Current Issues

Church Life AFTER Marriage Equality: The Questions No One Is Asking

Right now, Australians are deliberating about just one question - “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” A majority of conservative Christians (as well as Jews and Muslims) are campaigning for a 'No' vote, while less are saying it should be 'Yes'. A majority of society in general seems to be campaigning for a 'Yes' vote, while some are saying it should be 'No'. Whatever your answer is to this one question, the work of discussion and deliberation doesn’t end on the 15th November (or whenever the government makes a decision); it just begins. Regardless of... Read more →

The Smart Phone?

I love my mobile phone. I have had one ever since they first came out back in the 1990s. I've moved from the Motorola brick size ones ... to the flip lid ... to a few versions of the Nokia ... and now I have my faithful iPhone 6 Plus (no, I never had a Blackberry or a Samsung). I am an 'early adopter' when it comes to technology. I love to have the (almost) latest and greatest. But I probably won't jump right away to the new iPhone 8 or iPhone X (with face recognition!), as amazing as they... Read more →

The Berlin Crows

Nicole and I are nearing the end of our 12 days of touring Germany. The beauty of the stunning scenery of the villages, lakes and mountains of southern Germany has been a stark contrast to the horror of the Dachau Concentration Camp and the Holocaust Museum in Berlin. Reflecting on the genocide of 6 million people (primarily Jews, but also gypsies, gays, the elderly and the disabled) is a sobering experience, not for the faint of heart. Yesterday and today we meandered around the streets of Berlin - a city with plenty of attitude, and it's easy to see why.... Read more →

OMEGA: How Will It All End?

'End Times' Fever One of the last questions Jesus’ disciples asked him was about the end of the world (see Matthew 24:1-3). After the resurrection and at the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, he ascended up to heaven. As he did, two angels appeared and boldly proclaimed, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven (Acts 1:10-11).” The last recorded words of the ascended Jesus are in the book of Revelation. They were... Read more →

End Times Fever

The topic of the ‘end of the world’ has been one of interest to humans since time began but it has intensified in recent years. Church History Here is a quick overview of what has taken place from the end of New Testament times up until today: 1. Many people have speculated about the time of the second coming and the end of the world as we know it. Even in 100 AD there were believers who thought it was immanent. In the early 200s, Hippolytus of Rome predicted that Christ would come in 496 AD, working out this date... Read more →


In the holidays, we went to see the movie Suffragette. It was very moving - showing the struggle of women to gain the right to vote in Britain back in the early 1800s. The movie does not claim to be a comprehensive exploration of every activist who falls under that broad term, but instead revolves around one working class woman’s story. As a result, critics have noted that the full detail and nuance of this mass movement has been lost in the transition to the big screen. Nevertheless, it's a story crying out for justice for everyone everywhere - regardless... Read more →

The Impact of Poker Machines in Australia

TONIGHT at 9.30pm on ABC TV, Ka-Ching Pokie Nation will screen across Australia. By all reports, it is a shocking report into the way that poker machines are placing a terrible cost on our society. There is stunning new evidence that pokie addiction functions in exactly the same way as heroin, cocaine or ice. This product has not just been licensed by the State but spread irresponsibly throughout Australia for the profit of the gambling industry, not to mention State Treasuries. PLEASE help us lift awareness about poker machines by: Watching Ka-Ching tonight and encouraging others to watch it to.... Read more →

Discerning Truth and Error

Most followers of Christ understand the need to pursue truth and avoid error. Some take it upon themselves to find error and point it out to others. Most churches I know have a statement of faith and their teaching teams speak from this foundation. They believe that the Bible is inspired by God and is authoritative in matters of belief and practice. From time to time, I noticed that one of our teaching team may quote someone in a message and it raises questions from a listener or congregation member. This can lead to some interesting conversations. In one such... Read more →

Responding to Domestic Violence

Right now, our vision as a church is to see over 10,000 stories of transformation. Recently, we have had a number of moving stories about individuals coming out of domesitc violence situations. These are people who once felt isolated, hopeless, and helpless. Now they feel cared for and looked after. These stories provide hope for anyone affected by domestic violence. Domestic violence (sometimes referred to as ‘family violence’ or ‘interpersonal violence’) is defined as “a pattern of coercive or controlling behaviour used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an... Read more →

"Porn Kills Love" by Josiah Conner

We fight the drug of porn with the power of love Ephesians 5:1-14 [Josiah Conner kicked off our Modern Family series last weekend with a message entitled "Porn Kills Love" (watch or listen). Here is a summary, along with some reflection questions] Steak: We have taken the good gift of sex and turned it into something it is not. Steak: food is for eating (we have twisted sex into something it isn’t). 1. Think about the ways that sex has been twisted away from God’s intention. 2. The dictionary defines pornography as: Sexually explicit writing, images, video, or other material... Read more →

Beyond the Walls by Brad Chilcott

Who would’ve thought that one photo could cause so much trouble? It wasn’t the first time I’d been criticized for my friendship and solidarity with the Muslim community, in fact I’d had some threats of violence when I spoke up about Halal certification but this one took it another level. Had I renounced the gospel? Sure, being friends with Muslims, but praying in a mosque? Did I even believe in Jesus anymore? The beard didn’t help any. Had I taken the instructions “love your neighbour as yourself” and “love your enemy” too literally? Too far? 1 John 3. This is... Read more →

Say 'No' to Domestic Violence

As a pastor and church leader, I have a confession to make: The church has not handled the matter of domestic violence well. Let me be more specific: 1. We have not done a good job of helping to prevent domestic violence, of confronting it when it does occur nor of helping those involved - both the perpetrator and victim. 2. There has been too much ignorance about the prevalence of domestic violence. Many church leaders have failed to believe that it can happen, even in Christian homes. 3. There has been much erroneous teaching about ‘submission’, ‘authority’, and ’obedience’... Read more →

Australia's Defining Traits

As a nation, there are traits that have defined Australia for decades, but as the times shift and trends emerge McCrindle Research takes a look at the extent to which these are still relevant in defining us today. 1. The Lucky Country Statistics show that Australia is doing better than ever when it comes to health, education, economic opportunities, and even political participation. The economy is on a steady increase, even despite a recent global economic crisis. Cash flow is increasing with the net disposable income for everyday Australians now $10,000 more than it was a decade ago. We value... Read more →

Should We Move Australia Day?

On Monday, the 26 of January, we celebrate 'Australia Day' - the official national day of Australia. I love Australia. I have travelled to around 30 countries in my short time on earth and I love different cultures and places ... but there is no place like home. Amidst the fireworks and BBQs we remember the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales in 1788. That was when Governor Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain at that site. We can celebrate and be grateful for this beautiful nation... Read more →

Asylum Seeker Treatment: A Response from Prime Minister Tony Abbott

A few weeks back I wrote a letter to the Australian Prime Minister expressing concern about how children are being treated in detention centres. This last week I received a response from him and I post it here. It feels like a "everyone has a right to their opinion but we're going to do what we want to do regardless" response. He has totally ignored my concern. I will be writing him back again. Read more →

Christianity, Christmas and Consumerism

As we head towards the crazy Christmas season, it's a good thing to pause and think about consumerism and the follower of Christ. At CityLife, we have a social justice LifeGroup and they have put together a paper designed to be a thought provoking series of questions and comments exploring some key issues which confront us in our Western, first world culture. We hope that it can be used to start discussion and to promote action in your family, your LifeGroup, your social network and your work colleagues! 1. On the Issue of “Stuff” When is enough, enough? Or we... Read more →

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbot re Treatment of Asylum Seekers

The inhumane treatment of asylum seekers here in Australia is extremely concerning. Thankfully, more and more people are speaking up about it. All year, Christian leaders have been peacefully protesting and writing letters. I encourage you to do the same. Here is a copy of an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott I recently sent: Dear Prime Minister, Subject: Treatment of Asylum Seekers and Children in Detention I am the Senior Minister of CityLife Church, Melbourne. We are a community of over 9,000 members representing people from over 105 cultural backgrounds who make up our diverse and beautiful nation.... Read more →

The Exchange TV

Good friends of ours, Rob and Christie Buckingham (pastors of Bayside Church here in Melbourne), host The Exchange, an interactive TV program that engages with a variety of current issues, including parenting, technology, dealing with loss, the sexualisation of children, and domestic violence. The Exchange is like meeting with your friends in a coffee shop and discussing everyday stuff that affects us. It’s a half hour chat show that aims to share ideas on relationships, parenting, finance, wellbeing and social justice. Each week co-hosts Rob and Christie Buckingham invite guests around their table to get their take on a particular... Read more →

Halloween - Trick or Treat?

I remember attending my first Halloween party as a kid (not long after our family moved to the USA back in the 1970s), with its eerily lit pumpkins, freaky dress-up costumes and the scary dark room we were all dared to navigate ourselves through, kind of like a pseudo-haunted house. It was a lot of fun. And it was hosted by our local church! My, how times have changed. Christians today either continue to celebrate it as an innocent annual party or boycott it as evil and even demonic. Why the debate? Halloween (literally "hallowed or holy evening") originated as... Read more →

I Will Take a Walk on Saturday ... for Welcome to Australia

Australia is marked with the beauty of diversity. People from many backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs call this land home. Over the last several years I have had reservations about the treatment of asylum seekers, especially children in detention. The current harsh treatment of destitute people, seeking safety on our shores for a variety of reasons, does not reflect the beauty and depth of a society that embraces and celebrates diversity. There have been many reports about the detrimental impact of detention on the welfare of children and asylum seekers. As a follower of Jesus, and as a minister who believes... Read more →