Investing in Preparation

“I am facing the dilemma of all retirees – Australia’s inflation rate continues at between 1 and 2%, at the same time as interest rates are virtually non-existent.

This means that $1 in the bank after a year is worth 98c and there is no gain added from the bank in interest. Bank balances therefore are shrinking. So retirees are looking for return on investment, at least buying shares in Australia’s banks returns 3-4% on investment.

What does this have to do with preaching? In preparing to preach it is important to invest your time where it will pay a rich dividend!…

In his book Why Johnny can’t preach, T. David Gordon says that every sermon must have one idea – what is your sermon about? Is the idea related to the text and are relevant applications offered?”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook strongly encourages preachers to invest their time in preparation – and has something which can help you.

Tactics for the Spiritual Battlefield

“If we are to be effective as soldiers of Christ, we need to understand and employ strategies and tactics which will defeat the enemy, seizing his territory and releasing the captives.

In order to do this, we need military-type discipline: unquestioning loyalty and obedience to our King Jesus. We also need sound spiritual-military strategies. …”

– In the February 2021 “Ministry Matters” newsletter of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand, Vicar-General, the Rev. Michael Hewat, encourages churches to be ready to adapt methods of proclaiming the gospel.

And it’s a good reminder to pray for the progress of the gospel in New Zealand.

Second group of Deacons ordained in Sydney

“The second group of new Deacons was ordained at St Andrew’s Cathedral, in a smaller service because of COVID restrictions, but with the same scriptural charge to follow their Lord’s example.

The Making of Deacons service is held annually in February following the completion of the ordinands’ theological studies the year prior. Due to COVID and subsequent reduced capacity in the cathedral, an additional service was held last November for half of the ordinands, who had already been working in parish ministry.  This decision allowed the Cathedral to enable more family and friends to attend in support of the ordinands and encourage them as they commence their ministry. …”

– Full story at

Five tips for getting your kids involved in ministry (and why you should want to)

“Do you, like me, worry that your kids might start to see church as just another extra-curricular activity? And how do we go about combatting a consumer mentality to church in our kids? I think an important first step is how we understand the place of children in the church, and then how we communicate that to them. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Jocelyn Lone shares some simple but very practical ideas.

The Shepherds who are Sheep

“Speaking in real life terms, shepherds and sheep are independent entities. Sure, you might find them lurking in the same field, but whether from near or afar, you’d hardly confuse them. A shepherd is not a sheep and the four legged cud-chewer is clearly not a shepherd.

But in the stream of biblical thinking the same can’t quite be said.  Shepherds are sheep; and some of the sheep are shepherds.  The category of shepherd – a spiritual leader of the flock – is common parlance throughout the Bible (Ezekiel 34, Jeremiah 3:15, John 21:17, 1 Tim 3:1-2, 1 Peter 5:2, Hebrews 13:17). Christ is the Chief Shepherd and his under-shepherds assist him in sheep care (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Yet this is where the twist comes. The shepherd of Christ’s flock is also part of it. They are one of the sheep who has gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) and part of the number for which the Shepherd died (John 10:15). A man may play the role of a shepherd but he never departs his place in the flock. Like the rest, he exclaims with personal assurance: ‘the Lord is my shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). …”

– At Unashamed Workman, Colin Adams writes to strengthen shepherds.

Why do we say things together in church?

“As a teenager, I was deeply impacted by a youth ministry that made a lot of hay out of throwing out traditional, churchy practices. We started a church service on couches and bean bags in the hall where we didn’t do anything like liturgy or set prayers.

I remain deeply grateful for this low-church experience, for I heard the gospel there with a freshness that was God’s gift. But in hindsight, I have mixed feelings about the excitement we felt at doing things differently. For while this stance did grab my attention, it also distanced me from good things…”

– At The Australian Church Record, Andrew Errington shares three ways that saying together “sentences from the Bible, psalms, creeds, and other prayers” can be a real help.

Are you feeling inadequate?

“In these days of lockdown livestreams it’s easy to feel inadequate. I’m not surrounded by a gifted staff team with abundant technical resources or an attractive online presence. It’s not hard to feel inadequate when people can tune in with ease to a more exciting online service with a more prestigious preacher (and nobody will ever notice they’re missing a Sunday morning). In my pride I feel inadequate and ashamed of it…”

– At Church Society’s blog, Simon Donohoe shares some encouragement for us all.

Gafcon’s Lift Up Your Hearts Devotional

GAFCON is now publishing podcast versions of the Lift Up Your Hearts Devotional each weekday.

Dustin Messer in Dallas, Texas, is contributing the devotions in February 2021. You can read or listen to them here.

The audio is also available on Apple Podcasts.

Each runs for 3 or 4 minutes.

Continually trying to improve your prayer life?

“How is your prayer life going? Many of us feel this part of our faith lives could improve for a variety of reasons, but the Rev Stephen Shead says not all of these reasons are good. …”

Here’s some encouragement for you, via

The Year of the Un

“2020 has been the year of the Un. The unusual, the uncommon, the unparalleled, the unprecedented.

Hope springs eternal and we now enter a new year, 2021, which promises to be the year of the Re. The recovery, the restoration, the renewal, the revival.

According to one of my grandchildren, when asked which Bible book would be best to preach in the year of the Re, she suggested the book of Revelation – a good idea but not what I had in mind. …”

– At The Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook suggests preaching through Acts. He gives four reasons why this would help.


David spoke about preaching through Acts in this Preaching Matters video from St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.

We can have Confidence

“Sennacherib ruled Assyria from the capital city of Nineveh, which was the largest city in the world at the time. He was formidable, ruthless, a military ruler bent on collecting nations.

Nebuchadnezzar II, the ruler of the Babylonian Empire, surpassed him. He made Babylon even larger and greater than Nineveh. Nothing like it had ever been seen.

Cyrus surpassed them both, creating the world’s largest empire through merciless force. When Cyrus’ vast army marched, the ground shook for miles. …”

– Ligonier Ministries’ Stephen Nichols writes with godly encouragement to Christians in a world of turmoil.

Image: Dr. Stephen Nichols from a Ligonier Ministries video.

Ministry Tip: Communicating Christ Clearly

“I think the most important thing that I have been taught in the whole area of Communicating Christ, was to know what you are aiming for, and be focussed on getting there.”

– In this short and to-the-point video, Dominic Steele encourages preachers to be focussed.

Challenges and opportunities in rural NSW

In the Summer 2020 edition of Moore College’s Moore Matters, Mark Calder, Bishop of Bathurst, shares:

“… I am surprised and delighted and sometimes terrified to find myself in a new role in the Diocese of Bathurst. It is an extraordinary privilege. Having been here a year (on 23rd November) – and a very unique and challenging year at that – I know that I am only just beginning.

My oft repeated line, when asked how things are going, has been ‘the challenges are great, but so too are the opportunities’. So let me tell you a little about both. …”

Read, be encouraged, pray – and – perhaps – go!

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