When God de-prospers us

Couldn't Help Noticing, Life, Sola Panel

12-12-Alcorn

Courtesy: Tim Challies, challies.com

Mightn’t it be true that sometimes God lowers our standard of living to raise the standard of our giving!?

This meme is one where I feel very ambivalent (see original at end of this post). I normally like Tim Challies‘ illustrated quotes. And I understand Alcorn is a solid evangelical. And I know nothing of the context of this thought Challies has featured from Alcorn’s works. [* see below for update.] No doubt he says much that’s good.  (more…)

fourways

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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God’s Word is Powerful – Psalm 61

Bible 101, Life, Sola Panel

The birth of your first child is always momentous. For me, it was also scary. We were expecting twins, and the labour did not proceed well. Karyn was wheeled off for an emergency caesarean, with me running alongside. I was then left standing at the thick red line by the nurses’ station. And the door closed. (more…)

Reviewing Hope Beyond Cure

Review, Sola Panel

Cancer has become the leading cause of death in Australia and almost every other country, according to a major international World Health Organization (WHO) study (link to report). Everyone knows someone who is impacted. Sadly too many! And—to state the obvious—not everyone gets better from a cancer diagnosis. (more…)

Life in a dark place: Doubt in the Christian life

Life

At the start of 2013, at a conference in Christchurch in New Zealand, I saw something simple but profound: the power of talking about things. There were a number of interviews where people spoke frankly about some difficult issues they had lived with, or were living with, as Christians. (more…)

An atheist’s affirmation

Life

Should Australians be upset that one of the new ministers in the Federal Cabinet swore his oath on a Qur’an?

This week as the Governor General swore in the new cabinet, Mr Ed Husic, chose to swear on the Qur’an rather than the Bible or make an affirmation. A ‘non-practising’ Muslim from Bosnia, Mr Husic was sworn in as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Broadband.

Swearing is a strange symbolism, by which we persuade and reassure people of our integrity in making promises. Christians should not need to swear for we should be people of our word. As Jesus said in response to pharisaic hypocrisy, “Let what you say be simply “Yes” or “No”; anything more than this comes from evil (Matt 5:37, cf. Jas 5:12). (more…)

Will God answer my prayers?

Life, Sola Panel

Here’s my simple answer to that simple question from a person I know from my local church.

I am sure God answers our prayers, including for you. (more…)

Doubting your doubts

Resource Talk

When did you last doubt the truth of Christianity?

Notice that I asked when, not if, because I’m assuming that this is one of the temptations that is common to man—the temptation to turn away from God, to doubt his goodness, his faithfulness, even his reality. (more…)

Thomas Leth-Olsen on flickr

Keep the faith

Life

When the evangelist Graham Daniels wrote a little book about the gospel for non-Christians, he insightfully called it My Mate’s Gone Mad. For a new Christian, making changes to their life that their friends find mystifying, the book’s title makes it easy to give away. That’s what everyone’s thinking. You’re mad to start going to church. You’re mad to stop living like everyone else. And above all, you’re mad to believe all that made-up stuff about Jesus. (more…)

The obedience of faith

Thought

What does faith in Christ mean? What do people ‘do’ when they believe in Christ? Do they ‘do’ anything? If they ‘do’ something, how do we avoid faith becoming a ‘work’ smuggled in through the Protestant back door? Presumably if we have ‘done’ something (when we believe in Christ), we may justifiably be a little proud of what we have done and think that our belief is some kind of achievement or virtue. So how do we accurately describe the nature of faith in such a way that we exclude human pride? (more…)