Sex in the city

Posted: 30 June 2011 / 1 Peter 3:1-7

Someone once said, ‘Marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy.’ Sadly this is often the case, even in Christian marriages.

In fact, marriage is in a bad way in Australia with rates have fallen to 5.5 per thousand in 2007, coupled with a divorce rate of 2.3 per thousand in 2007, the seventh highest in the world. In 2008, this affected a disturbing 43,184 children. The average age for marrying has climbed steeply to 29 for women and 31 for men, a trend which places greater stress on women who contend with a less merciful biological clock. Linked with this is the rate of cohabitation which has increased from 6% (1986) to 15% (2006).

Consequently, a recent study...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

What will get you out of your dust and dashes?

Posted: 15 June 2011 / Job

A Nigerian Poet once said:

When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.

Job suffered. Greatly. It is hard to comprehend such suffering. Maybe you have experienced deep pain, or a member of your family. And yet people suffer all over the world in terrible ways.

Is there a path through it all?

This Sunday Justin Moffatt (St Philips York Street) will come and tell the story of Job. We will ask the question: What will get a person out of their dust and Ashes? In other words, is there a path through suffering?

Come this Sunday and explore this idea with us.

Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

To die for or to kill for?

Posted: 10 June 2011

This Sunday we are privileged to have Dr. Michael Jensen come to speak to us on the topic:

To die for or to kill for? Martyrdom and the Spectre of Religious Violence

Michael was one of my favourite Moore college lectures, and a previous minister to Tim, Rachel and Murray, who has an excellent ability to make complicated topics very accessible. He writes on this topic,

Even after the death of Osama, there is nothing quite as terrifying as the thought that suicidal religious fanatics might inflict their unreasoning violence on us. They seem to lash out with such resentment against the rest of us. They seem driven by a hatred of life itself – willing not only to die for their...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

Citizens in the city

Posted: 03 June 2011 / 1 Peter 2:13-17

This Sunday at Vine Church we are looking at 1 Peter 2:13-17 and the topic Citizens in the City. In particular we are considering whether a separation should exist between church and state. This afternoon I was reading over one of the sermons of Martin Luther King Jr. (the great American civil rights advocate). He said,

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

Come this Sunday and explore this idea...

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Categories: Sermon Series

Christ and culture, Christian identity and difference in the city

Posted: 24 May 2011

Four weeks ago we began a new series called Christ & Culture: Christian Identity and Difference in the City. This is an important topic for us to understand because,

Some churches are bomb shelters in their city, running away from engagement
Some churches are mirrors of their city, never saying anything controversial
Some churches are parasites of their city, only using it for their own ends

But some churches are cities within their city, seeking to do good within the city

The first three types of church avoid suffering and grasp for power. Bomb shelter churches avoid suffering by avoiding those who would bring them suffering (the ‘bad people’) and by attacking. Mirror...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

Good Friday and Easter

Posted: 21 April 2011

World-weariness, apathy, acedia, and sloth are words which describe the posture our time – the inability to believe in or do anything.

What we suffer from is not over-sensation, as is commonly thought, but from de-sensitization, an anesthesia of the spirit. One is hard pressed to identify that for which postmodern men and women are willing to live or die.

The last words of Jesus offer a solution: gravitas. Physicians and scientists who have studied the medical aspects of the crucifixion concluded that Jesus last words had to be short because crucifixion causes asphyxia, which made inhaling air to speak difficult and painful. This makes every word Jesus spoke from the cross full...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Events

The reason for God

Posted: 12 April 2011

When you read books that make a case for believing in God, you quickly get the feeling that they are written primarily for those who already believe. The authors of such books tend to gloss over the hardest questions about God. The Reason for God Course is different. Not only will we not shy away from the hard questions, we will address them with the seriousness they deserve. This six week course is designed for sceptics and believers alike to begin a conversation about the challenge of faith and life. We invite you to join us for dinner and a discussion for the following six weeks.

13 April
Isn’t the Bible a myth?

20 April
How can you say there is only one way to God?


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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: News

I am thirsty

Posted: 02 April 2011 / John 19:28

In John 19, as Jesus dies upon the cross, he cries out “I am thirsty.” It’s one word in the Greek but full of meaning. Philip Ryken reckons,

If the thirst of Jesus Christ was a genuine thirst, then it was a human thirst. God does not get thirsty. He is never short of fluids. Angels do not get thirsty. They are spiritual beings who do not experience physical lack. Among rational beings, only human beings have the capacity for thirst. The thirst of Jesus Christ on the cross was the thirst of a dying man. It was proof that he was human after all.

This Sunday we continue our series on Gravitas: Jesus Last Words From the Cross, with a look into this Jesus shortest cry from the...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me

Posted: 25 March 2011 / Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34

In Matthew 27 and in Mark 15, as Jesus is dying on his cross, he cries out these chilling words:

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

We are told what this means. It means:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

It’s a quote from Psalm 22. What’s happening here? John Dickson says of this cry:

This is not a cry of self-doubt from Christ’s lips, as if he is here questioning his identity and mission. It is his deliberate and agonising identification with the suffering poet of Psalm 22 and therefore, with all those who have cried out to God ‘Why?’. There on the cross, so the Bible insists, God intentionally enters our pain and misery, getting his hands dirty and even bloody....

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: Sermon Series

How to vote christianly

Posted: 21 March 2011 / 1 Timothy 2:1-3

This Saturday is the NSW State election. As we think about how we use our vote, it would be worth reading a short paper written a couple of years ago by John Dickson (founding director of Centre for Public Christianity), called “How to Vote Christianly!(pdf).
In short he encourages us to:

Not get into an unthinking voting pattern
Not vote for someone just because they are a Christian, and
Not make economic prosperity the central issue

But to:
Vote for others
Vote for the moral health of the community
Vote for the poor and weak
Vote for the gospel, and
Vote prayerfully

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—2...

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Author: Toby Neal / Categories: News
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