In late 2014 I was asked if I would prepare a series of messages on God and Human Sexuality. The leaders and pastoral team of a large church in Asia requested this. I said I would, but was a little reluctant yet at the same time could see how vital it is that to consider these matters amidst the increasing folly of our world. We would be wise to always bear in mind the words of the apostle John when he wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of … Read More »
We live in times of upward mobility, or so it seems, at least where western ‘values’ predominate. Humility is definitely not in fashion. The cult of celebrity is everywhere and is terribly obnoxious to the thoughtful heart. Just consider the ‘Oscars’ and ‘Grammy’ awards and see the world’s glitterati fawning over one another. So much pretension, and even in the churches it is plain to see. When I visit certain countries and am introduced as the ‘visiting preacher’, after the initial question of whereabouts I come from almost predictably I am asked, “and how big is your home church?” The question both grieves and amuses me. I can almost predict that if I say, “oh, it is only a small church of about fifty people,” I diminish in the eyes of my questioner, their estimate of the value of any … Read More »
The Cure of Souls
(the work of the week)
What ministry is all about the other six days.
When Eugene Peterson first wrote this article for Leadership Journal 30 years ago, we couldn’t have predicted that it would be even more apt now than it was then. He frames the issue of pastoral vocation in sharp clarity.
There’s a distinction between what pastors do on Sundays and what we do between Sundays. What we do on Sundays has not really changed through the centuries: proclaiming the gospel, teaching Scripture, celebrating the sacraments, offering prayers. But the work between Sundays has changed radically, and it has not been a development but a defection.
Until about a century ago, what pastors did between Sundays was of a piece with what they did on Sundays. The context changed: instead of an assembled congregation, the pastor was with … Read More »
We were part of a small house meeting this week; it was good to be together. During the discussion that followed a brief ten-minute video, the word ‘lukewarm’ came up a good deal. What is a lukewarm Christian? What causes someone to become merely lukewarm? Most of us will know that the Lord Jesus uses this word when He sends a letter to His church in the city of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). He describes the true state of the church in devastating terms and indicates just how dimwitted and blinded they had become as to their condition in the eyes of the Lord, “you are neither cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
During our house group discussion someone remarked that apparently, the reference … Read More »
This musing has been a long time coming. Usually I write something about every three weeks. I do not find writing easy, it is exacting and restricting at the same time, or so it seems to me, not that I am trying to avoid the discipline involved! There are so many things to say, when you try to write on a subject one thought leads to another and it could almost become a book. Then there is the matter of those times when the flow seems to stop and you dry up. ‘Writers block,’ I believe it is called. Well, I am no expert penman, but I have some experience of such a block! Thankfully I do have encouragement from some who take time to read these rather poor expressions of some of my ponderings around spiritual themes and they … Read More »