home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > July 28th > THE RESILIENT

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control
and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Second Peter 1:5-8

The RESILIENTResilience 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.

The Apostle Barnabas always urged his converts to Christ to be resilient against the opposition, hardships, persecutions, and false teachings they would have to endure, telling them to be steadfast

When he came and saw the grace of God,
he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord
with steadfast purpose
Acts 11:23

Barnabas’s exhortation gives us the vital keys to becoming resilient: (i) remain faithful to the Lord by continuing to meet together as a church fellowship, and (ii) live with steadfast purpose. The Apostle Paul learned from his mentor and he too also made it his practice to urge believers to be resilient – 

¶ Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
First Corinthians 15:58

In this verse Paul gives us additional keys to developing the kind of resilience necessary to be a mature Christian: (i) Be immovable in your commitment to doing the right thing by Christ and your brothers and sisters; (ii) always abound in the work of the Lord by serving others; and (iii) know and remember that everything you do in and on behalf of your church family is actually for the Lord and is therefore “not in vain”.

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
Titus 2:2

Perhaps it’s because ‘older men’ (you know, men 60-years of age and older) all tend to be grumpy (I personally wouldn’t know about this because I am only in my fifties) that Paul tells his lieutenant, Titus, to encourage the older men in the church of Crete to be: (i) sober-minded (more positive in their outlook), (ii) dignified (be a good role model of what a happy man of God looks like), (iii) self-controlled (especially with how the talk and use their time), (iv) sound in faith (lovers of God and His Word), (v) loving (cheering on the next generation of Christian leaders despite their youth and inexperience), and (vi) steadfast (in their endurance and dogged commitment to participate in the service and communal worship of the Church).

Without resilience it is simply not possible to know, love, and enjoy God to the fullest. The younger half-brother of Jesus, the Apostle James, wrote this – 

And let steadfastness
have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
¶ Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,
for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,
which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:4, 12

James actually said that the believer’s steadfast resilience would result in the believer receiving a glorious reward from the Lord – the crown of life

In the past few years pastors have faced more challenges than most. Yes there were many unprecedented challenges, but pastors had deal with all kinds of hindrances from doing their job in a way that was obedient to Christ and His Holy Word. In Glenn Packiam’s The Resilient Pastor, he tells pastors  that –

What have we observed so far? There has been a shifting of cultural tectonic plates as many contexts have become more and more post-Christian. The clearest way to explain that in terms of the earthquake-like shift is to say that we are post-Christendom, that era when Christianity and country, the kingdom of God and a sociopolitical kingdom, were symbiotically connected. This shift—though not necessarily the total rupture of the relationship—has caused a surge in the cultural oceanic waters. These waves look like the rise of new kinds of pluralism, paganism, and individualism. The aftermath is a mess. There are casualties—think of the programs churches would run that no longer exist, the TV shows in which Christianity was assumed as the backdrop for the family conflict, the changing laws about marriage, and more. And there is confusion. Christian impulses and values are being used to condemn Christian doctrines, practices, and institutions. The West is trying to sever the tree from its root while still demanding its fruit. –
Glenn Peckiam, The Resilient Pastor,

Even though the pandemic has been over for two years now, its detrimental effects on how many believers viewed church is still taking a toll. In some respects, the pandemic brought unseen things to the surface and exposed what had long laid hidden. Sadly, one of those things was — What constitutes ‘church’ and what does being a part of church family Biblically mean? Many pastors now realise that many within their church congregation had a very poor understanding of how the Bible describes what the church is and what it means to be the church.

Earlier this year when it seemed that I was close to death’s door, I was physically unable to be with my church family on each Lord’s Day for nine weeks. Never in my life – and particularly never in my 27-years of pastoring Legana had I been absent from church for that long. My heart ached. When the specialist told me that my condition was terminal and that there could be no treatment or improvement in my condition, I knew that my absence must end. I needed to be physically present with my church family. There is something very physical and tangible about being the church. Christ has ensured that when His church comes together it will involve all of our physical and spiritual senses. When we partake of the holy and sacred elements of communion, we are holding the Lord’s body together as we ingest the consecrated unleavened bread. When we hold the cup we smell the fruit of the vine and imbibe His blood. When we hear each other pray and sing our praises and touch one another’s souls by our participation in exalting Christ together. As we hear the Word of God read, we hear, Our Father in heaven…forgive us as we forgive othersWe are reminded of our role as a church to be the body of Christ as a visible presentation of God’s love and forgiveness to a bitter, unforgiving, unforgiven, angry, hurt, world.

Thus, it is a prime responsibility of a local church to meet together each Lord’s Day as our highest priority. We must draw from the encouragement of the first apostles as recorded in God’s Word who taught the first Christians how to be resilient. We must then re-learn these same keys:

(i) Look to Christ as the Lord in constant prayer;

(ii) Overlook offences that keep us from being immovable in our devotion to Christ and His holy Church;

(iii) Take your stand on God’s Word daily to draw spiritual strength and encouragement so that we can receive revelation from Him, because, above all – He (not the world) is our Audience of One.

May God grant us His grace to be resilient, abounding in good works, fruitful in our service of others, and ever hopeful that we have been promised a brighter and better future than our past.


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.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2023 > July 21st > COME ON IN AND JOIN USSome 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...