There are very few Mexicans competing in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Well, that is what I assume from the complete lack of coverage here. At least we are being spared the scandals, tears and fashion disasters that usually accompany such an event!
So with no curling to enjoy when I need a brain break, my remote has led me to watch a bit of basketball. Here in Mexico, we get both kinds of basketball: NBA (professional, LA Lakers, Boston Celtics, absurd amounts of money, etc.) and college (university, 18-21-year-olds—many of whom will in a few years be making absurd amounts of money). Now I’m the sort of guy who will watch just about any kind of sport. I’ve also played a bit of basketball in my time, so it’s been interesting to me to observe the difference between NBA and college. Strangely, reflecting on that has helped me understand 1 Corinthians 3.
The following are notes meant to accompany Jean Williams’s article on women and discipleship in Briefing #378.
- Three books written to help women understand and apply Titus 2:3-5 are Carolyn Mahaney’s Feminine Appeal (Crossway, Wheaton, 2004), Susan Hunt’s Spiritual Mothering (Crossway, Wheaton, 1992) and Martha Peace’s Becoming a Titus 2 Woman (Focus, Fearn, 1997). These books have their flaws, but they contain much helpful advice about Titus 2 ministry and the practical implications of biblical womanhood.
Anthony Caruana shows why Australian Christians should be concerned about Stephen Conroy’s internet filter.
It is imperative that Australian Christians make themselves aware of legislative changes being proposed by the government. Under the guise of measures to “improve safety of the internet for families”, Senator Stephen Conroy recently announced that mandatory filtering of content that has been refused classification, or rated ‘RC’, will be enforced through legislation.
Across the 12th and 13th centuries, the noblemen of Europe conducted a series of ‘Crusades’ in the Holy Land. Over six or seven centuries, this period history was largely neglected, but then the 20th century saw a resurgence of (negative) interest in these Crusades, which generated a number of myths that took over popular opinion.
I don’t know how many times over the years I have found myself flummoxed in evangelistic conversations when the question is thrown at me, “What about the Crusades?”
In the circles I move in, the issue of preaching is, perhaps, top of the list of things churches need to change in order to lift their game. The feeling is that there is a need for more passion, more authenticity, more engagement, and more confidence that God is here, that he speaks, and that his word is powerful to move and change people—whole people, that is, not just their expertise in how to read the Bible.
Now, there may be some truth in these observations. But that’s not my concern here. I want to turn the spotlight around 180 degrees. My concern, as someone who spends my time in the pews, not the pulpit, is that what goes on in our pews is also in need of more passion, more authenticity, more engagement and more confidence that God is here with us as we meet on Sundays.
American evangelical giant Carl Henry was also in favour of saying nuttin’.
I was thinking of writing a post on global warming and climate change, but there’s an insistent voice in my head that keeps saying, “No, don’t do it! Tell ’em nuttin’!” (more…)
What I’m about to say about evangelism is so obvious, so basic, so humdrum and down-to-earth that I almost feel like not saying it. It feels like a waste of a blog post. But even though it’s so obvious, it’s something that I have only just realized after years and years. And I suspect (and in fact, I know) that lots of other people are in the same boat. (more…)
‘Mission’ is one of those words that is common in our Christian vocabulary, but that can have a wide and often confusing variety of meanings. Narrowing the definition slightly to the activities associated with ‘going out’, rather than ‘an aim or objective’, we still have a wide usage. We go on beach mission, our church is involved in mission, we are a member of a mission society, and we pray for, send, support and even go as missionaries. But what does ‘mission’ mean in these contexts? Is it time to introduce a new word so that we can be more accurate about what these activities might and might not be and so that our support and prayers can be better informed and focussed? (more…)
Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in Heaven? If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” what would you say?
Have you ever used these questions (or a variation on them) to talk about the impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ with friends or strangers? They are the introductory questions in the well-known gospel explanation associated with Evangelism Explosion (EE). They’ve proved themselves to be a very popular way to start a serious discussion about our relationship with God. We assume that people in our world have given at least some thought to their own death and eternal destiny. These questions help us to show how the gospel, with its strong emphasis on assurance of future salvation through Jesus (e.g. 1 Thess 1:10, Heb 9:27-28, 1 Pet 1:3-5), provides a clear answer to important issues. (more…)
I’m sorry, Sandy, at the end of a fairly exhausting year, during which God has continued to show his goodness and kindness in all sorts of ways, I lack the will and strength to fill in your survey about books I’ve read this year. Although may I take this moment to recommend the most brilliant—and, in fact, the only—book ever released by Matthias Media under the title Encouragement, as well as the chortle-worthy, friendly but occasionally disappointing Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by Michael Palin. (more…)
What is the most polite way to refer to an old person? Have you noticed how the words we collectively use to refer to old people in the media and in private conversation keep changing? It’s a strange process. We start using a word or phrase, for example, ‘old man’, ‘old woman’. After a while, we decide that this phrase is really a little derogatory, and so we change to another, more neutral phrase, such as ‘senior citizen’. But after a while, ‘senior citizen’ sounds condescending and slightly offensive. So we try another, more neutral, word—like ‘elderly’. But the same thing happens: after we use the word ‘elderly’ for a while, it starts to sound a bit insulting. So we try ‘aged’. Then ‘ageing’. And so on. The reason this keeps happening is that our underlying concept of ageing itself is negative. It doesn’t matter what word we choose to express it; that word will start to take on the negative connotations that we associate with the underlying concept. (more…)
What major anniversaries does the evangelical world celebrate in 2010?
In recent years, I have stumbled upon the idea of using major anniversaries of key events or characters as windows into church history and often also windows into important topics or doctrines for Christians. In 2007, we had the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, which led to a special focus on William Wilberforce. In 2008, we had the 250th anniversary of the death of Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the most influential theologian in North America. In 2009, we had the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. (more…)
In a number of Thai churches, I have noticed that the songs fall into three general categories: 1. “I offer you my life”, 2. “Pour out your Spirit”, and 3. “I want to be close to you”. This emphasis is hardly unique to Thailand; much of what we sing here is heavily influenced by the West. These type of songs have a time and place, yet it seems that in some churches, these are almost the only type of songs that are sung. As we sing the same basic things over and over again, I have begun to wonder, “Where is Christ? Where is the cross?” It seems a glaring oversight not to have songs about Christ and his finished work on the cross as the mainstay of Christian worship. (more…)