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…)
‘Ministry’ can be a very vague and unstructured idea. The joke that clergy work only one day a week is untrue, but it’s not immediately obvious what they do the rest of the time—are they some kind of spiritual social workers (as the confused mother of my best school friend asked when I quit university to become an Anglican minister)? It’s not really any clearer for those who attend church but are not in paid positions of leadership there. What does ‘ministry’ look like? Lots of coffee (preferably espresso)? Serving on endless rosters? Church politics? (more…)
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed
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…)
Leon Morris was born 15 March, 1914. So today marks the centenary of his birth.
If you don’t know his name, he is one of foremost biblical scholars Australia has ever produced. (more…)
Well, to think that I almost didn’t write yesterday’s post, because my relatively few friends on Facebook had said it all… Since then I’ve trawled through over a total of 700 comments (and counting), between this blog, the Drum (on ABC) and various friends’ FB links. Today I am going to attempt a few follow ups. (more…)
This is a great reflection on the temptation of Jesus in the desert by Byron Yawn, and a worked example of how to mis-apply Jesus’ actions to ourselves, and in so doing domesticate them entirely.
Seriously. What’s the assumed application of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? By assumed I mean – What have we been told (over years of preaching) this event is about? Is it not usually offered as a set of “principles” on how Christians can resist temptation? Or to put that another way, it’s about us. But honestly, is this really what’s happening at this moment? Is Jesus really offering an example how we can personally resist the temptation of the devil? Is this a tutorial for daily living? Of course not! A “how to” on resisting temptation is a secondary application at best if not tertiary. He’s not telling us to do anything. He’s actually doing it for us. There is something much greater under way in this moment. More importantly, do we need to be standing within view of the actual site to realize how misguided our take on it is?
I have heard the claim that Jesus never died on the cross many times over the years, in person, in the press, on the web and via social media. Here is my reply. (more…)
Perhaps some of the most famous words ever spoken on the topic of holiness by a pastor came from Robert Murray McCheyne. He said,
It’s the central claim of Christianity: Jesus is alive.
Not just that his memory lives on in people’s hearts. Not that his teaching still inspires people today. But that Jesus rose from the dead—flesh and blood, in time and space. (more…)
My favourite Easter hymn is “Man of Sorrows” by Philipp Bliss (1838-1876). Its first line and title comes from the most famous Old Testament prophecy of all, one of Isaiah’s so-called Servant Songs. (more…)