What has Jim Collins to do with Jerusalem?

Pastoral Ministry

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…)

Practising Fear


As far as cooking skills go, it’s all well and good if your culinary creation looks like an art exhibit, but that won’t count for much if it tastes like one! In much the same way my aim in this series has been to show that wisdom is far more than knowledge and facts. Looking good is not enough. (more…)

Bible 101: 1 Kings 11:9-10

Bible 101

The story of Solomon is a literary tragedy worthy of the greatest of poets. As the son of David he comes to the throne of Israel in fulfilment of the promise of Yahweh to his father: that he would never lack one of his offspring to rule the kingdom of Israel (2 Sam 7:12, cf. 1 Kgs 3:6). Shortly after he consolidates the kingdom, Yahweh appears to him in a dream and offers him whatever he desires (1 Kgs 3:4-15), and Solomon requests an “understanding mind” so that he might rule rightly, and discern between good and evil (3:9). (more…)

As good as it gets


“This is as good as it gets” the man assured me. I was initially shocked, but then deeply saddened by his statement. It was an astonishing statement—but there was no doubting the sincerity with which he was speaking. (more…)

Creatures of habit

Life, Sola Panel

“I really should be more disciplined…”

How often do you experience that gaping chasm between ‘should be’ and ‘is’ in your regular daily habits? Most of us can think of good habits we’d really like to develop, but somehow have never got around to it. If you’re a Christian, some of those habits you wish to develop possibly include things like regular prayer and Bible reading; intentional care for others; disciplined consumption; not spending too much time online, etc. You may have heard countless times that these things are important; you’ve probably nodded sagely in agreement; you may even have spoken about them many times out loud in sentences that begin, “I really should…”. But you’ve just never got around to turning them into lasting habits. Maybe that’s because your desire to develop these habits has never been anything more than a vague wish. Or maybe you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve tried repeatedly to develop these habits and failed miserably. (more…)

Jedi masters and the body of Christ

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

I’m about to use Yoda as a model for Christian love. If you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies, you’ll probably be mystified by what I’m about to say. This is not the article you’re looking for. (more…)

Lies, lies, lies!


I was talking to a friend lately who struggles with eating issues, and she told me that one of the techniques she is using to combat her anxiety is something called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). If I’ve understood her correctly, ACT is when you try to keep your thoughts focused on the present instead of allowing them to drift off in all sorts of unhelpful directions. So, for example, when she gets a craving for a cookie and starts to think that she couldn’t possibly get through the afternoon without one, she acknowledges that she’s had that thought, points out to herself that what her brain is telling her is a lie (i.e. that she can get through the afternoon without a cookie, and she knows that because she’s done it before), and then moves on with the rest of her day.


Please be a sceptic

Life, Sola Panel


Because I am a pastor and maintain a church email group list with large numbers on it, I receive lots of ‘pass it on’ emails. Dozens and dozens.

My kids get even more of these chain emails, urging them to pass on the contents from their friends. Some are harmless, some are enjoyable. Others are false or a waste of time. Some are more sinister.


Politics and God


The debate about faith and politics will probably continue until the fulfilment of the kingdom at Jesus’ return. As Tony Abbott, the Federal Leader of the Opposition, observed before the 2010 Australian Federal election, Jesus was not a party-political person and nor should he be claimed to support one side of politics over another.1 However, Christians in a democratic political system hold the same position as every other voter, and are entitled to seek representation in the parliament by men and women who they judge will enable the peaceful proclamation of the gospel, and who will uphold the biblical principles of justice, compassion, care, respect and protection for each human being created in the image of God (1 Tim 2:1-4). (more…)

Ministry-minded ageism?



According to TS Eliot, you know you’re old when you wear the bottoms of your trousers rolled.1 But in Christian circles, it seems, you know you’re old when you start thinking older people haven’t passed their use-by date. It would appear that I’m old, and perhaps that’s why I’m noticing just how much ageism has snuck into our ministry mindset and fellowships.


Enshrined adolescence

Up front

I have a friend who has an adolescent daughter. Surprisingly, there are moments when the relationship is more rocky road than dairy milk, if you follow me. As he described his current set of frustrations, it suddenly occurred to me that adolescence is the new black. (more…)

Self-knowledge for godliness and ministry (Part 5)


Jennie and I have been discussing personality theories as a worked example of pursuing self knowledge in the service of godliness and ministry. Jennie has discussed some of what they offer, and in my last post, I discussed two interlinked possible problems they can create: justifying sin in ourselves or others. Over the next two posts, we turn to two more related weaknesses—weaknesses arising from over-valuing the insight that personality tests might offer.


Ageing beauty

Life, Sola Panel

I’m sitting outside a cafe at a wobbly iron table, my pen moving lazily and messily across my notebook as I dream and write, dream and write. I sip from my mug-sized chai latte. A European wasp hovers hungrily above the frothed milk. (more…)

We need more shack time


It has topped The New York Times’s bestseller list and has been called The Pilgrim’s Progress of our generation. But what is it about William P Young’s The Shack that has captivated so many people—Christian and non-Christian? Paul Grimmond investigates.

The Shack
William P Young
Windblown Media, Newbury Park, 256pp. (more…)