Psalm 136 and The bread and butter Christian

“How much is thankfulness part of your life as a follower of Jesus? How much, in our current situation, are you tempted to grumble? How much do you focus on the negative and lose sight of the positive?

These questions are significant because giving thanks to God is the mark of a follower of Jesus. Or conversely, the mark of a pagan mind is a lack of thankfulness. See what Paul says in Romans 1:21a: ‘For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him….’

It is for this reason that I think Psalm 136 is such important teaching in our current climate…”

– Encouragement from Ben George at The Australian Church Record.

GAFCON devotions with Bp Michael Nazir Ali

For the month of July 2020, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is writing and recording daily devotions (“Lift up your hearts”) for GAFCON.

Read/listen or subscribe here.

Shepherding: The Work and Character of a Pastor

9Marks Journal editor Jonathan Leeman writes,

“We’ve been publishing the 9Marks Journal for over a decade, yet we’ve never done one focused on the pastor – his work and character. So let’s call this Journal irresponsibly overdue. While editing it, I found myself, first, convicted; second, encouraged; and third, well supplied with tweet after tweet of wisdom. I’m confident you’ll enjoy and benefit from it.

The pastor has to wear lots of hats in the course of his work: program-director, administrator, counselor, evangelist, and, at the top of the list, preacher and teacher. Yet in all of this, he is a shepherd. He watches over sheep, principally by concerning himself with their understanding of God’s Word and how it applies to their life together and with outsiders.”

Get the latest issue here.

You are enough, and other lies we like to swallow

“I don’t know about you, but the recent months of school at home exposed some pretty ugly cracks in the façade I’d created for myself of being a good mother. It’s much easier, it turns out, to parent your children when they aren’t in the same physical space as you every minute of every hour of every day. Somewhere in my head I’d always thought I’d manage pretty well as a home-school parent. Turns out… not so much. …”

– Jocelyn Loane writes at The Australian Church Record.

The Alpha Course: ’emotionally powerful but theologically confused’

In the latest episode of The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele and Tony Payne discuss the latest version of The Alpha Course.

Glory of Christ – Part 1

“In the first of these reflections, we might begin by considering the way in which Christ is the only representation of God’s glory to his people.

When Jesus speaks of ‘my glory’ in John 17:24, that can be thought of either in terms of the essential glory of his divine nature, or in terms of the peculiar glory which the Father has ‘given’ him through his willingness to redeem sinners in human flesh. In other words, alongside his glory as the eternal God, there is a unique glory that accompanies his Messianic vocation to conquer sin and death. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Moore College’s Andrew Leslie begins a series to help open our eyes to the glory of Christ.

The biblical meaning of righteousness and justification Parts 2 @ 3, with Chris Thomson

Lionel Windsor at Forget the Channel continues his interviews with Chris Thomson, lecturer in Old Testament at Moore College:

In the first part, we saw that “righteousness” is essentially a moral quality: it’s about being “right” or “good” rather than “wrong” or “bad”. We also saw that this moral righteousness can be “credited” to someone by God.

In the second part, we saw that “justification” is about finding in a person’s favour, on the basis of their moral quality of righteousness. Justification can happen either because a person is actually righteous, or because they have been “credited” as righteous even though they aren’t.

In this third part, we talk about how getting the meaning of the words right helps us to understand what the apostle Paul is talking about in Romans. What is the “righteousness of God” in Romans 1:17? Is Christ’s righteousness is “imputed” to us? And why is this so important for our assurance of God’s love and salvation?

God’s concern for greater Sydney

“If you were to look for one sentence that summarises the teaching of the Bible, it would be hard to find a more succinct candidate than the final words of the prophet Jonah’s prayer: ‘Salvation belongs to the Lord!’ (Jonah 2:9).

Jonah is a remarkable book for many reasons. One example is that it contains, in the Hebrew text, only five words of prophecy (3:4), whereas both the minor and major prophets of the Old Testament contain hundreds and thousands of words of prophecy addressed to Israel or the nations.…”

Archbishop Glenn Davies points us to the message of Jonah and God’s concern for the city.

John Piper’s prayer for Minneapolis

John Piper has published a heart-felt prayer for Minneapolis, the city he has called his earthly home for the last forty years.

The biblical meaning of righteousness and justification Part 1, with Chris Thomson @ Moore College

“Martin Luther famously wrote about justification by faith: ‘if this article stands, the church stands; if this article collapses, the church collapses’ (Luther’s Works 40/3.352.3).

Justification matters. Why? Because it is caught up with our status before God, our assurance of eternal life, and our freedom to live the Christian life in love for others and without fear.

But what does the Bible actually say about justification? Luther and Calvin recognised that we need to come to grips with the precise meaning of the key biblical terms – ‘righteousness’ and ‘justification’ – in order to grasp the biblical doctrine. But in modern New Testament scholarship, there is often a lack of clarity about these terms.

In this 3-part series, I speak with my colleague Chris Thomson, lecturer in Old Testament at Moore College, who has engaged in detailed research in this area as well as scholarly discussions with others, including N. T. Wright.

We talk about what the terms mean, what other people are saying today about the terms, why righteousness is different from justification, why it’s both shocking and deeply comforting that God is the one who justifies the ungodly, and why it matters for us today.”

– More very helpful input from Lionel Windsor at Moore College.

The Coronavirus Crisis as a Wilderness Experience

“To what might we compare this unexpected and unsettling coronavirus season? We might think of it like “Groundhog Day”: a repeating monotony of locked-down life.

We might think of it like the holding pattern of an aircraft coming in to land: an interminable period of waiting– like that of refugees waiting for a safe place to call home.

A related question to ask is, where the current pandemic fits into each of our life stories? It’s a question worth pondering, for, as Alistair McGrath puts it, ‘the story we believe we are in determines what we think about ourselves and consequently how we live.’

The Bible throws up an intriguing answer to both questions …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Brian Rosner shares some thoughts on how the Lord continues to work in his people.

The importance of Priest and priest

“Who needs priests? For many in our society, there is a real cynicism around the word ‘priest’ and the idea of a religious establishment.

Yet there are some who have an earnest desire for priests. Perhaps we want people who are holy because we know deep down that we are not very holy, and we like to outsource. So we want people who have dedicated their lives to knowing God, who are trained in handling the Scriptures, paid to look after our spiritual wellbeing… and that way we don’t have to think too much about it.

But both the writer of the book of Hebrews and our Anglican tradition expose the folly of these attitudes. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben George points us back to our great high priest.

Is “Church Online” Church? (Lionel Windsor, Mikey Lynch, Andrew Heard)

Lionel Windsor writes:

“In this discussion for the Reach Australia network’s podcast, I join Mikey Lynch (leader of Tasmania’s Vision 100) and Andrew Heard (lead pastor of EV Church on the Central Coast of NSW) to think theologically about the current realities of church life, church approximation and online church.”

Watch or listen here.

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