Tag Archives: The Briefing

Praying in small groups

20 Oct

[This post is courtesy of Col Marshall, posted on The Briefing 22nd November 1994.]

If there is one sure-fire prayer point in small groups, it’s praying that God will make us more prayerful! Everyone believes in prayer; everyone recognizes that we need to pray more, but everyone has trouble making it a priority. Put it down to the bustle of 90s life, or simply to sinful, independent hearts—either way, we can always find something which is more pressing a task than speaking to God in prayer.

Prayer ruts

Most Christian groups pray. Most Christian groups easily drift into prayer ruts. Our times of prayer become hurried intercessions, a quick vote of thanks at the end of the Bible study, prayers for the sick or ‘those who aren’t with us’, or general prayers for more love and peace. Of course, these are all great things to pray for, but we usually end up praying for them by default, because we don’t put in the time and effort to think about what to pray. Continue reading


Practising Fear

7 Oct

[This post is courtesy of Dave Mears, posted on The Briefing 01st October 2012.]

I think it is fair to say that the days of ‘meat and three veg’ are over. A posse of reality TV cooking shows are standing over the body of old-school cooking each holding a smoking blow torch and a bloodied lemon zester. A whole raft of new culinary skills are being demanded by the increasingly enlightened household consumer.

But one thing has not changed: it’s all well and good if your ‘plated up’ culinary creation looks like an art exhibit, but that won’t count for much if it tastes like one! In much the same way my aim in this series has been to show that wisdom is far more than knowledge and facts. Looking good is not enough. So far we’ve looked at the wisdom of fearing God, and the particular characteristics about God we ought to fear. Now, to action: true wisdom is acting rightly—tasting good!—in response to the fearsome God. Continue reading

Live light in 25 words

27 Sep
[This article first appeared on ‘The Briefing’ Website by on 20 September, 2012]

You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. (1 Pet 1:23)

The Bible Society Australia have identified that only a relatively small number of Australian Christians engage with God on a daily basis—they claim 1 in 5. For people who love the God of Word, this is more than a little disappointing.

But how do we address that? How do we encourage the Christians around us to fix our eyes on Jesus, to hear God’s voice, to spend time in his word daily—or to do that ourselves? How do we develop habits like these?

The Bible Society have come up with a campaign to do just that. It’s a beautifully simple idea:

We’re asking you, your friends & family and churches & schools to commit to reading the Bible daily, starting with 25 words for thirty-one days.

During the month of October thousands of people across the country have committed to reading God’s word. Why don’t you do the same? (Of course, there’s no reason not to get on board even if you’re one of our international readers.)

Here’s an introduction:

There’s loads of resources to help get you started, videos with lots of Aussie Christians, a series that walks you through Mark’s gospel, and much more besides. Go check it out.

Apologetic evangelism: an oxymoron?

22 Sep

[This post is courtesy of Phillip Jensen, Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney posted on The Briefing 25th August 2012.]

Apologetic evangelism is neither apologetics nor evangelism. Since the language of today is apologetic, and certainty is considered arrogance, how then can we evangelise modern, or post-modern, society?

Evangelism is the declaration of the great news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is the announcement of God’s victory in his Son; the proclamation of the coming of the age of salvation. It calls upon people to repent and tells them to trust Jesus for their salvation. It assures them of the full, complete forgiveness that Jesus has won for them and the new life that his Spirit brings them.

There is nothing to apologize for in evangelism. It is the most wonderful news that we will ever have to tell anybody. Judgement over, condemnation passed, sins forgiven, new life commenced, eternity awaiting us as we grow in God’s loving grace.

But today the world accuses those who speak with such confidence, of arrogance. They ask: Who can really speak of knowing the truth that will set you free? Continue reading