home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > June 3rd > Lonely Friends


Loneliness does not discriminate. It blights the popular and the outcast alike. It makes some great. But it also has made the great break. In this life, you will be lonely. Lennon and McCartney wrote a best-selling pop song in 1966 that had the haunting chorus – 

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Nearly all the depictions of lonely by artists has someone on their own. But for anyone who carries the cross of the loneliness, we know that’s not always true. Loneliness has little to do with how many people we are near. 


Dr. FW. Boreham, 1921If greatness is measured by the sheer numbers of people a person helps and bears responsibility for, the greater a person becomes, the more lonely they will necessarily be. I think God has designed this. Great leaders are almost without exception: lonely. In doing my research on one of humanity’s greatest souls, Dr. F.W. Boreham, I came to one poignant auto-biographical comment that he made about his life. “I have always been a lonely man” he wrote. This is despite enjoying a long lasting marriage of over 62 years, five children, lovingly pastoring three churches over his career, and developing friendships with hundreds of fellow ministers around the world. Yet, he would say that he had always been a lonely man. His loneliness drove him to serve others and apply his God-given gifts to their service. It seems that this is true of all great souls. Their loneliness could have broken them to despair. But somehow, in the mercy of God, they find that what they lack from people they learn to receive from being in friendship with God. It may surprise an emerging leader that despite having more contact with others, despite having more people being more transparent with them, despite having a few peers show them careful attention, they are increasingly lonely. Jesus certainly was.

Toward the end of Christ’s atoning mission, He celebrated His last Passover with His disciples in that upper room. Despite being in a room with twelve other men, He was virtually alone. Despite His actual presence filling the whole earth, He was largely unnoticed that night. While the disciples waged a vigorous verbal joust over who was the greatest, the loneliest person in that room took his tunic off, as any slave would seeking to avoid the stains of feet grime, and began to wash the soiled feet of wrangling apostles. By the time He had washed the feet of 11 of them, He had not been noticed. This is a hallmark of loneliness – going unnoticed.

Katy PerryLonely people aren’t seen. We can look at them, and still not see them. I wonder if God wants leaders to experience a measure of loneliness so that they can see others? This is why I think God has designed loneliness as a necessary part of His children’s growth. It causes them to grow in love for others. It’s hard to miss how many times the Gospels describe Jesus seeing the crowds and having compassion for them. How many people look at celebrities who enjoy the applause, popularity, accolades of adoring fans, yet fail to see them as desperately empty and lonely? By her own frank admission, Katy Perry is one such celebrity. In a recent behind the scenes movie about her life, we saw what few ever saw: a worn-out, desperately lonely girl, craving to be understood and loved. The problem is that I think there are thousands of Katy Perrys in this world!


I posted on Facebook this week a small reflection of Psalm 25:1-22 where King David begins a series of Psalms about his own loneliness.

Facebook post about Psalm 25

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Psalm 25:16

Psalm 25 reveals how David felt and then how this deepened his relationship with God. The next few Psalms pick up on this as well as David describes how he felt neglected by others, including his parents, yet how this caused him to seek God and find friendship – the antidote to loneliness – with God.

Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalm 25:12-15

Begin to redeem your loneliness today. Look to God. Begin to see others. Avail yourself to God and He will make you great as you begin to serve others. Then an eternal day will come when you will never experience loneliness again and will find your soul enjoying its greatest delights in a friendship you were created for.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15

Perhaps the local church is God’s means of alleviating loneliness? It is here that the lonely can find a family of brothers and sisters and even mothers and fathers. But sometimes those who should be this to the lonely are too distracted by their own loneliness to see the horribly lonely. I know at times I have been. Perhaps we can each deepen our friendship with God so that we can introduce these lonely souls to their True Friend.

God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Psalm 68:6


Your Pastor,


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The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better. 


Today, “Jesus Christ is Lord” sounds like a bumper sticker or part of an ancient church liturgy but when Christianity was founded if someone uttered these words it could literally mean death! ’o christos ’o kurios “Christ is Lord” was a risky thing to declare when the only safe thing to declare was ’o kaiser ’o kurios “Caesar is Lord”! Yet it was upon these words that the earliest confession of the Church was founded. For the early Christians, this was not a glib, throw-away line uttered during a church service or something stuck on the backside of your donkey (or chariot if you were wealthy).  


I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.


I have long said that my primary role as a shepherd-pastor is to help people to die well. To do this, as I have often said, requires that we learn how to live life well. Of all the normally uncomfortable subjects that Christians find it difficult to talk about, death should not be one of them. But it is. This is because, of all the world religions, only Christianity has a positive view of death. After all, we have a divine Saviour who confronted and conquered death. As a result the original apostles mocked death.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
¶ The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.”
(First Corinthians 15:55-56)
These apostles refused to be intimidated by death which was ultimately evidenced by their martyrdoms. The apostle Paul could look forward to his death with the obvious lament that he would no longer be available to help those he had led to the Lord (Phil. 1:23-25). But he could face his impending death with the assurance that it would mean that he would immediately be in the presence of his Lord — and so should we! And like Paul, we too should be be able to talk about death in a very different way to those who do not know what we know.


A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.


Each of these uncomfortable topics in this brief series of articles are uncomfortable because there they carry a sense of embarrassment or even shame attached to them. But this particular topic also carries a good deal of pain associated with it – in addition to any feelings of embarrassment or shame. This pain may involve a sense of failure, betrayal, rejection, and humiliation. Divorce rarely effects just the two people involved in ending a marriage. Divorce can scar people like little else can. It can scar socially, financially, emotionally, relationally, and even a person’s physical health – and sometimes do so permanently.


All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.


There are some things that Christians can’t and don’t talk about – but probably should. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.


Resilience was one of the predominant character traits of the early Christians. They called it being steadfast. For these early Christians being ‘resilient’ meant being able to keep going despite set backs, discouragements, betrayals, unforeseen circumstances, lack of energy, motivation, and resources. Like a weary hiker looking down a long road that leads to the mountain range they must walk over, being resilient in life means putting one foot in front of the other, and then doing it again, and again, and again, and so on. God knows that today, in what many are describing as “Post-Christendom” (and the resilient among us prefer to think of as Pre-Christendom) to be resilient is to live with a purpose, to stay focused, to live for others, and to strive toward a good, honourable, goal. With so many reasons to lose sight of the true purpose of life the tendency is to be tricked into believing that life right now is too hard. But the truth be told – people need to know how to be more resilient. Leaders especially need to be resilient right now. Churches assuredly need to be resilient at this time. With the recent interference into churches by government through the measures they said was “to keep people safe” — it has actually depleted people’s ability and willingness to be resilient! Here’s what leaders, people, and churches can do about it.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2023 > July 21st > COME ON IN AND JOIN USSome people think of ‘church’ as a place of religious rituals. To them it a place where sermons are preached, hymns are sung, weddings are conducted, funerals formalised, and babies are...