Farewell to Crossroads

In 2009 I will be working as the assistant pastor @ Crossroads and Dan Shepheard will take over the leading pastor role. In 2010 Nikki and I will leave Crossroads and find another home church and, God willing, Crossroads will find another assistant pastor.

Although the formal process is not completed, the plan is that I will begin leading the AFES team at the UTas. Sam Green will continue on, part-time as a staff worker on campus and part-time focusing on his Islamic ministry. I'm really excited at this change, although it will be sad to leave Crossroads. In fact, at first I wasn't super-keen for uni ministry either, but a older mentor, Col Marshall nudged me in that direction back in April this year and my wife Nikki, along with other trusted friends, confirmed this advice.

Here are my farewell sermons to Crossroads on Acts 20:17-38, "A Farewell to arms; a call to arms":

  1. The road to Jerusalem
  2. Ministry and life
  3. The commisioning

Hundreds of years from now

Of course, hundreds of years from now some people may find in heavy metal precisely the musical language best suited to their praise.
- John Frame, Worship in Spirit and Truth (1996)

What does Nehemiah mean?

Anyone raised on a healthy bran diet of Gospel and Kingdom will tell you that it is about the reestablishment of the kingdom after the exile, a pale imitation of the great restoration which the Lord Jesus brings about.

But is this the primary concern of the text itself? Or is it as interested in giving a godly example of faithful service and spiritual leadership?

It is because of Nehemiah's place in the Bible's storyline that he is worthy of note - Nehemiah gets a 13 chapter book, nott some faithful, godly guy in the tribe of Zebulun in 988 BC. But this doesn't mean that Nehemiah's place in the Bible's storyline is the main thing that the book focuses on.

If you preached Nehemiah with a major emphasis on biblical theology, would those broader theological structures drown out the text itself? Is this just as bad as preaching on leadership methodology from the book?

Nick's latest post says...

 ... good stuff again. Whatever. How many ways do I have to say "Subscribe to Nick and Bron's blog"?

Nifty computer library stuff

Do me a favour O Muses of the Internet:

Can you suggest some good software to easily store and search 1. Expository notes 2. Notes on books read? What are pros and cons of different systems?

Thanks magical ladies.

Aussie website to help the church with technology

Communicate Jesus

More on the stupidity of charging for sermon downloads

I thought this article summarised the issue very well.

I really like the comment about not coercing generosity. There's something sleazy about overcharging for conference attendence or charging for sermons in order to raise funds.

Did Driscoll give Don preaching advice?

I wonder. I just watched this sermon of Don Carson in Seattle.

And what is striking is just how conversational the entire sermon is. This is not the Don I am used to. No high-pitched yelling at strange moments. No four-syllable adjectives. No foreign words pronounced with an accent. It's a pity, in a way, cause I love Don's yelling and vocab.

Planning to be thoughtful Part III

4. Do something. Don't wait for someone else to teach you how to act in a loving and thoughtful manner towards others,take initiative. Start by praying, of course, for prayer is a concrete, valuable, world-changing act. But then think what else might help. We worry about interfering, when most of the time we should be more worried about inaction. A text message, a phone call, an email, a card. Do something

... and then write down in your diary to do something again some time in the future.

Planning to be thoughtful Part II

2. Guys can tend to react to things the first time around and then forget about it. We don't realise that most personhood involves consciousness that retains continuity across time. So return to important bits of information over a long period of time. Write things down in your diary in a future week - "Ask Carl how he is feeling now about breaking up with Allie".

Girls may think this is silly or worse - fake. If you really cared, they would say, you would just remember, wouldn't you? No. Guys can't remember anything except for the stats for the new iPhone or Cricket match. We need to write things down.

3. There is a difference between listening and knowing information, on the one hand, and really understanding and caring on the other. So set aside time to reflect on how other people are feeling. Think deeply about how this hardship may have affected someone: what it would be like, how it would colour their experiences, how long it would weigh on them. Think deeply about just how important this success was for someone: how hard they had worked for it, how pleased with themselves they are, how they hunger for recognition.

Planning to be thoughtful Part I

Young women, in general, have to struggle with paranoia: being too thoughtful, too self-conscious, too worried.

Young men, in general, have to struggle more with the opposite: thoughtlessness.

How often, young men, have you been confronted with someone in deep distress and been rebuked for having been thoughtless about their predicament? Perhaps they have told you a little bit about what they have been going through, and you honestly did listen - or thought you did - but you kinda figured that if you needed to do anything more about it, someone would've told you what to do. Later on, you are told that you were thoughtless for not having realised how bad it was that you didn't do anything about the information you had.

Here, then are a few proverbs to help guard against thoughtlessness:

1.  A lot of thoughtfulness is achieved through simple organisation - so get organised. Guys need this, because we can't hold all this stuff in their head. It is sometimes said that guys can't multi-task like girls can. That's a lie. What we can't do is multi-think. Cows have four stomachs and girls have four brains. They can think about making turkish delight and what their mum said to them last night and whether it's Saskia's birthday this week or next.

So if you are going to give yourself the best chance in the world of being thoughtful, you need to write important bits of information down.

Christmas Eve at St George's Anglican

My very dear friend, Paul, is the assistant minister @ St George's. I went there for Christmas Eve and it was an excellent event. A couple of things:

  • He and his wife Jo were serving mulled wine to us as we entered.
  • It's a big and impressive building which, when done up with candles and entered at 11pm, is very atmospheric.
  • The senior minister's wife is a very talented pianist/organist. This sole accompaniment did the job of three or four instruments.
  • The First Noel has great lyrics. Fi quoted one of them here.
  • The whole service, including the Christmas message, was full of gospel and was phrased with such warmth, humour, depth and clarity.
  • There were maybe 80 people there, across a range of ages. This in a church buildling which I doubt has half that number normally.
  • Nathan and Fairlie did a sweet little folky rendition of O Holy Night.
  • It was interesting that Paul included many acknowledgments not only of our spiritual need, but also of the needs of the poor, grieving and suffering.
Two final comments:

Firstly, I have a prophecy. If the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania has the sense to keep Paul there, and if God is merciful, then I suspect St George's could become a very important church on the Hobart scene in the coming years.

Secondly, I was sitting behind Christina who is a serious muso. Afterwards she commented on my singing voice: "I didn't know you were a singer!". You heard it: A Singer.

Herman Dooyeweerd online

Has one of the silliest names imaginable. He is also a profoundly influential Chrisitan philosopher, who helped lay the groundwork for modern presuppositionalism.

His major work, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought is now online (Part I-II, Part III-IV).

H/T Steve Bishop

The incarnation makes Bono cuss

After attending St Patrick's Cathedral he said:

The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw . . . a child . . . I just thought: "Wow!" Just the poetry . . . Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it's not that it hadn't struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.

(H/T Al)

Lanyard church

I just bought some Christmas gifts from JB Hi Fi. The staff all wear trendy clothes but show that they are staff by wearing lanyards.

Dave Jolly tells me that when bike shops are open on Saturdays, the staff don't have to wear their uniforms, they just have to wear a lanyard.

I guess megachurch helpers, if they are trendy, have all their staff and volunteers wearing lanyards. Except for the pastor. He has a Kylie mic.

Better to aim and miss than not to aim

It is easy to get nervous when a pastor sets numerical goals, but I think concrete goal-setting is a good discipline. It keeps you thinking and moving forward and helps you reflect on the past. The key is to do it with a sense of humour and a big chunk of trust in God, so that you only ever treat them as a servant, not a master.

After all, it is very hard to measure the most important things in church life. It is only on the last day that our work will really be shown for what it is.

Dan is writing the short and mid-term goals for Crossroads at the moment. I had a preview of the draft and here are some of the numerical goals for 2009:

  • 4 house churces in Crossroads House
  • 40 people at Tuesday Crossroads
  • 100 people at Sunday 5:30pm Crossroads
  • 6 smallgroups
  • 30 new church partners
  • 2 new elders

Seven habits of online integrity

The habits he advocates are: (1) refresh your values in cyberspace by comparing your online life with your offline life to see if the values you take online are the same you hold in real life; (2) pledge personal online integrity, simply creating and adhering to a pledge that you will maintain your values online; (3) seek trusted accountability to ensure that you will maintain your integrity; (4) apply helpful technology that will protect you and help steer you away from some of the internet's seedy underbelly; (5) balance online and offline life to ensure that you are not being consumed by addiction to the internet; (6) practice humble authenticity through self-examination and by avoiding "virtual cliffs" in cyberspace; (7) become a cyber ambassador for good by extending Christian values and Christian character into cyberspace.
(from a review of Virtual Integrity by Daniel Lohrman)

Do you agree? Disagree? Want to add anything else?

H/T Challies.

Meeting with Tassie Bible College students

This was a very encouraging and exciting meeting.

Mars Hill was small but Driscoll was happy

Seattle had a lot of snow, attendance was very, very low but Driscoll writes:

I preached to 80 people at the first service in a room that seats 1300, and the best attended of the four services today was about 250 people. But, those are people who Jesus loves and our attitude toward them says a lot about us. Even if there is one person, that one person is someone God has brought for us to minister to and if they are willing to come we must be willing to love them with Jesus love. I walked the floor acting as a greeter today, thanking the volunteers, and one kind woman asked me if days like this bummed me out. I said no and explained that I can still remember the days when even having 80 people at one service would have been a huge win. When you've pastored a church from your living room onward you learn that your job is to love everyone that God brings and search your heart if you cannot do so wholeheartedly because the attendance is not high enough for you to feel that so few people are worth your time even though Jesus considered them worthy of dying for.

You can read the rest here.

Dick Lucas looks like Penfold from Danger Mouse

Dick Lucas is one of those mighty preachers of the 20th Century. He is also one of the crew of hugely influential English evangelicals converted by Eric 'Bash' Nash. You can hear him preach on Psalm 2 here.

An interesting thing to note about Dick Lucas is that he looks an awful lot like Penfold from Danger Mouse.

Sneak peak at someone else's organiser

It's good to see how someone else organises themselves. Matt uses the GTD system (which I strongly recommend) and here is how.

Explaining Hell, explaining Joshua

jml is in Hobart. We drank three plungers of coffee and ate bacon and eggs yesterday. It was summer yesterday; Tassie had a good summer this year.

We were discussing some of the drawbacks of the otherwise wonderful book, Reason for God by Tim Keller. One comment jml made was well worth repeating (I quote loosely):

If you explain Hell well, you have also explained holy war in the Old Testament. If you don't explain Hell well, you still have to explain holy war.

Justin's tabula rasa: church repotting in Sydney

Justin has been in New York, soon he will be in Sydney. The way he talks about Sydney makes it sound like New York, which is cool.

(The way some other pastors talk about Sydney makes it sound like the dull Good Weekend magazine you pull out of the weekend SMH, which is uncool.)

He's doing a series, 200 words, asking what the DNA of a mature church in Sydney should be like. Everyone is commenting on these posts, it's possible that if you don't comment too, you may not actually exist!

It's great to watch a thoughtful publically think through how to fashion a philosophy of ministry. Thanks Justin.


Ben has started a blog about doing technology well in church.

For example: "Have graphics like Mars Hill".

Great concept.

Worship, authority and presence

I'm reading John Frame's book on Worship. Alan was asking me about the Regulative Principle. This would be a good book to read, Alan (I borrowed it from Stine, perhaps you can be next in line?).

Frame has a threefold definition of covenant lordship: authority, control and presence. He expects worship to recognise all three.

I have inherited a Knox-Robinson view of church - that church is gathering around the word of God, first of all around Christ in heaven, secondly around the preached word, on earth.

I have also inherited a view of worship that emphasises the all-of-life dimension and observes that 'vertical worship' is rarely emphasised in the NT descriptions of church.

In my circles, I think the 'authority' dimension of lordship is emphasised. We gather to hear and respond to the authoritative word of the Lord. At best our 'corporate worship' is a powerful experience when the Word is proclaimed with great authority.

I don't think we are so good at thinking about the 'presence' dimension of lordship. We don't comfortably acknowledge and marvel at the living presence of God within us. I think thoughtful, awed contemplation of the fact that God chooses to dwell with us would add another valuable element to our 'corporate worship'.

David Jones explains the Tassie church scene to UK evangelicals

On the Evangelicals Now website.

Keller on entrepreneurs and cultural renewal

I just listened to these two addresses from Redeemer Presbyterian Church's Center for Faith and Work:

It's good hearing thoughtful but very Christian advice on how to think about work. I imagine jml would like these. Funniest comment:

Doctors and pastors will have to retrain in the new heavens and the new earth.

Jake Bevan is doing an MTS apprenticeship

 My son, Xavier, reckons Jake Bevan is the coolest thing in the universe; Mike Jolly is livid. You can find out more about Jake's apprenticeship plans on the MTS Tas blog.

Lessons learned from 30 years of student ministry

These notes from Lindsay Brown's address were passed on to me this week (H/T Sam):

  1. You must be able to: coach, catalyst, encourage.
  2. Look after your family: the danger of neglect.
  3. Be generous in your treatment of others. Watch out for jealousy.
  4. Don't worry about the numbers.
  5. Speak well of others. Don't give in to bitterness - grace is the foundation of all service.
  6. Keep up your reading. Beware of dryness.
  7. Think legacy. Beware short-termisim. Have a long view.
  8. Be clear in your vision. Watch out for confusion.
  9. Build inter-connected teams. Beware individualism.
  10. ??? Surprise!
  11. Develop a prayer life. Beware of praylessness.
  12. Keep pressing on - remember it's a privilege. Don't give in to discouragement.
  13. Don't try to do everything.
  14. Handle disappointment.
Which ones stand out to you? Which ones do you feel you really need to learn? Some that stand out to me, that I need to remember: 2, 4, 12, 14.

Campus-based or church-based theological education?

I hot button issue in the Vision 100 movement here in Tassie is whether to major on campus-based or church-based theological education. Several churches are getting really into the BILD network's Church Based Theological Education program.

I don't think you need to choose absolutely between one or the other. But even though I have never been to Bible college, I lean towards campus-based theological education.

Meanwhile, Nick has just posted on the importance of church-based education for the necessary growth of the church planting movement here in Tas.

Pros and Cons of social networking

Here are two pretty good posts on social networking:

I think Ed's post is much better in the was it displays a greater degree of familiarity with the social networking culture. Perhaps the Gospel and Culture one is better in the clear description of its theological framework.

I've read little else in the Christian blogsphere that tries to be so thorough and balanced as these two pieces. Much seems to reactionary or too 'pastoral' for my liking. This stuff is much more useful and thought provoking.

The Tipping Point: this reminds me of Bron

Maven is a yiddish word. I love yiddish words.

Malcolm Gladwell writes:

The critical thing about Mavens, though, is that they aren't passive collectors of information. It isn't just that they are obssessed with how to get the best deal on a can of coffee. What sets them apart is that once they figure out how to get that deal, they want to tell you about it too... 'They know where the bathroom is in retail stores. That's the kind of knowledge they have' [says marketing professor Linda Price]. They are more than experts. An expert... will 'talk about, say, cars because they love cars. But they don't talk about cars because they love you, and want to help you with your decision. The Market Maven will. They are more socially motivated.'

Bah humbug

Ed Stetzer just posted some stats about the holiday season. One of them noted that in America, the increase in attendance at Christmas time is mostly regular churchgoers attending more often still. I imagine even of the irregular churchgoers who attend at Christmas time, they are a pretty hardhearted lot, in general. Not the type to be easily won over by a nice Christmas event.

If you can truly reach and evangelise some people @ Christmas time, then that's a fantastic thing. If you can, as Graham commented on my previous Grinch post, use Christmas as a service to the community/raising awareness/making contact time, then go for it.

But I am sceptical of the monumental importance and effectiveness of Christmas events.

P.S. This isn't actually a huge hobby horse of mine. But it does make good blog material, don't you think?

Gordo is finishing up at MattMedia

He just announced the news on his blog. I suppose many of us will be facing changes in life circumstances due to economic pressures. We need to be praying for Gordo, and others in his position, that they can continue in the path of spiritual thinking that he lays out in this post.

Final sermon in "Small Change?" series

Generosity. It came in at a 'short and punchy' 45 minutes.

I am second

 Has a nice website with a bunch of people, including famous people, talking about their faith. I haven't looked at it in detail, but I like its design and I like the idea.

*H/T Steve Addison

*Only just got around to finding out that this expression, used to show who your source was, means "Hat Tip".

Tyler Durden's guidance to would-be entrepreneurs

jml sent me this link ages ago. It's kinda cute. The same site also has Kurt Cobain's guide to startup success.


The metaphor of Ultimate Fighter irks Seumas. Perhaps he'd prefer this?

Summer Reading Club

Stine Jolly has started a book club for TBT and she is channeling all her librarian superpowers into the task.

The challenge is to read one book from five of her six categories and to review one of the five at TBT.

Here are her categories:

  1. Theology
  2. Philosophy/apologetics/ethics
  3. Evangelism
  4. Puritans
  5. C. S. Lewis
  6. Practical theology/counseling

Powerful, scary quote

By Gary North, a Christian Reconstructionist:

We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.

Some of the reactions of your average evangelical tends in this direction. We get annoyed at religious villification laws one minute and upset about Muslim chaplains in state schools the next.

Problematising the communitarian story

I think Tony Payne linked to this article, which has sat in my To Read bookmarks folder on Firefox for a million years.

It calls into question the over-emphasis on community theology in a very interesting way. It explores how the "communitarian story" diagnoses the modern condition, explains its origins in the Enlightenmnet and provides solutions in community.

Then it unpacks the dangers of placing community front and centre in our doctrines of the gospel and the church and even God.

The very helpful category it introduces is the category of authority. The Enlightenment wasn't just a move to individuality but a move to individuality as the source of epistemological authority. What we need is not just restoration to relationship/community but submission to authority in relationship to God and the relationships of the church.

Jolly the Angry Apprentice

Continues advising MTSers re: evangelism on the MTSTas blog.

Best method of evangelism and church planting

I have been listening to some lectures on evangelism and church planting by Roger Greenaway that were given at Calvin Theological Seminary.

In one of them he declares that small group evangelistic Bible studies are the most powerful and strategic method of evangelism and church planting. They are so flexible and so constantly used.

What a shame, he says, to ever send out a missionary or a church planter who has never had experience in sitting in on one, let along leading one.

I'm no Scrooge but...

I'm not very convinced that Christmas is a very good evangelistic opportunity. Well it is, in the same way that a wedding and a funeral are. Minimal.

I do completely believe in the incarnation of Christ, but when we write tracts and sermons asking "What's the true meaning of Christmas?" I don't think anyone actually cares.

As for "reclaiming the Christian view of Christmas". May as well reclaim the pagan view of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas now is family. And family is good. Christians believe in family too.

So I propose: rather than fighting some silly rear-guard acton trying to make people care about the spiritual significance of Christmas, and consequently ruining Christmas day with a church service... why not instead just use the time to love your family, write cards to distant relatives and eat a nice meal?

TBT birthday speech

There are no unanswerable objetions to the Christian faith. There is no monolithic expression of the Christian faith. In fact there are many reasons that lead me to say it is necessary for all people, and that means it is necessary for all of you here, to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus Christ.

It is because of these convictions that Crossroads Church came into existence. And it was compelled by these convictions that we began this Tuesday evening service in particular. We meet every Tuesday night in this hall at 7:30pm, to teach and live according to these principles for anyone, not just those who are convinced and enculturated churchgoers.

I want to thank....

And I want to end with one statement, that may be provocative, but that I am convinced is true: You should come to one of our regular meetings, Tuesdays 7:30pm.

The birthday that was

TBT had it's first birthday party last night. Jolly has some photos over on his blog.

Here's some of my thoughts/reports:

  • Over 100 people came. We raised over $100 for TEAR foundation (most from purportedly 'silver coin donations' to garden produce, and book sales).
  • The weather was looking awful. We were setting up in the rain. It was like Mordor. But Fi and Nikki had prayed like Elijah earlier in the day and out of nowhere the sky cleared for a lovely sunny evening. The weather closed in again just in time to drive us in for a cosy indoor folk music set with Nathan and Fairlie Collins.
  • The people were from Crossroads, other churches, family, friends and community visitors.
  • It was much better than I was hoping for, I was very pleased overall. I was expecting 50-70 people, with one 'rush hour' across the whole three hours and lulls either side. Instead it got busy in the first half hour and there were still around 30 people there.
  • Dan and Joe manned the garden stall and came up with this reflection: "At the party we has three stalls: Home grown vegies, Christian books, and TEAR fund gifts. If you were only going to have three stalls, they'd be the exact three you'd want."
  • Thanks to local businesses who supported the event with food:
    • Con from the South Hobart IGA
    • Terry from the South Hobart Butcher
    • Nadine from Mondo's Bakery
  • Thanks to all the people who helped organise:
    • Kerri, Joe and Yvonne (stalls)
    • Ant, Nick, Nathan and Fairlie (music)
    • Dan and Jake (sourcing and cooking food)
    • Jolly, Emma and co (advertising)
    • Jake T (council navigation)
    • Emily and Jess (facepainting)
    • Shiloh (birthday cake)
    • Others I've forgotten

Proclamation Trust is not stupid

Shane reckons it's stupid to charge for sermon downloads. Shane is right. The Proc Trust is not stupid. They are now offering their sermon downloads for free. There are so many treasures here - make sure you look at their EMA and Conference Material link as well as their Free Sermon Downloads link.

Two treasures:

  1. Phillip Jensen getting pretty grumpy at English clergy about gospel ministry in 1986 (shame they don't have the 1988 stuff online - that's even more in your face)
  2. David Jackman with mindblowing expositions of the Jacob story in Genesis 28 and 32. If you've even wondered how to make sense of Jacob and his incredible dodginess, these "expositions for Expositors" are a must.

Filey and Piley

A long time ago Nikki and I used to joke about these little critters called Filey and Piley who would go around our house making piles of stuff - or filing things away.

Matt asks whether it is ever good to to make piles.

Shane says: It's stupid to charge for sermon downloads

And he is absolutely right.

A call back to expository preaching

Mark Thompson writes a great post on expository preaching. Clearly preacher like Driscoll and Keller are in view, with their tendency to sometimes use their text as a trampoline.

I reckon his comments are very good, although I would want to argue that there is a place to integrate other theological disciplines into the exposition, as long as the sermon overall remains tied to the text.

I also fear that some champions of expository preaching can confuse or conflate it with exegesis-preaching, where the entire structure and drama of the sermon is based around exegetical questions, methods, scaffolding. Exegesis-preaching can end up making hearing God's Word secondary and 'learning how to read the Bible for yourself' primary.

Nice devotion on a nice proverb

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Craig quotes this proverb, which I have never heard before and like very much, and then reflects on its significance for his church, where people move on quite regularly.

Crossroads also has a mobile congregation and this post is very helpful to us. Thanks Craig.

The body text of emails

A couple of things I think are important for the body text of emails:

  • Have short paragraphs: email paragraphs should be more like bullet points.
  • Put a purpose statement towards the start of the email.
  • Embolden the most important text: the relevant actions and dates.
  • If it's really important, follow it up with a phonecall.
  • Make sure you include a warm salutation and valediction.
  • Put separate stuff in separate emails. Don't hide an invitation to dinner in an email about church rosters.

Example of a philosophy of ministry

(EDIT: See here on my blog for a more recent post on this topic)

I am convinced it is a very valuable thing to take the time to carve out a philosophy of ministry. It's something that I have emphasised with Tassie Bible College students, too. Here's a sample philosophy of ministry to check out.

Recipe for lack of expectation in church: ball of fire

Justin posted this ripper quote last week.

Luke H asked about empowering leadership

And this post is pretty relevant, I think.

Brainstorming on evangelism

Sola Panel has posted an article that gets very practical with thinking about evangelism. There's some good stuff here.

What's Best Next?

I just stumbled across this blog and, as a bit of a GTD geek, I like it. Have any regular readers already come across this one?

Audio on parenting

By Ted Tripp can be found here.

Secret weapon

In the Pilgrim's Progress , prayer is Christian's secret weapon. I've got that. I've also got my wife. She does a stack of the house management stuff, she does our finances (for which I am eternally grateful), she loves and plans for our kids, she cooks for Tuesday Crossroads and she looks after me when I'm pathetic, miserable, exhausted or sick.

She complements me in a lot of ways. Her background was poorer and more left-leaning, mine was richer and more right-leaning. She listens to the kids' feelings when I just stand on principle. She's a clean person while I'm a tidy person. She slows me down from being a workaholic cyborg. Her weakness in a beautiful piece of irony, corrects my weakness: she has shown me how unfeeling and independent I can be.

Nikki knows my flaws and is not babmoozled by me. She wants me to be a godly Christian, not a hero Christian leader. She prefers Bible studies to sermons and lo-fi stuff to big events. One her big jobs is to tell MTS apprentices lots of stories about me to prove I'm actually human.

Thanks Nikki.

Books for eager evangelists?

Graham is asking for suggestions to give to an eager evangelist over on the MTS Tasmania blog.

The sufficiency of Scripture

Luke has started a series on the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, which he reckons has been underemphasised by many.

Wayne's happy as the assistant minister

And he is thankful for senior ministers . I'll be moving down to an assistant minister role @ Crossroads next year. This is part of a two-year transition.  This is preparing for the current assistant minister, Dan Shepheard to step into the senior minister position. I'm kinda looking forward to being the Number 2 like Rob Lowe.

What is mission anyway?

A new member of the Sola Panel has asked a question that needs to be asked again and again and again.

Shane's latest Tat Tuesday photo

Can be viewed here. Wouldn't it be funny if all of these were all actually on Shane's body? Then I'd  go to his church for sure.

Review of Gladwell's new book

I've been posting some stuff on The Tipping Point just as the author's new book, Outliers has been released, because I'm retro.

Challies has posted a review of the new book. Challies doesn't know how to blog in less that 500 words it seems to me.

Three hot tips for mission

Now that exams are over Nick is back doing more important things. He just posted a three part series from a conversation with a missio.

Review of C. S. Lewis sci-fi trilogy

Wayne has just posted a brief review. Have you read these books? What was your favourite? Did you think the idea of having Merlin involved was silly?


Michael Jensen has just started blogging material for his next book.

Piper on Lloyd-Jones: beware extended warnings

I finally got round to listening to one of Piper's bios, this one on Martin Lloyd-Jones. David Jones (Cornertone Presbyterian, Hobart) was deeply influenced by L-J and I was deeply influenced by DJ, so I that's why I chose this one.

One of the things Piper observed, was something like: Ordinary people hear long, complicated, serious cautions as a red light.

I think this is an important point. Many people can say they aren't cessationists, or that they believe secular work is good, or that emotions are good. But if miraculous gifts, or secular work or emotions are only ever spoken about along with long, complicated, serious cautions then ordinary people will hear 'not good'.

Another little comment PIper made:

This conference always ends on the note of world missions, deliberately. If you don't go away more excited about world mission, then this conference would be an abuse of experiences.

New: MTS Tasmania 'cricket teams' blog

One of my roles is the MTS Tasmania Network Coordinator. I am currently gathering a 'cricket team' of people to support and promote the MTS movement here in Tassie. I'm the twelfth man, the proper place for a Christian leader.

We have just started a new blog, please come on over.

It's annoying to try to preach about greed

The hard thing about preaching on greed is that if you can't be too general and you can't be too specific.

If you are too specific it's very easy for people to dismiss the application "That's just you", "I've seen how you actually live", "That wouldn't work in my situtation".

But if you are too general then you don't get to the guts of the matter, for with greed, the devil is in the cumulative power of the details. More, you can end up making people feel vaguely guilty for buying a packet of burger rings and vaguely guilty for eating an extra piece of pizza, without really establishing an overall approach to wealth and greed.

Here's my attempt to preach on greed

Bibliography for art and aesthetics

Steve Bishop has just posted one of his extensive biblios, this time about art. It seems to me that Christians are often so clumsy when it comes to talking about art. I think it would be great if a course in aesthetics and art history was part of every Bible College degree.

Happy birthday dear TBT

The Bible Talks (TBT) is the astonishingly imaginative name of a Sydney ministry. Indeed, this abbreviation illustrates one of the difference between Sydney and Hobart. In Sydney, TBT stands for The Bible Talks, in Hobart it stands for Toilet Block Tuesdays.

Here's why it's called Toilet Block Tuesdays:

We are celebrating our first-and-a-half birthday next Tuesday, 9th December from 5-8pm. We're going to have all live music, a sausages sizzle, stalls... all the kind of church-fete stuff, except with a groovy South Hobart feel. So instead of CWA ladies knitting beanies, we'll have Tip Shop ferals making frightening thing out of old collanders.

Please come and join with us as we celebrate our first-and-a-half anniversary.

Mark Dever interviews Don Carson

You pronounce it Deh-ver not Dee-ver. Listen here, and if you have time, check out the archive!