Category: The Briefing

  • Conversion, regeneration and getting things done

    Conversion, regeneration and getting things done

    In April last year I underwent a profound conversion experience. Prior to April 2008, I was stressed—very stressed. I had many different spheres of life that seemed to be conflicting and drowning me; my family, my work and my friendships were full of what seemed like an endless array of commitments, requirements and open loops. […]

  • Bible Resistance

    Bible Resistance

    A particularly insidious threat to spiritual wellbeing has been identified, and we need your help to eradicate it. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘Bible resistance’.

  • The second commandment

    Church as we know it can sometimes be a bit weird and jarring. A few weeks ago at church, we heard an encouraging sermon on the second commandment (Exod 20:4-6). We heard that God cannot and must not be represented by or worshipped through images because images can only ever distort and misrepresent God. Yet […]

  • The enemy of the best

    One of the most confronting sayings by Jesus can be found in Luke 9:57-62: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to […]

  • Comfort in good times and bad

    Comfort in good times and bad

    Only the promises of God will stand forever. And so only the hope of everlasting life—of forgiveness—will give us comfort in our suffering.

  • The problem with social justice

    In the last few weeks, the world has witnessed a rather extreme example of what may be dubbed ‘social justice’—an attempt to make the world a better place for all (or, at least, an attempt to prevent the world from being quite so bad a place as it might be). Following the lead of the […]

  • Bringing the Bible alive?

    We can’t bring the Bible alive; it is far more alive than we are. But often we do need to bring the Bible teaching and the Bible teachers alive.

  • What’s wrong with drunkenness?

    In our congregation, there are quite a few university college students. One of the students asked me the question, “Society today is very party-oriented. Is it a sin to get drunk?”. My friend Rob (a chaplain on the uni campus) is preaching through Isaiah at the moment, and he had some very helpful insights for […]

  • Welcoming children

    One of the quirks of being a Christian minister associated with an historic building like St Michael’s Wollongong is that I end up officiating at a lot of weddings. However I recently attended a wedding as a guest with no official capacity. It was full of joy and wonderful testimonies to the grace and love […]

  • The greater judgement

    I’ve often been intrigued by James 3:1. Here is a rather literal translation of the verse from the New King James version: My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (Jas 3:1 NKJV) The question that intrigues me is this: who are the ‘we’ who shall […]

  • Countering nowism

    It’s been interesting to follow the comments on Tony’s post about the ethics of everyday evangelism. Tony makes a helpful point: rather than getting caught up with the question of whether we must evangelize, it’s far more useful to ask how we can encourage, inspire and equip more Christians to talk about Jesus with their friends. In this […]

  • Nowism

    There is an insidious and dangerous teaching that I’ve noticed creeping into my church, threatening my Christian hope, and stifling my evangelistic effectiveness. Up to this point, it hasn’t had a catchy title.1 But I want to correct that. I’m going to call this teaching ‘nowism’, from the English word ‘now’, meaning ‘the present age’. […]

  • A Very Special Tent

    A Very Special Tent

    I’ve just finished reading C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my daughter. It’s a book full of wonderful parables and analogies to the gospel. At one point, when the children in the story are discussing Aslan (the lion character who represents Jesus Christ), the youngest child Lucy asks, “Then isn’t he safe?” […]

  • Mortification

    The story of the Bible can be summarized in two words: death and resurrection. Ultimately, the story of the Bible is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is the core of the story we call the ‘gospel’. But this basic story also finds its expression in many different […]

  • On love and blogging

    A wise man once said, “Before you criticize anyone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have their shoes.” Corny joking aside, I’ve been having a bit of a think about our Policy for comments on this blog—especially number 3: the comments should […]

  • What makes you angry?

    What makes you angry?

    There was a surprising level of anger in our Bible study group the other night.

  • Why we must be seeker sensitive

    The phrase ‘seeker sensitive’ has dropped out of fashion recently. For those who haven’t heard the phrase, the idea of a ‘seeker sensitive service’ is a church gathering that focuses on the desires and needs of ‘spiritual seekers’—non-Christians with a thirst for knowing more about God. It aims to do everything possible to make it […]

  • Sola Scriptura

    Life is full of decisions. Where do I go on holidays? What job should I choose? What should I have for dinner? Which side of the bed should I get out of? Should I get out of bed at all? Making decisions is a fundamental part of being human; we can’t avoid it, and we […]

  • Do you believe in the power of prayer?

    During the past 25 years, numerous medical studies have been conducted to try to measure whether prayer has any beneficial effects on patient recovery. The experiments usually involve two randomly assigned groups of patients, and a group of ‘pray-ers’. The ‘pray-ers’ are asked to pray for the recovery of one group of patients, but not […]