home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > July 8th > Why You Need Seasoning

WHY YOU NEED SEASONING

Port Davey Track view of Macquarie HarbourI pity those who do not have the privilege of living in Tasmania. Unlike other parts of Australia (and many other parts of the world), here in Tasmania we enjoy four distinct, and relatively mild, seasons. Of course, if you had been to our island haven paradise in the last couple of years you may not have thought so.
Cataract Gorge covered in smoke haze

Venturing here just six months ago, you would have thought our Island State to be a parched dry unforgiving land. Our water reserves had got well below the critical reserve levels of 21% (falling to as low as 6%) and our normally lush green pastures were colourless. At one point, bushfires ringed and threatened our central city of Launceston and filled our air with an ugly haze. Launceston's Cataract Gorge in flood, June 2016Yet, if you had been here just six weeks ago, you would have seen our flood levies tested to their limits! Many people tell me that they love my state, but alas, I feel they are not qualified to make such a statement until they have experienced this exotic island haven paradise in all its seasonal extremes.   And I think this applies in other claims of love as well – unless you’ve been with, or observed, someone in the various ‘seasons’ of life, you are not qualified to claim that you love someone. For any relationship to be strong, it must go through seasons.

Surfers Paradise, Gold CoastNearly each year, for the past twenty-five years or so, our family has spent at least some time of the year on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Before I met Kim, she and her family had long made the same Gold Coast their annual getaway of choice. Perhaps this is why Kim’s father purchased an apartment there overlooking Surfers Paradise, which Kim’s widowed mother now permanently resides. And while it may be an exaggeration to claim that the Gold Coast is like a second home to us, outside of Tasmania, it is probably the place we know next best. While we do enjoy our occasional stays there, it does lack the distinct advantage that Tasmania has. And because any loving relationship requires this advantage, we feel qualified to say: we love Tasmania.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant…
First Corinthians 13:4

Life has its seasons. In one respect, life’s stages are like seasons. Childhood and youth is like Spring-time. Adulthood is like Summer. Senior years are like Autumn. Our final days are like Winter. But in another sense, life has seasons which ignores our stage of life. We can experience Life’s seasons of joy and happiness. We can experience Life’s seasons of heart-ache and disappointment. We can experience Life’s seasons of trial, struggle, and adversity. We can experience Life’s seasons of loneliness, misunderstanding, and betrayal. One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen two people make is to rush into a marriage before they have seen each other in Life’s various seasons.

…or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
First Corinthians 13:5

I have counselled too many people whose marriages have sadly come to an end when the one they married seemingly ‘changed’. In reality, they hadn’t really changed at all. It’s just that they had not been exposed to enough of a variety of Life’s seasons for their true colours to be made clear. But it’s not just marriages where observing people in Life’s seasons is critically important.

  • The same is true in business where a boss prematurely promotes a relatively new employee without seeing how their character handles Life’s seasons.
  • The same is true in politics when a nation only ever sees the carefully stage-managed public appearances before awaiting TV cameras of a candidate for political office, rather than seeing them in Life’s seasons where they have to negotiate a conflict with their spouse or children.
  • The same is true in churches when people who make a good impression on a pastor are appointed to be elders without ever having gone through any of Life’s seasonal fires to see how they treat others when they themselves are under pressure

The smoke haze encroaching into Launceston at the Cataract Gorge First Basin

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
First Timothy 5:22

I enjoy Tasmania’s summers. This past summer, Kim, Ruby, and I took advantage of the world’s finest Gorge amenities each weekday and enjoyed an early morning walk and a swim. To give Kim a head-start in how many laps she did, I would take some time to sit on the overlooking concrete steps and read my Greek New Testament as I occasionally pulled my camera out and took a few snaps of the Gorge’s breathtaking scenery.

I marvel at what Autumn does to Tasmania. The colours of the leaves on the trees, the last of the apple harvests, the stunning sun rises over Mount Barrow and Ben Lomond, the birdlife that sings throughout the day.

Initially, I was no fan of Tasmania’s winters. But then I became increasingly aware of just how important they are. Orchardists must have winters to kill off certain unwelcome fruit-tree diseases and prune their near-dormant trees ready for the upcoming harvest season. Ben Lomond comes alive in the middle of winter. Tobogganing, cross-country skiing, snow-ball fights, and hot drinks by the lodge fire can only happen if there’s a winter in Tasmania.

And then there’s Spring! New life! Flowers! Baby birds! Lambs! Green fields!

It’s worth remembering that when you’re going through a season of difficulty, it’s a season. It won’t last. And if you’re rushing into love, it’s also worth considering whether this love has been ‘seasoned’?

Holidaying on the Gold Coast in summer is quite misleading. Tourists do things there and then they wouldn’t dream of doing back home. People are often more relaxed. People are often happier. People often eat out more. People spend more. If you only knew someone from experiencing them while holidaying on the Gold Coast, you would have a very distorted impression of them indeed. It would be better to see them back in suburbia rushing to work after dropping their kids off at school after negotiating the morning rush-hour traffic to get to a job they don’t enjoy before they come to a spouse they have an unresolved conflict with!

The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
Proverbs 20:4

CHURCHES HAVE SEASONS TOO

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
First Corinthians 13:7

Pastor Andrew CorbettAs pastor of our church, where I have now been for nearly 21 years, I am so grateful to the many people who, despite having seen me often struggle in Life’s various seasons, have been patient with me and forgiven me for my many shortcomings. It is a privilege to be allowed each week to input God’s Word into people’s lives so that they too can navigate Life’s seasons. And it is my hope that over the next few years of seasons we will continue to navigate our seasons together and as a result our church will move into a season of Springtime and harvest.

 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 

I AM WHO I AM BUT I AM NOT WHO I USED TO BE BUT I AM NOT YET WHO I WILL BE

One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.

WHO DOES THIS EPHESIANS FELLA THINK HE IS?!

It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

THE LORD IS MY ROCK

Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

WHO BUILDS A CITY ON A HILL?

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...

5 INDISPENSABLE GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARENTS

This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR ATHEIST & MAGICIAN PENN JILLETTE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?

I’ve been praying for Penn Jillette for some time now. It began when I first heard him ridicule the Bible and Christianity. My fascination with Penn (and Teller), and other world-class magicians, has been due to my pursuit to develop my craft of preaching. There are a lot of similarities between preachers and magicians (just as there is also a lot similarities between solo musicians and preachers). I seek to learn from magicians about how to keep an audience’s attention, how to tell a story, and how to make a point by employing the element of surprise. But there are some significant differences between what magicians do and what preachers do though. A magician is deliberately deceptive. A preacher is striving to uphold truth in an honest way.