home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 > December 3rd > WHO CARES?

WHO CARES?

During the time of Caesar Nero (54 - 68 AD) he would use Christians as living night torches by impaling them then dousing them in pitch then lighting them The world into which the Saviour of mankind entered as a baby was a very harsh place. Life was cheap. Might was right. The oppressed were abused and often mistreated by the Roman conquerors. Those expected to speak up for, and defend, the voiceless vulnerable — their religious leaders of the day — had become too easily corrupted in their pathetic attempts to win a crumb of their conqueror’s power. This corruption in the pursuit of financial gain and political leverage had blinded these supposed-to-be-shepherds to the true plight of those they should have served as guardians. Why on earth would God send His Son into our world at such a dark time?

¶ But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent His Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law.
Galatians 4:4 THE MESSAGE

WHERE IS THE GOD WHO CARES?

A depiction of Christian about to be martyred in the ColosseumIn what would have to be the greatest reply to the oft asked question – what has the all-powerful, all-good God done about evil and suffering in the world? – God the Eternal Father sent His Eternal Son into this world of evil and suffering as a zygote (the earliest stage of human development) as His answer. In one of Dr. F.W. Boreham’s essays on this topic he pointed out how often it has been throughout history that just at the darkest hours in human history, a baby has been sovereignly born who would grow into a courageous leader who would be a further divine reply to the question about what has done about evil and suffering in the world. The greatest example of this of course is the Christmas Child. At just the precise time of one of earth’s darkest hours, the Christ was born. Little wonder then that Dr. Boreham could say that God’s answer to the world’s problems is always a baby. And the baby that God the Father sent to the world was the One who created it and everything in it (Col. 1:17-18). Did He come reluctantly? Did He come in the same way that the mythological Greco-Roman members of the pantheon of gods would come feeling rather indifferent to the injustices besetting the world? Let the written Word of God be our answer-

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36

DOES JESUS?

Christ was moved with compassion for people. He felt their pain and saw their suffering. Did Jesus care? Asking this question sound utterly ridiculous even before I get the question mark! There is no doubt that Jesus cared. He demonstrated care for outcasts — such as lepers who shunned by society — but He didn’t care for them because they were a marginalised group or even because they were lepers. He cared for them because they were people created in the image of God. Jesus cared for the poor – but not because they were poor – but because they were people created in the image of God. Jesus cared for women – but not because they were women – but because they were people created in the image of God. And the same can be said of His care for those people with a different skin colour to His (which almost certainly was not ‘white’), or for those people of different ethnicity who could barely speak the language of the Hebrews without a tell-tale accent that brought scorn and even hatred among Israelites. He cared for these people despite these things because they too were created in the image of God. This reveals that Christ treated all people as sharing a common and unique bond: all people are created in the image of God and this common bond and shared privilege binds us each together as the ‘human race’ thus making all alternate adjectives of the word “race” superfluous and counter-productive to a biblical understanding of what it means to be human. Our initial question, who cares? is now forced to be adjusted to: Who should care? And the answer is immediately obvious. We should because we are the family of the divine image bearers. We are family.

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

 

BUT WHO CARES?

Those who know Christ! To worship is to adore, to behold, to praise, to reflect upon and reflect. Thus, we become like whatever we worship. When we reflect on Christ we marvel at His care for each individual in a crowd where each one probably thought that no-one saw them in the midst of a sea of faces – but Jesus did. They may have thought that when Jesus looked at the crowd He couldn’t have noticed them but He did. As they blended into the masses of people that often flocked to Christ they may have felt that non-one cared for them – but Jesus did. Consider how often Jesus spent time with one person: the woman at the well (John 4); Nicodemus the Scribe (John 3); the man at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5); the women condemned as an adulteress (John 8); the man born blind (John 9); Lazarus (John 11); and Pilate (John 19).  

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18`

Time and time again throughout the gospels we see Jesus taking time out for the individual – a woman with the issue of blood, the Syrophoenician woman with a demonise daughter, a blind man on the side of the road. Jesus’ care for people is a remarkable insight into the Father’s care for each member of His earthly family of divine image bearers. And just as Jesus conveyed the Father’s heart of care for each person, we too are called to also convey it (Luke 10:25-37).
 

 

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL INVESTOR (OF MORE THAN JUST MONEY)

The most basic form of investing was described by Christ in the parable of the talents where He described it as putting money with the money-lenders to earn interest. Albert Einstein stated that ‘compound interest’ is the eighth wonder of the world! When some people hear the word ‘investing’ they might think that it only involves money. Investing involves thinking about present action and the future consequences of those actions. And then acting in a way that sacrifices present income to invest in a richer future. Understood in a much broader sense, investing can and should mean thinking about much more than just money. It can involve investing time, effort, wisdom, training, and prayer. Investing done well results in increased wealth and riches which is not just limited to financial rewards. It is exemplified in the biblical promise, “You reap what you sow.” Each generation is responsible to steward the resources that are at its disposal. These resources are managed by individuals, families, communities, states, nations and the Church. Church leaders have a duty to invest well into the spiritual resources that shape culture to the glory of God so that a tree is planted for the next generations will be the ones who enjoy its shade.

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.

WHO DOES THIS EPHESIANS FELLA THINK HE IS?!

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.  

THE LORD IS MY ROCK

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.

WHO BUILDS A CITY ON A HILL?

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...

5 INDISPENSABLE GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARENTS

This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.