Last week Matthias Media launched GoThereFor.com, an online world of resources, ideas and encouragement for disciple making. We were keen to get to know some of our subscribers a little better and find out how they planned on using the resources now available to them on GoThereFor.com. We caught up with GoThereFor.com’s first subscriber, Angelo Porcu. (more…)
In 1988, when Matthias Media opened its door (there was only one) in a dingy office in Kingsford, where a stingy ray of sunlight struggled feebly down between the houses tall,1 our ambitions were pretty modest. We wanted to make a difference—to produce really first rate resources that would help people at the coal face of gospel ministry—but as we turned out the first copies of The Briefing on the Gestetner duplicator that lived in the little back room near the toilet, I can’t say that our vision reached very far afield. We hoped to produce some good material for the network of churches in our own local area and region, and anything beyond that would be a bonus. (more…)
Matt Rogers (via Trevin Wax) shares his 7 arrows for Bible reading, a tool to get people to engage with Scripture as they read it:
There is often a vast disconnect between the awareness of the need for disciple-making and practical tools that actually aid in this work. Three factors are essential: Scripture, relationships, and time. Discipleship happens when the life-changing truth of Scripture is infused into genuine relationships over an extended period of time.
Our desire was to create a simple, reproducible strategy that would facilitate this process. This led us to develop a simply strategy for small clusters (2-3 people) to meet together regularly and talk about the Scriptures and apply them to their lives.
The seven arrows of Bible reading were an attempt at developing a tool for proper hermeneutics to power these relationships. We did not want our people to simply talk about the Bible. We wanted them to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives. Each cluster would read a predetermined passage of Scripture and discuss it using these seven arrows.
Perhaps not quite as memorable, but it’s up there with COMA and the Swedish Method in my opinion.
Over my years in Christian ministry I have fielded more questions on the theme of predestination than any other—from Christians, at least. Does God choose me? Does that mean I’m just a puppet, or a robot, or otherwise uninvolved or irrelevant in the whole process? Isn’t that unfair? And when we look at what the Bible has to say about God’s election, surprise is the most common reaction. We find it’s a reason to praise God, not to be embarrassed by or confused about what he’s said and done. (more…)
Michael Jensen asks whether the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality is even possible to fulfil:
So is Christian teaching on sexual abstinence unreasonable and unachievable? Is it simply nonsensical to tell the young couple in their twenties to wait for marriage to have sex when they can’t keep their hands off each other? Is it unreasonable and unliveable to tell a married man with a sick wife that he needs to be faithful to her, despite his growing awareness of his needs? Is it cruel to tell a single woman in her thirties that waiting for a Christian husband is better than the alternative— even if this means not having a husband at all?
Good to read, particularly on the counterproductive ways the Christian community talks about sexual purity.
A great article on the impact of the bush fires currently burning around Sydney on not only property, but theology and community too.
My house just burned down.
There was nothing that anyone could have done to put a halt to the marching wall of flame which devoured so much of the street in which I grew up. The tireless devotion of the ‘firies’ and the unwavering dedication of a legion of volunteers was simply no match for the onslaught which took so many of us off guard and has shaken the very fabric of our community. Beneath the darkening, ash laden skies, my faithful home filled with all of its treasures breathed one last sigh and resigned itself to the flames. Tonight, the interwoven stories of our community are alarmingly coming together with one accord as the fires rage on and the reality of loss becomes an all too familiar motif. Many a tear will be wept before this darkness has passed and no doubt with each tear will come the resounding question ‘Why?’
The Reformation is becoming history.
If “history is written by winners”, secularists are writing our history and materialistic governments, are setting the curriculum. Because such governments are concerned with national peace, harmony and unity, not even the multiculturalists will be able to save the Reformation from the dust and ashes of negligence and ignorance. (more…)
It is only on rare occasions in the history of Israel that its monarchy was not a debacle. Certainly the initial period was less than ideal: although Saul was physically impressive (he was tall and handsome) and capable as a military leader, he ignored God, disobeyed his commands, and ended up being an unmitigated disaster as the leader of God’s people. (more…)
When my father-in-law fell on an escalator in a shopping mall, he was proud of his ability to catch his carton of eggs. “Not one of them broke”, he told me from his hospital bed. A true son of the Depression, breaking eggs was more significant than a damaged back. But as he stayed in hospital, two competing attitudes were expressed by staff and visitors. The older generation all said something along the line “You silly old goat, George, why didn’t you use the lift?” or “Why did you take the trolley onto the escalator?” The younger generation said “You should sue Westfield. They’ve got plenty of money.” and “They’ll settle out of court. They don’t want the bad publicity.” It was a stark cultural and generational difference. George, being an old man, simply laughed at his folly and was proud of catching the eggs.
Today in church life I also hear (and feel within myself) a similar clash of cultures. I’ll call them “family”, “government” and “business”. (more…)
If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s forgetting. Your name. What I did on the weekend. The experiences of last year. Gone, every one.
I used to read Christian books and forget them. In one sense, that’s no big deal: we all forget, and it doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything. But I also wasn’t absorbing what I read: crystallizing the key points, tasting the sweet, going away informed and transformed. That takes a different kind of reading. (more…)
Hunting down quotations is one of the most delightful of occupations, and a Briefing reader set me upon the track of the expression in the teeth of our exertions—employed by Spurgeon in one of his sermons. What, I was asked, does Spurgeon mean, and where did he get this expression from? (more…)
THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE
DA CARSON, EERDMANS, 2012, 186PP.
You might have noticed a strange kind of double-speak going on around us. If you dare to hold a different opinion to the broader culture on a contentious issue, whether on marriage, sexuality, God or something else, you have a reasonable chance of being told to keep quiet because you’re being intolerant. I’m not talking about sanctioning or acting against those with whom you disagree; just holding a different position. If you dare to point out that perhaps your alternative views ought to be tolerated—well, heaven help you. (more…)
It was in the early 1970’s and I wore my clerical collar as I approached her front door. The next-door neighbour had asked me to visit. I did not know the widow but the neighbour told me “She is dying and wanting to talk about it, but is afraid to ask for help”. (more…)
As a way of masking my disappointment that certain terrible trends come back around again, I remind myself of the wisdom of Solomon: there’s nothing new under the sun. What has been done will be done again—like fluoro and neon colours coming back into fashion recently, after a reprieve of a couple of decades. Fashion, as with many other trends, is cyclical, self-referential, even parasitic. If you freeze your wardrobe today, you’ll be cool again in 30 years time. Everything is a remix so calm down about it already, Sam. (more…)