen’s Bishopsgate where he currently heads up both a ministry on a local council estate and the Christianity Explored ministry. Prior to his current work for the church he worked in financial PR. Andrew will be an absolutely cracking addition to the team and I have no doubt that the works will thrive under his leadership.

It’s business as usual for the next couple of months and Andrew will be around at the lunchtime talks over the next month or so and I will be pointing him out so please introduce yourselves to him.

With my very best,

Chris.

Missed any lunchtime talks?

By chris.tapp on 8th July 2013.

I did, last week, I was away on my holidays, which was lovely, but unfortunately meant that I wasn’t able to hear the first talk in our ‘Gospel Teamwork’ series with Vijay Henderson taking us the first couple of chapters of Philippians.

However, the great thing is, first thing this morning, I caught up! We know that the nature of lunchtime talks is that hardly anyone can be there every week. That’s why every talk is recorded so you can listen to it at your own convenience and pass it on to anyone else that it might be useful for too!

Check out the talk archive here. 

How to be good sheep (John 10:22-42)

By chris.tapp on 27th June 2013.

Sometimes the only new information we need is to be told that the information we have is enough.

As we come to the end of the first half of John’s gospel this week, we find twenty verses in which it doesn’t feel like an awful lot is said that we haven’t heard before, or like an awful lot happens that we haven’t seen before. And that seems to be the point.

Many of the people Jesus has encountered throughout the first 10 chapters of the gospel (which, if we’ve been following along, includes us!) are still not convinced about who he is – but that’s not because they haven’t been told and haven’t seen enough proof.

They’ve been thoroughly taught and prepared for the exam. John wants us to see that through God’s word as he has recorded it, so have we. We know the exam is coming, we know the question it will ask, we’ve been given the textbook which contains the answer – the only issue is, do we want to learn?

Listen now to the talk from John 10:22-42 by clicking here.

You can also view notes on John 10 by clicking here. (We just post the summary sheets – visit the Truth at Work website for more detailed notes and questions on this and any passage in John).

And here are some questions you might like to think about as you consider this passage;

1) What is the main thing here that the Jews won’t accept about Jesus? What most angers them?
2) Why do they have no excuse for this response?
3) What does Jesus promise those hear his voice and follow him?
4) How do we hear Jesus’ voice today?
5) We’re now half way through John’s gospel – what do you think of / believe about Jesus at this stage?
6) What are you going to do next to keep thinking further? 

Why the Good Shepherd makes all the difference (John 10:1-21)

By chris.tapp on 20th June 2013.

This week in Northern Ireland (in the home town of our very own Audrey Brown!) it was the annual meeting of the G8. The world’s most powerful leaders getting together to solve the major problems. How do you think they’re doing? Hmm, yeah, not so much eh?

Human history has been littered with leaders, some better than others. But none have been able to provide the kind of leadership required to provide life with total freedom, safety, security, without the threat of death and with abundance in all areas.

Just one leader is able to provide his people with all that. In John 10 he introduces us to himself as ‘the Good Shepherd’ and we learn what it takes to believe in him and be one of his shape as well as why his is the only fold you want to be in.

Listen now to this week’s talk by clicking here.

You can also view notes on John 10 by clicking here. (We just post the summary sheets – visit the Truth at Work website for more detailed notes and questions).

And here are some questions you might like to think about as you consider this passage;

1) Who do you think the different figures are in the picture / figure of speech Jesus uses in these verses?
2) What distinguishes Jesus as the Good Shepherd from the others?
3) What does Jesus offer to those hear his voice and become his ‘sheep’?
4) Read Ezekiel 34. How does this background enhance the significance of what Jesus is saying in John 10?

Why meeting Jesus is an eye-opening experience (John 9)

By chris.tapp on 13th June 2013.

So far in John we’ve seen John reiterate the same claims over and over;

- Jesus is the Christ, all the evidence and witnesses prove it
- Jesus can give people eternal life
- All we need to do is believe in Jesus

Simple eh? Yet again and again and again we’ve seen people who simply don’t get it – in fact quite the opposite, people who hate Jesus and everything he says. It seems that hardly anyone will believe in him, in fact, by the end of chapter 8 we’re not really left with much of an idea how anyone is going to come to believe in him.

And then we encounter one man who goes from a position where he knows very little of Jesus, to believing in and worshipping Jesus as the Christ, and be prepared to be socially ostracised for doing so. To show us how belief happens John introduces us to the amazing story of the man born blind.

As we follow his story, and see how Jesus cures his physical blindness, we ourselves can come to see how it is that only Jesus can provide exactly the spiritual enlightenment we all need.

Listen now to this week’s talk on John 9 by clicking here.

You can also view the Truth at Work notes on John 9 by clicking here.

And here are some questions you might like to think about as you consider this passage;

1) What do you think the idea of ‘blindness’ and ‘sight’ illustrates in this chapter?
2) How quickly does the man born blind come to see and understand who Jesus is?
3) How convincing are the Pharisees attempts to discredit Jesus and this miraculous event?
4) What will you resolve to do to ‘see more’ of Jesus?

 

Why unbelief runs in the family (John 8)

By chris.tapp on 7th June 2013.

Have you ever thought that if you could just have met Jesus that there’s no question, you’d definitely have believed in him? Yet in John’s gospel we learn that in Jesus’ own lifetime many people, including those who you’d think were the most likely candidates, simply refuse to believe what Jesus tells them, even when all the evidence in front of them.

Why is that? Why is it that some people believe in Jesus and others want absolutely nothing to do with him? In John 8 we get the answer as Jesus explains to us that it’s all about which family you belong to; the family of God or the family of the devil.

Jesus’ diagnosis is tough listening and focussing on the negative reactions that so many people have to the gospel isn’t a light, airy way to spend half an hour, but it is vitally important. As we make sense of unbelief it allows us to better make sense of our world and also shows us that there is an antidote to unbelief and gives us great motivation to want to take it.

Listen now to this week’s talk on John 8 by clicking here.

You can also view the Truth at Work notes on John 8 by clicking here.

And here are some questions you might like to chew over as you consider this passage.

Questions

1) What reason does Jesus give in John 8:39-59 for the people not believing believe him?
2) How does their behaviour vindicate his claims?
3) What is Jesus actually claiming in this chapter about himself?
4) What is on offer for those who hear Jesus’ words and believe in / trust him?

 

Would Jesus really care what I think of him?

By chris.tapp on 30th May 2013.

Surely whatever you think of Jesus, it doesn’t really matter?

Surely, even though we don’t all agree on who Jesus was necessarily, we can all agree that, in this day in age, we’ve realised that we can all just happily disagree because at the end of the day surely Jesus would just want us all to get along!

Is Jesus just like the elephant in a room full of blindfolded people? It doesn’t matter that you’ve got the trunk and I’ve got the leg and someone else has their hands on a tusk, it’s all the same big thing ultimately?

Frankly it would be lovely if the answer to these questions was, ‘yep, it is like that, so think what you want – Jesus doesn’t care anyhow!’ Then we could all just get on with getting on…but Jesus doesn’t leave us that option.

Jesus really cares what we think about him, and not because he’s a desperate, power-crazed egomaniac, but because he loves us.

To find out why it really matters and why it’s really good news listen now to Jamie Child speaking at today’s Covent Garden Talk. Just click here. 

Will the real Jesus please stand up?

By chris.tapp on 23rd May 2013.

Is Jesus like a Mr Potato Head? Can you simply construct him however you want? Lots of people seem to have lots of different ideas so which is the right one? How could we ever even know?

Well one way is the listen to the man himself.

Today at Covent Garden Talks we were joined by William Taylor who spoke to us from John 6 about who Jesus really is (and who Jesus really isn’t) and what it is therefore that Jesus is really interested in and how we should respond.

Whatever you think of Jesus, it’d be a very well spent 30mins of your time listening to the talk now.

Wouldn’t following Jesus really just ruin my life?

By chris.tapp on 16th May 2013.

Freedom is the most priceless commodity you can have. And in the western world, pretty much, we have as much of it as we could wish for right? Other than some concerns about CCTV and worries about how much Google really know, I guess most of us feel pretty content with our ability to exercise our own liberty.

So why would anyone become a Christian? Why would anyone follow Jesus when he wants to tell us what to do and what not to do? What could possibly be so valuable that it would be worth that? Surely, Jesus would just ruin life?

Today were were thinking about this crucial issue at the Covent Garden Talks as Rob Perkins from the London Bridge Network spoke to us about how free we really are (not as much as we like to think) and how actually, giving everything to Jesus is the only true freedom we can ever have.

Intruiged? Listen now to today’s Covent Garden Talk.

Did Jesus really come back from the dead?

By chris.tapp on 10th May 2013.

If the resurrection didn’t actually happen, if it isn’t an event of history, then you should stop reading this blog post. In fact we should scrap this website and I should get another job, and we should convert all the churches into restaurants and bars and maybe youth clubs or pool clubs or something.

Without the reality of the resurrection Christianity is a myth and a total waste of time. This isn’t my take on the issue, it’s the Bible’s (read 1 Corinthians 15 if you don’t believe me).

So why am I still typing? Why are we planning the program for Covent Garden Talks for the coming months? Because there is every reason to believe that the resurrection is as much a fact of history as the Battle of Waterloo, the Queen’s Coronation or the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht (‘Obscure’ I hear you say, true, you’ll need to listen to the talk for more details).

This week at Covent Garden Talks we were listening to testimony, the accounts of a whole hosts of different sources, which all attest to the same truth. Jesus really was dead. And he really did rise to life again. And that really, really matters.

Listen now to this week’s Covent Garden Talk (including question time) by clicking here.

Is Jesus really the only way to God?

By chris.tapp on 2nd May 2013.

During the month of May we’re asking some of the really big questions about the most important person in all of history in our ‘Really Jesus‘ series.

This week we kicked off by tackling the apparently exclusivity of Jesus – is he really the only way?

In a vibrant area like Covent Garden, in a cosmopolitan city like London, with so many different philosophies and beliefs, surely it’s just arrogant nonsense to claim that something, or someone, is the single, right answer when it comes to knowing how to get to God.

Yet, it’s not Christians who have decided this, as we saw today, it’s Jesus himself who makes that claim. And it’s a claim which, when we explore it further, is maybe not quite so absurd or offensive as we might think…

Kev Murdoch was speaking to us and you can listen to the talk, and the subsequent Q&A, by clicking here.

Are Christians really arrogant?

By chris.tapp on 29th April 2013.

This week we begin our ‘Really Jesus?’ series by asking – ‘Is Jesus really the only way to God?’

It’s a pretty difficult thing to accept, that it could the case that there is just one route to God, especially when there seem to be so many competing suggestions, alternative ways to travel to the almighty. Surely getting to God is like getting to Birmingham…only more exciting when you get there! (No offence Brummie friends!)

It’s not at all surprising that when Christians claim that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the way, that people get upset. It sounds like an assertion of absolutely breathtaking arrogance.

So why do Christians say that? And could it possibly be right? And how does how we answer that question affect how we should think about Jesus?

Whoever you are, and whatever you believe, we’re really looking forward to thinking through the issue this week as Kev Murdoch speaks to us. We really hope you can join us.

Preparing for mission

By chris.tapp on 26th April 2013.

During the month of May we’ll be asking some of the really big questions about Jesus in our ‘Really Jesus‘ series.

We’re doing this, not out of some sort of idle, intellectual curiosity, but because we believe that Jesus is the single most important figure in all of history and therefore that there is no-one and nothing more crucial that we and our colleagues could think about!

We hope that the talks will provide a great opportunity for people to invite, discuss and think through with friends and colleagues who Jesus was, what he did and why it matters.

But the idea of doing that is often fraught with trepidation. What should we expect if we try and raise the subject of Jesus with people we know?

So to help us, Kev Murdoch this week at the lunchtime talk spoke on preparing for mission from Luke’s gospel as we get, from Jesus himself, a guide on what to do and what to expect. You can listen to the talk now by clicking here.

Workers Day Away (Sat 27 Apr) – Cancelled

By chris.tapp on 22nd April 2013.

Unfortunately we haven’t had quite enough people sign up to make the Workers Day Away this Saturday viable and so, regrettably, we’ve taken the decision to cancel it. Apologies to those who were planning to come.

Hopefully we’ll be able to revisit the subject soon.

 

Really Jesus?

By chris.tapp on 19th April 2013.

Jesus is the most important figure in history.

Whatever you think of him, his impact is absolutely undeniable.

But, given that, what should we think of him? Today, in 2013, in London, does he still matter? When I think about my own life and the people who should be the most important person in that, can the answer really be Jesus?

Is what I’ve heard about him – those famous old stories – really true? Does what popular opinion says of him now actually reflect the real Jesus?

Whoever we are, given who he was and how massive a influence he still is, we should know what we think about Jesus. So during the month of May we’re going to be asking some of the really big questions of Jesus – we hope you’ll join us as we look for answers.

You can view the flyers with all the details here.

 

 

 

The divisive effect of Jesus – part 2 (John 7)

By chris.tapp on 18th April 2013.

In a week of debate over a huge event taking place to remember the most divisive figure in recent British political history, we were looking today at the lunchtime talk at a huge event at which people Jesus, the most divisive figure of human history is subject to furious debate, even as some people try to kill him.

Amidst all the words spoken about Thatcher it is, as is so often the case with these things, striking to hear from people who actually knew her and so who can give an insight into her as a person, not just as a political set of ideas.

Amidst all of the discussion, all of the frenzy of ideas and opinions about Jesus, who he was, what he stood for, whether we should care about him anymore – how are we to know what to think?

In John 7 we find ourselves at a festival, in amongst a fast paced melee of people, surrounded by the noise of public opinion, hearsay and intrigue. John wants us to show us that lots and lots and lots of people have always had lots and lots and lots to say about Jesus, but that much of it is not worth listening to. Actually, if we want to figure Jesus out, then the best way is probably to take some time out with the man himself…

You can listen to the talk now by clicking here.

You can also view the Truth at Work notes on these verses by clicking here.

And here are some questions you might like to chew over as you consider this passage.

Questions

1) What does Jesus mean when he speaks about ‘his time not yet having come’?
2) What are the major questions that people ask about Jesus in this chapter? How would you answer them?
3) How does Nicodemus’ input in v50-51 help us to know what John wants us to do as we witness the division over Jesus?

 

The divisive effect of Jesus – part 1 (John 6:60-71)

By chris.tapp on 11th April 2013.

It’s now three days since Margaret Thatcher died but the rhetoric surrounding her and her legacy is still raging furiously, and one imagines will continue to do so for many years. She is the most divisive figure in recent British history.

Jesus Christ has been provoking even stronger reactions for hundreds and hundreds of years – and the discussion shows no sign of abating.

Why is that? And why is it that John, Jesus’ best friend, has gone to the trouble of recording it for us in his gospel? Doesn’t exactly seem like the finest way to pay tribute!

But John wants us to see that Jesus demands a decision, his claims, his life and his death are simply too huge, too important to be simply shrugged off.

We are at the heart of the discussion as we see people’s responses to Jesus in John 6&7 and today at the lunchtime talk we though about the causes of this in John 6:60-71. You can listen to the talk now by clicking here.

You can also view the Truth at Work notes on these verses by clicking here.

And here are some questions you might like to chew over as you consider this passage.

Questions

1. Why do you think Jesus so divides opinion in these verses?
2. Why do you think Jesus still divides opinion so much now?
3. Where do you stand on Jesus? 

 

 

Easter Eats! (John 6:48-59)

By chris.tapp on 21st March 2013.

If you missed our Easter Eats event today then, I’m not going to lie to you, you missed out. The sandwiches were high quality, the hot cross buns were many and varied, the chat around tables was witty and full of flavour and the eggs were as tasty as they were colourfully wrapped.

However, the best bit was not all that – all of which is fading even as I type – but the time we were able to spend together thinking about ‘feeding on Jesus’ as, in John 6, he talks about the first Easter before it even happens and tells us why, far from just being a nice break in the spring, it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened, in all of eternity.

And the good news is, you can hear a little bit about that by listening now to the short talk we had during the event. Just click here.

Easter Eats!

By chris.tapp on 18th March 2013.

This week is a special one for us at Covent Garden Talks because it includes our annual ‘Easter Eats’ event!

‘Easter Eats’ is slightly different from our normal Thursday as it’s more of a lunch with a short talk than a lunchtime talk (if that makes sense!) Lunch will be served around tables and, as well as the usual high class sarnies, will include a range of hot cross buns and some chocolatey Easter treats as well.

There’ll be plenty of time to chat, relax and enjoy the food and there will also be a shorter than normal talk – just 12mins or so – on why Easter is so important. We’ll be doing this from John 6, so carrying on in our series in John’s gospel, as Jesus talks to the crowd about the cross.

This will be a great week to invite any friends and colleagues along, we hope it’ll be every bit as relaxed and enjoyable as a carol service (though more food, no singing!) and a great introduction for anyone wanting to get to grips with why we celebrate Easter the way we do by hearing what Jesus himself has to say about it.

Lunch will be just £3 as normal but there’ll be plenty of it so don’t snack too much on Thursday morning!

See you there!

 

 

The last meal you’ll ever need eat (John 6:25-40)

By chris.tapp on 14th March 2013.

Recently I replaced the sealant around our bath (not my most exciting anecdote this) and then, this week, it started to peel off again. I wasn’t shocked, nobody should be, things in this world are always slowly disintegrating, that’s why dusting is so dispiriting.

But it’s not just the small things that are gradually fading. It’s the big things; our work, our relationships, our health. This relentless decay is enough to make you ask, if that’s all I’ve got to live and work for, what’s the point?

In John 6 Jesus addresses that question as he speaks to the crowd, the crowd who want him to be the king of today, but aren’t willing to trust him for forever. Jesus gives them, and us, a stark choice, between two types of food, two meals, two lives;  click here to listen now to today’s talk. Or, for previous talks in the series, click here.

Christians in the City have produced some comprehensive notes on John’s Gospel. Each week we post the brief summary for the relavant passage however check the site out for more detailed notes available free of charge. For the Truth-At-Work summary notes on this week’ passage, please click here. 

Here are some questions you might want to use to think more about the passage or if you’re reading it along with someone else;

1)        How perishable or permanent do you think the things of this life are?  How does talk of ‘bread’ here show this?
2)        In what ways is Jesus like Moses in this chapter? In what ways is Jesus better than Moses?
3)        What does it mean to ‘work’ for food that endures?
4)        How do you respond to Jesus’ offer to do this work and receive the gift of perfect, true, filling life in return?


The wrong response to a miraculous meal (John 6:1-26)

By chris.tapp on 7th March 2013.

Why would it ever be the wrong thing to want Jesus to be your king?! Especially if you’ve just been there, in person, as he’s fed the five thousand? Why would wanting to put Jesus on the throne be too small a thing to ask of him? Why would he be so resistant to the idea?

We see in John 6, as Jesus first miraculously feeds the crowds and then miraculously escapes from them as he walks on water, that Jesus isn’t aiming for any kind of earthly kingdom and he doesn’t want followers who simply seek him because of what they can get from him now, he wants people to come to him as God, to listen to him and believe in him for life in eternity.

So if what you want from Jesus is food, health and success in this life, then you’ve massively under-estimated how much he really wants to give you. The wrong response to a miraculous meal: Click here to listen now to today’s talk. Or, for previous talks in the series, click here.

Christians in the City have produced some comprehensive notes on John’s Gospel. Each week we post the brief summary for the relavant passage however check the site out for more detailed notes available free of charge. For the Truth-At-Work summary notes on this week’ passage, please click here. 

Two questions you might want to use to think more about the passage or if you’re reading it along with someone else;

1)        What does the feeding of the five thousand and the walking on the water show us about who Jesus is?
2)       What is right about the reaction of the people…and what have they not understood?


The case for Jesus’ defence (John 5:30-47)

By chris.tapp on 28th February 2013.

The defendant: Jesus Christ

The charge: a) Claiming to be God, b) Claiming to offer eternal life, c) Claiming the right to judge all people

The jury: You

The verdict: True? / False?

The case for Jesus’ defence: Click here to listen now to today’s talk. Or, for previous talks in the series, click here.

Christians in the City have produced some comprehensive notes on John’s Gospel. Each week we post the brief summary for the relavant passage however check the site out for more detailed notes available free of charge. For the Truth-At-Work summary notes on this week’ passage, please click here. 

Three questions you might want to use to think more about the passage or if you’re reading it along with someone else;

1)        What sort of evidence do you think is needed to prove that Jesus really is the Son of God?
2)        Who are the different witnesses that Jesus calls on in these verses?
3)        How comprehensive is Jesus’ case here? How compelling do you find it?

 

The Jesus you like and the Jesus you don’t (John 5:1-29)

By chris.tapp on 21st February 2013.

Whoever you are, there is a lot to think is great about Jesus. In this section of John’s gospel we see him healing a desperate man, crippled by disease for 38 years – that’s pretty awesome! We see him offer the prospect of eternal life in heaven – hard to argue with that being a positive thing! And offering it to anyone and everyone as a free gift – who doesn’t like free stuff!

And yet Jesus is far from universally loved and admired today…and he wasn’t when he was alive either. As we look at these chapters of John’s gospel we see people’s reactions to Jesus, most of which are not good. And here in John 5:1-29 we see a very negative response to him as the Jewish leaders are so disgusted / threatened by him that they want to put a permanent stop to him and his work.

And we also see why this is so important. Because our reaction to Jesus determines everything, forever; eternal life or eternal judgement. A stark, shocking but very clear conclusion from the mouth of Jesus Christ.

This is not necessarily a comfortable place for us to be, as John’s gospel gives us a thorough ‘belief diagnosis’ but, just like the trip to the doctor, we’ll be glad we made the effort if the consultation proves the difference between life and death.

Click here to listen now to today’s talk. Or, for previous talks in the series, click here.

For the Truth-At-Work notes on this passage, please click here. 

Three questions you might want to use to think more about the passage or if you’re reading it along with someone else;

1)      What does the healing at the pool show us about Jesus’ power and identity?
2)      Why are the Jews so opposed to Jesus? How can we be prone to respond like this?
3)      What do you like / dislike about Jesus in this passage?
4)      How should we respond to what Jesus is saying in v19-29? 

 

What does God think you should do for Valentines Day?

By chris.tapp on 14th February 2013.

Today at the lunchtime talk we were looking at the issue of sex. More precisely we were thinking about what God thinks about sex as Kev Murdoch spoke to us from 1 Corinthians 6-7.

The answer might well surprise and challenge the way that we think about sex, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect.

To find out why God might think you should have more sex, or maybe no sex at all, why London isn’t as sex-crazed as you might think and to hear what hungry stomachs, Ant and Dec and Gin and Tonic have to do with it…listen now!

What are you taking up for lent?

By chris.tapp on 12th February 2013.

It’s no bad thing if lots of us think a bit during lent about abstaining from something, giving up chocolate / alcohol / doughnuts / Facebook / football {delete as appropriate} might very well be a healthy reminder to hold very lightly to the things of this world and to be prepared to emulate Christ in living sacrificial, selfless lives.

However I wonder if you’ve ever thought about taking up a new habit for lent? For example, how’s about a daily Bible reading time, to help you reflect and understand the Easter story and the cross more richly and deeply than ever before?

Why not start each day at work with 5  minutes in God’s word and praying, dedicating each day in the office to Him? This lent reading guide, ‘Journey to the Cross’ provides a great way to do just that.

You can still give up taking the tube to work and walk instead for the next month or so, but the biggest change could come through something you start doing on Ash Wednesday instead.

Does God care about suffering?

By chris.tapp on 7th February 2013.

That’s a massive question.

Suffering is not in doubt. As Christians we believe that God is not in doubt. But do we doubt the two can fit together?

Is God unfeeling toward a world in pain? Or is God agonised but impotent to do anything about it?

Listen now to today’s CGT as Kev Murdoch shows us the not always easy, but ultimately glorious answer, from John 11.

The Away Day 2013

By chris.tapp on 5th February 2013.

‘Live to work or work to live?’ - A Christian approach to the day job

We spend more of our waking lives in our workplaces (and on the tubes, buses, bikes that get us there) than anywhere else in the world. But what should our attitude be to the daily grind? Should Christians be people who clock in and clock out, living for the weekend? Should we be people whose work is valuable because of the money we earn and therefore the support we can be to family, friends and gospel work? Is the measure of Christian success in the workplace the measure of the amount of evangelism that gets done?

These are big questions and so this year, on Saturday 27 April, we’re going to spend a day thinking about them together. (You’ll spend over 200 days at work, so maybe spending 1 day thinking about work isn’t so bad!)

We know that people who come to the talks are spread all over and around London so, to make transport as easy as possible we go ‘away’ to…the City! However the location, St Andrews Undershaft, is in a great spot at the heart of the gleaming towers of the Square Mile and has been recently extensively refurbished.

All the information for the day can be found through the Regulars page.

To sign up email: info(at)coventgardentalks.co.uk

 

 

Christianity Explored – new course dates

By chris.tapp on 1st February 2013.

Our next Christianity Explored course will be starting up in a couple of weeks, meeting after work on Wednesday evenings over 7 weeks, at the Institute of Education on Bedford Way.

Each evening will start at 7.15 and run until 8.45.

To pool resources we run our Christianity Explored courses in association with Euston Church and Euston Area Talks so there’ll be lots of friendly faces around!

Full details here.

Social media & the fall

By chris.tapp on 31st January 2013.

Covent Garden Talks recently had our Twitter feed hacked. It seems to have been mostly harmless and easily fixed but it sure is annoying – for us and anyone that follows us.

Twitter unfortunately is simply following the inevitable trend of all social media, modern communication devices and, one suspects, ancient communication devices also. Start clean and working well…gradually infected and over-run by nuisance, annoyance and malicious intruders.

Let me explain further by way of a number of case studies;

- Text messaging: Remember when text was a wonderful, exciting thing, when SMS was the coolest three letter acronym going? So quick, so easy, so fun! Yeah, think about next time the phone pings and you read, ‘Our records show you might be entitled to up to £5000 comp…’. Delete.

- Email: Remember when the letter was going to be obsolete in a matter of months because email had made seamless written communication such a ‘click-of-a-button’ joy. Yeah, think about that next time the flag pops up in the inbox and you read, ‘New Offers From Company You Never Signed Up To Offers From Ltd’. Delete.

- Facebook: Remember when Facebook was a picture of unparalleled social networking beauty, when it was all clean, soft blues, no nonsense, just you and people you knew sharing life and pictures and party invitations?  Yeah, think about that next time you log in and you’ve got 46 friend requests from people that don’t exist and 12 requests to play ‘Buggle’ from people you’re almost certain you’ve never met. Delete.

- Twitter: It seems that Twitter’s year or so in the ‘actual people you know’, ‘actual information you want’ sun is drawing to a close…as we found out last week. We don’t do weight loss advice, just Bible talks, and most of the messages we get from people now simply say, ‘Is this real? Looks like you’ve been hacked. #Spam’. {sigh} Delete.

This is the pattern not just of social media or electronic communication devices, this is the pattern of our world. Created pure and spotless and full of perfect relationships…and yet, once the first ‘malware’ gets in, it’s viral and there’s no going back. The seemingly unstoppable barrage of spam isn’t a new invention – it goes right back to Genesis 3, we just watch it adapt to new formats and technologies, that’s all.

Spam isn’t the real problem, sin is the disease that mars all of human life and interaction. And just like @coventgdntalks, we all serve to pass it on as we live ignoring God day-by-day. We’ve found it helpful to remember that this week.

So next time you find yourself repeatedly hitting delete, despairing at another good thing infected, don’t just quietly mutter and curse; repent and praise the Lord that a day is coming when sin will be the obsolete format.

 

How can I know I can live forever? (John 4:46-54)

By chris.tapp on 24th January 2013.

If you emerged from the tube this morning and someone thrust a flyer in your direction saying, ‘Eternal life mate, just take this voucher’, I suspect you’d drop your eyes and give them a pretty wide berth – I know I would!

So why on earth would anyone take Jesus seriously when says he can give us eternal life? Why would anyone say that they know that they’ll live forever because of Jesus?

That’s the question address at today’s CGT as we finished off John 4. We say an extraordinary and unusual incident with Jesus and an official whose son is as good as dead. And as we witness back up his talk with history-changing action so we see how it is that we, today, can know what happens beyond death.

Click here to listen now to today’s talk. Or, for previous talks in the series, click here.

For the notes on John 4, click here. 

Three questions you might want to use to think more about the passage or if you’re reading it along with someone else;

1)      Do you believe in eternal life?
2)      What does the evidence of Jesus’ intervention here suggest about eternal life? Why?
3)      What does John show us we need to do to claim the life that Jesus offers?

 

 

Can you be a serious scientist and serious about Jesus?

By chris.tapp on .

Lots of people struggle to fit together modern science and an ancient religion like Christianity. Surely the modern science textbook has rendered the Bible obsolete? How could the two work together?

Lots of people actually think science and Christianity are pretty happy bedfellows and the church at St Helen’s Bishopsgate has put together a very nicely presented bunch of videos explaining why. A couple of Covent Garden Talks regulars feature – which is always nice!

Well worth watching – just click here.

 

Who can live forever? (John 4:1-45)

By chris.tapp on 17th January 2013.

Who would you let into heaven? Would you let you in?

We might have in our minds the sort of person who’d be a Christian, the sort of person that Jesus wants to give eternal life to but, in John 4, we witness an extraordinary encounter that should shake our pre-conceptions, expand our horizons and see that anyone, anyone at all can live forever.

Listen now to this week’s Covent Garden Talk by clicking here.

Also you can find relevant notes from the ’Truth at Work’ series by clicking here.

Finally, the three simple questions to help you think about the passage if you’re reading through John are;    

1)      How satisfying do you think this life is?
2)      Who do you think should be entitled to eternal life? Would you include yourself?
3)      Who does Jesus offer eternal life too? How does someone take up his offer?

How can I live forever? (John 3)

By chris.tapp on 10th January 2013.

John 3 is probably the most famous chapter in the Bible, not least because it contains the most famous verse. Ultimately it’s a chapter about two huuuuge issues;

a) It’s a chapter all about who Jesus is
b) It’s a chapter all about eternal life in God’s perfect kingdom

People nowadays might be cynical about the concept but eternal life is right at the heart of Christianity, you might say that living forever in God’s future perfect world is the gleaming gem in the crown of the offer that the Christian faith makes. But if that’s the case, what is the means by which we get there?

That’s why John 3 is such an important chapter, because it’s here that we see that the way to live forever, the way to take up the offer of eternal life, is only by means of Jesus.

As we see Jesus discuss with Nicodemus and then John the Baptist respond to concerns about Jesus’ rising importance we see this really clearly and thus have the opportunity to consider the infinitely important offer…and respond ourselves.

Listen now to this week’s Covent Garden Talk by clicking here.

Also you can find relevant notes from the ‘Truth at Work’ series by clicking here for part A (v1-15) and here for part B (v16-36).

Finally, the three simple questions to help you think about the passage if you’re reading through John are;

1)      What do you think about the idea of living forever?
2)      How do you think eternal life should be obtained?
3)      What do you make of John’s claim here that the way to live forever is Jesus & believing Jesus’ words?

From Christmas to Easter at CGT

By chris.tapp on 3rd January 2013.

Pack up the Olympic paraphernalia, put away the 2012 novelty glasses, put down the umbrella {fingers crossed}, and clear up all that tinsel, it’s 2013 all the way from here on in!

Between now and Easter at CGT there’ll be all the usual, regular prayer meetings and prayer clusters as well as the highlight of the week – our Thursday lunchtimes at the Swiss Church.

This term we’ll be mostly pressing on with our ‘Life!‘ series in John’s gospel. First up, in January, we’ll be thinking about ‘living forever’ in John 3-4 and then later in the term we’ll be working through John 5-6, culminating with our annual Easter lunch on Thurs 21 March thinking all about the bread of life whilst eating the bread of Easter!

All year, alongside the talks, we’re encouraging people to read a book of the Bible as an adult. Why not think about doing that with John’s gospel? This term would be a perfect time to do it – Jesus’ life is the story of Christmas to Easter after all!

Sandwiched in the middle of the lunchtime talk term will be a great little two-week series with Kev Murdoch thinking about two huge issues people have questions about when they come to Christianity. Firstly, suffering and then, in a valentines day special, sex.

You can get the full talk term card here.

Also this term there’ll be a Christianity Explored course running (dates TBC) and – get this date in your diaries – the return of the hugely popular Bible in the British Museum Tour! This term the tour will be taking place after work on Friday 22 February.

Happy New Year one and all – hope we see you really soon!

 

Happy Christmas from Covent Garden Talks!

By chris.tapp on 19th December 2012.

It’s been wonderful to see so many people at our 2012 Carol Services the past couple of weeks – around 200 folk have had the opportunity to sing, eat, drink and hear the wonderful news of Jesus’ birth explained!

If you weren’t able to join us, this clip gives you a sense of what you missed…!

From all of us at Covent Garden Talks have a wonderful Christmas and a splendid New Year – we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

(Talks and prayer meeting restart in the second week of January)




                            

Milton Jones on Christmas

By chris.tapp on 4th December 2012.

Christian comedian Milton Jones shares his thoughts on Christmas. Enjoy.

Milton Jones on Christmas

 

 

 

 

Reality…

By chris.tapp on 30th November 2012.

“Our interpretation of reality determines our response to that reality”

Jamie Child on fine form, showing how Christians can be confident in God’s love – nothing internal or external can change that. A fantastic end to a fantastic series. It may be only 25 minutes long but it will have an impact for the rest of your life.

Listen here to this talk or click here for the previous talks in the series.

It’s not the end yet…

By chris.tapp on 22nd November 2012.

“It will all be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end yet”.

Jamie Child speaking in our series “Confident” from Romans 8, giving us absolute confidence in God’s plan. Excellent stuff to comfort us, equip us and to spur us on in a messed up and difficult world. Well worth a listen….

Listen now by clicking here

Christmas top tips

By chris.tapp on 19th November 2012.

I’ve got no idea how to stuff a turkey or which is the best mincemeat to use, but here are our top tips for making the most of the Carol Services season…

1) Invite!
Christmas is a wonderful opportunity – people who wouldn’t set foot in a church any other time of the year seem perfectly happy to come to a Carol Service. An opportunity for our colleagues to hear the gospel that is not to be sneezed at. So actually invite!

2) Invite prayerfully.
It’s God’s work, and only he can open people’s eyes to the truth of the gospel, so pray before inviting, while inviting and after inviting.

3) Invite early.
Diaries fill up pretty quickly at Christmas, so get in there early. Show colleagues the list of when the services are happening and ask which one they can make it to.

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Carol Services

By chris.tapp on 16th November 2012.

Carol Services 2012


Christmas is coming… (So get inviting!)
This year we have two Carol Services in Covent Garden – one at lunchtime and one after work. Carol services afford a wonderful opportunity for our colleagues to hear what Christmas is really all about…

Details:
Thursday 13th December
1-1.45pm
Christmas refreshments served before and after the service.

Tuesday 18th December
Mulled wine and mince pies from 6.30pm
Service at 7pm.

Both meeting in the Swiss Church, 79 Endell Street. There will be carols, readings and a short talk explaining the real message of Christmas.

Click on the image to download the flyer.

 

Christmas is coming…

By chris.tapp on 15th November 2012.

No really, it is. It’s just around the corner.

Our first Carol Service is less than a month away – here are all the details you need to know…

Thursday 13th December: Carols at lunch
1-1.45pm. Swiss Church on Endell Street
Christmas refreshments served before and after the service.

Tuesday 18th December: Carols after work
6.30 for mulled wine and mince pies, service at 7pm
Swiss Church, Endell Street.

There’ll be carols, readings and a short talk from the Bible.

Get the dates in your diaries/hand held personal electronic devices and get inviting.
Flyers coming very soon!

 

Does God even exist?

By chris.tapp on 9th November 2012.

It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental question that a Christian could be asked than that one!

You might know personally that God exists, but how would you go about answering the question of a sceptical colleague in a satisfactory way?

That’s exactly what the latest in our popular ‘Missionaries@Work’ series is all about. Check it out here.

Why not work through it over the weekend or even use it as part of a small group / office CU meeting?

 

 

 

The Apostle Paul’s Mary Poppins moment (Romans 8:1-13)

By chris.tapp on 8th November 2012.

Just 13 verses today at the lunchtime talk, but boy was there lots packed into them! Like Mary Poppins whipping all kinds of crazy goodies out of her little carpet bag, so the Apostle Paul has packed a huge amount of absolutely vital truth into these few verses at the start of Romans 8.

Why is the Spirit so important? What does it mean to have Jesus in me? What does it mean that Jesus died ‘for sin’? How can it be that Paul can say that apparently moral people cannot please God? Why do Christians still sin if they’ve got a new Spirit? Why is the Christian life such a battle? What on earth is flesh so bad? And what on earth has the Napoleonic War got to do with the cross?

An a really hearty meal of a talk, Jamie Child today helped us see the answers to these questions as we got right to the crux of so many absolutely key gospel issues and saw why all of this (yep, even the trickiest questions above) are cause for real, solid, tangible, objective CONFIDENCE as we look forward at our lives.

Listen now to today’s Covent Garden Talk, ‘Confident in God’s Spirit’.

 

Carol Service dates

By chris.tapp on 6th November 2012.

It’s not Christmas yet – let’s be clear on that, even the arrival of certain ‘red cups’ doesn’t mean it’s time to go all in on the festive frivolity! However we know lots of people like to plan in advance for inviting people to Carol Services so here are the dates for ours at CGT this year:

Lunchtime Carols: Thursday 13 December, 1pm

Carols After Work: Tuesday 18 December, 6.30 for refreshments, 7pm start

 

Monty Python discipleship (Luke 6:39-49)

By chris.tapp on 1st November 2012.

How do you spot a true disciple? How do you avoid being a Christian hypocrite of Python-esque proportions? What would I have to do, and what should I expect to happen, if I became one of Jesus’ followers?

All these questions are covered in the second of our ‘Bin Your Plastic Jesus’ series in Luke 6, with Phil Vance speaking, today at Covent Garden Talks.

Listen now by clicking here.

Forget Halloween…it’s Reformation Day!

By chris.tapp on 30th October 2012.

Following on from our little Hallow-blog this morning it’s been pointed out to us by a faithful Covent Gardener that October 31st is significant for more than just trick or treating; you don’t get a national holiday in Chile for that!

No, tomorrow you can stride into the office, crack out the cakes and wish everyone, ‘Happy Reformation Day’!

Try it…and let us know how it goes!

What to do about Halloween

By chris.tapp on .

I don’t know how it’s playing out where you are but it’s unavoidable. It’s very nearly October 31…and the shops have let us know about it for the past 4 weeks! (We were even treated to some ‘Pumpkin Chocolates’ at a Bible study the other week!)

Is your office draped in cobwebs? Has your colleague perched a jaunty witches hat on their computer? Did you spend Saturday night working up your best ghoulish make-up or zombie-esque outfit? Will you spend tomorrow night pounding the streets with your little Harry Potters or battening down the hatches or heading out to a ‘Hallelujah’ party?

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Bin Your Plastic version of success (Luke 6:17-26)

By chris.tapp on 25th October 2012.

Today at Covent Garden Talks we were thinking about what genuine success looks like by thinking about the words of Jesus to his disciples in Luke 6.

How can losing your job leave you better off than getting a promotion? How can being the office loser make you less of a failure then the office ‘legend’?

Listen now to today’s talk as Phil Vance gives us Jesus’ definition of success and failure and shows us how to spot a fake. Great stuff for us to think about if we are Christians or if we just want to understand why anyone would choose to be one…even if leaves them broke and friendless.

Bin your plastic Jesus

By chris.tapp on 19th October 2012.

There’s a man near where I live who sells DVDs out of a bag. Now I’ve no doubt the films on them might resemble the film as originally made and produced but I’m equally certain that it’s not the genuine article?

Ever thought that you’ve only ever experienced a fake version of the Christian life?

Our new series at Covent Garden Talks will be thinking about what the genuine Christian life would and should look like. Challenging, stretching stuff and vital – whether we’re trying to live as a Christian or whether we’re just interested in how Christians should live.

Check out the brand new flyer by clicking here.

Where did it all go wrong? (Genesis 3)

By chris.tapp on 18th October 2012.

Today at Covent Garden Talks we looked at what is probably the most depressing chapter of the Bible, Genesis 3.

But it’s an essential chapter for us to grasp if we’re to understand why our world is as it is, why we are the way we are, why Genesis 3 should be the last chapter, and what it shows us about God that it isn’t.

For anyone seeking to understand the Christian worldview, this is absolutely essential stuff.

Listen now by clicking here.

You can also listen to the rest of our ‘Planet Earth’ series by clicking here.

John Piper thoughts on work…

By chris.tapp on 17th October 2012.

Many of us will have benefited from the teaching of John Piper over the years.

Click here for some of his helpful little musings on how to glorify God at work.

What is wrong with the world?

By chris.tapp on 16th October 2012.

That’s our BIG QUESTION for the week at Covent Garden Talks.

As part of our Planet Earth series last week Kev Murdoch told us that, ‘People were made with a purpose, and part of that purpose is that we’re made to live in a perfect world’. But we clearly don’t!

Why not? What went wrong? Why is the world such a mess so much of the time?

We’d love to know your thoughts, your colleagues thoughts, your Aunty Glenda’s thoughts – all thoughts welcome.

Let us know at info@coventgardentalks.co.uk or via Twitter (@coventgdntalks) or through the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/coventgardentalks)

Why do we think the world should be better?

By chris.tapp on 11th October 2012.

This week at Covent Garden Talks Kev Murdoch was speaking on Genesis 2, the Garden of Eden. As we look at life in the garden we get a glimpse of what it is that people are made for (including some surprising things about work and relationships!), what it is that explains so many of the things that we long for in this life, and what it is that God is ultimately working to bring about.

A fascinating 20 minutes as well as a Q&A.

Listen now by clicking here. 

What’s the point of people?

By chris.tapp on 9th October 2012.

How would you answer that question?

That’s the question we’re going to be thinking about this week at Covent Garden Talks. Why not ask your colleagues? We’d love to hear people’s thoughts!

Email us on info@coventgardentalks.co.uk

Working with workers video

By chris.tapp on 5th October 2012.

Check out the snazzy new video from Working with Workers by clicking here.

How can anyone take Genesis 1 seriously?

By chris.tapp on 4th October 2012.

This week at CGT we were starting a new three week series looking at Genesis 1-3. Our old friend Kev Murdoch (who lead the talks for a few years) was back to speak to us.

This week we were looking at Genesis 1. Surely one of the most debated chapters in the whole Bible and, you might think, now one of the most obsolete.

However what we make of Genesis 1 massively depends on what we think Genesis 1 is all about! Is it about how the world was made in a mechanical, scientific sense, or about who made the world, and why?

You can listen to Kev’s talk and the Q&A which followed by clicking here.

If you want a more thorough treatment of Christianity and Science then this talk from Andrew Sach (mentioned during the Q&A) is well worth a listen.

Mind-blowing mid-morning break time

By chris.tapp on 2nd October 2012.

This week at Covent Garden Talks we’re starting our ‘Planet Earth’ series looking at Genesis 1-3. We’ll be thinking about our universe, how and why it came to be.

But before we do that why not take ten minutes – grab a cup of tea and familiarise yourself with a little mind-stretching glimpse at what the universe is actually like, courtesy of some folk who should know a thing or two about that, NASA.

Click here for out-of-this-world pretty pictures.

Are you a planner?

By chris.tapp on 28th September 2012.

I know I am. I like to be able to map dates out into the future – you could say I’m a bit of a calendar nerd, in fact people do often say that!

Well if you like to know what’s coming up why not check out the Covent Garden Talks Autumn term card!

Why Jesus is the life and soul of the party (John 2)

By chris.tapp on 27th September 2012.

Think of the best party you’ve ever been to. How good was the invitation?

When we see the kind of invitation, the kind of taster that Jesus gives us of the party he’s going to throw well, I think it’s safe to say, his party is going to top any that you or I have ever been to!

But who’s invited? And what do you need to do to be sure of a place on the guest list?

John 2 helps us with massive questions like these – all packed into two extraordinary stories as John continues to show us who Jesus is and what his coming was all about.

Listen now to this week’s Covent Garden Talk by clicking here.

Also you can find relevant notes from the ‘Truth at Work’ series by clicking here for part A (v1-12) and here for part B (v13-25).

Finally, the three simple questions to help you think about the passage if you’re reading through John are;

1)      What impression does John give us about the ‘life’ that Jesus offers in v1-12?
2)      What does Jesus’ clearing of the Temple in v13-17 show us about who he is?
3)      What is the significance of Jesus’ claim in v19?

Happy Yom Kippur!

By chris.tapp on 24th September 2012.

It’s Yom Kippur this week, Wednesday to be precise.

If you’ve got Jewish friends and colleagues celebrating, why not ask them about it? Just like for Christians at times like Easter / Christmas it’s great to be asked about festivals and why they happen!

But what about talking to Jewish people about Jesus? How would even begin to think about doing that? Ziggy Rogoff is a Jewish Christian who works for Jews for Jesus. He’s helpfully put together this though-provoking blog post for St Helen’s Bishopsgate on the subject.

Previously, on… (John 1:19-51)

By chris.tapp on 20th September 2012.

If you ever miss a week of the Great British Bake Off or some other television classic then you’ll know how vital it is to watch carefully during the recap at the start of the next show.

Turns out American TV dramas weren’t the first to think of that though, John was at it about a couple of thousand years ago!

And the recap he gives us in John 1:19-51 is essential if we’re to understand who Jesus is correctly in his gospel and precisely why he’s so history-shatteringly significant.

Listen now to this week’s Covent Garden Talk by clicking here.

Also you can find notes from the ‘Truth at Work’ series on this passage by clicking here for part A and here for part B.

Finally, the three simple questions to help you think about the passage if you’re reading through John are;

1)      Why might John include so many Old Testament references in these verses?
2)      What do the various titles given to him here show us about Jesus?
3)      What would you expect to happen next if Jesus is who John claims he is?

Eh? Jesus had a wife?!

By chris.tapp on .

Erm, no, probably not. In fact, almost certainly not.

But, because of the discovery of a fragment of coptic Christian manuscript there’s been much discussion of the subject and lots of media publicity. So, what are we to think about all this? What’s really going on? What would I say to someone asking about the subject?

Good question – and yours truly is no expert in such things, but Simon Gathercole is a proper boffin and he’s handily written some stuff up, so why not click here to find out more – ‘Did Jesus have a wife?’

How to know God (John 1:1-18)

By chris.tapp on 13th September 2012.

Today at Covent Garden Talks we began what may be a lengthy project working our way through John’s gospel, but it was a hugely important question we were addressing – how can we know God? Clearly, if we can’t truly know God then we’re wasting our time on a Thursday lunchtime – believe me, the last thing you’d want to spend half an hour doing is hearing my personal speculation of what God is like and what life is all about!

That’s why it’s such exciting news that John shows us really clearly in the introduction to his gospel that, although we could never discover God for ourselves, God has opened the door into our dark world and enlightened us by becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ!

If you missed the talk you can listen to it again now by clicking here.

Also, if you’re reading along John’s gospel by yourself or with a friend or colleagues – here are the questions we produced this week to help you think through the passage;

1)      Do you think we can know anything about God? How?
2)      What do these verses claim about Jesus?
3)      What would you expect next if Jesus is who John claims he is?

Finally, click here for a one-page guide to the passage from the ‘Truth at Work’ resources.

 

 

Is John’s gospel really evidence?

By chris.tapp on 12th September 2012.

Last week at Covent Garden Talks we started our new series in John’s gospel. As we did so we encouraged people to get a copy of John’s gospel (or get given one to a colleague or friend)  and read it for themselves as an adult, investigate the evidence for the claims of Christianity first hand as part of our ‘Read-the-Bible-as-an-adult challenge’.

But is it really fair to consider the Bible ‘evidence’ in the same way as we do other historical accounts? Can I really rely on a book like John to such an extent that I can read it as I would any other text?

These are hugely important questions – so here’s a couple of documents to help think through.

Is the New Testament historically reliable?

Can I trust the Bible?

Hello, hello, it’s good to be back!

By chris.tapp on 6th September 2012.

After what feels like a loooong summer break it was great to get back into the swing of things at Covent Garden Talks today.

We were starting off what will be a big project in John’s gospel for us this year with a bit of an introductory talk. We also had a bit of an introductory chat with our newest member of the team at Covent Garden, Mr Vijay Henderson!

Click here to listen now…

Coming up in September…’Life’

By chris.tapp on 28th August 2012.

As summer winds down (Paralympics excepted) and we get back into the daily routines and the nights begin to draw in, the mercury begins to drop and next summer feels a long, long way off in the distance, we could be forgiven for asking, ‘What’s the point? What’s life all about?’

I’ll be honest, realistically, that’s probably not what we ask…but it’s a great question to ask never-the-less!

And it’s a question we’re going to be thinking about all this year (and probably beyond!) at Covent Garden Talks as we look at John’s gospel together. Starting in September (here’s the flyer for the September series).

We also hope that as we gradually work through John’s gospel that it will open up opportunities for others in the area to read along with us. So many people have a perception of Jesus and of Christianity based on what they’ve vaguely heard or remember from school, but haven’t read the Bible as an adult. John’s gospel would be an ideal place to start.

We’re excited about getting going again on Thursday 6 September – hope to see you then!

Work! Why oh why must I work!

By chris.tapp on 8th August 2012.

I cannot be the only one struggling at the moment, struggling badly in fact. The temptation to listen to the radio, keep checking back on to the ‘Live Olympic text feed’ is almost irresistible!

So often work can feel like a bit of a drag but most days, actually, I really quite enjoy it. But during a summer like this, aaargh, it’s tough!

It’s good to be reminded every so often what we should expect from work, and why it’s definitely still worth ploughing on. This talk, ‘Wired for Work’ from William Taylor is really helpful – why not take an Olympic break at some point (maybe on Monday 13 August!) and have a listen.

‘Please fasten your seatbelts…’

By chris.tapp on 19th July 2012.

‘…we will now play a short safety announcement.’ Whenever I’m on a plane and this announcement comes on and I look on, slightly surprised, as lots of people quickly bury their head in a magazine or stick in their headphones. I always feel a compulsion – part politeness, part self-preservation – to listen intently to the safety announcement, just in case they’ve changed something!

In one sense though it makes sense that lots of folk don’t pay much attention – we don’t normally need to know any of the ‘in case of emergency’ procedures, fortunately emergency incidents are very few and far between.

It can be a bit like that in life generally and especially as we think about God’s coming justice and the perfect world which that will usher in. Most of us don’t feel like we’re struggling to wait for that, the wait doesn’t feel too rocky. But what about if life got harder? What about if life got much, much harder? How would we go on waiting with faith for God’s justice then?

As we finish off our series in the book of Habakkuk, the prophet paints for us a quite astonishing picture of God, one which, as we see it, can prepare us for whatever turbulence life throws our way.

Listen now by clicking here.

The waiting game

By chris.tapp on 12th July 2012.

Our world has a serious justice problem. We aren’t capable of delivering true justice.

This week a war criminal from the DRC was given a sentence from the International Criminal Court of 14 years for the use of child soldiers. Who knows how many lives have been irreversibly scarred by the experiences that man inflicted, and the best the best human courts on the planet are able to deliver is 14 years. Is that real justice?

We should really care about justice and we should want, as Christians, to pursue and support justice and the rule of law wherever as much as is possible, but we must also recognise that ultimately people will always fall short of delivering the justice the world needs. Only God can provide that. The great news is he will…so where is it? And what should we think about God making us wait for it?

That’s the topic we were thinking about at Covent Garden Talks this week as we continued our series in the book of Habakkuk. God, why don’t you sort the world out now? Listen now.

Why Christians should celebrate the discovery of the ‘God’ particle

By chris.tapp on 4th July 2012.

I don’t know about you, but whenever there’s a new scientific discovery it can sometimes make me feel instinctively nervous. ‘Eek’, I think, ‘this is bound to make life harder, how can people believe in God when there’s a Higgs Boson particle, this is just another (very, very tiny) bit of grist to the sceptics mill!’

But is the discovery, announced today at the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, of the Higgs Boson, the so called ‘God particle’, any reason for Christians to feel unsettled or doubtful? I think not, in fact, I think it should be a cause for joy for the Christian!

The whole idea that science and Christianity are somehow competing is unhelpful as we recently heard from Andrew Sach (click here to listen to his ‘Has science disproved God’ talk) indeed historically science and Christianity have been seen to go hand in hand, and so they should. Many early scientists were Christians and undertook their pursuit precisely because they believed that the God who created the world was a God of order and therefore there was order to be measured and discovered and investigated.

As we learn more about our world, particle physics included, it should cause us to be even more and more amazed by the God who, by whatever means, created it. The God who, with a mere word, can call into being particles so exquisitely small that today we have to spend countless man hours and billions and billions of dollars trying to catch a glimpse of them. That is a cause, not for nerves, but for bold worship.

As people in the office discuss these things, what a great opportunity for us, maybe we should be bringing it up! Because rather than us feeling that we have to be defensive, we can share something of why we think God is worth investigating. We can use this as a chance to point to how incredible He must be to have made and sustain the universe it in all its mind-boggling (and it is, I don’t pretend to understand about atoms at all) intricacy!

The discovery of the Higgs Boson shows us not that God need not exist, but that he is even more awesome than we’d previously understood.

4For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
5How great are your works, O Lord,
how profound your thoughts!  Psalm 92:4-5

How does the cross actually work?

By chris.tapp on 28th June 2012.

Lots of us will know that the cross is important, in fact lots of us would say it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened! As we heard last week, it’s possible for people to join Jesus in Paradise because of the cross, for ever. It doesn’t get any bigger than that!

However lots of us might be much less clear on how that actually happens? What is it about the cross? What actually happened as Jesus died on the cross? How does is actually work? How does the cross actually help me?

That’s what we thought about today at Covent Garden Talks as Andrew Sach spoke to us on the doctrine of penal substitution. Andrew’s recent written this book called, ‘The Cross’, so he should know a thing or two about it!

A really eye-opening half an hour. Well worth listening now…

 

Three words to get to Paradise…

By chris.tapp on 21st June 2012.

…’Jesus, remember me…’. That’s what it took for the criminal crucified next to Jesus to be told, ‘Today, you will be with me in Paradise’.

How can that be? As we see the answer, we see why Christianity is totally unique and infinitely good good news.

Listen now to William Taylor’s talk on ‘The Cross’ from this lunchtime. 

Did Jesus deserve to die?

By chris.tapp on 15th June 2012.

The Cross is absolutely central to the Christian message. But why did it happen? The Romans prided themselves on justice, did they get it right with Jesus?

Listen now to William Taylor’s talk from yesterday on Luke 23:13-31, the first in our three week series on ‘The Cross’.

Coming up in the next couple of months…

By chris.tapp on 12th June 2012.

Want to know what’s happening through the summer at Covent Garden Talks? Click here for the lowdown…

A world outside Covent Garden?

By chris.tapp on .

Did you know that Covent Garden Talks is just one of a whole host of lunchtime talks which take place around London? So if you have friends who work in other parts of town or you’re unlucky enough to end up working away from the Covent Garden area why not check if there’s anything nearby and get involved!

All the info can be found on this handy ‘Working with workers’ website.

Why suffering?

By chris.tapp on 31st May 2012.

How can the pain and suffering of this world – right through from the global in places in like Syria to the personal in each of our own lives and the lives of those we love – how can that possibly square up to there being a God who is in control, just and good?

Listen now to today’s Covent Garden Talk, Jamie Child on ‘God wouldn’t allow so much suffering’.

A question for a Christian

By chris.tapp on 29th May 2012.

If you had the opportunity to sit a Christian down and you could ask them anything – no question too off-the-wall, no question too simple, no question too offensive, no question too personal – what would you ask? What is it about Christians and what they believe that’s never made sense to you?

Now’s your chance.

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Where are you on the mountain?

By chris.tapp on 24th May 2012.

Are there lots of ways to God? Is there a God? Are all faiths basically the same? Should I take any of them seriously? Why would I, or anyone, bother with Christianity in particular? How can you claim it’s exclusively true? What about tolerance?

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Are Christians living in the real world?

By chris.tapp on 17th May 2012.

Rico Tice was speaking today at Covent Garden Talks. It was, unsurprisingly, belting stuff covering judgement, fear, the resurrection and much much more. Well worth half an hour of your time to have a listen by clicking here.

The question is not whether I’m trying to frighten you but whether there’s anything to fear.’ 

 

 

A sneak preview of this Thursday…

By chris.tapp on 15th May 2012.

This week we’re delighted to have Rico Tice coming to speak to us as part of our Urban Myths series. Rico will be thinking about the idea that ‘Christians don’t live in the real world’.

You can click here to catch a glimpse of Rico doing his thing on the Christianity Explored website to whet your appetite.

A holy instruction manual?

By chris.tapp on 9th May 2012.

What is the Bible? That’s the sort of question that lots of people we meet at Covent Garden Talks think they know the answer to. Here’s an answer I got recently to that question, ‘It’s a guide on how to live a good life and treat other people well, which is what God wants’.

Surely that’s a pretty good answer right? I mean it’s hard to think that the Bible couldn’t be that in some sense, surely that is what God wants and he does need to tell us how to do that? But is that a bit like saying that Romeo and Juliet is all about learning how to conduct a relationship? Maybe you could pick up some romantic tips, but that’s hardly why Shakespeare wrote the play methinks!

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Science has disproved God?

By chris.tapp on 3rd May 2012.

Today we began our ‘Urban Myths’ series at Covent Garden Talks and it got off to something of a dramatic start when the speaker got stuck in a mad taxi dash to arrive on time! Fortunately Dr Andrew Sach was able to make it on time for us and a great crowd heard a great talk!

Because of the delay at the start our audio of the event needs a bit of an edit before we upload it – however Andrew helpfully pointed us in the direction of this virtually identical talk he gave recently to a group in the City. So if you’re interested and couldn’t make it today, have a listen, it’s well worth it!

Why Jesus is the best movie trailer ever

By chris.tapp on 2nd May 2012.

This past weekend was the Covent Garden Talks Weekend Away 2012. Great company, great food, great talks, great weath…oh well, you can’t have everything!

Mark Oden joined us from Sevenoaks to speak to us from Matthew 8-9. They’re chapters which include a large number of miraculous events including a whole bunch of healings, casting out of demons and the calming of a raging storm with just a word. Jesus demonstrating his power and authority in very dramatic fashion. But why?

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May at Covent Garden Talks: ‘Urban Myths’

By chris.tapp on 1st May 2012.

People say all kinds of things with lots of authority, but is what you’ve heard about Christianity really true?

This month at Covent Garden Talks we’ll be going back to the highest authority of them all, the Bible, to ask whether what we often think about Christianity as actually correct.

Covering topics from science to suffering, religious Christians to other religions each week we’ll have a twenty minute talk and then time for questions so get inviting and come prepared to engage!

All the info you need can be found on our ‘Urban Myths’ flyer.

Urban Myths: because truth matters.

Cosmic truth, cosmic mission

By chris.tapp on .

Last weeks talk, the final talk in our 14 part ‘Cosmic’ series in Epehsians, is now available to listen online.

‘Cosmic truth, cosmic mission’ - Ephesians 6:18-24

6 chapters, 155 verses, 14 talks…one cosmic plan

By chris.tapp on 26th April 2012.

We’ve been spending much of the last few months at Covent Garden Talks in the book of Ephesians and today we finish the whole thing off as we look at 6:18-24.

So where next? What do you do once you’ve had the gospel explained to you, you’ve believed it, been transformed by it, begun to try to live it out together in the church and individually in every day life, standing firm in the gospel? The answer? You go out…

Today, 1.05 at the Swiss Church. ‘Cosmic truth, cosmic mission’. Chris Tapp speaking.

Weekend Away 2012 update

By chris.tapp on 24th April 2012.

This weekend is our 2012 weekend away with the good folks from Euston Area Talks – you can read the brochure here.

Two big updates though. Firstly, the weekend is finishing slightly earlier than planned. We’re now running from Friday evening until dinner time on Sunday.

Secondly, because of the slightly truncated timing, we can now offer the full weekend for a totally bargainous £45! (Still £15 for the day on Saturday). Amazing!

Still spaces – sign up today!

Kitted out for battle

By chris.tapp on 19th April 2012.

Being a worker can be a tough run, they don’t call it the daily grind for nothing. Being a worker and a Christian can often feel even harder – battling to do a good job for our employers and living godly lives all at the same time!

The great news is that God has equipped us with everything we need for life in the workplace warzone. Click here to listen to today’s Covent Garden Talk on Ephesians 6:10-18 to find out more.

Good to be back?

By chris.tapp on 17th April 2012.

Last week Covent Garden Talks took a bit of an Easter holiday. I expect that lots of us will have had some time off in the last week or so, even if it was just a wet four-day weekend!

It can feel good to get back into normal routines after a bit of a break, but it can also feel a bit grey and, in lots of ways, pretty daunting. Especially as Christians, the idea of going back into sometimes wearying and hostile workplaces, girding up the energy to try and live and speak distinctive, gospel-flavoured lives can just leave us exhausted before we’ve even started!

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That’s Easter

By chris.tapp on 3rd April 2012.

There’s no talk this week or next at Covent Garden Talks as we take a break for Easter. But why Easter? What’s that all about?

Here’s two handy videos to explain – why not send Facebook / Tweet / email them to friends and colleagues and help them grasp the real meaning of Easter this year.

Life to Death

Death to Life

Did Jesus exist?

By chris.tapp on 30th March 2012.

That’s a pretty vital question as we come up to Easter right?! It’s a question some of your colleagues may have.

Click here for an excerpt from a new book by a non-Christian historian on the issue…

Easter in three courses

By chris.tapp on 29th March 2012.

Our Easter lunch today was a social and culinary delight and on top of all that we got to look together at the most important truths the world has ever known!

Unfortunately we can’t replicate the smells, tastes and conversation for you here but you can listen to the three course talks on the truth behind the Easter traditions.

Talk / ScriptureFirst Course: Lamb / Luke 22:15-20
Talk / ScriptureSecond Course: Hot Cross Buns / Luke 23:44-46
Talk / ScriptureThird Course: Easter Eggs / Luke 24:1-7

Easter Lunch flyer

By chris.tapp on 23rd March 2012.

Next Thursday is our annual Easter lunch – as good as a Carol Service but with more novelty (and more food)! Easter is such a good chance for people to come along and learn a bit more about why we do what we do at this time of year as we explain the truth behind the Easter traditions.

A great thing to come along to and bring colleagues – there’s now a pdf flyer available for download at the ‘lunchtime talks’ page. Why not email it round the office, pray and see what might happen! You can even print it off and stick it on a notice board. Even if no-one wants to come along with you make sure you bring yourself!

Are there jobs Christians shouldn’t do?

By chris.tapp on .

Many Christians struggle to work out what job they should do, whether they’re doing the right job or even if they’re doing a job that they really shouldn’t be doing. But more generally – are there some jobs Christians should never do? An interesting article from the ‘Gospel Coalition’ on this subject has been published today – worth a read.

Also, some jobs – husbands, wives, parents, children, workers, bosses (everyone has at least one of them) – all Christians should do. But how? Our lunchtime talk in our ‘Cosmic’ series in Ephesians yesterday was on this topic. You can listen now – Why Christians have model relationships.

Why Christians have model relationships

By chris.tapp on 22nd March 2012.

Eh? Hold on, I don’t think anyone at Covent Garden Talks has ever dated Kate Moss, nor is it the case that at home or at work Christians get everything in relationships right. And yet, as we’ll see today as we look at Ephesians 5:22-6:9 together, Paul says that in some sense Christians do have model relationships. In what sense? You’ll have to come along to find out.

1.05pm, Swiss Church, Endell St.

The truest Sun headline ever

By chris.tapp on 20th March 2012.

On Monday morning I was confronted by the following headline on the front of The Sun newspaper; ‘GOD IS IN CONTROL’. Not bad for a paper with a flimsy reputation for accuracy!

The headline related to a tweet from the fiancé of the then stricken (but now, praise the Lord, seemingly improving) Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba who suffered a heart attack during an FA Cup match at the weekend.

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Raisins in a cake mix

By chris.tapp on 15th March 2012.

It’s great that God has put Christians in amongst the world, folded into the offices, streets, apartments blocks, the fabric of society. And yet Christians are supposed to stand out. How? Why? Listen now to today’s Covent Garden Talks, ‘Why Christians and the world don’t mix’.

 

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Two more series added to the archive…

By chris.tapp on 14th March 2012.

Our Easter series from last year as well as two tremendous talks from Tom Nash on Revelation 20-22 are now available in our 2011 talk archive.

It makes all the difference! – today’s talk, listen now

By chris.tapp on 8th March 2012.

Missed today’s Covent Garden Talk? Don’t worry, you can listen now through our talk archive…

Does being a Christian make any difference?

By chris.tapp on .

That’s the question we’ll be considering as we come back to our ‘Cosmic’ series in Ephesians today. The gospel is such monumental, eternal, transformational news…so shouldn’t be a Christian make my life monumentally transformed?

Today, Ephesians 4:17-5:2, ‘Why Christians need a brain transplant’. Chris Tapp speaking.

Missed previous ‘Cosmic’ talks? Catch up in our talk archives.

At last! Talks available online…

By chris.tapp on 7th March 2012.

Today is a historic day. For the first time ever you can listen to Covent Garden Talks talks online!

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Cosmic lives…

By chris.tapp on 6th March 2012.

This week at Covent Garden Talks we’re headed back into our ‘Cosmic’ series in the book of Ephesians. We’ve been gradually working through this great letter since last September and we’ve seen huge truths about God’s great plan for all people, all time, everything! A plan centred on Christ, for God’s glory but with mind-blowing, transformational consequences for us as people if we get on board and believe in the plan.

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The glorious diversity and unity of lunchtime ministry

By chris.tapp on 1st March 2012.

This year at Covent Garden Talks we’ve been working through the book of Ephesians. One of the (many!) great truths of the book is in Ephesians 2 where Paul tells the Ephesians that Christ has ‘made one new man’, ‘broken down the dividing wall of hostility’ and made them ‘fellow citizens’. Christians being united by the gospel is a deeply exciting and beautiful thing.

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This week at Covent Garden Talks…

By chris.tapp on 28th February 2012.

Spring is in the air as we see out February and welcome in March. Thank the Lord for warmer/sunnier times ahead!

Isn’t it great that we can do that, that we can just thank him? We don’t have to book an appointment or anything like that, we can just speak to our Heavenly Father, just as we are. Prayer is one of the great joys of the Christian life and it’s going to be the focus of our week at CGT this week.

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Workplace missionary training

By chris.tapp on 24th February 2012.

We wouldn’t send somebody out to spread the good news about Jesus in a remote, far-flung corner of the globe without first giving them some training. At Covent Garden Talks we don’t think it makes much sense to send people into their workplace trying to spread the good news about Jesus without giving them some training either!

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Pray, pray, pray!

By chris.tapp on 23rd February 2012.

Great times this lunchtime at CGT. Tom Nash speaking to us from 1 Tim 2:1-7, a passage all about prayer…and the gospel…and how the two go hand in hand!

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Welcome to the new Covent Garden Talks website!

By chris.tapp on 22nd February 2012.

It might not look radically different, in fact we hope it looks very similar, but you’re actually now on a brand new website! Whilst the appearance is similar behind the scenes it’s all new and much improved.

For example you’re now reading the new, regularly updated Covent Garden Talks newsblog! The website can now be much, much more easily updated so expect much fresher, up-to-date news, articles and info on upcoming events.

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What are you giving up for Lent?

By chris.tapp on 21st February 2012.

 

This is the question that many of us will be asked in our offices over the next couple of days by colleagues who know that we’re ‘religious’ and that Lent is a ‘religious’ thing.

Here’s a few handy hints which you may find useful in your conversations.

1. Many of you will know this, but Lent is traditionally understood as a season of repentance and faith, often starting with the observance of Ash Wednesday (when Ashes are used to symbolise severe contrition as in Jonah 3:6 or Daniel 9:3). For many recognising Lent, Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) marks the first day of a 40 day fast from something. Sundays are not counted as part of the 40 days as Sundays are traditionally celebration days. The Lenten period ends on Easter Sunday.

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Jonah: Big fish, small world – this lunchtime!

By paul.clarke on 2nd February 2012.

A story about a fella who get’s swallowed by a big fish? Exciting stuff, but hardly useful to us, firmly on West End dry land on a chilly Thursday right?

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Whats on at Covent Garden Talks this week…

By paul.clarke on 31st January 2012.

Finally, a proper bit of cold. I’m sure, like me, you’d have felt a bit cheated if we’d gone the whole winter without a bit of sub-zero! This week is the perfect week to get out the woolies, pop on the gloves, and praise our Heavenly Father for the wonder of his creation! (Maybe share your good cheer with a colleague, Gospel truth is great truth however chilly it is!)

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