How to read the Bible aloud

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Scott Newling’s recent essay (in Briefing #390) about devoting ourselves to the public reading of Scripture has got a lot of people talking. One obvious implication of Scott’s piece is that we need to raise the standard of our public Bible reading. Here Tony Payne interviews Russell Powell, who has some expertise in this area. Read on to learn more. (more…)

Speech and salvation 7: Insiders and outsiders

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

“I’m more comfortable speaking the gospel to insiders rather than outsiders.”
Maybe you think that you’re not the kind of person to speak the gospel to outsiders because you’re more comfortable speaking to insiders. But gospel-speech doesn’t work that way. Gospel-speech breaks through distinctions between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. That’s because the gospel itself is exactly the same message for everybody.

This is a staggering truth. (more…)

Praying for our school

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

After all those great posts by Lionel Windsor about ‘gospel speech’, I thought it might be good to write about what this might look like in practice, with a post or two about getting to know families at our local school.

flickr: AndersRuffCustomDesigns

It all started when my friend Rachel sent an email to Jess, Tanya and me:

I’ve been dwelling on how much I want to see families I meet at pre-school and school become Christians. And the best thing I know to do is pray. I think you all share the same passion – why not pray together? How fun to enjoy seeing God work!


A conversation with John Piper


David Starling: I want to begin by saying thank you for your books and your sermons, and for making the trip out here to Sydney. We really appreciate all that’s involved in coming across the world to see us. (more…)

The gospel according to Piper


Like the eagerly-awaited visit of Apollos to Corinth (1 Cor 16), John Piper’s visit to Sydney in August brought great excitement to many local Christians. David Starling examines Piper’s theology to see what kind of fruit this visit may bear. (more…)

Speech and salvation 6: Speech is in your DNA

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

“I’m not the mouth in Christ’s body.”
Paul talks about the church as Christ’s body. The body is made up of many members (e.g. 1 Cor 12:12). All of these members are equally important, but they’re not all the same. Some people are feet, others are ears, others are eyes, and noses, and hands (1 Cor 12:15-26). We all do different things, but we all belong to each other. “So,” you might say, “I’m not a mouth. Speaking is not my thing. I have other, equally important, roles in Christ’s body.” That is, maybe you think that you’re not the kind of person to speak the gospel to others because you’re not that kind of body part.

But there’s a problem with this line of reasoning. (more…)

OK, you win

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

I’ve been following the discussion of Philip Percival’s last two posts on ‘worship’ with interest (here and here). And having once more heard some of the points in favour of retaining ‘worship’ language to describe singing and/or church, and also having gone back and read some of the best arguments that are made to justify the practice, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. You guys win. I’ll stop trying to convince you of the complete folly of labelling our church services as ‘worship services’ or our song-leaders as ‘worship leaders’. Your arguments are just too clever. (more…)

Worship and an affectionate evangelicalism 2

Everyday Ministry

In my last post I challenged the widely held view that ‘worship’ is an all-of-life activity. That assertion was not at all denying the call of God for his people to live lives of complete obedience to him in heart, mind and action—the right and proper response to being saved. Rather, I was contending that the Bible does not see such obedience as ‘worship’ so much as ‘service’. (more…)

After the NIV: Appendix 2—1 Timothy 2:1-6

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

This is a good passage to illustrate the difficulty of selecting appropriate gender neutral language for a modern translation. It’s particularly helpful because it takes it away from the more divisive issues like 1 Timothy 2:12. Here I compare the NIV84, ESV, HCSB and NIV11. (more…)

Trellis & Vine Talk 3 – are evangelistic events worth it?


This is the third episode of Trellis & Vine Talk, in which Tony and Col discuss fads and trends in evangelism, the value of evangelistic events, re-inventing Sunday night, and going to church twice a month (MP3).

Audio MP3

Worship and an affectionate evangelicalism 1

Everyday Ministry

Thanks Tony, for dumping me in it to revive the debate on ‘worship’ language! I guess I am happy to put my neck on the block because I believe this to be an issue that is still current—whether people think it is or not. I would like, eventually, to get to discuss whether there can be such a thing as an affectionate evangelicalism without being charismatic. But understanding the worship thing is, I think, fairly foundational to getting to that point. I apologize in advance that it will take more than one post to unravel my thoughts on all this. (more…)

Speech and salvation 5: Do you feel the need for speech?

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

“I can promote the gospel better by my good works.”
Maybe you think that you’re not the kind of person to speak the gospel to others because your particular role in gospel proclamation is to do good works. Why not, you may ask, let other people do the talking? Don’t your works contribute something important to the proclamation of the gospel all by themselves? (more…)

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To help you do know what’s going on over here, we’ve come up with a variety of options to keep you updated with the latest and greatest from The Briefing. (more…)

Reading the Bible with kids – even the hard bits

Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

flickr: Wikipedia Commons: Michelangelo, Sistene Chapel ceiling

The first chapter of Ezekiel (let’s be honest) is some kind of weird. A wind drives an immense storm cloud from the north; four glowing creatures emerge from the cloud, each with four different faces, with two wings covering their bodies and two spread out, darting to and fro with a sound like roaring waters; wheels within wheels, one for each creature, their rims covered in eyes, move in a straight line wherever the four creatures go; and above the creatures’ wings is an expanse like crystal, surmounted by a sapphire throne on which sits a human figure, glowing like metal in a furnace. (more…)