home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016> December 31st > It Is Time To Pant


¶ As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1

It’s all too easy to become lax in our desire to know and love God. I’m not sure if this is just the blight of the middle-aged who have families to tend, bills to pay, careers to manage, health to maintain, and relationships to repair. I think this laxity also beguiles the young who have friends to please, crowds to hang with, exams to pass, relationships to form, social-media posts to update, pimples to hide, and clothes to buy. How then does the deepest drive in the human soul – the drive to be with, know, and love God – find its fulfilment? This is how.

After the Reformation began in the sixteenth century, the English Protestant Reformers were faced with the challenge of transmitting the truth of the Bible to a generation of ordinary people who were mostly illiterate. They formulated their own ‘Catechism’ (a series of questions and answers to be memorised). The result was The Westminster Shorter Catechism. The first question reads-

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Fulfilling our deepest desire – a desire greater than that of wanting human companionship – begins by learning to pant. King David had been going through a tumultuous time in his life when he realised that his circumstances had distracted him from pursuing God. I think life can do this for the believer today. We get busy. We get distracted. We get lax. We must remind ourselves that our chief purpose in life is not to find a job, get married, buy a house, start a family – but to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! Panting for God as a parched deer pants for water begins in our heart where we still our souls and prayerfully ask God to come closer into His presence.

Karate-kid-2010-Xiao_DreBeing still and doing nothing are two very different things.
(Mr Han to Xiao Dre, in Karate Kid 2010)


“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

Our enemy wants us to be distracted and distant. God wants us to be still and close. In Psalm 42 King David tells us about his difficulties. He describes his despondency (“my tears have been my food day and nightPsalm 42:3) and the ridicule he endured (‘they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”’ Psalm 42:3). And he then reveals to us the master strategy for fighting our way out of such mental and emotional oppression which often sugar-coats its distractions with happiness.

¶ Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation
Psalm 42:5

As David fought through the multitude of distractions in his life which kept him from seeking God first, he tells us that was him choosing to seek God like a thirsty deer sought for water. It involved praying, reminding himself of God’s faithfulness from His Word, singing in worship to God (Psalm 42:8) and praising God with thanksgiving (Psalm 42:11).

I have found myself being distracted. Pain in my deteriorating body, pressure of responsibilities, and the things common to us all, and I have reminded myself that my greatest desire and need is to know God, love God and enjoy Him forever. My panting prayer has been to ask God to speak to me and to grant me the ears to hear Him. It has included a cry to know Him more intimately and to make Him known more clearly. It has asked Him to soften my heart and to help me to feel the pain of others and to truly see and hear them. It has encompassed a prayer that He might still my soul so that I can draw closer to Him through His Word.

In a world where the enemy has found a powerful ally in world’s distractions, it’s time for God’s people to pant.

Happy new year.

Your Pastor,


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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.