Guest preach @ The Branch

Last Sunday. I preached on Colossians 1:15-23. A passage you dare not preach on for fear that you'll ruin such an awesome part of Scripture.

Wright's grand narrative isn't grand enough

Luke writes:

... While Wright is eager to emphasise the beginning of the grand narrative with Abraham, he never mentions Adam. (Well he does, once in passing on page 199!) The grand narrative really begins with God and then Adam and then Abraham. Wright's grand narrative isn't big enough, fixing our state of not being in the presence of God is the primary concern.

Matt Chandler in Sydney

Here's the itinerary.

Guardian journo blogs Alpha

This will be interesting I reckon. Always great to have see ourselves through someone else's eyes.

(H/T Nick G)

Michael Jensen in Hobart: Necessary Heresies

I went to meet Michael and hear him speak yesterday afternoon. His material was stimulating and fascinating. A highlight was when he got in an extended discussion with a member of the group about the nature of Pelagianism and the member concluded by saying he would happily call himself a Pelagian!

A stand out comment from Michael (I quote loosely):

The great heretics were not lone, heroic individuals standing against the oppressive institutional church, as the modern story often goes. Rather the reason they were so dangerous was because they were extremely popular. Heresies were not immediately obvious as heresies when they appeared....
Orthodoxy often treads the harder path. The appeal of heresy is that it provides a satisfying solution to theological difficulties.


Luke meditates on Creation and Science

Luke is very clever, in a good way. He has posted some of his current thoughts about Genesis 1-3.

I struggle heaps with this one, but like Luke, am happy to hold my conclusions loosely. I see great strengths to each side of the discussion (theistic evolution and 6 day creation).

At the very least, theistic evolutionists need to admit that even the barest essentials of the Gensis account make historical claims that differ from a standard naturalistic evolutionary account.

Loving and hating Melbourne

Murray has a lovely post about his complicated relationship to Melbourne. It's a tough balance this 'love the city, learn from the city' while being an 'alien and stranger', isn't it? Being 'in' but not 'of'.

How to lead someone to Christ - 1950s style

This is awesome. My church uses this training method.

Read faster

I've been trying to get better at this over the last few months, after drilling jml on how it works. You know, I always thought speed reading was about actually reading every word, and reading it quicker. Sigh.

This blog post summarises the skills required.

Speed reading, like touch typing, is clearly something to improve at, eh?

Christ the second Adam and Christ the first Adam

Romans 5:12-21 shows us Christ as the second Adam. Who became a man and so redeems humanity which fell with the first Adam.

But Colossians 1:15-23 also shows us Christ as image and firstborn over the first creation, as if God the Son has an Adam-like role even before Adam was.

GENEVA Leaders Summit - September 09

Al Stewart and Andrew Heard are calling on 20 leaders from around Australia to gather to share with one another what our God is already doing and to hear their proposal for a national organisation.

Archie hits us where it hurts

Sacrifice is the normal Christian life and hedonism is the normal Australian life. What a conflict! What an important part of Australian discipleship!

1. Are you willing to sell up your home in a "safe, comfortable" suburb to serve in another suburb that needs you?
2. Are you willing to have your children attend a school with difficulties for the sake of the gospel?
3. Are you willing to endure a lower living standard brought about because you choose to not have your spouse paid work, so she can minister in church?
4. Are you willing to take a sideways step in career to have more opportunity to serve?
5. Are you willing to give up a day of work a term to join others in church to help run a fantastic seminar in schools?

Great post from Archie. (H/T Craig)

Filled to build tents and filled to build lives

G. K. Beale, in the Colossians chapter of The New Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Eds Beale and Carson) compares Exodus 31:3 with Colossians 1:9-10:

The Exodus texts assert aht God filled people with the Spirit so that they would have the skills needed to build the tabernacle and fashion its inner contents. Accordingly, Paul sees God filling Christians with his Spirit so that they can live skillful godly lives.

Expectations of IT work

Jason has posted some insights that will help calm the impatient pastor/church who is waiting for a new website to be developed for their church.

A bunch of geeks then wage war in the comments section about software development paradigms.

In my experience, though, his point is pretty legit.

The Blogging parson hits Hobart

Next week. Am really looking forward to meeting you in person, Michael!

Fi is starting a new blog

She is a very thoughtful and energetic woman who has blessed me a great deal in my ministry. I stronlgy encourage you to watch this space.

Apologetic issues in preaching Exodus 5-10

  1. The wrath of God,
  2. The justice of temporal, painful judgements,
  3. The credibility of natural miracles,
  4. The lack of historical record outside the Bible,
  5. The LORD hardening Pharoah's heart,
  6. The reality of magic...

Al Stewart and Andrew Heard on Acts 29 and Sovereign Grace

Video here.

White magic?

It is legitmate for people to use all sorts of power - natural, psychological, divine (when granted). It is legitimate to use all kinds of information sources.

But why can't we use dead people and magical forces? They are created things, just like solar power and birds and people. What is illegitimate?

It's not just that the magic or spirits are evil, for we are able to learn things from evil people.

The problem, I suggest is twofold:

  1. For evil spirits, the information and power is only accessible when a form of worship is offered. Many forms of witchcraft are not mere recipes but worship.
  2. There are boundaries to human behaviour. Certain powers and sources of information are simply not for us to use. Crossing the boundary of death and the realm of spirits is simply not to be attempted.
These are my thoughts. But I'd love to tighten them up and pass them through the grid of Scripture.

Some wisdom from Chappo

I spoke at Xpose Preaching Conference on Friday and Saturday in Melbourne. The other speaker was John Chapman. Along with Don Carson, John Chapman is for me the scariest person to have to share the platform with. But he was lovely. And very funny.

His insights and encouragements were priceless:

  • If you get bored of the gospel you might as well blow your brains out. I am full convinced that the gospel changes people's lives.
  • The day of evangelising people who are already in the pews is over. And there's only so many times our people can invite people to evangelistic programs we put on. We need to get back to what we're good at: one to one evangelism.
  • Graeme Goldsworthy is brilliant, it's just that he's impossible to read. Read Vaughan Roberts instead.
  • A true convert is as tough as a Jerusalem artichoke - you can't knock em off with a stick. In my day, when you got saved they'd give you a Bible: 'Go teach Sunday, the prayer meeting's on Friday, get on with the normal Christian life'.
  • Tim Keller knows more in his little toenail that I do in my whole body. He's so good it's discouraging to listen to!
  • Good preaching model: Rodney Chiswell from St Peters Tamworth.

We're offering you $1 000 and you're not asking!

Vision 100 is offering to give grants of up to $1 000 to new evangelistic initiatives in Tassie. But we've only had one submission so far.

You got an idea? You know someone who's got the gift of evangelism? Apply today.

Big mistake church websites make

I think Ben has hit the nail on the head here, churches take note:

Why do so many church websites look dated and stale?

I reckon part of the problem is an over ambitious ideas about the kinds of content that will be available.

You build your site thinking 'wouldn't it be great to have a photo gallery'. It would, but if no one is taking a steady stream of good photos, then the gallery's most recent pics will be the ones you uploaded when you launched the site from the church camp back in 2006.

'Wouldn't it be nice for each staff member to have their own blog on our site' - certainly - but if they're not blogging now, why will suddenly start if you make a website with blogs?

Kick your wife out

I got kicked out of Tassie the other day to go to Melbourne to spend a few days with my beautiful sister Kate. Mike strongly believes in me having a holiday by myself at least once a year, but I find it really hard to get the motivation to to it, so Kate booked, paid for and emailed me my wouldn't have happened otherwise, I just get too caught up in all the stuff I have to do.

For some reason I always feel a bit lost if I spend more than a day away from my little family, but its really awesome to be forced to remember that my worth isn't primarily in my role as a wife or mother or servant of the gospel at Crossroads. Following Fiona Haynes elective at the Womens Winter Festival on "what makes you valuable", I kept on telling myself that I'm valuable because God made me in his image and I'm made to glorify him. If all of my "life" was taken away: Mike, Xavi, Star, my ability to cook and clean, my friends, my family...everything, as awful as it would be, I wouldn't be any less valuable at all.

Its so nice to be home, but I'm coming home less tangled up and confused, more determined to love God by loving my family and the people around me.

That said, I'm totally exhausted (as usual at the moment), but I've been totally spoiled by coming home to happy kids, a spotless house, a freezer full of soup, a scrubbed and re-organised laundry and a big fat cheque from the tax office that I wasn't expecting at all.

I'm curious, how do you get away from everything to clear your head and get separate from your to do list?

Three times when new people drop out of church

Just read Peter Corney's little booklet The Welcoming Church in preparation for writing a welcoming manifesto for Tuesday Crossroads. In it, he said there are three times when new people commonly stop coming:

  1. In the first few weeks, if they weren't welcomed properly.
  2. After about six months, if they don't make any significant relationships and don't feel valued.
  3. After about a year, if they don't feel they are involved in the life and ministry of the church in some way.

Strong sermon on Genesis 28

Just listened to Dan's sermon from Crossroads on Sunday night.

Great example of OT exegesis, of contextualisation to Hobart culture and of searching application.

Not a mighty evangelist?

Tony has a just posted about salemanship:

"No, you don't understand sales", he said. "It's not about being a particular personality. I've got all these guys who think they're great salesmen because they're the fast-talking, ambitious 'sales' guy. But they're actually not. The girl who's bringing in the most business is much more laid-back, but she's genuine. She communicates real concern and sincerity. She gets next to people, understands and listens to them, and then works really hard to help them get what they want. She's bringing in the business, but if you asked her, she wouldn't say she was a natural salesperson.

Blame the wife for halving the ministry?

Izaac gives a clear response to a sometimes unhelpful ministry proverb:

Does a wife either double or halve her husband's ministry? Not really, if we have a right view of marriage as ministry.

The proverb is probably best used to talk about a supportive wife versus a resentful wife, rather than whether she is a powerhouse Kill Bill public ministry wife or not.

Winter Festival - a report and a challenge

Emma reports on the Crossroads/Cornerstone Women's Winter Festival.

And extends a challenge:

Lads, I'm sure there's a blokey pizza and beer version just waiting to be born!

Taxonomy of Facebook updates

Jolly just tweeted this great little piece.

'The End' - Pete Woodcock (MYC 1997)

You'll need to bear with the muddy sound quality due to transfer from cassette to mp3, but man these sermons are mighty.

Sermon 1
Sermon 2
Sermon 3
Sermon 4

FIEC conference with PDJ, Driscoll and Al Stewart

Andrew Heard tweets.*

Should be good fun, I reckon.

* I reckon 'to tweet' is a way better verb for 'to use Twitter' than 'to twitt' or 'to twitter'. What do you think?

John Calvin's 500th - so?

I don't really celebrate the birthday of famous figures of history, who ever does? You celebrate famous dates, maybe. But famous birthdays? Nah.

Did the church celebrate John Calvin's 200th? His 300th? His 400th? Doubt it. Let's celebrate the 500th anniversary of his arrival in Geneva or something. But his birthday?

"Stupid" (said in a Phillip Jensen voice).

Relational evangelism

Here is a key to Urban Ministry, as I see it: We follow the seams of friendships in the workplace and in Apartment blocks. That's it. We follow the seams, make friends, show hospitality, and "God shows up" (to quote Andrew Heard). And God does good things.

Modern definitions of the love of God

I'm speaking at Xpose Preaching Conference in Melbourne next week. One of my lectures will be about the the crucifixion of Christ and the suffering of God. I'm pretty 'classical' when it comes to thinking about the impassibility of God and the two natures of Christ. Will be interesting to see how my material is received.

Anyway, I've come across this interesting quote and I thought I'd share:

The themes of relatedness, mutuality and inclusivenes have appeared, quite independently, in process, trinitarian, liberation and feminist theology. Twentieth-century theologians exegete the love of God in terms that are familiar to modern culture: sympathy, compassion, mutuality, solidarity, inclusiveness.
- Kevin J. My-Surname-Is-Awesome Vanhoozer, God, Scripture and Hermeneutics: First Theology

Age and technology use

Quick google of average age of technology places the average age of the twitter user in their 30s, the average blogger in their late 20s. Seems that Facebook and Myspace have a slightly younger base.

What does an 18-24 year old do on the internet? I rarely find younger relatives with blogs and stuff. Most of them love their Facebook tho. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

MYC Sermons now online

I've linked to these on my University Fellowship of Christians 2010 website.

Still looking for financial partners for the univeristy mission next year.

Carl Trueman on Sola Panel


H/T Craig

You'll find Andrew Heard on Twitter

And he'll keep you updated about the GENEVA Church Planting network.

You won't find me on Twitter.

We use Subversion to manage our church documents

And have been since the end of 2005.

It's a great way to have one, central, online filing system for church. It's a great way to make sure that everyone has the same, up-to-date version of everything.

Hard week with the kids

I was preaching @ MYC this week and Nikki was @ home with the kids.

It was a tough week with the kids and maybe Nikki feels she wasn't supermum.

But sometimes the awesome thing is just standing your ground and doing the job. And she did. I came home to a clean house that was not burned down and two happy kids, neither of whom were strangled. That, as far as I'm concerned, is a mighty feat.

Moreover, although I knew she was having a tough time, I still felt supported while I was away. She didn't make me feel guilty about being away for the week but encouraged me in my ministry.

Driscoll supports indigenous Oz29 with Al and Andrew

Got an email from Andrew Heard say that Driscoll made it very clear he didn't plan to launch A29 Australia and was still praying and hoping for an independent Austaralian network.

If possible, he will beam in via satellite for the November conference and the FIEC conference in August.

Pete Woodcock @ Tas Christian Convention 2010-2011