Friday, 28 September 2018


What do ‘team’, ‘family’, and ‘church’, have in common? Their connection may not be immediately obvious. A team, such as a football team, is comprised of members who perform a task to achieve a common goal. Each of the players’ roles complements the other players and when coordinated together enables them to achieve far more than they could on their own. A family seems to be completely different. For starters, a team may only last for a season. A family lasts for a lifetime of decades. A team is connected by talent. A family is connected by biological bonds and the unconditional love that flows from that bond. Team composition necessarily has to change based on individual performances. Family composition isn’t based on performance – and may even be in spite of performance abilities. But what of a church? In many respects it is different altogether to a team and a family. Or is it?
¶ 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.
First Corinthians 12:12


American-football01The things that make for a strong team, also can make for a strong family – and a strong church. All three diverse involvements unite people. All three involve people fulfilling certain roles. All three require leadership. All three must have rules. All three need coaching and discipline. Even churches. Having these things in common makes teams, families, and churches more alike than we might initially appreciate. Each of us have something to learn about becoming a stronger team, family, or church, from each other.


But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
First Corinthians 11:3
team-coachI once heard the CEO of major international hotel chain describe how his faith in Christ and his understanding of Biblical leadership had helped to shape him, his company, and his senior staff. While many of his competitors had a view of leadership that was very hierarchical and authoritarian, this CEO saw that the Scriptures described leadership primarily as service. In this view, the leader, and those in their leadership structure, performed a function rather than merely holding an impressive job title. Seeing leadership in this light changes the way teams work. Coaches and captains become servants who work with their team rather than having their team for them. It also changes the way families work. Husbands and fathers become a servant to their wife and children. Their leadership seeks to ensure their family’s safety, provision, welfare, and nurture. (Some men see being a husband and a father as a position of power to make others do what they want. This is not Christ-like leadership.) And it changes the way a church views leadership. Rather than a church leader relishing in their position or title in order to garner the respect of those in their congregation, they strive to fulfil their position or title by using their appointment and gifts to help others. 
AFL-MITCHELLThe common ingredient of all successful teams, families, and churches, is servant-hearted leadership. The team leader wants to see their team members succeed. The husband and father in a family wants to see his wife wife and children flourish and succeed. A pastor and his leadership team wants to see those in their church thriving and achieving successes that they never did
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
First Corinthians 12:26


football-codesYou may be one of those people who has experience in all three involvements – a team, a family, and a church. If you are, then you’ll know what I’ve been talking about. If you’re even more fortunate to be a part of a successful team, a successful family and a successful church, then you’re doubly blessed. You will already know that your team needs your to do your part well. You will have also found that in your family, each member shares a part of the load for the household. And in church you will have come to know that when everyone does what they can, just as in a sporting team or family, you also have a better chance of achieving success. 
from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:16
NĂ¼rtingen, GermanyMuch to our Board’s frustration, taking leave is very difficult for me. Perhaps in a way that only a pastor can begin to understand, taking leave can actually be quite stressful for me. But, for the good of our church, so that we learn together what Christ meant by the pronouns ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘as one’, when referring to His followers, Kim and I are taking some leave. I writing this to you now, from just outside Stuttgart Germany in the beautiful town of NĂ¼rtingen. You won’t hear from me again until November. In the meantime, each Sunday service, you will see, hear and appreciate, just how deep our preaching ‘bench’ has now developed. In addition to this, each week, you’ll hear from one of our pastors who will be filling in for me to write these weekly pastoral epistles. I look forward to returning in November and meeting all the new people who have joined our church and found Christ. And hopefully along the way, they too will come to find the acceptance and love that all good teams, families and churches offer.
Your pastor,   
Andrew Corbett

Friday, 21 September 2018



In the gruesome movie series, The Godfather, there is a remarkable moment of redemption that I find deeply moving. Michael Corleone, the Godfather of the Mafia, has journeyed to the Vatican to settle a financial dispute with them. He is a man who is suppressing a lot of guilt and his tired, worn-out, failing body, betrays this fact. He tells the Cardinal Lamberto that a corrupt Archbishop has defrauded him. The Cardinal picks up a pebble from a fountain and says, “Look at this stone. It has been lying in the water for a very long time. But the water has not penetrated the stone.” The Cardinal then cracks the pebble. “Look!” he invites Michael Corleone, “Perfectly dry! The same thing has happened to men in Europe! For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity. But,” continues the Cardinal looking up to the sky, “Christ has not penetrated – Christ doesn’t live within them.” And for Michael Corleone, who has been carrying the guilt of a life of murdering innocent men, including his own brother, it’s all too much. But Cardinal Lamberto points out to the Mafia boss that there is no sin which Christ has not borne to lift the burden of guilt and shame from off the shoulders of weary sinners. I am particularly reminded of this scene as I prepare to preach in Europe next week. 

“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.”
Exodus 31:2-5
If hardened criminals who spend most of their lifetimes suppressing their consciences can turn to Christ and find forgiveness, there is hope for us all. There will be some, though, who cling to the false notion that they cannot be “spiritual” because they are more concerned with practical matters. I think this confuses two important aspects of life. Firstly, even under the Old Covenant’s division of laity and priestly class, there were those whom God anointed with the Spirit of God to carry very practical things, such as art and metal-work (Exo. 31:2-5). We think of the great Apostle Paul who took pride in his leather-working and tent-making trade (Acts 18:3). I hardly think anyone would accuse the Apostle Paul of not being spiritual!
¶ 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 prophet Zechariah, in looking forward to the day when the New Covenant would become a reality, described as a day when even the common bells on horses would have “Holy to the LORD” inscribed on them, and every pot and pan in the city would similarly be regarded as an cause for worship of Lord. It’s a beautiful picture of how Christ has made a way for everyone who has surrendered their lives to Him can have immediate access into the holiness of God’s presence. This means that if you are a carpenter, your hammer and nail-gun are instruments of worship to God. If you a school teacher, your students are an occasion for your worship of God. If you are a retailer, your store displays, products, and cash registers, are all an occasion for you to worship and to enjoy God’s presence as you work. Being heavenly-minded does not have to mean that we are of no earthly good!
¶ If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2
There may be some who scoff at the possibility of anyone who has spent their entire life resisting Christ, finally surrendering to Him and experiencing the transforming joy that can only come from having sin, guilt and shame, washed away by the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. But, as I close, consider one of Australia’s most outspoken atheists who rose to the very top of political power in Australia. He attributes his atheism to being raised in home filled with domestic violence. But what he never told anyone, until a few weeks ago, was that he was having terrible doubts about his atheism. His biggest problem, as he tells it, was that met so many sincere believers in God whose lives demonstrated their conviction that the God of the Bible was present in their lives by the way they sacrificially cared for others. Eventually, it led Australia’s former Governor General, Mr Bill Hayden, to surrender to Christ, and was baptised in an Ipswich (Queensland) church the other week.

According to Mr Hayden, his conversion was largely provoked by how he saw the intersection of practical service and authentically deep spirituality. Let’s pray that more people will be similarly provoked.

Pastor Andrew Corbett

Friday, 14 September 2018



Kim Corbett doing Park Run in QLDWhat refreshes you? Chances are it’s also what wearies you. My wife likes going for an early morning jog. Each Saturday she also does ‘Park Run’ which is an organised five kilometre community run where volunteers record each runner’s times. She enjoys it, but after doing it, she is wearied by it. This kind of weariness is an indication, though, that she is getting stronger. There is another kind of weariness, however, which bears little resemblance to this kind which Kim find enjoyable. It’s the kind of weariness that is not just – or even mainly – physical. Rather, it is principally emotional
Liam Smith, left, falls to the mat after taking a body shot and being knocked out buy Canelo Alvarez fight during the ninth round of the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship boxing match at the stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero) ORG XMIT: TXMO104Both kinds of weariness can be illustrated from a boxing match. Both boxers throw the same number of punches. Both boxers burn the same number of kilojoules. Both boxers spend the same time on their feet in the ring. But at the end of the match, one boxer is exhausted, and the other is exuberant. The difference is what makes some people always feel weary while others seem to have boundless energy.
¶ Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25-27
The boxer throwing punches but not landing them is the one who is exhausted. This is a great illustration of how life can feel. We work hard and long, but never seem to ‘land a punch’. Disappointment can take its unseen toll. It’s as much an emotionaldrain as it is a physical drain. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
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 40:29-31
stronger-through-workingUnderstanding that weariness can feel physical but be rooted in our emotional strength, helps us to appreciate that our emotional strength is nearly always determined by our relational strength. When Isaiah the Prophet declared that the Lord gives power and strength to the faint and weary, he also revealed the Lord’s method. “They shall wait upon the Lord“. This is not waiting like as at a bus stop. Rather, it is waiting as like a waiter in a restaurant. This is coming together each Sunday is such a powerful source of strength for the follower of Christ. As we sow our time – and our family’s time, into the House of the Lord, we are waiting for the Lord and renewing our strength. Jesus described the same phenomena in Matthew 11.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30
Those who know me best know that I have battled weariness over the last few years. I have often thought of the Apostle Paul’s comments to the Corinthians that in his service for Christ and His Church he was often deprived of sleep; often having to toil long and hard; and often having to endure hardship (2Cor. 6:52Cor. 11:27). It was during this chapter of his life that Christ appeared to him and imparted strength to him.
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are My people.”
Acts 18:9 – 10
Paul was given strength to persist in his mission for Christ by being yoked to Christ. As a result, the Gospel would eventually conquer Europe. Being yoked to Christ is the best way to ‘land a punch’ (achieve a desired goal). I have found that seeking Christ’s strength involves putting His priorities first. When we seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33), by making church attendance a priority for our Sundays, we are sowing our lives into Christ and drawing on His strength. When seek to serve others in Christ’s Name, we are sowing our time and energy into Christ – and this is what we reap. It may counter-intuitive when you’re tired and time-pressured – to get your weary self into church on a Sunday when you could be catching up on work – but by doing this we are positioning our lives to be the beneficiaries of the Lord’s promise through Isaiah so that we can run and not grow weary!
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9
Your pastor, 

Thursday, 6 September 2018



He made darkness His covering,
His canopy around Him,
thick clouds dark with water.
Psalm 18:11
Gold Zirconium Eternity ringThere is something mysterious about the dark. It plays with our minds. It can shake our confidence. Some of you know I’ve had a rough few weeks. As I stated at last Sunday night’s leadership training, all of my trials have been what I referred to as “First World” problems. It started while in worship a few Sundays ago when someone accidentally threw my camera on the floor and smashed its professional (A.K.A. ‘expensive’) lens. I experienced a small anxiety attack but remembered how to practice Christian dark arts. A few days later, on a particularly freezing cold day, I was mid-sentence counselling a married couple in trouble when I noticed my recent eternity ring (A.K.A. ‘expensive’) was missing off of my pinky finger. In that moment of discovery I froze but then composed myself as I remembered how to practice Christian dark arts. Later that night when I returned to the church to look for it, I cracked a rib (A.K.A. ‘hurty’) while reaching into one of the large bins in a vain search for it. And to top it all off, I am now immobile with a spine and its complicit thoracolumbar facia (A.K.A. “ouchy”). Fortunately though, I am countering these assaults with Christian dark arts. 
¶ I love you, O LORD, my strength.
 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
 my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2


When I saw my beloved camera and its interchangeable lens hit the floor and fall apart, moments before Karen and I commenced our annual Q & A, I told myself, “The worship God in good times and hard times is not just a theory!” In that moment, I lifted my hands to focus on worshiping God and giving Him my attention. My worship in that moment was not dependent on who else was worshiping; how good the music was; who was worship leading; or whether I liked the song or not. 
David-weeps-in-intercessionPerhaps the most profound picture of the dark art of worship is seen in King David when his child to Bathsheba was very sickly. He pleaded to God in prayer and fasting with deeply emotive petitions to spare the life of the child. This went on for quite a while. Eventually, when the child died, palace servants came to his room and discussed among themselves how they could tell David – fearing that if he was this emotional while child at least lived, how distraught would he become if he knew that the child had died? Sensing that something was amiss, David called out to them asking whether the child had died. “Yes” came the reply. David then got up, washed his face, and went to the place of worship and there worshiped God. This is the dark art of worship when true worship of God is seen in those times when it is very dark for us. 
Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
Second Samuel 12:20


David’s checkered career was punctuated by worship. Psalm 18 is a profound account of how David had learned to worship in dark times. In this Psalm he expresses how he trusted God in the midst of deeply dark times. It was often in these times, he tells us in this song, that he came to learn that God was powerful, good, and awesome. He worshiped God because he knew who God was, and, he came to know who God was because he worshiped him – especially in the dark
¶ For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
Psalm 18:31-32
If we are to become the church God has called us to be, we must each practice the art of worshiping when it seems dark. Rather than prioritising our hurt, painful memory, disappointment, or offence, above our commitment to worship God in God’s House, we must learn to come together to worship God in these dark times. As we do, we may learn more about the God we are worshiping – just as David did.
Pastor Andrew.