I have never migrated from one country to another. The farthest I have ever moved was 500 miles from our family farm to go to university in Sydney. It was more than 30 years ago, but I can still remember the swirling sense of excitement, anxiety and disorientation of those early months in the Big Smoke. New streets, new transport, new housemates, new church… new everything. (more…)
In the last issue of the Briefing, we began a little quest to understand what God has to say about work. And, perhaps strangely, we ended up spending a whole article speaking about the creation mandate (God’s command to humanity to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it). Whether you found this helpful or frustrating will probably depend on two things. (1) Are you a big picture person or a details person? and (2) What were you expecting to hear? (more…)
Michael Bennett’s book is brilliant. I loved it. Let me tell you why. (more…)
Every person involved in leading or organising a church or Christian ministry activity will have had the experience of a member dropping out at short notice, leaving sudden gaps to fill, even gaping holes at times. (more…)
It’s lunchtime. A young mother sits on the bench, painting her eight-month-old’s face with food—that mouth is hard to find. With her spare third eye she watches her toddler negotiate the finer points of park etiquette with the oversized gorilla who isn’t interested in sharing the springy rocker thing—he’s four! For just a moment she gives herself permission to dream about being the council worker digging a trench on the other side of the park. What a life! (more…)
By the time you read this I will have dispensed with a house of belongings, left the best job I’ve ever had (enjoy, new assistant Briefing editor!), kissed my nephews goodbye, and cried all over my parents at the airport. My husband and I are moving from Australia to Mongolia, to join with the body of Christ in Ulaanbaatar. And the question on the lips of most people I meet is “Wow, are you excited?” (more…)
Recently, we’ve been preaching on Guidance, and to reinforce the theme, I selected “Guide me, O my great Redeemer” as our hymn of the month. (more…)
Over the last few weeks, Emma and I have enjoyed watching the new TV show FlashForward. In the first episode, the entirety of humanity blacks out simultaneously for exactly two minutes and 17 seconds. During this blackout, everyone has a ‘flash-forward’, and experiences a snapshot of their own life six months in the future.
In Briefing #366’s first feature article “Do not judge”, Stephen Liggins points out that while judging others is condemned in the Bible, discernment is encouraged. But how do we go about gaining it, and how can we encourage our fellow Christians to grow in it too? With a little help from Jonathan Edwards, Archie Poulos investigates. (more…)
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
Crossway Books, Wheaton, 2007, 208pp.
Here is an exercise for you: open your purse or wallet and remove a banknote. Now rub it between your fingers. Look closely at the various markings. Hold it up to the light. Is it genuine, or is it counterfeit? How can you tell? This is the analogy Tim Challies uses in his book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment to set up the task of Christian discernment. Christian discernment, he says, is “the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong” (p. 61). Doctrine and practice, like currency, can be the real deal, or they can be ‘funny money’. Only the discerning person can tell the difference. (more…)
Now that we’ve had a look at judging others, discernment and what the two entail, how do you put these things into practice? For example, how do you figure out whether or not you can work with someone? Guan Un finds some answers in the Gospel of Luke. (more…)
In case you missed it, Mark Driscoll has been to Sydney recently. It’s created lots of healthy discussion about lots of important things. I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on one particular idea that occurred more than once in his public talks: the challenge to the ‘late-blooming’ young men of Sydney to grow up and take some responsibility. His basic formula was move out of home, get a job, buy a house, get married and plant a church—in that order. (more…)