Friday, 13 June 2008


In F.W. Boreham's all-time classic collection of essays- Mushrooms On The Moor, he has an excellent piece on the place of handicaps. He notes that champions relish handicaps while the mediocre are daunted by them. He describes watching a handicap foot race where the champion was severely handicapped. Boreham thought this was most unjust. As he viewed the race's finish he saw that despite the champion being the last to start the race he had chased down the field to end up winning the race. The great pastor went over to the great runner to investigate whether they shared a sense of injustice about this handicapping.

Boreham was mildly surprised at the champion's response. Far from being daunted by the handicap the champion actually relished the opportunity to compete both with the field of competitors and himself. Himself? Boreham was intrigued. The champion explained that it was only when he truly felt challenged to go beyond where he had previously been that he could be satisfied that he had given his best.

Handicaps don't daunt champions.

It was some time after this when Boreham attended a Missions Conference where the speaker appealed to his audience to give like they'd never given before so that the Gospel could be taken to the four corners of the world. This speaker shared how he had as a young man longed to go himself to the Missions field but was denied by his denominational leaders due to his physical short-comings. This was a major setback for this aspiring missionary. He was somewhat handicapped physically. But he was not daunted by his handicap. He applied his mind to understand commerce and business. In this arena he proved himself a champion. As a result, he told the Conference, he was able to do more for missions by enabling more missionaries to serve than he could if he had gone himself. He had dealt with his handicap like a champion!

But then Boreham laments that in his church experience up until 1915, he had found too few men within the church with a champion spirit. Instead, he had found too many men who were too easily daunted by even the slightest handicap. They were too busy to serve, too financially committed to give, too nervous to lead or too tired to share. What the church needs, sighs the great pastor, is men with a champion spirit.

I have just finished reading the autobiography of Peter J. Daniels. It's hard not to imagine that what F.W. Boreham lamented around 1915 would have delighted him around 1985 if he had someone like Peter Daniels in his church. Mr Daniels, who I have invited to Launceston in November this year, at one point served on several international MIssions boards based in Singapore and L.A., and several Australian Missions Boards (including Youth For Christ) while he ran several business enterprises. At this point in his life, Mr Daniels says he was "stretched". Now in his late 70s, he is still going strong. He serves the Lord with a passion. He speaks in more churches across Australia and the USA than any other speaker on the planet. He gives more to the work of missions than perhaps anyone in history. But perhaps most impressively, is positioning his life for maximum impact for hundreds of years after his life on earth expires. Mr Boreham might well describe Mr Daniels as a man who was never daunted by his handicaps, but like any other champion learned to overcome them.

May God give us more such champions within the church.

Andrew Corbett

Friday, 6 June 2008


"Gospel" means 'Good News'. And it is! Try and read the Apostle Paul's writings and miss what he considers is the Gospel! Around every five verses of Paul's writings he makes some reference to the Cross and its implications. For Paul, the Gospel pervaded everything.

There is probably no clearer and more succinct edition of Paul's Gospel than the first twelve verses of First Corinthians 15. Have a read of it. If put on the spot to share the Gospel, read it and explain it. The Gospel. It must be received, held fast.

1Cor. 15:1 ¶ Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,

The Gospel saves and keeps on saving us

1Cor. 15:2 and by which you are being saved,

The Gospel preserves the genuinely saved-

if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—

But the Gospel discriminates between those who have believed unto salvation and those who have believed in vain-

unless you believed in vain.

The Gospel affects everything- it becomes the thing of "first importance" to those who are saved by it-

1Cor. 15:3 ¶ For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

And at the core of the Gospel of first importance is the preeminent announcement: Christ died for our sins! The Gospel is about Jesus dying for us because of our sins. The Gospel is Jesus! Jesus is the Good News!

that Christ died for our sins

And this Gospel is the Scriptures. The Bible is the Gospel!

in accordance with the Scriptures

The Gospel declares that Jesus Christ is Lord! He is Lord because He died and rose again.

1Cor. 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

The Gospel provides proof. Our commitment to Christ is not based on unsupported faith. Our faith is grounded in its proofs. The Gospel is a proven Gospel-

1Cor. 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1Cor. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
1Cor. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

The Gospel transforms the least and the worst and humbles the mighty. The Gospel can transform anyone! No one is beyond hope! No one's situation is hopeless! The Gospel is hope!

1Cor. 15:8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
1Cor. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

The Gospel is a Gospel of Grace. Grace is opposed to earning. There is nothing anyone can do to earn God's favour or blessing. God's favour and blessing are based on God's grace. Grace is opposed to earning, but it is not opposed to effort. In fact, God's grace empowers effort! By God's grace we can

1Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

The Gospel is not copyrighted! Anyone is allowed to use it. It is bigger and grander than any one person. You are invited by God Almighty to share the Gospel.

Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1Cor. 15:11

This week I was contacted by someone who has attended our church a few times. They had realised that while they had occasionally attended churches throughout their life, there was something missing. We made a time to meet together. Kim and I then shared the Gospel with them. They then received the Gospel and made a commitment to Christ. Just yesterday I was contacted by a well known local sporting identity who said that something strange was happening to him. I had previously met with this person a few times over the past two years. They said, "I keep getting this thought in my head that I need to go to church, so you might see me there soon." This person had just shared how their life had fallen apart and everyhing they held dear had been taken away from them. "There must be more to life" they said. This person was experiencing the affect of the Gospel seeded in their life years earlier. The Gospel is a seed. Let's keep sowing.

Is. 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Want a cause for your hobbies? Baptise your hobbies in the Gospel! Want a cause for your employment? Baptise your empoyment in the Gospel! Want a cause to which you can commit your entire life? Baptise your life in the Gospel!

1Cor. 9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

The Purpose of Pain

Last Saturday I crushed my foot when a gum tree I was cutting down fell awkwardly directly onto my ankle like a battering ram. Initially I thought it wasn't so bad. Then I realised I was yet again wrong. I was taken to hospital and had my ankle and foot Xrayed. The bones had separated but not broken. The ligaments were damaged. The swelling was large. Despite the doctors telling me how "lucky" I was that I hadn't done more damage, and that I wouldn't be able to put any weight on it for a few weeks, by Sunday it didn't feel too bad and I was even hobbling around without my crutches. But by Tuesday I couldn't even stand up without the risk of passing out from the pain!

Suffering and pain. My pain is temporary. But not for some. Although, my pain grew as the week went on. Not only did my ankle become more painful as the week went on, but then my Laptop became sick and had to be taken to the Mac Shop. So in effect, at the start of my week I had lost the use of my right foot, then my right arm! But my week continued to get worse! As I fumbled for my mobile phone today on my bedside I dropped it into my coffee and spilt the blessed juice of the holy bean all over the collector's Wimbledon Tshirt I was wearing! My mobile phone suffered a coronary and had to rushed by Sonata to the ICU ward of the Mobile Phone Shop. Eeek. My suffering and pain continues...

But I have been consoled by the sovereignty of God. That is, I rest in the knowledge that what happened to me did not catch God by surprise. Added to this I rest in the knowledge that Christ would not let anything happen to me that was not for my good-

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

So as my week has continued to get seemingly worse I have not reacted with my usual frustration that I have up until recently defaulted to, instead I have enjoyed the peace of Christ knowing that He is good and only does good, even when I don't like or understand what's happening to me. God's purposes are always good. Even still, I hope you've all had a better week than me.


Andrew Corbett