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,
(more…)

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…)

How long can we flog this parson?

Thought

The second chaplain to New South Wales—Samuel Marsden—was born 250 years ago on 28th July 1764.1 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.2 (more…)

singing

Testing your faith in divine intervention

Thought, Sola Panel

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.

I replied,
(more…)

No perfect holiday

Life, Sola Panel, Sola Panel

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…)

Can you understand Revelation?

Bible 101, Sola Panel

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…)

Aborigines Sunday: The Christian origins of NAIDOC week

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…)

threeways

Three ways to help

Everyday Ministry

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…)

Pastoral Ministry and Changes

Pastoral Ministry

Just as Christians can never retire from serving the Lord Jesus Christ, so also we can never retire from serving other people. The work of prayerfully proclaiming Christ, his cross and resurrection is a way of life more than an occupation.

One form of this service is that of a pastor: that is a shepherd or under-shepherd of the Great Shepherd. Being a pastor involves caring for and leading a flock. We misuse the word ‘pastor’ when we confine it to ‘counselling’, especially counselling an individual. Pastoral work is different to the work of the modern counsellor and a pastor does more than care for an individual sheep; he leads a flock. (more…)

fishing

Identity

Life

“Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m an alcoholic.”

So goes the usual opening of testimonies at Alcoholic’s Anonymous. The willingness of Bill, to accept and openly testify to the fact of his addiction to alcohol is a great step forward in addressing his problem. But is Bill telling the truth when he says “I’m an alcoholic”? Is that his true identity or should he be saying “I’m a human who is addicted to alcohol”.

Are there bad children or only children who do bad things? Are there liars or only people who tell lies? Are there thieves or only people who steal? Do we punish criminals or crimes? Does God love the sinner but hate the sin? (more…)