America crowns first ever Preaching Idol

Golden MicrophoneLouisville, Kentucky – In an enthralling finale watched by more than 24 million viewers, Chicago native Nathaniel Adams has been crowned the winner of the inaugural season of Preaching Idol, receiving the honour in front of a raucous crowd of more than 17,000 preaching fans gathered at the KFC Yum! Center.

Adams triumphed over Boston’s Dallas Brown in what host David Mathis called “just an incredibly close public vote, in the providence of God”. Continue reading

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Giving up on Jesus

14329298961_da63af3bfc_bI have a great job. I work for the Christian Union at the University of Canterbury (in Christchurch), teaching the Bible to students, talking to people about Jesus, and discipling and training young Christians. I love it. But sometimes ministry hurts. Sometimes, Christian ministry leaves you feeling like you’ve been kicked in the teeth.

Among the (relatively few) negative things about being a full-time, vocational gospel worker, there is one thing that, for my money, is far and away the worst: seeing one-time followers of Jesus give up on their faith and give up on Jesus. It just sucks.

Part of the reason I say this is that I once tried it myself. Continue reading

More Precious Than Gold: Reading God’s Word in 2016

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)

It’s that time of year – time to realise how you should have devoted more time to reading the Bible in 2015, to admit that you’ve been foolish for neglecting the treasures of God’s holy word, and to resolve that 2016 will be different.

Or wait, is that just me…?

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading the whole Bible in a year, or at least finding something to give you a kickstart, there are lots of plans to help you do it. Over the last couple of years, I developed a couple of my own to suit my own preferences:

This plan (which I’m hoping to use in 2016) allows you to get stuck into one book of the Bible at a time, rather than jumping around. It also gives you days off to catch up, and it has pretty colour-coding.

This one gives you a different part of the Bible to read each day of the week. It also gets you through the New Testament twice in the year (which means it only offers a few days off).

If you find the whole thing a bit overwhelming or you have questions about why you should bother with the Bible, you could check out my book. Ligonier Ministries has also gathered a mountain of other reading plans.

By the way, there’s nothing that says you have to read the Bible. If you’d rather listen to it (while commuting or exercising, for instance), why not invest in an NIV audio Bible or an ESV audio Bible?

Whether you choose to use a plan or not, my prayer is that you and I will both spend more time mining the riches of God’s word in 2016, so that we will know, love and serve the God of the Bible with our whole lives.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:7-10)