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…)

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…)

In fear, for his glory

Everyday Ministry, Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel, Sola Panel

This post is, oh, only about three months out of date. But hey, a lot has happened since I wrote it. Anyhow, here it is.

In a month or two I will be giving my first conference talk.1

I feel a bit like Paul, if you will allow me to rip a verse out of context: “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling” (1 Cor 2:3 NIV).

(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
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The first Australian Scriptures

Couldn't Help Noticing, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Lun ellin Jehovah an pornum an Narrinyeri: pempir ile ityan kinauwe Brauwarate, ungunuk korn wurruwarrin ityan, nowaiy el itye moru hellangk, tumbewarrin itye kaldwamp.

You have just read the most famous verse of the Bible, John 3:16. It’s most likely the sentence translated into more languages than any other sentence ever written. (more…)

Is there a New Testament DNA for ministry?

Everyday Ministry

I am no geneticist, but I love the image of DNA. It is a beautiful creation of God, and I think quite a helpful metaphor for us in discussing what defines us and drives us as evangelicals. In this article, I want to explore the shape of our ‘DNA’ as people of the gospel and what can damage that DNA, and then suggest ways that we can strive to keep our DNA pure. (more…)

The work of the Lord

Thought

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:
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Everything changes, everything stays the same

Editorial

Regular readers of The Briefing will be familiar with the ways that the publishing industry has changed over recent years. Reading habits have altered, in no small part driven by exploding digital publishing and low-cost worldwide book distribution models. Furthermore, in the almost three decades The Briefing has been running, the marketplace of ideas has also changed. There was a time not too long ago when it was hard to get access to good quality, Reformed-evangelical articles and essays of the kind that The Briefing has always published; these days there are plenty of quality articles about Christ-centred life and discipleship all over the internet, most of them available for free. (more…)

Luke 24:5-6

Bible 101

“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…)