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  • Joyful Noise: Praise with the Volume Pumped Up

    On 27 August 1883, the earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM on the island of Krakatoa. The erupting volcano was heard nearly 3,500 miles away in Mauritius. That’s like someone in New York hearing a [...]

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  • Prepare to Die

    We all need to take to heart the well-rehearsed injunction of the iconic swordsman, Iñigo Montoya, to the six-fingered man: “Prepare to die!” One way to apply this sage advice is to craft a nifty epitaph for your tombstone. This prevents eccentric relatives with a [...]

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  • St Paul and the SEALs: and alternative to HALO Evangelism

    Navy SEALs and other elite military units are experts in a death-defying insertion maneuver known as HALO, or High Altitude Low Opening parachute deployment. From oxygen starved altitudes of 30,000 ft, where the temperature is -45C/ -50F, out of the range of surface to air [...]

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  • The Secret of Spurgeon’s Success

    On the 18th of January 1854, 162 years ago to the day, Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached his first sermon at New Park Street chapel. He was 19 years old. The church was nearly empty, about 40 members in attendance. After 38 years as their pastor, the number [...]

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  • Save Our Solos: Is there place for a soloist in church?

    I enjoy being challenged to think through why we do what we do in the church worship service. Recently I was asked why our band sometimes plays a brief interlude between songs during which the congregation is silent. To take it further: isn’t the role [...]

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  • Putting the X back in Christmas

    I’m all for putting Christ back in Christmas. And there is no doubt that our secularized culture is working hard at surreptitiously ushering the Baby out, without losing the murky bathwater of gift-giving and commercial celebration. But I’d like to address the misinformed concern that [...]

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  • Advancing the Cause of Elders’ Retreats

    “We don’t retreat, we advance,” he said smugly. It has become popular for some churches to promote their men’s retreat as a “men’s advance.” Cute to some, cheesy to others. And I’m all for using good diction to inspire confidence, or whatever. But I’m just [...]

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  • Sisters-in-Arms: women in combat

    News from America fascinates me. Living in South Africa affords me a vantage point of detachment from local US news. But I nearly choked on my newsfeed last week when I heard President Barack Obama commend the Pentagon for opening all combat military positions to [...]

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"Who having been called to be a preacher would stoop to be a king?" - Puritan Thomas Carlyle