The kingdom of God in Acts 1

We are beginning a sermon series looking at the kingdom of God, and I started by consider the opening three verses of Acts 1 and what they say about the kingdom. There are a number of striking statements that Luke makes in this short passage. First, his reference to Theophilus reminds us of the opening of … Continue Reading

What is ‘the Word of God’?

I have started writing a column for Preach magazine, in which I explore a significant word or phrase in the Bible and the ideas that it expresses. The first one was on the phrase ‘Word of God’. Despite the fact that many churches use this phrase with reference to the reading of Scripture, its meaning … Continue Reading

What is the best size for a church?

One of the fringe meetings at July’s session of the General Synod focussed on the needs of ‘mid-sized churches’, in this case defined as worshipping communities of 20 to 60. The reason for this was a question that William Nye, Secretary General of Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, had raised: Without meaning to, a lot … Continue Reading

Do we really need the clergy?

The Church of England is currently engaged in discussion and action which is pulling in rather different directions in relation to the importance of its clergy, and these debates were exemplified in the latest meeting of the General Synod in York over the weekend. One of last debates, held on Tuesday morning, concerned the follow-up … Continue Reading

The many meanings of Pentecost

As we come to Pentecost, our main text (in the lectionary and for preaching) is Acts 2. At one level the text is straightforward: the Twelve are completed by the addition of Matthias; they wait with other disciples as Jesus had commanded; the Spirit comes; Peter preaches; and the ‘church’ is born. But it is … Continue Reading

The raising of Tabitha (Acts 9)

The lectionary readings for this week include three substantial readings: Acts 9.36-43, Revelation 7.9-17 and John 10.22-30. There is a note which says: ‘The reading from Acts must be used as either the first or second reading’, which suggests that this reading is thought to be particularly important. The reading from Acts 9 comes at an interesting transition … Continue Reading

Resurrection changes the world

This is the third instalment of my notes written for BRF Guidelines Bible reading notes which have just come out and lead up to the Easter season. You can read the first instalment (…’creates a transformed community’) here and the second instalment (‘…the fulfilment of God’s promises’) here. If you are not encouraging those in your … Continue Reading