Fear of God


I grew up with a serious fear of vampires. This was because one night sometime in early primary school, my mischievous (or culpably negligent) grandmother let me stay up and watch the classic 1922 silent horror film Nosferatu. (more…)

The Two-Pronged Strategy of a Master Evangelist

Everyday Ministry

It’s amazing how culture changes and we don’t notice it. The practices that one generation took for granted become unknown, and slightly shocking, to a later generation. Even for those of us who live through the change it happens too incrementally for us to observe it. It is when we revisit the old times that we detect how much we have changed—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and often without any real difference. (more…)

→ Moral imperatives


Frank Turk:

… it’s one of those stories where all manner of addled thinking comes to the surface from everyone on the spectrum of lifestyle blogging—from the secular liberals and conservatives to the panoply of Christian bloggers in the weird polygon of ideas bounded by points produced by mixing the adjectives “conservative,” “liberal,” “radical,” “progressive,” “traditional,” “biblical,” and “missional,” with the proper noun “Christian.”


Dear Son,

Since you have made your confession about your situation, let me confess mine: I have never really been a good man at all. I could make a list here of all the times I have failed you, and your mother, and your siblings, and my employer, and the elders at church, and so on — but I’ll bet you can make that list also. You may remember some things I have forgotten, and I’ll simply stipulate to the entire exercise. I want you to know that I know I am not a good man, and I come to this problem we now face as a man who, at the end of the day, can’t advise you from the moral high ground.
I can only advise you, my son, as a man who has spent his life utterly at the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Turk only really gets going in the second half of the post, so stick with it, because it’s got a twist in the end.


Liturgical v. freeform prayer

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Relevant for our corporate praying! A thoughtful balance from Goldsworthy…

In assessing the relative virtues of liturgical versus non-liturgical prayer, I have come to conclude the following:


Teaching children to pray

Everyday Ministry, Life, Sola Panel

Graeme Goldsworthy…

Teaching the children to pray and praying for the children

Christian parents have a vital ministry in the church.  The Christian nurture of children is primarily the responsibility of the parents, not the day school (even if it is a Christian school) nor the Sunday school.  Unfortunately, in our modern society, mothers who stay at home to care for their children are often considered to be unemployed and to have sold out on the right of women to pursue a career.  There can be no nobler career than nurturing Christian children to be well-adjusted citizens of our society and to be faithful citizens of the kingdom of God.1


→ Notice the famine?


Trevin Wax on how location impacts your Bible interpretation:

In other words, Americans see the famine as an insignificant detail that intensifies the prodigal’s big problem – wastefulness. Russians, on the other hand, see the prodigal’s wasteful spending as an insignificant detail that intensifies the real tragedy – the famine.

Details matter—both those in the texts and those in our lives and backgrounds.

In the footsteps of Ezekiel

Life, Sola Panel

Ezekiel: Michelangelo

When a man was called by God to be a prophet in Israel, he could be pretty sure he wasn’t in for an easy life. Jeremiah, marked out as a traitor by his own people, thrown into a cistern and waiting for his nose to slip beneath the mud (Jer 38:1-28). Ezekiel, his life a bizarre acted parable of Jerusalem’s fate, lying on one side for months on end and cooking his food over excrement (Ezek 4:1-17). Hosea, commanded by God to marry and be reconciled to an adulterous wife, to picture God’s relationship with his unfaithful people (Hos 1:2-11, 3:1-5).

All those words of judgement, all that rejection, all that sacrifice! I sometimes think how glad I am that God didn’t make me an Old Testament prophet.1  (more…)

Discipline, routine and the ‘quiet time’

Life, Sola Panel

Graeme Goldsworthy on the ‘quiet time’…

Avoiding legalism while exercising self-discipline

Most of us need some kind of self-discipline in all kinds of things that we do on a regular basis.  Usually we don’t have any difficulty in having three meals a day, but some do.  We get into a routine for eating, sleeping and going to work.  One routine that is often observed is the ‘quiet time’, particularly by Christians who recognize the need to study the Bible and to pray, usually on a daily basis.  A quiet time is a good routine, but it needs to have some flexibility.  The quiet time can become a legalistic requirement to the point that some feel that if they sleep in and have to miss their quiet time, their whole day will be a virtual disaster.  This borders on superstition.  The person who cultivates the art of praying without ceasing will recognize that, like the Sabbath, the quiet time was made for man and not man for the quiet time!  All kinds of things can interrupt our routines, from storm, tempest, flood, fire and earthquakes.  Or it may be simply a neighbour in need who calls on us, or a sick child.  On the other hand, the person who makes a habit of chaotic indiscipline needs to take this matter in hand.  However we might discipline our day to include Bible-reading and prayer, it is important not to reduce this habit to the level of the fulfilment of a legal obligation.  It is always a privilege for the children of God and, as such, it is an expression of our being saved by grace alone.

Source: Prayer and the Knowledge of God (IVP), page 196. (more…)

Read the Psalms on your knees

Life, Sola Panel

Graeme Goldsworthy:

The Significance of the Psalms for prayer

For any Christian for whom prayer is becoming formal and stereotyped, the Psalms provide a rich source of inspiration. It is true that to read the Psalms on your knees, as it were, can be a great boost to one’s prayer experience. The book of Psalms provides the most sustained and concentrated biblical expressions of prayer. There are two qualifications I would make to this recommendation to resort directly to the Psalms for prayer.


Encouragements to Prayer #1

Life, Sola Panel

Yesterday, as I preached on Hebrews 4:12-16, we touched at some length on prayer:

  • the possibility of prayer – through Jesus our great high priest, vv15-16,


→ In Defense of Apologetics


Tim Keller:

Apologetics is an answer to the “why” question after you’ve already answered the “what” question. The what question, of course, is, “What is the gospel?” But when you call people to believe in the gospel and they ask, “Why should I believe that?”—then you need apologetics.

Towards the end of this short piece, Keller makes the same (excellent) point concerning the myth of human rational neutrality that Martin Ayers outlined in his previous article here, Keep the faith. Both are worth a read.

Evangelism fundamentals for reaching Muslims

Everyday Ministry

We discover in Scripture that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Rom 1:16) and God has given us the staggering responsibility to preach this message. So we must spend some time thinking about the process of evangelism. Most people I know consider the task of evangelism to be a difficult one, however if I ask them what the gospel is, most will quote me something from a book on Systematic Theology. For example, Wayne Grudem, in his excellent Systematic Theology, says that the facts of the gospel are:

A good news story getting better

Pastoral Ministry

One of the good news stories for Christians is the ministry amongst university students, and this story is just about to get better still. For this area of effective ministry is about to see a significant increase, thanks to recent Government decisions.

Contrary to popular opinion, or that of their parents, university students are not the most important people in the world. Nor is ministry amongst them important because of some supposedly elite status—“the future leaders of industry, government and the professions”. The world may think like that, but it is not a gospel perspective. (more…)

→ God’s mercies are new every morning


I have a rule in my Bible study: during group prayer, before anyone can pray for local concerns (Fred’s mother, Jill’s uni exams, etc.) they need to either give thanks for something or pray for something beyond our group.

Mark Altrogge has food for thought on that list of things to give thanks for:

God’s mercies are all around us. But do we notice them?

A good exercise is to write down God’s mercies.
Some folks write down something they’re thankful for every day. Before you start asking God for things, consider thanking him. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.