home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 > July > THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE!

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26

Christianity is a religion of impossibilities! Consider the following impossibilities. God did the impossible when He –

◊ created the universe from nothing (Gen. 1:1; Psalm 33:6; Jn. 1:3);

◊ created life from none-life (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4; Jn. 1:4);

◊ enabled an elderly barren woman to conceive and bear a son (Gen. 18:14; 21:1-2);

◊ revealed the future in verifiable and specific detail through His prophets (Jer. 25:13; 29:19; Amos 3:7; Acts 3:18);

◊ sent His eternal Son into the world by being born of a young virgin girl (Isa. 7:14; Mtt. 1:23; Lk. 1:23; Rev. 12:5);

◊ empowered the Christ to perform miracles of healing (Mtt. 4:23), resurrections (Mtt. 9:25; 11:5), food-provision (Mtt. 15:36);

◊ raised the Christ from the dead (Mtt. 28:7; 1Cor. 15:4);

◊ translated (ascended) the resurrected Christ back into the dimension of eternity (“Heaven”) (Jn. 20:17; Acts 1:9)

◊ sent the Holy Spirit into the earth to spiritually regenerate, gift, and empower those who surrender/ed to the Christ (Acts 1:8; 2:4; Eph. 5:18; 1Cor. 12:7);

◊ enabled the apostles of Christ to perform miracles similar to the Christ (Acts 6:3; 19:11);

◊ despite virulent and brutal attempts to destroy both the Church and the Scriptures, He has miraculously preserved both (Acts 6:7; Psalm 119:89).

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

 

FOR THOSE WHO DARE TO DREAM

One of the first mobile phones in the 1990s was soon likened to carrying a brick around

One of the first mobile phones in the 1990s was soon likened to carrying ‘a brick’ around!

What was once thought of as impossible by one generation has frequently become common-place to the next generation because someone dared to dream and ask, “Why not?” In the mid-1990s, a young Bill Gates wrote a book entitled, The Road Ahead at a time when powerful computers filled entire rooms and personal computers were a novelty used for playing Space Invaders by those who didn’t have a book to read. In his book, Gates predicted that computing would soon be able to be done on a small hand-held device that could easily fit into your pocket and would be connected wirelessly to an invisible storage-“cloud” enabling users to access and retrieve enormous amounts of information instantly. He predicted that these hand-held computers would be integrated into mobile phones and would also enable identification (even national passports) and financial transactions to buy things without the need to carry credit-cards or cash. “Impossible!” Computer experts of the day scoffed at his brash and daring predictions. While Gates leveraged the resources of Microsoft to try and make it happen, and eventually developed a disappointing prototype, he was never able to achieve what he had forecasted in his book –

but that didn’t mean it was “impossible”! While Gates himself failed to fulfil his vision of what would later become known as a ‘smart phone’, another brash young computer engineer (Steve Jobs) took Gates’ vision and began to dream of a totally different way to merge the internet, a mobile phone, a music-player (“iPod”) and a computer, and thus, in 2007, the iPhone was introduced to the world — and what was once thought impossible has now become common-place. 

 

‘THE PASSING OF THE IMPOSSIBLE’ BY F.W. BOREHAM

In 1914 F.W. Boreham marvelled at what was once thought impossible was now considered common-place. In writing in his weekly Hobart Mercury column (and later published by Epworth Press in a collection of essays called, Mountains In The Mist) he declared to his secular readers the position that Christians held about what constitutes the impossible – 

Of course we know, being the Christians that we are, that there is no such thing as an impossibility in the world or out of it. An impossibility is an impossibility. Impossibilities belong to the realm of mythology. They inhabit the same weird world as the brownies and the elves, the fairies and the ghouls. As serious and scientific and practical and believing men, we must frankly confess to ourselves that the very notion of an impossibility is, on the face of it, a ludicrous absurdity.
F.W. Boreham, The Passing of The Impossible, ‘Mountains In The Mist’, 1914, p. 38

When we consider the pace of change over the past one hundred years, it becomes apparent that what was considered impossible soon became common-place to the next generation. This applies not just to innovations such as the recent emergence of the iPhone, but also to previously ‘impossible’ human achievements including – the scaling of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, breaking the four-minute mile by Roger Bannister, sending a manned spacecraft to the moon where Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldrin were able walk on the lunar surface, and while in 1910 the Men’s 50m freestyle world record was 86 seconds – in 2009, Brazilian, Caesar Cielo swam it in 20.91 seconds! And after Bjorn Borg had won 6 Roland Garros crowns (1974-1981), everyone thought it would be impossible for anyone to match that record, but last year (2020), Rafael Nadal won his 13th Roland Garros crown making him GOAT of clay court tennis after completing what most thought could never be done!

 

IMPOSSIBLE CHRISTIANITY!

It is assumed by many that modern Australia was first settled by the irreligious riff-raff of Britain’s over-crowded prisons. This is often the explanation given for how unChristian and unChurched Australians are why it would be impossible for Christianity to gain any traction in Australia. Added to this is the perception that the early Christian missionaries oppressed Aboriginal Australians who have then largely rejected Christianity. But consider the following challenges to these perceptions. In 1959, a young evangelist from the backwaters of North Carolina came to Australia to preach the gospel. When he arrived in Sydney, ten thousand people came out to hear him!

Aerial view of the Sydney Showgrounds on April 12th 1959 where 10,000 people came out to hear Billy Graham

Aerial view of the Sydney Showgrounds on April 12th 1959 where 10,000 people came out to hear Billy Graham

Even at night thousands of Sydney-siders braved the chill to come out to hear Billy Graham preach in the Sydney showgrounds on April 13th 1959

Even at night thousands of Sydney-siders braved the chill to come out to hear Billy Graham preach in the Sydney show-grounds on April 13th 1959

But it was when he came to Melbourne that something truly impossible happened! One hundred and thirty thousand people came to hear Billy Graham preach at the MCG!

Geoff Gawler was 10 when he saw Billy Graham at the MCG and says it changed his life.(ABC News: Jess Longbottom)

Geoff Gawler was 10 when he saw Billy Graham at the MCG and says it changed his life.(ABC News: Jess Longbottom)

If Australians consider themselves irreligious, Tasmanians are a whole other level of irreligious. Take a tour of the Port Arthur historical site and you’ll gain an understanding why. But when Billy Graham came in York Park in April 1959, impossible as it was thought to be,17,000 people filled the stadium to hear the evangelist and, per-capita, more people than anywhere else in the world made a first-time commitment to Christ! 

“But that was then!” I hear you say? Consider then, that from this point churches around Australia began to experience extraordinary growth. A young returning missionary and his wife to Australia, Andrew and Lorraine Evans, took on a small church in Klemzig, Adelaide. Pastor Evans dared to believe that impossible is impossible and began praying for his church to grow extraordinarily. The church changed its name to Paradise Community Church (and is now called Influencers Church) and grew to be one of the first churches have a regular attendance of 2,000 people! But it kept growing and had a regular attendance of 6,000 before it established extra campuses around Adelaide to accommodate its growth. Meanwhile, around the same time, a young evangelist and his family moved to the pastorate of a church in Richmond, Victoria. This modest sized church of 150 attenders quickly grew to be a church of over 2,000 under the leadership of Pastor Phil Hills and planted around 200 churches around the perimeter of Melbourne! Today, “Richmond Temple” as it was known and today is known as Neuma Church has over 6,000 weekly attendees! Meanwhile, in Sydney, a young Brian Houston, planted a church in the Hills district of suburban Sydney and today that Sydney church has — what many people had always considered to be impossible — over 25,000 regular weekly attendees! In fact, I could mention churches in nearly each Australian capital city that now have attendances of over 10,000 people per week! Christianity impossible in Australia?  Think again. And time prevents me from documenting the many revivals and outpourings of the Holy Spirit on the Aboriginal communities of Australia resulting in an incredibly vibrant Christian Church among our First Nations peoples!

Now, there is one text among the great sayings of Jesus that I confess I never understood until very lately: ‘Verily, I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove ; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.’ Now, I was so incredulous about the possibility of removing mountains that I had to see it done before I really and truly believed. I am writing in Tasmania. And here in Tasmania we have a mountain — Mount Lyell. And gradually a strange faith stole into the hearts of men. They believed that underneath Mount Lyell there was an abundance of copper. They suspected it. They investigated it. They believed it ! And when they really believed it, they actually said unto the mountain, ‘Remove hence into yonder place!’ They believed; they moved the mountain; and nothing was impossible to them. The men who drove the spectral impossibilities from the shadows of our civilization were great believers, all of them. Columbus did not believe in the new world because he discovered it; he discovered it because he first of all believed it…[And] The history of missions is one continuous story of the invasion of the impossible.
F.W. Boreham, The Passing of The Impossible, ‘Mountains In The Mist’, 1914, p. 44-45

 

THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE!

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!”

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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.

8 Comments

  1. Gordon Williams

    I remember when I became a Christian in my late 40’s many people said it was totally impossible that a lifetime smug atheist like me could turn to Christ. Some actually said they now believed in miracles and the impossible if someone like me could become a Christian!

    Reply
  2. John sands

    Read this in Ulverstone and greatly encouraged yet again which is great when one was not discouraged in the first place. Will be thinking of you all on Sunday and do a catch-up on Forgiveness 2 on return.

    Reply
    • legana

      Thank you Dr. John!

      Reply
  3. Archibald Norman Macdonald

    Have proved on countless occasions that the same Jesus who was around nigh 2000 years ago is still around today , the same yesterday today and forever both in small and great things .

    Reply
    • legana

      Thank you Norm!

      Reply
  4. LYDIA

    Twila Paris – God Is In Control – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com › watch
    Its a song I have sung often quite some years ago. I love it! It came to my memory this week. Then reading this week’s Pastor’s Desk spiel…thank you Andrew!… that also brought me back a little in time to a beautiful indigenous couple who tour the East Coast of the mainland and bring the Gospel to their people in song and deed and Art. Glenny Naden. https://www.commongrace.org.au/christian_artists
    I love these folks!
    That brought me to another happening some weeks back where the thought was put to me by a Christian that “Oh…ooo…not sure of that will really work”… Will Graham’s coming over. And I thought then, as I read NOW that…faith, one needs only faith as small as a mustard seed and ANYTHING can happen!
    When I was a young girl back in Adelaide and attended the Leighton Ford Crusade many came forward and one young boy I know of, about 11 or 12 at the time, was not allowed to do that from his dad, go forward and give his life to Christ. Just imagine if he had…his life would have been so different.
    So according to Scripture ALL things right across the broad spectrum of life are possible with God.

    Reply
    • legana

      Thank you Lydia!

      Reply
  5. LYDIA

    Thank you Andrew with God ALL things are possible.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.