Monthly Archives: May 2007

Bauckham on Understanding Revelation as Prophecy for Today

“Biblical prophecy always both addressed the prophet’s contemporaries about their own present and the future immediately impending for them and raised hopes which proved able to transcend their immediate relevance to the prophets contemporaries and continue to direct later readers to God’s purpose for their future.

Historicizing modern scholarship has sometimes stressed the former to the total exclusion of the latter, forgetting that most biblical prophecy was only preserved in the canon of Scripture because its relevance was not exhausted by its reference to its original context.

Conversely, fundamentalist interpretation, which finds in biblical prophecy coded predictions of specific events many centuries later than the prophet, misunderstands prophecy’s continuing relevance by neglecting to ask what it meant to its first hearers.

It is important … to understand how John’s prophecy addressed his contemporaries, since they are the only readers it explicitly addresses. This does not prevent us from appreciating but helps us to understand how it may also transcend its original context and speak to us.”

R.Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge: CUP, 1993), 152-3.

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Carson audio link

I’m a big fan of Don Carson from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the US. I heard him recently at the preaching conference I attended, and enjoy his scholarship and passionate delivery on ANY topic from Scripture.

I found this link listing many of his audio resources. Enjoy.

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The Funniest Joke in the World

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Audio Sermons Added

Some people have kindly asked to listen again to some of the sermons that I have preached whilst at Macquarie.

MAC is currently working on a system to host all of their library of recorded sermons, which will be a great thing. I’ll let you know when it happens.

Until that day, I’ve managed to find a way to list some of them here.

I’ve just uploaded last Sunday’s sermon on Mark 10.13-16 (see post below). You can finding it by looking below right under ‘Audio Sermons’.

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Preaching Whilst Sick

…is not much fun at all.

Today I had to do it twice, speaking on Mark 10:13-16. It was supposed to be three times, before my boss graciously stepped in for me.

The worst of it – my head was really fuzzy (despite the drugs I had taken to counter that), so I had no idea what was coming out of my mouth. I could hear myself talking, but just couldn’t reach out and grab the words to make any sense of them.

It is then that I am really glad that I use fullish notes. God bless the church today for their graciousness in putting up with me.

One of the really cool things that I noticed in the preparation was the use of the key word ‘receive’ in both stories that feature little kids and Jesus (Mark 9:33-37 and Mark 10:13-16) – NIV unhelpfully translates the Mark 9 version as ‘welcome’, which masks the parallel). So you get these two stories about ‘receiving’ children and ‘receiving the kingdom like a child’, then starkly contrasted with the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-23), who wants to earn rather than receive.

Others have probably noticed it before, but I thought it was clever. Again made me appreciate the wonderful literature that is the bible, and how its comes together to teach us.

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JBR (Just Been Reading) – ‘Leading from the Second Chair’

(This is the first of (hopefully) an ongoing series to share some helpful ideas from books that I get a chance to look at. Not full blown book reviews, but things I found useful – I hope its a blessing.)

I have just finished Leading from the Second Chair, by Mike Bonem & Roger Patterson. (Find out more about the book at

Reading it, I had one of those ‘a ha’ moments that made sense of my 5 years here at Macquarie Anglican Churches. The authors posit that 2nd chair leading (ie. not being ‘the boss’, but one step down in an organisation) is all about managing 3 paradoxes:

1. The ‘Leader/Subordinate’ paradox.

If you’re a 2nd chair leader, then you’re a leader. You’re expected to shape, influence, make decisions, run teams. But the buck doesn’t ultimately stop with you. The whole organisation ultimately is shaped by the first chair, and you need to be happy with that.

2. The ‘Deep/Wide’ paradox.

2nd chairs are supposed to go ‘deep’ into the portfolios they manage, knowing the details, whose on rosters etc. But they are also meant to be wide, having some sense of how the whole organisation fits together, so that they can assist the first chair and be a part of decisions that affect the whole.

3. The ‘Contentment/Dreaming’ paradox.

God places people in places for a reason and a season. Being content means accepting that, and being the best you can be where you at this time. At the same time, we are call to dream, to have vision, and to work those visions out, whether they be in this place, or in the future at another place.

Good stuff.

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A Muppet Classic

I love doing puppet stuff at church. I have done shows with my wife for about the last ten years.

I grew up watching the Muppets – maybe that explains something about the state of my brain. Anyway, this clip is a classic that I couldn’t resist. Enjoy!

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Feeds Added

I’ve added some feeds to the site. – breaking news – this gathers up Christian stuff and news of interest to christians from all sorts of sources.

Matthias Media – ‘Couldn’t help noticing’ – a Christian eye cast over all sorts of goings on in the world, and a great source of sermon illustrations!

Cricket Australia – breaking news – I have been a cricket tragic since very early on, and like to keep an eye on the what’s happening.

Hope you find these as interesting as I do.

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I’ve been at a preaching conference this week. 2 top guest speakers: Don Carson (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Illinois), and Dale Ralph Davis (Old Testament guy from Mississippi – showed us how you could pronounce the word ‘grits’ with 2 syllables).

Great stuff – will post on that later.

But in a throwaway line, Carson mentioned a new thing that is about to kick off. It seems him and Tim Keller got together and decided that they wanted to be ‘prophetic from the centre, rather than reactingto the margins all the time.’

So they called up a bunch of 50 or so mainline pastors, and so was born

The site goes live June 1 – can’t wait to see what goodies it offers!

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The Top 12 Failures of Preaching

Found this great and incisive piece on the SMBC website:

In 1980, Dr Samuel Logan Jr. (editor of Preaching – The Preacher and Preaching in the Twentieth Century) wrote to several of his ministerial colleagues asking them to list what they saw as the ten most serious failures of the Christian pulpit. One of the replies he received, from Rev. John de Witt, was published the following year 1. Here are the twelve failures that de Witt listed:

1. the pre-eminent failing: a misunderstanding of the true nature of preaching and what it is that happens when the Word of God is preached;

2. the great want of ministerial earnestness in preaching;

3. the insistence on ‘the conversational style’ and the equal insistence that enthusiasm, vehemence and rhetorical skill in preaching are wrong;

4. the lack of warm, pointed, incisive, personal application;

5. the loss of the discipline and instruction of the seminary classroom once a person’s training is completed;

6. the lack of ability to apply the gospel ‘down the line’ in every single sphere of life;

7. the ministerial assumption that those to whom we preach have already come to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and the consequent loss of boldness and directness in preaching;

8. the tendency to despise the ‘form’ of the sermon and the need for hard work in writing clear, interesting, gripping, well-organised, and persuasive sermons;

9. the lack of knowledge, among those who preach, of the arts, history and philosophy i.e. of the things that put the preacher in touch with culture and the social order and lay those things at his disposal;

10. the congregations’ indifference toward preaching and their satisfaction with mediocrity in the pulpit;

11. relational, psychologizing, soul-bearing ‘preaching’ that robs the preacher of his authority, which is derived directly and solely from the fact that he is a herald of God;

12. the lack of emphasis on the preachers’ personal holiness and the recognition that a great part of his power is lent to his ministry by his holy, godly character and his ability to say, as Paul did, ‘Brethren, be followers together of me.’ (Phil.3:17)

deWitt concluded his letter by saying his list could probably be expanded!

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