startingsmall
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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balsa-cover

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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img15

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…)

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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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dna

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…)

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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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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…)

singing
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…)

fishing
photo | Nicolò Bonazzi on flickr

Feeling God?

Thought

Do you ever wonder if there’s something more to the Christian life? Maybe you’ve heard of or know people who tell you about having some sort of amazing God-experience—whether it’s been intense feelings of peace and joy, some kind of ecstatic excitement, maybe even visions or voices—and you wonder if you’re missing out. You hear about these things and you think to yourself “I want more”. (more…)

grass
eden

Satan’s lies about prayer

Life

It’s a fair bet that most Christians would see prayer as a vital component of our relationship with God. We can bring our worries and troubles to our Father, we can ask for anything in Jesus’ name, we can be confident in our approach to God because of the blood of our saviour—these are all things we affirm and love. (more…)

lordsprayer

Learning to pray with the Master

Life

If there is one practice which seems to many to be the opposite of authentic spirituality, it is saying set prayers. Prayer, we easily feel, ought to be spontaneous, heart-felt, uninhibited. Surely repeating old phrases runs the risk of losing these things. Surely someone else’s words cannot best express my uniquely individual thoughts and needs. Surely this would turn prayer into a hollow religious ritual. (more…)