Tips on Family Worship and Bible Reading

Some thoughts I shared with a friend a while ago on reading the Bible with your primary aged kids:

  1. Start with a simpler translation he can use, such as the CEV, but try to get onto the standard NIV-1984 as soon as his reading becomes proficient.
  2. Read half or one chapter a night, and work consecutively through one book of the Bible. Take turns reading and help him learn how to pronounce names and learn any words that are difficult. (if you keep up the daily habit over years he will grow to become an excellent reader)
  3. Start with a gospel, then work through different parts of the New Testament. For a boy the book of Acts is exciting and also Revelation. In time get onto the Old Testament starting with Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Exodus. There is no need to read in order of the table of contents – though it helps enormously to know where each book is in the chronology of the Bible (some study bibles will have a chart to show this).
  4. Have a simple discussion about the meaning and questions like: What do we learn about God? What has Jesus done for us? What can we thank and praise him for?
  5. Always finish with a prayer together – take turns. Give him prompts like: “You say a prayer giving thanks to Jesus for dying for our sins”, “You thank God for three good things he has given you today”. Try and let the prayers flow out of something you have discussed from the Bible that night.
  6. It helps to make up a chart where you can tick off books you have finished. This gives a sense of achievement and progress.
  7. Don’t spend too long each day. It is better to do 10 minutes consistently every day than 30 minutes sporadically.

Phillip Jensen on Anglican Identity

Excellent article from Phillip Jensen on “Why Anglican?”:

The Prayer Book and 39 Articles of Anglicanism come from a particular historical context—the struggle of Thomas Cranmer in the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. The Prayer Book underwent several minor editions before taking its final form in the seventeenth century. From 1662 till today it, and the 39 Articles, stand as the one touchstone of genuine Anglicanism.

This is so forgotten in Anglican circles today. The touchstone is the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles.

I enjoyed this reflection also:

We sometimes forget to commend confessional Anglicanism to people. Yet it is worth saying that Anglicanism is our choice and that we believe it is a good choice. Being a confessional Anglican is a privilege and blessing for which we are thankful to God and hope others will enjoy.

I am a happy confessional Anglican.

A Church for Exiles by Carl R. Trueman | Articles | First Things

This recognition of exile and the hope we find in the Psalms permeate historical Reformed worship and theology in a way that is not so obvious in other Christian traditions, even Protestant ones. For example, the worship of the American Evangelical Church of the last few decades has been marked by what one might call an aesthetic of power and triumph. Praise bands perform in churches often built to look more like concert venues than traditional places of worship. Rock riffs and power chords set the musical tone. Songs speak of tearing down enemy ­strongholds. Christianity does, of course, point to triumph, but it is the triumph of resurrection, and resurrection presupposes prior suffering and death. An emphasis on triumph, often to the exclusion of lament, will not prepare people for life this side of resurrection glory. It will not prepare us for a life of exile. I fear we are laying the foundations for disillusionment and despair.

via A Church for Exiles by Carl R. Trueman | Articles | First Things.

Chairman’s February pastoral letter | News

Very encouraging letter from the chairman of the GAFCON Anglican movement:

The lesson I believe we have learned from the failure of institutional attempts to restore unity by accommodation is that we must be more radical. We must return to the ‘narrow gate’ and come together on a strong and clear doctrinal basis. The GAFCON movement has been able to act as an instrument of unity in the Communion because it has the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which together give us a clear, faithful and contemporary statement of Anglican identity. 

via Chairman’s February pastoral letter | News.


Don Carson: Jesus and the Son of God

This is a wonderful book. I love Don Carson and nearly everything he has written is pure gold. This book is a wonderful exploration of the significance of “Son of God” within biblical theology (mostly messianic/Davidic themes) and systematic theology (doctrine of the Trinity and Christology). He weaves the two together beautifully.

Carson makes this observation from the NT:

New Testament texts quote Psalm 2:7 to prove Jesus is superior to angels, to prove Jesus did not take on himself the glory of becoming high priest but was appointed by God, and to demonstrate that God has fulfilled his promises to the Israelite ancestors by raising Jesus from the dead – even though, on the face of it, Psalm 2 does not mention angels, has no interest in the high priest’s office, and makes no mention of the resurrection of the Messiah. (p45)

Carson goes on to show using typology and Biblical theology how all these themes are woven together in a way that respects the original intent of the Psalm. Read the book to get the full explanation!

In fact, I’m surprised that Carson doesn’t make reference to the 1986 article by Douglas Moo entitled “The Problem of Sensus Plenior” (in “Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon” edited by Carson and Woodbridge, 1986, Zondervan). Moo has an excellent discussion of the struggles in trying to be sympathetic to the NT usage of the OT – but Moo gives up on the use of Psalm 2:7 in the NT as a kind of impossible-to-justify case. It is marvelous to see Carson so capably shows how the Psalm really is used that is within the realms of authorial intent and the progression of biblical theological themes without conceding an uncontrolled Sensus Plenior (i.e.: hidden meaning).  With humility Carson writes:

Many is the Christian who has thumbed through Old Testament pages to find the passage that has been quoted by the New Testament and applied to Jesus, only to feel let down by the fact that the connection is at best obscure, and in some cases seems to be talking about something radically different. It takes some hard work to uncover how these trajectories, these typologies, actually work. But when we take the time and effort to examine them, we are hushed in awe at the wisdom of God in weaving together intricate patterns that are simultaneously so well hidden in their development and so magnificently obvious in their fulfillment (pp76-76)

I’m so glad to see this material published which Carson has been lecturing on around the world for a long time. I remember him going through this material at a preaching conference in Melbourne in 1998.

How to be a smarter reader | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

The author suggests that comprehension is much worse for e-readers. I think I agree!

How to be a smarter reader

There’s plenty of advice out there to help you read more – but what about how to get more from what you read? Here’s how

via How to be a smarter reader | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian.


At the Close of the Year – John Newton

A Poem/Hymn for the Close of the Year by John Newton:
Let hearts and tongues unite,
And loud thanksgivings raise:
‘Tis duty, mingled with delight,
To sing the Saviour’s praise.

To him we owe our breath,
He took us from the womb,
Which else had shut us up in death,
And prov’d an early tomb.

When on the breast we hung,
Our help was in the Lord;
‘Twas he first taught our infant tongue
To form the lisping word.

When in our blood we lay,
He would not let us die,
Because his love had fix’d a day
To bring salvation nigh.

In childhood and in youth,
His eye was on us still:
Though strangers to his love and truth,
And prone to cross his will.

And since his name we knew,
How gracious has he been:
What dangers has he led us through,
What mercies have we seen!

Now through another year,
Supported by his care,
We raise our Ebenezer here,
“The Lord has help’d thus far.”

Our lot in future years
Unable to foresee,
He kindly, to prevent our fears,
Says, “Leave it all to me.”

Yea, Lord, we wish to cast
Our cares upon thy breast!
Help us to praise thee for the past,
And trust thee for the rest.


Backing Up Your Brain with Evernote

I’m not an Evernote user. However I have my own system of notes of everything using dropbox, google docs/drive, gtasks and gmail.

Mastering these processes will really help pastors who want to develop their Bible knowledge and theological growth in every area.

This is a great video showing how a secular IT journalist uses Evernote:

Something that strikes me is that Evernote looks useful, but these processes still could be vastly improved with better software.

Reformed Theology as the Romance and Poetry at the Heart of the Gospel

I love this paragraph by Lee Gatiss from the Church Society:

2. Why does the contemporary evangelical church need “reformed” theology?

By “Reformed theology” I take it you mean the romance and poetry at the heart of the gospel? The gospel is the story of how God in his mercy sent his Son to purify a people for his own possession, to the praise of his glorious grace. It’s a love story, which makes most sense when expressed in the biblical idiom of predestinating love, intentional redemption, effective power, and eternal unbreakable covenant promise. Jesus is a “one woman man” – he loved his bride, his people, his church, and he loves her to the uttermost so that no-one can snatch her away from him. I think other species of theology tend to dampen down the wonder and stupendousness of this good news
because they can’t quite believe it’s so good, and that God would take our salvation entirely upon his own shoulders. Reformed theology at its best seeks to preach this undiluted soul-refreshment and defend it from the adulterating pollution of what the Anglican Homilies call “the stinking puddles of men’s traditions (devised by men’s imagination) for our justification and salvation.”

Canon Press Latin Primer Worksheets

I have developed a number of freely printable worksheets for use in learning Latin using the Canon Press “Latin Primer” series.

The page is here and contains links to my dropbox where I am developing these resources:

I hope they will be useful to anyone learning Latin using these textbooks. We are currently up to the third textbook and I will keep updating the worksheets as I create them.

I highly recommend the Latin Primer textbook series. They are based on a Trivium model of learning with a high level of memorisation from the beginning. They are beautifully presented modern text books using a classical style of learning the language from the grammar up.

Jensen spoke words of love…

A voice rarely heard…

Jensen spoke words of love not homophobia

I am a pastoral worker for Liberty Christian Ministries. I once identified as a gay man and lived actively as one for about five years. In that time I went to Anglican churches where Dr Peter Jensen was the archbishop, and I was frequently warned against living in sin. Though I resisted hearing that at times it never once made me feel suicidal or depressed: rather, I felt loved and safe (Letters, September 12.)

I knew living as a homosexual was wrong even independently of what the Bible said because I had to have regular health checks to ensure I hadnt picked up hepatitis, AIDS, or blood toxicity from the things I was doing. That is what the gay life involves – risky sex that puts life on the line. It diminishes life quality and life expectancy.

Health research bears out the reality of the risks of gay sexual practice. The 2010 national STD conference run by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US produced evidence that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men is more than 44 times that of other men and that the rate of syphilis among this population is more than 46 times that of other men.

Peter Jensen’s words on Q&A were reasoned, reasonable and said in love because he wants, as I do, people to have freedom in Christ and live life to the full now. Thats not homophobic, thats love.

via Sydney Morning Herald Letters to the Editor 13th September 2012.