Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Dr. F. W. Boreham at Hobart BaptistToward the end of his life, Dr. Boreham made it his aim to preach and write in such a way that "people could catch a vision of the Saviour." Boreham felt that if people could only but see Jesus for who He really is, "they would have no alternative but to lay their devotion at His feet." (Crago, p. 237) He made it his end-of-life aim to reveal the irresistible beauty of Jesus. He hoped that this would lead more Australians to devote themselves to Christ, rather than be merely more religious.

If a person has never 'seen' Jesus the best they can possibly do is to be religious. Any appeal for devotion to Christ sounds like a call to be more religious. And the last thing most Australians want to be is: more religious. Jesus calls people to not just follow Him, but to be exclusively devoted to Him.
¶ "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 6:24
To discuss the virtues of a devoted life to Christ without a glimpse of the irresistible beauty of Jesus, is like trying to describe the colour red to a person born blind. Devotion to Christ must start with a revelation vision of Christ. I've been pastoring for over two decades. I've learned the difference between formally religious folk (those who have "made a decision", "given their heart", "prayed the prayer") and those who have actually met The Christ (those whose hearts have been gloriously conquered by the radiant warmth of the light of Christ's face).
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Second Corinthians 4:6
Summon the devoted to greater devotion and their hearts are stirred and they worship (Romans 12:1-3). Summon the religious to greater devotion and their hearts close and they groan (Heb. 13:7). When Jesus began building His Church, this was the immediate result -
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
¶ And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers..

Acts 1:14, 2:42
They devoted themselves to prayer, teaching, fellowship, and worship. And followers of Christ still do and delight to do so. This is why church is not merely a noun it is a verb. This Christmas we are reminded that the God who deserves devotion gave his Best. Surely this is the essence of devotion? It is the inescapable fruit of the true worshiper because, as we know, a worshiper always becomes like what they worship. 

Devotion not religion please.

Ps. Andrew

Friday, 19 December 2014


I have so many problemsYou may think you have problems, but the more I get to know some people, the more I realise how deeply wounded some people are with problems that are beyond them. I have problems, but after spending time with some people whose problems are so deep, so complex, so painful, my own problems pale by comparison. 
Even though I have my own problems, I deal with others' problems. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, "[God] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." ( 2Cor. 1:4-5) In other words, in the midst of our own problems (which was jail and possible execution) God's enabling comfort has meant that we can comfort others. In God's economy, you always give away what you want.

He has problemsGod has given me a small measure of grace to be able to help people with their problems. It is this same grace that has kept me from being overwhelmed by these problems. And it is only by God's grace that my heart has been enlarged sufficiently so that I care about the people whose problems I try to play a small role in helping. In fact, I know that God has called me to help people with problems. This call effects the way I pray (note Philippians 2:14). I continually ask God to help me to help others. And the more people present me with their sacred spaces by openning more of their hearts to me, the more I become dependent on God for His grace and wisdom to try and help. 
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
Masking PainSometimes a person's problem is so painful and complex they don't even know where to begin. But sometimes it is even worse than this. This happens when not only does a person feel the constant reminder of their problem, but they are uncertain as to what it actually is. For those who have seen our Bouncing Back DVD, you'll know that we tell the stories of seven people. One of them, appeared to have their life in perfect order. They had what most thought of as a good home with loving parents, a great education, friends, and even a loving church community in which they could worship God. But, things were not as they appeared to be. It was not a good home. Their home was anything but a safe place. Instead of being protected by their parents, they were abused by them in the worse fashion. So painful were the daily scars inflicted into them that they now live without any memory of their life before the age of 11. The sexual abuse they endured caused them to go numb in several ways. Nearly forty years later and despite a loving marriage and the blessing of children, the numbness is still there. They can never get back what the sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse robbed them of. And like so many innocent victims of such abuse, they ache and don't fully understand why.
For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Second Corinthians 2:4
I have problemsWhat possible help is available to someone experiencing such intolerable invisible pain? Firstly, a revelation from God of His love and acceptance of them. This limitless love is grounded in God's limitless knowledge of them and everything they've gone through. It was the prayer of the Apostle Paul for the Ephesians who had largely been caught up in cultic worship of the idol-goddess, Artemis, that he asked the Lord that the eyes of their understanding might be opened (Eph. 1:18). It is the understanding of God's pure limitless love that gives a person healing-hope. And based on the great Apostle's prayer for the Ephesians, this kind of understanding can only after prayerful seeking of it. Anyone who scoffs at the power of the love of God to transform the broken into wholeness - is confessing their own lack of inexperience of God's love. 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19
Secondarily, inner healing grace from God comes from a demonstration of His love, acceptance, and understanding through His people (1Peter 4:10). This kind of grace most powerfully comes from those who have gone through similar experiences and then experiences God's healing love - wherein we were comforted, we comfort others

God is loveThere are some problems that are so painful, so deep, so complex, that no pill can make the ache go away, no counsel can talk it away, no distraction can forget it, and no drink can drown it. Yet, because many of these problems are invisible, and therefore intensely frustrating, it often causes people to take drastic action - such as defacing themselves with permanent ink or razor blades so that others can begin to get a glimpse of their pain. All of this is not just a cry for help - it is a soul screeching cry for help that often gets confused for rebellion, depression, moodiness, or unfriendliness. The cause of such intense anguish and ache is often a serious violation. For a world that is drunk on the lie that sex is just fun and recreation (unlike the Biblically-informed Christian view that sex is about intimacy grounded in trust, commitment, covenant, and sacrificial love, for the purpose of unique union and fruitfulness with one other person) the fruit of their stupor is often broken and shattered little girls who are almost irrepairably damaged for multiple decades to come, and little boys who not only bear the physical scars of what inevitably happens when their bodies are subjected to unnatural acts, but also the deep sense of betrayal that causes them to perpetually angry (either in rage or depression) and distrustful of all. At the root of problems like this is the confusion over love. The predator tells his victim that this is "love". The child grows up with the distorted belief that the only way they can relate to men is by being sexual - because this is "love". But this is wrong°. Thus, when they hear the sincerely intended news that "God loves you!", we can only imagine how hollow this must sound to them! 

What they need is often what they shun. They crave love. For a season they are intoxicated enough on the lie of the world that love=sex to pursue it. But it only deepens their ache. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to be able to comprehend the love of God. God's love is like no other love. It is pure, unselfish, considerate, sacrificial, extravagant, persistent, unconditional.
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19
Not many begin to comprehend God's love for them. The rare times when someone in the Bible got a glimpse of God's love for them it universally resulted in them being physically and emotionally overcome. The pain that causes problems for many people is almost instantly resolved when the betrayal, violation, deception, and abuse they received is countered by God's infinite trustworthiness, guardian protection, truthfulness and tender care. This is why divine limitless love heals.

Not everyone's problems are the result of violations. There are of course financial problems that we get ourselves into - or are placed into. There are relationship problems that confound us. There are health problems that frustrate us. There are problems that are caused by us. There are problems that we didn't invite. Here's what I've learned about problems.
1. All problems are relatively solveable. (There may not be a perfect solution, but there is a workable solution.)
2. Problems nearly always take humility to solve. (The size of the problem is proportional to the humilty required to solve it.)
3. Denial only makes the problems get worse. (True healing always requires truthfulness.)
4. God can always redeem our problems. (If you yield to God, He can make you a stronger better person because of your problem.)
5. Even in the midst of our problems, we can always help others with their problems. (Don't let your problems define who you are!)
What's your problem? We've all got problems (if you haven't got problems then you've got a problem)! God provides His love, His grace, and His comfort, so we can face our problems. He has ordained that His love, His grace, and His comfort be imparted to you through the Body of believers in Christ (1Peter 4:10). The Apostle Paul, writing to the highly problematic Corinthians, left them with this reminder, and I follow suit-
¶ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Second Corinthians 13:14
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 12 December 2014


Stuff happens. We find ourselves in circumstances that we didn't create or invite. As Spirit-filled followers of Christ we know what to do. We use prayer. We pray. We request others to pray. These prayers petition heaven for our circumstances to change. Our circumstances tend to dominate our prayers. But our prayers is not all that our circumstances seek to rule over.

Some people have learned that they can get the attention of others if they sulk and make demands of others through emotional blackmail. Circumstances are nearly always like these self-centred people. Before we go anywhere, do anything, make a decision, spend time with someone, or make plans, our circumstances want the final say. At the risk of offending your circumstances by calling it for what it often becomes: idolatrous, I want to give some shepherd's wisdom for dealing with your circumstances, and how you might adjust your prayer-life. 
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
First Thessalonians 5:18
Too many people honour God when circumstances permit. The attention-starved teenage girl who has gone to church most of her life now finds her circumstances have changed. When she was younger, her Daddy seemed to give her more tender attention. Now that she is older, Daddy doesn't seem to listen or even understand. She meets a crowd of similarly confused teens who seem to give her the attention she craves - on the condition that she conforms to their standards - standards that she knows are not God-honouring. But under these circumstances, it seems like attractive. Perhaps the young man who has graduated and landed a job for a company where corners are continually being cut, and the truth is often halved. Under the circumstances, his career demands that he skip church so that he can put in the extra hours his bosses say will be good for his career. Maybe circumstances help the neglected wife to justify her growing liaison with someone from work who seems to better understand her. In these instances, like a slow-growing noxious weed that chokes out all other plant life, circumstances withdraws its permission for the child of God to act like one. Christians do not honour and obey just when circumstances permit!
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Ephesians 6:16
The follower of Jesus is committed to following, serving, honouring Christ despite - not because of - whatever circumstances they might be facing. Marriage is a reflection of the ultimate loving commitment shared between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. No matter what the circumstances, God is love and He dwells in an eternal community of limitless love. When a couple marries, their marriage vows are a shadow of the commitment that the God of love enjoys and these vows usually contain the appropriate wording, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. That is, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how difficult, no matter what the obstacle, there is an unshakeable commitment to love. The most important things in life, your peace with God, your relationship with our soul-mate, your privilege of pastoring your children, your commitment to your local community of faith, your level of workplace productivity, should all be acted on despite our circumstances. 
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
Philippians 4:12
Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and no legs. Despite this, he has overcome his circumstances to establish a corporation, travel the world, marry, and become a father. Little over a century ago, at just 19 months old, Helen Keller contracted what was suspected to be Scarlet Fever which left her deaf and blind. Through the patience of her teacher Annie Sullivan, Helen learned to read and write. In 1904 she went on to become the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Arts. Despite her circumstances, Helen Keller went on to achieve what can only be considered outstanding success. In 1964, President L. B. Johnson awarded her The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Neither Nick nor Helen allowed their circumstances to be the thing that determined what they could or couldn't do, and, who they could or couldn't be.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12
How should we pray when our circumstances become intolerable? A brief study of the New Testament reveals that when circumstances were unfavourable for those characters in the New Testament they prayed. But what stands out about the way they prayed is that they prayed for the strength to deal with their circumstances - not for their circumstances to change! We could look at our Saviour heading to the Cross and see Him under adverse circumstances praying for the will of God to be done. We could look at the Apostle Paul in prison for preaching the Gospel. Instead of complaining in his Epistles about his "chains" and begging for believers to partner with him in prayer that he might be released, he seems to ask them to continue to pray that God might use him wherever he is!
for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:20
for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
Second Timothy 2:9
Most of Paul's Epistles to believers were actually written while he was in prison. Rather than let these circumstances dominate his prayer-life or limit his ability to be used by God, he chose to bloom where he was planted. Have you let your circumstances - your health, your finances, your work, your relationships - be at the forefront of your prayers? Have your circumstances been the defining agent of what you can or can't achieve? Do your circumstances tell you that change in your life is not possible? It's time to stop living "under the circumstances" and to start living the kind of life where you draw on God's grace to not only get you through, but to help you to be fruitful in the midst of it. Bloom where you are planted - despite your circumstances!

Ps. Andrew

Thursday, 27 November 2014



Ken lived in the corporate world. Business meetings, interstate trips, spreadsheets, balance sheets, and long hours - very long hours. Ken's family though were paying a price for his high income. In the helter-skelter of his hectic lifestyle, Ken didn't quite make it to church with his family as often as he knew he should, until one surprising Sunday. It would be wrong to think that he got it right everytime from that day, he still had one more hard lesson to learn.
¶ "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
Matthew 6:25 
Ken justified his high-powered work-life by telling himself, and his wife and children, that he was "doing it for them." Being a Christian, he even justified his spiritual irresponsibility to God with all the predictable excuses. But then that day came. It was a Sunday. Ken went with his family to church that Sunday. He used to take them to church before he rose up the dizzing heights of the corporate ladder. It wasn't what was said, taught, or preached that Sunday - but it was what Ken heard that wrought the change. 
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:27
Ken was a corporate tax accountant. And he was good at it. He considered himself a sincere and committed Christian. Being in church on this particular Sunday, something in Ken's soul was being strangely stirred. He began to pray. He reconnected with God with some slight hesitation. His Bible was open on his lap at Matthew chapter 6 when he heard God speak softly to his soul. "Get your priorities right" he heard God say. "How?" his heart replied. "God first, family second, work third."
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Matthew 6:31
God first, Family second, and Work third. This became Ken's new mantra. He realised that to put God first he had to make an adjustment to his daily and Sunday priorities. He committed to read his Bible first thing everyday and attend church with his family every Sunday. This required a change in work patterns because he often brought work home and worked all weekend to get ready for important Monday morning meetings. But no more. Well, nearly no more as I'll explain shortly. 
¶ "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6:34 The Message
Ken's new mantra of priorities was soon tested. He had a client that had just been told they were going to receive a snap Tax Audit first thing Monday. They needed Ken to prepare the books which meant he would have to work this particular weekend. But he had already made a commitment to his young son that this Saturday morning he would take him to his T-ball game and watch him play. He tried to explain to his son why he couldn't go to his game. His disappointed son left for his uneventful match. Meanwhile, Ken tried to work on his client's books all that morning but couldn't make any significant progress. Sighing in frustration he heard, "God first, Family second, Work third." "God, are You saying that if I'd put my family before work and gone to my son's T-ball game, I would have this problem solved?" Ken knew the answer and left his work to try and catch the dying the minutes of his son's game. He then took his son out for a special father and son lunch. Later that day he rang his client on the other side of the country and apologised that he wouldn't be able to get their books done in time. They were extremely disappointed and threatened to take their business elsewhere. But Monday morning Ken received a call from the client. They told him that the Tax Office had just contacted them and told them their Tax Audit would be delayed by a week. They asked Ken to continue his work for them. After that call, Ken whispered yet another prayer to God, this time apologising and confessing his failure to get his priorities right. He remembered the verse from Matthew 6 that stood out to him that Sunday from his Bible on his lap-
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33
Ken came to realise that time with his family in church as they worshipped together was one of the greatest ways he could lead his wife and children. Rather than keep him from getting things done either at work or at home, Ken found that God seemed to honour him for putting Him first and his family second.

Ken had learned some valuable lessons. He changed his priorities. He became involved in his local church. His fears that his new priorities would harm his business become unfounded. In fact, he told people that he now felt the blessing of God on his life and business and that time in church was time sown into God (and you always reap what you sow - which is good news for gardeners and those who feel they don't have enough time to maintain their homes). He began to receive invitations from other churches to share his story. He shared his simple list of priorities- God first, Family second, and Work third - and thousands of business people adopted his mantra and changed their priorities. He began receiving testimonies from people all over the world telling him that he had given them the courage to put God first, their Family second and their work third. 
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Matthew 6:33 The Message
I was a teenager when I first heard Ken. His story was inspiring and impressive. His priority-mantra was contagious. I have tried to emulate it. To my shame, I have not always kept it. But it is my goal. 
I was stunned to hear some time ago that Ken had suddenly died. Even though he didn't know it, his life would soon be over. He lived out his last days putting God first, his Family second and his Work third. Life's brevity and lack of guarantees has a way of highlighting a person's poor priorities. But Ken was fortunate because it wasn't a health scare that shocked him into reorganising his priorities - it was the Word of God. And it is from the Word of God that we find that Ken's list of priorities didn't originate with him.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 21 November 2014


Keith and Russell who remembering hearing Dr F.W. BorehamI've just returned from an interstate trip where I interviewed two elderly men for the upcoming FW Boreham Documentary. Both of these gentlemen were in their nineties and had been friends for over 70 years. After from sitting under the preaching of F.W. Boreham, they had many other things in common, but their one joint passion was for their local church and their Saviour. These men radiated the presence of Christ and such there was something peculiarly attractive about them. This was the same with the first followers of Christ as well.
¶ Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.  So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
John 12:20-21 
Jesus chose to be represented by people. These representatives are called the Church. The genius of having people represent you, is that you reach more people. In this episode in John 12 where these Greeks say to the disciples, "We wish to see Jesus", there is something very profound going on. Over the years I've heard many preachers use this passage to say that people often get in the way of other people seeing Jesus. "The church should just get away of people wanting to see Jesus", they preach. But the problem with that conclusion from this text in John 12 illustrates the exact opposite point. Far from followers of Christ being a hindrance to people seeing Jesus, followers of Christ are the means by which people come to see Jesus. 

Jesus has called you to follow Him so that others might see Him. Keith and Russell, the two gentlemen in the nineties, had spent their lives helping others to see Jesus. There are some people that might not ever see Jesus because of me - but these same people may well see Jesus because of you! When these Greeks approached the disciples of Jesus, I guess they could have asked any of the disciples to introduce them to Christ. But they didn't ask Matthew, or Judas, or Thomas, or Simon, instead they went straight to Philip. Did you notice something in that list of names? Philip is a Greek name. These Greeks went to a disciple of Jesus with whom they felt they could relate. If we read on in this passage we see that Philip went to another of Christ's disciple's who also had a Greek name.
Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
John 12:22
This week I was contacted by someone interstate who knew me primarily as a tennis player. (In my early life, tennis was my life.) They wrote to me reminiscing about watching me play tennis and knowing that I was a Christian. He then shared a small summary of his recent journey to Christ after having been delivered from alcohol and drugs. Tennis become the connecting point for our relationship. Yet other people connect with me because they hear me on radio. In fact, yesterday as I checked in for my flight, the stewardess asked, "Are you the Andrew Corbett on radio?" This became another connecting point for me to reach out. Jesus has strategically invested in you certain connecting points with others. Like the disciples, Philip and Andrew, it might be your ethnicity and family history. It could be the school you went to. It could be your sport, or sporting team. It could be your job or profession. It could be your love of craft. It could be your children or even your parents. It could be your choice of music. 

Far from the Church being in the way of people coming to know Christ, the Church is the greatest means by which people can! When these original Greeks approached these original disciples, they lived at a time when so much about life was uncertain. The Romans were swift in dealing with those who displeased them. And many people displeased them. Death and the after-life were extremely important issues to the people of the first century. Today, without the looming threat of a Roman sword, most people in the Western World (which includes much of Australia) do not ponder these deeper matters. Arguably, many people in these more affluent societies are blinded to their real need by the utter deception that they have no needs. It's into these peoples' lives that God sends a follower of Christ with a connecting point. They observe in this follower of Christ a deep peace that comes from having the deepest need met - a need thay they now begin to recognise because of this Christ follower. This is a need that a Mercedes cannot fill. It is a need that having the right address does not address. It is a need that a Mastercard cannot buy. And while there are many followers of Christ who have similar stations in life to these need-blind people, they see their wealth and possessions as resources at the King's disposal so that even more people can be healed of their blindness. It is followers of Christ which produces followers of Christ.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Revelation 3:17
These Greeks of John 12 knew where to find Jesus. Find His disciples and you'll find Him! The same is true today. Find His followers and you'll find Him. When Joseph and Mary wanted to find the twelve year old Jesus, they went to the House of God. The same is true today. When the family of Christ followers gather, Christ is in their midst (Matthew 18:20). When the Church gathers with Christ in her midst, everything she does is worship of Him. If anyone would find Jesus, they should look in church. If they also want to see Christ they should look at the One the Church is worshiping. 
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another... ¶ For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
Romans 12:5, First Corinthians 12:12
This Sunday we will have people join with us who have never been to church. These people are not interested in becoming religious. They are not coming to be controlled or duped. They have, however, been given a glimpse of their true need and painfully come to realise that stuff, although momentarily numbing, does not (because it can not) meet this need. They've discovered that what the world calls medicine is actually the very poison that made them terminally ill in the first place. They need to see Jesus. They have come to where He can be found. As the followers of Christ assemble to worship Jesus, people are drawn to Him. 

Keith and Russell watching a preview of the FW Boreham DocumentaryAfter I met with these two veteran followers of Christ to film them for the FWB documentary, they chatted about their church (Kew Baptist Church). Russell, who enjoyed better health than Keith, warmly invited Keith to come to their next Chat and Chew outreach morning. Russell then turned to his pastor, Nick, and told him how he had been encouraging his great-granddaughter to come along to church. There are some who have grown fed-up with the church. Through their immature response to some offense they have chosen to despise the flawed followers of Christ like you and me, and have instead justified their detachment from the Body of Christ as somehow being more spiritual, and even more Biblical. This is sad and unnecessary. When these Greeks wanted to see Jesus, they came to His flawed disciples. And Philip and Andrew then brought them to Jesus. In the next verse, Jesus announced that the hour had come for the Him to be glorified. When people are drawn to Jesus because of His followers, He is glorified. 
And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."
John 12:23
And every time when the church assembles to worship God The Son through praise, giving, prayer, reflection on the Lord's Table, the ministry of the Word, and fellowship with one another, Jesus is most glorified. And when Jesus is most glorified we help more needy people to see the only One who can eternally meet their need.
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:21
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 7 November 2014


You Have Options...

When I grow up I want to be an astronautWhen I was growing up, we thought we had the option of three careers: fireman, policeman, or an astronaut. (I added the little-known fourth option, professional tennis player, to this list, even though I was "junior cop" for an embarrassing season.) While I was committed to the fourth option, many found a fifth. But that was then and this is now. Sometimes we face situations where we think we only have one or maybe two options. This is rarely, if ever, the truth of the matter. You have options.

When someone is particularly tired, it often feels like they have no options to the challenges before them. (And if you are tired and stressed it is difficult to see any options at all.) Understanding what your options are determines how what your level of stress is. It's not just the lack of apparent options which causes increased stress, multiple options can similarly result in increased stress for someone. In our technological age where it is often easier to communicate with someone on the other side of the planet than it is with our physical nextdoor-neighbour, people are now faced with more options than ever before - and not just regarding their employment opportunities. 
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 

The other day I was having breakfast with some other pastors in our city. We were discussing what the greatest needs of our city were. We noted that the Launceston City Mission was doing an outstanding job with in working with the city's poor and homeless. But we wondered whether there were any greater practical needs in our city that we as Christian leaders might need to be aware of and respond to. My colleague shared how he was now dealing with increasing numbers of distressed people. He said that this seemed to be indicative of our community's mental health becoming unhealthier. "We have solutions for homelessness. We have solutions for family-breakdowns. We have solutions for teen-pregnancies. But we are yet to adequately grapple with the deteriorating mental health of our community" he said. Shortly after this I had several medical doctors tell me that most of their patients now present them with significant mental health issues. One GP even told me that much of what he now does in his consulting rooms is actually clinical mental-health, rather than medicine. And Christians are not immune from this. Here's why. 

Some understand that the Bible teaches believers to seek God for every decision they have to make. Seeking God is indeed what the Bible teaches. But rather than seeking God for His decision on the options before us, we are told to seek God for the wisdom so that we can wisely decide between our options. For believers who do not understand this and expect God to make their decisions for them, this lack of certainty regarding what His decision for them is can even be an added source of increased stress! This is potentially very damaging to a person's mental health. Not only does the believer face the stress of selecting the best option before them, they often add to this stress by thinking that God has to reveal the right choice to them. This leads them to believe that hearing from God is supremely mysterious and tricky. When they struggle to hear from God it raises niggling doubts that maybe God doesn't love them, or hasn't fully forgiven them. They read the Scriptures, which talk about the peace of God, and the renewal of their mind, but their own experience of anxiety and confusion conflicts with what they see promised in the Bible. This shows us that mental health, even for Christians, is not a trivial matter and certainly does not have simplistic answers. But when Christians are given simplistic solutions (as distinct from Biblically "simple" solutions) is it any wonder then that more and more Christians are now experiencing mental anguish to the extent that they require prescribed medicating? I am not suggesting that Christians diagnosed with mental health challenges shouldn't take prescribed medication, but I am questioning whether it should be the first response and immediate course of action.
¶ 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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2

Strangely, what is supposed to be a source of comfort and assurance for all believers has become a source of anguish for many. The confusion has come from those who taught that the Word of God is insufficient for a believer to discover the will of God for their life. If a believer was to simply read the Bible, they would read, learn and discover the will of God for their life - without the need for a particular extra-revelation from God. Of course, there are some individuals whom God graces with a very special commission - but even in Scripture we discover that this was extraordinary not normal! Therefore, every believer can walk in the will of God by reading, learning, and applying the Word of God to their life and simply blooming where they are planted. That is, rather than seeing and agonising over their various options as to how they should serve God, they see that Scripture generally describes God placing believers into situations and contexts with the right gifts, talents and abilities at just the time. In other words, the will of God for every believer is to be fully devoted to God, to be committed to, and serve in, Christ's local church, to shine the love of God through their witness and good deeds. I hope you can see why I say this should be a source of comfort and assurance for every believer rather than a cause of anguish. 
¶ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 
Philippians 4:8

Peace with God is made possible by the grace of God. This grace is made effective in our souls from the moment that God in His grace reveals Himself and His offer of forgiveness for our sins through Christ to us. We do nothing to earn this revelation. We do nothing to qualify for this associated gift of repentance. We do nothing to regenerate our dead and dormant spirits to life and union with Christ. We do nothing to now be considered the adopted child of God. If we did anything to merit any of these benefits and components of salvation, our salvation would not be by grace! Therefore, once we have been made alive in Christ what can we do to "un-earn" something we never "earned" in the first place? If more Christians understood that the basis of God's love toward them is not whether they are good enough or not, but the righteousness of Christ bestowed graciously upon them, there would literally be more Christians enjoying God rather than trying to appease Him. Understanding God's grace does wonders for your mental health. 

The second dimension of God's grace toward the believer is His provision for our needs. If more Christians understood that God's answers to our prayers are expressions of His grace, not rewards for our spiritual earnestness, there would be far less anxiety over seemingly "unanswered" prayer. Can we recognise that healing, provision, blessing are acts of God's grace - and therefore, if we don't get what we want from God He is not being unkind or even ungracious toward us.

It was one of the other GPs who said that he also has to deal with more mental health patients than patients with a physical condition. He insightfully said, "People today have so many options and this stresses them and causes great anxiety." Sometimes we feel the stress of not having enough options to deal with the challenges before us. But there are other times when we feel stress because it seems like we have too many options before us. This is where I remind you that in these instances you need wisdom - not a revelation - from God. That is, God wants you to make an informed choice. Even if you choose an unwise option you can be assured from God's Word that He knows how to guard you, lead you, equip you, and use you, both because and despite of the choices you make. So quit being so worried about whether you will select the right option!  You have options and if you sincerely base your decisions in what you know God's Word instructs, your options become increasingly obvious and far less confusing.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
¶ Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act..

Psalm 37:4-5
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 31 October 2014

Behind Closed Doors

In the years to come, our society is going to face an alarming crisis. This crisis will impact how nations are governed, business is done, and families are constituted. And the cause of this crisis is happening right now behind closed doors...

I've been helping people now for several decades. In that time I have never met a completely functional person! Initially this somewhat surprised me. After listening to the stories of a few thousand people, I've come to realise that we are all dysfunctional to varying degrees. People who appear competent, relaxed, confident, care-free, rarely are. And increasingly over the last few years I've been noticing a concerning trend. Things that used to constitute 'personal problems' seem to have become somewhat normalised and a whole new set of problems now constitute the issues that too many people are now facing. And for the most part these very complex issues are being endured in silence, behind closed doors.

The family home should be the safest place on earth. It should be the place where we associate words like, security, laughter, fond-memories, healing, and rest. The family home is where mum and dad model love, communication, conflict-resolution, planning, dreaming, and romancing. Mums help make a home. Dads help build a home. Together, a Mum and a Dad indispensably contribute what is necessary to make the difference between a house and a home. Ask any single Mum and she'll tell that you that being a solo parent is an extremely tough gig. Ask any wife how hard it is parenting her children when her husband and father of her children won't step up and accept his responsibility to build character, discipline, and life-skills in their home. And I could go one step further and invite you to talk with the wife of an unworthy husband - who abuses both her and her children. I could go this extra step, but I can't. The reason is, such women are difficult to find - not because there's not plenty of them - but because these women and children generally suffer behind closed doors.

What goes on behind closed doors is more than just a physical matter. It involves the intimidation. It involves deep embarrassment and shame. It involves guilt. Abuse takes on different degrees and forms behind closed doors.

The home is where children ought learn to: serve sacrificially, love lavishly, socialise sensibly, laugh lots, and lead courageously. And the growing dire lack of the fulfilment of this ought has given rise to our looming crisis. We now have children growing up not merely in broken homes, but highly dysfunctional homes where they are subject to emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and, sexual, abuse. We Tasmanians went from stunned shock to appalled disgust when we discovered behind the closed doors of one of our own, the mother of a twelve year old girl had been prostituting her own daughter for the past few years to hundreds of men - including men in Public Office, actually charged with upholding justice! The biggest problem with this case is that it is almost certainly not isolated! There is deep pain being felt and inflicted in many Tasmanian homes behind closed doors.

As the children from these abusive homes become adults and take their place in our society as celebrities, business people, politicians, academics, sports champions, they bring with them more than the pain of their abuse. Unwittingly they also bring to positions of influence a highly dysfunctional concept of normality. They attempt to numb their pain, quiet their pain, deny their pain, distract their pain, amuse their pain, but, all to no avail. And what's worse, a good number of them will perpetuate this generational cycle of abuse behind closed doors.
Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."

John 8:10-11
The next time you see someone who deliberately looks different - whether it's their heavy mascara, tattoos, piercings, or Gothic fashion, it might worth considering what kind of home they came from. When you hear someone campaigning for something that would have disgusted a previous generation, consider what pain they might be desperately trying to justify. We shouldn't judge too quickly until we know what happened behind closed doors.

All of this is going to contribute to a crisis that should alarm us. Without homes from which leaders can be born to a Mum and a Dad who can then together distil into them how to love, how to care, how to share, how to learn, how to be courageous, how to be honest (even when it hurts), how to work (even though laziness is way cooler), and how to resolve conflict and get along with hard-to-get-along-with people, we are going to have to deal a social tsunami of the most broken, dysfunctional, narcissistic people in human history. This will impact how the next emerging generation views volunteering for not-for-profits (in addition to their day-jobs), giving to charities, serving within a church, donating their time to help run a board of a community organisation, or becoming a self-funded missionary. Increasingly churches who used to 'disciple' new Christians on a pathway to leadership within their church are going to have to disciple pre-Christians and new-Christians to acquire functional life-skills before embarking on discipling them into becoming leaders. These functional skills will have to include how to be sociable (with real live human beings), how to parent, manage finances, appropriate sexuality, diet, and how to read a book. All the while, we will have to teach, model, and train what a life-giving home is so that the next generation has nothing to fear behind closed doors.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2:3-5
And here's my appeal. Open your doors. By 'doors' I don't just mean that thing at the front of your house, I also mean your heart. We have a few young children from broken homes occasionally come and spend a night with us. For just a brief moment they experience an alternate view of 'normal'. While this happens occasionally in our family home, it also happens every week in our church. We welcome it! Please don't be surprised if you meet new people in your church each Sunday whom you soon discover live in very dysfunctional homes. Please don't just welcome them, expect them. And don't just expect them, pray for the Lord to bring them in! When you see a struggling single mum battling with her crying baby, don't be judgmental - instead take a glimpse behind their closed door and reach out to them - let's open our doors to them. 

The Church was originally founded on multitudes of dysfunctional people coming to Christ and being made whole. One of the most compelling statements of this is found in First Corinthians where the Apostle lists the types of broken people who had ventured into the healing community of the church and been made whole. I finish with the Apostle's celebration of broken people - those who had previously suffered behind closed doors - who had now been made whole, in the hope that we too can see the broken, despairing, abused, lonely, hurting, dysfunctional people of our community come to Christ's healing community of the church - a church not behind closed doors!
¶ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
First Corinthians 6:9-11
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 24 October 2014



Most leaders have learned a secret. It's a kind of secret where knowing it is easier than implementing it. The most difficult component to this secret is acting on it. And after several seasons of various leadership roles, I have come to realise that the difference between someone who claims to be a leader (and may even have a title to prove they are a leader) and, an actual leader, is whether they know and utilise the power of this secret. Similarly, the difference between a good leader and a great leader is the extent to which they implement this secret. Great leaders are not limited to those extraordinary fields of endeavour that people later writes books about - great leadership is needed in marriages, homes, classrooms, and small-groups. I now want to share this secret with you.

I admire great leaders. My kids thought that we got Foxtel so that they could watch Disney Channel. Kim thought we got it so that we could watch Duck Dynasty on A&E. But when it became apparent that I accepted their trial offer so that I could watch Discovery and History Channels, Kim demanded that stop wasting our precious money and cancel our subscription. The reason for my tryst into cable was to watch documentaries - particularly military and war documentaries. When it comes to leadership, it is rare to find any greater than on a battlefield. Without exception, every great military leader achieved their greatness with the help of their knowledge of this vintage secret.
Great leaders are also found on non-military battle-grounds called fields, pitches, arenas, or courts - usually encased in a stadium. 

My curiosity about great leaders is one of the reasons why I am fascinated by AFL Football. Most people who watch AFL just see the match on game-day. I see the coaches assembled the day after the match with their team down at the beach wading in and out of the icy water to develop their leg-lifts and breakdown any remaining lactic acid. I see the coach and his assistants gathered early Monday morning in front of twelve video screen each giving a synchronised replay of their team's match performance. I see the Tuesday training session where the specialist coaches take their particular players and hone their skills and run them through their customised drills. I see the Coach on a Wednesday meeting with his team of nutritionists and dietitions and running through their individualised player regimes and measuring their effectiveness. I see the coach meeting with team manager and the admin staff to discuss recruitment, follow up, marketing, media-relations, sponsor-relations. Every great coach is a great leader - a great leader who knows and implements the secret.

Leadership is no greater than when the secret has been most obviously implemented. These are the moments when the war seems lost and the game seems to be all but over ... yet ... great leaders draw down on the secret and seemingly miraculously find a way to turn the tide of the war and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Without knowledge of the secret this just simply could never happen.

Perhaps it's because I'm a pastor, but it seems that this secret has been best kept within the church. That is, even though some have come to discover the power of the secret they have not chosen to share it with those who need to know it or would benefit from it. My suspicion is that if they did, there would not be anywhere near the drop-out rate of small-group leaders, department leaders, elders and pastors within most churches. If this key-secret is indeed known, it really doesn't appear to be shared very widely! It urgently needs to be known now. It is the secret to breakthrough.

The Apostle Paul shared this secret with his protegĂ©, Timothy, when he told him - 
¶ I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Second Timothy 4:1-2
'Be ready in season and out of season', involves -
    • preparing yourself through reading widely (2Tim. 4:13)
    • sharing your gifts, talents, or abilities, when you feel like it and when you don't 
    • having to share God's grace even when circumstances are adverse
    • doing what needs to be done in the midst of opposition, persecution, trials and slander
Paul has disclosed this potent secret to Timothy. If you can apprehend this secret you have taken the first step toward succeeding as a leader in your home, school, work-place, community, business, sporting field, battle-ground, or church. The Apostle Peter also shared the secret with a group of Bithynian elders when he put it this way - 
¶ Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. ¶ So I exhort the elders among you
First Peter 4:19 - 5:1a
What Peter has said here is a secret that every emerging leader needs to know: even when you are going through your private hell keep working to rescue others from theirs! 'Your private hell' ("...let those who suffer...") is not a reason for you to not to fulfil your mission ("...while doing good..."). Peter, who should know, tells these elders to keep focussed, keep moving forward, keep caring - especially when times are most trying and difficult - never, never, never, give up! Keep believing! Keep trying! Keep fighting! Keep playing! Keep battling! This is the most potent leadership secret you can ever learn. 

What God has called you to do - and enabled you to do - may never (and probably will never) find the perfect moment for its delivery! In fact, what we read in Second Timothy and First Peter is that it is to be expected that a leader will (not might) face opposition, persecution, or trials. A key element to the break-through secret that great leaders discover is that most great feats of leadership always occur during adverse and very trying circumstances. 

Mothers learn this secret. Little girls grow up dreaming that one day they will hold their own baby in their arms and experience the wonderfully fulfilling delight of nurturing that baby to maturity. This introduction to leadership commences in pain, but that pain is soon forgotten for the joy that outweighs it. And this introduction to leadership sets the template for every leadership moment a mother is grown by: through pain comes triumph and joy. Mothers thus learn the secret of great leadership when despite the temptation to give into their persistently defiant child, they stand their ground. This barrage of defiance only grows as the child grows - but so does the determination of great leader-mothers who take a stand to truly love their child out of their defiance. Mothers employ this secret when they themselves have had a shocker of a day yet still take the time to ask their child just home from their day at school how their day was. Mothers utilise this secret when they withstand the temptation to procrastinate and take action despite their exhaustion. 

Peter quietly shared the secret within the thoughts expressed in First Peter 4:19. Even when you're going through the most adverse circumstances, keep reaching out to others! When I see people doing this (and I see it regularly), I recognise that within these leaders are the seeds of greatness. Despite their own problems they help others. Despite how trying and difficult it is to achieve something for the benefit of our community, they persist. Despite, despite, despite - leaders still lead. This is how you can tell whether someone is really a leader. And now it's no longer a secret.

Ps. Andrew

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Salvation Of The Elect

Salvation is presented in Scripture as having a past, present, and future aspect. Here's some brief notes highlighting how this is so.

1. Salvation is presented in Scripture as -

 + a concluded legal matter (Eph. 2:8-9 "saved"), 

 + a present unfolding experience (Phil. 2:12 "work out your salvation"; 1Cor. 1:18 ¶ "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."), and 

 + a future hope (Acts 15:11 "But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus"; Rom. 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”).

2. Salvation encompasses -

+ the regeneration of a human spirit (present)

+ the guarantee of a glorified resurrected body (future) 

3. Salvation ensures - 

+ Adoption by God (past and future)

+ Justification by and before God (past)

+ Sanctification (present and future)

+ Translation into God’s presence for eternity (future)

4. Salvation is effectual by - 

+ The finished work of Christ’s atonement (past)

+ The election of the Father (past)

+ The agency of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating the elect as a gracious gift (past)

+ The perseverance of the saints by the sustaining of the Holy Spirit (present)

+ The glorification of the elect in the Resurrection by the Father, Son and Spirit (future)

5. Salvation is not the result of - 

 + The believer’s instigation

 + The believer’s natural will

 + The decision of the unregenerate to believe

 + Any acts of moral virtue done by the redeemed

  - because if any of #5. was true then salvation cannot be by grace.

Thus, salvation is a past, present, and future act of God. Because man is constituted as a “soul” (body + spirit) he must remain so for eternity - which makes the resurrection necessary. Therefore, while the believer’s spirit is saved through regeneration, the believer’s soul cannot have salvation completed until their glorification in the Resurrection. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit empowers the believer "to work” (Eph. 2:10) and to strive toward resembling their legal position of justification (Phil. 2:12). It is not this work which saves the believer - it is this work which confirms a person is a believer. This is the distinction between ‘root’ (God’s grace through Christ) and ‘fruit’ (our offering of works to God for His glory).

Andrew Corbett