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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The art of raising spouses

Shortly after our second child was born, we were at a fundraising event. I was sitting at the back of the hall, having just finished feeding my new-born, when a lady came over to me and said, ‘Oh what a privilege and a blessing to raise a son for the Lord!’ I looked at my sleeping baby and beamed with pride. Yes, I am indeed raising a son for the Lord. What a privilege! Later that same evening, while tucking my first-born daughter into bed, I began to wonder if raising a daughter for God is any less of a privilege than raising a son....

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Teach us how not to pray

‘But He has to do it; it says so in His Word!’ I’m pretty sure it was the worst prayer meeting I’ve ever attended! A friend had mentioned how people in the flat above were making life intolerable with their door-slamming, aggressive language and loud music. At the end of her tether, she needed prayer. Our hearts went out to our friend. Then another church member leaned forward. ‘Right! We all know this has gone on too long and their behaviour is totally unreasonable’. We nodded. ‘So, as we’re all in agreement, let’s pray the landlord throws the people out. The Bible says when two...

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

How are the mighty fallen!

David hears of the death of two of Israel’s heroes, and exclaims three times that two mighty men have fallen. He laments, ‘Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon’ (2 Samuel 1:19-27). He is ashamed that such news is proclaimed among his enemies. At the same time, he asks how such a thing could have happened. It has been terribly sad recently to hear of serious moral lapses in Christian leaders. These have been reported in our national press, ‘published in the streets of Ashkelon’, and believers now find themselves ashamed by the subsequent mocking of Christianity. Another repercussion...

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August 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Answering difficult questions (1)

We live in tricky times for Christian witness and living. There is hostility to the gospel and its proclamation. We see the hand of the evil one in laws against extremism manipulated against believers, even though their lifestyle is opposed to violence and they only aim to live out Christ’s words, ‘Love your enemies’. Political correctness In this politically correct world disagreement equals ‘hatred’, and the suffix ‘phobia’ is readily attached to words describing those who oppose sin. In the open air and in private, we can be sure to be asked difficult questions about the Christian faith, as was Jesus. How to answer them...

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June 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Perseverance

There is a tale told about a farmer whose mule fell into a well. After many unsuccessful attempts to haul the mule out of the hole, the farmer decided the situation was hopeless. With sadness, he instructed his boys to fill truck-loads of soil and bury the old mule right there in the well. The boys began to shovel the soil into the well and bury the old mule, but the mule didn’t take kindly to this action. The first shovelful hit him square on the head, got him in the eyes and made him sneeze. Every shovelful after that hit him somewhere, making him...

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June 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Contentment

The boss has just told you that you will receive an immediate 5 per cent pay increase. Would you be content with that? In these days when the average increase is more like 1-2 per cent, you might be very pleased, and as a Christian thank God for it. At least, I hope you would! But supposing the boss said the company is finding it impossible to compete with cheap imports from China and, unless everyone is willing to accept a 10 per cent pay cut, the company will have to close down. Would you be content with that? Most of us would be discontent,...

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June 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘Look at the fields’

Thank God for every effort being made to reach our nation with the gospel! May these endeavours greatly increase in number! Yet there are very many people not being reached with the greatest news that could fall on human ears. Our nation is very different from 50 years ago. Most of our children come out of school with little or no knowledge of the Christian faith. Atheism appears to be gaining an increasing foothold and many have become materialistic in their view of life, encouraged by constant media bombardment persuading everyone to want more. Added to all this, we have had a large population of...

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June 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Mornings

‘I hate people who sing in the morning’, muttered Snoopy the dog. Perhaps Charles Schulz got the idea from Proverbs 27:14, which says, ‘He who blesses his neighbour with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing’? Mornings. They can be a thermometer of where we are at. The older we get, the slower we can be to get going in the morning. And, if we have ever suffered from depression, we will know that mornings can be difficult. It takes an act of will-power to get out of bed — mind over matter, and mind over mattress! New day...

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June 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘Why do good men sin?’

A question that perplexes and confuses most of us is, ‘Why do good men sin? We see a man we have always respected and admired make a mess of his life and commit some terrible sin. We find it unbelievable and it confuses us. It almost shakes our faith and we ask, ‘How could this happen?’ It seems to defy reason. The answer is found in the words of Jesus, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone’ (Luke 18:19). Jesus was constantly challenging his audience to reconsider their ideas of holiness and goodness. Sometimes we expect too much from...

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God’s amazing love
May 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

God’s amazing love

Imagine John, the last of the apostles, now an old man in his 80s, and close to death. He has not lost the wonder of God’s undeserved love; it still fills him with amazement. He says: ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us…’ (1 John 3:1). It is years since John walked in Galilee and Jerusalem with God the Son, and stood at the cross and saw the empty tomb. Nevertheless, he is still overcome with wonder as he thinks about God’s love. Christians are loved by God This love is a divine gift The Father bestows it on us. He...

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May 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The ‘doing-business-with-God’ prayer meeting

Last month, I was taken aback when on different occasions three separate people, each of them stable, mature Christians whom I admire, said the same thing about the church to which they have each belonged for years. They are fully involved with their churches and, as far as I know, walking with the Lord. But they, in different settings, shared that they are going to church out of a sense of duty, with no sense of delight or expectation that the Lord will meet with them or speak to them. They sense that their church appears to be on a downward spiral and it hurts...

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May 2017
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Church-planting – the right way

Church-plants are breathing life into many unreached parts of Britain. But what happens when these plants conflict with existing ministry? Reports of church-planting have multiplied, with concerted efforts among organisations and large churches to revitalise gospel ministry across the UK. Acts 29, Co:Mission, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) and others are busy helping church-planters. Last year, London Seminary launched ‘Plant’, a course aimed at those preparing to plant and grow healthy churches. Earlier this year, Robert Strivens, seminary principal, wrote, ‘I’ve taken a call from a pastor looking for an evangelist or church planter to help in his church. I receive at least...

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