encouragement

This site contains resources for members of local churches and their ministers. The material is for Christians seeking encouragement to live faithfully as followers of the Biblical Jesus in contemporary Australia.


Matthew 15.1-28. Who is clean?

I was once welcomed to a church by being told: “We have no traditions here.” It turned out they meant they had no typical, codified, Anglican traditions in their worship services. What was harder for them to see, but obvious to outsiders, were the powerful traditions that shaped their life together which could only be … Continue reading "Matthew 15.1-28. Who is clean?"

Matthew 14.22-36. Shame & vulnerability

BrenĂ© Brown in 2010 spoke of how her research on vulnerability discovered that people who live in cities like Melbourne have lives marked by shame. Shame, she says, is more than acknowledging we have made mistakes, it is concluding that we are mistakes. In this story of Jesus walking on the water we have been … Continue reading "Matthew 14.22-36. Shame & vulnerability"

Matthew 1.1-17. Generations (a political Christmas)

Michael Flynn How is it possible to find leadership that combines the traits we know we need? Leaders who are just but also know how to be merciful, who are wise but know when to act, who understand love but pursue truth. The opening verses of Matthew’s gospel were politically subversive when they were first … Continue reading "Matthew 1.1-17. Generations (a political Christmas)"

Matthew 13.1-23. Choking the word of God

Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious? Jesus’ answer is that God does make himself clear and will one day make himself unavoidably so but what we see or understand now of God depends upon whether we see ourselves clearly first. Jesus describes four responses to God’s speaking to us: the hardened life, the shallow … Continue reading "Matthew 13.1-23. Choking the word of God"

Matthew 12.22-45. Recognising good and evil

Once we reject the evidence of God we have no God. Once we reject the evidence for good there is no good. If more signs arrive they will only condemn us because we say we need more but refuse to trust God or his goodness when more arrives. The result is, we remain as we … Continue reading "Matthew 12.22-45. Recognising good and evil"

Matthew 9.35-10.42. The mission we are on

Jesus says the motive for Christian mission is deep seated compassion for the lost. He could see into their lives, he could see into eternity they faced and on one of the few occassions when he tells his followers what to pray for he commands they pray that God would raise up labourers for his … Continue reading "Matthew 9.35-10.42. The mission we are on"

Matthew 7.1-12. How to evaluate others

Imagine using our judgment of others to serve them rather than ourselves. Imagine instead of categorising people so we can feel better, we see our wrongs clearly enough to lay aside self-righteousness so we may better serve the people we criticise. Imagine we ask, seek and knock in regular prayer that God would put to … Continue reading "Matthew 7.1-12. How to evaluate others"

Matthew 6.19-34. Wealth and worry

We may be successful or moderately successful or fail in the pursuit of wealth but the cost of making this our core value is anxiety and stunting the character traits that make our lives worth living. The love of wealth is a cruel master because it robs us of true wealth. There is another love … Continue reading "Matthew 6.19-34. Wealth and worry"

Matthew 5.1-16. Finding happiness and acceptance

Many are drawn to the sermon on the mount like a bright light. But as we draw close to this light we fear it may burn us. The question that confronts all interpreters of this sermon is: Is this a demanding law that lays out the requirements we need to do to enter the kingdom … Continue reading "Matthew 5.1-16. Finding happiness and acceptance"