Around ten years ago my local chicken shop came under new management.
Talking to the new owner, he spoke of his home country and his unhappiness in Australia.
“This is a hard country. It is not home. It’s not like home. I miss my home.”
“Where is home?”
The second chaplain to New South Wales—Samuel Marsden—was born 250 years ago on 28th July 1764. He was slandered for most of his life, and the epithet ‘flogging parson’ has (sadly) stuck down the years and prejudiced thousands against a mighty man. Wise historians have recognized that standing so alone for Christ in a colony made up largely of soldiers and convicts it is no wonder Marsden was vilified. (more…)
This week is NAIDOC week across Australia, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. What many don’t realise is that it was Aboriginal Christians that started NAIDOC week. Specifically, it was the initiative of an Aboriginal Christian, William Cooper, who asked the churches to start praying for aborigines on what would become known as ‘Aboriginies Sunday.’ (more…)
Just as Christians can never retire from serving the Lord Jesus Christ, so also we can never retire from serving other people. The work of prayerfully proclaiming Christ, his cross and resurrection is a way of life more than an occupation.
One form of this service is that of a pastor: that is a shepherd or under-shepherd of the Great Shepherd. Being a pastor involves caring for and leading a flock. We misuse the word ‘pastor’ when we confine it to ‘counselling’, especially counselling an individual. Pastoral work is different to the work of the modern counsellor and a pastor does more than care for an individual sheep; he leads a flock. (more…)
“Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m an alcoholic.”
So goes the usual opening of testimonies at Alcoholic’s Anonymous. The willingness of Bill, to accept and openly testify to the fact of his addiction to alcohol is a great step forward in addressing his problem. But is Bill telling the truth when he says “I’m an alcoholic”? Is that his true identity or should he be saying “I’m a human who is addicted to alcohol”.
Are there bad children or only children who do bad things? Are there liars or only people who tell lies? Are there thieves or only people who steal? Do we punish criminals or crimes? Does God love the sinner but hate the sin? (more…)
Following its publication as an ebook in early May 2014, we are delighted that Women, Sermons and the Bible (WSB) will soon be available in a print version (available from Matthias Media in August). (more…)
The nature/nurture debate is as endless as the determinist/freedom dispute.
The safe position to adopt combines both nature and nurture. Yet that doesn’t end the debate; it simply moves the discussion onto the character of the combination.
Scientific research will not bring a resolution. Not simply because the question is large and complex and the research is narrow and detailed, but because the reason for the debate is the implications of its outcomes. (more…)
‘Spirituality’ is a term of great confusion today. Both inside and outside Christianity, people use the word in ways quite different to the Bible. This not only confuses Christians in what to expect from the Spirit of God but also confuses non-Christians about the work of God’s Spirit and the teaching of Christianity. For when Christians, in our confusion, misrepresent God’s word it is no surprise that non-Christians do not understand our message.
Non-Christians today commonly describe themselves as being ‘very spiritual’ while having nothing to do with organized religion or Christianity. This spirituality is a way of saying they are not materialistic atheists but it rarely has any theological content other than a vague mysticism. If it has any intellectual content it tends towards an anti-rational experientialism—feelings, experiences, awareness, asceticism, ascetics, pantheism, meditation and miracles. It also tends towards tolerance inclusiveness of all religious experiences and intolerance towards any theological propositions or exclusive claim to truth. It is naturally quite hostile to Biblical Christianity with its clear expression of theological truth claims about the uniqueness of Jesus and his way of salvation. (more…)
We are a society that wants more. More money, more gadgets, more food, more fun. But strangely, wanting more often leaves us feeling dissatisfied. We finally get the thing we longed for, and yet all too soon it is broken, or the batteries have run down or it isn’t as good as we hoped. (more…)
October 2013 saw the Strange Fire conference—and some ensuing controversy—take certain portions of the online evangelical world by storm.
Taking its name from the unauthorized offering to the Lord by Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron (Leviticus 10), John Macarthur of California held the conference to address what he sees as similar abuses of worship of God in pentecostal and charismatic Christianity.
Tim Zulker, one of the contributors to GoThereFor.com, on where to start in evangelism:
We often discuss barriers to outreach: fear, lack of knowledge, rejection, cultural disconnects, etc. These may be real barriers. And there are more. But the deeper barriers to fruitful outreach are what hinder the glory of Christ from shining out from our hearts: willful, unconfessed sin, and broken relationships between Christians in the church. If the gospel is fundamentally a heart issue, then it stands to reason that that’s where the battle will be—in our hearts. If we’re at odds with the Spirit, by consciously allowing sin to fester, we will be out of step with the Spirit and not seeing his fruit. In other words, we will not be abiding in Christ.
I love this story about the Trellis and Vine ninjas from Miami:
Let me tell you about the Ninjas.
It started at a Trellis and Vine Workshop Marty Sweeney and I were running in an old weather-board Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia. We’d been invited there by a young black pastor (whose presence in Atlanta was a remarkable story in itself), and our job was to do what we have done over the past four years since The Trellis and the Vine became an unlikely bestseller—and that was to help a bunch of pastors and lay leaders talk through the ideas in the book, and figure out what it meant in practice for their ministry and their church.
Keep reading to find out who the ninjas were, and tell us what kind of thing you would do (or are doing) in your church along these lines.
Tony Payne explains what the thinking behind GoThereFor.com is about:
GoThereFor.com is a platform where gospel-minded Christians can find ideas, encouragement and resources for fulfilling Christ’s commission to make disciples of all peoples.
The team behind GoThereFor.com longs to see the fruit of the great commission in our lives and churches; we want to see Christ’s disciples go out with urgent love to the communities and peoples around them, to make new disciples and to teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded. This is our vision because we believe it is God’s great plan and mission as revealed in Scripture, and we hold the Scriptures as our supreme and sufficient authority.
I’m interested to hear what you think of this statement about Christian discipleship.
Steve Leston has a great post in the GoThereFor.com Ideas section on what God has asked us to do:
When he asked me that question, I did not realize at the time how important that simple question is in all areas of life. It is amazing how often we as humans fail to do what people ask us to do. In school, marriage, work… we can often get side-tracked doing all the things we were not asked to do, while missing the very essence of what we aresupposed to do.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the ministry. Jesus is so clear with what he asks of ministers in his church, yet we can get so caught up in the things he said not to worry about. What did Jesus ask his disciples to do? Jesus made it pretty clear that they were sent out to do something very specific…
From the GoThereFor.com Ideas feed, Paul Sheely talks about how he uses email to encourage his congregation in Albury:
As a pastor, I’m always looking for ways to shape and grow the culture of my church family around the gospel. A small but important part of what I’m doing at the moment is sending out email encouragements to everyone. It’s proving to be a very effective tool.