Friday, 29 June 2012


Could you memorise 32 words? Which verses of the Bible should I memorise? I'm thrilled that you're asking. There are some verses that every believer probably should memorise. It is a spiritual discipline that can renew a mind, give hope in times of despair, and provide wisdom when a decision is demanded. And it would be remiss of me if I forgot to mention that memorising the right Bible verses could have dramatic benefits for your health - especially your mental health. I want to recommend memorising 32 of the most powerful words humanity has ever marvelled over.
Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
By pondering a verse or two of Scripture, not only have individuals had their destinies changed, but quite literally the entire course of human history has been dramatically changed. Names such as Martin Luther and John Wesley readily illustrate this point - and both we gripped by the memory verse that I am about propose. John Newton was so struck by it that he wrote a classic hymn about it and called it "amazing". Phillip Yancey in recent times has written a best-selling book exploring it, WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE? Perhaps God might captivate you with a higher vision of His granduer and plan so that you too become an agent of history making?

The Bible verse that I would most and immediately recommend to any believer for memorising is actually two verses. These particular verses are the hallmark statement of why Christianity is unique among the world religions. They have inspired songs, countless books, sermons, and even churches.

After marvelling how particular verses had gripped historically significant characters down through the ages, F.W. Boreham wrote a book some of these people and the verse of Scripture which had changed history. This book became one of five books in the "Texts that changed history" series and went on to ultimately be read by millions. I wonder if the 32 words I am going to commend will help produce another world leading history-maker? Quite frankly, I am far less concerned about this almost certain possiblity than I am about wondering whether a struggling believer who might be reading this receives an epiphany that will free and deliver them from guilt and shame and escort them into a new world of freedom and approval.
2Tim 1:9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began
We now live in age when people rarely ponder. We rarely consider. We live in an age when more books are being sold than at any time in history yet fewer books than ever before are actualy being read. We want our information in 10sec sound-bites even though a well-grounded argument about an important matter generally takes at least 45 - 60 minutes to present. The joy of reading has been replaced by the numbness of glistening images at 24 frames a second. But if a person would read, ponder, consider the 32 biblical words I will rcommend they may see why these two verses have inspired such magnificent stories such as Les Miserables.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith -
and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God,
not a result of works
so that no one may boast.
Can a person lose their salvation? These verses answer that question. Since a person does nothing to be saved, they can nothing to lose their salvation because their salvation was never based on what they did or didn't do. Rather, salvation is the result of God's grace. Grace alone - solo gracia. But what if a person doesn't have enough faith to receive this grace from God? These verses address that question as well. It is the grace of God that gifts the faith needed to be saved. Even the faith required to receive salvation is a gift from God.

Too few understand this. They find it amazing. Some find it unbelievable. But if we ponder the 32 words of Ephesians 2:8-9 we might begin to pour our lives into an expression of Ephesians 2:10 - and if we do, we and our world will never be the same again!
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 22 June 2012


The other night I was watching a documentary about a British Neurosurgeon, Prof. Henry Marsh, who has been volunteering his services in the Ukraine a few weeks each year for the past 15 years. The facilities in the former soviet block nation were scant. The British Professor was used to working with a large team of highly trained staff and utilizing state-of-art technology and equipment to perform his surgical procedures on people's brains. Yet in the Ukraine he had to make do with whatever was available. This meant a quick trip down to the street market to buy a 12volt cordless drill to drill into people's skulls.

After using all this fairly crude equipment, Prof. Henry Marsh reflected that back in London he used £40,000 worth of disposables each year to do the same types of operations. This got me thinking about how complicated and even, dare I say it, sophisticated we make some things. I remember seeing a movie that featured a lady wanting to learn how to play better golf. She went to the club pro with all her golfing gadget accessories and announced that she was ready to learn how to play better golf. She had gadgets strapped to various parts of her body (including her head) and looked like Inspector Gadget's younger sister. The first thing the golf pro said to her was that she had forgotten that golf was about hitting a ball - not all the gadgets. Sometimes I wonder whether some believers may have forgotten that following Christ is about following Christ?
1Chr. 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
We should follow Christ daily, not merely once a week or once a month. It's quite simple. Start your day by seeking Him.
Seek Him in prayer. Seek Him in His Word. You don't gadgets to do this. All you really need to bring is your open heart.
Psa. 105:4 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
"God, I need You." It's a simple prayer. It's a seeking prayer. It's not a complicated list of conditions that God must first meet before you'll truly trust Him. It's not a shopping list of wants. It's almost as simple as the other prayer I pray to God even more: "Help."
Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
When we gather together Sunday, it is in response to a simple summons from our Lord - "do not neglect to gather together" (Hebrews 10:25). As we gather together this Sunday, it is for the simple purpose of worshiping God through singing, Communion, Offering, attention to the Word, and fellowship. When we broadcast what we do this Sunday it is for the simple reason of declaring to the world that God is great and exclusively worthy to be praised. For us in Tasmania, we face a simple challenge while we do these things. Based on the ABS Census figures which have just been released, while nationally 62% of Australian profess Christianity as their religion (down slightly from 64% on the previous figures), here in Tasmania we are faced with only 21.5% people professing belief in God (let alone Christianity)! Our God deserves better representation here. It's simple really.

Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Secret Place

Following Jesus brings you into a community of other believers. These other believers become your spiritual family. You can pick your friends - but not your family. And following Jesus also brings into a secret place - where only you can go - it is the one place where you'll never be alone or lonely.
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Strangley, you can actually only join the community of the faithful if your soul is alone with Christ in the Secret Place. Some people enter the community of believers and are ever lonely. They have not discovered the Secret Place.

The Secret Place is not a physical or even geographical place. It is a time. It is a condition of the mind and heart whereby the believer draws quietly into the presence of Christ. Most who have learned to do this have found that opening the Word of God with eyes of prayer actually opens their ears and their heart.
Psa. 27:8 You have said, "Seek my face."
My heart says to you,
"Your face, LORD, do I seek.
Have you found your Secret Place? Life in Christ can only be done in community - but you can only truly be in the community of the faithful if you are faithfully in the Secret Place.
Matthew 6:6 THE MESSAGE ¶ "Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
In the Secret Place we can be truly transparent. Our Father sees our secrets, hears our secret cries and often answers in secret. I have a Secret Place. It starts when I rise. I take my Bible (I now use my iPad). I go to a secluded place. I meet with God as I hear from Him through His Word. I appeal to Him for help, guidance, wisdom, courage, strength and clear hearing. I can't tell you the rest of what I talk with God about because it's a secret. And the beauty of meeting with God in the Secret Place is that I can go there anytime and stay for a moment, stay, or slip in and out when I need to be still enough to handle the busyness and pressure of a not-so-secret hectic world.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Is Jesus sweet to your soul? For some, Jesus is like a dusty old piece of flint from history. But take a closer look at this dusty rock. Put it to your mouth. You might be surprised.
Deut. 32:13 He made him ride on the high places of the land,
and he ate the produce of the field,
and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
and oil out of the flinty rock.
In the Old Testament, Jesus is sometimes foreshadowed as a rock. A dry, dusty, almost dirty, rock. But a rock that tastes like honey. A rock, when handled, will moisturise dry skin.  A rock that delivers water to the parched and thirsty.

Just like the effort to acquire honey, sometimes the journey to discovering the sweetness of Christ requires a little effort. It takes effort to pick up a rock, counter-intuitively hold it to your mouth and begin to suck or drink from it.

You might know Jesus as your Saviour and have left it at that. But there is more to Jesus. He is far more than merely a ticket to heaven. He is sweet. He is refreshing. He is renewing. The closest apostle to Him during His passion, was John. John knew Jesus. But on the island of Patmos discovered fresh honey. He tasted a Jesus who satisfied his soul with the sweetest music as He spoke, satisfied his mind as He revealed, satisfied his vision with His majestic beauty, and comforted his heart as He decreed that He was Lord in the midst of the rampant onslaught against the Church.
Rev. 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
Have you tasted this honey? Is Jesus sweet to your soul? The would-be apostle Saul tasted this honey. He was an intellectual giant who found Christ to be richer and sweeter than his mind could digest. He found the only way to process this sweetness was to open his heart and drink deeply. Christ thoroughly satisfied his soul. Yet he knew there was more to taste of Christ. Even after twenty years as a seasoned apostle who experienced the Lord use him to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, it was not this that he considered the sweetness of Christ.
Phil. 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
In fact, the honey-tasting apostle considered miracles, healings, deliverances, as "rubbish" compared to knowing the honey of Christ. You can taste this honey today. Your vision of Christ can become majestically sweet and deeply satisfying for your soul. Don't just gloss over your time with Christ today as if He was a pet rock on your mantle-piece. Take time to dwell with the Christ Who is within you. Drink deeply from this honey-giving Rock. Savour His sweetness. Make prayer your honey-stick. Discover the Jesus who is your Saviour - but He is far more - He is the Sole Satisfaction of your soul.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A Gay Gospel?


The "Gay Gospel" claim from a website dedicated to justifying this
The Children Are Free, a book attempting to show that homosexuality and Christianity are compatibleI was recently asked for my opinion on an article appearing on a website promoting the compatibility of homosexuality wih Christianity. The article is apparently an extract from a book by (Rev.) Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley called, "The Children Are Free".

It's very sad that some are seeking to twist Scripture to force it to say something that not only did not intend to say, but is actually making the exact opposite point. The Apostle Paul refers to this in Romans 1 where he says that some in wilful sin "became futile in their thinking" and in Galatians 1:7 that some of these people have deliberately "distorted" the Gospel. The linked article is a gross example of this. Before giving a direct response, two important points need to be made. The first is about the nature of God and how we reflect that nature. The second is how we read Scripture and how we convey that Scripture.


God is a kind, gracious, forgiving God. He is merciful and kind. And He is holy and just. He asserts His rights over us as our Creator who has not only made us, but has optimally designed us. We know however, that although we have been optimally designed, we have been partakers in the rebellion of Adam which has left us corrupted, marred, and depraved by sin. The Apostle wrote in Romans 1:21 that because of our fallen nature, our minds have been "darkened" and made "futile" ('foolish'). For those of us whom God has saved, we have been granted a new heart, a new mind, and a new nature. There is nothing that we have done to earn this - therefore, none of us can boast that we are any better than those who have not yet received Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). Knowing this, and appreciating God's nature, we are obliged to present God to our world in a way that best reflects this with a demeanour of humility. Sadly, Christians have not always been the best at presenting Christianity, especially to those in obvious sin. This particularly applies to how we interact with those people who identify themselves as homosexual....[read full article]