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…


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…


lyrics for living 23 (every hue)

March 12, 2023 /

Last month Barby and I went off on a little holiday. We stopped at Lake Taupō and walked into town along the lakefront. The day was drawing to a close. The toi toi waved to us as we passed by. Their beauty—ever resilient, yet fragile—always captivates me. Barely 30 minutes later, we were retracing our steps…


gentle and lowly

January 31, 2023 /

They are remembered for everything they aren’t.  That is a clumsy paraphrase of an observation JI Packer once made about the Puritans.  What comes to mind today with a word like ‘puritanical’ is such a long way from what the Puritans actually believed and how they lived—more than 400 years ago.  A long way?  From…



January 27, 2023 /

Maria lived through the Nazi occupation of Holland.  At one point, at 11 years of age, she pushed her pram down a road lined with soldiers, transporting a forbidden radio hidden under her dolly.  Imagine it.  Suddenly, I have this inner stirring to be a movie director.  That is not all.  Her family hid two…


adult colouring books

January 26, 2023 /

When you are on a summer holiday in a small-ish house with a large-ish number of people and a cyclone shows up, it is time to be creative.  Barby came to the rescue, with her latest purchase from the ‘adult colouring books’ (ACBs) genre.  While they were a craze a decade ago, Barby has been…


wayfinding leadership

January 9, 2023 /

Like many of you, I am always ready to engage with new insights on leadership. This book draws on ‘the great wayfinding tradition of the Polynesian navigators’ (xiii). Most of you live far from Polynesia, so please stick with me through unfamiliar surroundings! It will be worth it… Drawing near to it There is a…


grief and hope in the mountains

December 4, 2022 /

The last time I was in the Blue Mountains, in 2011, a funeral was on my mind.  My father had died in Auckland on a Wednesday. The funeral was set for the following Monday. And I faced the dilemma of whether to fulfil a commitment to speak at a mission conference in Katoomba from Friday…



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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.