Oct 062019

As I write this, I’ve just got home from a night of studying 1 Corinthians with some St Philips women. We’ve been doing an online study put together by Ridley College and finding it useful, not only for helping us understand 1 Corinthians but also for shaping us in how we read Scripture more generally. In this study,  they maintain the importance of three concepts in reading the Bible:

  • Mind the Gap – the need to understand the context of the passage in its original context.
  • Smell the Roses – pay attention to the details of the passage.
  • Join the Dots – apply the passage to our lives today.

It’s also been excellent to hear the feedback from those people who have been attending the How to Read the Bible course on Wednesday nights that Kieran has been running, focused on Romans 8. (It is fantastic to hear our teenage student leaders, as well as some adults, memorising Romans 8.)

Those are just a couple of ways people in our community have been reading and studying the Bible together. I wonder what has been assisting you, individually and corporately, in reading and reflecting on the Bible recently. Also, what God’s been teaching you through His Word.

If you are looking for some suggestions for how you might engage with Scripture personally, here are some ways that I know some of our St Philips community have found useful:

Bible in One Year (BIOY) – If you do all of the readings in this, you will read through the whole Bible in a year (as the name suggests!). For each day there is a Psalm, an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading, as well as a reflection from Alpha’s Nicky Gumbel on each passage. You can do all the readings or just choose some of them. Download the BIOY app for your phone and you can read it, or have it read to you if that works better for you. If you prefer a hard copy, there is a book of the BIOY reflections which will be available later this month.  A number of St Philips people are currently using BIOY, so if you are wanting to engage with something numerous others are also doing, this is a good one to choose.

Tim Keller’s devotions on Psalms, My Rock, My Refuge, or his devotions on Proverbs, The Way of Wisdom – a few verses of Psalms or Proverbs, with a short reflection and prayer.

Bible reading plans on the YouVersion App. There are lots of different plans to choose from here.  You can read by yourself or start a plan to do with some friends. One that gives you an overview of the Bible is The Essential 100 which covers 100 key passages of the Bible.  There is also a hard copy of this plan with a reflection on passages.  (Chat to me if you are interested in that.)

In my personal Bible reading, I’m currently reading Hebrews and have been reminded that the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). I’m loving observing how this is true in the lives of many St Philips people and the transformation it’s bringing. If you are not currently engaging regularly with God’s Word, I encourage you to have a look at one of the above suggestions.


Sep 082019

As I write this, we are in the midst of a week of Growing Young focus groups. One of the things that struck me in the first focus group was their impact of mentors on the lives of some of our current parents when they were teenagers. Many of these were informal relationships, not necessarily even things that the teenagers at the time would have been able to identify as particularly significant.  However, looking back, they recognized that  these people [continue reading…]

Aug 252019

Last weekend 30 women from St Philips had a great time away together. So many precious things, so many precious moments. As is so often the case, it was a weekend of encounter with each other and with God . . . a weekend where relationships were further developed and where the Holy Spirit worked in our lives; . . . a weekend where God met us deeply as we made the effort to be present; . . . a [continue reading…]

Aug 112019

Moving house! That’s what my week has been. By the time most of you are reading this, most of my things will have been moved to my new place in Cottesloe. I’ve been pondering and praying about the move for some time and a couple of months ago felt it was time to act. I had invited some close people into the discernment journey and felt that it was quite important to actually be very local to the church in [continue reading…]

Aug 042019

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20190804-Barb-Totterdell.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:32 — 11.7MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1        Psalm 23 Reading 2        Matthew 9:35-10:4

Jul 282019

Last night I had the privilege of meeting with our Growing Young team. We were discussing conversations that we have each had with some of our St Philips young people over the last month. There were numerous reasons I felt privileged. Here are some of them: Firstly, I was sitting with a group of people who are invested in seeing our church Grow Young and in seeing many young people come to know Jesus and continue on in their relationship [continue reading…]

Jun 232019

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20190623-Barb-Totterdell.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:48 — 9.5MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Psalm 107:1-3; 23-32 Reading 2         Matthew 8: 18-27

May 192019

I’ve been so encouraged by a number of things happening recently within our church and beyond, particularly with regard to ministry with young people. Here are just some of the things that are encouraging me. Partners in Prayer It is fantastic that there are almost 60 people in our congregation praying specifically for one of our young people. There is no question that this will be significant in the lives of our young people and in the life of our [continue reading…]

May 122019

This week a number of people with some degree of profile in the Christian world have died. I’ve watched the outpouring of grief and the recognition from many of how these people have impacted them personally, often from a distance, through books, speaking engagements and the significant choices that these people made in how they lived and what they gave themselves to. One of these people, a man named Bruce Chapman, who many of you won’t have heard of, died [continue reading…]