One of the things we’re doing as we wrap up the year here at Sola Panel is to ask our contributors to share some of their highlights for the year from the world of reading and the web. Here’s Jean Williams’s contribution:
I’ve just read through the Apostle Paul’s letters and noted all the words he uses to describe his ministry. It’s a fascinating and humbling list. (more…)
2009 marks John Calvin’s 500th birthday. 500 years on, he is still a figure of controversy. Sure, his Institutes of the Christian Religion still stands as arguably the guide to the biblical Christian faith. (more…)
The year is winding down, and life is unravelling a little around the edges. I’m no longer so keen to get up early and read my Bible. Chores go neglected. The kids’ homework tapers off, then stops. The days I planned so carefully at the start of the year and launched myself into with shiny new enthusiasm gradually become chaotic and disorganized. (more…)
Winter arrived in Monterrey with a bang this week. As a result, we joined the shivering throng at our local giant hardware chain (Australian readers: think Bunnings on steroids) to buy a heater. We were served by Sergio1 who spoke excellent English, who had wonderful customer service skills, who knew very little about heaters and who got me thinking about evangelism. (more…)
Most people probably ignored the International Men’s Day on 19th November. Those who didn’t may have noticed the launch of a new website One in Three (www.oneinthree.com.au). This is the latest attempt from the male rights movement (which most, perhaps, don’t even know exists!) to break another appalling silence in our society. (more…)
In every culture, stories are begun (and go on to prosper) because they explain something important to us. In Christian circles, it’s often the best sermon illustrations that are passed on, from one to another. But I’ve come across two illustrations that preachers regularly use that are untrue. What should we make of them?
As promised in Briefing #367, here’s another example of how to speak God’s life-changing word in any and every situation—this time, from Simon Manchester, who writes about what to say when you’re in a taxi and the driver seems talkative. (more…)
Anyone who knows me knows that, in God’s manifold grace, I’m very much on the ‘church waterer’ end of things, rather than on the church planter end! So please forgive me for dipping a toe into something I don’t know too much about. Nevertheless, while I’ve not kept up with all the discussions and conferences and so forth, in the things that I have read, a question has been slowly developing in my mind—a question that I’d like to ask by way of clarification. It was raised again for me by Ben’s recent post on the Acts 29 conference.
Maybe the answer is already out there and I just haven’t seen it (which is very likely). Whatever the case, what are your thoughts on the following: what makes someone an ‘experienced’ church planter? And, to that end, who is a ‘church planter’?
I have been talking with a long-term friend of mine in recent weeks. He’s a believer, who has had a harder-than-average road to walk. That, combined with some bad Christian teaching and an inherent susceptibility, has finally created a perfect storm of mental ill health.
The thing that surprised me when talking to him recently is that as he begins the process of recovering from a depressive/anxiety breakdown, he has had to avoid his Christian friends and family. The reason? They care. And in their care, they inevitably call on him to trust God, to look to God, to place himself in God’s hands or the like. They can’t avoid exhorting him to stir up his faith, however “softly, softly” they venture it.
The problem? His world is little more than darkness without any reasonable possibility of improvement. He is overwhelmed with burdens that seem silly to anyone not him, but to him, they are the fixed compass of his universe. He is barely standing up under the weight of just being himself.
But add an exhortation to do something to that load—especially one like “trust God”—and you have far more than a single straw to break the camel’s back. You have essentially made brick from that straw and hurled it onto the load. You have given him one more thing—and it’s a critical thing at that—to whip himself with as he judges himself to not be trusting God.