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Lift Your Eyes – Forget the Channel

Lionel Windsor

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Lift Your Eyes – Forget the Channel
Lift Your Eyes – Forget the Channel

Lift Your Eyes – Forget the Channel

Lionel Windsor

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Followers
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Plays
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About Us

Lift Your Eyes is a series of reflections covering every sentence in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In each reflection, I take a short portion from the letter, provide a translation, describe what it’s saying, and reflect on what it means for our lives and our relationships with others. As you read Ephesians, it is my prayer that Paul’s letter will lift your eyes, raise your sights, and help you to stand. The reflections will be published twice a week starting 25 January 2019 and finishing in September 2019.

Latest Episodes

Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

Our family lived for several years in Durham, in the north east of England. One day, through my son’s primary school, we were offered some cheap tickets to see a Premier League football match in nearby Sunderland. Since we’d never seen a Premier League game, my son and I decided it would be great to go. I knew that our neighbour Patrick, who’d grown up in Durham, was a huge football fan. So I asked Patrick if he had any advice for us on the best way to get ourselves to the match. Patrick told me there was a bus to the game that stopped right outside our house. The day arrived, and my son and I hopped on the bus with Patrick. But there was a surprise in store for us. The bus was, in fact, the Sunderland supporters’ bus! So as soon as we got on, we realised we had to make a decision. Were we going to support Sunderland, or their opponents Wigan Athletic? You can probably guess our decision: we very swiftly and decisively became Sunderland supporters! We rode to the match as Sunder...

12 MINJAN 25
Comments
Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

One of the most generous acts you can do is to listen carefully when someone tells you who they are. So often, when we encounter someone, we make up our minds about them before they tell us about themselves. We make judgments based on their background, their appearance, their accent, their age, their gender, their job. When they tell us who they are, we often simply try to fit their words about themselves into our predetermined picture. In other words, we don’t truly listen to them. We don’t allow them to define themselves. Rather, we filter what they say about themselves through the grid of who we have already decided they are like. Who do you think Paul is? He is, after all, one of the most influential—and therefore talked-about—figures in the history of Western civilisation. There are plenty of opinions floating around about who he is and what he’s like. Some regard him as a champion of forgiveness and unconditional love in the face of suffering. Others see him as a flawed f...

11 MINJAN 29
Comments
Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

One of the benefits of history is that it makes us grateful for things we might otherwise take for granted. My father-in-law has a collection of historical newspapers. At one point I was looking through his collection, and a brief comment caught my eye. It’s from the London Gazette, Monday August 26, 1768, Number 118, Twopence-Farthing, just after an announcement of a soiree to be held by Mrs Grant-Forsdyke and just before a description of a French pirate ship at large: ABHORENT PRACTICE OF SLAVE TRADING: The hunting of Human Beings for the purpose of making slaves of them is a practice to be much abhored. It is therefore of great comfort to Englishmen of Christian Ideals to note that the group of Evangelicals continues to be active in condemning the trading of slaves… We are sure all thinking men will deem the work of the Evangelicals to be of ultimate necessity and will encourage them to continue in it.London Gazette, Monday August 26, 1768 (An “Evangelical” is a Christian mot...

16 MINFEB 1
Comments
Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

This God (Ephesians 1:2)

I teach at a Sydney theological college that’s right in the middle of one of the most irreligious parts of the Western world. Our campus sits between a long-established, determinedly secular university, and a vibrant, socially progressive inner-city suburb. Quite often, I join in with a group of college students, heading out into our community with the aim of engaging people in conversations about Jesus Christ. The results are varied. We’ve had some great conversations and some not-so-great ones. Some people say “no” straight away, with various degrees of politeness. Others are happy to talk for hours. But one thing I’ve discovered, and been a little surprised by, is there’s a large number of people in our community who believe in God. However, what people actually mean when they say they believe in God (or god) is another question. It’s highly varied. People believe in a supreme cosmic force, a benevolent sovereign, an unknowable Other, and a great moral police officer, amon...

13 MINFEB 5
Comments
This God (Ephesians 1:2)

#inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

Have you heard of the internet hashtag #blessed? On the surface, it’s a tag people use to show their friends they’re happy and thankful to God (or some higher power) for some aspect of their life. “My fiancé is the best. #blessed”. “Feeling #blessed to have achieved so much in my sporting career.” But in online interactions, it’s never as simple as that, is it? There are always complex motivations, real or imagined, lurking beneath the surface. When we read this, we want to know: why are they sharing this feeling of blessedness? We might start speculating. Are they bragging about their life and their achievements? Or we might start to get annoyed. Who cares anyway about their fiancé or their sporting career? Pride, boasting, envy and scornfulness are never far away online. So the hashtag has become a sarcastic meme—a way of poking fun at humblebraggers and narcissists. “I dropped my pizza in the gutter and it landed right side up. #blessed”. But it isn’t just an interne...

17 MINFEB 8
Comments
#inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

“You are special. Trust yourself. Be true to yourself. …Follow your passion. Don’t accept limits. Chart your own course. You have a responsibility to do great things because you are so great.” I’m quoting from New York Times columnist David Brooks’ book The Road to Character. Brooks is here listing some of the messages that are becoming more and more common in our world—and he thinks it’s a real problem. He calls it “the gospel of self-trust” (p. 7). Whether it’s Disney princesses or graduation speeches, these messages, according to Brooks and many other commentators, are indicative of the prevalence of ‘narcissism’ in Western society. While narcissism is technically a psychological diagnosis, the word is also used to talk about a more general social attitude. Narcissism goes way beyond normal, healthy self-esteem. It’s the focussing of everything, and everyone, on yourself and your own desires. And apparently, narcissism as a social attitude is alarmingly on the rise....

14 MINFEB 12
Comments
What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

Are you trying to redeem yourself? We talk about ‘redeeming ourselves’ when we get into trouble (normally trouble of our own making) and need to extricate ourselves from it. When we say something hurtful to a friend, for example—we might deeply regret what we’ve said and sincerely want to make up for it. There’s a WikiHow article called ‘How to Redeem Yourself’. It lists twenty-one steps, in three sections, that will help you to redeem yourself. Each step has explanations, illustrations, and worked examples. The steps include: “Acknowledge your wrongdoing before the other person finds out”, “Take responsibility for your actions”, “Remedy the situation”, and “Face the realities of your life”. There’s some wisdom in this article, especially for people who want to try to make up for serious wrongdoing in significant relationships (it mentions wrongdoings like cheating on a spouse or breaking trust through lying). But unfortunately, it doesn’t work all of the time. Some...

13 MINFEB 15
Comments
Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

In almost every area of our lives, things work best when we know the plan. Whether it’s personal relationships, or study, or work, or holidays, or sport, or even going for a walk, it really helps to know what the point is and how we’re going to get there. In some areas of life, we can make our own plans. In other areas of life, we need other people to lead us by making good plans and sharing them with us. That’s why leadership gurus talk about ‘vision and ‘mission’ and ‘strategy’. Good leaders are people with good and clear plans. But more than that, good leaders are people who clearly communicate those plans to their team, so everyone knows what the plan is and can happily play their part. I once worked for a solar energy research company. I still remember our mission statement: “to have developed solar modules seen across the rooftops of the world”. I knew where I fitted in to that mission: I was an engineer who helped to develop and maintain the equipment for the resear...

15 MINFEB 19
Comments
So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

When we come to the Bible, we can easily assume that everything it says is directly about us. After all, the Bible is God’s word to us, isn’t it? If it’s not about us, why would God have given it to us? What would be the use of reading it in the first place? But the thing is this: even though the Bible is always useful and relevant to us, not every sentence is speaking directly about our own situation. An example of this is Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:11–12. In Christ we were also claimed by God as his inheritance, having been predetermined according to the design of the one who acts in everything according to the purpose of his will, so that we might be for the praise of his glory—we who first hoped in Christ.Ephesians 1:11–12 In these verses, Paul is continuing to lay out the amazing spiritual blessings that God has given to believers “in Christ” (verses 3–10). In Christ, we have been chosen, forgiven, and adopted by God. We have also been given the blessing of knowing G...

14 MINFEB 22
Comments
Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)

What is God’s ‘mission’? In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul talks a lot about God’s purposes for the world. God’s ultimate purpose is to sum up everything in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God is moving everything in heaven and earth towards that end. But how? What is the means to the end? In other words, what is the mission? And what does that mean for our own mission as Christians and as churches? There are many answers people give to this question. Here are three: One answer is that God achieves his purposes primarily through transformation. God changes the lives of Christians for the better. People in the world see the goodness of Christians, and they see that Christianity works. They are attracted to that goodness, and so they are transformed and come under Christ’s lordship too. So: if this is the primary way God achieves his purposes for the world, then we should focus our energy on things like social justice and apologetics, i.e. on changing the world and showing the ...

18 MINFEB 26
Comments
The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)

Latest Episodes

Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

Our family lived for several years in Durham, in the north east of England. One day, through my son’s primary school, we were offered some cheap tickets to see a Premier League football match in nearby Sunderland. Since we’d never seen a Premier League game, my son and I decided it would be great to go. I knew that our neighbour Patrick, who’d grown up in Durham, was a huge football fan. So I asked Patrick if he had any advice for us on the best way to get ourselves to the match. Patrick told me there was a bus to the game that stopped right outside our house. The day arrived, and my son and I hopped on the bus with Patrick. But there was a surprise in store for us. The bus was, in fact, the Sunderland supporters’ bus! So as soon as we got on, we realised we had to make a decision. Were we going to support Sunderland, or their opponents Wigan Athletic? You can probably guess our decision: we very swiftly and decisively became Sunderland supporters! We rode to the match as Sunder...

12 MINJAN 25
Comments
Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

One of the most generous acts you can do is to listen carefully when someone tells you who they are. So often, when we encounter someone, we make up our minds about them before they tell us about themselves. We make judgments based on their background, their appearance, their accent, their age, their gender, their job. When they tell us who they are, we often simply try to fit their words about themselves into our predetermined picture. In other words, we don’t truly listen to them. We don’t allow them to define themselves. Rather, we filter what they say about themselves through the grid of who we have already decided they are like. Who do you think Paul is? He is, after all, one of the most influential—and therefore talked-about—figures in the history of Western civilisation. There are plenty of opinions floating around about who he is and what he’s like. Some regard him as a champion of forgiveness and unconditional love in the face of suffering. Others see him as a flawed f...

11 MINJAN 29
Comments
Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

One of the benefits of history is that it makes us grateful for things we might otherwise take for granted. My father-in-law has a collection of historical newspapers. At one point I was looking through his collection, and a brief comment caught my eye. It’s from the London Gazette, Monday August 26, 1768, Number 118, Twopence-Farthing, just after an announcement of a soiree to be held by Mrs Grant-Forsdyke and just before a description of a French pirate ship at large: ABHORENT PRACTICE OF SLAVE TRADING: The hunting of Human Beings for the purpose of making slaves of them is a practice to be much abhored. It is therefore of great comfort to Englishmen of Christian Ideals to note that the group of Evangelicals continues to be active in condemning the trading of slaves… We are sure all thinking men will deem the work of the Evangelicals to be of ultimate necessity and will encourage them to continue in it.London Gazette, Monday August 26, 1768 (An “Evangelical” is a Christian mot...

16 MINFEB 1
Comments
Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

This God (Ephesians 1:2)

I teach at a Sydney theological college that’s right in the middle of one of the most irreligious parts of the Western world. Our campus sits between a long-established, determinedly secular university, and a vibrant, socially progressive inner-city suburb. Quite often, I join in with a group of college students, heading out into our community with the aim of engaging people in conversations about Jesus Christ. The results are varied. We’ve had some great conversations and some not-so-great ones. Some people say “no” straight away, with various degrees of politeness. Others are happy to talk for hours. But one thing I’ve discovered, and been a little surprised by, is there’s a large number of people in our community who believe in God. However, what people actually mean when they say they believe in God (or god) is another question. It’s highly varied. People believe in a supreme cosmic force, a benevolent sovereign, an unknowable Other, and a great moral police officer, amon...

13 MINFEB 5
Comments
This God (Ephesians 1:2)

#inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

Have you heard of the internet hashtag #blessed? On the surface, it’s a tag people use to show their friends they’re happy and thankful to God (or some higher power) for some aspect of their life. “My fiancé is the best. #blessed”. “Feeling #blessed to have achieved so much in my sporting career.” But in online interactions, it’s never as simple as that, is it? There are always complex motivations, real or imagined, lurking beneath the surface. When we read this, we want to know: why are they sharing this feeling of blessedness? We might start speculating. Are they bragging about their life and their achievements? Or we might start to get annoyed. Who cares anyway about their fiancé or their sporting career? Pride, boasting, envy and scornfulness are never far away online. So the hashtag has become a sarcastic meme—a way of poking fun at humblebraggers and narcissists. “I dropped my pizza in the gutter and it landed right side up. #blessed”. But it isn’t just an interne...

17 MINFEB 8
Comments
#inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

“You are special. Trust yourself. Be true to yourself. …Follow your passion. Don’t accept limits. Chart your own course. You have a responsibility to do great things because you are so great.” I’m quoting from New York Times columnist David Brooks’ book The Road to Character. Brooks is here listing some of the messages that are becoming more and more common in our world—and he thinks it’s a real problem. He calls it “the gospel of self-trust” (p. 7). Whether it’s Disney princesses or graduation speeches, these messages, according to Brooks and many other commentators, are indicative of the prevalence of ‘narcissism’ in Western society. While narcissism is technically a psychological diagnosis, the word is also used to talk about a more general social attitude. Narcissism goes way beyond normal, healthy self-esteem. It’s the focussing of everything, and everyone, on yourself and your own desires. And apparently, narcissism as a social attitude is alarmingly on the rise....

14 MINFEB 12
Comments
What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

Are you trying to redeem yourself? We talk about ‘redeeming ourselves’ when we get into trouble (normally trouble of our own making) and need to extricate ourselves from it. When we say something hurtful to a friend, for example—we might deeply regret what we’ve said and sincerely want to make up for it. There’s a WikiHow article called ‘How to Redeem Yourself’. It lists twenty-one steps, in three sections, that will help you to redeem yourself. Each step has explanations, illustrations, and worked examples. The steps include: “Acknowledge your wrongdoing before the other person finds out”, “Take responsibility for your actions”, “Remedy the situation”, and “Face the realities of your life”. There’s some wisdom in this article, especially for people who want to try to make up for serious wrongdoing in significant relationships (it mentions wrongdoings like cheating on a spouse or breaking trust through lying). But unfortunately, it doesn’t work all of the time. Some...

13 MINFEB 15
Comments
Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

In almost every area of our lives, things work best when we know the plan. Whether it’s personal relationships, or study, or work, or holidays, or sport, or even going for a walk, it really helps to know what the point is and how we’re going to get there. In some areas of life, we can make our own plans. In other areas of life, we need other people to lead us by making good plans and sharing them with us. That’s why leadership gurus talk about ‘vision and ‘mission’ and ‘strategy’. Good leaders are people with good and clear plans. But more than that, good leaders are people who clearly communicate those plans to their team, so everyone knows what the plan is and can happily play their part. I once worked for a solar energy research company. I still remember our mission statement: “to have developed solar modules seen across the rooftops of the world”. I knew where I fitted in to that mission: I was an engineer who helped to develop and maintain the equipment for the resear...

15 MINFEB 19
Comments
So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

When we come to the Bible, we can easily assume that everything it says is directly about us. After all, the Bible is God’s word to us, isn’t it? If it’s not about us, why would God have given it to us? What would be the use of reading it in the first place? But the thing is this: even though the Bible is always useful and relevant to us, not every sentence is speaking directly about our own situation. An example of this is Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:11–12. In Christ we were also claimed by God as his inheritance, having been predetermined according to the design of the one who acts in everything according to the purpose of his will, so that we might be for the praise of his glory—we who first hoped in Christ.Ephesians 1:11–12 In these verses, Paul is continuing to lay out the amazing spiritual blessings that God has given to believers “in Christ” (verses 3–10). In Christ, we have been chosen, forgiven, and adopted by God. We have also been given the blessing of knowing G...

14 MINFEB 22
Comments
Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)

What is God’s ‘mission’? In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul talks a lot about God’s purposes for the world. God’s ultimate purpose is to sum up everything in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God is moving everything in heaven and earth towards that end. But how? What is the means to the end? In other words, what is the mission? And what does that mean for our own mission as Christians and as churches? There are many answers people give to this question. Here are three: One answer is that God achieves his purposes primarily through transformation. God changes the lives of Christians for the better. People in the world see the goodness of Christians, and they see that Christianity works. They are attracted to that goodness, and so they are transformed and come under Christ’s lordship too. So: if this is the primary way God achieves his purposes for the world, then we should focus our energy on things like social justice and apologetics, i.e. on changing the world and showing the ...

18 MINFEB 26
Comments
The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)