Reality

“We have just come back from a few days on the Gold Coast, which has one of the largest film production studios in Australia.

One of our sons is filming a series for TV called, ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’. During our visit we went on set and saw the incredible expertise and equipment required to produce such a series.

The series is set in a place called Eden Vale in Washington DC and yet it was filmed in a little town called Canungra, Qld; the community hall, shops, the local park even the litter bins all had to be re labelled, ‘Eden Vale’. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook points us to what it real.

“The Coming of the Holy Spirit” book Q&A videos

Phillip Jensen’s book The Coming of the Holy Spirit has been a real blessing to many. Now there’s an extra resource you may find helpful. Phillip writes:

“We have now made a series of short videos answering the questions I’m most often asked about the book. …

It is so important that we carefully study why Jesus sent his Spirit. The confusion in the minds of many Christians about the work of the Holy Spirit is very sad and leads people into strange and unhelpful beliefs and practices.

I hope the book will be of use not only for you … but also for your conversations with others who may never have studied the Bible on this topic.”

Here’s the video playlist.

It includes a strong suggestion on how you shouldn’t read the book.

The book is available from Matthias Media.

And the audiobook version is available from Audible.

Talking Back to Death

“One of the most anguished stories I’ve ever read was about what happened to Martin Luther’s daughter Magdalena. Barely fourteen years of age, she was stricken with the plague.

Broken-hearted, Luther knelt beside her bed and begged God to release her from the pain. When she had died and the carpenters were nailing down the lid of her coffin, Luther screamed out: ‘Hammer away! On doomsday she’ll rise again.”…”

– At AP, Mark Powell, with help from John McClean, speaks of every Christian’s sure confidence.

The heavens declare the glory of God

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1.

Photo: Aurora Australis as seen from Tasmania, 11 May 2024.

Take Jesus at His Word

“What does it mean to be a Christian disciple? Putting it as simply as possible, being a disciple means following Jesus Christ. Christian disciples want to follow their Lord in everything, to be shaped by his teaching and his example in the way they think, feel, and behave. We want him at the center of our perspective on the world, his mission as the priority of our life, his glory our chief concern in every endeavor. That is as true for the Christian theologian as for any other disciple.

Christian theology can helpfully start at any number of places. Its fundamental ground lies in the triune God himself. Theology has long been defined as ‘words about God and all things in relation to God.’ Yet because what we know about God is made known by God — spoken through the prophets and apostles, and given to us in the more permanent form of Scripture — all true theology arises from and is tested by the Bible. So, we could start the discussion of any theological topic with a reflection upon the person of the triune God or upon what the Bible tells us about that specific topic.

But what makes theology specifically Christian theology is the critical place accorded to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God and Saviour of the world. …”

– Published earlier this year, this encouraging article was written by Moore College Principal Dr Mark Thompson. At Desiring God.

Preaching in tragic times — what will you say on Sunday?

“It is hard to describe the sense of loss pervading London in 1997 following the death of Princess Diana, however, I had been invited to preach at a London church the following Sunday and it was clear that in the midst of such loss and confusion, people were looking for a clear word from God.

It was the same for every preacher, following the Strathfield massacre in 1991 or the September 11 World Trade Centre tragedy in 2001 or the Lindt coffee massacre in Sydney in 2014.

And now the Bondi Junction stabbings. Perhaps it was too late to change the text to be preached the Sunday immediately following those Saturday afternoon murders, but next Sunday people will be coming to church and expecting a clear word from God. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook has some very helpful words for preachers in these days.

Image: David Cook at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in 2022.

The Heavens Declare

Overnight (Monday night, Australian time), millions of people across North America will have witnessed a total eclipse of the Sun.

Such events are a reminder to us of far greater realities:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”Psalm 19:1.

and

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”Psalm 8.

Photo: This total solar eclipse was viewed across south-eastern Australia on 23 October 1976.

Preaching Paul’s Letters

“As a Spurgeon fan I can recall many of his quotes at will, and one of them is, ‘No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching…’

This would be most relevant in preaching from the Old Testament, where we (should) use our Biblical theology skills, and preach Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old testament text. …

Far too often, nearly always, I hear sermons on the epistles, where the main application, is ‘Be like Paul.’ where Paul is the hero of the passage.

I’m suggesting, that this isn’t handling any passage from Paul’s epistles well…”

Jim Mobbs writes to encourage preachers – at The Expository Preaching Trust.

Dead to sin and alive to God in Christ

Romans 6:6-11

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

ESV.

God’s Gift

“Have you considered the legacy you would like to leave? I’m not speaking here of a material legacy for your family but a legacy or gift for the benefit of others.

Writing in The Weekend Australian (March 16-17, 2024), Nicki Gemmell spoke of ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ of Alexei Navalny, the late ‘Russian opposition leader whose sacrifice was driven by a deep love of his country and of his compatriots’. ‘We’re not used to heroes in real life anymore,’ she wrote.

In commenting on Navalny’s life most commentators miss the point that his sense of suffering, even his willingness to lay down his life in the cause of human rights, arose from his Christian faith – something he came to profess in his adult years. Navalny’s heroism echoed in a small way the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known – that of Jesus, the Son of God.

Come with me to the Gospel of John. …”

– At The Anglican Connection, John Mason turns to Scripture to show us God’s extraordinary gift. Good reading this Good Friday.

Praying for the Royal family?

God’s word calls us to pray – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ESV.

Image: Facebook post from the Church of England.

Remembering Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

On 21 March 1556, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer died at the stake in Oxford.

Learn about this towering figure of the English Reformation:

In 1989, Canon Allan Blanch wrote this appreciation of Archbishop Cranmer for ACL News.

In 2001, ACL News interviewed Dr. Ashley Null, recognised expert on Cranmer.

Further reading:

Masters Of The English Reformation by Marcus Loane (published 1954) is an excellent introduction to the English Reformation and five key figures: Bilney, Tyndale, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer.

Portrait of Thomas Cranmer by Gerlach Flicke. (This is a re-post.)

Theologically rethinking youth ministry

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“How do we speak to children about sin? How can we help youth understand themselves as sinful and in indeed of forgiveness?

What to make theologically of the sense of entitlement in youth culture?

Plus how do we think theologically about the important issue of vibe in youth and childrens’ ministry and in regards to how kids engage with church.

A new book is launched this week ‘Identity, Church Culture and Discipleship in Youth and Children’s Ministry – Australian Evangelical Perspectives on Youth Ministry’.

The papers in the book were first presented at the HOUSE conference for youth and children’s ministers in Sydney.

Three of the thirteen contributors are with us including Ruth Lukabyo, who leads the Youthworks Institute, teaches church history at Youthworks College and has edited this book.

Also with us is Bill Salier, a former Principal at Youthworks College and now heads up the Anglican GAFCON Theological Educators Network.

And Tim Beliharz is on the ministry support team at Youthworks.”

Watch or listen here.

Technology in a post-truth world — CCL podcast with Lionel Windsor

From Moore College’s Centre for Christian Living:

“In our last episode, we heard from Lionel Windsor, who talked about his new book, ‘Truth Be Told: Living truthfully in a post-truth world’.

In this episode, we’re going to focus in on one chapter in Lionel’s book, looking at how, as Christians, we can live truthful, godly lives in a world that is becoming more and more technologically complex.

Technology is not all bad; you listen to this podcast through a variety of technologies. But it’s hard to know how to live in such a technologically complex world. Lionel helps us think through some of the core issues that are vital for us to grasp in a world like ours.”

Listen to Peter Orr speak with Lionel Windsor.

Very helpful – especially for all social media users.

Gambling and Coveting

“I know that Aussies love to have a ‘punt on the ponies’ but it’s becoming a massive community problem that can’t be ignored. For example, in the state where I currently live, the Anglican Church of Tasmania has published an excellent report which makes for sobering reading.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what their research found …”

– Mark Powell writes at AP, the national journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

Related:

Other posts on our website on gambling (there are quite a few).

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