“Why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here, but has risen.”
Even for the women who had known Jesus well—who by now must have been accustomed to apparently tangential answers and statements from the lips of Jesus—I guess that on the scale of unexpected questions this would be about a nine. (more…)
In the last 24 hours, I’ve received notification via several church members regarding an “URGENT PRAYER REQUEST” to do with systematic beheading of children in Iraq. (more…)
“Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
Poor Ezekiel. I can’t think of a biblical character I feel more sorry for, more often. Charged with the unwelcome job of speaking God’s word to Israel—the nation who in God’s own estimation are a rebellious, stiff-necked people who do not listen—he gets some of the worst gigs in prophetic history. He’s required by God to not just tell people what they’ve done and what is about to happen, but show them as well (because if he simply told them, they wouldn’t listen). (more…)
Here’s the submission I made to the relevant committee of the Senate of the Australian Parliament regarding Senator Richard Di Natale’s private member’s Exposure draft of the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill 2014. (more…)
Invest Your Suffering
Paul Mallard, Inter-Varsity Press, Nottingham, 2013, 192 pp.
Every writing pastor seems to put out a book on two themes. One is marriage. Another is suffering. Judging from the prologues, the process goes something like this: they give a sermon series; it’s popular (who isn’t interested in these topics?); they turn the series into a book. (more…)
This month, our church’s sign board reads…
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
Grace is God’s mercy – especially when we don’t deserve it! My first memory verse says,
[This article is an extract from an upcoming Matthias Media book on the resurrection. We're excerpting it here as it's an excellent stand-alone article on a reasonably under-appreciated aspect of the New Testament accounts of the resurrection: Rory investigates why the resurrection of Jesus was unexpected, even to a Jewish audience, why it nevertheless fits the narrative well, and why it leaves us with a significant choice to make.] (more…)
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…)
Of those who witnessed the evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham at their high point, many would later ascribe his success to a combination of gospel preaching and gospel singing. Of these two elements, it seems that the latter was at least as potent—if not more so—than the former. As one observer recalls:
In the last few tragic days, I received the following comment in my twitter feed from an Australian journalist.
AIDS researchers and a Catholic nun among #MH17 victims. If you believe in a god, this would seriously be testing your faith.
We’re just back from a far-from-perfect holiday. There were many lovely moments: winter’s wind blowing spray backwards from the waves; the golden lights of evening on the harbour; sampling the world’s best coconut ice cream. (more…)
At the church I serve, we’re about the preach the book of Revelation across all our congregations, as well as studying it in our growth groups concurrently. (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…)
I have never thought of myself as a technologist, but now I realize that we all are. As Tim Challies has pointed out in his book, The Next Story, humans are incurably and inherently technological. We shape and form and make things constantly as we fulfil God’s creational purpose for us to multiply and subdue the earth. The things we make are usually neither good nor evil in themselves—a wheel, a fork, an office block, a chair, a screwdriver, a book—but each one can be used well or badly, and each one comes with both risks and benefits. (Some technologies, I would contend, are just inherently evil—such as the office laser printer—but we will leave that discussion for another time.) (more…)