But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Thursday, 26 March 2020 23:25

Wendell Was Right

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I wonder how the Amish are coping with the coronavirus?

Probably they have been far less affected than most of us. The Amish policy of self-sufficiency with large families farming their own land must give them unusual resilience. Most of us are urban, and even if we wanted to (and I really would...

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In a number of curious ways, the Coronavirus outbreak is making us more like the New Testament church. There are all sorts of ways in which the opposite is true, of course—the lack of physical contact, the triumph of the private over the public, the retreat into tiny social units, the...

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Monday, 23 March 2020 00:36

Dark Clouds amp; Silver Linings

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One of the most precious moments I’ve experienced in the past few days was catching up with my eldership team online and talking about the areas where we are experiencing stress and anxiety and where we are feeling optimism and sensing opportunity. The storm clouds are very dark at the moment...

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Sunday, 22 March 2020 17:00

Fear and the Power of Why

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We’re living in a time when fear is prominent and prevalent, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been reflecting on the reality of fear and how we should handle it. As I’ve done so I’ve been struck by the power of one simple question, ‘Why?’

Why Am...

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To complete this series interacting with the multi-view book Understanding Transgender Identities, here I offer a response to the final chapter, 'Holy Creation, Wholly Creative: God's Intention for Gender Diversity' by Justin Sabia-Tanis.

Justin Sabia-Tanis makes a helpful contribution to this...

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Wednesday, 18 March 2020 19:09

To The Elders

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Many people read this blog, but this post is especially for those who are elders in their churches. If you are an elder, your calling will be brought into crystal clarity at this time. Below is a letter I have sent to the men in my eldership team. It might help to encourage and focus you too.

Brother...

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Wednesday, 18 March 2020 01:10

The Corona Virus Experiment

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Christian leaders all across the world are facing two unprecedented problems as I write this blog. But the great missionary James Fraser faced those exact two problems before us, and we can learn a lot from how he responded. Maybe we will even look back on these days and thank God for the Western...

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020 17:00

Kissing the Wave

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This five minute testimony of Rachel’s was filmed before the Coronavirus outbreak hit the UK, and on the face of things has very little to do with it. But I think its message—of the goodness of God and the utter reliability of the Rock of Ages—is deeply relevant. See what you...

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Monday, 16 March 2020 22:27

Living in an Uncertain World

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I normally disappear from this blog around this time of year, but these are extraordinary times. This last Sunday, like many churches, we took the opportunity to speak into the Coronavirus situation, and how we should live in uncertain times. I preached from Luke 21, where Jesus teaches his...

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Monday, 16 March 2020 17:00

Covid-19 and Being a Community Initiator

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While at the moment the threats, known and unknown, posed by coronavirus are fairly overwhelming, this is also a time of real opportunity.

Just how thin civilised life may be has been exposed by scenes of shoppers fighting over toilet rolls: that life can so quickly descend into chaos over something...

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Sunday, 15 March 2020 17:00

Parables of Patronage

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Ever been troubled by Jesus’ parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16:1-8? Jayson Georges says it makes sense if we understand the patronage culture in which Jesus was speaking.

Keith led a Christian ministry in Asia. He employed Donghai, a national believer, to manage local projects for the...

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 21:20

The Best Laid Plans

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As well as helpfully reminding us of the deadliness of death and our Christian mission to point people to life in Christ, CV19 is a wakeup call to the flimsiness of our plans.

In our technological age we have grown so used to simply assuming that what we plan will happen. Trains run – more or...

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Next up in my series interacting with the multi-view book Understanding Transgender Identities is a response to Megan K. DeFranza's chapter, 'Good News for Gender Minorities'.

DeFranza exhibits a deep concern that we recognise transgender as a topic about real people. This is a sentiment I...

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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 20:25

Running Towards the Plague

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Death is killing us. It has a one hundred per cent mortality rate.

When preaching on Romans 5 last year I referenced the Spanish flu. In 1918 this virus infected 500 million people (at a time when the global population was below two billion) and killed between 50 and 100 million. Imagine, I said, a...

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Monday, 09 March 2020 17:00

Missing the Heart of the Story

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There’s a new show on in London’s West End: The Prince of Egypt. Based on the 1998 DreamWorks animated film of the same title, the musical is a dramatic retelling of the story of Exodus from the birth and rescue of Moses to the crossing of the Red Sea.

After a few weeks of previews, the...

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Continuing my series engaging with Understanding Transgender Identities, in this post I respond to Mark Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky’s chapter, ‘The Complexities of Gender Identity: Toward a More Nuanced Response to the Transgender Experience’.

When talking about a personal and...

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Monday, 02 March 2020 14:53

Why Read the Old Testament?

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I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here; you all know how wonderful exciting and necessary the Old Testament is. But I know many people struggle with it, so at our women's day last weekend I did a very brief talk on why we should read and get to know the OT. In case it's any use, I share it here.

I...

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Sunday, 01 March 2020 15:00

Communion and Corona

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The Lord’s Supper, that great symbol of Christian unity, has long caused contention. We may not be fighting tooth and nail over transubstantiation, consubstantiation or concomitance – but whether the wine should be wine, or juice, the bread should be bread, or gluten free, the cup one,...

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Thursday, 27 February 2020 15:00

Strachan: Transition or Transformation? - A Response

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In this series I'm offering my own responses to each of the chapters in the multi-view book Understanding Transgender Identities. In this post, I respond to Owen Strachan's chapter, 'Transition or Transformation? A Moral-Theological Exploration of Christianity and Gender Dysphoria'.

Strachan...

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Monday, 24 February 2020 15:00

Fund Managers and Fancy Pants

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Luke 16 contains two of the most extraordinary stories Jesus ever told, and they’re both about money. One is about a crooked fund manager, and the other is about a man so wealthy that he is literally wearing fancy pants, but both of them have enormously important things to teach us about...

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Sunday, 23 February 2020 15:00

Two Sets of Search Criteria

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Here are two descriptions of the ideal candidate for the office of Pastor. The first is taken from a large and well-known church in the West; the second is taken from Gregory the Great’s Book of Pastoral Rule. I’ve broken them down into twelve chunks, for the sake of comparison.

Here&rsqu...

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Thursday, 20 February 2020 15:00

Understanding Transgender Identities

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Understanding Transgender Identities is a significant new release in the field of Christian discussions on transgender. It is a multi-view book in which four contributors share their reflections on transgender and each is invited to respond to the others’ chapters. The book is an incredibly...

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020 15:00

A Chromatogram, Not A Ladder

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We all know (don't we?) that the leaders in a church are not 'better' than anyone else. They might be held to a higher standard, and have certain criteria they have to meet - at least to be elders or deacons - but they're not the ones who have 'made it', who God loves more than the rest of us, who...

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Thursday, 13 February 2020 15:00

Mouthfuls of Death

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If we didn’t want to be lied to, we wouldn’t be out in the market of lies looking for good deals. If we didn’t want to be lied to, we wouldn’t be buying false teaching from “Christian” authors who teach us un-Christian things. On some level we have wanted to be...

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020 19:04

Seen to be Unseen

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What to do with Christ’s apparently contradictory instructions: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt.5:16) and, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by...

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