Learning to See – pastors preachers, missionaries and planters

In earlier posts I’ve talked about the preachers need to exegete or understand 3 things before preaching, God’s Word,  The Congregation and himself. What I mean by this is that we don’t just look at the text in isolation.

1. We need to apply it so we need to think carefully about the congregation- what is the application they will need in their pastoral circumstances and what will stop them from hearing or obeying.

2. We need to be aware of ourselves. What is in my own heart? What might prevent me from hearing, communicating and applying God’s word truthfully and Effectively?

I want to expand on this in two ways. Continue reading

Disciple-making churches won’t be able to fill their rotas

How do we know if our church is doing okay? One of the measures I’m tempted to look at is whether or not our rotas are going to be filled.  Do we have enough people to welcome, to do Sunday Club, to be in the music group, to preach, lead services, serve coffee and tea, staff children’s clubs etc. Continue reading

Mission is not the enemy of pastoral care

It’s one of the perennial challenges for church leaders. Do we focus outwardly on mission or inwardly on pastoral-care.  At times, it can feel like these two things are in competition. If our focus is always on outreach, then people in the church will go uncared for, unvisited, unsupported.  Of course, if we don’t do mission, then will we see any new people? Does that local church have a future? Continue reading

Learning to Enjoy God: When an Alcoholic meets the good God

When we came to Methuselah, the alcoholic, we intuitively went to Ephesians 5:18:

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Here we see that being filled with the Spirit is contrasted – not compared – with being drunk on wine.  I think that one of the key things here is that for Methuselah, being filled with the Spirit, walking closely with God every day, learning to live under total submission to the Lord is meant to give him a taste of something that will give deep, lasting satisfaction in a way that no craving or addiction can. Continue reading

…and then there’s the great Spaghetti god in the sky

This is linked to my earlier post on whether atheists believe in one less god out of 3ooo than Christians.  The point the atheist is making is that there are all of these so called gods out there with equally competing claims – how do I know that my god is valid?  Every religion claims that its god made the Universe, controls it answers prayer etc.  So, why shouldn’t I, just as plausibly believe in the great spaghetti monster? Continue reading

Beasts and Dragons (Revelation 12-13)

When Sarah asked the young people what they knew about the book of Revelation, she got the answer “It’s full of beasts and dragons and cool stuff like that.”

Well, for those of you who have just been looking forward to the “beasts, dragons and cool stuff.” We have arrived! “Here be dragons!” Continue reading

One less god?

“You don’t believe in 3000 gods, I just happen to believe in one less than you.” It’s one of the great claims atheists make against Christianity.[1]  The argument is that there are so many possible options for a god to believe in, what is to say that your god is the true god? What makes your claim stand out above all the others? Continue reading