The alien world of the Bible

Sola Panel, Thought, Sola Panel

In a good quality book manuscript recently submitted to us at Matthias Media, I came across the following sentence: “The world of the Bible is not our world—its context, language, customs, knowledge, beliefs and social systems are far from those we experience in the twenty-first century. It is in many respects an alien world, where it is easy to become lost or confused.” (more…)

An addition to yesterday’s post

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

I published yesterday’s post a little precipitously – one of those moments when you click on the “Publish” button and realise what you’ve done a little too late. So I am going to do what you must never do, and change yesterday’s post, adding an extra point that has been running around my head over the last few days. Here it is: (more…)

Keeping the gospel in your sights in pastoral ministry

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Flickr: Prayer by Chris Yarza

Late last year, our ministry team looked at 1 Timothy 3 and 4. We noticed how, smack bang in the middle of these chapters on Christian leadership, is “the mystery of godliness”: that is, Christ our Saviour (1 Tim 3:16 cf 4:10). In other words, to be faithful in pastoral ministry, you have to keep your eyes on Jesus. You have to fight to keep your eyes on Jesus.

And what a fight you will have on your hands. (more…)

The man I thought was dead


I once saw a man who I thought was dead. It was a little unnerving to see him walk over to a microphone and start singing although it was on screen. I presumed that it must have been an old film but it was a live broadcast. (more…)

God’s gifts in suffering (2) Suffering reminds us that we are part of this fallen world

Life, Sola Panel

This is part 2 in a series on suffering, in which I reflect on some Bible passages and how God is keeping his word in my life as he uses suffering to transform meHere’s the first thing God has been teaching me.

1. Suffering reminds us that we are part of this fallen world

Flickr: ulisse albiati

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom 8:22-23)

Deep down, in some hidden part of me, I think I’m exempt. I’m convinced that life isn’t meant to be this hard. That God owes me healing. That he owes my son relief. That the fact that I pray, “Heal my son!”, and he wakes up sick, calls God’s goodness into question.

I am astonished! dismayed! horrified! that God hasn’t stepped in and taken this away. (more…)

God’s gifts in suffering (1) Introduction

Life, Sola Panel, Sola Panel

flickr: Sadness by SashaW

Suffering. You don’t know it till it’s grabbed you by the neck and held you down for weeks, months, even years.

It drives out every subterfuge and scours out every illusion. It chases you into every corner and steals every illusion of control. It empties you of every vanity and robs you of every trace of self-reliance.

If you’re stubborn like me, this takes some time. (more…)

This, then, is how you could pray


After you said you feel unable to lead in our family prayers, I wanted to put down some thoughts about leading in prayer that will, I hope, be helpful. While they’re nothing particularly profound, here they are. (more…)

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead


“Ding Dong the witch is dead!” the placard above the head of a joyful woman announced. Other placards called her a bitch rather than a witch.

So Britain reacted to Margaret Thatcher’s death. (more…)

What we can learn from African Christians


Africa is a beautiful continent. There is stunning scenery—the mountains, valleys and lakes of the Rift Valley—and world-famous wildlife. It is also poorer and much less developed than in the West. The majority of people live in villages. There is a shorter life expectancy, and a tragically high incidence of HIV-AIDS. It is less politically stable than countries like Australia. But, most significantly, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most Christian places on earth! (more…)

Wordwatch: Martyr

Word Watch

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was published in 1559, running to a total of 732 pages (in Latin). The first English edition appeared in 1563 and was followed by steadily enlarged editions in 1570, 1576 and 1583. The author, John Foxe (1516-1587), was one of those ministers who fled to the continent during the reign of Mary Tudor when Protestants were being burned at the stake, returning only when the first Elizabeth ascended the throne and the persecution ended. (more…)

Review: One Forever

Resource Talk, Review

Sam Freney: Your new book One Forever: The transforming power of being in Christ is about ‘union with Christ’. This is a topic that theologians get excited One Foreverabout, but why should the rest of us care? (more…)