Terminating violent euphemisms


I was driving to the dentist enjoying a fun discussion on the radio about “squirmy words” when the awful subject of abortion came up.

Squirmy words are the words that make us squirm, and listeners were invited to contribute their favourite, or in this case least favourite, squirmy words. The list was quite fun to consider. Some words like ‘moist’ were apparently on everybody’s list; others like ‘snack’ were harder to relate to. It was a matter of intuition and feeling; of the emotive effects of words, and of their connotations and even their sounds. Most people couldn’t explain why they squirmed when they heard a particular word like ‘mummy’ or ‘yummy’. Some could be analyzed, such as those that related to different parts of human anatomy, or had particular historical associations for the individual, or were adult words applied to children or children’s words applied to adults. There was much hilarity in the discussion; the presenter laughing, even giggling, at the human foibles that words can elicit. Then somebody rang in to suggest ‘abortion’ as their squirmy word. (more…)

Saving Eutychus


Our slightly tongue in cheek trailer for the new book “Saving Eutychus: How to preach God’s word and keep people awake”…

Many books on preaching are published every year; this one is a ‘must’.
– DA Carson

This book deserves to be included in the ‘must read’ category for preachers.
– Alistair Begg

Every preacher needs to read this book every 5 years.
– Ray Galea

Printed book: AU store  |  US store
ebook: AU store  |  US store

Governed by addiction


Even in a fallen world there is great joy in living. God has created a wonderful world in which his pleasures seem prodigal in their distribution. At every turn there are more things to enjoy. While sin mars and distorts our joys, it does not seem to overcome them.

Amongst the pleasures of this world are eating and drinking. For God has created all foods “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:3-4). While endless TV cooking shows exhibit our sinful preoccupation with what we eat and what we drink (Matt 6:25ff.), there is nothing wrong with finding joy in preparing food nor pleasure in eating it. Indeed, food generously and thoughtfully prepared for others’ enjoyment can be one of the great ways of expressing our loving service. (more…)

Daniel Rowlands turns 300

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Friends, 2013 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Daniel Rowlands. Bishop J. C. Ryle calls him one of the “greatest spiritual champions” of the 18th century, an “apostle of Wales”.423px-Daniel_Rowland (more…)

Matthias Media Annual Update

Editorial, Resource Talk

In the print edition of The Briefing (#405) we’ve included an update on how things are going here at Matthias Media, and we wanted to make this available to our online readers as well. We’re so grateful that so many of you care about our ministry and support it in prayer and other ways. We hope this information will help inform your prayers and encourage you with what the Lord is doing. (more…)

Why wasn’t there a eulogy?


There was no eulogy at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

Some would say there was no good word to be spoken about her, but that was not the reason. Rather it was the funeral of a woman, not the celebration of her life. And a funeral is not a celebration. (more…)

→ Preaching that connects


If you’re a preacher in Sydney (or can travel here), Cornhill Sydney is running a really worthwhile day conference that will sharpen and improve your preaching. Minimal cost ($30), lots of benefit.

Speakers are Phil Campbell (Mitchelton Presbyterian, Brisbane), Gary Millar (Principal Queensland Theolgical College) and R W Glenn (Redeemer Bible Church, Minneapolis, USA).

There will be a round-table discussion chaired by Simon Manchester, input on preaching well from the Old Testament, and also practical advice on how to avoid putting people to sleep while you preach.

We will also be launching Gary and Phil’s new book, ‘Saving Eutychus‘.

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Rego: $30 (including morning tea). Please pay on the day.
RSVP: via Facebook or to gavin@cornhillsydney.com.au
Location: St Thomas’ North Sydney

More details

Sydney’s next Archbishop

Thought, Sola Panel

I enjoyed Paul Levy’s rollicking post on Reformation21 the other day about the current election campaign among Sydney Anglicans for our next Archbishop—particularly the bit where he referred to The Briefing as one of the unfortunate gifts that Sydney has inflicted upon the world. For a mob of upstart colonials like us, having someone from the Mother Country even acknowledge our existence causes an involuntary touch of the forelock. But to admit that we have become the means of God’s grace to the Brits by being a thorn in their flesh—this is a compliment beyond telling. (I will ask our British distributors to inflict a life-time gift Briefing subscription upon Paul as a mark of appreciation.) (more…)

Book review: “Modest: Men and women clothed in the gospel”


If the Holy Spirit was my personal shopper I wouldn’t have a problem. Long pants: modest. Short shorts: immodest. Long sleeve shirt: modest. Plunging neckline: immodest.
Modesty seems obvious, and would be simple if I could just get the right skirt length and be done with it—unfortunately the heart issue is more complicated. This is what Tim Challies and RW Glenn explore in Modest. (more…)

photo | thinkstockphotos.coma.au

Deadly, dull and boring

Pastoral Ministry

My early preaching disasters all followed the same deadly pattern. Parishioners would shake my hand at the door with a thin smile and a kind word, but the unvarnished truth always came out in the car trip home. (more…)