Monday, 25 March 2013


Most people’s pain is obvious. Their cast, their bruise, their bleeding, or their scar tell a story. But there is a pain, a deep pain, which is not obvious. It is often masked by a happy face and a funny disposition. This pain can not be drugged, counselled, or washed away. The first Easter was about an extraordinary man who felt the combination of infinite physical and inner pain and triumphed over it. 

Christ’s physical pain was obvious during the Passion of the first Easter. Coinciding with his intolerable physical pain was the infinitely deep pain of his soul which was not obvious. We all experience a fraction of an eye-dropper drip of this same soul pain. This is guilt.

There’s actually a lot of things not obvious about the first Easter. Our deepest pain being healed because Jesus who took the accumulation of human guilt and shame upon himself to suffer as our substitute is not obvious when most people regard Easter being about chocolate eggs. Today, the Person behind Easter can do for your unseen pain what no pill, bottle or couch could ever do, even though this may not be obvious. 

Andrew Corbett
[200 words]

Thursday, 21 March 2013


Despite the many paperback books to the contrary, the Bible points its readers to God, not the Devil. Similarly, the Scriptures reveal who God is, what He has done, why we are not naturally at peace with Him, and how we can be. Yet, it does give us some profound insights regarding the spiritual war we are engaged in and how we are to fight.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
First Peter 5:8


Waiting roomThe Bible reveals that there is an instrument of evil and wickedness in the world who is determined to thwart God's goodness and redemptive plan. He does by deceiving people. In fact, Jesus called him the "Father of all lies" (John 8:44). He is introduced in Genesis 3 as the original liar. He is heard lying in wilderness that he can offer the Christ all the kingdoms of this world (Matt. 4). He is seen at the last supper whispering in Judas's ear that his mission to betray Jesus was a noble cause (Matt. 26). Paul states plainly that often Satan appears as "an angel of light" (2Cor. 11:14).
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Second Corinthians 11:14
The Devil is metaphorically described in Scripture as a serpent, dragon, a wolf and like a lion. These metaphors have teeth. They paint the devil as dangerous and untrustworthy. In John 10 describes the devil as a wolf who looks for the straggling sheep - particularly the lambs. The Shepherd goes out of his way to safeguard the lambs from the Devil's wolf-like attacks. To do this, he secures the sheep in the fold and goes out to seek for the straggling lamb before the wolf ravages them. The shepherd knows that when the sheep gather under his protective and caring gaze they are safe. Each sheep remembers from their lambhood that the shepherd's crook has two ends to it - the hooked end to rescue from pitfalls, and the straight end to give a love-tap on their hind legs to warn them off straying. It is the Devil's scheme to separate sheep from their flock.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
John 10:12
waiting roomThe allurement of the Devil's lies seems both believable and attractive to those sheep who make themselves vulnerable. Perhaps you know this? Our spiritual fervour and passion for the Lord is intensified or diminished by how much we are in the flock in a similar way to how close or far away a burning ember in a fire-place is to the main fire. Satan looks to lure the Word-deprived person away from the protective care of the shepherd and the safety of the assembled community of the flock.
And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
Mark 4:15
Are you alone a lot? Do you benefit from regular healthy physical touch? Do you have time on your hands? Have you been offended and not offered heartfelt forgiveness? You may then be more vulnerable to devilsh ploys to bring you down than oterwise. We are, as the seasoned apostle wrote, not ignorant of Satan's schemes (designs, ploys, manoeveurs, strategies), as he told the Corinthians (2Cor. 2:11). If we fail to appropriately manage our space, time, and connections, we could be giving the Devil increased opportunities to snare us. Alarmingly, it is possible for the believer to position themselves into spiritual peril which is why the Apostle Paul told the Ephesian belivers, "and give no opportunity to the devil." (Eph. 4:27)


The apostle goes on to tell the Ephesian believers how to become spiritually invincible to the Devil. In chapter 6 of his epistle he describes the believer in military armour. We can easily see that God's means of sustaining and protective grace is to be found in His Word, in prayer, in acts of service, and worship - but most particularly in our church family. Of all the armour that Paul describes, he leaves the believer's back bare! But the astute reader will note that the entire epistle has been about the community of the church. The reason each believer's back is bare is because another believer has their back! This is why we pray fervently for each other - especially for our brothers and sisters in the heat of the battle-front. Individually, the believer may find God's grace in the Word and Prayer, but it is in the community of the church's fellowship that the believer discovers the riches of God's various forms of grace which strengthens them, encourages them, nourishes them, and grows them.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
1Pet. 4:10
When God's people come together to fulfil the seven purposes of the Church, they receive God's grace in its varying forms. It is immersed in this grace that they become spiritually invincible because they are able to put on the helmet of salvation, take up the shield of faith with which to quench the fiery darts of the Devil, wield the sword of the Spirit, protect their hearts with the breastplate of righteousness, belt up with the truth and boot up with the Gospel. This armoury allows them to live lives which testify to the greatness of God in Christ who shed His blood for them to enable them to overcome the Devil. It is my prayer that we too are fully armed and armoured with the grace of God in this day of spiritual battle. I also pray that when we experience the Enemy's schemes we will remain focussed on God and draw strength from His means of grace for us.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Revelation 12:11

Thursday, 14 March 2013


For all of the inconvenience of a waiting room, it is perhaps the surest place of hope anywhere in the world! For a person who is in pain, discomfort, or illness has a reason to be dispondent unless they are in a waiting room. The same person is empowered to endure their trials simply because they know that soon they will be tended to. Waiting rooms give their guests hope. But not everyone in a waiting room is in discomfort. I spoke with someone this week who said they had a doctor's appointment. "It's just my annual check-up" they told me. Waiting rooms lead to reassurance and even accountability. And for those who've ever been in a waiting room without bringing your own reading material, waiting rooms become a fount of amazing information sourced from obscure magazines that not only does no-one buy, no-one bothers to steal from a waiting room either (did you know that Tarantual wasps paralyze tarantulas and lay a single egg on the still living spider; when the egg hatches, the wasp larva has fresh food?). Maybe it's time to celebrate the wonders of the waiting room...
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14


Waiting roomMost people equate waiting time as wasting time. Our instant-expectations fuelled by instant messaging, fast food, microwaves, and 2-Minute noodles, have done much to distort how we regard time. There is, however, great unsung value to be gained by time in a waiting room. It is here that we are forced to cease, slow down, and somewhat: rest. In our Western experiment, we generally take it for granted that we can see a health professional in a reasonable space of time. This is not a luxury shared by the vast majority of the world. We think nothing of "catching the 'flu" in our Western world, butcatching the 'flu is actually fatal in most other parts of the world! Therefore, waiting rooms are a symbol of extravagent privilege. It is a privilege to wait in hope. God sometimes invites us into His grace but not before we have to wait. God's waiting rooms are statements that He is dispensing hope (Psa. 130:5 ¶ I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope). Are you waiting for God at the moment? (Rom. 8:25)
¶ Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 37:7
Waiting sounds like "do nothing". Ask a waiter what waiting means. It's doubtful that she would say that waiting is doing nothing! Waiting can mean waiting on in the sense of serving. This is definitely what a waiter knows it means! And it seems to be this sense that Scripture calls us to wait on the Lord.
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.,
Isaiah 40:31
waiting roomWhen you're in God's waiting room, it can be a time of surprise learning (who would have guessed that Tarantual wasps were so interesting?...sorry I've digressed). It's in God's waiting room that we learn things that we wouldn't be choice seek to learn. If you are in a waiting room season now, what is God teaching you - or more aptly: what are you learning in God's waiting room now?
Then you will know that I am the LORD;
those who wait for me shall not be put to shame."
Isaiah 49:23b 
If you're in a waiting room, it means two simultaneous things: you recognise you have (or might have) a problem and secondly you have an appointment with the One who can solve that problem. This is why waiting rooms are hope-zones! And here's the wonderful news about our access to God's waiting room. The believer can come into God's waiting room with the need to phone ahead, get an appointment, or even a referal. You are invited to before God anytime!
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16
Ps. Andrew

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Jesse Owens

In 1936 Hitler purposed to show the world the supremacy of the Arian Race. Jesse Owens, an African American upset Hitler's plans by winning Olympic gold. What is not so well known about Owens, is that he was a devout Christian who was committed to his local church from his earliest years - so much so that he walked 9 miles to attend it, and then walked 9 miles back home -- twice a Sunday! That's a total of around 60kms in a day, each week.

Friday, 8 March 2013


Jesus Christ was the toughest man who's ever lived. He was a tough leader. He had a tough assignment. He chose tough disciples. He spoke tough things. He was tough on those who considered themselves 'religious'. And judging by the thousands that rejected and abandoned Him in His final months before He returned to Heaven, He was a tough guy to listen to and follow. But if you only have a Chuck Norris' definition of "tough" (where, 'tough'='rough') you are never going to understand the toughness which Jesus modelled and expects of His followers. What's more, we live in a period of phenomenal ease and comfort, where being tough is simply not necessary. This makes toughness seem foreign - and dare I say it, "unChristian"! Perhaps it's time to re-examine Christ and His call to follow and discover why one of the most needs for today's Church is to toughen up!
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
2Tim 2:12


The toughness that Christ exhibited was an expression of deep love. Christ's toughness is not like the world's toughness. In the world, the tough guy is the bad guy who's mean. But Christ's toughness is courageous endurance in the face of adversity and opposition. To be 'tough' in the worldly sense almost implies that you are rude and inconsiderate. But tough in Christ's sense is: the courage to be kindgentle and considerate while standing your ground.
¶ Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
First Corinthian 16:13


The first step in toughening up is to make sure you understand who your audience is. If your audience is the world, you'll always be soft and weak. If your audience is God, you'll soon toughen up.
not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
Eph. 6:6
¶ Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant.
Gal. 1:10
The Father was Christ's audience. This is why Jesus could say what He did and do what He did - because even though it was offensive to human ears and eyes, it was not their approval Christ sought. If you live to please people, or win people's praise, you need to toughen up! If the opinions of others determines whether you obey God or not, you are soft and weak. This might sound harsh, but consider the words of Christ in this light and you'll soon realise why it was that so many were offended by Him and then offended by His servants.
¶ "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Matt. 6:5
You have to be tough not to go along with the crowd. If you know that you're not as tough as you should be, ask the Father for help. Pray that God will change your heart from being a people-pleaser to being a God-pleaser.
¶ Many among His disciples heard this and said, "This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow."
John 6:60


Ease, comfort, affluence, and political favour tend to make Christ-followers soft. It's difficult to be tough when you don't think you need to be! Put another way, it's tough to be tough when life is easy. Ease lulls the tough into softness. I don't think I'm advocating for hard times, but tough times produce tough people. If your times are tough right now you can be sure that Godis toughening you up to be more than a conqueror.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
¶ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37
Times are going to get tougher for those who want their commitment to Christ to inform how they live and contribute to society. Unless. 
  - Unless we make some tough choices to put Christ first.
  - Unless our Christ-of-Nazareth-following men man-up and get tough and show their wives what it means to be a genuinely responsible and tough, and their children what it means to be tender and tough.
  - Unless our Church leaders get tough and take up the mantle of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and take their place "in the gate" (note Psalm 127:5 and Jeremiah 7:2) and speak up and out for the welfare of the vulnerable and the glory of God.
If you want some inspiration to be tough, try some biographies of great Christ-followers. Get acquainted with William Carey. Invite John Foxe to tell you his stories (Koorong can introduce you to him and his stories for just $6.99). Read Dr. F.W. Boreham's A BUNCH OF EVERLASTINGS. If you take my advice and then tell me that you found these to be tough reads, don't be surprised at the almost tender look I give you. If you hear me get tough and plead for some tough Christ-followers to write some tough letters and submissions to our State Government in order to protect the elderly, frail, and pre-born, then simply ponder that time and eternity changing word: "unless".
You keep me going when times are tough—
my bedrock, GOD, since my childhood. 

Psalm 71:5 THE MESSAGE

Friday, 1 March 2013


You will worship. You can't not worship. And those who discover the incomparable joy of worshiping the only One we were created and authorised to worship, also discover something else. Those who worship undeserved objects of their devotion can never make this same joyous discovery. While Who is worshiped is the single biggest difference between Christianity and any other 'religion', and what happens to the worshiper is the joyous discovery for the Christ-adorer, it is how this ongoing transformation happens that makes supernatural Christianity utterly unique.
For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit."
Romans 8:5
Those who are now children of God (as distinct from those Jesus Christ described as "sons of the devil" - John 8:44; also 1John 3:10) are led by the Spirit. And where does the Spirit begin to lead the new child of God? Into God's Word? Into God's House? Into prayer? Into sharing the Gospel? Each of these are true because they point to the first act of transformation that the Spirit of God leads His child into: Worship of the One True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This first act of the believer's transformation becomes the means by which further necessary transformation occurs. Are you being transformed?
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18
Supernatural Christianity inspires melodic worship. "Melody", as J.S. Bach showed the world, is a reflection of the Ultimate melody and harmony: the Triune God. As we combine our different voices, with different musical instruments to produce melodic and harmonious praise, we are adoring the Sovereign God who created, redeemed, and adopted us. Because we worship the One and True God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, Christianity is a musical/singing expression of worship. And when we worship, we are transformed. Here's how.

Worship Causes Us To Forget.

It is true that everything the child of God does should be an act of worship. If you get this revelation it will transform the way you wash your dinner dishes! It will transform the way you view your "miserable" job! Worship causes us to forget the drudgery of the mundane as it transforms it into an act of worship. "Father, I wash these pots, these pans, these dishes, these cups, these knives, these forks, these spoons, as an act of my worship to You. I do this for Your glory!" "Lord, I go to this job today even though I don't enjoy it, but I go to give you glory and as an act of my worship to You." Worship transforms us because it causes us to forget our drudgeries.
Yet, there is something very special about setting time aside each Lord's day to come together to worship God in a more intentional fashion. We approach the House of God to worship with all kinds of things swirling through our minds. They weigh on us. Worship transforms us by causing us to forget these distractions.

Worship Causes Us To Remember.

Thankfulness is major ingredient of right worship. Thankfulness requires remembering God's blessings. Wise parents teach their children to worship at their family dinner table by showing them how to remember God's blessings. It's difficult to get down when you are worshiping God by remembering His good blessings. When we recall God's provision, His protection, His guidance, and His peace in times of turmoil, and thank Him, we are being transformed by our worship of Him.

Worship Causes Us To Be Distracted.

You approach corporate worship unable to forget your pressing concerns or even remember God's good provisions - but as you worship, God's greatness is positively distracting! Right worship transforms us because it causes us to be rightly distracted by what really matters: God and His glory. Get distracted this Sunday!

Worship Causes Us To Be Focused.

Worship transforms us by causing us to forget what grips our minds. It causes us to remember God's goodness to us. Worship distracts us from those illegitimate attention seekers. And worship transforms us by bringing our vision back into focus. Eugene Peterson (the translator of the MESSAGE Bible) says that when we assemble to worship Jesus it is like we "calibrate" our focal lens. So much of what the world does to us causes our clear vision of Christ to get out of focus.
¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 
Romans 12:1
When a child of God worships they undergo transformation. What they say is transformed. What they do is transformed. What they think is transformed. Who they are is transformed. Are you being transformed? Have you surrendered to Christ? Have you worshiped Him by laying down your agenda, your dreams, your wants, your life? It's easy to tell the ones who have. These are the ones who are being transformed by their worship of Christ.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe
Hebrews 12:28