home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > January 12th > OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. A word, any word, may also depend on who is using this word. Depending on the age of the child, there are some words he or she uses that only a mother can understand. Open could be an adjective, a verb, an imperative, or a predicate. The word open, has at least 12 different meanings, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I will focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church in this crucial time.

 

WHAT OPEN MEANT IN 1968 TO ROD LAVER

It wasn’t that long ago when all major sporting events were closed to professionals. This applied to the Olympics, and to tennis – which for a long time were both reserved for amateurs. In 1962, Rod Laver was the world’s best amateur tennis player. In that year he did what very few tennis players have ever done – he won the Grand Slam. This meant that he won the French Championship, the Wimbledon Championship, The U.S. Championship, and the Australian Championship – all in the same calendar year. But despite his number one world ranking and the glory of what hardly anyone else had ever done, he had basically earned no prize money for all his hard work. At the end of 1962, Rod Laver decided to turn professional, and join with the other world’s top tennis players on the emerging professional tennis tour. Laver was a bit stunned though when he joined this professional tour and was unable to win a match! But over the next five years on the professional tour, Laver began to dominate his opponents. Then something spectacular happened in 1968.

Rod Laver holding the 1968 Wimbledon Men's Singles Champion trophy. He would go on to win each of the other three Grand Slam Tournament in that year,

Rod Laver holding the 1968 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Champion trophy. He would go on to win each of the other three Grand Slam Tournament in that year,

In 1968 open meant that Rod Laver was again able to play in each of the Grand Slam tournaments when each tournament changed their player admission to be open to professionals. But perhaps to Rod Laver in 1968 open meant that he could do what no other man in the history had been able to do – win the Grand Slam for the second time! ‘Open’ in 1968 for Rod Laver meant that was open to make history.

 

WHAT OPEN MEANS TO A DENTIST

When a dentist says “Open” he or she is issuing a professional instruction to their patient. 

 

WHAT OPEN MEANS TO A LOCKSMITH

Open to a locksmith is a professional goal when they are called in to deal with a faulty lock. 

 

WHAT OPEN MEANS TO A SHOPKEEPER

To a shopkeeper open means the opportunity to pay their utility bills, their insurances, their staff wages, their mortgage, their children’s school fees, and to cover the cost of replenishing their stock. 

 

WHAT OPEN MEANS TO A SAILOR

 It is one of the delights of a yachtsman to glide across the waters and to sail into open seas powered by nothing but the available breeze. For the early explorers, such as Columbus, Cook, and Cortez, who sailed across open seas in search of adventure and fame. Today, it is the day-in-day-out duties of every merchant sailor to freight their ship’s container-cargo across open seas to their international customers. 

 

WHAT OPEN MEANS TO THE OUTGOING PASTOR OF A TASMANIAN CHURCH

Be open is the appeal of the pastor-preacher to his hearers so that they might experience the power of the gospel, the infilling of the Spirit, and the presence of the Lord in their worship. Be open is the pastoral appeal for people to be inclined for what the Lord might do in them.

When I was a teenager I had a visiting evangelist lay his hands on me after I responded to his appeal to come forward for prayer “…if you want to baptised in the Holy Spirit.” “You may not understand all that the Scriptures says about it, but be open to what God by His Spirit might do in you!” And so I did. I went forward in the little Apostolic Church building in Coxes Road, Norlane (Geelong), one Wednesday night, and was prayed for. That night my world changed. I was open to something that I could see in Scripture, even though I didn’t quite understand it.

To the evangelist, open meant the possibility of a miracle happening. Sometimes this miracle happens when someone is open to the gospel and they are then converted to faith in Christ. Sometimes this miracle happens when a young teenager is open to coming forward in a small church which leads to the Holy Spirit baptising him in a Pentecostal experience.

Sometimes let’s be open is an appeal for someone to open to the new thing, season, mission, chapter, that God might be about to do. This is where we are now at as a church. Many of us are praying for God to call a new minister as our church’s new pastor and leader. This will be a new experience for many in our church. This new pastor will be different. Perhaps he will try new things. My appeal to you is to be open. Be open to who God will call. Be open to how he will go about his ministry and calling. Be open to how young or old he might be. And perhaps most of all, be open to what God is going to do in our church’s next and new chapter. 

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.

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.

THE SHEPHERD IS THE LORD

Of all the 150 Psalms, Psalm 23 is probably the most loved. As we read it we can easily imagine its author, the young shepherd-boy David, making the trek through a ravine where bandits, bears, and predators lurked as he led his small flock of sheep through to fresh water and green pastures. As he reflected on how he led and cared for his flock he must have pondered of how the LORD was like a shepherd to him. As easy as it is for us to imagine teenage David composing this beautiful Psalm, it is also easy to imagine how the God he describes as his shepherd in this Psalm is also a shepherd to us. God, as a shepherd, provides what we need (vs 1), restores our soul (vs 3), when we are unsure He leads on the right path (vs 3), He protects us from evil (vs 4), comforts us in times of distress (vs 4), strengthens us in our moments of weakness (vs 5), He gives us honour when our opponents attempt to bring us shame (vs 5), and He provides a place of belonging for us (vs 6). This is what a shepherd does, David tells us, and it is ultimately only found in the True Shepherd, the Lord Immanuel.