home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 > May > EXCUSE ME


Do you remember the biggest problem you faced when you were 9 years-old? Unless you had a traumatic event take place at that time, chances are that you can’t. The problems that we had to deal with when we were children seemed enormous at the time and probably resulted in many frustrating tears. But years later, looking back, they more than likely now look either trivial or long-forgotten. Actually, you probably don’t even have to try and recollect back to your childhood to now see the problems you had just a few years or even months ago in a different light which now makes them look a lot smaller than they appeared at the time. The passage of time tends to give us a different perspective on life and our priorities.

I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
Psalm 37:25

TAKING A LONG-TERM VIEW

It’s difficult when you’re young to think too much about the future. When we’re young we tend to focus on the now. On the other hand, when you’re old it’s too easy to look back over the years of your youth with a host of “If only” regrets. If only I’d…saved my money…listened to my parents…gone to university…said yes…said no…not eaten so much…learned the piano…made more time with those I care about… You can tell when a person has become wise by how they regard their future. A wise person will always take a long-term view of their life. It’s not that they don’t make mistakes now, or even seem to waste time or money occasionally. A wise person takes a long-term view of their life and adjusts their perspective on their present challenges accordingly.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
Proverbs 21:5

LIFE IS SHORT

The other week I saw a childhood schoolfriend of one of my children whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while. Four days or so after I had seen him I received a phone call from one of his other friends that on the weekend their mutual schoolfriend had been killed in an horrific accident. Today, someone came to see me to tell of a friend of theirs whose child had committed suicide this week. Both of these lives ended tragically and prematurely. When we say, “Life is short” –  it’s easy to think of such youthful tragedies. But the reality is, everyone’s life is short!

F.W. Boreham in 1908 in Hobart Baptist Church where he was the pastor

F.W. Boreham in 1908 in Hobart Baptist Church where he was the pastor

My hero, F.W. Boreham, was fond of writing in series. He wrote a five volume series on Texts That Changed The World that became a best-seller and still inspires millions of people even today. When he turned 40, he began to write a series in which the first instalment was entitled, On Turning Forty. He wrote the second instalment when he turned 50. He wrote the third when he turned 60. He wrote the fourth when he turned 70, and he wrote his last when he turned 80. As he got older he increased his reflections on some of his regrets. Even though he was one of the world’s most acclaimed preachers and Christian authors – whose books have possibly led thousands to Christ – he said that he had one big regret toward the end of his life and career as a preacher. “I did not preach enough about God!” he lamented. To be sure, he had preached about God’s deeds and acts, the attributes of God’s grace and love, and other peripheral topics associated with the doctrine of God, but he felt great sorrow that he had not preached more about God himself! If only, he said, if only I had presented God for who He truly is then surely more people would have come to see Him as the most beautiful being in the universe whose magnificence and wonderfulness would melt the hardest heart and soften the most resistant. His regret spurs me on to make sure that I know who God truly is and love Him for who He truly is and serve Him because He is who He is. And I daren’t waste a moment in this holy quest because life is short.

¶ A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
Isaiah 40:6-7

 

IN THE END

As F.W. Boreham approached the end of his life, he longed to know God more richly and deeply. This was also the quest of the apostle Paul as he approached his end. He wrote to the Philippians from a jail cell. Even though it appears that he held out hope for an early release from his imprisonment after he was to be brought before Caesar, this hope was not realised.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.
Philippians 3:8-10

“That I may know Him!” Fancy that! The apostle who was struck from his horse by the radiant glory of Christ while on the Persecutor’s Road to Damascus; the apostle whom the resurrected Christ appeared to in a vision and spoke directly to him (Acts 18:9-10); the apostle whom Christ used to raise people from the dead and to heal many people miraculously; and, the apostle who testifies that he was caught up to heaven and saw things too wonderful to reveal — this apostle gets toward the end of his life and states that he doesn’t yet know Christ the way he should! This apostle, the apostle Paul, toward the end of his life begins to see his life and his troubles in the light of eternity. And I am thus assured that in this light many of the problems that we face today will fade from our gaze and vanish as we fix our eyes on the Source of eternity’s Light.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Matthew 16:26

 

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.

3 Comments

  1. thomas nielsen

    Thanks Pastor Andrew for a brilliant and encouraging article regarding ,In The Light of Eternity, it is always good to view life from an eternal perspective.

    Reply
  2. Therese Stepanovic

    Thank you Ps Andrew, for once again putting things into perspective, no matter what we are going through in our life we need to look to Jesus, who is the only one who can help us get through.

    Reply

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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.

EXCUSE ME

The essence of an excuse is the word, no. If we get invited to a party that we don’t to go to and we make a polite excuse to decline the offer, in essence we are saying “No, I will not come to your party.” This is the gist of the parable that Christ told in Luke 14 about His Father who sent His Son as His Servant to personally invite those who had already received an invitation to come to a great banquet. (It’s interesting how Jesus describes His Father’s heaven as a great banquet.) By saying “No” to the great banquet invitation those who were declining this invitation were saying that they had a better offer. What offer could be better than dining with the Source of Life, Joy, Peace, and Power, as His special guest in His luxurious mansion? What happens next in this parable also says a lot about how God feels when people make excuses to decline His offer to dine.

BELONGING

I’m not sure about you, but one of my great wrestles in becoming more Christlike is that sinful tendency to see my time, my resources, my life as belonging to me. I like to control it. I like to own it. I like to decide what happens and when.

God, in His great grace and wisdom, seems to work in our lives reminding us how little we truly control and that it all truly does belong to Him. So often these reminders come in the way of hardship and loss with the call to surrender ownership and control.

If our Heavenly Father was a despotic God, a cruel, tyrannical God who acted arbitrarily and selfishly for His own ends, knowing we belonged to Him would cause us to tremble and live in fear and apprehension.

But praise Him that this is not our God!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies your with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:2-5

ROOFS AND DRAGONS – THE VALUE OF PLANNING

ROOFS AND  DRAGONS – THE VALUE OF PLANNING
John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”  J.R.R. Tolkien said, “It does not do to leave a live a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” Having a plan is generally a strategy that will help us to get things done, or respond correctly when things go wrong. A plan may help us to find a solution and a way through an adverse situation that we are experiencing. A plan also helps us to know what resources we might need for dealing with situations that we can foresee.

When it comes to thinking about the importance of planning, a statement that is worth considering is one that I like to get my Maritime Passage Planning students to contemplate:

‘The best thing about failing to plan, is that disaster comes as a complete surprise that is not preceded by hours or days of stress and worry associated with the planning process.’

SOMETHING FOR SLUGGARDS TO CONSIDER

There are those who look busy but are not very productive. There are those who are busy but are highly productive. Often these people have learned that busy needs to be managed so that their time is focused on maintaining their important relationships, taking regular sabbaths, prioritising the important over the urgent, and cooperating with others. These busy people have learned to recognise God’s open doors and have confidence that the Apostle Paul had that it is God who gives them supernatural energy to toil, struggle and work to get things done when no-one else thought it could be.