Review: “The ordinary hero” by Tim Chester


The Ordinary Hero: Living the cross and resurrection
Tim Chester
Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, 2009, 224pp.

When asked to review The Ordinary Hero, I imagined an inspiring biography—a tale of bravery or of remarkable achievement by someone like you and me. I was mostly wrong. This is not a biography; it proclaims the meaning of the cross and resurrection for our lives. It’s a tale of bravery, but not in the third person; it’s about you and me. It calls on us all to “live the cross and resurrection” (p. 12). For Tim Chester, this is what an ‘ordinary hero’ does, and he challenges those who claim to be Christian to live out the implications of that claim. I found his book challenging and insightful in its application of the events of the cross to our lives. (more…)

The unhelpful solitude of preaching

Pastoral Ministry

The practice of preaching is a lonely and solitary one. A certain amount of solitude is necessary for study and creativity. But for most of us, preaching has become a strikingly individual and secluded exercise. (more…)

How to avoid persecution (according to Screwtape)


Our subject today, my novice fiends, is ‘How to help the Enemy’s urchins avoid persecution and suffering’. Now, hush your maggoty howls and listen to your Uncle Screwtape! Our Father didn’t promote me to Professor of Persecution for nothing, so listen and learn. (more…)

Evangelizing Muslims

Everyday Ministry

I was on the train the other day when I heard a man chanting in Arabic. I thought he must be Muslim, so after a few minutes of building up my courage, I went and said hello. Fortunately for me, he was keen to talk. But what was I going to say to him?

A layperson’s guide to giving up your life

Everyday Ministry

What does it mean to do ministry but not be in ministry? How can you stay focused on ministry as a goal when it’s not your full-time profession? Karen Beilharz tells her story, and how she came to answer some of these questions.

Have you ever felt like you’re headed in a certain direction and then the door you’re poised to walk through suddenly slams in your face? That’s how I felt at the end of 2004. I had just completed a two-year part-time ministry apprenticeship with the Christian group at the University of Wollongong alongside my husband, Ben. Although the time I had spent working with students and children had been encouraging and eye-opening, it had also been draining and often discouraging. During the apprenticeship, I had led and co-led Bible study groups and training courses, I had organized a women’s retreat, I had discipled girls, I had taught and coordinated Sunday school, and I had given my first evangelistic talk to an audience of 60 women (none of whom became Christian). But as it ended, I realized that working in people ministry was not something I could sustain full-time. (more…)

Diary of a ministry apprentice (Part 4): June-July 2008

Pastoral Ministry

This is the fourth instalment of a six-part series by Guan, who is the kind of person who is difficult to describe in one sentence. He is married to the singular M1 and, by this episode, has done ministry training (MTS) at the University of New South Wales for about six months. In the previous instalment, he and the other apprentices, in the midst of coping with the stress of starting out in ministry, learned that Paul ‘Grimmo’ Grimmond, the university pastor, is leaving. In addition, it’s almost time for Mid-Year Conference (MYC), the big student camp in the middle of the year. But first, holidays. (more…)

Thanks for everything

Resource Talk, Sola Panel

It was more than your average laid-back, phlegmatic Aussie could take: for about the 47th time in one day, an American pastor with a warm smile was shaking my hand and thanking me so much for the work I was doing and the valuable contribution Matthias Media was making to their ministry.


Unravelling manuscript truth


We do not have an original copy of the New Testament. The New Testaments we read are translations of the Greek New Testament, which is itself an edited text compiled from several thousand manuscripts that have survived from ancient times. There is nothing at all abnormal about this. Still less is it insidious, suspicious, or grounds for uncertainty about the Christian message. It is, in fact, exactly what you would expect from an ancient text. In addition, the fact that such a large number of manuscripts lie behind the Greek New Testament is a very good thing.