Thursday, 29 May 2008


For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16
I want to see more of the power of God in our church! I pray that God will manifest His power in healing, deliverance, provision, and refreshing. I long for the spectacular aspects of God's presence to convince the sceptical of their need for a Saviour. If you're interested in reading about the recent history of God's power in Australia, there is a very inspirational book in our foyer called "The C.L. Greenwood Story". While we can all be open for God to do the spectacular and pray for God to manifest His miraculous power, there is an even more powerful manifestation of the power of God that we should be craving....
If you have the luxury of having some advanced Bible software, you could check out the following statement: The New Testament epistles use the expression "the power of God" in quite a different way than how I have described it above.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God..
First Corinthians 1:18
Rather than the power of God being reduced to an emotional experience, it seems that the New Testament authors regarded the power of God as the transforming work of the Holy Spirit wrought by the Word of God. It causes some to wonder whether the apostle Paul would balk at the use of the expression in the way most Pentecostals use it today. This is because the power of God is meant to transform us into the likeness of Christ so that our character is radically changed. If anyone claims to have encountered the power of God and yet they still lie, swear, cheat, slander, gossip, or abuse others - they have not genuinely encountered the transforming power of God. It is quite possible that you could be touched by the power of God so that your heart is filled love for those you were previously cold towards, or, so that you can now encourage those you once despised - yet carry on with the same physical ailment you had prior to your encounter with the power of God. Jesus curiously said that it was better to enter Heaven with one hand or one eye than to be totally whole yet go to Hell. Our eternal destiny is what matters immediately to the power of God, and our satisfaction with Jesus in this life (measured by our Christ-like character- who we are on the inside) is what matters most since this is what we take with us into eternity.
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
Second Corinthians 13:4
WOW! Without the transforming work of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of the Word of God to our souls- "the power of God" - we can't even live the Christian walk. While we pray and crave for the power of God to overcome all that enemy puts in our way, we have the promise of the Bible that the power of God is able to transform us through the preaching, reading, and ministry of God's Word into our lives as the Holy Spirit renews our hearts, minds and souls.

Andrew Corbett

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:2

To say something with only a few words is a very rare ability. To write something in only a few words is less rare thanks to the luxury of re-writing and refining the vocabularly used. This is why the best speakers are often also really good writers (because they've laboured hard as wordsmiths to make their writing concise and persuasive).

Before Ernest Hemingway's tragic end, he had attained literary-legend status within his own lifetime. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He was renowned for being a concise writer. Like G.K. Chesterton before him, he could say a lot with just a few words. This ability was challenged when he was asked if he could write an entire story in just six words!

He did.

When I heard of Hemingway's 6-word story I was struck by its immense simplicity and power. It then got me thinking about Jesus of Nazareth and how little he spoke, and how scant our record of what He spoke actually is. But consider the impact of what we do have. His statements fill our language and most non-Christians probably wouldn't even realise it! "Go the extra mile...Turn the other cheek...Ask and you shall receive..." Jesus spoke with more profound simplicity than even the great Ernest Hemingway.

And the disciples were amazed at his words.
Mark 10:24a

After I heard Hemingway's 6-word story I couldn't shake it from my head for the rest of the day. I pondered it. I admired it. I felt it.

Contrary to Eastern Meditation, where the practitioner is required to empty their mind, Biblical meditation is filling the mind. I had been meditating on Hemingway's 6-word story. The Bible instructs us to meditate on its contents. That is, we should ponder a Bible verse. Memorise a Bible verse. Dwell on a Bible verse. Admire a Bible verse. And feel a Bible verse. This is the essence of Biblical meditation.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8

When Ernest Hemingway was asked to tell a story in just six words, here's how he responded-

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

Wow. Apparently those who first heard it were stunned and some even began to cry. But here's something even more concise and even more moving-

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16


Andrew Corbett

Monday, 12 May 2008


A church is different to any other group of people. It is meant to be a group of spiritually-related people who are co-operative and organised. Just like a football team, a church requires people who perform different functions simultaneously in order to achieve their common goal. In a football team there are those who initially get the ball moving. These are usually the big guys. They can’t run, duck and weave, like the smaller guys, but they sure can jump high and get things moving! Then there’s the smaller guys who get fed the ball by the big guys- boy! they can run! They get the ball to the mid-fielders who know how to jostle with their opponent and get around them to pass the ball to the forwards. It’s the forwards who know how to kick goals. Then there’s the defensive members of the team whose job is to get the ball off the other side and prevent them from kicking goals.

The church is made up of people who are gifted to get things moving. There are others who are able to keep things moving: servant-hearted people who know what “hard work” means. They serve as deacons, ushers, hosts, follow-up counsellors, visitation helpers, cleaners, gardeners, or door-greeters. Then there are those who are like “wingers”. They play near the side boundary with an aim to get the ball into the middle of the field toward their goal. In the church there are evangelists who are like wingers. They roam the boundaries looking for lost souls to bring into the centre of God’s Kingdom. They are bold. They gossip the Gospel. They scheme salvation of souls. They pray for sinners to be converted. They don’t care for the limelight but they long for the light of the Lord to shine in the darkness of people’s minds and souls. When the ball gets near the goal, the player with the ball is often “shepherded” by his team-mates. In the church, we each shepherd each other by protecting each other with prayer, encouragement, and practical provisions. The church that is functioning as a well-organised and co-operative team is more likely to be a growing, healthy church.

Andrew Corbett

Monday, 5 May 2008


The New-Atheists are ticked! Christians are supposed to be obsolete. Instead, Christianity has spread. And despite the posturing of Islam, Christianity is growing faster than any other religion [source]. In Western societies, where many New-Atheists are entrenched in positions of societal influence (the Media, the Academy, the Arts, Commerce, the Judiciary, Government) they are ramping up their attacks on Christianity. This is ironically really good news for western Christianity which has enjoyed nearly three centuries of amazing favour and influence largely free from persecution.

This newest avalanche of persecution is dressed up as rationalism and intellectual superiority- all for the public good. The initial battleground for the New Atheists was the science-lab. The New Atheists felt they were in a safe place. But then Intelligent Design became the worst nightmare of the New Atheists and their scientific arguments. So the battle has now bewilderingly shifted to the library, where theologians and philosophers have been camped. This is great news for western Christianity!

These latest developments remind me of Ghandi's statement- First they ignore us. Then they ridicule us. Then they attack us. Then we win.

One example of the type of New Atheist attack in this battlefield highlights the desperate measures now resorted to. This particular website takes typical (and dare we say- classical) atheist "proof-texts" from the Bible and proceeds to distort their meaning and convince its readers that the God of the Bible, which it pejoratively calls "biblegod", is a mean, cruel, bloodthirsty, hypocritical deity. Its citations are generally those texts which describe God commanding capital punishment under the Old Covenant. These capital punishment proof texts are somehow supposed to prove that God doesn't exist(?).

These kinds of arguments are illogical. But they have the potential to rock the faith of the casual Bible reader. What the average Bible reader may not discern is that the God of the Bible who ordered acts of capital punishment was not being unfair with the guilty- they had willfully slandered His character and defiantly rebelled against his commands. Clearly, the overall presentation of God in the Bible is one of love, compassion, mercy, kindness- but also someone who does not tolerate wickedness, evil, or sin. It is this same God that is spoken of in John 3:16 who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to save the world. These type of arguments from atheists are not new. Marcion expressed them as well.
This particular website concludes with the startling assertion-

"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open."
(Hosea 13:16)
[website reference]

Read Hosea and you will see that this is not a prescription for what God's people should do to Samaritans, but a prophetic description of what would be done to them by invading pagan nations. So in effect, citing this verse by atheists backfires horribly since it highlights the extent of wickedness that people who rebel against God will go to!

The premise of the New Atheists' attack is that "Bible-god" will send people to Hell for not believing right. But this is not the Gospel. The God of the Bible condemns no-one merely for what they believe. People will be condemned to Hell for sinful rebellion- no matter what their religious beliefs. This equally applies to those who "believe" the Bible but live in rebellion to God.

The God of the Bible is not a cruel, maniacal, megalomaniac. He is kind, loving, compassionate and full of mercy. There is no greater demonstration of this than when He became man and lived among us. He suffered more than any other person for doing this. He suffered the greatest humiliation. He was executed justly for claiming to be God while obviously a man. But this He did for us. Some people get it and "see the light". They understand the Gospel because God has opened their spiritual eyes. But another group, which at times seems to be the majority, still choose to rebel and defy their Crucified Maker. The former read the Old Covenant passages of divine capital punishment for rebellion and sense the broken heart of the Great Broken Heart. But like CS Lewis's Uncle Andrew, from the Chronicles of Narnia, all the latter group hear when they read the same passages, is an angry, mangy, lion arrogantly roaring while the children in Narnia hear the most delightful song being sung by a glorious lion.

Andrew Corbett