Saying yes and no: a Briefing farewell

Everyday Ministry

I’m an avid reader, and social media brings an endless flood of articles my way—often very interesting, sometimes useful, occasionally mind-changing! So with that flood it’s hard to be sure, but I think the article that’s had the single biggest impact on my life and ministry was not published in The Briefing magazine. But that article by Ben Patterson explains why The Briefing has had more influence in shaping my Christian mind (and hopefully practice) than any book has ever done—apart from the Bible!
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Four ways to God

Thought

I suppose it’s like looking at old baby photos, but over the past month or so I’ve been browsing through some of the classic early articles in The Briefing. I chuckled over some of the ‘Lead Balloons’ we ran in those early days, like the article that proposed we should build deliberately crummy church buildings from now on, so that when the next generation needs to rebuild them or tear them down in 50 years’ time, there won’t be any loud objections from the heritage lobby about the destruction of our beautiful architecture.

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A mighty balsa wood boat

Everyday Ministry

This article is an edited transcript of an address given at the 2014 Nexus conference in Sydney.

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And when [Paul] had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:36-38)

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Editorial: The end of the beginning

Editorial

Back in issue #1 of The Briefing, in 1988, the feature article was entitled ‘Have Evangelicals lost their way?’ With this being our final edition ever, readers may be wondering: “Has The Briefing lost its way? Is there nothing left to say?”

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Forgotten providence

Thought

We seem to have moved past needing to talk about God’s providence—we’re quite sophisticated these days. By ‘we’, I mean especially our modern, western, secular society, but also the church within it. We no longer tend to think of the sun suspended and directed by God in its course. Rather, we hurtle through a vacuum on a rock, directed by the seemingly inexplicable distortion of the space time continuum created by one lump of energy condensed as matter that then directs its motion towards another. (Or so my astrophysicist friends tell me, anyway.) (more…)

An Interview with Ken Short

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

bp-ken-shortOne of the great Sydney Evangelical Anglicans, Bishop Ken Short died this week. Alongside parish ministry, he’d been a missionary in Tanganyika (later Tanzania), a military chaplain, Dean of Sydney, Bishop of Wollongong, then of Parramatta, and of the Australian Defence Forces. (more…)

At last, the obvious

Resource Talk

Sometimes a new idea is just so obvious that you can only wonder why no-one ever thought of it before.

For example, why did it take so long for someone to invent the ‘multi-position pillow’ to solve the thorny issue of what you do with the underneath arm when you are lying on your side? This particular work of genius is a contoured pillow with various cut-outs to allow you to lie on your arm, without cutting off the blood supply to your extremities. Although there’s now a slight problem: you also need a bed that’s about a foot longer to accommodate your outstretched arm, nestled snugly underneath your pillow. (more…)

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Seeking God’s kingdom first in the everyday

Life

“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…)

Special Issue Sundays

Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Special Issue Sundays at church – I’m not convinced!

Recently a friend suggested that Australian churches should consider an Anti-Gambling Sunday like in the United States (September 21). As the Americans said, “Gambling, at any level, is an investment in trouble.” (more…)

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

Bible 101

My university graduation featured an address by a speaker who told us he intended to be “aspirational, inspirational, and motivational”. Sadly, he was none of those things, but was a rather dull speaker who trotted out the standard tropes of such occasional addresses: work hard; act well towards your colleagues and clients; persevere towards a better tomorrow. (more…)

Silver bullet ministry

Thought

By all accounts I am a stereotypical, standard, plain vanilla, suburban church pastor. And that’s pretty much what the ministry is like at our church: there is absolutely nothing hip or cutting-edge about us. We’re not a funky inner-city church plant. We don’t meet in a disused theatre. (more…)

Ezekiel 3:17

Bible 101

Ezekiel is full of terrifying words from God. For the prophet Ezekiel, they often have a double edge to them: not only are they awful words of judgement on Israel for their rebellion and apostasy, but he is charged with speaking them to a stiff-necked people, hard-headed and hard-hearted, who do not want to listen to God’s word (cf. Ezek 3:4-7). God grants Ezekiel a hardness of his own to match that of his hearers, but this is still one of the toughest jobs around—Ezekiel here must warn God’s people of his impending judgement, so that they might turn away from the evil they’ve been doing. (more…)

The Ideas Wrap-Up

We don’t want our loyal Briefing readers to miss out on any of the exciting ideas in the GoThereFor.com ideas feed. With new ideas every Tuesday and Thursday, there are certainly some ideas and thoughts creating a bit of a buzz. To make sure that we are keeping The Briefing readers in the loop, we have decided to post a fortnightly wrap-up of all the ideas that have been shared. (more…)