Thursday, 25 November 2010


"Safe?" spurted Mr Beaver, "Aslan, safe? No, he's not 'safe', but he is 'good'!" Lucy could have asked a supplementary question: "Is he kind?" To which Mr Beaver could have responded without hesitation- "Yes. Aslan is the kindest person in the world." Can you be 'kind' without being 'safe' or 'nice'? Absolutely! In fact, sometimes you have to not be nice in order to be kind! Arguably one of the stand-out hallmarks of the Christian is that they are kind. It is an essential fruit of the Spirit, one of the main attributes of the God we worship and one of the distinctives of Christianity under pressure compared to other religious systems. But kindness can be provocative.
Before our souls were regenerated and transformed, we snapped back at those who irritated us. If someone cut us off in traffic we would have yelled abuse at them. But then the Spirit of Christ came into our soul and we became kind. Rather than snap, we bless. Rather than lash, we love. Jesus has gripped out hearts with kindness. When someone doesn't give us the kind of customer service we want, we don't get ugly, we kindly ask- "Are you having a bad day?"
When we respond in kindness we catch most people off guard- they don't know how to react to unfair kindness. Put some coins randomly in somoene's expired parking meter. Go through through the McDonald's Drive-Through and pay for the next car's order. Get involved in a volunteer organisation. It causes them to wonder why you are kind. Show someone kindness and they'll wonder why.
¶ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
1Cor. 13:4
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
2Tim. 2:24

It's called the Law of Roses. Do something kind for someone and you build a bridge to their heart. When a young man buys and gives a young lady a bunch of roses, he builds a bridge to her heart (the Law is also known as The Law of Roses & Chocolates). Successful businesses know that if they give away a generous sample of their product they will likely build a bridge to a potential customer. Growing churches have also found that when they encourage their people to do acts of kindness for their neighbours, they often see these people come to Christ.
Mow your neighbour's lawn. Bake a cake and take it over to your neighbour. Write a Christmas card to your member of Parliament and letting them know that you are praying for them. Offer to take the next door neighbour's children to Kids' Club or Sunday Kids Church. Kindness provokes curiousity about the God who inspired such kindness.
"...Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior."
1Pet. 3:1b-2
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Eph. 4:32
One of the main functions of the Church community is to inspire each other to acts of kindness. In Hebrews 10:24, the New Living Translation uses the expression, "outbursts of love and good deeds"-
Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24
A few years ago we had a young single Mum join our church. Her husband had left her with a couple of young children to look after. She drove a bomb for a car. A few of the men in our church at the time got together and bought her a better car. It's moments like these that I'm proud to be the pastor of our church!
Meeting together each Sunday gives us each an opportunity to show kindness to one another, and to provoke kindness in each other ("Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds." Heb. 10:24). Some people who come to our church have little to no contact with anyone else through the week. Meeting people at church on Sunday is nearly the only contact with others they have. So when we have our handshake/hug time in our worship service this is the only time for some people in which they are touched by someone else! Looking someone in the eye, asking them how are they in their soul, demonstrating to them that you have heard them, and giving them a hug, could be an inspirational act of kindness that ends up touching many lives.
In the classic story, Les Miserables, the main character (Jean Valjean) experiences overwhelming kindness from a pastor. His life is entirely redirected from crime to civil service. Having experienced unearned kindness, he dedicated his life to also showing kindness to undeserving others. This story is a powerful illustration of how kindness can change a life.
If you're struggling to act kindly to your husband, wife, children, friends, family or customers, ask God to help you to be kinder. If you get angry easily, then ask God for forgiveness and the grace to be kind. By acting kindly toward people who have done nothing to deserve it, we positively provoke them to wonder. By showing kindness to others in your church family you are fulfilling Hebrews 10:24 and provoking positively.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Gal. 6:10
Father, please help us to reflect You. When we feel like snapping at someone or saying something that cuts unnecessarily, please restrain us. When we feel self-pity because although we reach out in Christian love to our brothers and sisters it won't always be repaid. Forgive us for getting angry at others far too easily. Give us a frsh appreciation of Your great kindness towards us so that we can be kinder. May You love both the world and the Church through us. Cause us to be kind, inviting, welcoming and redeeming. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 19 November 2010


Ever walked into a home and sensed a heavy atmosphere? How about a shop and as soon as you walk in the staff go immediately quiet and compose themselves trying vainly to disguise their interrupted heated argument? Maybe you've walked into a home where everybody is smiling and have obviously just been laughing? Perhaps you've walked into a shop and the smiling staff immediately treat you like their most valued customer? Whether it be a home, a school, a business, or a church, tone (atmosphere) is tangible. What tone are you setting?
In hay-days of King Solomon there was a tone of joy, peace and optomism throughout Israel. Solomon had recently completed the Temple. This new centre of culture became the epicentre of the tone being set in Israel-
and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,.

2Chronicles 5:13
Over time, Solomon's heart was lured away from the Lord and the entire tone of Israel changed. Leaders settone. When you discover that your contribution to a group, a home, a school class room, a shop, or a church, contributes to the tone there, you are exercising leadership. This is why it's important in a church for dads to set a positive and happy tone in their home - especially on Sunday morning - because the tone your family brings to church contributes to the overall tone of the church. It's also why participating in the singing with ghusto is such a positive tone contributer, and why hanging around after the service to chat (especially with newcomers) is so critical to setting a vibrant life-giving tone in a church.
What is it that sets tone in a family, a home, a school, a business or a church?
1. Initial conversation - some psychologists think that the first four minutes from when a person of influence (a leader, a dad, a mum, a principal, a boss, or a pastor) enters a room determines the tone of the room for the next few hours. When a leader enters a room and greets those there with genuine delight, and ensures that the initial conversations are positive and caring, they contribute to a warm tone. This is why it's important for a Dad not to come home grumpy to become grumpy when he walks in the door of his family home. Dads, use the first 4 minutes of your arrival home to connect positively with each family member. Engage with them happily and show an interest in their day and watch how that tone creates a healthy atmosphere in the home.
2. Listening happens - people are encouraged to talk because the person of influence matters enquires and listens. Henry Cloud tells the story of a CEO who called a meeting of his district managers to explain to them the new merger their company was undertaking. Several managers asked questions about the impact of the merger upon their departments explaining that they had recruited team members from across the country who had relocated their families to new homes and schools. The CEO reasurred his District managers that they had nothing to worry about because their newly merged company would be streamlining its systems and introducing new product lines to raise the bottom line. He left that meeting and turned to Dr Henry Cloud and remarked that that meeting had gone well. Dr Cloud strongly disagreed. He told the CEO that he had not listened to his District managers, instead he had been dismissive of them. The CEO immediately disagreed with Dr Cloud. "See, you're doing it again!" replied Dr Cloud. "You didn't listen to what they were telling you and you're not listening to me now." Within 9 months this CEO was forced to leave the company. When a leader listens, a tone is set. When a leader doesn't listen, but instead dismisses what people tell them, they set a tone.
3. How mistakes are managed - innocent mistakes don't mark the end, sometimes they are laughed at, sometimes they result in learning. However a leader handles mistakes contributes to the tone of a family home, a school, a business or a church. There was once a businessman who had a manager make a costly (read multi-million dollar) mistake. At the next managers' meeting it was expected that the embarrassed manager would be humiliated. Instead, at the managers' meeting the costly mistake was not mentioned. Later the boss was asked whether he was going to sack the guilty manager. "Sack him?" replied the boss, "No way! I just spent millions training him!"
4. Appropriate touching - even a simple handshake can set a tone. Sometimes a hug sets a positive tone, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes a pat on the back creates a tone that affirms and disarms. When Jesus extended His hand to the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8) He set a tone that created a social tidal wave still lapping the shores of the 21st century.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he wanted to change the tone of their church. They had become unkind, inconsiderate, carnal (unspiritual) and proud. He wrote to them and appealed for them to create a new tone in their church. Don't tolerate sin, but do show kindness to one another.
¶ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
First Corinthians 13:4
In our church we can create a tone where people are loved, accepted, and forgiven. The tone of our church can be inviting and disarming for pre-Christians. By going out of our way to welcome and take an interest in our church visitors, we create a healthy tone in our church. By inviting people back for meal we are creating a healthy tone in our church. By encouraging someone who has a go, we create a positive tone in our church. By praying for your pastor who is praying for you, we create a tone in our church. We want the tone of our church to be warm, sincere, caring, considerate, kind, compassionate, spiritual, balancing fun with fervour, and faith with hope. We don't want to be the best church in our community but the best church for our community. We want the tone of our church to be highly sensitive to what God is doing in people's lives and to be used by God to help change lives for eternity.
Father, please help us to reflect You. When we feel like snapping at someone or saying something that cuts unnecessarily, please restrain us. When we feel self-pity because although we reach out in Christian love to our brothers and sisters it won't always be repaid. Forgive us for losing heart and not pursuing You with all of our heart. May You love both the world and the Church through us. Cause us to set a tone that is inviting, welcoming and redeeming. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ps. Andrew

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Gay Marriage Agenda

News Polls, Talk-Back Radio, Parliaments, lunch rooms, and school class rooms are all being used to promote a push for "Gay" (Same-Gendered) 'Marriage'. The basic argument in favour of this push is that Marriage is discriminatory against same-gendered couples. Supporting this claim are words like: inclusion, tolerance, anti-discriminatory, compassionate, and progressive. These are all positive words (an important point to note). Those opposing Same-Gender 'Marriage' are portrayed as: bigots, intolerant, discriminatory, religious fundamentalists, homophobic, and mean. These are all negative words (again, an important point to note). One SMSer on Tim Cox's TasMornings Radio program asserted, "I have not heard any good reasons why  Gay Marriage should not be allowed..." And that comment sums up the frustration that compassionate, fair, reforming, inclusive Conservatives like myself feel when it comes to this issue.

In public relations words are powerful. Every good PR consultant knows that the right words can make a weak case sound strong. What then is this particular case actually about? Try this quiz-
    The push to legislate for Same-Gender Marriage is about: 
    (a) the definition of marriage 
    (b) social acceptance of morally unacceptable lifestyle 
    (c) removal of discrimination against same-sex couples
The Gay Lobby is pitching (c) 'removal of discrimination against same-sex couples' as the motive for the push for "Gay Marriage". Many who have been involved in this debate have discovered that main agenda is actually something related to (b) because many practicing homosexuals are extremely unhappy and deal with a sense of shame and guilt, they feel that if society's attitudes towards them could be changed to validation they would feel psychologically better. But the actual issue is: (a) 'the definition of marriage'.

Strip away that positive and negative language and consider the issue: What is marriage? It is the union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others with the potential of having and raising a family. Marriage, therefore is a privilege, not a right. Because it is a privilege it must be discriminating. But this discrimination is on the basis of fairness for all- that is, everyone is treated equally within the standards of discrimination. In the case of marriage, society recognises that those standards should encompass eligibility to marry on the basis of -
    1. Age - must have obtained the age of 18 
    2. Existing marital status - must not be already married 
    3. Gender difference - must marry a person of the opposite gender 
    4. Unrelatedness - must not marry a close relative (brother, sister, father or mother)
    5. Humanity - you can't marry your pet, or your car, or your football club.

There are certainly strong religious reasons for defending marriage as the union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others for the potential purpose of starting and raising a family. But there are equally good reasons for society to continue to uphold marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. I have outlined these reasons previously and have provided some links to those articles at the end of this piece. However, if it can be shown that the existing Marriage Act is not unfairly discriminatory then there is no case to be sustained for "Gay" Marriage.

If the Gay Lobby succeeds in removing one of the standards for maintaining the definition of marriage ("3. Gender difference"), then it must logically follow that none of the other standards should be maintained either. This would open the way for legalised pedophilia, polygamy, incest, and bestiality.

Marriage has not always lived up to its ideal. Adultery, bigamy, divorce, polygamy, have all damaged it. To a lesser extent, abuse in its various forms has also tainted it. But even with all of these challenges, the average marriage in Australia is still around 45 years! And the majority of those who marry in Australia stay married for life. And the vast majority of those do so happily. Marriage is worth defending. The main argument of the Gay Lobby is a logical absurdity. But woe betide anyone who publicly says so. They can expect abusive insults from those who can not tolerate such intolerance.

Andrew Corbett

Friday, 12 November 2010

Has The Devil Retired?

C.S. Lewis famously said that there were two equal and opposite errors regarding the Devil. The first is to think too little of him and the second is to think too much of him. For some Christians who regard the Devil as very active today, fascination with his activity is an obsession. But there are some Christians who consider that the devil was removed from the spiritual landscape in the first century and is therefore not a player in today's spiritual battle.
¶ Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
Rev. 20:1-3
Depending on how you understand Revelation 20, you will either consider that the Devil has been bound and already thrown into a bottomless pit, or is frantically working at opposing God now - knowing that his demise to the bottomless pit is going to happen. There is another way of understanding this passage and therefore the role of the Devil and in a moment I will offer this view (which I consider to be Biblically faithful and experiencially verifiable). During the era of the early Church, the apostles were very aware of the Devil's attempts to withstand them and their mission.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
First Peter 5:8
But the apostles were confident that Christians had nothing to fear from the Devil unless of course they weren't really converted-
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
First John 3:8
"Satan" means 'Adversary'
The Bible introduces the Devil in Genesis 3 who either took the form of or used a snake to deceive Eve and tempt Adam. The Old Testament gives fleeting references to Satan. Most notably, the Old Testament gives its clearest insights into the nature of Satan in the first two chapters of Job where he is seen to be completely under God's authority. He is referred to as the source of David's final public temptation and then finally as the one opposing Joshua the High Priest (in Zechariah 3).
It appears that the Devil was once a glorious angel, perhaps a cherub, or an Arch-AngelBased on passages in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, which both seem to refer to Satan while addressing earthly characters, Satan may well have tried to exalt himself above God. From these passages and Revelation 12, it would appear that the Devil conscripted a third of the angels to his cause. These newly fallen angels became known as "demons". It appears from Scripture and history that whenever and wherever God progressed His redemptive plan that there was demonic activity. Firstly, the Garden of Eden, where God commenced the earthly aspect of His redemptive plan. Then in the life of those who were particularly devoted to God (like, Job, David, Nehemiah, and Joshua the High Priest). Then there was the most demonic activity occurring at the time of the greatest redemptive act: the life - ministry - and death of Jesus Christ. Some one has noted this and continued to observe this phenomena throughout history. For example, when God moved in the early 1500s to reform the Church, several of the Reformers recorded their encounters with Satan and demonic opposition.
An etching of Martin Luther throwing ink at the DevilAlthough Martin Luther's reputation rests largely on his opposition to religious cant and superstition, he was no slouch when it came to these himself. In 1521, he claimed, he had a confrontation with Satan in which he threw an inkstand at the devil while he was staying in Wartburg Castle, where the ink stain is still to be seen on the wall. Or, so it is said.
Luther reported poltergeist experiences. Once he was brought a bag of hazelnuts; after Luther went to bed, the nuts jumped about in the sack and flew into the air. Later, though sleeping in a locked building, the great Protestant reformer heard a sound like a hundred barrels falling down stairs.
Others have noted in this vein that every time the Church has organised itself to surge forward in evangelism and mission there has come unprecedented distractions. For example, around the turn of the twentieth century there were several strategic missions conferences where plans were formulated to take the Gospel into territories previously unreached by the Gospel. Not long after this, World War 1 broke out and these missions plans were postponed. A similar thing happened through the 1930s. In particular, in Germany (a country I have a deep burden for) God was raising up a young man of God to shake the nation with the outrageous claims of Christ. Deitrich Bonhoeffer was regularly speaking to the people of Germany through Deutsche Welle Radio. People were coming to Christ. Then something dramatic happened that set Bonhoeffer's beloved Germany back spiritually: Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. History seems to confirm this redemptive pattern where God stirs and the Enemy opposes. By the way, history also reveals that God always triumphs and that this pattern is also revealed in the following manner: wherever there is demonic activity there is always a divine demonstration of godly power. (Therefore, wherever there is a lot of divine miracles happening there is probably simultaneously a lot of demonic activity occurring as well.)
I am proposing that Satan is bound. Since I've jumped ahead to one ahead of the conclusions I will make, I'll make another one:Satan is utterly defeated. To be "bound" is often thought of asbeing rendered completely inactive. But to be bound actually means to be restricted not necessarily to be rendered inactive. For example, you can be bound by illness (Luke 13:16), or you can bebound by an oath (Acts 23:12), or you can be bound by marriage (1Cor. 7:39). Each of these usages of the word "bound" conveys a sense of restriction not complete inactivity. Claiming that Satan is now bound is a claim the New Testament makes on the basis of Christ's atonement and the ending of the Old Covenant (with its elements being removed in 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem). When Jesus died on the Cross and rose again from the dead, He defeated the Devil once and for all - "but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven" (Rev. 12:8).
¶ Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
Hebrews 2:14
After the end of the Old Covenant Satan's access to heaven was removed. He used to stand before God and accuse God's people. He used to be able to deceive people and nations virtually unimpeded. But now he is bound. Since Christ died and rose again and then ended the Old Covenant the devil has been unable to freely function in the way he did under the Old Covenant. Added to this, since the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh the devil's power to work deceit and destruction has been phenomenally (literally) curbed.
But this should not be understood as saying that there is no devilish activity in the earth today. To be sure, the devil could probably leave mankind to our own evil hearts and the world would be plenty messed up and wicked. Yet we probably need to grasp a greater a appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit through His people in countering evil, deceit, and hatred.

The main weapon of the Devil and his minions is: temptation to sin (see 1Corinthians 7:5 as an example). "Sin is anything", said Susanna Wesley to her son John, "which obscures your sense of God..."
¶ "Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself." 
Susanna Wesley
Most of the temptation we have to deal with is because of our own sin nature. But it is surely a little more than merely coincidence that whenever we make a concerted effort to reach out or go deeper in dedication to God that we are often confronted with temptations (distractions) we had not been, up until then, having to deal with. To a lesser extent it appears that Devil can inflict sickness, sadness, or tragedy. Jesus rebuked the attitude of His critics after He healed a woman whom He described as having been bound by Satan for all these years and Paul the apostle wrote of beingbuffeted by Satan. But there is a good case to be made that much of this Satanic ability ceased after the close of the Old Covenant in 70AD. This would help to explain Paul's statement to the Romans-
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Romans 16:20
Paul wrote to the Corinthians about being aware of the Devil's schemes to bring disunity and friction to a congregation (2Cor. 2:11). Note how often a church congregation makes a decision to reach out and evangelise their community, or call their church to special prayer - and then some fight/problem/crisis/moral failure suddenly prohibits that church from fulfilling its intention? Satan may be de-fanged but it appears that he can use his gums! He can still scheme, tempt, distract, incite, deceive, and lure away. Apparently a lion doesn't actually need teeth to roar!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
First Peter 5:8
None of this may convince you that the Devil and his schemes are still a force to be reckoned with. But it is my hope that my recommendations will be seen as a wise by those on both sides of this debate.
1. The Enemy's main tactic is distraction therefore godly spiritual warfare calls for focus. It takes focus on our personal devotions; focus on guarding the unity of their church by overlooking offences; and focus on reaching out as a faithful witness to those who are not reconciled to God.
2. Church's should make intentional plans to reach out and expect spiritual opposition, therefore godly spiritual warfare calls for submission and cooperation.
3. The Enemy wants us to chase after him therefore godly spiritual warfare requires strong (focused) leadership which unites people in worship of God even in the midst of difficulties. This kind of worship is achieved through beholding the revelation of God in His Word.
4. The Enemy wants us to use his tactics to return fire therefore godly spiritual warfare calls forChrist-like behaviour which is marked by loving kindness and grace. When we are slandered and reviled we return fire by blessing our slanderers, wrote Peter (1Peter 3:9).
The Enemy wants to destroy lives, relationships, marriages, families, churches, and nations. God's response to the Devil's attacks is: His Spirit-filled Church. We need to be ever vigilant to be a united, worshiping, evangelistic, Word-devoted, Spirit-led, passionate church!
Oh God, rekindle our passion for You, Your Glory, and Your Cause. May our hearts pound with Your love for others. Ignite afresh the dreams we once held to make Your Name famous in our generation. Fill our spiritual vison with a picture of what we can achieve for You. Help us to be a church that changes this world by bringing people into Your Kingdom. Give us a deep love for others and help us to care like Christ for their welfare.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Right now in heaven there are those who have laboured for and with Christ who have entered into their eternal reward. Many of these people paid a high price to extend the Church of Jesus Christ. One day we will meet them. In the meantime, they serve as a 'cloud of great witnesses' to what Christ is doing in today's Church. This can be the Church's finest hour and we have a cloud of witnesses cheering us on.
¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
Hebrews 12:1

Has God given you a dream for how your life can make the world a better place?

Jesus Christ cast a vision for a better world and called His Kingdom. His Kingdom was not to be like this world, He tols us. It would be a Kingdom in which those who entered it would become a part of a community of followers called the Church. Jesus now uses the Church to deliver His hope to a hurting, broken world. When followers of Christ assemble to worship and give attention to the Word, the Church becomes a witness of Christ's magnificent saving beauty. Every believer gathered is a statement of enormous significance. Never think that when you come to church you are merely a spectator! You are a witness contributing to the case being presented to the world that Christ is a Saviour worth living and dying for.

No single drip thinks it is responsible for the flood!

It was around 63AD when Hebrews was written. Jewish Christians had grown weary of waiting for the Christ to return and establish His Davidic Throne in Jerusalem. Jewish opponents of Christianity were ridiculing their former religious colleagues as fools for having abandoned the traditions of their fathers and for following this imposter - Jesus. The unnamed writer to the Hebrews urges his readers not to give up. I know you're weary, but stay the course. I know you're being persecuted, but keep trusting Christ as Saviour. I know you've suffered economic hardship, but don't love heart. I know you've lost your passion for souls and the Great Commission, but Christ is interceding for you now to get it back.

For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Hebrews 3:14

Jesus Christ is utterly worthy of your full devotion right now. How does He want to use you to make Him known to the world today? The writer to the Hebrew Christians lays a teaching foundation dealing with the superiority of Christ. In chapter 1, Christ is superior to angels. In Hebrews 2, Christ is superior to any man. In chapter 3, Jesus is superior to Moses. In chapter 4 He is superior to the sabbath. In chapter 5, He is superior to the High Priest. In chapter 6, Jesus is superior to Melchisadek. In Hebrews 7, Christ is superior to the sacrifices - He is the Ultimate Sacrifice. In Hebrews 8, Jesus provided a covenant superior to the Old Covenant. In Hebrews chapter 9, Jesus is superior to the Tabernacle. Therefore-
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-25
Many of the Jewish Christians were just about ready to give up. They had grown weary. Some had even turned their backs on Jesus. Hebrews was written to remind them that Christ was indeed Saviour, Lord, but most especially - Messiah. Hebrews closes with an encouragement to have the kind of faith that persists under trial and adversity (chapter 11), and an admonition to intpret difficulties as God's chastening (Hebrews 12) then finally, a practical application of living for Christ (Hebrews 13).
It is in chapter 12 that Hebrews reminds its readers that we are surrounded by a 'cloud of witnesses'. These witnesses are the ones who have served God in the midst extreme opposition and eventually died faithful. We too are surrounded by 'a cloud of witnesses' - those who have faithfully served Christ and even given their lives in doing so. In the past century the cloud has taken new members. Many great servants of Christ and His church, such as Deitrich Bonhoeffer, have joined this cloud. These people found that in following Christ they began to share in His love for His cause - His Church. Now they are described as heavenly spectators of the Church today.
    ¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
    Oh God, rekindle our passion for You, Your Glory, and Your Cause. May our hearts pound with Your love for others. Ignite afresh the dreams we once held to make Your Name famous in our generation. Fill our spiritual vison with a picture of what we can achieve for You. Help us to be a church that changes this world by bringing people into Your Kingdom. Give us a deep love for others and help us to care like Christ for their welfare. Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Pentecostal Apologetics

By Dr Andrew Corbett
3rd November 2010
Abdu MurrayWhy do some people believe? Every Christian has a story of conversion. For some Christians their story is a journey from atheism to belief in the God of the Bible because of the evidence. For others, like Abdu Murray, their conversion story from Islam to Christianity was based on the credibility of the Bible. Then for those like Sy Rogers, former homosexual and formerly a Gay Rights activist, his conversion to Christianity was based on the love and acceptance he experienced in a Christian community. Many people become Christians for reasons like these, but, by far, the most common reason, at least statisticaly, is some kind of Pentecostal encounter.
Spreading Pentecostal congregations — a quarter of all Christians worldwide — are bumping up against established Christian churches and Islam in Africa, and chipping away at what has long been a virtual Roman Catholic monopoly in Latin America. ... Across the tropics and the south, Christian worship, especially Pentecostalism, has captured hearts and minds in countries where the precariousness of ordinary living — blackouts, robbery, disease, corruption — makes rich and poor alike turn to divine intervention.
The New York Times
Pentecostals easily form the fastest growing segment of Christianity. In some parts of the world such as Africa, India, China and South America, the overwhelming number of conversions to Christianity are within a Pentecostal context. It is estimated by renowned Missiologist, Patrick Johnson, that by 2050 Pentecostals will comprise more than half of all Christians globally...[Read full article]