images that teach (5): the lid

February 21, 2024 /

A curious thing happens in our society today. A person who asserts that death is the end and that there is no heaven can still be heard longing that a loved one be ‘looking down from above’. For those with ears to hear, this kind of thing happens quite a lot. What is going on?…



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…



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…


lyrics for living 22 (sing we the king)

May 15, 2022 /

A highlight through 2022 continues to be having breakfast on Wednesdays with my mother.  Others are offering all kinds of wonderful care and so, after a good chat together, we focus on a Bible reading, a prayer — and a hymn.  I wander through Wikipedia, finding background details to the hymn to read — and…


daniela’s art

March 6, 2022 /

New Zealanders who return from living overseas often comment on how insular we are.  The first place where this is noticed is with the media, which tends to set the agenda for conversation and empathy.  During these covidian times we’ve tended to be wrapped up so much in ourselves. My hunch is that the peoples…


lyrics for living 21 (help is on the way)

October 19, 2021 /

After creating ‘lyrics for living’ to be the occasional equivalent of an archaeological dig into the world of ancient hymnody, for the second time in two months, I am reaching for a song written in 2021. What is happening to my world?  Is lockdown getting to me? This time last week I was expanding my…


lyrics for living 20 (hymn of heaven)

August 29, 2021 /

Lyrics for Living has been more about resuscitating hymns — oldies, but goodies — than it has been about providing further exposure to contemporary songs.  However, as my French teacher used to say, “always expect an exception”… and that exception has arrived: Phil Wickham’s Hymn of Heaven.   Let’s start by having another listen to…


spring: wandering and wondering

August 25, 2021 /

Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn. I do enjoy the beauty in each season.  Whether it be these familiar four, or tropical twosomes like Wet and Dry, Hot and Less-Hot — there is always beauty to be discerned in each season.  Yes, it is even true with those Hot and the Dry climates.  Over the years I’ve…


a patient ferment: church then & now

February 8, 2021 /

Someone, somewhere recommended this book to me. Whoever you are, wherever you are — thank-you! Not only did Alan Kreider’s The Patient Ferment of the Early Church push a few buttons for me, it polished them — four of them, in particular. 1. Patience One of the first impressions for me in returning to New Zealand…



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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.