The difference between superstition and faith

There’s a moment in Acts when the early church are caught on the hop by God’s ability to answer prayer. There are the believers, earnestly praying for Peter’s release from prison whilst Peter is knocking on the door because the prayer has been answered. Some of us, particularly from more western and conservative backgrounds can… Continue reading The difference between superstition and faith

Where are the worship songs about gout?

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Quite a few worship songs these days announce spiritual power to break strongholds with a particular focus on addictions, mental health and depression.  Now there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact as someone who has suffered from depression I have appreciated heart felt songs that have spoke about God’s presence at the very point when… Continue reading Where are the worship songs about gout?

Jesus for the good of the city

The other day I wrote a little bit about what it means to seek the good of the city. I was prompted to think about this because we’ve just had a week of prayer as a family of churches in Birmingham and on the Wednesday night, the theme was “For the good of the city”… Continue reading Jesus for the good of the city

A second look (Mark 8:22-26)

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I identify with the blind man healed in Mark 8:22-26. I’ve often sat in the optician’s chair as he’s moved lenses around pausing to ask “better here … or better here.” Ninety five percent of the time I find myself saying “about the same.” I used to worry that I was giving the wrong answer… Continue reading A second look (Mark 8:22-26)

Why did Jesus heal? (Mark 7:31-37)

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Mark 7 closes with another healing. Returning from Tyre and Sidon to Galilee, he is met by a man who is deaf and also unable to speak. It may well be that his muteness is a consequence of his deafness and not hearing speech. The context of the two healing miracles at the end of… Continue reading Why did Jesus heal? (Mark 7:31-37)

Something happens when people come into contact with Jesus (Mark 6:53-56)

When Jesus and his disciples cross Lake Galilee, they are greeted on the other shore by another crowd.  People recognise him and word spreads. Everywhere he goes, he is met with people who plead with him for healing. They assume that even to just brush against his clothes will bring life and healing. This is… Continue reading Something happens when people come into contact with Jesus (Mark 6:53-56)

If I can just get close enough (Mark 5:21-43)

Perhaps one of the most moving accounts in the Gospels is the story of the woman who had suffered for many years with an illness that caused frequent discharge of blood. It’s wrapped around by the healing of Jairus’ daughter. This helps us to see a few things. First, we see Jesus’ willingness to be… Continue reading If I can just get close enough (Mark 5:21-43)

The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

We now begin to see what it means for Jesus to preach about the Kingdom and call people to repentance with a series of examples. It means calling people to follow him and leave behind other priorities (1:16-20 and 2:13-17) It means calling evil spirits out of people.  Captives are set free (1:21-28) It means… Continue reading The transforming kingdom (Mark 1:16-2:13-17)

Towards a theology of depression

 Last year I contributed to a short book called “The Pastor with a thorn in his side.” It’s a book which tells the stories of 7 pastors who have faced depression during their ministry. Steve Kneale edited the book and as well as telling his own story provides an introduction and a conclusion. In those… Continue reading Towards a theology of depression