Friday, 31 August 2012


Legana Christian ChurchIn the last week I have spent time with a few very special visitors who have each asked me how I manage my different roles. I won't bore you with the small list of hats that I have to wear that seem to take up most of my time. Needless to say, I'm not left wondering whether there's anything left to do. For those who have got to know me over the years, they have discovered that I really do care about people and have a general policy that no matter how busy I am, I will always take time to be with people. But tonight I was asked if I ever feel overwhelmed or inadequate?
Second Corithians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I smiled. Yes. There are times when I feel overwhelmed and inadequate. A few years ago I felt the Lord beginning to teach me how to increase my capacity to handle pressure. Not that I'm a rock-star of pressure management now, but there was a time not that long ago when I was a relative pressure-phobe. I began praying that God would radically increase my capacity to handle pressure and get things done - despite obstacles. Shortly afterwards, I learned my first lesson about increasing my capacity to handle pressure.
Second Corinthians 4:8 We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair;
worshipI love pastoring our church. I delight in the pastoral mission of discipleship to which I am called. It involves teaching, preaching, counseling, training, planning, praying, and studying. But it also involves helping people solve problems and deal with some of the difficulties of life in a Biblically guided way. In my experience, the times of the most intense pressure come when there are task deadlines and urgent people needs. Because I seem to increasingly experience this combination of pressure-causers, and I have had a desire to be equal to the task, I had to learn the first lesson of my journey of how to increase my pressure-handling abilities.
Second Corinthians 11:28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
The first thing I had to learn about increasing my ability to handle pressure was that not everybody should. I have seen too many wives carrying emotional, financial, spiritual burdens that they are not designed or meant to handle (while their husbands refused to take up their responsibility of being a their family's burden bearer). I have also seen some assisting pastors take on the role of a senior pastor and not cope because they didn't have the pressure-capacity to handle the responsibilities involved. There is no shame in this. In fact, there is great honour is accepting your strengths and your weaknesses and knowing what your realistic potential is. But I have discovered that God calls some people to greater burdens of servanthood. These servants have greater load-bearing potential. But they nearly all feel overwhelmed and inadequate. Yet at the same time, despite the mounting pressure, there is a desire to fulfil their potential. According to Philippians 2:13, this desire comes from God and is meant to prompt us to pray to God for His help.
Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The second thing I've had to learn about increasing my capacity to handle pressure is to keep first things first. That is, don't let the urgent override the important. Do the important things first. I have found that the basics of Christian discipline, Scripture reading, prayer, fellowship and witnessing are important but rarely urgent.

I could go on about my growing list of Improving Pressure Handling tips, but I would rather conclude by picking up the conversation I began with. Do I feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with the demands of being a husband, dad, pastor of a thriving church, president of a premier distance education Bible College, manager of revitalised radio station, with weekly broadcasting and writing commitments? Yes, at times. If I thought I could continue to hold your interest I would share some of the other tips that I have found helpful to increasing my capacity to handle pressure such as resting well, delegating appropriately, commitment to finish, and so on.

Perhaps you've also found that life has its seasons. There are seasons of intense busyness. There are seasons of welcomed quiet and ease. Maybe one of the best things we might discover in these seasons of life is that pressure often comes from how we are relating to others and that despite the attractive temptation to withdraw from others to try to avoid such pressure, this is actually one of the worst things we can do. The next time you are reading through the Gospels note how often Jesus was under intense pressure and in those moments He knew when to withdraw from people - not to be alone - but to be more particularly with His Father - but take note of how often He was interrupted by someone just when He was at His busiest (and note how He handled it).
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Eastern mysticism seems to have laid exclusive claim to the art of meditating. But the Bible not only encourages God's people to meditate, it contrasts it with what most Eastern religions have presented as meditation.
Joshua 1:8 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.
Meditation helps to calm the soul and still the mind. In Eastern religions, meditation is about clearing the mind to try and achieve this. But Biblical meditation is about filling the mind appropriately. It involves pondering, admiring, considering. It starts with reading the Text. It then involves taking that Text, holding it up to the light, turning it slowly, and looking at it through fresh eyes.
Psalm 1:1-2 ¶ Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Christian meditation doesn't require a new haircut. But it might require being still and quiet for a while. It might mean interacting with the Text prayerfully. It might mean using questions to hold the Text up to the light and more questions to slowly twist the Text like a diamond that shimmers new colours of radiance.
Psa. 77:12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds
Meditating on the Scriptures can have a wonderfully beneficial affect in your soul. It becomes the seedbed of spiritual growth for the Holy Spirit to rain down on and produce a glorious garden of spiritual fruit which can nourish many others. Scripture reading, prayer, and thinking are the first steps to doing what the Bible calls meditating and the reason why some Christians seem to constantly walk in the Spirit and others don't.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 17 August 2012


My husband doesn't see things my wayTinted glasses change the way we see things. Attitude changes the way we hear. And there's something very simple that can change attitude - which can make all the difference in a business, a club, a church, a family, and especially a marriage. But it's so unwell known, it might as well be a secret. Until today.
Phil. 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had
When your attitude changes, your perspective changes. With the right attitude a hopeless situation can look hopeful. With the right attitutde a marriage on the skids can become a marriage to be envied. With the right attitutde a church that is struggling can become a church that is triumphing. 
But how do you change someone's attitude? Answer: by changing yours. And changing your attitude is quite simple.
First Peter 4:1 ¶ So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin,
Changing our attitude begins with our behaviour. If you want a positive attitude you must first behave like a positive person. If you want a hopeful attitude you must behave like a hopeful person. If you want the attitude of an on-fire, Holy Ghost filled, spiritually passionate, loving, thoughtful, fully devoted follower of Christ, then you must begin by behaving like one. 
I just described the type of attitude that I want. As you all know, this means that I've got some behaviour modification required. But I've got a huge advantage - I want this attitude. I don't want to be an insipid, half-hearted, luke-warm, distant follwer of Christ. As the pastor of our church I am increasingly feeling like the most blessed man on the planet. As I see you each Sunday morning in worship, I am encouraged that you also want to be a fully-devoted follower of Christ. As I join in prayer with you at our Sunday night prayer celebration I am stirred and greatly encouraged to hear the passion for God, for the lost, for our church, for our community. As I hear the testimonies of young and old each Sunday night about how God has been so good to them, I find it incredibly easy to be a happy, positive, hopeful pastor. It's my hope that when people come into our church looking for God, answers, hope, and love, that they will find a church that has an attractive attitude shaped by our worship of and devotion to Christ. 
This reminds me of something I heard from two preachers. The first preacher said that he went to a conference where the speaker was utterly terrible. During the first break in conference proceedings he grumpily went to the refreshments complaining under his breath. It was then that he said the Holy Spirit rebuked him about his attitude. He determined to go back into the next session with a renewed attitude. He took his pen and notepad and was ready to take notes of the profound points that the speaker was about to utter. He says that the exercise was made all the more easier because the speaker was vastly different from their first session! In the first session the conference speaker said nothing profound, nothing moving, nothing informative. But in the second session, suddenly the speaker was dopping the most profound insights, moving her audience from tears to laughter, and revealing truths that would change lives forever. The pastor found himself sitting on the edge of his seat eager to soak in all that the conference speaker was sharing. 
The second example occurred recently. A pastor was training younger pastors when he told them that how they sit during the worship service was extremely important. When the senior pastor of the church is speaking, he said, don't sit slumped in your seat - instead, sit on the edge of your seat and look attentively to your pastor. "You'll be amazed how much more interesting he will sound if you sit on the edge of your seat attentively than sitting slumped in the seat!"
So there you have the great untold secret to changing an attitude: sit on the edge of your seat attentively. Apparently it not only changes attitude but what you hear as well.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 10 August 2012


Christianity is known as a 'religion of the book'. Christians used to be referred to as 'people of the book'. That book is the Bible. But is this now an out-dated idea?
Mark 12:10 Have you not read this Scripture... [Jesus Christ]
Christianity is founded on the claim that the Bible is the uniquely inspired Word of God to mankind. The message of the Bible is that God created everything which He culminated in the creation of a man and a woman (Creation). But this man and woman rebelled against their Creator and tainted human race with sin (Fall). God showed mankind the demands of justice because of that Fall (Law). God sent a Redeemer to atone for mankind's sin (Cross). Christ conquered death and rose from the dead (Resurrection). On the last Day He will separate "sheep" (followers of the Shepherd) from "goats" (idolaters) as all people, living and the raised dead appear before His throne (Judgment). Those in Christ will enjoy full satisfaction for eternity whereas those outside of Christ will receive their due for eternity (Eternal destiny).
Matthew 22:29 ¶ But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God."
The Bible Verified
The Bible is uniquely inspired by God. As you read it, it washes you (Ephesians 5:26). As you study it, it nourishes you (Matthew 4:4). As you ponder it patiently it, it satisfies you (Psalm 1). God has provided no other means for these much-longed for blessings.
Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
The Bible claims to be true. It is not true merely because we believe it to be true. That is not what makes something true. Some people doubt the Bible and feel that they need more faith to believe the Bible. The solution to doubt is not more faith, but the truth! Truth dispels doubt. The Bible is true (John 17) and can be verified by the four tests of truth.

The Bible's truthfulness can be tested
Are you washing daily? Are you nourishing your soul? Has your search for satisfaction been quenched by the ponderous riches of God's Sacred Word? Even if you only make reading Paul's Epistles before the end of the year your Scripture reading your goal you will benefit greatly. But a necessary warning: As you read the Bible you will encounter a completely different set of values to those of the world - of whom the Bible says that they, "hate the light" (John 3:20). Thus, you may find yourself shocked by the startling demands of Scripture to be 'other-worldly' rather than 'worldy'. But sometimes we need to be 'shocked' and 'startled' to get our hearts back into rhythm with our divine Life-Giver.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Same-Sex Marriage A "Civil Right"?

Why Racial Discrimination Is Unique
by Dr. Andrew Corbett 6th August 2012
Those supportive of a "Gay" lifestyle like to argue that their case is the same kind of unfair discrimination experienced by African Americans up until the 1960s. By doing this, they make their case sound 'obviously' unfair. It's worth noting that this has outraged many in the Black community who can immediately and clearly see that there is just no comparison between the two issues.
Racial discrimination is insidious! It demeans a human being on the basis of their ethnicity, skin colour, or even nationality by considering them less than human. Demeaning another human as being less than human - on the basis of gender, race, status, professional, ability, is intolerable! Christians were at the forefront of confronting this in England during the campaign of William Wilberforce M.P., and the American Civil Rights Movement of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. But for the LGBT (Lesbian / Gay / Bi-Sexual / Trans-gendered) activists to claim that their campaign is exactly same "human rights" "discrimination" violation as that which the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King was involved in confronting is going too far and has caused many to realise that the LGBT's campaign for "sexual-anarchy" has nothing to do with the Civil Rights movement.
Rev William Owens"The hijacking of the civil rights movement by homosexuals, bisexuals and gender-confused people is unacceptable. There is no legitimate comparison between skin color and sexual behavior"
- Rev. William Owens, C.A.A.P. (The Coalition of African-American Pastors) [Source]

1. Being treated unfairly as a human being because of your skin colour has to do with what it means to be human.
Human rights begins with the right to be... [Read full article]

Friday, 3 August 2012


To the Christian, 'spirituality' means developing our relationship with God so that we are aware of His presence, hearing His voice, corresponding to His Word, increasing humility, exercising our spiritual gifts, and representing Christ attractively. Most of us develop these traits through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, meditation, and Bible reading. For too long, when it has come to developing our spiritual strength, we have generally ignored some very practical measures that remind me of the story of the "magic nail."
First Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
Tramp with a magic nailThe story goes that a travelling vagabond stumbled across a nail in his travels. He pocketed it. As he traipsed into the next town his hunger drove him to knock on a door about lunch time. Opening the door to the vagabond was a woman about to prepare soup for her lunch. The stranger offered her a "magic nail" which would transform any ordinary soup into the most delicious broth imaginable. Somewhat sceptically, the woman allows the man into her kitchen with his magic nail. He once again assures the suspicious woman of the nail's magical power. He places the nail into the water which had started to boil. "You know", he said, "just a few slices of carots really enhances the magic of this nail." As the carots were added he remarked that while the magic nail was clearly doing its magic, the magic would be stronger if he could add some diced onions. After using the same reasoning for adding beef stock, barley, celery, tomatoes, parsnip, mixed herbs, spices, and some salt, the "magic" soup was ready. The woman dished up two servings of the aromatic soup and agreed that the nail had indeed worked its magic!

Thus, when I use the expression "magic nail spirituality" I hope to demonstrate that we can deepen our Christian spirituality by adding certain natural ingredients. The reason for this is that we are a body-spirit composite. That is, God has not merely designed us as spirits with a body. Rather, we have been created in the image of God as a soulcomprised of a body and a spirit. What happens to your spirit affects your body, and vice-versa. For those not used to thinking abour our spirituality like this, the following is going to sound positively unspiritual. But I lay down the challenge for people to put these "magic nails" to the test.

When God created Adam, He would come down in the cool of the day and walk with Adam. More than this, God created Adam to work. We are designed by God for physical activity. Research shows that simply exercising for at least 30 minutes has a direct and beneficial impact on our mental health. The Apostle Paul had more than enough reasons to be depressed - but he was possibly prevented from it due to the enormous physical exercise he undertook in travelling to various outposts of his ministry.

I was fairly sceptical about the impact of diet until we had Ruby. After months of night traumas, uncontrollable sleep fitting, sudden mood swings, we were introduced to the role that diet plays. Through this process we learned that our little Ruby was a super-coeliac - unable to process wheat, soy, corn, gluten, grapes. When we eleminated these things from her diet we suddenly had a totally new and transformed daughter!
Prov. 23:3 And don't stuff yourself;
bridle your appetite
There are certain things, such as alcohol, which have a bearing on our mental and spiritual health. I'm not even referring to the obvious dietary abuses, such as gluttony, which the Scriptures clearly prohibit. But for those battling with their physical energy levels and coincidentally their relationship with God, you may discover that a change of diet could lead to a very noticeable improvement.

We are learning more about the health benefits of sleep. A lack of sleep, or even irregular sleep patterns, can have a similar affect on a person as being over a blood-alcohol limit can have. We are designed by God to sleep. When we have not had enough sleep, we are grumpy and irritable. When we are well-rested we are calmer, less prone to depression, and more likely to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5.
Psalm 127:2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Don't feel guilty about having naps! It seems that sleep is its most beneficial when it is regular and consistent. If taking an afternoon nap interrupts your nightly sleep pattern, then perhaps you need to find a balance. I certainly know that I have benefitted from taking "power-naps" (to use the manly expression, women refer to these as "nana-naps"). Of course, you shift-workers are amazing how you remain sane with your rotating sleep patterns! But regular, sufficient sleep patterns seems to have a profoundly beneficial affect to our spiritual lives.

We've never lived at a time where being "connected" was more possible. Yet we've never lived at a time when being lonely was more prevalent! The problem with becoming socially disconnected is that it distorts your view of other people. Having what should be key relationships in your life not functioning well leads you to become socially passive. This results in complaining that no-one cares about you, or that no-one reaches out to you, or that others don't follow through on conversations you've had with them. Being isolated is not how we are designed to live. This is why God has designed believers to be connected into a church community. 

But the socially isolated believer adopts a "consumer" mentality and sees the church as there to minister to them. They become judgmental of others in the church who never initiate fellowship with them. They even judged the value of a church community by how well the pastor ministers to their social needs! Over and over again we have seen hurting people fail to recognise the help and healing that God is providing them through the Body because they can not recognise they have a distorted view of what connecting in fellowship should look like.
The antedote to social disconnectedness is taking the initiative to give away what you want (time with others and showing an interest in them) and changing your "consumer" mentality to a "contributer" mentality. Contributers look primarily to the Lord for their acceptance, approval and affirmation. Contributers seek to be a vessel of God's love to others ("agape" love) without demanding anything in return.
Proverbs 11:24-25 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
We are designed to be interested. God has made us curious. This is why we all develop hobbies. I once asked a very stressed minister who was on the verge of burn-out what his hobbies were. He told that he really enjoyed wood-working. I asked him when was the last time he did some wood-working? He replied that it had been over two years ago. It may not surprise you that, sadly, he did indeed burn-out - and in process blamed God for not taking care of him!

Someone recently described the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life as "very boring" because it involves the Spirit leading believers to eat well, rest well, mix well, play well. Boring? Perhaps. But failing to heed the Spirit's summons to both pray and play, read and rest, meditate and mix (socially) but lead to experiencing the fullness of spiritual dryness or physical burn-out. And if our spiritual options are either boring or burn-out - where boring keeps me physically able to be a better spiritual person, I'll take boring anyday. The magic-nail of vibrant spirituality may well be boring but such boring people end up making the most delicious spiritual soup you'll ever taste.
Psa. 34:8 ¶ Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Ps. Andrew

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Devoting Through Revelation

How The Book of Revelation Can Deepen our Devotion To God
Written by Dr Andrew Corbett, President of ICI Theological College Australia, and author of the popular commentary on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible, August 1st 2012
The Book of Revelation as a Devotional
Recently I completed a project for the Bible Society where I wrote a 30 Day Devotional on the Book of Revelation. (This project will be published daily online through October 2012.) If I was to write "Day 31" it would probably sound familiar to this...
"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass."
Revelation 21:21
I have spent the past decade or so writing about the fascinating details of the Book of Revelation. In my eBook, I have given an explanation of the broad message of Revelation which has prompted thousands of readers around the world to write to me with expressions of gratitude. I have laboured the precise manner in which the prophecies within the Book have been fulfilled and why this gives us the confidence that the remaining prophecies will similarly be fulfilled just as precisely. But not until recently have turned my attention to treating the Book of Revelation as a source of deepening spiritual devotion to Christ.

My extreme hesitancy with embarking on this course has been spurred by my desire to ground my treatment of the Apocalypse in rigorous exegesis rather than merely dismissing it (in the way many do) and resort to reducing it merely to a Biblically disconnected allegory. Any Biblical devotional must be true to the intent of the Sacred writ. One of the errors of the Ante-Nicene Church was their tendency to allegorise the Scriptures rather than exegete the Scriptures. To allegorise a text is to give meaning to words and elements within a story that almost certainly was not intended by the author.

Book of RevelationMany Biblical devotionals do not start with exegeting a text. This is sometimes justified with the fanciful notion that a Biblical passage can legitimately have multiple interpretations. But it is generally acknowledged in the field of Hermeneutics that one of the guiding principles is that the Bible has one intended meaning (which is the goal of interpretation) and multiple applications (which is the goal of devotionalism).

Of all the devotional commentators of the Bible, Matthew Henry is probably the most renowned. He wrote a devotional commentary on nearly every book of the Bible. What makes Matthew Henry's comments so valuable is that he had a better than average exegetical understanding of the text he was sharing his devotional thoughts on. The other value of his commentary is that it reveals how the Puritans approached the Text in the light of Papal apostasies. This is particularly apparent with his comments about the Book of Revelation. For example, his comments on Revelation 17 (which describes the "Harlot of Babylon") contains references to "Papal Rome" and "the Papacy". Matthew Henry the Exegete knew better than this, but Matthew Henry the Puritan Presbyterian Pastor was committed to the established idea that the Bible prophetically warned of the looming evils of the Papacy. (I explain in my eBook how Revelation 17 should be best interpretted exegetically.)
having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Rev. 21:11
The ApocalypseThus, when I wrote my Devotional on the Book of Revelation, I was not attempting to say this means... but rather: from this text we... By starting with exegesis we have a greater likelihood of capturing the intended applicationof a text - and it strikes me that the Book of Revelation was intended to have some very obvious applications. This method of drawing out a devotional application from a Biblical text is precisely what Pastoral Preachers dedicate their pulpits to. Our job as pastors is not merely to inform (explain what the text says), it is also to illumine (bring to light details not immediately obvious) and inspire (move hearers to apply the text to their walk with Christ through life)...[more]