Seeking God’s kingdom first in the everyday


“What do you do for work?” is one of the most common questions that we ask when we meet someone new. For most of us, work is right at the heart of how we see ourselves and how we explain ourselves to others. Usually, it’s at the heart of our diaries, too—in any given working week, this is the place where we spend around half our waking hours. (more…)

Corrupting the code: How do we lose sight of the basics?

Pastoral Ministry

Elsewhere in Issue #413 Archie Poulos masterfully isolated the scriptural DNA of gospel ministry, centred around the conversion of sinners. (The article can be viewed here.) This article is the counterpart to that one, examining how we can corrupt this DNA. Can we identify stress points in ministry that could compromise the gospel of Jesus and bring it into disrepute? Let’s look at three areas: not watching our lives closely, not watching our doctrine closely, and not loving one another well.1

The work of the Lord


1 Corinthians 15 is perhaps one of the most theologically rich chapters in the New Testament. Here Paul defends the resurrection of Christ and the future resurrection of believers. After holding out the wonderful hope that while we now bear the image of the first Adam, one day we will be conformed to the image of the last Adam—the Lord Jesus Christ—Paul gives a charge to his readers:

Work, value, and the gospel


As we come to this third article in our series on work, we need to remember again the question that we’re seeking to answer: what place does our work have as we seek to follow Jesus in God’s world? What I have been arguing up until this point is that this question is actually not quite right. A better question, in light of the gospel, is “What works should we do as followers of Jesus in God’s world?” (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…)

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…)

Give working families a rest

Sola Panel

Work is a profoundly social activity. Few if any of us function as single subsistence farmers, disconnected from everybody else. We all work in a large complex network of relationships. From the suppliers of raw materials, to the manufacturers, the marketers and sales people, the distributors, the wholesalers and retailers, to the purchasers and delivery agents—interpersonal relationships in the division of our labour is normality. A well ordered society can feed, clothe, house and entertain millions of people in safety, comfort and justice every day. Indeed the evolved modern market place is one of the testimonies to human ingenuity that no central planner could have devised. (more…)

Anniversary number 1 for Sunday

Life, Sola Panel

This Sunday, on February 19, two very different anniversaries occur.

Because Australians are not always very good at history and The Briefing originates here, I think they are worth noting. They may be of interest to others too. (more…)

Two editorial jobs at Matthias Media in 2012

As the year draws to a close, a big thanks to our many readers, subscribers, and commenters. It’s been a year of changes at The Briefing, and we’re hugely grateful for all the encouragement and interaction and support we’ve received. Keep it coming in 2012! (more…)

A conversation with John Piper


David Starling: I want to begin by saying thank you for your books and your sermons, and for making the trip out here to Sydney. We really appreciate all that’s involved in coming across the world to see us. (more…)

Working out work


For most people, work is tough. I write this in the United Arab Emirates, where the great majority of labourers from the subcontinent work 10 hours a day, in 40 degree heat, to earn just enough to service their needs and remit a small surplus back to their families at home. They are not slaves, they don’t have to be here, so the obvious question arises: if they choose to work under these conditions, then how limited are their options back home? There are hundreds of millions of people on this planet working at survival levels in the slums of the megacities or out in the fields, scratching to make a living in the face of war, drought, and flood. (more…)

Are holidays Christian?

Life, Pastoral Ministry, Thought, Sola Panel

flickr: andrewmalone

There’s a certain amount of discomfort in Christian circles when it comes to annual leave and long service leave – or any kind of holiday, for that matter. The workaholics and type-A personalities amongst us (I’m putting my hand up now) can be even more uncomfortable about taking holidays. Perhaps they’re right. (more…)

Work ethics in Christian ministry

Pastoral Ministry

If our whole beings are to be devoted to the gospel, what is the place of rest in the lives of those in ministry? Ben Boardman looks at the privileges and challenges for Christians in paid ministry as they organize their week. (more…)

A tale of three cities

Pastoral Ministry


It’s 7 am Thursday, and I am sitting in a café on York Street in the central busi­ness district of Sydney. This is my hometown. The coffee, in case you were wondering, is okay. The Suncorp building towers above me, Grosvenor Place tall behind me, and every bus coming off the Harbour Bridge stops outside this café. (more…)

Keep the Sabbath


At the risk of being too general, most Christians agree it’s good and wise to keep the intention of the Sabbath by taking a day off every week and resting.1 We don’t do this because we’re under the law of the Sabbath, for Jesus has fulfilled that law for us. We don’t have to have it on a certain day of the week, and it’s not done to win God’s favour. Instead, we observe these Sabbath-type days because we trust the God who loves us in Christ and who rules all things; taking a day off once a week is “an expression of this commitment”.2 (more…)