Love, grief and identity

“You learn a lot about what a person meant to you when they’re taken away. Separation magnifies all the intricate and beautiful nuances of what you had, and absence pries open memories that may have lain dormant for years. Songs, sights, smells. The faintest hint evokes a cascade of reminiscence. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Scott Millar has been sharing some very personal reflections on grief and the Christian. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The truth about secularism – with Rory Shiner

“Christianity in Australia is in decline. The narrative is we had a few golden years at the start, where 96% of the population identified as Christian, but that has been on a gradual decline for decades.

But if that’s the case:

– Why does Christianity in Australia go up, not down, after Darwin?

– In Australia, why does it go up after WWII?

– If the Church was so strong in the middle ages, why was church attendance so sketchy then?

This week, Rory Shiner joins us to discuss the ways that modern understanding is wrong about secularism. Rory believes we’ve accepted a narrative that isn’t true, and are making massive pastoral and missional mistakes because of it. …”

– A challenging and encouraging episode of The Pastor’s Heart.

A Crash Course in Romans

From Lionel Windsor:

“Here’s a <90 minute “Crash Course in Romans” I’m running on Monday evening 1 Feb 2021. It’s aimed at leaders and any interested members of my church St Augustine’s Neutral Bay and Church by the Bridge Kirribilli. Anyone is welcome to watch the livestream.”

If you didn’t get to watch, the video is available to watch, and you can also download the handout.

A conversation with Dr. Carl Trueman on the modern self and the sexual revolution

“Like all historical phenomena, the sexual revolution didn’t cause itself. It arose out of a set of cultural and social conditions that were already in place. For ideas like gay marriage or transgenderism to be acceptable and plausible in society, a whole host of other ideas must have already been given authority, become plausible, become accepted by that society.

The story in my book looks at how the ideas that made the sexual revolution plausible, even desirable, emerged in the West. …”

Carl Trueman speaks about the topics covered by his new book (The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self) with Jason Thacker.

Also see these reviews of the book.

The Year of the Un

“2020 has been the year of the Un. The unusual, the uncommon, the unparalleled, the unprecedented.

Hope springs eternal and we now enter a new year, 2021, which promises to be the year of the Re. The recovery, the restoration, the renewal, the revival.

According to one of my grandchildren, when asked which Bible book would be best to preach in the year of the Re, she suggested the book of Revelation – a good idea but not what I had in mind. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook suggests preaching through Acts. He gives four reasons why this would help.

Related:

David spoke about preaching through Acts in this Preaching Matters video from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

Remember our Chains

“Across a wide swath of the world — from North Africa to North Korea, from Central Asia to Central Africa — ‘the persecuted church’ is simply ‘the church.’

These believers — like first-century Christians in a twenty-first-century world — live, serve, and witness in the face of hostility, and remind us of our roots.

And if the opening decades are any indication of things to come, this century promises to exceed the persecution of Christians of the last bloody century.…”

– Tim Keesee, founder of Frontline Missions International, describes the state of the persecuted church today. At Desiring God.

See also:

World Watch List 2021.

Anglican Connection Online Conference – February 2-3, 2021

The 2021 Anglican Connection Conference in the USA, not surprisingly, will be an online conference.

One advantage of that is that Australians (and others outside the US) will be able to benefit!

“Our culture is like sand, shifting and changing. It says there is no right or wrong; you make your own truth. Fame and popularity have become more important than kindness and virtue. And just like the tide and the waves, our culture will bend us to its will as long as we sit on the shore.

Jesus said: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).

This year’s conference seeks to challenge and equip God’s people to understand our shifting culture and to point them to God’s Word at this time of complex cultural change.

The Anglican Connection is not only for Anglicans.

It is for all who are keen to harness the riches of the 16th Century Reformation in the Gospel cause today.”

Speakers include John Lennox and Rico Tice.

Update: John Mason writes, Registration at US$25.00 gives you access to the conference in ‘real time’ and at any other time until May 31. But you need to register by January 28.

See the Anglican Connection website for all the details.

While you’re there, check out John Mason’s weekly posts, “Word on Wednesday” weekly Bible reflections.

Many ACL members know John well. He’s ministered in Sydney, Canberra and New York.  He’s currently President of the Anglican Connection and Commissary to the Archbishop of Sydney in the USA.

What’s wrong with the world? Is there hope?

“Guilt, weakness, spiritual slavery, prejudice, arrogance, tribalism, conflict, war, victimhood, persecution, pain, suffering, futility, ignorance, lying, deceit, anger, theft, greed, pornography, sexual sin, darkness, fear, drunkenness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, workplace abuse, spiritual powers…

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he says many things about the problems we face in this world. He also gives us wonderful reasons to find life, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Along the way, he provides practical teachings about how to respond and live together.

Here are some key reflections relating to the topic of what’s wrong with the world according to Ephesians in my series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians.”

from Lionel Windsor at Moore College.

On How Pastors Should Prepare their People for Eternity

In the latest Pastors Talk podcast, Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever chat about something more important than politics.

Challenging and encouraging. 25 minutes well spent. Do listen.

Listen here.

Mark also mentions the talk he gave at Together for the Gospel 2020The Accounting We Shall Give.

Worldview and Christian mission

“I have a friend who was once a committed Buddhist. Wonderfully, he has come to know the Lord Jesus as his saviour. But he had a lot of questions.

The trouble was that his Christian friends kept answering questions he wasn’t asking. One of his big questions was, ‘How can you say God suffers?’ He was given lots of great answers explaining why people suffer – but he wasn’t confused about that. He knows people suffer. My friend couldn’t get his head around the idea that God might suffer on the cross. The reason this was such a big issue for him was because of his worldview. …”

– Dr David Williams, Director of development and training for CMS Australia at St Andrew’s Hall, spoke about worldviews at CMS Summer School.

SydneyAnglicans.net has published an edited version of his talk. Very helpful.

Light at the End of the Tunnel — Mothers Union Sydney Seminar

Here’s information about this year’s Annual Mothers Union Sydney Seminar, coming up on Friday 26th February.

Victoria’s Conversion Practices Bill is as bad as they say it is

“The Bill creates a powerful set of bureaucratic mechanisms by which religious groups presenting the classic teachings of their faith may be subject to investigation and ‘re-education’ by human rights officers. It arguably makes the presentation of some aspects of Biblical teaching unlawful if the aim of that teaching is to encourage someone to follow that teaching in their own life.

Despite the appearance of addressing horrific and oppressive quasi-psychological procedures inflicted on young people, the Bill goes well beyond this laudable goal, and will make it unlawful to provide assistance in obeying the Bible to those who explicitly and with full understanding request such help. Enactment of this legislation would be a serious mistake. …”

– In an important post, Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia, takes a careful look at the Victorian legislation.

You are Not Your Own

“This set of resources has been produced by Church Society to help Christians learn about the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage, particularly as the Church of England engages with the Living in Love and Faith material on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

The seven topics in the series are designed to help Christians understand the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage within a broader biblical context. …”

Worth checking out.

Somewhat related: Colin Buchanan sings “You are not your own”.

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