Advent Reflection: The assumptions of Mary

‘“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne…

Advent Reflection: Five strands to the blessing of Elizabeth and Zechariah

‘In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth…

Tithing: Enjoying the Benefits and meeting the Benefactor

I used to work for the insolvency service, processing bankruptcy and liquidation cases. I remember one day being called into my boss’ office because he had been going through a client’s outgoings and didn’t understand one of the items: “He’s listed a monthly ‘tithe’. What is that? I think it’s a religious word, but I’m…

Healing in his Wings (Luke 8:40-56)

This weekend I preached at Christ Church Manchester, and in the morning I spoke on one of (or rather, two of!) my favourite stories in Luke’s gospel: the healings of Jairus’ daughter and a lady who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. It’s a remarkable passage, which demonstrates the heart of God, the power…

Night of the Living Dead

Ah, that weekend is approaching when those who have worked all year round producing bizarre latex products and tubes of fake luminescent blood, finally get to see the fruit of their labours for 48 hours or so. Slashed throats. Bullet holes in foreheads. Blood-stained t-shirts, and wild attempts to make vampires and witches ‘sexy’. I…

Sweat: A Biblical Theology in Three Acts

Sweat. It’s the body’s natural cooling mechanism, regulating our temperature when it rises due to heat, exercise, fear or stress. Perspiring can be an unpleasant but very necessary bodily function which all of us experience. * For something so common, it is perhaps surprising to note that sweating is only mentioned three times in the…

Living Sacrifice: Leave Room for God (Romans 12:17-21)

When we are wronged, we can easily feel tempted to retaliate, defend ourselves and seek revenge. But Paul says there is a better way. In the penultimate talk of our series, I consider how and why we should resist vengeance, and what it means to trust in the justice of God. For more on this…

A Lesson on Listening: The Rise and Fall of David and Driscoll

My Bible in One Year (which is taking me considerably longer than a year!) has me struggling through 2 Chronicles. I’m nearing the end, and if I’m honest, I’m grateful! There have been beautiful moments and I’ve blogged about a couple of them. But all in all, I’ve found it hard going. And one of…