I remember when I was first introduced to the work of Jim Collins, in the form of his bestseller Good to Great. Essentially it is the result of a massive research project (more than 15,000 people-hours) seeking to identify common characteristics in companies that have experienced long-term success. (more…)
LOVING THE WAY JESUS LOVES
PHILIP RYKEN, CROSSWAY, 2012, 224PP.
I’m doing everything I can to stop a particular phrase that’s going around my part of the world: “we just need to love on those people.” I don’t mind when we try to express a sentiment in a shorthand way, even if it is grammatically horrific. But when it comes to exhorting people to love others, I am convinced that most of us have not a clue what that actually means. I really don’t know how or what it is to “love on” people. (more…)
Life is pretty good at the moment. I have three great kids. My marriage is going well. We planted a church a few years ago, and we are starting to get some traction. The problems we have are because of growth. All in all, this is one of those seasons people dream about. Life is good. (more…)
Who are your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you? Most of us have many. In our childhood we may have been privileged to have parents who taught us God’s word, or there were Sunday school teachers or youth fellowship leaders at our church, or ISCF/Crusader teachers at school. For many it has been the pastor of our church, or the Bible study leader. During the lifetime of a Christian we usually have a range of leaders, who teach us God’s word.
There are some people whose leadership stretches well beyond personal ministry to affect whole communities with their teaching of God’s word. They speak at conventions, write books and articles, and travel to speak at evangelistic gatherings and church conferences. They become well known to the community as a whole, as they influence the culture of church life. And as we consider the outcome of the lives of those who lead us personally, we also remember and consider the lives of these more public leaders. (more…)
In this 11 minute video, Tony Payne (Publishing Director) and Marty Sweeney (North American Ministry Director) talk about the practicalities of growing a culture of disciple-making in your church. In other words, answering the question: “I’ve read ‘The Trellis and the Vine’. What do I do now?” (more…)
I’m linking to Jean Williams again, this time with a review of Paul Grimmond’s Suffering Well.
Regular readers will know Jean has been writing a series on God’s gifts in suffering. We also published an extract from Paul’s book back in September 2011, and the full copy is available from the Matthias Media store.
Jean’s review, however, is useful in pointing out the strengths of Paul’s book:
Some books grow inside you after you’ve read them. The little book Suffering Well, by Paul Grimmond, is like that.
I finished it a few weeks ago. It’s prodded and poked me ever since, getting under my guard, helping me respond to suffering the way God wants me to. It’s a bit like the Bible – not always easy, but encouraging in the old sense of “giving courage” – and that’s a huge compliment.
In the last issue of the Briefing, we began a little quest to understand what God has to say about work. And, perhaps strangely, we ended up spending a whole article speaking about the creation mandate (God’s command to humanity to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it). Whether you found this helpful or frustrating will probably depend on two things. (1) Are you a big picture person or a details person? and (2) What were you expecting to hear? (more…)
Tim Brister has written a great post about responses churches make to the Great Commission:
When it comes to the Great Commission, there are basically three responses a church can have. A church can do nothing, something, or one thing.
This is where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. As a church, are we hitting the target? Are we making disciples of Jesus? More pointedly, are we making disciples who make disciples of Jesus? The sobering fact is that I don’t know of a single church who does not struggle with this. The difference is there are those who want to grow through their struggles while there are others who, unfortunately, are happy to substitute some other target other than the Great Commission that is easier to hit. A proper handling, or stewardship, of the struggle means that we deal honestly with our challenges that recognize our dependence on Christ and our determination to keep the main thing the main thing, even when we are not that great at it.
Where do you (and your church) land?
Jean Williams has investigated and briefly reviewed a whole host of children’s Bibles over at her blog:
“Of the making of many children’s Bibles there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Eccles. 12:12, paraphrase). That’s pretty much how I feel after investigating lots of children’s Bibles for this post.
It’s a far cry from my childhood, when the only children’s Bible we had was an enormous tome written in old-fashioned prose. (I suspect it might have beenThe Golden Children’s Bible, still a decent choice for a kids’ Bible.) Apart from that we read adult’s Bibles and discussed them with our parents during family Bible time. I don’t think it did us any harm.
That said, modern parents should be very grateful for the huge number of excellent resources available to us. Obviously we want to expose our kids to the Bible. We want them to get to know the Bible stories. We want to read them Bible stories in a format they can understand and relate to.
She has some recommendations for different age groups, and some personal favourites. It’s really worth reading through.
Pete Sholl, a missionary in Mexico and Latin America, writes a thoughtful piece on the trap that comes with the good things about living in a wonderful city:
The trap is, that living in one of the most liveable cities in the world can lull us into thinking, we’ve got it all. Heaven is here for us now. We’re living in “God’s country.”
That has a lot of implications for us – including where we put our hope and what we think is important. But it also makes it difficult to leave.
Worth reading and pondering the questions he raises.
Back in 1981, Christian hearts thrilled to see a mainstream popular film treat Christian conscience positively. The film was Chariots of Fire and the Christian conscience was that of Eric Liddell, the man who refused to run in the Olympics on a Sunday. It was just so different to see a man of genuine faith presented in a film as a hero instead of a moral failure or a narrow-minded hypocrite.
Yet there was something odd about the insistence on the Lord’s Day Observance. If we were going to stand for principle somewhere should it really be about not running on a Sunday? It was not like having sport organized for every Sunday in opposition to Church as we have it today. It was the once every four years Olympics drawing people from all over the world to Paris in 1924 for a short period of competition. Is it really forbidden in Scripture to run on a Sunday in such a circumstance? (more…)
Well, to think that I almost didn’t write yesterday’s post, because my relatively few friends on Facebook had said it all… Since then I’ve trawled through over a total of 700 comments (and counting), between this blog, the Drum (on ABC) and various friends’ FB links. Today I am going to attempt a few follow ups. (more…)