Helpful Overviews on the Book of Ephesians

We in 2016 who have access to online material are incredibly blessed. There are many resources available for us to help us as we grow in knowing Jesus through the Scriptures. It is not a substitute for reading scripture, but it certainly helps to gain a good understanding of what we’re reading. 

As Exploring  Ephesians begins, I am happy to share some brief overview of the book that I have found to be very helpful, I hope you find them to be the same as well. 

This is a good starter to the book. 

I particularly like this one for the way it gives a basis and application set up for the letter, which is very helpful. 

For His Name’s Sake 


C. L. J. Dryden 

Exploring Ephesians: A Prelude

Lately I have found certain activities to be grounding.

By that I mean they give me a sense of purpose and definition for the day ahead. These activities can take place on a daily basis or on a weekly basis. I haven’t got round to set activities on a monthly or quarterly basis, but I’m not in a rush to do so either as I discover that things come in good time on the flow of doing other good things.

One of the activities that have been very good for me in recent times is the habit of blogging bible study. It’s a focal point for the day reinforcing the Bible Study I tend to do anyway. thinking through what to share and how to share it allows me quality time to process what I’ve read and contemplate what I should be getting to share from the experience. The beauty of my appreciation of the Word is that I am not supposed to get the same point to share every time I read it. So it’s great for me to note down what I get on one day and then consider how different it is days, weeks, months and years later.

Bearing that in mind it has come to the appropriate time to again go blogging through a part of the Bible and on this occasion it was fitting to go through the book of Ephesians. That letter from Paul to that gathering of believers has been intriguing to me for years, so I am looking forward to considering it carefully in this series and sharing what I get from it with you.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden


Transformed communities in the process of continuing to be transformed by the commitment to knowing Jesus is an alternative to what it is to be conformed.

With Jesus having ascended to heaven and left the mission on earth to be completed by those who follow Him there is great commission on those who follow Him. Thankfully there is a great presence of His Holy Spirit giving us the ability to complete that mission. That does require, however, complete reliance on Him and seeing His mission to see the difference between the way of life He presents with what we’re already muddling around in.

There has to be a difference. It has to be an alternative.

Which makes it all the more tragic that in some cases it is anything but an alternative. It is just a commitment to another social club with perks and certain baggage and requirements attached to it. Ceremonies, formalities and rituals that have little to nothing to do with actually growing in knowing Jesus. People investing so much time and effort in things without even thinking if it fits with the Kingdom mission of the actual alternative that we present to the world.

Jesus died for this? Really? He died so we could build these massive facades physically and routines that perpetuates activity with little to nothing in the way of life change, people being impassioned to live for Jesus and impact their world with the light shined powerfully in their hearts. Yet generations are indoctrinated in these systems that churn out adherents who play biblical gymnastics to justify what amounts to well-meaning idolatry where the traditions of men outweigh the more important issues of love, justice, mercy, compassion, etc.

So the alternative? Walking, talking, sharing life, eating meals, connecting with those on the fringes of society, finding ease in challenging the status quo with the justice that God calls for. Working out what it means to shine the light of the good news of His Kingdom in the middle of a world that is often apathetic, ignorant or hostile to it. Getting tucked into that and seeing how our children are cultivated to appreciate that as they develop their own ability to reach their own conclusions on faith.

There’s more than enough to be getting on with investing life in the beauty of a life that displays the goodness of God than to fall back into choking regimes and systems.

There’s more than enough to discover in the fascinating riches of the character of Jesus and His Kingdom. There’s more than enough to invest our entire lives in the wonders of pursuing His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Therein is the beauty of the alternative of living in and expressing communities transformed and being transformed by the amazing life of Jesus Christ.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden


What often triggers it is a visit to the school.

There they all are in their uniform, diverse in shape, size, features and ethnicity though they are, they are all in a uniform and are expected to abide by the principles of the school. In itself there’s not too much disturbing about that even if the real world does not operate that way at all. What is of concern, and this isn’t necessarily directed to this particular school, is the work of getting the child to conform to a system.

That system is not primarily concerned with truly helping the child to discover themselves even though the majority of time the child will spend will be in this environment. As they progress it will soon become apparent that the primary purpose of the conforming process is to produce a functioning member of society able to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the given community. Now that in itself doesn’t sound too bad until the realisation kicks in that the morals that underpin the society are fairly empty. Nice sentiments on the surface, but really it still boils down to doing what you can to get as much as you can while you can and jumping through the hoops of ‘success’ such as home ownership, a good credit rating and paying taxes like you know you should. Beyond that, there’s no real drive for community investment, there’s little concern for the other outside of some manners and common courtesy that won’t go far.

Come on, Christopher. I hear you might be thinking. That’s a fairly cynical approach to the world. It’s not all about being selfish and pursuing your own gains. There’s some good in the world.

Of course there’s some good in the world. There’s quite a lot of good. And quite a lot of bad. And all of that mixed in and allowed because it’s the human experience. The point, however, is that the process of conforming to certain standards is not primarily about seeking a better way for the human condition, it’s about managing and subtly reinforcing that human condition

Educational establishments, loads of workplaces, collectives of peoples from the village to the city present this invitation to conform to this world. A world floundering in the dark, and in that aspect I would expect nothing less. Well meaning though it is, the world without a compass is drifting from one blunder to another, but celebrating the fact that at least it is the captain of its own destiny even if that destiny is not a good one. That is to be expected when that is what is being expected in a world of darkness.

The trouble is when the same thing is happening from those who state they’re representing the Kingdom of Light. There’s a problem when that same conforming process takes place in a community that is meant to be founded on righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It gets even more alarming when that is taking place but the conversation inside is more about how to organise ourselves and function while still careening far away from the transformed and transforming community God designed.

It’s a scary thing to leave a world of darkness only to find ourselves in another world of darkness that just has different music.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden

Question Worth Asking: What Is God Saying? 

There is such a thing as feeling as though God is silent. 

You can read scripture, watch and hear lots of teaching and preaching, converse with godly folks and still feel as if God is silent. That is something real that I know from experience. It’s a troubling feeling when it happens, especially if you felt there was something there before. Especially if you thrive on going by His leading. It’s tough. 

Yet, I would rather endure that hardship than slip into something else that I have experienced which is even worse: having no interest in what God is saying. It remains all too easy to minimise things where it’s alright to just go by simplistic approaches to life conveniently built around maintaining the manageable existence you have already constructed. In that arrangement, what God has to say can pass you by if it does not adhere to the life you have worked so hard to put together. In this scenario, God must find His place in that corner of life. Come out to play at that time, on that day, in that precise preferred manner. When we say things should be done in decently and in order, under this approach, we really mean our order, not His. Far be it from Him to dare upset the apple cart. Being the God He is, sometimes He will leave us to it, sometimes oblivious to the lifeless nature of such an approach. 

In His mercy, though, sometimes certain events in life take place to get our attention. Not just for Him to get us out of direct circumstance, but to get us to be at the place to see Him desiring to communicate with us today. Desiring to order our lives by what He is saying, not what we want Him to do or say. 

That kind of lifestyle makes that question all the more important and worth shaping all of life around the pursuit of Him to follow what He says. 

For His Name’s Sake 


C. L. J. Dryden 

About Great Things in Perspective

It started with a recollection of a chorus I remember being sung in some of the church settings of my childhood. The chorus simply went:

The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad

That as the keen bible scholars will know is taken from Psalm 126:3 in the KJV. I was walking and the song came to me, so I referred to the psalm from which it was taken. I read it and then read it again. Then I looked at a couple of commentaries on the psalm itself.

One commentator pointed out the nature of the psalm as reflecting something that God was doing based on something He had done whilst still waiting for the fullness of it through that which He was about to do. Fitting then that this verse finds itself almost halfway through the psalm.

It got me thinking again about perspective. As a follower of Jesus I believe that His Kingdom is here now. I also believe the fullness of that Kingdom is yet to be realised. Yet I also believe that that Kingdom was ushered in when Jesus kicked off His earthly ministry by announcing that the Kingdom was here. So in a real way, it is here and it is yet to come and it has been here for centuries.

That might sound a little weird, but as I grow it makes sense. There is an anticipation of what is to come on the return of the Son and there is a rejoicing of what I experience because the Spirit lives inside me and there is a catalogue of the great things God has already done.

There it is though – the great things. That was what triggered off the memory of the song. Looking at my children, considering my beautiful wife, noting the church family God has situated me in, seeing how He has surrounded me with good friends and opportunities. then beyond that recollecting the great works of God in my life from delivering me from a number of hang-ups, to rescuing me from some great depths of despair, healing me of some conditions. When I think of the great works He has done in taking me from where I was in life to where I am, I know what it is to rejoice in the great things that God has done. Counting my blessings doesn’t have to go for too long before a wave of praise and adoration is sent up to God.

I am not blind to other aspects of my circumstances and the seemingly prevalent evil lurking in the world around me. I am not ignorant of the pain, suffering and injustice that I come across in various stages of life. It’s just that the Kingdom of God and the rule of righteousness and peace that comes from engaging with God comes across as something that will deal with all that bad stuff that I am aware of.

It’s knowing that Jesus who defeated death and has all power in heaven and earth, will complete what He started on His return. In the meantime He looks for His brethren to be about the business of sharing the great things that He has done, is doing and is about to do with the watching world around us.

It is like we are in the middle of something and it is for our eyes to look at Him who has overcome the world and see how He can give us the confidence that the wars we wage in life will be worthwhile when the victorious trumpet sounds. Even as we wait for that trumpet, there are glimpses available for us to behold as we follow Him.

Then as we do so, it is not just the personal that we celebrate, it is the corporate, the community experience of the great things that make us glad.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden

On About The Rhythm

Music is very important to me.

I like periods of quiet, with the minimum of sound even in my own mind. I am, however, a huge fan of the role of music in life. I love the melody, the harmony, the bass and the rhythm.

I notice that there’s rhythms to life. What I particularly appreciate is that the rhythms do not remain constant in life, even if certain other things do. The rhythm of life can chance and adjusting to the change in the rhythm is part of the fun of life.

The rhythm is changing.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden