• Will you be disqualified from ministry?

    I remember sitting there as a 15 year old absolutely enthralled as this man taught the bible. He was clear, funny and winsome. As years went on I saw this man lead brilliantly, heard of the stories of people his ministry had touched, saw the people who were trained under him for fulltime ministry.

    And now his life is ruined.

    This man, like many others I know, disqualified himself from ministry.

    Every time I hear of a brother or sister disqualifying themselves from ministry I feel like God is slapping me upside the head and saying “Don’t get cocky, this could happen to you! Watch your life and doctrine closely!”

    Brothers and sisters let’s make sure we are not disqualified.

    I once heard a very famous preacher be asked “Why in 40 years of ministry has your name never been associated with a scandal?” His reply was shocking to a certain extent. He said “I never forget that it could be me and I am scared of disqualification and so I do everything within my power to guard against it!”

    Brothers and sisters are we doing everything to guard against disqualification?

    What I am doing to guard against disqualification:

    1. Reinstalling Xwatch. My computer’s hard drive was wiped a few months ago and I haven’t got around to reinstalling Xwatch. This is stupid and just lazy and shows my pride and cockiness.
    2. I am going to reread “The Ministers Self Watch” by Spurgeon. This is always a challenging read. It challenges me to watch my life as much as my doctrine.
    3. I am going remind my elders when we meet next Tuesday about watching our lives and doctrines closely and I am going to ask some hard questions of myself and of them. I will also remind them (and therefore myself) that we are meant to be open books so let’s ask each other hard uncomfortable questions out of love for each other.
    4. I am going to buy a big bunch of flowers for my wife to remind her and myself of how much I love her and how much she means to me.
    5. I am going to pray that God would show me where I am cocky and arrogant and where I am on trajectories that would lead me into disqualification.
    6. I will get busy with what I need to be doing. Work tends to focus the mind and it causes me to focus on what is good and not things that could lead me into being sinful.

    Brothers and sisters, we all know people who have been disqualified from ministry. Let us guard against this with all our might for the glory of God and our joy!


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  • Responding to my Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ whom I love

    As you know I put up a blog on Monday outlining why I am not an Anglican and I have had a lot of responses to this blog and from these responses I am realising that I have clarify a few things.

    1. I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ. I love the fact that I grew up in an Anglican church under great evangelical expository preaching. I love that I went to Moore College and I love it that my wife has the privilege of going to Moore College! I think that reformed evangelicals from all different denominations preach the gospel and my post was not in any way saying that Evangelical Anglicans in Sydney, Armidale, North West Australia or anywhere else don’t preach the gospel. In fact I know they do and I praise God for this!

    2. I didn’t realise the Synod for the Sydney diocese started the same day I put the blog up. I generally don’t read other peoples blogs and so I thought that synod was starting in a few weeks not on Monday. I totally understand that to some people my blog looked like an attack on the Sydney Anglicanism in the week of Synod. That wasn’t my intention at all and if had realised that Synod was happening this week I wouldn’t have posted my blog.

    3. I had written this blog about 6 months ago and I have been sitting on it since. I write my blogs in response to what I am reading or thinking or sometimes what questions I get asked as a church planter. I have been asked many times about why I am not an Anglican and so I wrote the blog but wanted to sit on it for a while for two reasons. One  to see if I agreed with it in six months time and two to see if people were still asking me why I am not an Anglican. I still agree with the reasons and I still get asked that question and so that is why I posted the blog.

    4. Some of my heroes are Anglican. I love to read JC Ryle, Ridley, Cramner, Packer, Stott, Bauckham, Owen, Morris. Who are or were Anglicans. I have been blessed by so many Anglican preachers. When I was younger and podcasting wasn’t available I listened to tapes of preachers that I loved and all of them were Sydney Anglicans! I owe a great debt to these men who shaped me to love the scriptures and Jesus more because of their preaching and also to love expository preaching!

    5. I am really sorry that my blog hurt some people and made other people’s lives difficult, that was never my intention. I understand people were upset by my blog and if my words were rash and insensitive I sincerely apologise. I also realise that my name is linked with some other Christian organisations and these organisations have been copping some heat. I apologise to these brothers in Christ and I need to say that my views on my blog are my views and no one else is responsible for these views other than me.

    6. I pray for the Anglican Church and all denominations and theological colleges regularly. I want to see every church in Sydney preaching the gospel and being overrun with new people coming to Jesus. I don’t really care if the churches that are experiencing revival are Anglican, Baptist, charismatic, independent or whatever. I just want the gospel to be preached and people to come to know Jesus.

    7. I believe my Anglican brothers and sisters and I are united in the gospel. Part of what this unity gives us is to be free to disagree about non essentials. To be open and say that you disagree on baptism or ecclesiology or whatever. Being strong and united in the gospel allows us to eyeball each other in love and say “I totally disagree with you on this point but I love you and I know you preach the gospel.”  I am not sure Aussies are really comfortable with this kind of blunt, open and loving discussion. Or maybe this kind of discussion is a reflection of my personality.  Either way the blog was written because I believe I have unity in the gospel with my Anglican brothers and sisters it wasn’t written to create disunity.

    I hope I am clear that I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ and that I really didn’t intend any harm to come of my blog.


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  • Why I am not an Anglican

    I get asked all the time “Why aren’t you an Anglican?” The questions could be posed as “Why aren’t you insert denomination of your choice here?” Because Resolved is an independent church. But the reason I get asked why I am not an Anglican is because I grew up in an Anglican church, I have been a member of five Anglican churches and I went to an Anglican theological college.  So it is a good and right question to ask.

    But before I get to the reasons why I am not an Anglican I want to say I am so thankful for my heritage. I am thankful I went to the churches I went to as I learnt a lot from each one of them. I am thankful that I went to Moore College. I wouldn’t change the experiences I have had in Anglicanism for the world. They have shaped me in a profound ways.

    But that being said, like a good sermon, I have three points as to why I am not an Anglican.

    1. Evangelical Anglicans are compromised because of their affiliations
    2. Infant Baptism
    3. Church government

    Evangelical Anglicans are compromised because of their affiliations

    Yes it is a very provocative statement. But if we have a look around the Anglican communion you have people that are flat out denying crucial aspects of Christianity. The Resurrection is denied, penal substitution is attacked, people argue against the reliability of the scriptures. These people aren’t on the outer wings of Anglicanism they are the leaders of various branches of the church. Now the main argument for staying an Anglican is that that evangelical Anglicans are changing Anglicanism from the inside. But is this true? In 1966 Martin Lloyd Jones at the National Assembly of Evangelicals organised by the Evangelical Alliance issued a call for evangelicals to come out from within denominations that had both Liberal and Evangelical congregations. John Sotto used his position as the chairman to publicly rebuke Lloyd Jones and say Anglicans were staying in effect to make a concerted effort to turn the ship of Anglicanism around. But has this happened? Is the Anglican ship turning around? Have we made any progress in the last 40 years? I think the answer is no, therefore, I think we need to be very careful at being in the same communion with people who are obviously not Christians.  I do not want to be in communion with people who are arguing against the gospel therefore I am not going to be Anglican.

    Infant Baptism

    I came into college believing in baptising children. But I studied the scriptures and other arguments and I have not found a convincing biblical or theological argument for infant baptism. If I was an Anglican I would have baptise infants which I think is unbiblical therefore I not going to be Anglican.

    Church Government

    When I look at the Bible I think church government is clear. There are elders who are pastors of the church and who lovingly lead the church (Acts 20:17,28-31, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 2 etc. ). There is not just one elder but a clear plurality of elders. So when I see Anglicans with a parish council/ warden/ Priest system of church government I see this as denying what I the plain teaching of the Bible and therefore I am not going to be an Anglican.

    These are the three main reasons I am not an Anglican I hope you can see that they are biblical/theological in nature. But I want to say very strongly that I consider Anglicans who are evangelicals as brothers in Christ who do preach the gospel ad for that I am very thankful.  I will also work with my Anglican brothers and sisters in the gospel because we have unity in the gospel.

    What do you think? Are my reasons legit?


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  • God has given you this life therefore be loving

    Have you ever thought “Why do I have air in my lungs?”

    Have you ever thought “Why do I have that meal in front of me?”

    Have you ever thought “Why do I have the education I have?”

    Have you ever thought “Why am I living?”

    Why do you have those things? It is because God has given those things to you.  He didn’t have to give you life or breath or food or education or friends but he did. Why did he give you these things?

    Because God is the God who gives good gifts

    “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! “

    (Matthew 7:9-11)

    Did you notice the character of God in these verses? God is better than a loving father who knows how to give gifts. This is because God is compassionate and loving.

    If God has been compassionate and loving towards us we should be compassionate and loving towards others.

    “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

    1 John  4:10-11

    If you have only one life and Jesus gave his life for you what should your attitude be to the people around you?

    Love and compassion

    What about those people who are unlovely? What about those people who get on our nerves? What about those people who hate me?

    Did you see 1 John 4:10? God loved you so much that he sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice. He loved you and I when were unlovely, when we were his enemies and he has infinitely more reason to turn his back on us. So our response to his love is to love him and everyone else.

    Who do you have to pour some love on today?

    You have only one life therefore be loving


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  • God has given you this life therefore be disciplined

    You only have one life and you only have an allotted amount of time. So how will you use that time most effectively?

    One of the things we need so that we would use time most effectively is discipline.

    Discipline is being able to do and say the right things at the right time no matter what. So you know you need to do that work but you would rather watch The Big Bang Theory. The difference between you watching the show and you doing the work is whether or not you have discipline.

    We have choices every day which require discipline. If we were disciplined with every choice we make what would we be able to achieve with our lives?

    Discipline is also being able to figure out what not to do as we live our lives. Disciplined people take as many distractions as they can out of their lives so they are focused on what they need to be focused on.

    Paul was a man who was extremely disciplined. Check out this passage that we looked at yesterday:

    Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

    1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    He has a goal which could be summarized as to die knowing that he glorified and preached Jesus as much as he possibly could. But did you see the metaphors he uses? He is a runner and a boxer.

    I can’t think of two more gruelling sports than marathon running and boxing. Paul is saying his life is like those two sports.

    They are two sports that take a huge toll on you but they are also two sports that require huge amounts of self discipline.

    He is urging us to be self disciplined

    You only have one life

    Are you self disciplined?


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  • God Has Given You This Life Therefore be Driven

    God has given you this life.

    You only have one life.

    You only have the time has given you.

    The time it takes you to read this blog you will never get back.

    So what is your attitude to your life? Are you coasting through life or are you driven?

    When I read the apostle Paul I read a man who was extremely driven:

    “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

    1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians 3:13-14

    Paul pressed onto his goal. He wanted to be at the end of his life and given his life to the service of the lord Jesus and the spreading of the gospel. He wanted to be faithful to the end.

    When I read the book of Acts I see this picture in narrative form. Paul was a man who was driven to glorify God. He was a man who wanted every moment of every day to be spent in the service of Jesus.

    I want that for my life.

    I have only one life to live

    I only have so many minutes in this life

    I don’t want to waste it

    I want to be driven

    Driven to be successful in what counts


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  • God has given you this life therefore be intentional in all you do!

    Why do you do the things you do?

    Do you have a reason for doing the things you do?

    Some people meander through life. If you were to ask them why they do the things they do or how do the things they do now help them get to where they ultimately want to go they shrug or they come up with some reason that is not thought out.

    Some Pastors meander through their jobs. Why did they preach that last sermon series? Was there thought, planning and preparation behind it? Why did they meet up with that person? How are they training those people?

    The issue that a stops a lot of people from becoming good or great leaders is that they have not learned to be intentional.

    Intentionality is doing or saying everything for a reason. It means that you have to have thought about what you are doing long term and figure out a way to get there. Then from this plan it means that every conversation, presentation, action and every meeting has intent and that you are prepared for all these things.

    What would happen to your organisation or church if every meeting you were prepared with an agenda (either on your head or on paper), desired outcomes and a plan for following up on those outcomes? I think you would lead a lot better and there would be momentum in your organisation or church.

    What would happen if you planned your preaching/teaching series one year out and then you were intentional about spending a few hours each week preparing for that next sermon series? I think your preaching would improve.

    I heard a very successful man say that the difference between a successful person and a failure is that successful person has drive, discipline and is intentional.

    I want to be successful in what counts (Luke 12:13-21). I also know that times is short, limited and one of the most precious things God has given me and I should use it well (Psalm 90:12).

    Therefore I want to be intentional with everything I do. Every blog, every tweet, every meeting, every phone call, every sermon has to have a specific purpose and desired outcome.

    I want to make my life count and therefore I will endeavour to be intentional about everything.

    What about you are you intentional?

    How do you discipline yourself to be intentional in everything you do?


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  • Vibe part 4: What are we doing to get the vibe we are looking for?

    Three months ago Resolved’s vibe on Sunday was down. People found church tiring, we found relationships hard and the services weren’t at the standard they should be.  But things are slowly changing. Here is what we are trying to do to get the vibe we are looking for:

    1. The leaders are working hard at showing their love for people. Sometimes at church we get distracted. We focus more on things then people. We focus more on the seating, lighting, sermon, music, etc then the people. This is one of the things we were doing.  Now what we try to do is make sure that we show how much we love everyone who comes in the door. In this we are letting what we feel about the people come out in our conversations and our manner.
    2. The leaders are working hard at being excited to be at church. We are reminding each other of the gospel and what an amazing thing it is to meet together and what an amazing privilege it is to serve at our church. With this in mind we seek to take these ideas and make them realities on Sunday when we meet. We want to be excited when we meet with Gods people because we do not know what God is going to do when his word is preached!
    3. We are becoming more organised. Being organised means less stress and more thought. This helps us work hard at the things that get forgotten (i.e. people and relationships) when we are not organised.
    4. We are asking the question “How does the gospel spring out of this text to inspire people to live for Jesus?”  I don’t want to inspire people I want the gospel to inspire people. All I want to do is to show them how to the gospel inspires them. I think this has changed my preaching so that people hear about the gospel elements (creation, sin, judgement, cross, resurrection, heaven, hell) in ways that they can see the connections to their lives and also how it inspires or encourages them to live for Jesus.

    Are you working on the vibe of your church service? If so what are you doing to create the vibe that flows out of the gospel?


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  • Vibe part 3: What kind of vibe should we be going for?

    If you go to a number of different churches you will experience that each church has a different vibe.

    Some have the vibe of a rock concert, others have the vibe of a 16th century church service, other churches will have a mystical vibe, some churches people are seated on couches and the list could go on.

    So many things that we could list change the vibe of a service. Whether it be location, lighting, music, what people wear etc. All these things change the vibe.

    But if we focus on these things and we think if we get these right we will have a great vibe to our service we will be completely unbiblical.

    The other day I did a blog called A biblical theology if vibe. In it we saw that God is loving and holy and we want the vibe of our churches to reflect these attributes.

    With that in mind what kind of music we have in church or what I wear in church is, to a certain extent, peripheral.

    What we need to be going for is a loving vibe, one where people have the space to reflect on the holiness and love of God.

    A person going away feeling loved and knowing that God is holy and loving is far more important and impactful than if we have a great artificial vibe.

    This vibe is all about people and Gods word not about fashion.

    This vibe is about letting the gospel permeate every aspect of what we do and being intentional about that.

    This is the vibe we want

    But can we get this vibe?

    How can we encourage our churches to be a church which has this vibe?


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  • Vibe Part 2: A Biblical Theology of Vibe

    When we think of vibe and we think of theology they rarely mix do they? People strong on theology don’t really think about vibe and people who are good on vibe don’t really think theologically. Or so the story goes…

    As Christians we need to think theologically about everything, especially the vibe of our meetings. The big question I want so ask is “Do our meetings reflect the character of God?”

    What is the character of God?

    You could write a book on it.

    When I think of God and his character I keep coming back to two words, loving and holy.

    We see God’s love in the verse we all know John 3:16

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    We see in Revelation 4:8 a picture of a holy God:

    8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

    “‘Holy, holy, holy

    is the Lord God Almighty,’[a]

    who was, and is, and is to come.”

    If we are going to think about who God is and let that shape our vibe we need to think about how our vibe contributes to people going away knowing that God loves them and that he is so holy .

    I think if we are to say that God is a loving God we need to show that we love the people who come to our Churches. It would be pathetic if we say that God loves people and we didn’t show it.

    But holiness is much harder. How do you shape the vibe of your service so that you communicate that God is holy?

    Now I must be clear, God is a speaking God and the main way we communicate his attributes is by speech. That is how God has set it up and I am not saying we should go mystic or catholic But I want to have the vibe of the service match what we are saying.

    In the Bible we see that God is loving and holy. The question is how do we shape the vibe of our service so that our vibe is consistent with what we are preaching and saying?




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