Christian: Are You Ready For Exile Stage Two?

A friend of mine put me onto this article this morning, and I haven’t been able to let it go all day.

Much to consider. Much to pray through. Much to plan for.

At the risk of including a much abused verse, a deep and prayerful reading of Jeremiah 29:1-14 is sorely needed.

Stephen McAlpine

The Western church is about to enter stage two of its exile from the mainstream culture and the public square. And it will not be an easy time.

In case you missed it, Exile Stage One began a few decades or so ago, budding in the sexual revolution of the sixties before building up a head of steam some 20 years ago. Finally some Christians sat down to talk about it 15 or so years ago, and that set the ball, and the publishing companies rolling.

For those of us in ministry who were culture watchers, Exile Stage One was a heady time.  Only we never called it Exile Stage One. We simply called it “Exile”, and poured over biblical texts such as the exilic book of Daniel and its New Testament counterpart 1Peter.  After all no one ever called World War One “World War One” before World War Two came along…

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Monday Throwback

Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations that have each revolved around the cultural tension we have as Christians living out our faith in a world that seems to be in a headlong rush from God.

So this week’s ‘Throwback’ is to a reflection I wrote a couple of years back entitled, I Don’t Fit In

Monday Throwback

I recently broke out an archived article list in order to revisit the influences I’ve felt over the last few years.

One article in particular still struck a chord, one that I wrote a short reflection on when I first stumbled across it.

I hope it will encourage you today, as it has me… again.

Guilty As Charged

Monday (ish) Throwback

Well, I’m a little late.

But my Monday (ish) Throwback this week is a tribute I wrote to the ‘Culture Wars’ we Christians  love to fight.

I’m not saying the culture wars are not important, but I wonder if some discernment is needed when deciding what swords we’ll fall on, and what wrongs are worth leaving to be righted another day.

Plastic Apples

For The Church

In recent weeks I’ve appreciated the content coming out of a relative newcomer to the blogging ministry swag.

From their own site: (link here)

For The Church exists to engage, encourage, and equip the Church with gospel-centered resources that are pastoral, practical, and devotional.

Here are a selection of their articles I’ve been impacted by:

Leaders Stoop by Joey Cochran

God’s People Need a Pastor, Not Just a Preacher by Daniel Darling

Pursuing the Right Thing in Ministry by Matt Chandler

The Gospel for Ministry Quitters by Jared Wilson*

*Shameless Plug: Jared has recently graciously agreed to be our speaker at the 2016 Build Conference (NSW Men’s Conference held at Toukley on the Central Coast). More details here. I’d bookmark it and check back often for when registration opens up, it’ll fill up fast!

Monday Throwback

Life is filled with tensions, each calling us to extremes in various directions.

Much of Christian maturity is learning to heed the Spirit’s gentle voice and navigate the precarious pathway of balance.

One such tension is the battle my mind wages between ‘faithfulness and fruitfulness’.

Here are some reflections I had a year or so ago.

Faithfulness v Fruitfulness

Monday Throwback

I’ve often battled that internal conflict between facets of my personality that don’t seem to easily coexist.

This week’s ‘throwback’ came out of one such period of time in my life.

Live For The Particular Glories of Jesus, Not A Smudge

It was also a reflection of an article posted on the Desiring God site written by John Piper.

Monday Throwback

1 John 3:2-3

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

I read these words again today, awakening in me afresh an ache for a home not yet seen…

but no less real.

It’s been a constant theme in my life, the battle that wages between two worlds, that I should live and exist here, yet all the while belong to another kingdom.

That was the theme of a post I wrote some time ago, A Tale of Two Cities.

May it awake a yearning for home that drives you to live truly present now, pointing to a heavenly city that will never fade away.

Friday’s Trail-Mix

Easter has come and gone, and with it a wealth of reminders about the significance of this yearly ritual of remembrance. The King We Needed, But Never Wanted by Marshall Segal was just what I needed to read.

In addition, a fresh reminder of the brutality of forgiveness was given by Richard Stearns in Slaughterhouse Gospel.

Jared C. Wilson writes an excellent primer for his soon to be released book. This great article takes the concept of the prodigal son as an individual and extends it to the church. A challenging read; When the Prodigal Church Comes Home.

Lastly, as a parent and church leader, I am always looking for ways to improve my communication. 7 Ways to Grow in the Art of Communication was a helpful and practical read.

Happy reading!

Monday’s Throwback

Easter has just passed.

Of all the significant dates on the church calendar, this would have to be my favourite.

I love Easter!

I love the fact that it burns will singular focus on the foundation of our faith.

Easter is all about Jesus…

And nothing about me.

That is the way it aught to be.

“He must increase, and I must decrease.”

The problem is, I am often my own functional deity. Here is a post I wrote on battling this insidious pull to treat myself as God. Self: My Functional Deity