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There’s More to Life

I wonder if the men who escorted Paul to Athens parted with the words, “try to stay out of trouble”. I know I’ve heard those words plenty of times, usually immediately before I find some form of trouble. You could’ve forgiven Paul for laying low in Athens, having had to leave Thessalonica and Berea because of opposition, but as we’ve already seen in this study, Paul did anything but. It wasn’t long before he’d come to the attention of the intellectual elites within the city and was being questioned about this good news that he preached. Then they took him and brought him...
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The Idols of our Time

In the book of Acts we read the history of the early church and the travels of the Apostle Paul as the Christian faith spread outwards from Judea to Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and Europe. We read of signs and wonders, shipwrecks, miraculous conversions, riots and trials – stories of travel and ancient culture inter-mingled with great self sacrifice and generosity. In Acts chapter 17, Paul was hounded out of the city of Thessalonica (Thessaloniki) and then promptly forced to leave Berea too, for his own safety. Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned...
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A Handful of Kings

Everything points to Jesus. It’s one of the first rules of biblical studies, everything points to Jesus. When you’re knee deep in the history of the kings of Israel and Judah, however, that can be harder to see than at other times. It can seem like an endless roll call of ne’er-do-wells with only the occasional bright light. A long list of men—with names that seem at times confusingly similar, and mainly begin with the letter J—who all too often ‘did what was evil in the sight of the Lord’. I believe, however, that the histories recorded in the bible speak not...
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Outrageous Love

Every time I sit down to write a blog recently, there’s some new atrocity in the news. Shootings, bombings, stabbings. Somehow terror has grown even more terrifying, sudden, and startling. It’s hard to imagine the kind of evil it takes to drive a truck deliberately through a crowd of celebrating families, open fire on revellers with a semi-automatic, or detonate a bomb that indiscriminately massacres crowds of people. The easiest, most obvious, and seemingly most natural, response is to hate. Hate Daesh and al-qaeda, hate the Mahdi Army and Boko Haram, and hate whoever else is presently unleashing their evil upon the world. And yet, a couple...
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Getting real

As some of you may know, and those who don’t are about to find out, I am hugely inspired by the work of Caravaggio. His art is immediate, raw and passionate, it jumps off the canvas and down your throat; while other artists painted the classical form—perfect, aspirational, inspired by the great sculptors of the past—he painted real people with an abrupt and powerful urgency. Dirt on fingernails, weather beaten faces. At the centre of this drunken brawler’s work was the message of the gospel; not men elevated to the form of God, but God taking the form of man. But this post isn’t really about...
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