The world is falling apart. The Australian Federal reserve has slashed interest rates by one percent—the biggest official cut in interest rates in 16 years—in order to try and protect the economy from the ravages of ‘slowing growth’. The US Government is injecting $700 billion dollars into the markets, and has propped up failed bank after failed bank. European car makers are slowing or halting production. France, Ireland and Britain are headed towards (or are already in) recession. And despite the hasty assurances of key Australian politicians, it appears that Australia’s future may well be no better.
When I first attended our diocesan Synod (= denominational ‘parliament’) 10 years ago as a new Anglican Parish Rector (= Senior Pastor), I expected to sit quietly and get a feel for how things worked, reading the business papers and listening to speeches from ‘old hands’ to shape how I’d vote on the various motions and ordinances (= denominational laws).
Principalities and powers: the controllers of our destinies—forces beyond ourselves.
But how ‘beyond’ ourselves are they really? And what is the ‘ourselves’ that they are beyond? The question of identity is a big one. The old ‘who am I?’ question has been around for as long as the human being. The question stays the same, but the answers appear to change, for better or for worse, in sickness …
As some of you reading this post are aware, I left the ministry that I had been involved in for seven and a half years at the end of August. I look back on that time in my life with great fondness and thankfulness to God, even though I had come to the point of moving on because of certain personal struggles and weaknesses that I have not enjoyed being forced to face. It will suffice it to say that I have learned all sorts of things about myself and others in the process of leaving.
Astrology has its mysteries, but at least it makes life nice and simple. There are 12 signs in the zodiac, and so, depending upon when you are born, your life is somehow determined by your sign.
This week from the Briefing archive, it’s a poem: one of Tony Morphett’s superb little ‘Sonnets from Mark’s Gospel’ that featured in Briefings 20-26, way back in 1989:
The language of ‘principalities and powers’ confuses me. Sure, the New Testament uses it, and it is very clear that whatever lies behind the language has been trounced by Jesus’ death and resurrection. And whatever anyone might mean by ‘principalities and powers’ has been defeated at the cross, so there is no need for anyone to fear whatever it is any more. They are safe ‘in Christ’: they have found a permanent resting place, secure in the Father’s hand. Nothing—nothing at all—can separate them from the love of God found in Christ Jesus.
Our minister is a very godly man: he has chosen to do something he’s less good at for the sake of the gospel. Let me explain.
The role of motherhood can often seem like a joyless, thankless task. It’s a vocation that is losing popularity in our society. But, as Lesley Ramsay shows us, motherhood lies at the very heart of God’s rescue plan for humanity. (more…)
Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2004, 240pp.
Disciplines of a Godly Family
Kent and Barbara Hughes
Crossway, Wheaton, 2004, 256pp. (more…)
Joshua Bovis explains how and why sermon illustrations can be a valuable aid or a distracting hindrance.
Imagine this: a Bible college student is about to preach a sermon in his expounding Scripture subject. His eyes scan the hall and notice the faculty with their poker face expressions. He takes a breath and begins: “I am going to make something disappear before your very eyes, and you shall never see it again!” Reaching into his pocket, he brings out a banana and proceeds to eat it before the students. The man who told me this story laughed as he recalled it, but he had no recollection of the sermon. (more…)
Standing on the 5th tee at St Michael’s in Sydney’s East, the golfer experiences a mixture of nervousness and dread. Here (with some translational notes for non-golfers) is what it’s like. (more…)