Fi sent some great advice on relating to Jewish Christians

From Judaism Is Not Jewish: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement by Baruch Maoz.

She summarises:

He says that Gentile Christians can make Jewish Christians welcome by avoiding:
  • assuming that Jewish Xns no longer have a Jewish identity;
  • saying Jewish Xns "come from a Jewish background" (he likens this to saying a French Xn comes "from a French background");
  • treating them like novelties;
  • assuming they've got special knowledge or insight;
  • anti-semitism;
  • speaking about "the Jews" when referring to ungodly biblical behaviour, and "God's people", "the apostles" etc when referring to godly biblical behaviour;
  • insensitive use of "Palestine" (he actually thinks the term shouldn't be used)
He says: "Don't ignore us, but don't make too much of us either. Just let us be what God has made us to be, and let us make our own contribution to the manifold aspects of the beauty of the one body of Christ".
Of course some of this is true about relating to all sorts of Others, isn't it?

Email from Richard Chin

Hi Mikey & Sam,
great to be with you yesterday.
Thanks for your warm reception despite the cold weather!
Welcome to the AFES family Mikey...

I had the interview with the AFES Tasmania Area Committee yesterday and it all went really well. God willing, starting in January 2010, I'll be the Campus Director of UTAS Hobart Campus and the leader of UFCUTas.

This has been the end of a long process of planning, prayer, discussion and uncertainty. It's nice to have it all nailed down. Now begins the praying, dreaming, planning, fundraising, consulting and praying, praying, praying.

Richard also preached a mighty sermon @ TBT last night while we all ate Amy's Ratatouille, Katie's apple pie and chocolate cake and Mr Meaty's not-so-flakey pear danishes. Awesome.

Tassie Anglicans preaching resources

The Tassie Anglicans have recently published a stack of stuff on preaching. Does anyone know who wrote this?

Yay Tassie Anglicans.

Origin of the word 'company'

Andrew Barry reveals:

The word "company" was actually a shortening for "company of adventurers". Like "The Honourable Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay" aka "The Hudson Bay Trading Company". Perhaps in this sense our churches are "companies". ;) "The Daring Company of Adventurers in Jannali Caring for the Soules of the Saints and Reaching the Lost in the Westerly Partes of the Southerland Shire of Sydney". However I should say that these companies were not so honourable nor egalitarian. Spin doctors were alive back then.

Don't go bikeshedding in church committees

jml has just taught me a knew expression. Bikeshedding.

Tough Timothy

Sandy rightly questions the silly tendency of calling Timothy 'timid Timothy'.

The Mystics: Teresa of Avila

Lecture online.

Driscoll in Australia 2009

I'm praying that at least 40 Tassies come to Melbourne in November 2009.

I'm hoping that non-church planter applicants go to the AFES National Training Event in December 2009.

Go to France, prayer for workers in France

55% of pastors in the evangelicals churches of France are over 55 years old.
40% of pastors in the evangelical churches in France are aged between 40 and 55 years old.
Retirment age in France is 60 years old.

Aussie missios Danny and Debbie write:

The French church,which has grown eightfold over the last 60 years, will be left vulnerable to false teaching or stagnation under superficial teaching if more teachers are not raised up.

Please pray for more workers for the harvest in France - French students to take up this challenge, for more missionaries, and please pray to God and ask him if you, too, might come and strengthen God
's church in France.

George McFly is praying for us in here in Australia

Thanks Matt Chandler.

H/T Will

Writing a draft confessional statement

Sigh. It makes me angry. I'm listening to The Cure. The Cure make Gordo angry. So what goes first - ontology or epistemology? God or us? Creation or gospel? How much detail? Which preposition?

Writing confessional statements is bad for your sanctificaion.

Gordo wants you to pay attention to Saturday Sola Panel

Even thought they're long.

Gordo serves us well by:

  1. Pointing us to a section about the dangers of 'accountability' in men's ministry.
  2. And teaching us a groovy bit of slang.
Thanks Gordo.

Do American preachers recycle their material heaps more than Australians?

Listening to Driscoll @ TGC conference. Seems like I've heard him. on negatives, positives and neutrals before. Definitely heard Dirty Don re-use stuff often.

I feel like Aussie preachers do this less - is that accurate? If it is, why?

Are we more insistent on returning to the word, week after week, as a ministry rule of thumb? Are we more insistent on preparing new material for new occasions?

I do re-use sometimes, but it'd be the exeption rather than the norm. Perhaps a little bit more common would be the insertion of little 'plugins' or 'riffs' to a new sermon.

How often do you re-use? What are some pros and cons?

Amber reviews Twilight

The latest novel that Christians don't like.

Justin asks whether you should publish the preaching program

And raises some great concerns.

I'd love to have the discussion, but let's have it over on Justin's blog, shall we? I'll meet you there.

At least we know what they're not

Challies is getting some clarity on The Gospel Coalition.

Sola Panel seems to have listened

And started posting shorter posts.

Thanks SP.

Pilgrim Hill

Peirce and Christina are two of the most fascinating and lovely people I know.

They have plans to establish some kind of L'Abri kind of backpackers in Huonville, Tasmania.

You can follow the progress of Pilgrim Hill on their Facebook page.

Nikki catered for TBT for over a year

Cooking for 10-30 people every week while having two kids ain't easy.

Her daahls, broccoli and almond soups, spag bols, pumpkin soups, curries and other precious things were the main source of vegetables in the weekly diet of many a student.

When Stine suggested that we eat together every week, I knew she was right. But I inwardly groaned at the thought of having to organise bitsy things, set up a roster for a ministry that was really still only an idea.

"I'll do it," Nikki said. And she did. And it was very good.
Now TBT is organising some basic duties and "cooking detail" is one of them. Katie is now in charge of cooking detail.

So thanks for your hard work Nikki. You are a Tryphosa of the 21st century.

Will's church met in a tent

In Somerset, Tasmania because they didn't have a building for a while. That's rock n roll.

I had coffee with Will and his mate Jonothan yesterday @ Villino. Villino, along with Oomph and Island, is part of Hobart's Bermuda Triangle of coffee.

He's the real Slim Shady, I reckon. Willing to go the long, hard slog which is real Aussie church planting. Willing to work in a parttime-only parish position rather than cry that the denomination won't pay him a full wage. He even has relevant facial hair.

The Tassie Anglicans are blessed to have him. He's part of a cool thing called the "Imagine Project", a sissy name, but an awesome initiative :-)

Mr Meaty likes sharing times in church

So he says.

I don't like them in most cases, except, as Meaty acknowledges in <40 people churches.

Let's have an open sharing time about it: do you like open sharing times in church?

Cultural savviness and web URLs

Justin shares his reasoning in choosing the church's URL. This sort of grasp of technology is admirable as it is rare.

The idolatry of Christian leaders

If you can't ever imagine your church/movement/college surviving without its current leader then he's become an idol.
It's a sharp rebuke. But the positive truth is wonderful: God's work will continue in my life and in the world, without my favourite church and without my favourite leader. I know that's what Tassie Bible College students have learned, that God has kept them and even wonderfully matured them while away from their home church and their close Christian friends.

That's great news, isn't it?

Challies is trying to understand what the Gospel Coalition is

And he'll tell us as soon as he knows.

This is exactly what people have said about Vision 100 here in Tassie. And what people are already asking about Oz 29. It's the vibe; it's Mabo.

I heard Ghostface Keller describing it on the live webcast as a network of networks, a centred set, a whole bunch of people being reminded that their movements won't save the world.

FWIW, Ghostface also said that they really don't want to start Gospel Coalition International, because they don't want American hegemony. Good call.

Mr Meaty likes the new Tuesday Crossroads banner

He did a little photo shoot.

Conference speaker etiquette

Watching Gospel Coalition live and wondering whether Dirty Don and Pastor Mark and Tim Keller (no nickname for him yet - any suggestions?) are sitting in the audicence right now.

Have you ever found it weird when a key speaker at a conference doesn't sit in on the rest of the conference? Is it ok? Is it a little weird? To deliver your own messages but not sit under the other messages? To speak to a conference but not participate in the conference?

It's also kinda strange when, for example you speak at a youth camp. You get the private room and the special treatment. All you are doing is a couple of sermons in the evening. The other leaders have to be on their feet all day long stopping the other young adults from killing each other, having sex with each other and setting things on fire. They deserve more special treatment in a way. It's strange, huh?

I've never done a training course on this one. What do you all reckon? How do we think in a godly way about conference speaking etiquette? What are the unwritten rules for what is expected of a conference speaker? What are the unwritten rules for what should be provided for a conference speaker?

Listening to John PIper

Live on the Gospel Coalition Conference webcast.

They have made a cool move this year. They've asked their main speakers to share an exposition of 2Timothy. Conferences built around exposition through a book of the Bible is something we take for granted here in Australia. But it's a pretty refreshing thing for an American conference.

Dan would say "That's mighty".

Sam Green reviews George Negus' Islam book

On a new blog, just for this purpose.

H/T Jolly.

The Gospel Coalition will be webcasting live

Starting around midnight tonight Australin EST I think.

Peter Adam on Quaker use of Scripture

Does anyone have Peter Adam's book on Scripture nearby and could shoot me through the quote about how the Quakers used Scripture phraseology to describe non-Scriptural experiences?

Any cool advice on tackling the Thomist view of the soul?

Apparently this influenced Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. She writes:

Nothing can be compared to the great beauty and capabilities of a soul; however keen our intellects may be, they are as unable to comprehend them as to comprehend God, for, as he has told us, he created us in his own image and likeness.... [The soul] which symbolize God himself.

Small is beautiful too

Isn't it cool that there's a conference devoted to this?

Is the net the real world?

jml has just commented on his legitimate experiences of community online:

For what it's worth, I work from home with people all over world through
the Internet; many people I count as close friends are people I know
principally via the net; I have proclaimed the Gospel on the net; I've been
a peacemaker on the net; I've published on the net; I've built software that
has been given away to the internet community over the internet; I've taught
people; I've gossiped and slandered and boasted and gazed lecherously and
drunkenly slurred on the net; I've even practiced hospitality.

I can't help but feel patronized when someone says that this is not the
"real world". Were it true, it would mean I am not a real person.

Ways I seek to honour those before me

  1. I spend a lot of time with older pastors here in Hobart. I ask them advice. I seek to help them in their ministry. I submit to them often, even if I don't like their point of view.
  2. I speak warmly, positively and supportively of them, rather than taking time to dwell on their faults.
  3. I don't like young reactionaries who go into great detail about the flaws of existing institutions and leaders. There is time for healthy, positive discussion. But I switch off if all someone wants to do is talk about the problem with foo.
  4. The older generation are the good guys and should be treated as such.
  5. The older generation fought the battles and paved the way for the things we now enjoy. We stand on their shoulders.
  6. We should be willing to lost battles and face annoyances for the sake of pleasing and honouring the holder generations.
  7. I stay a formal part of the MTS movement, against some pressure to leave and although MTS National in some ways doesn't give a great deal to the Tassie scene. I stay a formal part because I want to honour it.
  8. I will always subscribe to Sola Panel, even if it's not always my cup of tea. I seek to involved in the SP community to love and learn from the SP crew.
  9. I will listen very carefully to the criticisms of the older generation.
  10. I'm an active and law-abiding member of Presbytery. Not because I have any delusions or ambitions or 'turning around' the Presbytery. But because if I'm going to be a part of a denomination, I want to do so honourably. It is good for me to be in a situation where I have to make compromises with Christians with whom I have so little in common.
  11. I defer to the older generation, even if it's annoying, inconvenient. There is something wrong with only 'using' the advice and kudos of the older generation. They should inconvenience you at times.
  12. I'm doing uni ministry at the advice of an older mentor. I didn't really want to do it. The older strongly suggested I think about it. So I did. He was right.
Sorry if all of these things don't come across in the blog all the time. I'm commenting and interacting with bits and pieces and so my general MO may not be apparent. I was ordained as a church elder at 21. I've been a full-time, paid pastor since I was 23. I've already had my fair share of stupid, gung-ho mistakes - you have no idea! I realise how much I owe those who are older. I realise how I can't do any better. I'll just make different mistakes.

Do other people have hints and tips on how to be godly in their relationship to the older genereation?

Cups of tea and being with you in spirit

Nikki whacks the kettle on as soon as I get home. And we make a pot of tea and sit down somewhere and just be. It sounds so simple. It's taken us about two years to really master it. For a while we had to buy fancy chocolate just to provide additional motivation to get in the habit. We still buy leaf tea for these occasions.

We're not actually tea snobs. We drink it with lots of milk and with sugar. But we still like pot tea. Tea snobbery feels a little bit second-rate, like beer snobbery. It's for people who don't understand coffee and wine.

Also, Nikki is great at being with me in spirit. We're not doing separate things that are completely unrelated to each other. We are not competing with each other for time and importance. We are in it all together. When you are with the other person in spirit, it's much nicer. And it's much easier to negotiate.

Flow of thought in Colossians 2

A. Fullness in Christ over all powers and authorities
B. Circumcised by the stripping away of sin
C. Buried and raised with Christ
C.' Dead in uncircumcision but raised and forgiven in Christ
B.' Christ stripped away the powers and authorities
A.'  Christ triumphs over all powers and authorities

I'm not arguing that Paul had the intention of writing a chiastic structure. But it's a nice way of tracing the threads and arguments of the passage, don't you think?

Following 'soma' through Colossians 2

- the fullness of God dwelling bodily (9)
- the circumcision of our body of flesh (11)
- the reality (body) of religious rituals is found in Christ (17)
- the whole body is connected to the Head (19)
- asceticism treats the body harshly (23)

Archie tries to explain why there are few megachurches in Sydney


Dan introduces messy church

Which is one of those things that only something like Crossroads House can offer.

H/T Fi for sparking off this idea by telling us about something in Western Australia.

The cloud of unknowing

The third lecture in the Mystics series has just come up on the Crossroads website.

It was a great night. Kangaroo stew. Diverse range of visitors. I decided to preach standing up for the first time.

How do the next generation relate to the older generation?

Andrew has sparked off a fascinating discussion on Sola Panel.

One especially sharp comment came from ex-Hobartian Stu White:

Establishments that have been built upon strong prophetic ministries face three options:

1. Rediscover their prophetic voice by dealing -in a costructively critical way- with a current and significant blindspot that genuinely hinders the life and mission of the church.

2. Keep sounding prophetic without actually having anything to be prophetic about. In which case, criticism is no longer constructive but destructive and negative.

3. Make a transtition from prophetic voice to gracious etsablishment. At this point, the establishment becomes a sounding board, a prayerful encouragement, and a grounded resource for the church it transformed and the new prophetic voice wherever and whenever it may arise.

I think the unease of the next generation is largely because some of the establishments we have, and still do, love who were even a prophetic voice that we benefitted from, are currently hovering around option 2.

I think every Christian movement should assume it must transition to option 3 at some stage. I hope this generation of Christians who rightly recognise the form of church needs a serious refresh, graciously makes the transition themselves when their work is done.

Well put, Stu. I, for one, would love to have the MTS-Matthias movement become a gracious establishment. We desperately need their experience, theological brilliance and shared desire for theologically-rigorous missionary pragmatism.

New Xpose Preaching blog

Xpose is a cutting edge preaching conference in Melbourne. It's seeking to carve out a new breed of passionate, sharp, deep preachers. It's been started by a couple of young pastors in Melbourne who just want to get on and do stuff. It's a new thing, not the result of some committee, denomination, or college.

This year, myself and John Chapman will be the speakers and I'm very excited, partly just cause I reckon Melbourne's an awesome city, mostly cause I believe in this conference.

One of the organisers, Stu White, has started up a blog for the leadup to the conference.

The Bain reviews Hobart churches

Crossroads and Mt Stuart.

Thanks for your kind words, Al.

Block Cinema

Tuesday Crossroads is going to start a free, monthly community cinema: Block Cinema, starting with the  starting with the Scorcese/De Niro classic Raging Bull. It's a gesture of hospitality to the Hobart community.

I just found out by listening to Hobart community radio, that the groovy Alley Cat bar has just decided to do a weekly community cult cinema for $15 entry, food and drink provided, starting with the Scorcese/De Niro classic Taxi Driver.

Now on the one hand that's annoying, to have competition early on... but hang on! It's sooo good. We are hitting a nerve. Our non-Chrisitan neighbours feel that there is a lack of community cinema in Hobart, and they like Scorcese films! Besides, we're free and all ages.

I wish that both flourish powerfully.

Paul Grimmond wrestled with the nature of the blog post

By comparing it to other mediums.

That's the problem. Blogging is a different medium. Blogging is definitely best if it's short in my opinion. The whole point of The Briefing guys stepping into the blogsphere is them trying to contribute to a new medium and culture. Paul's post, I think demonstrates that they still have a lot of listening and learning to do.

IMHO, all Sola Panellists should have to follow and comment on at least six blogs daily, out of both education and courtesy.

Praying for world mission

Is every Christians duty and privilege. How do you do it? Do you do it?

I am a member of CMS and order their prayer diary every year which is a superb resource. I also jumped onto their website and requested monthly updates from all their French missios.

If you are not doing anything regular, you should at least order the CMS prayer diary. It's free and wonderful.

Oh my goodness

After they have harvested this planet, they are moving on to Mars.

One to one ministry launch

We are launching a fresh look at 1:1 ministry @ Crossroads Classic. A fair few people expressed interest in one to one ministry at our church conference, so we've asked Jake Bevan to get a bunch together and get something happening.

It's funny, 1:1 ministry mustn't be overly formalised or else it becomes rigid and tired and dutiful; nor must it be understructured so that noone actually gets around to it and shy people don't feel able to do it. I'm sure Jake will get the balance right.

This Sunday after Crossroads Classic.

Your ministry's Facebook Group should become a Page

Tuesday Crossroads made the move, at Bron's suggestion a month ago. Never looked back.

The Page format is so much more versatile, and so much more visible in the 'stream' of Facebook. Make the switch.

The six blogging parsons

Justin lists the only six Sydney Anglican rectors he knows of.

MacArthur rescues Song of Songs?

MacArthur is a good guy. I like and value his ministry for its focus on good doctrine, faithful exegesis and contending for the truth. I don't like it in other ways, for its tendency to be simplistic and reactionary. But please don't just slip into 'taking sides' between your preferred American preacher guy!

"The Rape of Solomon's Song" is the kind of reaction to Driscoll's series last year you might expect from MacArthur in 'contending' mode:

That approach is not exegesis; it is exploitation. It is contrary to the literary style of the book itself. It is spiritually tantamount to an act of rape. It tears the beautiful poetic dress off Song of Solomon, strips that portion of Scripture of its dignity, and holds it up to be laughed at and leered at in a carnal way.

There is a cultural gap between MacArthur and Driscoll... and MacArthur kind of mocks this kind of 'cultural relevance' argument earlier in this post. Older conservatives who claim to understand the cultural relevance argument and then blunder into hard-line critique show that they totally don't get the cultural gap at all.

So I think MacArthur's critique is well worth a careful hearing, but his apparent lack of hearing, as evidenced by his tone, is well worth critiquing.

H/T Challies.

Are you a cheap pragmatist when it comes to small groups?

Shane the punk rock pastor has just written a very astute post about smallgroups.

A geek reflection on Easter

Echelon sent this to me. That's Jason's computer name. Jason is a geek.

Does anyone happen to have backissues of Kategoria and a spare fifteen minutes?

I'm wanting to get a hold of Byron Smith's articles on Nietzsche in issues 22-23. Matthias Media is still trying to sell them (good luck guys!) so I can't just pull them off the net.

I'm looking for quotes from Byron and from Nietzsche about the via negativa approach to God. Nietzsche doesn't like it and Byron argues that Christianity is not totally committed to it either.

I was hoping to use it for the sermon tonight, so we got a tight deadline...

The Mystics III: The cloud of unknowing

Via negativa?
The importance of ignorance?
The higher, contemplative way?
Do patriarchies always fear the dark?
Is mysticism more consistent with grace than theological study?

See you tonight, 7:30pm @ the South Hobart Community Centre.

"It's for your own good" pastoral leadership

I don't like arguments that display a very low regard for other people; logic peppered with phrases like 'cop out' and 'water down' and 'short cut':

  • "You always have to emphasise the need to evangelise, because people will always be cowardly and cop out of evangelism."
  • "You must insist on intense, full-time theological training or potential ministers will just start taking short cuts."
  • "People must do two years of MTS and then do full-time ministry or else we will lose the sharp edge."
  • "We mustn't do social events or charity events because we will end up watering down the gospel."
  • "We can't talk about 'coprorate worship' or else we'll all become charismatics."
  • "People are as lazy as they are allowed to be."
Now there is a certain vaildity to slippery slope arguments, sure, but they can also have a certain hubris: they presume that the 'masses' are the sinners who need help and the leaders are always able to clearly see and direct things on a safe course.

Also, these sorts of arguments, when repeated often enough, communicate that the danger is really only ever in one direction, that only one emphasis needs to be warded off. We are always in danger of 'going charismatic' and never in danger of dry, cerebral faith; always in danger of 'copping out' on evangelism and never in danger of being lousy, joyless, insincere friends and citizens.

Solitude and personhood

Interesting take on personality, revelation and hiddenness - what do you think?

Secrecy and solitude are values that belong to the very essence of personality.
A Person is a person in so far as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else. If I love a person, I willl ove that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being, which God alone can penetrate and understand.
.... Our failure to respect the intimate spiritual privacy of other persons reflects a secret contempt for God Himself. It springs from the crass pride of fallen man, who wants to prove himself a god by prying into everything that is not his own business.
(T. Merton, No Man is an Island)


Phillip is an extraordinary thinker, preacher, leader. He happens to be the Dean of the Cathedral of the Sydney, but don't hold that against him.

He was the lead pastor of St Matthias Anglican Church in Sydney which was the largest Anglican church in Sydney at one time, very active in creative forms of church planting. He helped found Matthias Media and MTS and he led Campus Bible Study at UNSW which set the direction for campus ministry in Australia during the 80s and 90s.

Don Carson says about him:

Phillip Jensen is a rare combination of expository preacher, pastor, visionary, strategist, evangelist, church planter, and entrepreneur. He is the sort of man who wakes up with 14 fresh ideas before breakfast every day; better yet, he soon discerns that 13 of the 14 deserve to be thrown out in the trash, but sees how to bring about the 14th. He is enough of an iconoclast to get your attention, but is so committed to being faithful to the Bible that the independence of his judgment is safe-guarded by a passionate biblicism. In Australia and the United Kingdom, he is, in Christian circles, almost a household name. The record of God's hand upon him in fruitful ministry deserves to be better-known. One may disagree with him here and there, but I must add this: I would rather engage in a university mission with Phillip Jensenthan with any other person on God's green earth, for he simultaneously maintains clarity on the gospel, penetrating reading of the culture, holy boldness, and genuine care for lost men and women.

The Problem with Christianity is...

The Christian lifestyle. My lecture about why "Christians dress badly" and "don't put out" ends up a sustained reflection on the whole 'Christ and culture' issue.

The toilet block is getting full

Here's a photo, taken by Jolly, from the first week of The Mystics series.

That was artificially large, at around 40 people. But even last week we had around 26 people. The toilet block is getting crammed. My vision for the year was to, God willing, to get to a size where the block was getting inconvenient. Looks like it's coming earlier than planned.

What to do next? I think we should keep things feeling buzzing and full for a decent time. But then what? The obvious is to move to a larger venue. But it's be a shame to move from such a cool location. Twice a week? Twice a night? I wonder....

*Facebook page

Des Smith is preaching @ Kingston Christian Reformed Church this morning

 May they wine and dine him back into the state...

"Mortality" Good Friday service @ Crossroads

We took the risk of running a Good Friday evening service at 8pm. We weren't sure if too many people would be in too much of a hurry to get away for the double long weekend. Yet deep down we were thinking and hoping and kinda had the 'ministry hunch' that it would be awesome. There were little indications, people volunteering at the last minute to help with the 'vibe' of the service, church members setting up Facebook Events from their own initiative... just little signs.

Our vision was to give a certain Australian spin on the theme of 'mortality'; we wanted to pick up on themes of convicts, fear of wilderness. Death of a Riverguide. That sort of thing.

Anyway, it was great, big turnout, lots of visitors. Here's some highlights:

  • Powerful sermon by Dan, bridging the gap between Good Friday and Easter Sunday - how 'mortality' has us thinking about life as much as about death. Dan did an excellent job of presenting fascinating material to the Christians as well as addressing the questions of the outsider. Watch the website for it to appear soon.
  • Der did a suite of readings from Voss by Patrick White. They were well read and added to the meditative, Australian dimension to our study of mortality.
  • The music was strong and poignant.
  • We did a little work on the vibe. Everyone up the front and everyone doing ushering were dressed in black (except for Dan's shirt and Huw's shoes which were white). Shi did nice black table clothes, candles and roses around the hall.
  • I did up some Eucalypt-smoked damper and golden syrup. Jake and Dooda organised a late-night seafood barbie, with Salmon and prawns and we all stood outside around fire drums in the rain.
  • Nick and Der did a magnificent acoustic duet of an old convict song. Stirring harmonies, six verses. Chilling. Nathan, who liked Nirvana before Kurt Cobain killed himself, also sang a very quiet, haunting tunes.
Thanks to all involved and praise God for a great event that I'm sure will stick in the memories of both Christian and non-Christian guests.

Everyone can't have the coolest Easter advertising...

This year, it was Crossroads who had the coolest:

Thanks to everyone else for trying. Better luck next year.

You are welcome to join us, if you are in Hobart: 8pm @ Philip Smith Centre. We'll provide music, gothic atmosphere, a reading from Voss by Patrick White, a seafood barbie and a sermon on 1Corinthians 15.

The Map of Cool

Luke links to an article that sounds intriguing. But it doesn't map the willow-the-wisp which is cool. Simply buzz and fuss and hype. Oh well.

Launch team: don't waste your time training leaders

This is something I have become persuaded of over the last few months.

You see, I used to think that every time is a good time for leadership training. And in a sense that's right. But there is a season for everything under heaven. And there is a time when leadership training must not be the main focus.

In the early days of church planting, you don't need more leaders. Not at first. You have a leader: the church planter. In the early days, what you really need is a team of welcomers, treasurers, musicians, personal evangelists.

In future, instead of gathering a group of leaders to talk and traing about leading, I will be spending your time every week meeting with these people, sharing my vision with them, debriefing with them about how they are doing their jobs.

If you establish these non-leadership ministries really well early on, then you will be freed up to focus on leadership development later on.

I came into the office this morning

And clearly someone has been trying to formulate a mission strategy for TBT.

Hot tips on devotions for little little kids

Just smoke the Piper.

H/T Stine.

The self-imposed deadline

I've blogged about this before. I struggled to get GTD to fully work until I began setting deadlines for myself.

Matt reassures us that self-imposed deadlines are real.

Go for hard, focused work, first thing

Rather than just checking your email; Matt suggests we set up a morning dash.

I like this idea. I think I'll take it.

Seven hints on fostering gracious communities

This is great stuff for all churches, but especially helpful for what we are trying to do @ Crossroads House.

Dan, the senior pastor @ Crossroads, would love 'welcome the mess' - it's a bit of a slogan for church this year.

Some tips on the use of illustrations in evangelistic preaching

Con provides a great list.

I know Jake's an evangelist

Because he would honestly much rather strike up cold contact conversations than hand out fliers. He prefers the more confrontational thing.

This arvo he did fifteen minutes of handing out fliers and felt unclean afterwards.

Two things we're working on with Xavvy at the moment

He's four, he's awesome and he's trying to figure out how to correctly use the word 'billion' (eg "I'm billions tired"):

  1. Don't talk back: When he gets told off he often repeats what we say. We're hitting this pretty hard. There's gonna be no sass in our household thank you very much.
  2. Dear God...: We're gradually teaching him how to pray and building his confidence in praying out loud during our dinner devotions, instead of a Bible reading. We're up to "Dear God, you're excellent. Thanks for the yummy food. Amen". Next up is "Sorry for saying 'No' to you".

Nikki is kids coordinator

Nikki has accepted an invitation from Dan to help set up a kids ministry for Crossroads House. The role is for 6 months, and Dan has granted an honorarium payment of $2 000 as a symbol of our desire to invest in kids ministry.

I am really excited to be working as a 'ministry family' in a whole new way. I'm really confident that Nikki will do a great job in the role and I know she's hopeful that it will teach her new things as well.

Coming back from overseas, I think Nikki and I both have really grown in our appreciation of how we are a ministry partnership. It's good fun.

Looking at inner-city Sydney afresh

Andrew Lim writes about how to reach "new Sydney".

H/T Craig.

Are Christians daggy in other parts of the world?

The modern concept of 'cool' is perhaps pretty unique, so you'd have to consider cultures that have inherited something of the global Western culture...

But do Christians have the same pall of dagginess over them in France? Japan? South Africa?

The Mystics: Anthony of the Desert

Now online. Sorry for the poor sound quality, we're experimenting with the powers of the iPhone.

This was our largest week, with 40 people attending (thanks, in part, to guests from an SMBC mission). A local Catholic priest also sent his apologies.

The Good Samaritan is Jesus

Dirty Don Carson argues contextually that this a major thrust of the parable.

The Problem with Christianity is...

... their stupid beliefs by Sam Green.

I'm doing this coming Tuesday, the last in the five-part response to a campus-wide survey. I'll be doing 'The Problem with Christianity... is the Christian Lifestyle'.

These sorts of things can tend to taper off towards the end, so I strongly urge you to make every effort to come and help us finish well.

87 music ministry links for Nick

I tried to link to this, but the link didn't work. So here it is, cut and pasted from the Acts 29 blog. (enjoy mate - I'll expect you to have this all read by Monday):

87 Resources on Worship by Scott Thomas

  1. Section One: Acts 29 Resources (audio and articles)
  2. Section Two: Institute for Christian Worship audio files (Southern Seminary)
  3. Section Three: John Piper seminar on Worship
Section One

Acts 29 Worship Resources


Harold Best: Is "Worship" the Only Word for Worship?

Harold Best: Jesus the Sole Mediator of Worship and the Helplessness of Music

Tim Smith: Missional Worship

Michael Bleeker and Andy Melvin: The Worship Pastor

Mark Driscoll: Worship & Idolatry

Scott Womer: Redefining the Role of a Worship Leader

Matt Stevens: Worship & the Arts

Tim Smith: Worship & Culture

Tim Smith: What is Missional Worship

Tim Smith: Worship and Culture: Part 1

Tim Smith: Worship and Culture: Part 2

Tim Smith: Missional Worship - Part 1

Tim Smith: Missional Worship - Part 2

Mike Cosper: Missional Strategies for the Arts | Part 1

Mike Cosper: Missional Strategies for the Arts | Part 2

Matt Stevens: Creativity in the Local Church | Seattle 2007

Matt Stevens: Creativity in the Local Church | Raleigh, NC


Bob Logan: Model a Lifestyle of Worship

Scott Womer: An Understanding of Earthly Worship

Tim Smith: Missional Worship

Luke Abrams: How To Write A Worship Song

Matt Stevens: "AND SOME DAYS, I DON'T LOVE YOU AT ALL" Recognizing Need in Worship

Section Two

Justin Taylor posted audio files from Southern Seminary's Institute for Christian Worship. Some of the ones you will find are listed below:

David Peterson:

What Really Is Worship? The Worship That Pleases God Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: Does the Bible Direct Us in the Choice of Musical Styles? Meeting God in the Gathering of His People Worship That Jesus Makes Possible

D.A. Carson thinks that Peterson's book, Engaging With God: A Biblical Theology of Worship (1992), is one of the very best treatments available.

John Frame:

Worshiping God's Way (Part 1) Worshiping God's Way (Part 2) Christian Worship Music: Is It Postmodern?

Frame's two books on worship are Worship in Spirit and Truth: A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship (1996) and Contemporary Worship: A Biblical Defense (1997). These books make some in the Reformed camp uncomfortable, but I found both of them to be very helpful.

Harold Best:

Music for, by, and Toward the Church The Glory of God in Contemporary Worship: A Shared Burden Text and Music: Content and Context for Music in Ministry The Arts in Worship: Can't Art Just Be Art? Authentic Multiculturalism and High Culture Authentic Multiculturalism and High Culture: What of Quality?

Best's two books on worship are Music Through the Eyes of Faith (1993) and Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts (2003). Music Through the Eyes of Faith has had a significant impact on John Piper, and he highly recommends the book.

Michael Card:

The Lost Language of Lament Worshiping the God Who Takes Everything Away

For Card on lament, see A Sacred Sorrow Experience Guide: Reaching out to God in the Lost Language of Lament (2005) and The Hidden Face of God: Finding the Missing Door to the Father Through Lament (2007).

Keith and Kristyn Getty:

World Music for the Universal Church Irish Hymns: A Singing Faith for the Worshipping Church A Musical and Poetic Vernacular for Worship: Finding a Heart Language for the Modern Church The New Hymns The Making of Worship Songs for the Modern Church The Songs That Jesus Said: Singing the Bible for Young Worshipers

Stuart Townend, Keith Getty, and Kristyn Getty:

Hymns, Worship, and Christian Thought (Part 1) Hymns, Worship, and Christian Thought (Part 2) Modern Hymns: Christian Congregational Song for the 21st Century

Bob Kauflin:

What Is Word-Centered Worship? Visuals in Worship: How Do We See God? Worship and the Presence of God Worship Leadership: Gift and Craft Piano Stylings for Effective Leadership in Contemporary Worship Arranging the Rhythm Section for Contemporary Worship Vocal Arranging for Effective Leadership in Contemporary Worship Healthy Tensions in Corporate Worship Congregational Worship as Pastoral Care Why the Cross Is Crucial in Corporate Worship Worship Music or Music Worship: The Meaning of Music in Congregational Worship Making the Most of the Modern Worship Movement Music in Worship: Divine or Divisive? Creativity in Worship: Novelty or Necessity? Worship: What Really Matters Biblical Worship in a Postmodern Age

Kauflin's book is Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (2008). See also his blog, Worship Matters. If you lead others in worship, this is probably the first book to get your hands on.

Kevin Twit:

Exploring the 'Why' behind the Modern Hymn Movement (Part 1) Exploring the 'Why' behind the Modern Hymn Movement (Part 2) Engaging the Emerging Church with Hymns My Grandmother Saved it, My Mother Threw It Away, and Now I'm Buying It Back: Why We Still Need Hymns in a Postmodern World Hymns as Passion, Story, and Community: Exploring Connections with a Postmodern World New Music in the Christian Community: An Apologetic for Popular Musical Styles

Jason Harms:

Lessons in Jazz from the Book of Daniel (Part 1) Lessons in Jazz from the Book of Daniel (Part 2) Jazz as a Means of Growing in the Knowledge of God

See Jason's writings and music at

Section Three

John Piper:

John Piper's five-hour seminar on worship is a bonus. With the links below you can either watch the videos, read the notes, or listen to the audio for free:

Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 1 Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 2 Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 3 Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 4 Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 5 Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning, Part 6 Download: Audio | Video Download: Audio | Video Download: Audio | Video Download: Audio | Video

Mohawk church

Seumas blogs about a new church plant in groovy Newtown. The name sounds a little like a 90s nightclub, but man it's great to hear about the pioneer planting taking place.

It'll be a hard, slow, slog. And you can follow it all on the lead pastor's blog.

Encouraged by godly behaviour on controversial discussion thread

The Holy Ghost in cyberspace.

Trippy Parenting

Tedd Tripp recently brought all the vowels of his name to Crowded House to speak about parenting:

We shouldn't teach five-year-olds to be decision-makers - we should model good decisions and obedience to authority. Teach them that it is a blessing to live under wise and loving authority.

The Problem with Christianity is... kills rational enquiry.

My lecture yesterday at the Uni Fellowship of Christians.

Jake the angry apprentice

Is in the office trying to use Facebook. He signed on for Facebook after holding out for years. He only signed on cause he kind of thought he should.

It's making him stressed and angry.

It's reminds me of having Jolly as an apprentice.

Looks like I'll be sharing the platform with Chappo

At Xpose Preaching Conference. That'll be an adventure :-)

Does cultural engagement even exist?

Paul Grimmond asks the question.

Feels a little like Driscoll-bashing is becoming a new sport over on Sola Panel. The young trendies must let people critique Driscoll deeply, so it is a very welcome thing to have thoughtful critique from 'good guys'.

On another level, it does very much feel like lines are starting to get drawn and people are positioning themselves.

Keller on Jairus' daughter

Talitha koum is well translated "Honey, it's time to get up!"

  • Death is no obstacle. Jesus doesn't say "Stand back! This is gonna be tough!" With Jesus, death is nothing more than a good night's sleep.
  • What tenderness!