Emptied to be filled

Life, Sola Panel

This is the eighth post in Jean’s series on women in the Bible. (Read the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.)

I’m sure you’ve met her. She’s polite, poised and polished. She talks in correct and considered sentences, but rarely about herself; certainly never about anything intimate. You won’t see her at a loss. You can (barely!) imagine her in tears, but only when no-one’s looking. If she has worries or grief, they are well hidden. Her house is immaculate, her job responsible, her hospitality faultless. She’s strong, capable, and generous.


Plastic language, plastic marriage


I guess it is no surprise that the gay community are pressing for a change to the definition of marriage in the Commonwealth Marriage Act. I have been rather more surprised at the number of ‘ordinary Australians’ who apparently (at least according to the media) support the change. I have been absolutely amazed at the buzz amongst some quarters of the Christian community that we should lay down and die on this one.

But perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised and amazed.


Descent into hell

Thought, Sola Panel


Recently on a feedback card at church, someone commented:

“I thought Jesus didn’t descend into hell! Just that he suffered the death we deserved.”

The answer is: yes and no! The question raises complex issues that cannot be easily answered in a short space.

So let me take a long space. (And if you are interested, read on, read slowly, and re-read if you need!)


Answering questions for yourself

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

For the first time I can recall, I recently received questions via our church comment cards about the non-sermon Bible reading. It was Galatians 3:15-25! Normally questions are from the sermon passage—things the preacher has not covered or were not clear on. But it’s good to be attentive to the other Bible reading too!

However, I want to encourage people to see if they can answer their questions for themselves, rather than just asking the pastoral staff. (I still answered the questions though as worked examples!)


Genesis 1:1-2:3 is not poetry and it is historical


I suspect the title has already polarized you—or if not that, it has at least evoked something of a gut response for you. The issues of creation and science tend to do that for people! But please let me set the context of this discussion: this is not a discussion about science and creation.


Who is Jesus now?


Jesus is God, who came to earth as a man, left as a man… and has now set aside his humanity to return to being wholly God? Peter Orr explains why Jesus is still God and man today, and will be for eternity. (more…)

Suffering servant, suffering servants


I used to think that interest in the persecuted church was a specialty within a specialty. There are social justice issues, like poverty, homelessness, amnesty, and displaced people groups, and in my head the persecuted church was a subset of these. I probably wasn’t alone in thinking that it’s a highly specialized, and therefore a peripheral, issue. Christian persecution is off-radar for many churches and a blind spot for many individual Christians.


Maximizing the kids’ spot at church

Everyday Ministry

Are the kids’ talks at your church varied and involving, or rushed and repetitive? Annabel Catto looks at the purpose of having a kids’ spot during a church service, and shares ideas for what it could include. (more…)

Work ethics in Christian ministry

Pastoral Ministry

If our whole beings are to be devoted to the gospel, what is the place of rest in the lives of those in ministry? Ben Boardman looks at the privileges and challenges for Christians in paid ministry as they organize their week. (more…)

Helping teenagers read

Resource Talk

A friend of mine visited my house, an English teacher clearly unhappy with her day. One of her teenage students had rubbished her lesson and the novel they were studying to another teacher. In the staff room there was general consensus that, though my friend is a great teacher, the book was totally unsuitable for boys because the lead character is a teenage girl. Gosh, of course they should forget about the book and watch the movie version instead. After all, a teenager wouldn’t be able to discover the mind or world of another person within the pages of a book! That would be way too demanding; they’d better just watch the movie.


Bible bites


Bible Bites: 365 Devotions for Aussie Families

Ladeane Lindsay

Youthworks, Sydney, 2010. 376 pp.


Ladeane Lindsay’s Bible Bites offers 365 family devotions to assist any parent or grandparent in the spiritual teaching and guidance of children. Bible Bites doesn’t assume that families will be able to consistently conduct devotions on a daily basis, and so does not lock you into dates and days of the week for studies. This helps reduce guilt or rushing unhelpfully through studies at unsuitable times. Also, as the spiritual leader of your children I think you should have the flexibility to study the Bible as often or as spontaneously as you feel led, so the format assists with this as well. (more…)