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GRIME DUST & US

Sometimes we can feel that things in our life are beginning to get to us. This could be attributed to a number of factors including the 24 hour news cycle constantly pumping out bad news from all over the world, or to the growing practice of ‘doom scrolling’ on our smart devices. This is the habit of continually scrolling down through news stories that relate to murders, domestic violence, assaults, road rage, floods, fires and disease.  Another issue that can reduce our resilience is the almost constant push to create laws that work against members of our society who are unable to protect themselves such as the elderly and the unborn. Little wonder we can feel overwhelmed.

 

ATMOSPHERIC DUST & SOLAR PANELS

 A recent break from almost constant rain showers that northern Tasmania has recently enjoyed provided me with the opportunity to undertake some regular maintenance around the house. One task I undertake twice a year, is cleaning the grime and dust that accumulates on our solar panel array. While doing this, I was surprised by the thickness of the layer of grime and dust that had been deposited on the panels over the previous six months. I had expected that the almost constant rain showers would have resulted in cleaner panels. This was not the case, the grime had resisted and required a good scrub with a soft broom to remove it.

As it turns out, dust is all around us. It consists of fine particles from soil, pollen, wood smoke, vehicle tyres, brake pads, engine exhaust, meteorites and volcanic eruptions. In domestic settings, dust contains additional components such as human skin, animal fur, mites, mould spores and particles from clothing and floor coverings.

There are two aspects that a worth considering with respect to grime, dust and solar panels. The first is that given the inevitable presence of dust in our atmosphere, dust will be deposited. This is a slow but relentless process. The second is that this deposit has a very small effect on the weight on my roof but a has large effect on the efficiency of the panels. I noted the output before and after cleaning the panels and was surprised to see that the efficiency increased by close to 25%.

 

WORLDLY GRIME DUST & US

By now we are all probably wondering what the connection is between grime, dust and us.  Just as a layer of grime and dust on a solar panel will have a negative effect on its output. I believe that that we, as Christians can have our effectiveness reduced by the cumulative effect of what I will refer to as ‘worldly grime and dust’. This ‘dust’ falls constantly from the culture we live in and  builds into layers of grime. This is a slow but relentless process. Although the rate of deposition has a minute effect on our physical weight, its presence can have massive effect on our emotional state and on the way we interact as Christians.  The fallen state of the world can put layer after layer of grime onto us. This accumulates so slowly that we can be unaware of the effects this may have on our lives until we begin to experience problems such as anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. This sometimes leads to behavioural changes in our lives that include a reduction in church attendance, seeking God less in prayer and in neglecting our Bible reading. These changes can have a similar effect on us as grime on a solar panel; reduced efficiency caused by the grime blocking the light. Jesus who is the light, had something to say about situations like this.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:25-27

THE ULTIMATE DUST BUSTER

 Worldly grime and dust will be with us until Jesus returns in what will be the final outworking of God’s plan of redemption for His people. Jesus uses some very strong language when He refers to some of the elements that could be considered to be significant contributors to worldly grime and dust.

“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Revelation 22:15

While we wait for Jesus’s return, we are given some advice that should put the fallen world and the associated ‘dust’ problem into context so that we need not lose hope.

Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.
Revelation 22:11

Jesus reminds us that we can expect the world to have turned its back on God. However, we should continue to do what is right, including calling out evil and strive to be holy, while we continue to look forward to being in His presence forever.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Revelation 22:12-14

Jesus gives us a reason for hope that should transcend our daily circumstances. The cosmic battle between good and evil has been won and we have been tasked to let others know that this is the case. We are loved and we have hope because we are forgiven. This is a hope that we can, and should share with others.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:21

Because of this love, worldly grime and dust is washed away and we do not need to be anxious. Instead, we need to resist the temptation to turn away from God and the support that is available through the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ when the layer of worldly grime and dust starts to get to us.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:33-34

We also have the guidance of the Holy Spirit who although active under the Old Covenant, adopted a much more personal and active role in the lives of the followers of Jesus. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit as our counsellor and as our guide.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17

We can know the Holy Spirit. He illuminates scripture, convicts us of sin and helps us to pray when we are at a loss. All of this should give us a reason to help to share the good news of Jesus Christ to the people that we can influence through our both our words and our actions. So, if we are feeling out of touch with Jesus, let’s pray and ask Jesus to dissolve the worldly grime and dust so that we can connect more effectively with our creator. Then we can connect more effectively with those who have not yet experienced the saving grace of our LORD Jesus Christ.

Your Executive pastor,

Tony

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.

2 Comments

  1. Richard Brunning

    Praise God for the skills and insight he has given you to share. So real practical and instructive. Bless you.

    Reply
  2. LYDIA

    Thank you Tony. Your spiel is much appreciated!

    Reply

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 

I AM WHO I AM BUT I AM NOT WHO I USED TO BE BUT I AM NOT YET WHO I WILL BE

One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.

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It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

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Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

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