Sermon - "Follow me as I follow Christ."

On Monday 7 August, 2017, I had the privilege of leading the Thanksgiving Service for my wife's Nana's funeral; Joyce Estelle Smyth. This was an immense privelege for me. I thought I would share here the sermon that I had prepared for that occasion. I hope you find it helpful.

I was 17 and Megan was 15 when we started going out at Music Camp in September of 1994. A week into our relationship Megan rang me to say she was going shopping for her Year 10 formal dress with her mother, Pam and Nana; would I like to come? Being young and in love I immediately said yes. Now, there are some here today who knew me at the time and you may recall that these were the days, being 17, when I had long hair, was tough and knew everything. Oh, the things that time robs us of.

Have you reached a verdict?

‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ John 20:30-31
It had been a long and difficult court case. The time had come, though, for the verdict. The evidence had been presented; the testimony of eye-witnesses heard, and arguments for and against presented by both sides. No stone was left unturned and all witnesses were questioned. Now, the jury must reveal its decision. Twelve previously unconnected individuals, now united around a common purpose, filed back into their allocated seat in the courtroom.
“Members of the jury. Have you reached a verdict?”

Sermon - You believe in the resurrection? (Luke 20:27-40)

One of my favourite writers, and one of the greatest Biblical scholars of our generation, N.T. Wright once wrote the following: I used to tell my students that at least 20 per cent of what I was telling them was wrong, but I didn’t know which 20 per cent it was: I make many mistakes in life, in relationships and in work, and I don’t expect to be free of them in my thinking. But whereas in much of life one’s mistakes are often fairly obvious – the short cut path that ended in a bed of nettles, the experimental recipe that gave us all queasy stomachs, the golf shot that landed in the lake – in the life of the mind things are often not so straightforward. We need other minds on the job, to challenge us, to come back at us to engage with our arguments and analyses. That is how the world goes round.
Here is a man who has years of research under his belt, countless books from his own pen lining bookshelves all throughout the world, a former Oxford professor, Bishop of Durham and now Professor…

Sermon - Including the "Other" (Acts 8:26-40)


Running away from.... grace?

Anyone who spent any amount of time anywhere near a Sunday School has heard the story of Jonah. For whatever reason it’s seems to be a very popular story to share with children. I suspect anything to do with animals saving the day is attractive to kids. I’m sure you know it well. Jonah gets told by God to go to Nineveh and “preach against it” (1:2), he runs away, ends up on a boat in a storm going in the opposite direction, he gets thrown in the ocean which seems to appease God, he’s swallowed by a “huge fish” (1:17) in which he spends three days and three nights. From inside the fish he realises the errors of his ways, prays to God and determines to obey instead, so the fish vomits him up onto dry land. Jonah goes to Nineveh and proclaims the message God gives to him; “Forty more days and Ninevah will be overthrown” (3:4). Immediately a remarkable thing happens – “The Ninevites believed God” (3:5). The king calls a fast and demands the people and animals be covered in sackcloth to de…

An Exercise in Self-Deception

The Salvation Army in Australia is in the midst of an historic journey. Since 1880 the Army has been active in this country, doing all it can to see God’s Kingdom come and his will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. For much of that time, for functional and practical reasons, there have been two territories; Australia Southern and Australia Eastern. Earlier this year it was announced that this would change. The two would become one. As at 1 June the Australia One project was launched and work was begun on joining the two territories together into one unified structure.
This move excites me. Not just for the practical reasons, but for theological ones as well. This has the potential to be a symbol of unity to the rest of the Army and, indeed, the world. A symbol of how two different things can come together to form something new and, through that new thing, reform society. This can be a symbol of the incarnation; that moment in time and space when the divine and human were unite…

Soldiership Preparation Materials - #plus1challenge

I've seen a really encouraging response to my #plus1challenge so far. It's great to see. If you haven't read my original post yet it's accessible here. In summary, the #plus1challenge is to see in our Territory the number of soldiers increase by 1. It's starts with you and me.

This post is simply a collection of resources I've been able to locate on the internet that can be used in soldiership preparation classes. I'm not necessarily endorsing any one in particular. I just know, as Corps Officer, that finding material that is suitable can be difficult. So, this is just a list of materials that are available. Click on each title to go to each course.

If you know of something that I've missed send me a message or comment below and I'll update this post as needed.