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

CHRISTOLOGY AND CLIMATE-CHANGE

Climate change activists are raising valid concerns about the eye-watering fragility of our planet. As far as that goes, they are more right than they know. Life is only made possible on earth due to a very long list of high fine-tuned at-the-same-time parameters. These parameters are millimetre perfect. Take for example the gas mix of our atmosphere which is comprised of oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon-dioxide, methane, hydrogen, and neon. Our atmosphere consists of 21% oxygen. If it was even slightly more than this our atmosphere would be highly flammable and thereby life on earth would not be possible! Naturalists (those who dismiss the reality of the supernatural rule of God) fear that human activity risks a mass-extinction event including us humans, within thirty years unless things change. But they overlook one very important fact! Jesus Christ is Lord!

WHAT CHRIST SAID WAS NOT JUST ABOUT FOOD

There was a time when Jesus was chided by authorities for not washing hands! These authorities weren’t concerned about hygiene or virus control, they were concerned about spiritual purity. What Jesus said in response to them has powerful relevance for how some people feel about the spiritual implications surrounding the current corona-virus, the covid-vaccines, and how authorities are enacting lockdowns and travel restrictions to deal with it.
Both Kim and I have both been doubly vaccinated. We willingly check-in by QR code everywhere we go. We comply with all State and National Governments’ travel restrictions. We do all of this for the sake of our conscience as we strive to love God and to love others. I know that there are believers whom we love who disagree with us. But I also know that there are far more believers who just confused by the whole issue and they too are striving to love God and to love others. For those have concerns about the health implications of the covid vaccines, we strongly recommend that they seek medical advice. But if this is not your primary concern, if the spiritual implications are, then I hope that I have given you some theological reasons not to be fooled by those who assert that all those who are vaccinated will be receiving the mark of the beast, and by so doing will have their salvation revoked. 

THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE!

What often looks impossible today in the realms of technology, travel, power generation, medicine, and even church, often becomes common-place tomorrow. But it takes those who are prepared to dream and dare — despite their critics. I’m looking for people who are prepared to dream and dare with me. Our city of Launceston has many fine churches but it is yet to see what the God of the Impossible can do with a church that is prepared to dream and dare. When I read the closing book of the Bible I am captivated by the ‘dream’ of God to see people redeemed from every tribe, nation, and tongue that will eventually comprise a number so vast that no-one could possibly count them! (Rev. 7:9). This is God’s grand dare for the Church and I’m in on the dare! Perhaps we too could dream of a church made up of people from an many nations, tribes, and languages as possible! Perhaps we could dare to dream of a church so significant that hundreds come each Sunday just to find out for themselves what God is doing! And when the day comes — and the day will come — that such a church exists in our city of Launceston, Tasmania, we will remember that there many who said “It couldn’t be done!”

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM

Storms come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes there’s a gradual build up, white fluffy clouds gradually becoming darker and lower, but sometimes they seemingly come from nowhere. Sometimes storms are foreboding and scary and long. Sometimes they are light and short and finished soon after they start. Sometimes there are strong winds, sometimes rain, sometimes thunder and lightning, sometimes all of them!

Similarly, the storms of life. Sometimes we feel or see them coming and then they are upon us…but sometimes they…

THE OLOGIES

This Sunday I conclude the BECAUSE HE IS series. Each of the six instalments of this series has dealt with a truth about God. My hope throughout the series so far has been that I might introduce those unfamiliar or less acquainted with God to experience a richer, deeper and more intimate knowledge of Him. My motive for doing this has been to lead someone who had never loved God to come to gladly love Him — and for those who were in like of God to become besotted with their love for God. I have repeatedly said throughout this series so far that I have not wanted this to be merely a series of lectures or just interesting information for your fancy. (Added to this, I have confessed that Kim has forbidden me from lecturing this series!) But now, as I prepare to conclude this series this Sunday, I want to give you some of the theological background behind what I consider to be one of the most important series of sermons I have delivered. 

HEARING THE WILL OF GOD

Christianity is a dynamic (always changing) journey with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit within us who works within us to desire to do and pursue the will of God (Phil. 2:13). It is the illumination of the Spirit that takes God’s Word as we read, study, and meditate on it, and makes it seem fresh and alive to us. And it is the Word of God, which He, the Holy Spirit, inspired men to write so that we could clearly discern the will of God for our lives. You don’t need a word from God to know what God’s will for your life is. You don’t need to attend a “Learn To Hear The Voice of God” seminar, or to read a book on the topic. Instead, you just need to dialogue with God in prayer through pouring out your heart to Him with your requests, petitions, confessions, and thanksgiving; and then, prayerfully read His Word as the light of the Holy Spirit illuminates it to your soul.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Second Corinthians 4:6 

Perhaps if more believers were led by the Spirit like this, less Christian marriages would end, less churches would be split, and less Christians would walk away from Christ and His Church after becoming frustrated by the false belief that since these presumptuous Christians have apparently mis-heard God so wildly, the reason must be that God doesn’t actually exist. This is one of the most pressing issues that needs to be confronted today — especially among those of us who identify as Spirit-filled Pentecostals.

LOOKING BEYOND THE MOMENT

home > Pastor's Desk > 2021 > June > LOOKING BEYOND THE MOMENTLOOKING BEYOND THE MOMENT For anyone who is a fan of aviation, the movie Sully (2016) is one you will have probably enjoyed watching. The storyline is biographical drama based on the 2009...

THE BENEFITS OF A DAILY DOSE OF VITAMIN R

The Greatest Exponent of what vitamin R can achieve within a person was the One who introduced vitamin R in small doses to His twelve followers. There initial dose came from simply complying with the request to, “Follow Me.” This they did for some three years or so. After watching Him intently, they then got a larger dose when they were told to, “Go…and proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” And as every example of those who have ever received a near maximum dose of vitamin R bears witness, just before they received their ultimate dose vitamin R they felt two universally common sensations: inadequacy and inability. Yet, as everyone who has received such high doses of vitamin R from the One who gives the ultimate enabling strength found in vitamin R, somehow they were supernaturally enabled to do the very thing they felt both inadequate and unable to do!

A PICTURE IS PAINTED BY A THOUSAND WORDS

The most difficult challenge you’ll ever have to deal with throughout your life is others. They’ll make you angry, get you frustrated, and hurt you. At the root of these challenges will be miscommunication with others and communication breakdowns. Your ability to understand how language and communication really works could save you from much of this heartache. But the most unrealised — and by far the potentially greatest source of — heartache may eternally shock untold numbers of poor souls when they realise too late that they did not respond to God’s communications.

THE BUSY FOOLS ARGUMENT WITH THE BUSY WISE

What makes our busyness wise busyness? It’s when our busyness is doing what Christ wants for the reasons that He wants it done. It’s when we are busy without neglecting the priorities of spiritual disciplines and our obligations to those we are responsible to and for. This is why, when Christ calls someone to take on a greater responsibility in His Kingdom it is almost certain that they are already busy. I am not at all suggesting that a Christ-follower needs to be frenetic in their busyness for Christ, or that they should never sabbath (two points I have tried to make clear in this Pastor’s Desk by contrasting the busy wise with the busy foolish). But I am hoping that those who have been following and serving Christ for some seasons will recognise the doors of opportunity that Christ will enable them to walk through wisely. And as they do, and we do together, may we begin to see glimpse of the Great Commission being fulfilled in our valley-city.