home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016> December 23rd > The Good News Is Changing


In the story of Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur, a first century Jew living under the Roman occupation of Israel, has a chance meeting with the One they all call The Christ. The kindness and grace with which Jesus of Nazareth showed Judah Ben Hur in that brief moment and the courage it took to do so under the tip of a Roman spear, left an indelible mark upon Ben Hur. As all who meet with Christ experience, Judah Ben Hur became a changed man as a result of this meeting. Once he was filled with hatred, bitterness, and rage but after meeting The Christ he began to become a man of peace, love and forgiveness. The author of Ben Hur was Lew Wallace. His life was also changed by meeting Jesus Christ.


Lew Wallace was a Union General during the American Civil War. He would go on to become the Governor of New Mexico. In 1880 he published Ben Hur – A Tale Of The Christ. He wanted to tell people about how a meeting with Jesus Christ could dramatically change their lives – as it had his.


And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18

Rosaria_C_ButterfieldIn my last Pastoral Desk post, I mentioned the story of Professor Rosaria Butterfield. She was a lesbian feminist academic who despised Christians. She was on a mission to dismantle Christianity’s place in the public square and expose it as a flawed world of fantasy. But then she met Jesus. From that moment, her life was forever changed. Today, she is the wife of a Pastor and a home-schooling mother. Her life is now dedicated to telling others what Christ can do for them.

All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
Second Corinthians 3:18 THE MESSAGE

I have witnessed Jesus transforming many people. Some of these people have had their lives so dramatically transformed that they are barely recognisable from who they used to. These people have been changed into calm, considerate, kind, caring Christians by beholding Christ. Sometimes their former lives are characterised by averice, indebtedness, alcohol, anger, adultery, or abuse. Yet they met Christ, and their lives are now forever changed.

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18 THE MESSAGE

Each of them will tell you though, that often their transformation was slow and long. Each time they met with Christ’s Body, they were meeting with Christ, and as the Word was preached, they were beholding Christ and being changed. God has graced us with the means of continually beholding Christ through:

i) Prayerful time spent in God’s Word (John 17:17; Heb. 4:12)

ii) Prayerful time spent in prayer (Matt. 6:6)

iii) Prayerful time in worship with Christ’s body (Heb. 10:24-25)

iv) Prayerful attention to the preaching of God’s Word (1Cor. 15:2; Titus 1:3)



But what happens to a believer when they cease to continually behold Jesus through these graces? Paul wrote to the Philippians with tears dripping onto the vellum over those believers who had ceased to behold Christ as he said-

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:18

It seems that the one of the hallmarks of a true believer is their resolve to continually behold Christ through these graces of Bible reading, prayer, congregational worship, and receiving the teaching of God’s Word. But when compromise gets its toe in the door of a believer’s heart, the drift away from the strength to change derived from these graces is almost undetectable. This is because this compromise begins in the heart, not initially in the outward behaviour. A believer who has ceased to do their spiritual warfare of resisting the devil’s distractions away from scripture, prayer, church, preaching, will still appear to others (for quite some time) to still be beholding Christ. Walking with Christ changes a soul. Walking away from Christ changes a soul. Walking with Christ beautifully graces a wretched soul to be transformed into the image, character, and likeness of Christ. Walking away from Christ disgraces a soul and makes them more wretched than they once were.

holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
First Timothy 1:19-20

The Apostle Paul’s tears still stain the passages of our New Testament. When a believer continually beholds Christ they are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next. People who once took their comfort from alcohol have met Christ and are now being delivered from those things which had them bound. People who were once addicted to internet porn, which is an insidious form of modern-day slavery and reduces women to a piece of meat, have met Christ and are now being renewed into seeing girls as sisters worthy of respect and protection. People who once stole from their employers have met Christ and have been converted into diligent, cooperative, productive, teachable, team-members. The Gospel, the Good News, is about changing – not merely having been changed. As we each behold Christ in the graces God has mercifully provided us with, we too will be continually undergoing changing. The next time you encounter someone who seems to be too much of a wretch, remember, the Good News is changing people, and one of the graces which our Father offers these dear wretches is the opportunity to behold the growing image of Christ in us.


Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


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This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 


In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.


What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.


Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.


My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.


The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...


So many thriller movies are just funny. Of course they are not meant to be and many people would find them more like nightmare material. The producers would be horrified to see me giggling at some of their ‘scary’ bits, but it’s just the way I’m wired. I see more of the special effects than the story line and I see the absurdity of the scenes that lack the necessary rules of consistency instead of the fear factor they hope. I once watched a movie where the victim lay dead bleeding from the mouth but the make-up blood had not dripped to the ground with gravity, but rather, accidentally dripped up. The whole movie just became hilarious from that point on.