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I hope you find material here to enrich, resource and inspire you as you learn and grow in your own discipleship and ministry.


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Preaching as creative act

In my nearly ten years teaching preaching, and my 33 years of speaking and preaching, I have come to the conclusion that the best way of summarising the task of preaching (in whatever context) is answering the question: What is God saying to these people at this time through this text?

This roots preaching in the biblical text, but also makes it rooted in the particular context in which ‘preaching’ is happening (whether this context is formal or informal, primarily to God’s people or those who are not yet God’s people). It holds it in close company with the prophetic task of proclaiming God’s message, connecting the ‘there and then’ of Scripture with the ‘here and now’ of contemporary ministry.

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End Times and Jesus’ return

There is going to be a flurry of interest in the whole question of ‘End Times’ in the autumn, as two films are released on the subject. The first is a remake of the ‘Left Behind’ film, based on the idea of the ‘rapture’ which forms part of J N Darby‘s dispensationalism, interpreted through the […]

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Is openness the highest virtue?

I have just read a really interesting reflection on the larger context of the ‘gay debate’ by Anna Norman Walker, whom I knew in passing from theological college, and who is now Diocesan Missioner in Exeter Diocese. In it, she puts her finger on a number of issues which are particularly pertinent for those from […]

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Same-sex marriage and moral debate

In the C of E, and more widely in the UK, the church discussion about the moral status of same-sex unions tends to take place in isolation from other moral issues. (Perhaps the one exception to that is the recent debate about women in leadership—but I argue here that these two questions are quite distinct.) […]

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Does ‘Israel’ have a divine right to the land? part 2

In my previous post, looking at the function of the land in the OT, I concluded that the land is the arena in which the people of God both receive God’s blessings, and take on the responsibility of obedience to God’s commands. How is this idea developed and adapted in the New Testament? There are […]

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Does ‘Israel’ have a divine right to the land? part 1

Martin Saunders (of Youthscape) wrote an excellent article highlighting four issues which often prevent evangelicals from understanding what has been happening in the Israel/Gaza conflict. First, he comments ‘It’s not as simple as good guys vs bad guys’, something which I have also been trying to point out, though social media is not helping with […]

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Preaching the wisdom of James

Preaching on wisdom literature is always a challenge, since it is the text most likely to lead us into moralism or simplistic reading. The letter of James is perhaps the closest we have to wisdom literature in the NT, and it shares these challenges. This is the script of a sermon I preached a few […]

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When does help harm?

This guest post is a book review by Peter Bates, a friend and member of St Nic’s Church who works in community development. Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity (Harper Collins, 2012) is essential reading for anyone who gives time or money to assist the less well off. It’s a remarkably easy read that requires no background […]

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The meaning of the Millennium

It is curious that we get more excited about the supposed events leading up to Jesus’ second coming than we do about what that coming itself will bring. It is a bit like being more excited about the fixtures and fittings on a train than where the train is actually going to take you. My […]

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Making sense of the Second Coming

I’ve come to realise that there is one verse in the gospels which can unlock our whole understanding of what to expect in looking for Jesus’ return, the ‘second coming.’ The verse is Matt 24.34: ‘Amen I tell you, there is NO WAY this generation will pass away until all these things have come to […]

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What is prayer?

I recently preached at another local church, and a member of the congregation there is running a project to encourage prayer. He has recorded a range of leaders talking about prayer, and incorporated this into a website which includes a course on prayer making use of Richard Foster’s book Prayer: finding the heart’s true home. Find […]

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