photo | Joe Lanman via flickr

A fresh agenda

Everyday Ministry

I have never migrated from one country to another. The farthest I have ever moved was 500 miles from our family farm to go to university in Sydney. It was more than 30 years ago, but I can still remember the swirling sense of excitement, anxiety and disorientation of those early months in the Big Smoke. New streets, new transport, new housemates, new church… new everything. (more…)

photo | babasteve on flickr

Vocation? What’s that?


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…)

Challenging the rushed ministry decision

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Every person involved in leading or organising a church or Christian ministry activity will have had the experience of a member dropping out at short notice, leaving sudden gaps to fill, even gaping holes at times. (more…)

photo | discosour on flickr

God’s plan for work: The cultural mandate


It’s lunchtime. A young mother sits on the bench, painting her eight-month-old’s face with food—that mouth is hard to find. With her spare third eye she watches her toddler negotiate the finer points of park etiquette with the oversized gorilla who isn’t interested in sharing the springy rocker thing—he’s four! For just a moment she gives herself permission to dream about being the council worker digging a trench on the other side of the park. What a life! (more…)

Once more, with any feeling


By the time you read this I will have dispensed with a house of belongings, left the best job I’ve ever had (enjoy, new assistant Briefing editor!), kissed my nephews goodbye, and cried all over my parents at the airport. My husband and I are moving from Australia to Mongolia, to join with the body of Christ in Ulaanbaatar. And the question on the lips of most people I meet is “Wow, are you excited?” (more…)

Don’t get fleeced by Gideon’s guidance!

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

We’re in the middle of a short doctrinal sermon series on that perennial topic of Guidance here at St Michael’s. I follow the Guidance of the Voice of God line.
Some people critique without reading carefully enough, because I don’t think it is cessationist per se as some claim. It’s essence is not cessanionism or not, but understanding:


Where to, Lord? An interview with Mark Charleston

Pastoral Ministry

Mark Charleston trains and encourages ministers as part of his work with the Sydney Anglican Department of Ministry Training and Development. He regularly talks to ministers at turning points in their ministry. Paul Grimmond spoke to him recently about his reflections on the issues involved in choosing to move from one ministry to another.


FlashForward, or guidance and the grace of God


Over the last few weeks, Emma and I have enjoyed watching the new TV show FlashForward. In the first episode, the entirety of humanity blacks out simultaneously for exactly two minutes and 17 seconds. During this blackout, everyone has a ‘flash-forward’, and experiences a snapshot of their own life six months in the future.


Review: “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment” by Tim Challies


The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

Tim Challies

Crossway Books, Wheaton, 2007, 208pp.



Here is an exercise for you: open your purse or wallet and remove a bank­note. Now rub it between your fingers. Look closely at the various markings. Hold it up to the light. Is it genuine, or is it counterfeit? How can you tell? This is the analogy Tim Challies uses in his book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment to set up the task of Christian discernment. Christian discernment, he says, is “the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong” (p. 61). Doctrine and practice, like currency, can be the real deal, or they can be ‘funny money’. Only the discerning person can tell the difference. (more…)

For us or against us? Working out who to work with

Pastoral Ministry

Now that we’ve had a look at judging others, discernment and what the two entail, how do you put these things into practice? For example, how do you figure out whether or not you can work with someone? Guan Un finds some answers in the Gospel of Luke. (more…)

Husband material

Up front

In case you missed it, Mark Driscoll has been to Sydney recently. It’s created lots of healthy discussion about lots of important things. I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on one particular idea that occurred more than once in his public talks: the challenge to the ‘late-blooming’ young men of Sydney to grow up and take some responsibility. His basic formula was move out of home, get a job, buy a house, get married and plant a church—in that order. (more…)