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“Questions about an architelones”, Luke 19.1-10

My next sermon is about an “architelōnēs”. A what? A chief tax collector. The word appears just once in the New Testament, and it refers to someone who turns up just once – Zacchaeus. I’m in the early stages of sermon preparation – probing the passage for ideas, insights and information. A few questions have occurred to […]

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“The Healing Power of a Question”, Luke 18.41

Jesus knew all the answers, but he still asked questions. Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? As Conrad Gempf comments in his book, it must have been obvious to Jesus what the man’s need was.¹ He may not have had a white cane or a guide dog, but the way he walked and looked was surely enough. Questions […]

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The Sunday Sample: reflections on corporate worship

Sampling Sundays One of the hats I wear is labelled, “corporate worship leader”. It’s my job to help develop the corporate worship of the Watford church of Christ and the Thames Valley churches of Christ. Defining that responsibility in a few words is hard, but it has to do with training speakers, singers and musicians practically […]

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The Right Response to a Wrong Rebuke: Luke 18.39

How does it feel to be rebuked? Not pleasant, I’m sure you’ll agree. A friend once asked me how I responded to criticism. I replied that I handled it rather well. He begged to disagree, and he was right. I was talking about how I reacted publicly (with dignity, restraint) – he was referring to what […]

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“Solitude is golden” – A review of “Thoughts in solitude” by Thomas Merton

The world is populated by too many mindless men and women. Merton shows us how solitude can help us to have clarity and faith.

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Solitude is Golden: A review of “Thoughts in Solitude” by Thomas Merton

Preamble The world is populated by too many mindless men and women. “Automatons cannot make a society”, and thus we must learn how to choose, and especially how to choose the life of faith. We “cannot choose faith unless we have self determination and freedom.” Solitude is a vital tool in enabling choice – “coming […]

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“Mercy Me!”, Luke 18.38-39

“Mercy me!” is an old fashioned expression these days, but I grew up hearing it in my home and that of my grandparents. It came out at times of surprise. Presumably it originates from the request to God to have mercy on the person saying the phrase. Either as a need for forgiveness, or strength. […]

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“What’s In A Name?” Luke 18.37-39

How does it feel when someone gets your name wrong? Mine is often spelt incorrectly. I’ve had Malcom, Malcombe and Malkom, among others. Just for the record, it’s “Malcolm” – and always has been since my birth certificate was signed. Accuracy is important at some times more than others. Passports come to mind. And sometimes the […]

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“Coming, or Going?” Luke 18.35 & Mark 10.46

It’s good to know if you’re coming or going. Occasionally, after a long day and in times of stress, I’m not so sure myself whether I’m coming or going! What about the Gospel writers? In particular, what about the story of the blind man? I’m preaching on the Luke version from chapter 18 this Sunday and it’s […]

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Always Bring Back the Jar

A friend of mine makes honey. Or, rather, the bees make it, I suppose. His part in the process is vital, however. The bees haven’t mastered the trick of getting the honey into the jars as yet. And the jars are important. Apparently they are of a special kind. Tim (my friendly apiarist) buys them from a […]