This week, I'm wrestling with the book of Ecclesiastes, in preparation for preaching on chapter 12 this coming Sunday. … Read more about Perhaps Ecclesiastes isn't meant to be understood.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.
Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
There's much debate as to exactly what that means. Jesus couldn't mean that adults have to be like children in every sense, as we could never be short enough. (Well, most of us couldn't — you know who you are.) In what sense “like a child”? … Read more about Like a little child
I had a really interesting conversation this last week on the subject of what proportions of sermons here should be on which parts of Scripture. (I said that I try to aim at 1/3 each of Old Testament, Gospel, and rest of New Testament - after using some weeks for the occasional topical series). … Read more about How balanced is your preaching programme?
THE Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.
Yesterday, I had two very interesting conversations after church services, which set off the following thoughts. (What follows is not something I said to either person, although it might have been helpful if I had done).
Many English Bibles print the words of Jesus in red. … Read more about The words in red were not spoken to you.
Lots of people's discovery of the Christian faith goes something like this:
They start out thinking that it's all about being good. If we're good enough, God might just accept us.
They then discover the wonderful news the Bible calls "grace". Jesus did not come to call people to be good; he came to show us we could never be good enough, so that we can receive God's kindness as a gift we could never earn. We need Jesus as our saviour.
But then that leads to confusion: If God's grace is free and undeserved, does it matter how I live? Can't I live as I please? … Read more about Why Jesus must be Lord as well as Saviour
Oh, the pain of leaving things out.
I'm preaching on 1 Kings 11-12 on Sunday. As is always the case with preaching, the aim is to help people to hear what that part of Scripture is saying to us today. And in order to be clear, you have to be ruthless. So often, there are all kinds of really interesting things you've learnt and discovered in the text, and they have to go on the proverbial cutting-room floor. … Read more about Israel becomes Egypt
I'm preaching on 1 Kings 2 this Sunday, and it's a trickier passage than it first looks.
David had previously overlooked two murders committed by his commander in chief, Joab, and pardoned the insolent Shimei.
Then the time comes to hand over the kingdom to Solomon. (So thank you to King Juan of Spain for choosing this week...). He urges Solomon to bring justice to these two.
So here's the question: Why did David change his mind? … Read more about Why did David change his mind?