On Tuesday evening, our mid-week church group enjoyed an American-style Thanksgiving dinner together. The Thanksgiving dinner has been a group tradition for a number of years now, although this is the first time our family has been part of it (we joined the group in January). It was a great time of fellowship and fun. We had a couple of real live Americans and a Canadian present, and I’m pleased to say that the dinner—complete with turkey, stuffing, corn bread, mashed potato, pumpkin pie and other tasty & filling dishes cooked by group members—received thumbs-up for authenticity! (more…)
I’ve written plenty of letters to our parliamentarians regarding particular policy issues, sometimes quite critical of positions they’ve taken. But have I taken time to thank them. Here’s my attempt at the end of the current term of our federal Parliament… (more…)
Prayer always brings glory to God, as we express our confidence in his willingness and ability to help us as well as his interest in the details of our life. To think the creator and sovereign ruler of the universe would pay attention to our requests—about the trivialities of our lives—is humbling and exciting. That we can call the Almighty, “Father” is wonderful beyond description.
This week the Anglican diocese of Sydney comes to electing a new Archbishop. Synod will be meeting for a few nights to try to come to agreement about who it should be. It is not the most important decision we ever make, but it is a decision we have to make, and it does affect many aspects of church life.
So this week is an important time for prayer. We want God to bless our decision, and that overriding our desires, he will appoint the man he thinks best suits his plans for the diocese. (more…)
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…)
After you said you feel unable to lead in our family prayers, I wanted to put down some thoughts about leading in prayer that will, I hope, be helpful. While they’re nothing particularly profound, here they are. (more…)
Africa is a beautiful continent. There is stunning scenery—the mountains, valleys and lakes of the Rift Valley—and world-famous wildlife. It is also poorer and much less developed than in the West. The majority of people live in villages. There is a shorter life expectancy, and a tragically high incidence of HIV-AIDS. It is less politically stable than countries like Australia. But, most significantly, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most Christian places on earth! (more…)
When you are little your father is very big; you are weak, but he is very strong; you know very little and he seems to know everything, you feel feeble compared to his powerful presence.
When your father is very powerful, you are able to do so much. You feel safe and secure in his great arms. You are comfortable, if not confident, to ask him for anything. He takes you to places, shows you things, entertains you, houses, feeds, clothes and educates you. (more…)
Relevant for our corporate praying! A thoughtful balance from Goldsworthy…
In assessing the relative virtues of liturgical versus non-liturgical prayer, I have come to conclude the following:
Teaching the children to pray and praying for the children
Christian parents have a vital ministry in the church. The Christian nurture of children is primarily the responsibility of the parents, not the day school (even if it is a Christian school) nor the Sunday school. Unfortunately, in our modern society, mothers who stay at home to care for their children are often considered to be unemployed and to have sold out on the right of women to pursue a career. There can be no nobler career than nurturing Christian children to be well-adjusted citizens of our society and to be faithful citizens of the kingdom of God.1
Graeme Goldsworthy on the ‘quiet time’…
Avoiding legalism while exercising self-discipline
Most of us need some kind of self-discipline in all kinds of things that we do on a regular basis. Usually we don’t have any difficulty in having three meals a day, but some do. We get into a routine for eating, sleeping and going to work. One routine that is often observed is the ‘quiet time’, particularly by Christians who recognize the need to study the Bible and to pray, usually on a daily basis. A quiet time is a good routine, but it needs to have some flexibility. The quiet time can become a legalistic requirement to the point that some feel that if they sleep in and have to miss their quiet time, their whole day will be a virtual disaster. This borders on superstition. The person who cultivates the art of praying without ceasing will recognize that, like the Sabbath, the quiet time was made for man and not man for the quiet time! All kinds of things can interrupt our routines, from storm, tempest, flood, fire and earthquakes. Or it may be simply a neighbour in need who calls on us, or a sick child. On the other hand, the person who makes a habit of chaotic indiscipline needs to take this matter in hand. However we might discipline our day to include Bible-reading and prayer, it is important not to reduce this habit to the level of the fulfilment of a legal obligation. It is always a privilege for the children of God and, as such, it is an expression of our being saved by grace alone.
Source: Prayer and the Knowledge of God (IVP), page 196. (more…)
The Significance of the Psalms for prayer
For any Christian for whom prayer is becoming formal and stereotyped, the Psalms provide a rich source of inspiration. It is true that to read the Psalms on your knees, as it were, can be a great boost to one’s prayer experience. The book of Psalms provides the most sustained and concentrated biblical expressions of prayer. There are two qualifications I would make to this recommendation to resort directly to the Psalms for prayer.
Yesterday, as I preached on Hebrews 4:12-16, we touched at some length on prayer:
- the possibility of prayer – through Jesus our great high priest, vv15-16,