Biblical friendship (part 3): Cultivating friendship

“In part 1 and part 2, we looked at what a true friend is, and how Jesus is the ultimate friend. Now we’re going to think about how to cultivate biblical friendships through the lens of one of the great friendships recorded in the Bible: Jonathan and David.

We won’t look at their story in any depth here, but I’d encourage you to read it for yourself in in 1 and 2 Samuel. It takes place in the midst of royal jealously, violence and manipulation. You would not be remiss to mistake it for the plotline of a soap opera, probably The Bold and the Beautiful if I had to pick one.

Jonathan and David’s friendship faced great trials and tribulations. Jonathan’s father, King Saul, tried to kill David no fewer than eight times. Jonathan saved David’s life twice. Although their friendship was greatly threatened, it stood firm right up until Jonathan’s death. And their friendship affected how David lived out the rest of his life. …”

– Caitlin Orr concludes her series on Biblical friendship at The Australian Church Record.

Paul Harrington: My Conversion

Paul Harrington shares his story. At The Gospel Coalition.

“By the time I got to university I was an agnostic or an atheist. I had no interest in whether God existed or not and was convinced that spirituality was a waste of time. Fun, sport and a law degree on the side occupied my life for the first three years on campus.

In my third year at uni, the girl I was going out with became a Christian. …”

Biblical friendship (part 1): What is a friend?

“Over the past few years several studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness poses a bigger risk to our health than smoking or obesity. Loneliness has the same effects on your body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It increases your chances of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%.

Loneliness is on the rise and churches are not immune. I’ve had numerous conversations with people about how they have no friends at church and as a consequence are thinking about going elsewhere. They are craving friendship. …

Our world is a bit confused about the idea of friendship. But what is friendship according to the Bible?”

– At The Australian Church Record, Caitlin Orr shares the first in a series on biblical friendship.

Real Faith

“The simple goal of evangelism is for people to believe in Jesus and be saved. This is our mission.

Whether it is through our personal relationships, large-scale events, evangelistic courses or the regular preaching of the word on Sunday—we want to see people come to faith in Christ and remain in Him.

But if we want people to come to faith, we must first be clear on what real faith is. We may have gathered a crowd or filled a church, but have we made real disciples with real faith? Real evangelism must seek real faith. …”

– Tom Habib writes in the most recent issue of The Australian Church Record’s Journal.

Teaching and Learning in the Bible: An Interview with Claire Smith

“Claire Smith is a graduate of Moore Theological College and a well-known speaker and writer.

In 2012 she recently published a detailed and internationally recognised academic monograph on teaching and learning in New Testament churches—the result of her doctoral studies [Pauline Communities as ‘Scholastic Communities’: A Study of the Vocabulary of ‘Teaching’ in 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (Mohr Siebeck, 2012)].

We thought we’d chat to her to see what we can discover about teaching and learning in Christian life and ministry today. …”

– You can read the full interview with Claire at The Australian Church Record.

Why the Church doesn’t need any more coffee bars

“When I walk into church I am not paying attention to the décor. I don’t want to smell freshly brewed coffee in the lobby. I don’t want to see a trendy pastor on the platform. I don’t care about the graphics or the props on the platform. I am hurting in a way that is almost indescribable.

Since my husband died, my days are spent working full time. My nights are spent homeschooling and taking care of two young children. I don’t have shared duties with a spouse anymore so everything is on my plate. When I go to church I desperately want to hear the Word of God. …”

– This article, by Kimberli Lira, published by Premier Christianity last year, is a sharp reminder of what’s most important, but so easily forgotten. (link via Gary Ware.)

Evangelism and the Sydney Diocese: Our DNA


“At the 2017 session of synod a report was given in relation to diocesan mission and church growth. While there were some positives, the general tenor of the discussion was fairly bleak.

Church leaders might be tempted to despair at the apparent fruitlessness of their efforts and perhaps withdrawal into a ‘holy huddle’. Spending all our effort on current members may seem like a more rewarding enterprise.

To take this course, however, would not only be a dereliction of the gospel mandate entrusted to all Christians, it would be a radical departure from one of the most enduring and significant aspects of our diocesan identity: evangelism. …

Evangelism in Sydney Diocese has never been easy. It was not easy for Richard Johnson. It was not easy for D.J. Knox. It was not easy for John Chapman. Yet, evangelism is an essential aspect of Sydney Anglican identity. Our society has changed radically over the last 230 years, but our mission remains the same.”

– Ed Loane calls us back to our great task – at The Australian Church Record.

Related:

In 1988, Dudley gave this address to the ACL’s Annual General Meeting – Reaching Out In Difficult Situations.

My Conversion to Christ: Peter Adam

“My family were not Christians. We often attended our local Anglican church at Christmas and Easter. My father’s parents had been Baptist Christians but died before I was born. My mother’s parents were Anglican and Roman Catholic. My Roman Catholic grandmother was still alive, but not practising.

I went to a church school where we sang a hymn each day. I began to be drawn to God when I was 9. …”

– Peter Adam, former Principal of Ridley College Melbourne, shares how he was brought to Christ.

A great encouragement. At The Gospel Coalition Australia. Photo via St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

How to run an effective evangelistic course

“So you want to reach the lost with the gospel?

Fantastic! Evangelistic courses are an effective method of doing so – particularly in a post-Christian culture.

The following are small but crucial steps you can make to ensure you maximise the effectiveness of your evangelistic course. …”

– Here are some very useful, practical tips from Dave Jensen, at GoThereFor.com.

Hear the 2018 ACL Synod Dinner Address

Canon Phil Colgan gave the address at the ACL’s 2018 Synod Dinner on Monday.

If you missed it (or if you were there and want to hear it again – or if you would like to share the address with others), you can listen below:

A 10 MB mp3 file.

A capacity crowd heard the address.

The great need of the hour

“I’m confident that the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is being regularly preached in Sydney Anglican pulpits.

But that is not quite the same as giving adequate, let alone urgent priority to the task of evangelism. How much of the ministry team’s time is spent in relationship with people who are not yet followers of Jesus?

I need to quite deliberately make time to spend with my friends of other faiths and none –  and the same can be true for church members who can just as easily find themselves with few non-believing contacts.”

– There are many helpful takeaways from this article by the Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel. Read the full article at The Australian Church Record.

The pastor in your background

“But even if we can’t bring to mind exactly what was said six weeks ago, I promise you that cumulatively your regular preachers are wearing down paths through your brain. They are having an impact on you, unseen or not. What they teach you from one Bible passage provides you with context for other passages you read, influencing the way you understand the Bible as a whole. …”

– At GoThereFor.com, editor Rachel Macdonald writes to encourage you to pray for your pastors.

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