The Truth About Lasting Peace

Earlier this week, the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The League of Nations’ short-lived attempt at enforcing global peace after 1918 was an example of the repeated failure of human attempts to bring lasting international harmony. The urgent quest for a truce during times of war will quickly give way to new priorities and expectations. This reveals a sad fact about our own internal drivers and how they typically conspire against attempts to find lasting peace. Continue reading

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The Missing Gift?

The 1997 movie, The Apostle, was another of the many films that paint Christian ministry in a negative light. Today, the apostle is an important, but missing, gift in churches needing reinvigoration. Apostles are often misrepresented, though, as supposedly-superior leaders worthy of recruiting devotees beyond their local church. Self-designation becomes especially problematic when people gravitate to the charisma of leaders deemed to speak for God who have built little and assumed much. Given that the term is itself biblical, it is important to understand its significance to then understand its benefits. Continue reading

Three Marks of Churches that Grow

Goalposts mark out a footballer’s scoring territory. They help to define success. Coaches may speak of the ‘one percenters’ of contributing effort or praise a player’s execution of strategy, but it is the score on the board that measures the team’s all-important outcomes. How do we improve ‘the score’ in an era of church decline where the message is not tried and found wanting, but is often not tried at all? Continue reading

The Truth About Your Rebirth

One of the simplest and most foundational aspects of the Christian faith is often one of the most misunderstood. Christianity is not only about having a relationship with God focused on eternal benefits. It offers a rebirth which gives us a new identity positively affecting our life on Earth. A relationship with God transforms us to live differently. It doesn’t deny suffering and imperfection, but offers newfound hope this side of the grave. It doesn’t make Christians better than others, just better off. Continue reading

A Hero Without Equal

When the greatest event of history is about to be celebrated this weekend, it seems remarkable that so much else is dominating news headlines. Cricket’s ball tampering scandal unfolding in South Africa is one such example. It offers an intriguing contrast to the Easter story. At a time when role models are placed on pedestals from which they too easily fall, Jesus remains the timeless hero of history. Continue reading

What Research Says About The Value Of Christianity

A recent Weekend Australian article rightly observed that people underestimate the value of Christianity. Its further decline, said the article, will bring “a crippling loss of civic purpose.” With churches providing an enormous supply of volunteer labour and welfare support, Christianity consistently evidences social transformation reflective of its values. Although this is often masked by disproportionate attention to appalling clergy abuses, many also prejudicially reject Christianity as an anti-intellectual faith. Actual statistics, though, are telling. Continue reading

The Best of the New Testament Commentaries

“Commentaries too often replace our need to hear from God,” an older minister once told me. He was right in the sense that our devotional reading of the Bible is never out of vogue. On the other hand, for background insights and a richer perspective of context, the learning provided by experts can be extremely helpful. Most of their work is very readable and affordable. So, here’s my take on some of the best commentaries available for the books of the New Testament. Continue reading