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What would convince the world to believe in God? I once asked an atheist the question: “What would convince you to believe in God?”  He answered: “Until god appears before me as a burning bush or I see his picture on the front of popular science magazines I will remain a non-believer.” It strikes me […]

In Him we live and move and have our being

How do we proclaim the gospel to a world that thinks so differently? “Contextualisation” is a buzz word in some Christian circles to describe the way our message needs to be fitted to our surroundings.  Today’s phrase is often used as a prime example of how Paul drew on the truths already present in the […]

Turned the world upside down

On Good Friday, Christianity was “down and out.”  The Christ was dead and buried.  His followers were despondent and scattered.  And that should have been that. Yet, within a very short period of time, Christ’s people were said to be ‘turning the world upside down.’  How did such an extraordinary revolution happen?  Not through the […]

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do

On Saturday I spoke with an atheist who made a repeated claim: “Jesus was a hypocrite.”  No matter how many times I asked him for evidence, he couldn’t point to any.  Plenty in me.  Plenty in himself.  Innumerable instances in Christian history.  But none in Christ Himself. That’s quite astonishing really.  Hypocrisy is almost the […]

They do not practise what they preach

—  The drug-taking sports star milking a squeaky clean image with the sponsors. —  The socialist MP who sends her children to exclusive prep-schools. The world despises a leader who does not practise what they preach.  And so does Jesus.  In fact Jesus leads the way in the condemnation: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, […]

The keys of the kingdom

Once you’ve been through the screening process your work may assign you a pass, a swipe card and the keys.  Now you’re in.  Now you’re trusted.  And now you can bring others in too.  You have the keys. Well in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus gives to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven!  What […]

The head of John the Baptist

TS Elliot said “human kind cannot bear very much reality.”  This story plumbs the violent depths of that truth. John the Baptist was a shining light.  He was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus called him the greatest man born of woman (Matthew 11:11).  As the summation of all the prophets who preceded […]

Fell by the wayside

Yesterday we encountered a mystery.  Jesus declares His word publicly – that is, for all.  But also He also proclaims it to a particular audience – not everyone has ears to hear.  You might think that Jesus takes a laissez-faire attitude to this phenomenon.  But no, He pleads “He that hath ears, let him hear.”  […]

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

Having ears is one thing.  Having ears to hear is another. Back in Moses’ day he lamented the spiritual deafness of the people: “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his […]

Shout it from the rooftops

Recently I wrote a post on my other blog about open-air preaching.  One commenter responded: “Do you have to bother people with this stuff? Can’t you just stick inside the churches.” This man (not a Christian) perfectly expresses the spirit of the age.  We are happy with privatised beliefs.  We are content that folks practice […]