The gospel for criminals (Ephesians 4:28)

“I owe a huge debt to prison chaplains. My whole nation does. Richard Johnson and Samuel Marsden were foundational figures in the history of Australia. Johnson came out on the First Fleet in 1788, and Marsden followed him.

They were evangelical ministers, and they were prison chaplains. That’s because the whole colony of New South Wales was a prison. Apart from the original owners of the land which became known as New South Wales, everyone was involved in the correctional system in some way: either as a customer, or as a service provider.

As the colony was being set up, mission-minded evangelicals in England knew that this new prison needed the gospel of Jesus Christ. So they made sure that the position of chaplain was included in the colony, and they provided gospel ministers to fill it. …”

Biblical encouragement from Dr Lionel Windsor at Moore College.

What sins are you killing today?

“I admit it is an intrusive question, and one that tends to stop a conversation! 

(The context is someone I am mentoring or advising or counselling, not everyday conversations! And it takes place some months after the serious conversations begin.)

If I ask it of someone I am talking with, I always allow time for a stunned silence. Then say, ‘I don’t want to know what they are, I just want to know that you are doing it.’ That allows some colour to return to the cheeks of the person I am talking with, and the conversation continues. …”

Very helpful article from Peter Adam, at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Leaving the Faith: Reflections of a Prodigal

“By now the firestorm of commentary around Josh Harris’ public announcement–that he has not only divorced, but departed from the Christian faith–has died down. People have moved on, but not before delivering a slew of analysis, indictments, pleas, condemnation, and speculation.

When the news hit and I observed all the commentary, I too wanted to offer my two cents. However, I found myself struggling to say anything publicly. While I do think there might be some merit to the contributing factors cited, namely that he was never a true believer to begin with, I know there is more to the story than simple pat answers can provide. Now with the news that Marty Sampson of Hillsong fame has announced his departure from the faith, I am compelled to speak.

You see, I was a prodigal. …”

– At Reformation21, Lisa Robinson Spencer shares her story.

Living for Others

Here is a photo of my son Noah, when he was about 25 weeks old.

My wife and I had just been told that Noah had a massive hole in his heart, and that he was likely to have Down Syndrome. (He did.)

Put yourself in our shoes. There are many heavy emotions flowing thick and fast through your heart. Your mind races ahead, drawing out a narrative of the next few weeks, months, & years ahead. …

Now, you’d be amazed just how quickly all of the above thoughts can flash before your eyes.

And you have the power to make it all go away.

– Thanks to The Gospel Coalition Australia for publishing a very personal reflection by Matt Dodd.

By way of contrast, this morning brought the news that the “‘Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019” passed in the Lower House last night, and now goes to the Upper House of NSW Parliament.

“Members of Parliament were granted a conscience vote on the bill, which aims to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and define it as a medical procedure in its own legislation.

The bill was passed just before 11.00pm with 59 in favour and 31 against.…”

We are a resistance movement

“I don’t know about you, but I’m intrigued by resistance movements – those organised efforts by a portion of a populace to withstand a government or occupying power. When those in control are evil, resistance can be seen as an admirable and even noble task. …

The book of 1 Peter highlights that we – the Christian church – are a resistance movement.”

– At GoThereFor.com, Stephen Liggins draws encouragement from 1 Peter.

Pastor, Keep Preaching the Gospel to Yourself!

“Do you want to be a gospel-centered pastor? Just keep preaching the gospel. Doing so is much more than merely pinning John 3:16 to the tail of every sermon or conversation.

The first person we must preach the gospel to is ourselves. …”

– Encouragement for pastors at Reformation21.

Who am I? And why was I saved?

“As Christians, we sometimes get so preoccupied with being better and more effective, that we forget just how special it is to be born again – that we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Yes, sin is still present in our lives. Yes, our settled posture as Christians is constant repentance. But when we are feeling so crushed by sin that we don’t even have tears to cry, I am so thankful that God reminds us of who we are because of Jesus. …”

– A wonderful reminder from Ben George at The Australian Church Record.

How to introduce Australia to the BIG Jesus

“Australia is a big country. We are a big people and apparently getting bigger. When we go on holidays, we like to look at big things. We have a big rock in the centre of our land; we have the world’s biggest reef just off our coast. And if naturally big things weren’t enough, we also like to make big things. …

It seems in Australia we really like everything big except Jesus. …”

– Bill Salier writes to encourage churches to magnify Jesus. At SydneyAnglicans.net.

Playing your part (Ephesians 4:16)

“I’m a very amateur and extremely part-time jazz piano player. I’ve had the opportunity to be in a few bands over my life, and I’ve loved the experience.

In a band, each member has different skills and different roles. In fact, each role tends to have a personality type associated with it. There’s jokes to go with each personality type that you can tell each other at practice sessions. Keyboard players are pedantic and dull (these are stereotypes, right? Well mostly…). …”

– At Forget the Channel, Dr Lionel Windsor continues his tour through Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

His Sermons roused a sleeping Church — J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

“At the age of 64, after thirty-six years in rural parishes, when most people are ready to retire, he was called to be the first bishop of Liverpool. So he moved from parishes of 300 and 1,300 to a city of over 700,000 with all the urban problems he had never met face-to-face. He served in this post for twenty years, until two months before his death on June 10, 1900, at the age of 84.”

John Piper pens a portrait of Bishop J. C. Ryle.

Wonderful encouragement for the start of the working week.

Audience of one

Do you (secretly) want to be the hero of the story?

Do you want praise and recognition?

Jane Tooher shared these encouraging words at Moore College Chapel.

This unity (Ephesians 4:2–3)

“Maintaining the unity of the Spirit is intimately connected with the way we live our daily lives with one another. That’s why Paul says at the start of these verses: ‘Walk with all humility and littleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love’. …”

– Dr Lionel Windsor continues his journey through Ephesians.

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