Last week my children made an exciting discovery: high up in the branches of the gum tree in the back yard of the house next door, a magpie was building a nest. For three days, we were transfixed, taking it in turns to look through the binoculars and watch him flying up with tiny sticks, one at a time, carefully adding them to the nest.
On the fourth day, it was windy, and we craned our necks, anxiously watching the upper branches of the gum tree. Would the nest survive? Had this little magpie chosen the wisest place to build a home for his family? We talked about how sad it would be for the poor bird if all his hard work was lost in a sudden gust of wind.
Ever since I first came into contact with the rich fool of Luke 12, I’ve been intrigued by the stupidities of his personality. He is a man so rich that he can even afford to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. This is a strange piece of non-thriftiness that a friend from a farming background assured me is still not unknown in rural Australia—something which I witnessed, in modified English form, for myself just the other day. (Well okay, watching Grand Designs on the telly may not count as ‘witnessing’, but let’s just say that there are enough rich fools about for any of us to recognize the type.)
History. We might be standing in it, but which direction are we looking?
The Terminator told us he would be back, but the latest version disappointed fans because the Governor of California was reduced to a Computer Animated bit-part. For the Australian, T4 was rescued somewhat by the presence of our own Sam Worthington—but only just!
Even though it struggles a bit with the inherent fatalism of a future that seems to march inevitably towards the present, no matter what is done in the present, a major theme of this series of movies now stretching across a quarter of a century is that the future is not fixed; fate is what you make.
This is the final instalment in my series of posts introducing the range of new Matthias Media resources that have just arrived in. And today’s takes a bit of explaining. Here goes…
One of the issues we’ve grappled with for many years at Matthias Media relates to our monthly magazine, The Briefing. Each year, writers and editors pour countless hours of thought and hard work into putting together helpful magazine-length articles on a wide range of important topics. The people who happen to be subscribing to The Briefing at that time get the benefit of reading that article. But once it is published, that’s pretty much it; it’s unlikely to see the light of day again or be read by anyone else.
Frankly, magazine publishing often feels a bit ‘vapour-ish’ in an Ecclesiastes kind of a way: here one month, gone the next. Which is a shame, because the articles we publish are extremely useful material.
The next in my series of posts introducing some of our recent releases at Matthias Media is about a tract called It’s Time to Come Home.
Let me start by pinching some comments Tony made recently in The Briefing:
With a little reflection, perhaps the continued popularity of tracts is not so surprising. They might not mount mind-blowing theological arguments, or be masterpieces of literature. They might not be trendy or on the cutting edge of digital culture. But they are short. They are cheap. They are easy to buy and give away. And most of all, if you want to start a conversation with someone—or continue a conversation that’s been going on for some time—they are hard to beat.
What’s the most dangerous excuse for avoiding a conference?
I reckon it’s the one that says, “I’m not going to that conference because I’ve heard what they’re going to say before”.
Maybe you don’t go because because the particular conference speakers are not going to say anything new! But I go because the conference speakers are not saying anything new!
The Everlasting God by Broughton Knox is another ‘new’ book that has just become available through Matthias Media. But it’s not really new; it’s a new edition of a book that was first published more than 25 years ago. (more…)
The next of the new resources I want to share with you is By God’s Word (Volume 2).
I suspect the majority of Sola Panel readers would be familiar with the name and Bible teaching ministry of Phillip Jensen. For those of you who don’t know, Phillip is the person who started Matthias Media some 21 years ago. (You can learn more about Phillip at his website).
To be quite frank, I don’t think I could name anybody who knows, understands, and loves God’s word more than Phillip. Nor can I think of anybody as gifted at teaching it and applying it to life.
Weary (adj.) Physically or mentally fatigued. Having one’s interest, forbearance, or indulgence worn out. Extremely tired: bleary, dead, drained, exhausted, fatigued, rundown, spent, tired out, wearied, weariful, worn-down, worn-out.
It was a weariful week. It came right at the end of three months of draining ministry. I’d been looking forward to this week for months. I’d been telling myself that I just had to make it through the next month/week/day, and then I could rest.
As I spoke the final words of my final seminar, I could feel the burden lifting. Yes! Time for relaxation! But it seems God had other ideas. My week of rest turned out to be a week of sickness, exhaustion and discouragement.
Over the next week, I intend to introduce some of the latest new resources from Matthias Media.
Today, I thought we might kick off with the brand new book written by one of our esteemed Sola Panelists, Paul Grimmond. It is Paul’s ‘debut’ book Right Side Up.
Like preachers who regularly preach that “The passage we are looking at today is one of the most significant passages in the Bible”, I guess I also run the risk of devaluing the currency when I say that “This latest resource is one of the most significant we’ve published”. Naturally enough, I get pretty excited about all our new resources.
But even when I force myself to apply some objectivity to the assessment, I am going to stick to my guns on the significance of this book for at least two reasons.
Having heard that Johnny can’t preach, Johnny can’t read and Johnny can’t write (read parts 1, 2 and 3), one could be tempted to think that David T Gordon is an old crank, romantically reminiscing about how good things were when he was a lad, and complaining about the state of the world in ‘the modern times’ (along with young people and their loud music!)
My recent posts have been about my thinking and preparation for an evangelistic talk on the topic ‘Free for sex or living in bondage?’. Obviously the title assumes that if you don’t have a Christian view of humanity and sexuality, you are living in bondage. So is there any argument to be made that the modern secular view of sex is, in fact, bondage of some kind?
Here’s the fourth of ten propositions about church life and ministry (taken from the forthcoming Matthias Media title, The Trellis and the Vine). Remember, the others have been:
- Our goal is to make disciples not church members.
- Churches tend towards institutionalism as sparks fly upward.
- The heart of disciple-making is prayerful speaking of God’s word.
- All ministry has the goal of nurturing disciples, not just one-to-one discipling or mentoring:
I began a series last Thursday about the process I’ve been through in writing an evangelistic talk on the topic of sex. We started off by thinking a bit about the secular story of sex. But it occurred to me fairly early on that Christians have a problem when it comes to communicating about their moral worldview. Everybody thinks that we just want to live back in the 1950s.