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…)
Ben Atwood recalls the time he spent speaking the Bible’s life-changing word to a refugee in detention. (more…)
Denominations can be a mixed blessing for the pastor: when they work well, they give your ministry wings; when they don’t, they can feel like a straitjacket. In this Pastor’s brief, we look at how you can work with church structures to ensure that gospel ministry prospers.
A wise colleague once told me that regardless of the nature of any particular form of church government, good people will make it work and sinful people will endeavour to corrupt it to their own ends. In other words, while some structures may be better than others, none are ideal, for none can guarantee our freedom to do the work of gospel ministry.
Thank you for the articles in the May Briefing on singleness and fending off non-Christian men. Both were incredibly encouraging for me. I am one whose singleness has been chosen for me, and it gets harder as I get older. One of the hardest things is the feeling of not being pretty enough or godly enough to be chosen by a Christian man. Yes, there are more Christian women than Christian men. But there are still some Christian men, and none of them want to marry me. I know this is under God’s sovereign control, but I still feel ugly and, well, not chosen. It is a battle in my head and, as I get older and remain unchosen for longer, the wrong voices are the ones that shout the loudest. (more…)
What do you do if you’re a single Christian woman and a non-Christian man is attracted to you? What do you do if you’re attracted to him too? In this frank and helpful article, an anonymous Briefing reader shares some advice. (more…)
Recently a friend of mine was about to commence ministry as a rector at an Anglican parish. His great idea was to ask some friends who were already rectors for advice before he made the big move: What would you not do again? What would you definitely do again? What are some easy mistakes you made or almost made? Any words from the wise?
I knew practically nothing about homosexuality when my husband of 10 years told me the shocking truth that he would prefer tobe in a relationship with a man. He hadn’t ‘acted out’ or been unfaithful to me in practice but I wasn’t what he wanted. I felt like the poor consolation prize. Due to his Christian values he knew he wasn’t permitted what he really wanted, a gay relationship, so I was better than nothing. Prior to this, I had believed we were happily married. However, my husband was just acting the role of the devoted husband. It was a façade to hide the truth. His Christian life was also almost a sham. He went through the motions of being a committed Christian but in reality he was practically spiritually dead.
I am happily married, a mother of two healthy little people and I suffer depression.
In hindsight, I realize I have always had more ups and downs than most people. When my second child was three weeks old, I became extremely anxious and depressed. There was one moment when, because of its sudden severity, I am aware that it started. It was two years before I had a day free of it.
In September 1992, I scribbled on a piece of paper, “It’s so difficult to hang in there. I’ve lost control of my life. It’s impossible to think positively. Will things ever change for the better? I’m not sure I’m able to continue, to keep going. I’m lonely, unhappy, scared, guilt-ridden, a failure. What can I do to change the situation? It’s hard to see where God is involved. What else do I have to lose? I’m sure I’m gradually giving up. It has been such a long time.”
A significant percentage of the Australian population cannot sing. We can’t carry a tune to save our lives. How many of us are there? Based on the singing voices I hear around me in church, I would guess we account for at least half the population.
Reproduced from Evangelicals Now, February 1993. Used with permission.
With its building desperately over-crowded, the Round Church had to rethink from the Bible such issues as the purpose of a building, the meaning of worship, the purpose of meeting—and the nature of the church. This is more than the story of one church; it has lessons and relevance for every church.
It was, as they say in the classics, a dark and stormy night. My wife gently nudged me, and then after a time, not-so-gently nudged me again. It was 4 a.m., and water was dripping onto our bed. In the dark and cold, I tried to move the bed.
Most books on prayer (the Bible excluded) give plenty of advice about how, when and where to pray. The Bible’s lack of detail on the matter is revealing, but perhaps rather frustrating for 20th Century would-be pray-ers. We are rather interested in details, and are keen to listen to anyone who has a new theory or technique that we think might boost our flagging spirits.
It was 6:54 am. Peter checked to make sure he had everything. It was all there: the bonded leather, cross-reference, chain-reference, words of Christ in green, NIV Eco-Bible; the notepad with personal prayer points arranged by day and subject; his church prayer diary; his missionary prayer diary; his worldwide student ministry prayer diary; his lectionary edition of An Anglican Prayer Book; and in case all else failed, the Jesus Person Pocket-Book of Life-Changing Bible Promises.