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Sermon series: Signs of Life

Many churches take time out from the rhythm of the lectionary in order to focus on particular issues of faith and discipleship by having a sermon series on a specific theme. Quite a lot of work goes into planning and preparing these—so wouldn’t it be a good idea to share them?! The first of these […]

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Are evangelicals (right to be) paranoid?

There’s an old saying: ‘Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.’ (Think about it…) Evangelical Anglicans are often accused of being a little paranoid about their place in the Church of England—but do they have any grounds for being so? I sent this letter to the Church Times […]

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Did Paul have a pastoral strategy?

The apostle Paul is not generally viewed as a pastor. Teaching, fearless advocate for the faith, traveller, apologist, pioneering church planter, yes—but pastor? As we read Paul’s letters, in some part because of our cultural distance, it is easy not to sense that we are encountering Paul the pastor. But the latest Grove Biblical booklet […]

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Is there hope for unbelieving Britain?

The article that caught my eye this week in the Church Times (which I read every week) was a fascinating reflection by Philip North, the bishop of Burnley, on his visits over the summer to three different Christian ‘festivals’. He visited: the Keswick Convention, a bastion of conservative evangelical devotion, shaped by free church evangelicals […]

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How do we make sense of the Beatitudes?

The Beatitudes—the collection of sayings that introduce the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matt 5, with their parallel in Luke 6—are amongst some of the most memorable of the teachings of Jesus. They are often cited as favourite texts, and are referred to as a key element of Jesus’ (challenging and puzzling) radical social ethics. […]

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Preaching: script or no script?

In 2014, Ed Miliband created some serious problems for himself and his credibility as Labour Party leader by failing to mention two key issues from his speech to the Labour Party conference in Manchester—one on immigration and the other on the budget deficit—and he later  admitted that he had forgotten his notes on the two topics […]

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Preaching and creativity

In my nearly ten years teaching preaching, and my 37 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 […]

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(How) should we proclaim bad news?

A little while ago, I preached on Isaiah chapter 1, and it challenged me to think through how we proclaim bad news in our preaching. I have generally observed a striking divide between theological traditions in relation to whether the gospel is in fact ‘good news’ (as the word ‘gospel’ tells us—a ‘good spell’ or word), […]

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Preaching on Trinity Sunday

Here it comes again: that Sunday in the lectionary which most preachers dread or (to disguise this) suddenly think of guest preachers who need an opportunity to contribute their ministry. Yes, it is Trinity Sunday! Rather than offer you a sermon as a resource, I thought it would be helpful to point out three things […]

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The dynamism of Pentecost

Coming once again to the New Testament texts about Pentecost, I have been struck by the extraordinary dynamism which seems to be present in every aspect. In the gospels, Jesus is the dynamic focus of action—constantly on the move physically as a way of expressing the dynamic presence and movement of God in his ministry—and […]

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