Psalm 11 talks about the wrath, fire and judgement of God.
I have some 3/4 formed thoughts about how the Psalm points to Jesus. But I would be delighted for blog readers to add their thoughts to the mix, as I prepare to preach it this Sunday. You can go in the footnotes that all good preachers put into their sermons and read out as people are exiting the building.
I sat in a church staff meeting and we came back—as we must—to that question that all true churches should ask themselves on a regular basis: what’s our church on about?
I scribbled down a four-parter in descending order of importance, and share it here for what it is worth. That may not be a lot, given that it took all of one minute and thirty seconds to get it onto a scrap of paper, and people kept saying things that I hadn’t thought of as I wrote. But here we go.
Earthquakes, floods, snow storms… It wouldn’t take much thought to start a list of all the disasters that have occurred in recent times. Death and misery fill the news websites and television broadcasts, as people lose their homes, livelihoods and loved ones at the hand of nature.
D Broughton Knox, the influential 20th century Australian theologian, also saw disasters come during his lifetime. We thought that this article by him, published in the Selected works of Broughton Knox (Volume III) and originally a radio broadcast from January 1975, would be relevant and thought-provoking.
One of the many crosses my children have to bear in having me for a father is that I find it hard to stop being an editor.
“Me and Elle are going to the beach today, Dad. Can you give us a lift?”
“Not until you can say: Elle and I are going to the beach today.”
Because I am a pastor and maintain a church email group list with large numbers on it, I receive lots of ‘pass it on’ emails. Dozens and dozens.
My kids get even more of these chain emails, urging them to pass on the contents from their friends. Some are harmless, some are enjoyable. Others are false or a waste of time. Some are more sinister.
I was recently at a conference where the presenter suggested six ways to maintain movement dynamics within a local church. The idea was that these were some ways in which a healthy, self-propagating, ‘organic’ culture of church could be encouraged, which (in the context of the conference) would be a healthy scenario for planting new congregations.
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
… who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved. (Ps 15:1-2a, 5)
According to Psalm 15, a holy person does not put his money out at interest. Look at it again. See? That’s what it says. (more…)
It’s amazing how easily one becomes a guru these days. Just do the following: a) get together with an old friend and write down a few basic and hardly earth-shattering thoughts about the nature of church life and ministry; b) publish these ideas as a book and wait for it to become a surprise international bestseller; c) travel around the US, running workshops for pastors and astounding people with your insight and wisdom (as you talk further about aforesaid non-earth-shattering ideas). (more…)
The debate about faith and politics will probably continue until the fulfilment of the kingdom at Jesus’ return. As Tony Abbott, the Federal Leader of the Opposition, observed before the 2010 Australian Federal election, Jesus was not a party-political person and nor should he be claimed to support one side of politics over another. However, Christians in a democratic political system hold the same position as every other voter, and are entitled to seek representation in the parliament by men and women who they judge will enable the peaceful proclamation of the gospel, and who will uphold the biblical principles of justice, compassion, care, respect and protection for each human being created in the image of God (1 Tim 2:1-4). (more…)
In recent months, Col Marshall and I have been running some workshops based on The Trellis and the Vine, and during the workshops we spent a bit of time talking about small groups—about why we have them (or don’t), the part they normally play in church life, how we train our leaders (or don’t as the case may be), and so on.
One of the aims of the Sola Panel is to go back to basics, to remind ourselves of the importance of the ‘solas’ (i.e. scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone, glory to God alone). This post will look at one way in which these solas all fit together. (more…)