book review

partnership? yeah, nah!

June 2, 2024 /

The 100% Pure New Zealand website, with its collection of Kiwi slang, describes ‘Yeah, Nah’ in this way: Kiwis are exceptionally agreeable, so even when they want to disagree with you, they’ll throw in a “yeah” as well. Basically, “yeah, nah” is a non-comittal way of saying no. As in: “Do you want to go…



May 13, 2024 /

With teaching preaching being a common denominator (almost) throughout my working life, building a library of books has been a serious endeavour. There was some serious joy that flowed last year when they were all brought together, finally—and in alphabetical order, of course… One of the key skills to nurture in preachers is an observation…


cuddy: wonderful and weird

April 2, 2024 /

Cuddy is the affectionate name given to St Cuthbert, patron saint of Northumbria, “the birthplace of Christianity in England” (305). Cuddy tells the story of the ‘life’ of his dead body because “his death is far from the end of the story” (122). He was a shepherd-lad from Melrose who was called by God to…


not so with you

January 24, 2024 /

It is sickening. In recent years there have been these waves of stories about spiritual abuse in pastoral leaders. Yes, it is like a wave—building out there in the ocean over many years and then crashing down onto the beach, one after the other. The bigger waves (the ones we hear about) have tended to…



January 12, 2024 /

The author was new to me. The title didn’t grab me. It was first published 15 years ago without ever catching my eye. In the end I didn’t even buy the book. It arrived in my mailbox a couple of years ago, as a gift. Is it any wonder that it just sat on my…


short-term mission: 5 questions, 7 practices

November 7, 2023 /

In my recent post about Mekdes Haddis’ book, A Just Mission: Laying Down Power and Embracing Mutuality, I promised to add a further post with her wisdom regarding short-term mission. She offers five questions and seven practices… Five Questions On her website she expands on these questions a little bit more. Seven Practices nice chatting…


mekdes haddis: embracing mutuality

November 1, 2023 /

In these pages Mekdes Haddis addresses “a broken mission system … (where) we hurt culture” (x). It is her conviction that “by laying down power we will gain the ability to embrace mutuality. It is not easy, yet it’s the necessary work we must do as Western Christians” (109). It is a confronting book. I…


tim keller: smiles and sighs

October 21, 2023 /

This is a biography, but not as we’ve known them. While it is about Keller, it is told through the “story of his spiritual and theological influences” (xii). So it felt like being drawn into the footnotes of his life, not just the main text, or even the headlines. It was refreshing. It became this…


the palestinians

June 18, 2023 /

When it comes to global geo-politics across the last hundred years or so, one thing becomes clear.  The majority of the peoples of the world, especially Christians, don’t care about the Palestinians.  That doesn’t seem to be right.  I expect Palestinians to be among the ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’ (Rev 7.9) on that…


powerful leaders?

February 7, 2023 /

“It is sad that the book had to be written”. This is how a friend responded when I mentioned that I was reading Marcus Honeysett’s Powerful Leaders? When Church Leadership Goes Wrong and How to Prevent It. Why did he respond in that manner?  While Honeysett avoids naming names, the book is prompted by the…



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About Me


the art of unpacking

After a childhood in India, a theological training in the USA and a pastoral ministry in Southland (New Zealand), I spent twenty years in theological education in New Zealand — first at Laidlaw College and then at Carey Baptist College, where I served as principal. In 2009 I began working with Langham Partnership and since 2013 I have been the Programme Director (Langham Preaching). Through it all I've cherished the experience of the 'gracious hand of God upon me' and I've relished the opportunity to 'unpack', or exegete, all that I encounter in my walk through life with Jesus.