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…)

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This post is, oh, only about three months out of date.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).

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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…)

Ezekiel 37:12-14

Bible 101

“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…)

Dying with Dignity?

Life, Sola Panel

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…)

Review: “Invest Your Suffering”

Review

Invest Your Suffering

Paul Mallard, Inter-Varsity Press, Nottingham, 2013, 192 pp.Invest_your_suffering_1024x1024

 

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…)

Newton’s autobiography of grace

Thought, Sola Panel

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,
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jerusalem

The distant hope: Resurrection and the story of Israel

Thought

[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…)

Your work + my life = balance!

Life

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?”
“Russia.” (more…)