31 Days of Prayer: Day Eight – The simplest reason to pray

Romans 12“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

Through the first week of ’31 Days of Prayer’, I’ve managed to avoid maybe the most basic reason why Christians ought to pray: God tells us to.

It might seem the most natural, obvious thing in the world – habitually asking our all-powerful heavenly Father to act in our lives and in the world should be a no-brainer. But just because something is good for us doesn’t mean we naturally want to do it. Do children (and not a few adults) need to be told to eat their vegetables? Do sinful human beings need to be told to pray?

We’ll come back to some of these verses in later reflections throughout the month, but take a look at these biblical commands to pray: Continue reading

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The Secret of Contentment

We all struggle with the constant desire to compare ourselves to others. LIZ ROBSON shows us how to break free of the comparison game and look on ourselves with ‘sober judgment’.

Apples OrangesWe live in an age where the lure of comparison is more enticing than ever before. Facebook tells us what hundreds of people are doing at any given moment.  We have Instagram and Twitter to monitor the world’s every move, and there’s nothing quite like a little bit of Pinterest envy on the side. Now, thanks to Skype, we have to even consider how we present ourselves while making a telephone call! Continue reading

A Breaking Bad Idea

Is it healthy or wise for Christians to watch and enjoy a program so deeply laced with violence and darkness?

ImageIn case you were living in a cave and missed it, last month featured a genuine ‘television event’: the final episode of Breaking Bad. Though I’ve never seen a single episode, it was enough of a sensation to capture my attention and leave me with some big questions.

My first experience of the show came when I was browsing some DVDs in a store last year, saw the cover for Season 1, and thought, ‘Why is Bryan Cranston standing there in his undies?’ I read the back cover and shrugged: chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer, so decides to start making methamphetamine to provide for his family – a slightly strange (even unpleasant) topic, some potential, but nothing special. Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Vote – Part 1

Seven tips on how not to vote

Green TickAs I’ve listened to my Australian friends talk about the upcoming Federal Election, one thing has become clear: no election in living memory seems to have inspired so much apathy and disappointment towards the major parties. Without commenting on whether or not this sense of frustration is warranted (which it absolutely is), it’s obvious that many people are feeling disillusioned enough to even question the value of their vote. But is that a healthy way for anyone (let alone Christians) to approach the privilege of casting a ballot? How should Christians approach the God-given opportunity to vote? Continue reading

The Gospel And Who To Vote For – Part 2

Martin Luther KingIn the first of these posts on Christians and government, I began to outline how the Bible describes and understands earthly governments. We saw that governments are God-given authorities, instituted for the good ordering of society and worthy of our respect. So in our second post, it’s time to think more about how Christians should (or can) interact with their governing authorities.

Being good citizens
For starters, Christians should be good citizens. That statement is too general to mean much on its own, so it needs a little unpacking. As we saw in the previous post looking at Romans 13, being a good citizen will mean paying your taxes willingly and honestly. We’ll abide by the law, not just because we don’t want to get punished, but because our conscience tells us that if God has placed an authority over us, we do well to obey that authority. Continue reading

Why David Cameron owes Jesus £1 million

Britain Prime MinisterIn the past week, in preparation for an upcoming talk, I went looking for information on what people consider to be the world’s single biggest problem. During my research, I stumbled across this fascinating story: British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to award £1 million to anyone who can discover the world’s biggest problem – and solve it. Continue reading

The Gospel And Who To Vote For – Part 1

Part One of a five-part series on how to think biblically about our governments, and about our vote 

DenariusThey do say you’re not supposed to discuss politics or religion in polite company. In this series of posts, I’m going to boldly (or maybe foolishly) attempt to do both at once! And I can guarantee you I feel unqualified to talk about this – at least about the political side of things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in politics and I think it’s vitally important – even if much of what I’ve learnt about it comes from The West Wing. But it’s not my specialty. And who could ever do justice to two areas of thought that are so profound and so varied? Continue reading

Can a Christian fall away – revisited

Fall AwayIt’s one of the biggest and most frequently asked theological and pastoral questions: can a Christian fall away? Can a Christian stop being a Christian? Because I’ve been asked it so often, and because I’ve been asked it a number of times recently, I’m re-posting this article from a few years ago (with a brief addition at the end). I hope it’s helpful.

If you don’t want to read through this whole thing but you’re still interested: (a) don’t be lazy! 🙂 (b) I’ve put a bullet-point summary at the end. And please remember, this is just my way of thinking through the issue, and plenty of other Christians would think differently. So don’t just take my word for it – check if what I’m saying matches with the Bible. Continue reading