home > Pastor’s Desk >2022 >JULY 22ND>LOVE IN ACTION


Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

On a recent trip to Bathurst in NSW I struck up a conversation with a young man who was into mountain bikes and riding in the Bathurst area. This young man was a keen rider and was able to provide me with some warnings. Apparently, the Bathurst region has a problem with thorns. These are prolific and large enough to easily puncture mountain bike tyres. Any deviation from the track, I was warned, would most likely end with a flat tyre.

Soon after this conversation I went for a ride and decided to ride off the track to get to the start of another track. The words of the young man I had conversed with turned out to be accurate. The next day I had to go in search of a new inner tube. What I found available was very interesting, given the known thorn problem in the area. I was able to purchase a ‘thorn resistant’ inner tube. The tube contained the same self-sealing solution that riders use on tubeless mountain bike tyres. This allows the tube to self-seal for holes up to 3mm in diameter.

In this example, equipment manufacturers responded by suppling a product that provided a solution to a known problem. One that affects many people. An appropriate solution was applied for a particular circumstance. Just as thorns will destroy the integrity of a bike’s inner tube, the integrity of our health and relationships can also be damaged by influences that are endemic to our environment.

Recently, I was staying at Bathurst with my immunosuppressed daughter. While I was there, our plans changed. She contacted Covid-19 and I became a close contact.  During her isolation period, God was merciful. I remained Covid negative for the entire isolation period. My presence allowed her to recover in her home rather be admitted to hospital. I had been granted the opportunity to be her on-site provider of care, including administration of anti-viral medication, monitoring her symptoms and providing encouragement. I believe that God showed His love to both of us by permitting me to be in a position to love and care for my sick daughter, who has since made a full recovery.

Love Defined by Action

Writing to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul explains what love involves as well as what it should not be.

Some of the points Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 13:2-3,7-8 include:-

  • If I have not love, I am nothing.
  • If I have not love, I gain nothing.
  • Love bears all things.
  • Love endures all things.
  • Love never ends.

When we look at these points in the context of God’s love for us, we should be motivated to develop strategies to show love to others that are suited to the nature of the ‘thorns’ that we are aware may affect the people we know

Is there something small we can do?

So, how can be show love to those in need? Sometimes there are/can be situations where we feel lost or overwhelmed to the point where we don’t know how to respond. In many situations we are unable to fix the problem a person is experiencing. That is okay. What we can do is to show love through small gestures. We can be present. We can allow the person we are attending to be heard without interruption and without comparing our hurts with theirs. We can look for and help to meet needs. We can drop off a meal. We can offer to accompany them to an appointment. We can mow the lawn or assist with housework. We don’t have to have all the answers to the “thorn” that is affecting this person’s life, however, we can show God’s love so that His light can shine into what may be a dark place. When God’s light shines on us, some of it will reflect outwards so that others can see Him in us.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Psalms 67:1-2

Marks of the True Christian

Paul’s letter to the church in Rome gives us further insight into the role of love as we minister to each other.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.
Romans 12:9-10

If we are aware of the ‘thorns’ that exist in the lives of those we know, it might be possible to anticipate what may come. If we anticipate, we may be able to prepare and be ready, so that we can be a loving part of the healing process for a hurting person who is loved by God.

Your Executive pastor,


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.

1 Comment

  1. Gordie

    Terrific message Tony!! Timely words…
    I need a lot of work on my grace and humility. Had a mate in Melbourne yesterday texting me that he had discouraged a person interested in Christianity by telling him he saw a “documentary proving” that Jericho never existed. I sent him the detailed archeological history from Encyclopaedia Brittanica on Jericho and asking if he thinks that’s a hoax and he replies backtracking that he meant the city existed but the Bible’s “claims” were not. I had totally the wrong reaction and actually wanted to reach through the phone and punch him! I’d better Re-read Peter and John on the right way to counter critics I guess…


Submit a Comment

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


For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.


The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better. 


Today, “Jesus Christ is Lord” sounds like a bumper sticker or part of an ancient church liturgy but when Christianity was founded if someone uttered these words it could literally mean death! ’o christos ’o kurios “Christ is Lord” was a risky thing to declare when the only safe thing to declare was ’o kaiser ’o kurios “Caesar is Lord”! Yet it was upon these words that the earliest confession of the Church was founded. For the early Christians, this was not a glib, throw-away line uttered during a church service or something stuck on the backside of your donkey (or chariot if you were wealthy).  


I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.


I have long said that my primary role as a shepherd-pastor is to help people to die well. To do this, as I have often said, requires that we learn how to live life well. Of all the normally uncomfortable subjects that Christians find it difficult to talk about, death should not be one of them. But it is. This is because, of all the world religions, only Christianity has a positive view of death. After all, we have a divine Saviour who confronted and conquered death. As a result the original apostles mocked death.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
¶ The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.”
(First Corinthians 15:55-56)
These apostles refused to be intimidated by death which was ultimately evidenced by their martyrdoms. The apostle Paul could look forward to his death with the obvious lament that he would no longer be available to help those he had led to the Lord (Phil. 1:23-25). But he could face his impending death with the assurance that it would mean that he would immediately be in the presence of his Lord — and so should we! And like Paul, we too should be be able to talk about death in a very different way to those who do not know what we know.


A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.


Each of these uncomfortable topics in this brief series of articles are uncomfortable because there they carry a sense of embarrassment or even shame attached to them. But this particular topic also carries a good deal of pain associated with it – in addition to any feelings of embarrassment or shame. This pain may involve a sense of failure, betrayal, rejection, and humiliation. Divorce rarely effects just the two people involved in ending a marriage. Divorce can scar people like little else can. It can scar socially, financially, emotionally, relationally, and even a person’s physical health – and sometimes do so permanently.


All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.


There are some things that Christians can’t and don’t talk about – but probably should. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.


Resilience was one of the predominant character traits of the early Christians. They called it being steadfast. For these early Christians being ‘resilient’ meant being able to keep going despite set backs, discouragements, betrayals, unforeseen circumstances, lack of energy, motivation, and resources. Like a weary hiker looking down a long road that leads to the mountain range they must walk over, being resilient in life means putting one foot in front of the other, and then doing it again, and again, and again, and so on. God knows that today, in what many are describing as “Post-Christendom” (and the resilient among us prefer to think of as Pre-Christendom) to be resilient is to live with a purpose, to stay focused, to live for others, and to strive toward a good, honourable, goal. With so many reasons to lose sight of the true purpose of life the tendency is to be tricked into believing that life right now is too hard. But the truth be told – people need to know how to be more resilient. Leaders especially need to be resilient right now. Churches assuredly need to be resilient at this time. With the recent interference into churches by government through the measures they said was “to keep people safe” — it has actually depleted people’s ability and willingness to be resilient! Here’s what leaders, people, and churches can do about it.