home > Pastor’s Desk > 2020 > October > CHRISTIANITY HAS NO ADJECTIVES

A DIFFERENT TYPE OF SITTING, WALKING, RESTING, RISING

I was recently reading one of the world’s leading theologians, Dr. David deSilva, who specialises in what the New Testament teaches about Christian community. He reflected on how he had the privilege of being invited into many churches across the United States and Asia. He then made a comment about what he considered was the saddest and most heard appeal given in the hundreds of churches he had been in. 

“It is always a grievous thing when pastors have to call time and time again for Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders—better an empty choir loft than a lack of investment on the part of mature Christians in the lives and the training of the youth in the ‘instruction and discipline of the Lord.’ Our children’s roots in the faith will be all the deeper, and their equipment to engage adult life as Christians all the more complete, if many adults take a keen interest in them, making opportunities to talk with them about God, about living a life that honors God, about the ways in which one can sink deep roots in God’s love.”
David deSilva, “Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity”, 2000:239

Jesus with childrenDr. deSilva goes on to discuss how every church needs every adult to recognise their responsibility to help teach and disciple the children within their church centre. This doesn’t necessarily mean every adult should be out in Kids Church each Sunday, but it does mean that every adult needs to be extra-aware that they are already teaching each of the children in the church by their example. It’s uncomfortably amazing just how much children indirectly learn about Christianity from observing grown-ups at church! Secondly, it should mean that more mature adult believers will volunteer to regularly teach in the Kids Church. Most of our Kids Church team leaders are qualified teachers who spend time training volunteer Kids Church teachers. Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of our church’s ministry to children.

 

SITTING, WALKING, RESTING, RISING FOR THE SAKE OF CHILDREN 

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:7

You don’t have to be a parent to be an everyday teacher of the children in our church. The kind of teaching, training, and discipleship that the Bible calls for involves talking about the Lord when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, and when you rise. But if you are a parent, then you have the privilege of teaching and training your own children every time you sit, lie down, and rise up. The children of our church need to know what the bible says, why the bible is true and reliable, why Christianity is true, and how to apply what Jesus taught.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

We each bear a responsibility to ensure that the next generation of Christ-followers are taught, trained, prepared, and equipped, to walk confidently with Christ and to be able to make Him known. “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:13-14). Doing what we can to help a child to know and love God is something that we can each contribute to—even if we are not a parent. Note this closing New Testament verse from a follower of Christ who never had his own children, but saw himself as a father to many which would have caused him to share the Word of God when he sat, when he walked, when he rested, and when he arose for the day –

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3John 4 , Apostle John

Your pastor,

Andrew

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

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. 

KNOWING GOD

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.

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES

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.

WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID, NUMBER 55

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.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 23

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.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

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.

THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARS

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...

KNOWING GOD THROUGH THE PSALMS

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.