[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 30th June 2019] Holy Spirit: A Pencil Sketch Biography Studies and Masterpieces Good morning and welcome to our class in Australian Art 1943-1944. For our first slide 1 I’d refer you to this controversial work from 1943. What can you tell me about the title of the work, the name of the artist, the size of the work, what media was used, the style of the work, the nature of the controversy surrounding it or indeed something about the subject?
[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 19th May 2019] God, or not God: Matthew 7:13-14 Banners and Standards Have you seen movies where troops are led into battle by someone holding a flag? Perhaps these movies are set during the times of the Roman Empire or during the American Civil War. The flags they bore were known as the standard. This person carrying the flag or the standard was the standard bearer.
[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 7th April 2019] Beyond DNA: Heart and Mind DNA Over the past month-or-so we’ve been speaking about DNA. Mark and Nigel haven’t been giving us science lessons. They have been talking about some of the things we do as followers of Jesus, as the church of God. They’ve been using the analogy of “spiritual DNA” to illustrate how we have a desire to see God’s best for ourselves, our families and our community.
[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 24th February 2019] Legacy This Is Your Life Who remembers the television show “This Is Your Life”? My first recollection of it is being hosted by Mike Willesee in the 1970s. My deep research into this on Wikipedia informs me that it began in 1975 with Mike Willesee. Digby Wolfe hosted the second season in 1976, then Roger Climpson to 1980.
Late last year we became aware of a couple of books by New Zealand author, Richard Brunton. He has written two books, The Awesome Power of Blessing and Anointed for Work. They’re both more like booklets but pack a stack of helpful information and encouragement about, well, blessing and anointing. They are both available as free downloads from his website, and can be purchased as paperbacks. Do yourself a favour and get them both - if you want to.
[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 9th December 2018] Destination and Journey: Abraham Destination and Journey A few weeks ago when I was first praying and journaling about what I would preach on today I was impressed with the idea of speaking on destination and journey. I was pointed towards Acts 7 which is Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin before he was stoned to death.
[The following is the text of a sermon preached in our church on Sunday 21st October 2018] Redeeming, Restoring, Transforming Love The Parable of the Wobbly, Secondhand Bookcase A number of years ago I purchased a bookcase from a Vinnies shop. The bookcase was probably made 60 or 70 years ago and is oak. When I got this bookcase home I found that it wobbled. The glue joints had clearly broken.
There are about five gazillion ways to study the Bible, and three gazillion ways of reading it. I know. I’ve tried them all. “Hyperbole” – the use of obvious and intentional exaggeration. For as long as I’ve been a Christian I’ve looked at different ways of reading the Bible, and different ways of studying it – from reading plans to meditation; from chronological to inductive; from prepared study guides to randomly opening the Bible and reading.
[Below is the text of a sermon I preached at our church on 12th August 2018.] 1 Samuel 30 and John 4 Sin versus Failure What is the difference between sin and failure? Is it possible to fail without that being construed as sin? Can sin ever be regarded as anything but some form of failure? How do you see the distinction between sin and failure? I think that all sin is a failure, but failure is not necessarily sinful.
Don Carson credits his late father for saying “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text”. What that basically means is that if you don’t provide the context for a sentence or quote then you can interpret it or make it say whatever you want. A further way of looking at that is to say that words only make sense in sentences, and sentences only have meaning in paragraphs, etc.
I had a thought this morning – not always a good thing – that if I were creating a website where the purpose was to present Biblical truth regularly, then it would be hard to go past the name “Bible Butcher: Fresh Meat Daily!” Perhaps it is a good thing that I’m not creating such a website, otherwise biblebutcher.com may have been registered.
[Below is the text of a sermon I preached at our church on Easter morning, 1st April 2018.] Matthew 27:46 Aramaic – Heart Language My offering today is half sermon, half reflection. As I pondered and prayed about what to speak about a couple of weeks ago a phrase came to mind. I gave God the opportunity to change His mind but I kept coming back to this particular phrase.
I picked up a book at an Op Shop this morning called Diary of Kenneth MacRae (no point wasting all that printing on a leading “The”). As far as I’m aware I’d never previously heard of Kenneth MacRae. The thing that attracted me to the book in the first instance was that it was published by Banner of Truth. Banner of Truth is a publishing house based in England whose aim is to make available quality Christian books.
I had something of a revelation this morning about how I view God. I tend to see or treat God like a petrol station. You pull up, fill up and then drive away to get on with life. But the idea came to me that a more complete or holistic view would see God the Father as the petrol station; Jesus as the fuel tank in my vehicle; and Holy Spirit is the fuel.
I’m currently working my way through reading Mark’s gospel. I read a bit, write comments on verses or ideas that strike me, read a bit more, write a bit more. Once I’ve identified three or four ideas that strike me, I then turn to look for and note what seems to be the primary application or relevance of these verses or ideas for me. Once I’ve tackled that I then turn to prayer and write a prayer that what I’ve read and identified as relevant or applicable may be seen in my life.
For the past two months I’ve been busy, unbelievably busy, ridiculously busy. I know how it began, I hope I know how it will end, but what I don’t know is when it will end. It all began with a prompting, I believe from God, to read 1 Peter - the first letter or epistle attributed to Peter in the New Testament. In 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 6 and 7 we read:
In Australia at the moment there is much debate about same sex marriage.1 What do I think about same sex marriage? I believe it is not the ideal for society, and I base that on God’s view as I understand His written word, the Bible. It is clear to me that God’s intent for the family is that it comprises a man married to a woman and that children are conceived, born and raised within that context.
[Below is the text of a sermon I preached at our church on Sunday morning, 9th July 2017.] Philippians 2:12-13 Worked Out When was the last time you worked out? For some it may have been this morning, last week, maybe years ago, and maybe never. But the real answer depends on what I mean by “working out”. Is that physical activity at a gym, or could it mean any physical labour?