Archbishop Kanishka Raffel on The upside-down kingdom

“The world into which Jesus was born was a world that was harsh to live in and often deeply harmful to children. Jewish parents regarded their children as a blessing and a gift from God. Parents and rabbis were involved in training children and passing on to them the knowledge of God. But outside the Jewish community, those kinds of protections and advantages were non-existent.

I’m sure ancient parents loved their children, but they were not sentimental about childhood in the way we are, and they were not shaped by the Bible in the way their Jewish counterparts were. Roman fathers had lawful authority to kill their children if they were mentally or physically deformed, or if they were unwanted or unable to be cared for. In the first century, only 50 per cent of children lived to be five years old. Of them, only 40 per cent would make it to 12.

It was into this world that God chose to come – incredibly, as a child. Jesus had a real childhood. …”

– Archbishop Kanishka Raffel writes at of how  “Jesus’ kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. God has chosen what is weak and foolish to shame the wise and the powerful”.

(Also in the June-July 2024 issue of Southern Cross.)

Root Not Fruit

“The news that the prominent Atheist Richard Dawkins is now claiming to be a cultural Christian, should not surprise.

Many of us know parents who send children to Christian schools because they like the product of such schools, yet insist they don’t want their children to be religious.

In my first parish I would meet C.E. Christians. I was told I could only expect to see them at Christmas (C) and Easter (E). So called ‘cultural Christians’ see no need to believe the supernatural elements of the Faith, they are Christians without the C and the E. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook reminds us why we must keep on preaching the Word.

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

Why share Jesus? You have the best news possible.

Mark Calder, Bishop of the Diocese of Bathurst, reminds us Why we share Jesus. He turns to 2 Corinthians 5:11.

Part 2 in a 4-part series reflecting on the Diocesan strategic plan, “Sharing Jesus for Life”.

Week 1 – Compassion, Week 2 – Reverence, Week 3 – Love, Week 4 – Courage.

Encouraging – but also sobering.

Watch here. A very good way to start a new month.

Gospel ministry in winter

Bishop Jay Behan writes in the latest Ministry Matters of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa NZ

“Back in late 1996, my wife Jaimee and I moved to London for me to study. We had only been married a few months, so arriving in England was a time of great change in our lives. We had only been there a short time, and autumn was just starting to change to winter, when we found ourselves listening to a radio programme which described something else that was new to me: Seasonal Affective Disorder, with perhaps the most appropriate acronym of all time—SAD!

What was described was a significant change in mood and behaviour brought about by the change of season, particularly the change to winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder apparently caused “winter depression”, marked by low energy and generally feeling down as a lack of sunlight and increased time indoors took effect. I remember listening to the programme and not only completely rejecting this thing called ‘SAD’, but also ridiculing the English for making up things and not being able to cope with the cold and dark.

Needless to say, a few weeks into the English winter and after many days of no sunshine, not only did I believe in SAD; I was convinced it was the root of all the problems people living in the UK experienced!

As I write this, we in Aotearoa have arrived in winter, which seems an appropriate time to consider the way the winter season can affect life and ministry. …”

Read the full newsletter here.

“ Winter may seem like a time to batten down the hatches, but it’s also a season ripe with evangelistic opportunities. As always this requires thought, intentionality, courage and clear-mindedness. But the best day for gospelling is today. God will give us opportunities we did not have yesterday and may not have tomorrow.”

Acting like men? – with Phillip Jensen, Craig Hamilton, Adrian Russell and Robin Kinstead

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“What is it to be #likeaman? There are not many places in the New Testament where men are spoken to specifically.

Today we are thinking about being a Christian man.

In the ESV and NASB the translation of 1 Corinthians 16:13 has ‘Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong’. (ESV)

But what does that mean? Dominic Steele put that question to panelists at the recent Men Meeting the challenge conference:

Adrian Russell, senior minister of Northmead Anglican Church.
Craig Hamilton, senior minister at Pitt town.
Robin Kinstead, senior minister of Figtree Anglican.
And Phillip Jensen who heads up Two Ways Ministries.”

Watch or listen here.

Alistair Begg on 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Fulfil your Ministry

At a Truth for Life conference for pastors last month, Alistair Begg spoke on 2 Timothy 4:1-8, “Fulfil Your Ministry”.

A great encouragement on a Monday morning, especially for pastors.

This link seems to default to an audio recording. If so, click on the toggle switch just above the Player window to Watch.

Moore Matters Winter 2024

Moore Matters magazine for Winter 2024 is now up on the Moore College website.

If you miss out on getting a printed copy at your church, you can download it as a PDF file or view online.

Much encouragement.

Preaching Mentoring

“Part of the ministry of the Expository Preaching Trust is to provide preaching mentors.

The Trust has five experienced preachers who offer mentoring on a regular, usually weekly, basis.

The mentor usually listens to the mentee’s Sunday sermon and then they reflect together on the sermon’s engagement with the Bible text and the people. …”

– Read about this extraordinarily gracious offer to preachers from The Expository Preaching Trust.


David Cook speaks with Mark Powell on Preaching, for the AP’s Australian Christian Life Podcast.

Really encouraging.

Make the Main Thing the Main Thing on Sundays

“If everything in a church needs to change, where should a pastor start? I want to offer a convictional testimony for making the Bible the main course on Sunday. Every other change should follow. …”

– At 9Marks, Bret Capranica has encouragement for pastors.

John Stott’s Dream Church

“In 1974, on the 150th anniversary of the dedication of All Souls Church in London, John Stott shared his dream for the church, focusing on five elements of faithfulness that would be for the glory of God and the good of the world. Riffing on Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech directed to the injustices of American society, Stott painted an inspiring picture of the church at its best.

In a time of upheaval, when the church’s weaknesses and sins have been exposed, it’s good to remind ourselves what the church has been and can still be when we’re marked by faith, hope, and love. Here is Stott’s fivefold dream for the church, as later published in The Living Church. …”

– Trevin Wax writes at The Gospel Coalition.

Singing as Spiritual Formation

“Churches in Australia go to incredible lengths to sing together. Typically, churches do not have the resources to do music as they’d like. What’s more, views differ on the place of music in church life. Yet Sunday after Sunday, the church sings.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting churches throughout Australia to help in music ministry training. Almost all have been struggling to motivate their congregations to sing heartily, and to develop bands that lead the congregation well. Some church music teams are thriving – praise God! Yet mostly, churches are just getting by. I know of churches where faithful music teams are few in number and exhausted. I know of churches with no musicians – they sing along to YouTube videos in their services instead. I have served on staff as Music Pastor at three evangelical churches (2 in Sydney, 1 in Melbourne), each holding slightly different views on the place of singing and seeking to lovingly engage with congregational expectations of singing’s purpose and song choices. Perhaps these are familiar scenarios. Music ministry is complex.

And yet I’ve not encountered a single church that has excluded singing from its gatherings. Singing on Sundays – some way, somehow – seems to be a non-negotiable. …”

– Greg Cooper published this article back in March at EFAC Australia.


The gospel in jars of clay

“Some years ago I was asked what the mission strategy was for the youth ministry at our church. What did we do for evangelism? How were we reaching the lost and proclaiming the good news to non-Christians?

I took the question in good faith, even though I detected a hint of haughty accusation underlying the question, i.e. ‘If you’re not running courses, holding attractive evangelistic events and presenting Two Ways To Live each week, then are you actually doing any evangelism?’ seemed to be the subtext. …”

– Mike Dicker, Principal of Youthworks College, writes in the current Southern Cross magazine – and at

What is relational evangelism?

“I was an ESL [English as a Second Language] teacher in Western Sydney before going to Moore College with the plan to be a missionary.

I had been involved in summer missions and church evangelism for years, though I’m not a naturally gifted evangelist! I now spend my time helping equip everyday Christians to be courageously speaking about Jesus.”

– At, Dave Jensen asks Sarah Seabrook about relational evangelism.

Books in Ministry — recommendations from Mark Dever

From The Banner of Truth in Edinburgh –

“We sat down with Mark Dever (a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and President of 9Marks) to talk books, ministry, and books in the ministry.”

A very helpful and encouraging 45 minutes.

You will want to have a pen handy to write down some of his recommendations. As well, there are tips on how to read some of the Puritan authors.

Book Review: Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice

“Do you find evangelism hard? Why is that the case when we have the best news to share?

Here lies a common tension—we know people need to hear about Jesus, yet all too often we hesitate to tell them about him. Maybe it’s a fear of the consequences, that relationships might be broken, especially in a world that increasingly sees followers of Christ as the bearers of bad news rather than good. Or maybe this wasn’t always the case, but weariness has set in from repeated rejection when we have shared.

Guilt then sets in as evangelism begins to feel like we’re not doing enough. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Sarah Chew reviews Rico Tice’s Honest Evangelism.

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