Term 2, Week 4, 2022 - Matthew 5:33-37
Do oaths really work? Are they are an illusion? Was that Jesus' beef with swearing oaths or is there some deeper truth to our truth-telling?
May 17, 2022
Term 2, Week 2 - Matthew 5:31-32
Jesus’ words on divorce jar us today. He might have got away with it back in the day when marriage was all sacred—or was it? Perhaps Jesus was just as jarring back then as today, perhaps even more?
May 05, 2022
Term 1, Week 9 - Matthew 5vv27-30
After another Christian leader falls prey to sexual temptation it can be tempting to skip over this part of Jesus' sermon. These are jarring words, perhaps, but they may also be the balm we need in a world where sexual sin causes such pain.
April 01, 2022
Term 1, Week 7, 2022 - Matthew 5:21-26
What do words weigh? The sound waves created by our words are virtually weightless, but according to Jesus our words bear a deadly weight.
March 17, 2022
Term 1, Week 6 - Matthew 5:17-20
The passing of Shane Warne has struck a chord with all of us, but it's especially got me thinking about the idea of doing something to the max in a way that no one has seen before or since. In that way, Warnie and Jesus might have more in common than first thought. Show Note: If you want to see the Warnie advertisement I mentioned during the talk, you can find it here
March 09, 2022
Term 1, Week 5, 2022 - Matthew 5:13-16
After Jesus lays down his guidelines for the blessed life, he starts talking about being salt and light. These are curious phrases for us today, but in a world where salt was jam-packed not just with flavour, but meaning, these words would have lit up their hearts and minds.
March 04, 2022
Term 1, Week 4, 2022 - Matthew 5:7-12
Forgiveness is fashionable, but doing the forgiving is not. We love being shown mercy, but it is hard to show. Perhaps we're a little out of fashion?
February 21, 2022
Term 1, Week 3, 2021 - Matthew 5:3-6
We all have an inkling about what a blessed life might look like, but we'd be reluctant to admit that we've achieved it, even if our circumstances suggest otherwise. While we might be affronted by the inequality of living standards in our country, we should certainly be confronted by the upside down description of the blessed life with which Jesus opens his Sermon on the Mount.
February 16, 2022
Term 1, Week 1, 2022 - Matthew 4:23-5:2a
We begin 2022 chasing the new normal once again, but what if we could always be resting in a new normal that is so normal that you may not even realise that life was ever any different? What if you could actually rest in a world turned upside down? We begin the year at TRAC in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount; a message we will sit in slowly for most of 2022.
February 02, 2022
Term 4, Week 8, 2021 - Christmas Message - Isaiah 9v2-7
TRAC Chaplain's Christmas message for 2021
November 26, 2021
Term 4, Week 7, 2021 - Psalm 148
Hallelujah is one of those words that has passed from biblical vocab into simple exhalation in our speech. We might use it a lot or a little, but we probably don't use it as it was intended. Psalm 148 helps us recapture our hallelujahs and challenge us to consider how our planet still sings God's praises today.
November 17, 2021
Term 4, Week 6, 2021 - Psalm 130
Why do we struggle with our diaries? Is it just disorganisation or does an aversion to record keeping run deep in all of us? Psalm 130 is by no means dated as we consider this question today.
November 10, 2021
Term 4, Week 4, 2021 - Psalm 23
Today we come to Psalm 23, arguably the most famous of passages in the Psalter, if not the whole Bible. Yet with such familiar words we can easily gloss over their meaning can't we? Let's hear them afresh today
October 26, 2021
Term 4, Week 3, 2021 - Psalm 121
We kick off a new series in the Psalms this term. We're shuffling our way through some greatest hits and mixed bag songs from the Psalter as we discover the many and varied words God has given us to sing to him in prayer. Today we consider whether Psalm 121 is trustworthy travel advice, or whether it's speaking to something more than a road trip.
October 18, 2021
Term 4, Week 2, 2021 - Jesus vs. The Good Guys - Luke 18vv9-17
Guest presenter, Mrs Lister, continues her two part journey looking at episodes in Luke's Gospel where Jesus confronts the good guys of 1st century Palestine. This week Jesus tells the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
October 13, 2021
Term 4, Week 1, 2021 - Jesus vs. The Good Guys - Luke 7vv36-50
Guest presenter, Mrs Lister, takes us on a two part journey looking at episodes in Luke's Gospel where Jesus confronts the good guys of 1st century Palestine. This week Jesus meets Simon the Pharisee.
October 13, 2021
Term 3, Week 9, 2021 - Can Jesus Be True For You But Not For Me?
As we wrap up our series on the questions you’ve asked about Jesus, the final question to consider is even if there are credible answers to each of our tricky questions about Jesus, does Jesus really matter? Can he just be someone that Christians are into, but everyone else can just follow their own path? Essentially, can Jesus be true for you, but not for me?
September 11, 2021
Term 3, Week 8, 2021 - How Could a Loving God Send People to Hell? - Mark 9vv43-48 and Luke 16vv19-31
No one likes to talk about Hell, not me, not you, not even Jesus; it brought him to tears. But Jesus spoke about Hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Hell must then be not a topic of choice, but a topic of urgency. Even so, it raises many questions for us about our loving God.
September 02, 2021
Term 3, Week 7, 2021 - Hasn't Science Disproved Christianity?
I broke this topic up into the 5 key questions I get asked in the classroom. There's more resources for each of these questions in the show notes. The Galileo Incident? Six Days? Evolution or Creation? Dinosaurs and the Bible? Humans and Monkeys? Watch Dicko on Q and A Check out the rest of my Genesis 1 Chapel series from 2020 See how it all rests on the Cross
August 26, 2021
Term 3, Week 6, 2021 - How Could a Loving God Allow Suffering? - John 11
It's the question that obliterates faith in God, it did for President Bartlet anyway. How could a loving God allow suffering? Today we hear why Christians shouldn't be embarrassed about asking or answering this question.
August 18, 2021
Term 3, Week 4, 2021 - Can We Be Good Without God? - Mark 10vv17-22
There seem to be a lot of religious people out there who are bad, so if I want to be good, then perhaps I should avoid religion? Maybe I should avoid God altogether? How does humanity fare without God?
August 03, 2021
Term 3, Week 3, 2021 - How Can You Take the Bible Literally?
There's some wacky stuff in the Bible and you might struggle to take it literally, because you think that doing that means believing it's true. But is that how speaking literally or metaphorically works? Is literal the only type of truth, or does a metaphor have truth too? How can we take all the words of the Bible to heart when so much of it is metaphor and so much of it seems literally unbelievable? Well, the answer at the heart of all the words of the Bible is one word in particular: Jesus.
July 27, 2021
Term 3, Week 2, 2021 - Doesn't the Bible Approve of Slavery?
There's no specific denouncement of the entire system of slavery from Jesus in the New Testament, in fact there are lots of rules surrounding the procurement and treatment of slaves throughout the Bible. At the same time, it has been Christians who have been at the forefront of abolishing slavery, and they still are today. How can these seeming contradictions sit together? This is the conundrum of slavery that we embark upon today.
July 19, 2021
Term 2, Week 8, 2021 - 1 Samuel 7
You might have noticed that I called this series in 1 Samuel ‘Unremarkable’. We began asking the question, ‘Where is God in the unremarkable parts of life?’ Of course, if you’ve been paying attention you might think that the events in 1 Samuel are in fact remarkable. Priests sleeping with prostitutes, a heavy man rocking on his chair and breaking his neck, a magic ark that can make statues fall over, inflict tumours on people, infest whole countries with rats. 10s of thousands of people slaughtered in one day on a battlefield, and I don’t think any of us will ever forget Mr Dawson’s remarkable rendition of lowing cattle. So have I got the title of this series wrong? Isn’t it remarkable that all these events took place? Find out why not in 1 Samuel 7 today...
June 10, 2021
Term 2, Week 7, 2021 - 1 Samuel 6
If God is real then we would probably like him to make his presence known. He should step in a bit more. It would be nice to have him around. But we rarely consider that it might not be so nice for us to be around him! This is the mistake that the Israelites make today in 1 Samuel 6.
June 03, 2021
Term 2, Week 6, 2021 - 1 Samuel 5
If God is he who says he is, then to ignore or oppose him should end badly for us, right? But does it? Not when we look around. So why let the power of God disturb your life? It seems like such an unremarkable thing and we rarely see remarkable moments of God disciplining those who oppose him. The power of God rarely causes us to tremble. So if God is real then either we are incredibly brave, or he simply isn’t the all powerful being he says he is. That's what the Israelites and the Philistines would have thought as the ark of God was taken captive in Ashdod...
May 26, 2021
Term 2, Week 5, 2021 - 1 Samuel 4
NB - This is the audio only from a video talk delivered at TRAC Chapel. You can find the video at https://youtu.be/fT9qINgdOD0 This week we see that what everybody knows about God does not always inform how they respond to God. Eli, Hophni, Phinehas and the Philistines all know some key things about God's character, purpose and promises, but despite this knowledge they act against their own interests. We wouldn't ever be so foolish would we?
May 18, 2021
Term 2, Week 3, 2021 - 1 Samuel 2:11-3:21
Have you been following the PreachersnSneakers Instagram movement? What does it tell us about the state of the church? Is this a new problem, or one that God has been quietly exposing by his word since those unremarkable days in Shiloh?
May 04, 2021
Term 2, Week 2, 2021 - 1 Samuel 1
This term as the weather gets colder and our minds might turn to the unremarkable, we are going to visit a part of God’s word where the unremarkable is the focus. We’re in Old Testament times, but we’re not in the heady days of Noah and the floods, or Moses and the plagues of Egypt. We’re not going to see the Red Sea parted, or fire come down from heaven. We’re just going to focus on a bloke named Samuel, who does have a few sparks of the supernatural, but when we finish this term, nothing much will have been achieved. The mundane remains. The nitty gritty outside the city. ‘Where is God when things are unremarkable?’ ‘When it’s just so so, God what’s the go?’
April 26, 2021
Good Friday 2021
My address at the annual Good Friday service at the Wollundry Lagoon in Wagga Wagga NSW
April 02, 2021
Term 1, Week 10, 2021 - Prodigal God 7 - Luke 23vv32-43 and Luke 24vv36-43
We draw our Prodigal God series to a close at Easter and we reflect on how the two brothers and the banquet are echoed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
April 02, 2021
Term 1, Week 8, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 6
How you know you’re home? It’s often not about knowing, but feeling home. The longing for home felt by the younger brother is a longing felt in all of us. A feeling we know needs to be put right.
April 02, 2021
Term 1, Week 7, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 5
Why do the younger brothers and elder brothers of this world, the rebels and the rulekeepers, the sinners and the Pharisees, not get on? Who can end the sibling rivalry? We meet another family member today; the True Elder Brother, who brings healing to our hearts.
March 12, 2021
Term 1, Week 6, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 4
Sibling rivalry is as old as time, the first murder in the Bible points to this paradigm. But is sibling rivalry really to blame for the stubbornness of the elder brother, or can he just not handle the reckless love of the Father?
March 03, 2021
Term 1, Week 5, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 3
'God, you're dead to me!' Whether you've said those words out loud, thought them in your head or just lived them through your actions, it could seem like that's the end of the story. If there is a God out there and we've told him to get stuffed then it might be all said and done. But Act 1 of the Prodigal God paints a different picture.
February 24, 2021
Term 1, Week 4, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 2
What is your initial reaction to Christianity? Intrigued, offended, disinterested? What do these knee jerk reactions reveal about the state of our soul? How does the Parable of the Prodigal God expose the truth of our hearts?
February 17, 2021
Term 1, Week 3, 2021 - Prodigal God Talk 1
What does it mean to be prodigal? Is it just about running away and returning? Who really is the prodigal in Jesus' parable? Why do we keep coming back to this story again and again? This is the first talk in our series in Luke 15:11-32.
February 09, 2021
Term 1, Week 2, 2021 - Proverbs 16:10-20
An address for the Induction of TRAC’s 2021 Year 9 Prefects
February 03, 2021
Term 1, Week 1, 2021 - Jeremiah 8vv8-12
As 2021 begins at TRAC we may not be feeling that peaceful. Can we make ourselves peaceful, or is it always something only given?
January 29, 2021
Term 4, Week 6, 2020 - James 5vv1-6
What do we do with those awkward passages about God judging, slaughtering and condemning us? Should we skip over them? Could they actually be worth our time because of the gritted teeth comfort they bring us? Find out as we open up James 5:1-6. Full disclosure, I'm aware I have actually skipped over James 4:13-17! I'm saving that for next week!
November 18, 2020
Term 4, Week 5, 2020 - James 4vv7-12
You gotta serve somebody. You may think you're just serving yourself, but James reminds us today that it goes much deeper than just self-serving or self-sacrifice. When we are confronted with that reality it can makes us grieve, but God's grace turns our grief to joy!
November 11, 2020
Term 4, Week 3, 2020 - James 4vv1-6
As we begin a new and short series on James 4-5 we are considering some of the vital signs of the Christian faith. There should be stark and striking indicators in the life of the Christian, but they often appear in the most ordinary of places like our wallets, our calendars and our to do lists! Today we consider wealth and our wants.
October 27, 2020
Term 3, Week 8, 2020 - Psalm 13
2020 Fellowship Captains, Meg Graham and Rebecca Scott, have collaborated together once more to reflect on Psalm 13 and how David faced his experiences of suffering.
October 27, 2020
Term 3, Week 4, 2020 - James 1vv1-5
Are healthiness and happiness the same thing? Why do we naturally conflate happiness with how we feel, especially when the latest neuroscience suggests that the way our brains process our feelings are not always geared towards our best interests? What does God think about about our happiness in relation to our health? Can we find joy when we feel lousy? These questions we consider today as we consider Living with Sickness.
August 10, 2020
Term 3, Week 2, 2020 - Psalm 38vv3-10 and Colossians 3vv1-4
Who's to blame for my tooth decay? I may not be the best flosser, but tooth decay is ubiquitous amongst humanity, so is it really my fault? Who's to blame for the sickness of our world and what if we can't find the answer within our world? Today we consider the cause of our sickness as God sees it.
July 27, 2020
Term 3, Week 1, 2020 - Revelation 21vv1-7
As we kick off a new term we are still in the grip of Corona chaos. We are very much surrounded by sickness and wishing that this illness would end. The good news is that it will end one day, along with all sickness and suffering. This term we will dive into the issues surrounding sickness and health to consider what God has to say about all of this, but we are going to start at the very end….
July 20, 2020
Term 2, Week 9, 2020 - Acts 1-2
It’s fair to say that this term we’ve been a little critical of the disciples and their bumbling efforts to understand Jesus’ mission—even after his resurrection. Today as our series wraps up for Term 2, Peter the Apostle steps in to defend himself by hijacking Chapel.
June 28, 2020
Term 2, Week 8, 2020 - Acts 1vv1-11
Would you believe a story involving a kangaroo, a home invasion, a stray dog, an undercover cop and a baby? Maybe you’d believe some of the story, but not all of it, but what if believing required accepting the embarrassing details too? This is the vibe we can bring to the Ascension in Acts 1.
June 15, 2020
Term 2, Week 6, 2020 - Matthew 28vv16-20
This week, TRAC’s Fellowship Captains, Meg Graham and Rebecca Scott combine forces to reconsider some of the misconceptions of Jesus’ Great Commission, and extract the key comforts of being accompanied to the very end of the age by the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth.
June 02, 2020
Term 2, Week 5, 2020 - John 21vv15-19
Why does Jesus ask Peter the same question three times? Is he hard of hearing? Peter gives the same answer three times. Is that answer wrong? Let's consider these question together in a poem of erratic measure!
May 25, 2020
Term 2, Week 4, 2020 - John 21vv1-14
When a big moment comes and goes how do you respond? Often we just go back to some sort of normality or mundane activity. We defrag while we do something on autopilot. Today we catch the disciples doing just that after their resurrection encounter with Jesus. Amidst this scene of normality they are reminded that even in the minutiae of life they need to be supplied by Christ.
May 19, 2020
Term 2, Week 3, 2020 - John 20vv24-29
Is seeing the only way to believing? Why does Jesus have scars and wounds on his resurrected body if he was into healing everyone else? And what's all this got to do with Mr Tyndall's yellow jacket? We'll see today that Jesus' scars continue to tell a story after Easter; a story which can be ours by believing.
May 11, 2020
Term 2, Week 2, 2020 - Luke 24vv36-49
What happened to Jesus after Easter? What's next? I get mixed responses to this question. Some students speak of him living on Earth till he grew old and then assuming he died like the rest of us. This seems to defeat the whole purpose of the resurrection doesn't it? As we start a new series in Chapel we'll consider that what comes next for Jesus is also what comes next for us.
May 04, 2020
Term 1, Week 11, 2020 - Genesis 2vv1-3
As COVID-19 grinds everything to a halt, we are forced to take a break at Easter. But are we really at rest during this time of isolation or are we still all worked up? Today we consider the rest from work that God experienced after creating the universe and how the quest for real rest brings us to the foot of the cross.
April 07, 2020
Term 1, Week 10, 2020 - Genesis 1vv28-31
Ruling and subduing our planet seems to come as second nature to humans, but how does that rule sit with our sinful nature? Even more vexing is that COVID-19 has made us feel ever more at the mercy of nature. How can Christ both restore our rule and our planet? We consider these questions in the penultimate talk in our Chapel series in Genesis 1.
March 31, 2020
Term 1, Week 9, 2020 - Genesis 1vv26-27
The origin of humanity is a topic we treat with little to no scepticism these days. We assume we're just smoother, smarter monkeys. But should we be so nonchalant about our origins? Do our origins affect our future? What does the resurrection have to say on this matter too? This was the first of our Chapels to be streamed live on YouTube. You can check out the video here.
March 23, 2020
Term 1, Week 8, 2020 - Genesis 1vv20-25
It's a basic feature of Christian belief that sin leads to death, but what was life like before there was sin? Particularly, as we consider Days 5 and 6 of Genesis 1 were animals dying? Did they eat one another and does that matter?
March 16, 2020
Term 1, Week 7, 2020 - Genesis 1vv14-19
The Chicken and the Egg paradigm is nothing new, in fact some people see a similar problem that goes all the way back to the Genesis account. This is especially the case with Difficult Day 4. How can God create the sun after he has already created light? This seems baffling and backwards...
March 08, 2020
Term 1, Week 6, 2020 - Genesis 1vv9-13
If the plant in the the Tyndall's living room dies is that bad? Is our natural world really as indifferent as we've been led to naturally believe? God doesn't think so, as we'll see on Day 3 of Creation. From bushfires and drought to dinosaurs and wombats, we'll see that there might just be more to the simplistic argument about the blind, pitiless indifference of nature.
March 02, 2020
Term 1, Week 5, 2020 - Genesis 1vv6-8
As we arrive at Day 2 of God’s creative work we can begin to ask questions about whether the description God gives fits with what we now know about our world. Things might not always be as they seem, but can they still seem that way? We’ll hear what a toddler, Forrest Gump and Jesus Christ all think about this question of interpretation.
February 23, 2020
Term 1, Week 3, 2020 - Genesis 1vv3-5
When I studied journalism at uni my media theory lecturer asked us what the most ubiquitous form of information in our country was. We argued over the prevalence of radio, print and TV (the Internet was only just becoming a thing then….sigh), but our lecturer replied that light was the most pervasive source of information. Funnily enough, my lecturer had tapped into a biblical truth that God revealed on Day 1.
February 13, 2020
Term 1, Week 2, 2020 - Genesis 1vv2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31, 2vv2-3
It’s funny how easily we write off what we haven’t read. As God’s creative masterpiece in Genesis 1 gets underway we read afresh what we might have written off, without reading more than God gives us to read.
February 13, 2020
Term 1, Week 1, 2020 - Genesis 1vv1-2
The opening talk for 2020 at TRAC. This term we will be thinking slowly through Genesis 1 to see what we can learn about our planet, ourselves and our God.
February 13, 2020