home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > July 21st > COME ON IN AND JOIN US

Some people think of ‘church’ as a place of religious rituals. To them it a place where sermons are preached, hymns are sung, weddings are conducted, funerals formalised, and babies are dedicated or ‘christened’. But I want to help people to reimagine what ‘church’ actually is intended to be in our day. To do this I want to introduce the biblical concept of the table. We all use tables. We use a table to display a vase of flowers. We use a table to put cups of coffee or tea on. We use a table to do our homework. We use a table to put beautifully large photo books on. And we use a table for our family members and guests to come together around and enjoy a meal. But then, there is the way that the Bible speaks of the table and if more people could realise the significance what this means, it would dramatically effect how they think about church. To begin to understand this we need to start in the Old Testament and begin to realise that “the table” was the means a person received status. Thus, we begin our survey of the Bible by looking at the incredibly unlikely promotion of Mephibosheth in one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible.

The new king, David, had previously formed a covenant with the son of the previous king, Jonathan, that if anything untoward should happen to him that David would take care of his family (1Sam 20:12-15). After Jonathan had been killed in battle, David sought to honour his vow to Jonathan. An enquiry was made as to whether there was indeed any family members of Jonathan’s family whom David should care for. The answer came that there was indeed someone: Mephibosheth. King David then summoned the former royal servant, Ziba, who bore responsibility to care for the orphaned son of Jonathan (and grandson of the late king Saul).

¶ Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him,
“All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson.
And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce,
that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat.
But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.”
Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king,
“According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.”
So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.
And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica.
And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants.
So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table.
Now he was lame in both his feet.
Second Samuel 9:9-13

Mephibosheth was a cripple who could offer nothing to king David – yet David granted him the right to “right gave Mephibosheth royal privileges and royal status. This story of Mephibosheth is a picture of what God has done for each of us. We were all ‘spiritually crippled’ when God in His grace reached out to each of us and saved us, adopted us, and made us joint-heirs with our heavenly brother, the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). We now, like Mephibosheth, have been granted access to The King’s Table. The apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, described this as and the table of demons) –

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.
You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
First Corinthians 10:21

Many believers refer to the table of Lord as if it means holy Communion in the same way that the Lord’s Supper does (1Cor. 11:20). But we must come to see that when God invited us to ‘the table of the Lord’ it was a statement of His acceptance of us and His adoption of us as His royal sons and daughters! Just like Mephibosheth who was taken out of his desperate plight and given access to the King’s Table which totally changed his status, the LORD has taken us out of our desperate plight and granted us unimpeded access to the King of Kings’ Table! This is quite unlike the royal banquets of our modern era in which kings and queens would hold invite honoured guests to occasional dinners. But what king David did for Mephibosheth – and what GOD has done for us – is not merely occasional, it is a permanent invitation to join the king every day for dinner! Turning up at the king’s table for this daily meal was a statement on behalf of the invited guest of their acceptance of the king’s offer of adoption. To not turn up each day required an explanation to be given to the king lest it appeared to be seen as a rejection of the king’s offer (1Sam 20:24-29). Thus, when we assemble each Sunday we are coming to the Lord’s Table as His children to partake of the meal that He has provided for us – including the Lord’s Supper  and the serving of the ‘Bread of Life’ (John 6:35, 48) as the Word of God is sung, preached and taught (Rom. 16:25, 1Cor. 15:1).  

Our gathering as a church is like a gathering together for ‘a meal’. But it is as if we are hosting a meal in which everyone is invited. Perhaps it is not everyone’s usual experience to have a total stranger turn up unannounced at their home at dinner time who then expects to be seated at your dinner table and fed! But, this should be the usual experience of every healthy local church – including ours. We should not just expect that first-time visitors will turn up at our church, but we should also expect that such people will be welcomed to our ‘dining table’ church service and made to feel welcomed. Therefore, those who are welcoming people as they come through the front doors of our church are helping to set an enormously important welcome-culture! Then, our auditorium-greeters are also reinforcing this welcoming culture as people move into our auditorium.

Each Saturday we use social media to invite people from all kinds of backgrounds to join us at our Sunday ‘dining table’ church service. This is because we want everyone to feel welcome at our church as we meet together each Sunday together and in various homes throughout the week. 

It is when a family and their guests gather for a dinner and are seated around the dinner table that they talk, share their stories, reflect on their highlights and lowlights, pray, pray for each other, and discuss important and not so important things. Thus, the dining table is a gathering point where there is laughter, enjoyment, sympathy, music, food and celebration. 

God settles the solitary in a home
He leads out the prisoners with singing,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
Psalm 68:6

There is a significant difference between a house and a home. A house is just a building. A home is where a person or people belong. As more and more people experience disconnection and loneliness, it is my hope that together we can be a family that some people don’t ordinarily enjoy. And it is my hope that we can be a home for many people who even though they have a place to live – they don’t have a home. The Psalmist declared that God settles the lonely in a home (Psa. 68:6).

In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:22

Make yourself at home and… What comes after this invitation is a request to help with the dinner. This might include setting the table, putting condiments on the table, taking the meals to the table, clearing the table, washing the dishes, and offering drinks. Make yourself at home and join in by helping. The more people join in and help, that more people we can welcome to take a seat our ‘dining table’. 

The New Testament Church is often depicted as the place where ‘the table of the Lord’ is located. Thus, the Bible describes the Church as made up of those people who have been legally admitted to the Table of the Lord where they come together to serve one another, enjoy a soul-nourishing meal, and be ready to make room for one more person to join them at the dinner table. This is why we invite everyone to come in and join us. 

Your 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.


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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.