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Tag Archives | discipleship

How do we reach the under 40s?

Here in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, we are just completing our diocesan conference at Swanwick, and it has been focussed on issues around our aspirations for growth under the heading ‘wider, younger, deeper.’ This includes seeing, by 2023: 7,000 new disciples in the Church of England in this diocese; 1,000 new young leaders; a […]

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Why is preaching so hard?

Many people in public ministry find that preaching is one of the most demanding things they are involved in. To put yourself and your theology on the line, to seek to offer an illuminating and life-transforming insight, week in, week out, is very tough! But why exactly does it feel so hard? There are some […]

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Compassion and power in John 11

If someone is in a fix, do you listen sympathetically and show you understand, or do you try and remedy the problem? Of course, that is a false dichotomy, but it a challenge we face often. If you want to take a stereotyped or generalised view of sex difference, by and large women tend to […]

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How often did Jesus and his followers fast?

How often did Jesus and the first generation of his followers fast? Was it an occasional thing, focused on specific events or causes? Or was it something more habitual and regular, an integral part of their devotional life? As most studies of the subject point out, fasting in the Old Testament was associated either with […]

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The Wounds of a Leader

I have been at New Wine B this week, and at the early morning meetings Simon Ponsonby (from St Aldate’s, Oxford) has been reflected on verses from 2 Corinthians. This morning we reflected on perhaps some of the most challenging: I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and […]

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The meaning of martyrdom

Whenever I travel on the train, I have to think carefully about whether I wear my clerical collar, or whether I travel in ‘mufti’. It partly depends on what kind of meeting or event I am travelling to, but it also depends on whether I want to work quietly on the train, or am happy […]

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The subversive power of grace

The latest Grove Biblical text is by John Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, and is a profound exploration of the meaning of grace, following his major work from last year Paul and the Gift. John starts with a very helpful analysis of what might be called the taxonomy of grace: when […]

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The sending of the 72 in Luke 10

In case you are still looking for ideas on preaching this passage (or hearing it preached on) here is my sermon for this morning: What is your vocation? What have you been called to? You might not think you have one—after all, isn’t vocation something for people doing worthy jobs that call for self-sacrifice—teachers, doctors, […]

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Does grace despise virtue?

In our mid-size group in our church we are using the Pilgrim Course to study the Lord’s Prayer. This week we were reflecting on ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’, and we were directed to explore the so-called parable of the Prodigal Son (really, the parable of the Forgiving […]

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Why you need Bible reading notes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Christian in possession of a Bible must be in want of some help in reading it. Bible reading notes were once the staple of any church which believed the Bible to be a vital resource for discipleship and growth, but like many habits, regular Bible reading and […]

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Moving beyond Common Worship

On different occasions I have explored here some of the problems and issues with Common Worship. This has included general issues with the approach, some difficulties with Daily Prayer, and criticisms of the additional baptism texts as well as how they might be helpful. Underlying all these issues is the question of CW’s overall approach: rather […]

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