The royal law (podcast) (James 2:1-8)


Keep the royal law? Aren’t we under grace? Why would any New Testament book call us to keep the royal law?

The phrase in James 2:8 is literally the law of the king. What king? (Hint: did the writer belong to the royal family?)

What law? Is this something new? Or was it part of the Old Testament law?

James envisages nothing less than the complete restructuring of society. The governance of King Jesus fundamentally changes how humans treat each other, the value we place on each other and how we use the resources God has given us.

In the preceding verses, James spells out exactly what kind of values form the foundation for the kind of community he believed the king had decreed for his kingdom.

This podcast was recorded at the final gathering of Riverview Joondalup, 2022-06-26.

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The church’s role in the world

What does it look like to be human?

What is our role in the world? In a word, to be human.

That doesn’t work if the church holds a negative view of what it means to be human.

God doesn’t. He addressed Ezekiel as son of man — literally human descendant. Jesus called himself the son of man more than any other term. God is restoring humanity in Christ. That’s why our role in the world is to be human.

What could be more fulfilling? Being human is what we were designed to be.

So, what’s the problem? Humans have chosen another path, wanting to be superhuman. It makes us subhuman, for seeking power over each other destroys our humanity.

That’s the reason Ezekiel was in Babylon. That’s why Jesus was crucified. That’s the problem all the way back to Cain and Abel. It is challenging to live as a humans when others are being beasts.

This podcast (23 minutes) was recorded at Riverview Joondalup 2022-06-19.

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Building for a new Jerusalem (Nehemiah 5) (podcast)

Nehemiah revealed the core kingdom values. His insight is still challenging.

Nehemiah did more than rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. In Chapter 5 he’s discipling the community that will be the new Jerusalem.

Though appointed by the king of Persia, Nehemiah insists they treat each other as their heavenly king expects. More than any of the leaders who preceded him, Nehemiah has the revelation that lays the groundwork for Jesus’ approach to the kingdom of God.

This podcast (27 minutes) was recorded at Riverview Joondalup 2022-06-12.

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How church works (podcast)

What did early churches do when they gathered? The New Testament provides almost no direct description of the elements of their meetings. Why?

The Old Testament gives all the details of the tabernacle and its furnishings, the priests and their garments, the liturgies to be performed and the offerings acceptable to God. Why is the NT missing all these details? What’s different?

This podcast covers the only explicit list of things the early church did when it met:

1 Corinthians 14:26 (my translation, compare NIV)
What are we saying, family? When you gather, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let everything be focused on construction.

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Making God known (podcast)

In Australia today we’re seeing Christianity shrink back towards being a minority religion. How should we respond? What does God want us to do? How can we help people discover the invisible God?

The Book of Acts traces the development of the church from 120 Jewish believers to Rome. Within 400 years, it had reached Britain, the edge of the Empire. What did Christians do that was so credible while they were still a minority religion? What can we learn from how they followed Jesus?

What is the one thing we should focus on?

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What is Church? (podcast)

How would you describe the church? What does God expect us to be? Where do we focus our limited resources and efforts? These are crucial questions for our time.

This podcast looks at what the word ekklēsia meant before Christians used it to describe their meetings. Our identity is the people who gather around King Jesus. Our mission is implementing God’s government in his world. So, what should we do?

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Who makes God happy? (podcast) (Luke 15)

Who makes God happy? The sinners? The righteous? What do you think?

Jesus answered that question with three stories. We love the parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost (prodigal) son. But did we hear the answer he gave?

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The message of Mark’s Gospel (podcast)

Mark’s Gospel reveals two things about Jesus:

  • his identity (chapters 1–8)
  • his mission (chapters 8–16)

The pivot point is Peter’s declaration of Jesus’ identity (Mark 8:29). Immediately Jesus turns our attention to how Messiah’s mission will play out — his role and our role in his mission.

This 25-minute podcast traces the laser-sharp focus of the shortest Gospel. Recorded at Riverview Joondalup 2022-03-13.

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The message of Matthew’s Gospel (podcast)

What is the main thing Matthew says about Jesus, from the first verse to the last?

What message was Jesus proclaiming? Why was he doing the things he did?

Is the Sermon on the Mount best understood as a sermon? Remarkably, it said it didn’t sound like a sermon — more like an address from someone in authority.

How do the parables reveal the way Jesus expected the kingdom to come?

Why didn’t he explain who was king? How does he become king when in the capital there are people who believe they represent God’s authority?

Why did he die on the cross? What statement was God making when he raised him from the dead?

These are the questions Matthew addresses in his Gospel account. We follow Matthew’s main message in this 27-minute podcast, recorded at Riverview Joondalup 2022-03-06.
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Creativity (podcast)

What is creativity to you? And what does God find creative?

This podcast looks at how God has gifted us as co-creators with the Creator in his earthly realm, how Christ restructured everything with the gifts he gave us to serve in his kingdom, and how the Holy Spirit is the central nerve system empowering the muscles of Christ’s body to do what the head wants done.

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The way of transformation (podcast) (2 Timothy 3)


2 Timothy 3 tracks the transformation that takes place through Christ, turning us inside out, from living for my own self-focused story to participating in God’s astounding story.

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Gospel encouragement (podcast) (2 Timothy 1)


The gospel will transform the world. The good news that God’s anointed (Christ) is our leader (Lord) changes everything.

So how do we live in a world that is not fully transformed yet? What’s our role? How do we participate in this big story? That’s what Paul discusses in his final letter to Timothy.

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Wonderful Counsellor (podcast) (Isaiah 9:6)

Why did the wonderful counsellor begin with the place that went dark first? Can his mediation resolve the violence and oppression to restore peace to God’s world?

From cards to cantatas, Isaiah 9:6 is part of Christmas. The child who is born, the son who is given is recognized with throne-names like Wonderful Counsellor.

What did wonderful counsellor mean in Isaiah’s time? How does it relate to Jesus?

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The new covenant meal (podcast) (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)

A new covenant? How did Jesus’ bloodshed establish a new covenant? Who are the parties? Why a new covenant? Could a previous covenant shed light on this one?

In the Ancient Near East, a national covenant defined who was in power. That’s what the Sinai covenant achieved: a people rescued from slavery became the first nation on earth to live under God’s reign, and the covenant that was celebrated with a meal (Exodus 24:7-11).

How did the new covenant establish God’s reign in Christ? What is it we’re proclaiming in this meal?

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The good shepherd (podcast) (John 10)

Podcast and mediation on John 10:1-18.

“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus said.

Did he dream up this image? Or was it a widely used metaphor?

Why good shepherd? Were there bad shepherds?

Who were the thieves and robbers, trying to climb in some other way?

What makes Jesus the gate of the sheep?

This podcast (36 minutes, from Riverview Joondalup, 10 October 2021) will transport you from the children’s picture-book image of a little lamb in Jesus’ arms to a more expansive image: humanity’s true shepherd, the gate of the sheep.

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Holy Spirit as Advocate (podcast) (John 16)

Why did Jesus portray the Holy Spirit as his advocate from the Father?

In a previous podcast on John 14, we heard Jesus introducing us to the person of the Holy Spirit. In this podcast on John 15–16, Jesus introduces us to what the Holy Spirit does. Together, John 14–16 provide a theology of the Spirit (pneumatology): the person and work of the Holy Spirit, according to the founder of our faith.

So, what does the Holy Spirit do? What is his mission as the Advocate, the Spirit of truth? This 27-minute podcast was recorded at Riverview Joondalup, 26 September 2021:

My translation (compare NIV) highlights the courtroom metaphor that permeates these chapters, as Jesus was about to be put on trial by the powers that claim to run the world:

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How do you find God? (podcast) (John 14:8-17)

If God isn’t visible to our physical senses, so how do we see him?

Where do you look to find God?

This podcast (34 minutes) suggests the answer is relational — in the relationships that exist between Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the people who recognize Jesus’ authority, and the world that doesn’t.

Spoken at Riverview Joondalup, 19 September 2021, it draws from this text:
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What is a Christian? (podcast) (Romans 12:9-21)

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Writing to Rome, Paul spent eleven chapters explaining who Christ is in relation to us, and then five explaining who we are in relation to each other under Christ’s leadership. Short answer: Christians are the community in Christ. Our identity derives from the leader God appointed for us.

This podcast draws on the transitional chapter of Romans, in fresh translation. Recorded at Riverview Church’s Joondalup campus, 15 August 2021 (34 minutes).

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