The magnificent beauty of God’s design for men and women – with Andrew Leslie

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Andrew Leslie is encouraging us to first take a step back from practical concerns and reflect on the beauty and wisdom of the Bible’s teaching about manhood and womanhood.

In much contemporary debate about gender we focus on practical questions about what different people can do.

However the head of Moore Theological College’s Doctrine Department says the picture of gender in the beginning is not an arbitrary divine imposition that comes with its own set of arbitrary rules and instructions. Rather, the man and the woman together – and only together – irreducibly different and yet one inconceivable without the other, created a microcosm of God’s own very being and character and glory, summing up the wisdom and creative word of God.”

Watch or listen here.

Expository Preaching Trust’s Preaching Conferences 2024

Encouragement from The Expository Preaching Trust:

“The Expository Preaching Trust is sponsoring two Preaching Conferences in 2024.

The conferences offer an identical program, both will feature 6 sermons on the book of Acts and each delegate will be allocated to a preaching group for individual preaching mentoring.

The main speaker will be Simon Manchester who will preach three sermons and lead a preaching group.

David Burge, David Cook and Jim Mobbs will each preach one sermon and lead a preaching group, Janet Riley will also lead a preaching group for women preachers.

First Conference: Armidale

The Dates: Monday-Tuesday, 6-7 May at St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Armidale.

This conference will be co-chaired by the Bishop of Armidale, Rod Chiswell, and David Cook.

The conference will be fully catered.

Full cost $50.

Second conference: Wahroonga 

The second conference in Wahroonga will be co-chaired by the Bishop of North Sydney, Chris Edwards, and David Cook, and the dates are, Monday-Tuesday, 12-13 August.

Venue Wahroonga Presbyterian Church. This conference will be fully catered.

Full cost $50.

The Monday night

The Monday night of each conference will be open to the public and both Simon Manchester and David Cook will preach on Acts 7 and Acts 8-9 respectively.

Venues: Armidale Cathedral 6 May; St Andrew’s Anglican Church Wahroonga, Water St, Wahroonga, 12 August – each evening begins at 7:30 pm.

These conferences are offered for all preachers and the Trust is delighted to offer them so economically as it seeks to promote expository preaching which is both faithful and engaging.

Links to register for either conference are on this page – and additionally for the Armidale conference here.

Evangelism for the terrified

“I don’t know about you, but I find evangelism utterly terrifying.

It didn’t start that way. After becoming a Christian in my late 20s, one of the things God did in my heart immediately was help me see that following Jesus and sharing the news of Jesus were two sides of the same coin.

“How hard could it be?” I thought. Very hard, as it turned out. …”

Dave Jensen begins a regular column in Southern Cross magazine.

Mother’s Union Sydney Annual Seminar 2024

Mothers Union Sydney’s Annual Seminar for 2024 is coming up on Friday 23rd February at St. Andrew’s Cathedral and on livestream.

It’s a free event. Topics:

Lovebound: the beauty of church – Tim Clemens

Being church: life in the family of God – Dani Treweek

Raising children: the church as your village – Jocelyn Loane.

See all the details, register to attend or to watch the livestream (and download the livestream seminar booklet) at the Mothers Union website.

Church Matters from 9Marks: Vol 4, Evangelism

The latest issue of Church Matters from 9Marks focusses on the question of evangelism –

What is a biblical understanding of evangelism?

Is every Christian expected to evangelise?

Does expository preaching speak to unbelievers as well as believers?

This and much more in the latest edition, available from 9Marks.

Southern Cross magazine February-March 2024

The latest issue of Southern Cross magazine from the Diocese of Sydney is now available – in printed form at churches – and electronically at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Find the latest issue here.

Representing Jesus to our grandkids

“For many people today, there is a lot of life left after retirement. Many years ago, when I began work, the union representative told me that our superannuation scheme for men was based on retirement at 65 and death at 67½! Now, the life expectancy for men is 81 and 85 for women. …”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, Paul Whiting introduces us to an important book – one especially important for grandparents.

Richard Johnson — Chaplain under fire

This Australia Day, it’s worth remembering how the gospel was received when it was preached in Sydney Town –

“One observation about the past is especially instructive for Christians of any age: faithful witness is often met with hostile opposition. It would be a mistake to conceive of some halcyon days in the past when the whole of society was motivated by the Christian faith and gospel proclamation went unopposed.

The Constantinian form of Christianity, which permeated the Western world over the past millennium, never truly embraced those who sought to be faithful witnesses. This is cer­tainly true of Australia’s first ordained minis­ter, Richard Johnson, who arrived in Sydney as chaplain to the colony of New South Wales with the First Fleet in 1788. …”

– Steve Tong wrote this for The Australian Church Record last year.

Related:

An Address to the Inhabitants of the Colonies – Richard Johnson (PDF file)

Pray (Don’t Play) Politics

“For many today, politics takes up far too much of our spiritual hard drive. It’s become an obsession.

Praying to the King of kings (on behalf of our president, senators, and other government officials) helps to reorder our hearts.. …”

– You don’t need to be following the U.S. election cycle to benefit from this encouragement from Brandon Cooper at The Gospel Coalition.

See also:

“…the task of the Christian is not first to understand prayer, though may be a very good thing, and not first to solve prayer, which I suspect is an impossible thing. Rather, the Christian is to pray, knowing that part of the beauty of prayer is that even if we aren’t confident in how prayer works, we can have confidence in the one who tells us to pray. Even if we haven’t resolved the dilemmas and solved the mysteries, we can trust the one who issues the command and who insists that he hears and responds to our prayers. Our task, our calling, and our joyful duty is to pray.”

It’s Okay To Just Pray – Tim Challies.

Five lessons I learnt this summer

“CMS Summer School 2024 helped me grow in my faith and challenged me in how I approach my own partnership in cross-cultural mission.

At great conferences like Summer School, I can feel overwhelmed by so much deep and wise insight.

I appreciated the chance to reflect for a couple of minutes after each of the Bible talks from Galatians, while still sitting in the auditorium. And with some more time to reflect in the days since, here are five lessons from the conference that stood out to me – a mix of new challenges, as well as much-needed reminders of gospel truth. …”

– CMS’ Naomi Jones reflects on what she learned at CMS Summer School at Katoomba this year. At Eternity News.

The two resolutions you need and the 65 you don’t

“ ‘The 65 best New Year’s resolutions for 2024’ shouted the headline on the internet site I was surfing. I was intrigued. Mainly because 65 seemed such an odd number. The suggestions included drinking less alcohol, drinking more water, exercising more, reading more and 61 other things – usually with the word ‘more’ attached.

If you are a Christian, chances are your resolutions would include reading the Bible more and praying more. I’m reluctant to write about the quiet time because it has always seemed that most other people were more ‘spiritual’ than me (as measured by the time they spent in Bible reading and prayer).

Guilt trips aside, out of the 65 (or more!) New Year’s resolutions you could make, none will be more beneficial than …”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, Russell Powell suggests two resolutions (New Year or not) which will be a blessing.

While you might guess what they are, he also shares some practical help, so do read away.

Reaching female university students for Christ

“Instant gratification is attractive. Especially to our Gen Z friends, with their supposed attention span of a mere 8 seconds.

Add to that the widely prevalent social anxiety – experienced by 90% of Gen Z according to one workplace study – and many of the ways that we come to Christ or grow in him are looking quite difficult. Anything that takes a long time, or involves other people. Concentrating for a 30min Bible talk. …

Each one, and the many not listed, presents some difficulty, and therefore invites both the evangelist and the evangelised to save their effort and just give up.

What are the implications of this for our evangelism, particularly to young people, and especially given the urgency of the task? Perhaps there are two broad approaches. …”

– At the Moore College website, Marlee Knight shares words of encouragement.

Why You Should Attend Church (in Person) This Sunday

“Whether because of health concerns or simply out of preference for watching online in their pajamas, 30- to 49-year-old churchgoers now attend church far less often than before COVID. For some, gathering in person can feel risky or inconvenient.

No doubt online services can serve beloved homebound saints and sick members. There are valid reasons to miss church. And yet God’s Word insists individual Christians need congregational worship. …”

While this article at The Gospel Coalition is written for a US readership, numbers are still down after COVID in many churches in Australia.

On Being a Heroic Man

“There is something deep inside a man’s heart that longs to be heroic.

I don’t know what little girls dream of, but I do know that little boys dream of carrying those girls out of a burning schoolhouse so they can be admired as strong and brave. Teenaged boys dream of fighting in a war not so much to blaze away at the enemy as to perform an act of heroism that will mark them as tough and noble and worthy of honor.

Though older men may no longer be prone to such fantasies, they, too, are drawn to heroism and are convinced that they would be equal to the challenge, that they would stand where others fall, that they would run forward when others run back. …”

– At the start of the year, Tim Challies shares some wisdom for men, urging patience and action.

O Joy! – New Year message from Church Society’s Lee Gatiss

“You know, as well as I do, that, being in the Church of England right now, can have a detrimental effect on one’s health. …

How can we cope with it all? What is the solution?”

– Church Society’s Director Dr Lee Gatiss has a message of joy, despite what’s happening in the Church of England.

Related:

Why the Global South will win the Spiritual and Culture Wars in the Anglican Communion – commentary by David Virtue:

“It’s like a sinkhole opening up before your eyes, slowly swallowing up churches, bishops and priests, while watching helplessly as the hole increases and more of the Church of England falls into it never to be seen again. …

Whatever happens, the Global South now owns the Anglican Communion and they don’t have to force schism, because they are the theological heirs of Thomas Cranmer and his legitimate heirs.”

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