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, 28 May 2020 17:00

Corona Conflicts

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Are you a lockdown sceptic or a social distancing maximiser? The longer the corona-crisis goes on the more tensions mount between those who want to move on and others who want to hunker down.

This is being played out at a global and national level in arguments between politicians, journalists and...

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 17:21

Is God Calling Us to Fast? (part 4)

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John Wesley was no stranger to global crisis and revival. Thankfully for us, nor was he shy in sharing some of the wisdom that he learned. When he looked back on the key factors that had turned the tide in his own equivalent of our coronavirus crisis, he put his finger on the biblical discipline of...

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I was planning to write this post early in the UK’s lockdown, assuming that we would see many situations where leaders made poor choices and were criticised and moaned about on social media. But there was surprisingly little of that. Yes, there was slowness to provide PPE for those who needed...

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Monday, 25 May 2020 18:50

Is God Calling Us to Fast? (part 3)

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Fasting is a key to freedom. Let me say that again: Fasting is a key to freedom. It bears repeating, because – let’s face it – ‘freedom’ and ‘enjoyment’ aren’t exactly the first words that spring to mind whenever we think about fasting. It tends to...

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Monday, 25 May 2020 17:00

A Thousand Generations

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The other day I was musing on my spiritual heritage, and thanking God for all the people he used to bring my parents to faith in him. On Dad’s side it stretches back generations. On mum’s side it includes a teacher, who took her RE class to a Billy Graham Crusade, where mum responded...

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Sunday, 24 May 2020 17:00

Corona Questions

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There are three questions I keep asking myself, my team and other pastors as we try and plot our way through the corona-crisis: 1. How are you feeling about what you are doing online? 2. How are you planning for the next phase? 3. How are you doing at getting enough rest?

How are you online? In the...

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Thursday, 21 May 2020 17:00

Post-Christianity and Cold Feet

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This is a super interview of Tim Keller by Carey Nieuwhof, on reaching post-Christian America (although I suspect the lessons apply to all Western cultures). Keller's comments on what has changed even in the last six years, and how that affects preaching and evangelism, are particularly helpful...

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Wednesday, 20 May 2020 16:56

Is God Calling Us to Fast? (part 2)

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There is a tried and tested way for God’s people to respond whenever they are faced with personal, national or global crisis. They humble themselves before the Lord with fasting and he responds with miraculous deliverance. The Israelites fasted repeatedly for this. Not just individuals such...

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Monday, 18 May 2020 17:00

In Praise of Brainwashing

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I’ve been thinking about brainwashing recently. Many people would look at my life and say I’ve been brainwashed. I was brought up in a home where a certain set of minority beliefs were presented as true. I have adhered to the core of these beliefs for as long as I can remember and have...

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Monday, 18 May 2020 16:58

Is God Calling Us to Fast? (part 1)

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When the British Isles stood on the brink of French invasion in the run-up to the Seven Years War, King George II did something rather remarkable. He proclaimed a solemn day of prayer and fasting in which he called his nation to petition God for deliverance. John Wesley records in his Journal for...

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Friday, 15 May 2020 17:00

Lockdown amp; Singleness

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How are you doing with lockdown? Some are loving it, others loathing it, but it is a particular challenge for those who are on their own. Jennie Pollock an I sat down to talk about this the other day. Have a listen.

Authors: Matthew Hosier...

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Thursday, 14 May 2020 19:00

Livestreaming in Lockdown

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During lockdown I've seen a number of videos helping preachers communicate better in a virtual environment, but nothing on how to make the rest of the service work (corporate worship, communications, kids content, creative elements, the technical platform, interaction, and so on). Until now. Sam...

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This is a guest post from Gemma Gillard, founder of Truth Be Told, an intergenerational project committed to bringing joy and life as 0-4’s, their parents and residents of care homes tell stories, sing songs and are family together.

I love a challenge. 

I have these nagging and insatiable...

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Wednesday, 13 May 2020 17:00

Should we theologize about Covid-19?

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Over the past few weeks the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a lot of theologizing. It seems that there’s no shortage of believers eager to share their take on the theological significance of the global pandemic.

In the early days of the pandemic, pragmatism was king. Many of us who are...

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Tuesday, 12 May 2020 17:00

What is The Gospel™?

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In this week's Mere Fidelity podcast, we talk about the most recent iteration of the "what is the gospel?" debate that we have every few years, this time sparked by an exchange involving Greg Gilbert, Matthew Bates and Scot McKnight. We talk about the substance of the theological discussion, but...

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Monday, 11 May 2020 16:00

The Wisdom of Cleanliness

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A few weeks ago I reflected on the possibility that our experience of the coronavirus pandemic might help us to better understand the Levitical laws on ritual purity and to apply to our own lives the lessons they are designed to teach. Interestingly, it seems that the findings of moral...

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Sunday, 10 May 2020 16:00

A Puzzling Pauline Paragraph

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1 Corinthians 14:20-25 is one of the trickiest paragraphs in all Paul's letters, because at first glance it looks like Paul is completely contradicting himself. One minute he is saying that tongues is a sign for unbelievers, and prophecy is for believers (22). The next minute he appears to be...

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Thursday, 07 May 2020 17:00

8 tips on working from home

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Many will attest that I’ve been self-isolating for more than a decade. So, while this is perhaps a little too late to be of much use to anybody, I thought I’d share a few tips on working from home that are especially relevant to those living with noisy little people... 

1. If you...

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Monday, 04 May 2020 17:00

For Pastors: The Importance of Being Absent

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One of the blessings of Corona isolation is that it is helping pastors wean themselves off their need to be needed, and wean people off their over-dependence on pastors. When a more conventional form of church resumes, make sure you don’t slip back into bad habits.

There is a spectrum of how...

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Thursday, 30 April 2020 20:53

Corona Blues

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Ennui, irritation, lack of self-confidence, anger, feeling stupid and irrelevant, always busy but nothing to do… A description of the typical teenager? Perhaps, but also all terms I have heard other pastors use to describe themselves over the past few days.

Pastoral work is not unique in the...

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Wednesday, 29 April 2020 19:36

Corona amp; Creativity

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One of the upsides of lockdown is that it has stimulated creative thinking and action: decorating, gardening, baking, tinkering, crafting... There's a lot of it going on.

We are also having to think creatively about how we ‘do church’ at this time. Two of my daughters have taken over the...

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Monday, 27 April 2020 17:00

Read this outstanding book

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There has been a wealth of writing in recent years from Christians who experience same-sex attraction but are convinced that God requires them to say “no” to those desires. They have produced some fantastic materials, rich in theology and overflowing with love and compassion.Born Again...

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Sunday, 26 April 2020 17:00

Elders are Bridesmaids

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It is great that PJ Smyth has launched a new website. I've enjoyed reading some of his stuff over the last week or so, and lots of it is excellent, but this illustration in particular stuck with me. Elders are bridesmaids:

I once took a wedding where it was pouring with rain and muddy outside the...

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Friday, 24 April 2020 16:00

Learning to Bear Loss

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Is your heart more like a cup or a set of balance scales? According to this brilliant Twitter thread by Scott Swain, it’s more like the scales, and that fact has some very important implications.

You should really go and read the thread, but in summary, Swain argues that we often apply...

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Glen Scrivener's tips on how to shoot to camera have been helpful to me as we are having to do more things online at the moment. Now PJ Smyth has put together two short videos that offer excellent practical advice for preachers.

The first video gives advice on how to prepare your heart and message...

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