Saturday, 30 June 2018

BEFORE YOU LEAVE - How To Best Use Your Last 3 Seconds!

Before You Leave


We used to say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. But life has only one certainty – we will all die. The death-rate is still 100%! Yet faced with this absolute certainty, too few people think about it and even fewer people take steps to prepare for it and what lies beyond it. And, as it turns out, not even many people who have become Christians have given much thought either! But I have something to say to those who think religion – and Christianity in particular – is (at best) irrelevant. Please give me just three minutes now – and just three seconds later!


Christians have sometimes been accused of promoting a pie-in-the-sky message. But the social research reveals a pretty clear message about why people convert to Christianity. Here are the top three reasons why people become Christians-
1. I was raised in a Christian home.
2. I had a religious experience (answered prayer, dream/vision, etc.)
3.  I had a need that converting to Christianity met (drug/alcohol deliverance, marriage repair, loneliness, poverty relief, etc.)Before-you-leave-14
Conversely, the top three reasons why people reject Christianity are – 
  1. Science has now disproven Christianity.
  2. Too many doubts about the Bible’s claims.
  3. Too many Christians are hypocrites.


With all this in mind, why then would a highly successful Homicide Detective who was a comfortable atheist convert to Christianity? He tells people that he didn’t convert to Christianity because he raised in a Christian home – because he wasn’t! He didn’t convert because his friends were Christian. He didn’t convert because he wanted to know God. He didn’t convert because he wanted to go to heaven. He didn’t convert because he needed to change his life – in fact, he writes-
At the age of thirty-five, it seemed like I had everything I could possibly want. I’d graduated at the top of my class in my undergraduate and graduate programs, earned the honor recruit award at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy and was in an incredible job assignment, working as a member of a five man career-criminal surveillance team. I had been with my wife for eighteen years and we had a great family. We just purchased our second home in a community I had admired since childhood. Nothing could have been better. This was the status and condition of my life when I walked into a Christian church for the first time.
I wasn’t looking for answers; I thought I already had all the answers. In fact, most of my friends came to me for advice. I was the guy you came to if you wanted to ask a question about how to work an investigation, how to maintain a good marriage, how to raise your kids. I was happy, content, and full of myself. I definitely wasn’t the kind of person who thought he needed help or needed fixing. My self-confidence had grown into arrogance. I was opinionated, sure of myself and difficult to reason with. I was sure I was right, and my life seemed to confirm this at every turn. I was in control and my decisions seemed to be producing the life I wanted.
This Homicide detective who spent his life gathering evidence and became a Cold-Case specialist who had a perfect prosecution record throughout his entire career (!) states that there was only one reason why he became a Christian  – after having used his detective skills to investigate Christianity’s claims. This hard-nose Cold-Case detective used the same criteria that he had used to investigate an unsolved murder to investigate Christianity: what is the truth?


James (Jim) Warner Wallace (known as J. Warner Wallace) investigated the claims of Christianity and became convinced that it was true. This is despite the popular opinion that you could never tell which religion was true or not – or even the nonsensical notion that all religions are equally true! 
Religious claims are just like any other truth claims. They can be tested. Since every religion makes claims which are contradictory to each other, they cannot all be true. To determine which one is true may not be important to you now, but, I guarantee you, in your final seconds of life it will matter a lot to you (because dying has a powerful way of rearranging a person’s priorities!)!


All truth claims can be verified in some way – but not necessarily in the same way. For example, historic claims can be verified by eye-witness accounts or even by those who have interrogated eye-witnesses. 
Truth claims can be tested as to whether they correspond to what we know intuitively, by experience, or by observation.
Truth claims, particularly experiential claims, can be put to the test. For example, when you doctor says, “Take this pill, it will make you feel better!” You can test this claim by taking the pill.
Therefore, when your body suddenly gets cold, your breathing becomes increasingly difficult, you lose your hearing because YOUR HEART IS POUNDING SO HARD, please REMEMBER THESE TWO THINGS:
1.  No matter what wrong you’ve done wrong, GOD offers you forgiveness for it all (because Jesus Christ took your penalty on the Cross).
2.  You can have all of your wrong forgiven forever by asking God to forgive you (because Jesus Christ took your penalty on the Cross).
This is based on what we know of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. In the Gospel of Luke, we have the account of Christ’s execution along with two capital-crime criminals.  
 ¶ Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
Luke 23:33
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
Luke 23:35
Luke 23:39 ¶ One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
Luke 23:40
Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 23:42
Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The central claim of Christianity is that every human being is a natural rebel against our Creator, God. Yet God offers us terms of peace if we will surrender to Him and accept the forgiveness He offers because Jesus the Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to earth and was born of a virgin girl some 2,000 years ago, and bore the penalty of our rebellion in His execution at the hands of the Romans. Even if this seems too incredible to you now, in your final few seconds of life on this earth, I guarantee you, your perspective on these things will change! And when it does, and you experience a hyper-awareness of your own rebellion against God, the above story tells us that even then – God can meet people at their death-beds and offer them His forgiveness! 
The central claim of Christianity is that every human being is a natural rebel against our Creator, God. Yet God offers us terms of peace if we will surrender to Him and accept the forgiveness He offers because Jesus the Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to earth and was born of a virgin girl some 2,000 years ago, and bore the penalty of our rebellion in His execution at the hands of the Romans. Even if this seems too incredible to you now, in your final few seconds of life on this earth, I guarantee you, your perspective on these things will change! And when it does, and you experience a hyper-awareness of your own rebellion against God, the above story tells us that even then - God can meet people at their death-beds and offer them His forgiveness! 
And in that moment, if you have never settled accounts with God, and you find that seconds seem like hours (which I believe is God’s grace toward every human being), I beg of you, receive His forgiveness by praying one simple prayer – “God, please forgive me!” Because how you respond to God in this life determines your standing before Him for eternity in the next!
Pastor Andrew

Friday, 22 June 2018


No one knows more about romance, intimacy and love. No one has ever loved as passionately like the one deservedly called the King of lovers. His methods are smooth, deliberate, and intentional. His wooing is calculated and done without ever rushing, pushing, or force. As with the best of lovers, the heart of the Lover-King belongs only to the one – the betrothed. For her part, it’s all a mystery why someone so rich, so charming, so good, would want her. This is all the more mysterious considering what her predicament was: kidnapped, held as a captive, guarded by vicious thugs. On hearing of her plight, the Lover-King risked life and limb to stage a daring rescue. There was much blood shed in the rescue, more than the damsel would ever know. When delivered out of harm’s way, the King of Lovers showed her great kindness. Initially the gifts were nice new clothes, then accompanying jewellery, then flowers, meals, strolls together. Her abused and weary heart began to trust again to increasing degrees of vulnerability when her Lover-King was there. As she opened her heart to this King of lovers the more she was seen as deeply beautiful. 
¶ My beloved is mine, and I am his;
Song of Songs 2:16



The greatest lover who has ever graced this planet was a man who never married and was celibate for life. Yet, this man was the most fulfilled person of all time and enjoyed the greatest riches of human flourishing. Women loved to be in His presence, and never felt safer than when they were. Men respected Him and wanted to be like Him. Children followed Him and shared laughs with Him when they did. He was a man who knew He was loved and knew better than anybody how to really love. 
Yet the world had never seen such love. Neither did it know how to respond. Such love was foreign to all who met Him. Compared to what they had been calling ‘love’ His love was sweet, pure, selfless, gentle, and generous. All this made the following fact all the more remarkable: He never once said, ‘I love you.’ He never needed to. People who encountered it knew it! 
His love was not unbridled passion – not every lust or whim or desire would be met with a ‘yes’, for, as those who watched Him closely knew, His love was was truer than these imposters. Love’s “yes” must be protected by a battalion  of “no’s”! Only by saying “no” to the masquerading imposters of lust, whim, and desire, can love’s ‘yes’ be protected.
¶ The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.
Luke 16:14
The ultimate discovery for many was that what they thought was love was merely instant gratification masquerading as love which then came at a price they later found out to be unimaginably high. 


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35
Love can only be when there is a deep respect for its sacredness. Jesus, the King of passionate lovers, has shown us that there is more to life that is sacred than perhaps we realise. We human beings are endowed with the unique ability to express the image of God to the world in a way that animals cannot, nature cannot, and those who do not know Him cannot. Thus, the King of lovers taught that love only has meaning when it is treated as being sacred (something dedicated to God for His glory). This is why the highest expression of physical love, sexual intimacy, demands the highest commitment first – a covenant of marriage made before the Holy God (Hebrews 13:4).
The rescued girl in the opening paragraph is an apt metaphor for all those who have been rescued from the devilish kidnapping forces of the Enemy who has bewitched many into thinking the heinous lie that love is grounded in fulfilling their basest desires. Jesus Christ, the Lover-King literally risked life and limb to rescue us. Once rescued, He has showered us with lavish acts of kindness and generous bounty. In return He wants nothing but deserve everything. And for those whose hearts have been revolutionised by His wondrous love, loving Him in return is the most beautiful privilege we could ever receive.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  ¶ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:3537
 He still woos hearts. He still rescues the kidnapped. He still lavishes His generosity upon the underserving. Oh what love! “So amazing – so divine! Demands my soul – demands my all!”
Your pastor,
Andrew Corbett

Friday, 15 June 2018



hydra-coinIt is a myth that complex problems require complex solutions! The problem with complex problems is when they involve you. Because when they do it feels like you are trying to deal with unrelated problem after unrelated problem while already dealing with a problem that you already just can’t deal with. This is why getting another perspective is often the first step to coming out of the fog. But someone might disagree with this because they feel they do have a different perspective of the most complex problems they are trying to solve because they are not ones not of their own making. This is especially the case when such complexities involve family or people we deeply care about. I’d like to offer some advice.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Romans 16:20


Hercules fighting HydraIn Greek Mythology, the giant serpent-like creature, Hydra, with its nine heads, had defeated all-comers. Then Hercules came along. Each of Hydra’s other opponents had been distracted by its multiple heads. Hercules, however, knew that if he attacked the heart of Hydra, he could defeat it. This is a great illustration of how to begin tackling what appears to be complex problems: nine-headed problems don’t always need nine solutions – often they can be solved with just one solution
For example, a business may be losing customers, struggling with cash-flow pressure, trying to manage demotivated staff, and complying with regulatory authorities. By tackling the heart of the problem, each of these symptoms of the real problem could be solved. Sometimes the real problem lies with the owner of the business neglecting their family which sets off a chain of events including grumpiness when they get to work which staff interpret as ungraciousness which causes them to treat customers poorly, which leads to a loss of sales which leads to a cash-flow crises. Jesus had something to say to such business-people about where they should focus their efforts.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [that you are worrying about] will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31


stop-assumptionising01Complex problems always involve other people. These people could be the family members, friends, staff, colleagues, or leaders. People have a knack for letting others down. They also have a knack for letting themselves down! When trying to help someone else, don’t assume that they are already doing the basics. The thing I have noticed about great problem solvers who tackle complex problems is that they start with the basics. For example, up until the late 1800s it was common for pregnant women to die during child-birth. Medical scientists worked on all kinds of solutions with no success. The problem continued into the twentieth century until someone read a paper which Blaise Pascal had written addressing the problem. Pascal theorised that something we now call bacteria could be transmitted via unwashed hands into a skin breach on another person which could variously result in that person being infected by that bacteria. This bacterial infection, Pascal theorised, was the cause of so many women dying during child-birth. If doctors and assisting nurses would only wash their hands with soap and warm water, much the stop-Assumptionising03problem could be averted, Pascal claimed. But his ideas were rejected and mocked by the medical establishment. Not until someone read his paper in the early 20th century and decided to put his ideas to the test was Pascal proved right! From that point the numbers of women dying during child-birth plummeted! This complex problem was unnecessarily prolonged because people made some bad assumptions. Someone may be encountering financial pressure. Don’t assume that they have curbed their spending. Don’t assume that they are tithing (something that even secular financial gurus like Robert Kiyosaki strongly advice). Don’t assume they are exercising delayed-gratification.
¶ Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
Psalm 146:3


owning-anothers-problemsPeople with complex problems love to share ownership of their problems – and if you’ll let them, they’ll even transfer ownership of their problems to you! Parents of adult children are especially vulnerable to this illicit transfer of problem ownership.
They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Matthew 23:4
Of course, there are times when we can practically help someone dealing with a problem which is beyond them. God commands us to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) – not own one another’s burdens. 


We are meant to live dependently and inter-dependently. We are meant to be dependent upon God. We look to Him in prayer for help with each problem we face.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Psalm 94:19
Not matter how complex our difficulties, He invites us to cast our cares onto Him – which may require us humbling ourselves.
¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
First Peter 5:6-7
Even if you feel that the problems you are facing are too complex, there is probably a simple solution. This will require facing reality and forsaking assumptions. It will mean an end to blaming and the beginning to praying. Because complex problems really do not always need complex solutions.

Father God,
Help me.
Give the insight I need to see how I can get through this, or help the ones I love to get through their problems.
Please give me wisdom and strength to walk and work with You.
May I become more like Christ to those around me and less like the person I’ve been.
I ask this in the Name of Your Only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ,

Pastor Andrew

Saturday, 9 June 2018


I have two life prayers. One of them is, “Lord help me to hear Your voice!” As with most of my interactions with the Creator of the Universe, His answers come in surprising forms. Having just returned from several weeks annual leave, I had more than my usual time to think and pray. There were several reasons why I needed to do this, but the main one was – I am deeply concerned about the Church in Tasmania. There are many churches in our beautiful State. We are blessed to have some exemplary followers of Christ in some very strategic positions of influence in Academia, Commerce, Politics, Media, and the Arts. But my heart is heavy with a strong sense that we are not yet where we need to be and that Tasmania is yet to see the kind of church that Christ intends for our State. With all this on my heart, I wanted to use my annual leave to ask the Creator of molecules to speak to me about this.
¶ Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God, and that to You,
O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
Psalm 62:11-12


FA18-fighter-jetKim and I used to live near an Airforce Base on the outskirts of Melbourne. We had pilots and RAAF support crew attend the church where we served. We became quite acquainted with one former fighter-pilot who was a highly skilled professional military aviator. He was required to undertake continual professional development and repeated evaluations in order to maintain his flying credentials. He could do what very few could. What he did everyday was extraordinary.  
Very few of us would even know how to get into an F/A 18A Super Hornet, let alone get it to 25,000 feet and Mach III! It takes extraordinary ability to do so – which only a relative handful of elite pilots can do. For the rest of us ordinary folk, we can admire these pilots, but not realistically aspire to do what they do (unless we had several years of intense training!). But we can all aspire to do what is ordinary. Perhaps this is why soccer draws more crowds than Air Races.  
Matt Hall of Australia in action during the Red Bull Air Race 2nd Training Day on May 7, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. // Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race // P-20120217-74058 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //
¶ For consider your calling, brothers:
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
First Corinthians 1:26
The most ordinary things in life are the most popular. These ordinary things are the things that anybody can do. This is why games like soccer are so popular because anybody can kick a ball. (I was reminded of this when watching Ebony as a 14 year old play in a girls’ soccer team.) Soccer doesn’t really need anything fancy. That’s why it’s played on the streets of Barcelona, the plains of the Kalahari, and the pack-ice of Greenland. Its elements are few: a pitch, goals, and a ball. Its rules are simple: don’t touch the ball with your hands; keep the ball within the pitch; don’t try and kick a goal when one of your team-mates are closer to the goal than you.
As simple as soccer and other ‘ordinary’ games are, there are some players of these sports who have developed into extraordinary players. For example, not many can do what Portuguese forward, Cristiano Ronaldo can do. He plays for Rëâl Madrid and earns $29,500,000 a year. While any of us can kick a roundish air-filled piece of leather, not many of us can bend it like Beckham!
A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 10:4
The most popular activities in life are all ‘ordinary’. The most popular TV shows are all about ordinary things – cooking, home renovations, fishing, and the like – even the recent royal wedding was really about two people doing something that any ordinary couple could do. The most popular YouTube clips celebrate the ordinary – tickling kittens, singing a song, opening a box. The most popular blogs discuss ordinary subjects – clothes, cooking, parenting, make-up. 
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17
It seems that God delights in using ordinary. There is something very noble about the ordinary. Under the Older Covenant, the Creator of water decreed that certain people should be set aside to do work that was not ordinary. When performing their duties, they were not to wear ordinary clothes. These were the priests. But under the Newer Covenant, the prophet Zechariah declared that God would take the ordinary – like, pots and pans used in the kitchen for making family meals – and make them reminders of His holiness. 
¶ And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
Zechariah 14:20-21


The Creator of pumpkins also delights in transforming the ordinary into something, or someone, extraordinary. Not that the ordinary is replaced with the extraordinary, because the ordinary is done with a certain excellence. For example, Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and had some very ordinary tasks to do. But God put a desire in Joseph’s heart to do more than the minimum.
The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.
Genesis 39:2-4
The same could be said of Daniel. He was deported to Babylon when his home town of Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Even as a young man he had a mind that everything he did was an act of worship to God which led him to try harder at everything he did so that he could honour the Creator of lions.
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Daniel 6:3
Those who draw near to God begin to have a desire to honour God with all of their ordinary activities. They begin to see that even the ordinary things they do which are common to us all – cooking, cleaning, serving – can be done in a way that goes beyond the usual minimum effort. 
Do you see a man skillful in his work?He will stand before kings;he will not stand before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29
The things we do as a church are all ordinary: talking, sharing, eating, praying, teaching, caring. The things we do when we meet as a church are also ordinary: singing, speaking, praying, reading, serving, feeding. The place we meet together in on a Sunday is also ordinary: walls, floor, ceiling, roof, sound system, video screen. The people who minister within our church and on a Sunday are all ordinary. But while I was taking some annual leave I was introduced to some people who also did ordinary things – cook, bake, serve – but didn’t just offer the minimum. These people each wondered how they could do their ordinary things better. Let me introduce you to one of these people. His name is Jordi. He was born in Spain. Before he was born, his parents bought a little run down café in Girona. His two older brothers developed a love for cooking and became chefs. When they took over the family business they transformed the café into a restaurant and renamed it, El Celler de Can Roca. It has been awarded 3 Michelin Stars. Jordi didn’t care for cooking, the restaurant, or even work for that matter, but his much older brothers always assumed that he too would work in the family business. As a teenager, Jordi began waitering in the restaurant after school. He loved going to parties and nightclubs but soon realised that being waiter was a lot more work than he had bargained for – especially when it was the waiters who were the last to leave because they had to clean up the restaurant after it closed. As he was cleaning up, he noticed that the chefs were the first staff to leave the restaurant. This is when he told his brothers that he wanted to be a chef (not because he had any interest in cooking, but so that he could knock-off work earlier!). 
Jordi’s brothers decided to give him a go in the kitchen. Their relationship with their little brother (there was a 14 year age difference) was always strained. Jordi was born with an unusually large nose. He was picked on at school and at home for the size of his nose. As a young adult, he contracted laryngitis which left his voice-box permanently damaged. He can now only speak in a whisper. His brothers became increasingly frustrated with Jordi after they put him in the kitchen. His work was poor. He would sometimes leave without finishing a customer’s order. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get their nightclubbing little brother to show any care about cooking or the restaurant. The English Pastry Chef at the restaurant asked if he could apprentice Jordi. The brothers agreed. His apprenticing of Jordi was harsh. Jordi wasn’t used to being spoken to like that. He soon discovered that this Pasty (Dessert) Chef really cared about what he was doing. After a months of working alongside this chef Jordi began to change. He began to care. He began to see that dessert making wasn’t just about food. Then the unimaginable happened! The English Pastry Chef was involved in a terrible accident where he broke both legs, his arms, and his back! That night Jordi had to make the desserts. By his own admission, what he serves customers that night was terrible. He was embarrassed. What eventuated was a quest by Jordi to learn everything he could about ice-cream. He took this knowledge and began experimenting with dishes. The result? Forty-year-old Jordi Roca is now the best Pastry Chef in the world having been awarded the international honour in 2014.

Roca_Jordi2What Jordi Roca does with desserts is remarkable. It is literally, extraordinary. As I watched Jordi’s story I couldn’t help but realise that God was answering my prayer for insight. If someone could care that much about desserts, how much more should we care about the glory of God revealed through His church? What we do as followers of Christ can also become extraordinary – not that what we do is extraordinary – but the way we do the ordinary can become extraordinary. It doesn’t involve much. It’s just a matter of going beyond the minimum. It simply reflects care, and, ultimately, worship of God. Tasmania is yet to experience such a church where a group of ordinary people like us do ordinary things with extraordinary care and effort. Would you please pray for me to have the wisdom, strength, and ability to lead such a church here in Legana?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Colossians 3:23
Pastor Andrew