Friday, 30 November 2018



Perhaps more so around this time of year, life seems to get busy. There are time pressures, the financial pressures of Christmas, the relationship pressures of catching up with family we haven’t seen enough of through the year, the shopping that needs to be done, the deadlines, and the disciplines that fall through these cracks. But it doesn’t just have to be the end of year silly season when we get distracted and even a little disorientated. But if what Christ said was right, there is coming a day when none of this will matter anymore. 
 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day.
John 6:39
busy-peopleJesus talked about a last day. This will be the day when everyone’s distractions from what ultimately matters will be over. It will be the day when those who have fought through the distractions of life’s pressures and invested their lives into eternity, will be welcomed into eternal bliss with the One who fills it. 
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:40
Jesus also described this present time as being a series of devastating distractions which can ‘choke’ the life out of a person. 
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Matthew 13:22
crowded_streetAccording to Jesus, life’s goal was not the accumulation of stuff, the attainment of achievements, the biggest bank balance, the highest acclaim. Rather, life’s point was to know and enjoy God. 
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3
After Saul of Tarsus went from being religious to encountering Christ and becoming His follower, he wrote to the Philippians that he now made it his life goal to know Christ – not just in an intellectual way, but in a deeply intimate way. 
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death,
Philippians 3:10
This pursuit by Paul had already cost him dearly. He tells the Corinthians that he had been whipped, beaten, flogged, slandered, and humiliated in the course of his pursuit of following Christ. Why was Paul prepared to endure this? Because a day was coming when none of these difficulties and distractions would matter anymore.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14
What enabled Paul to forget what he had gone through and look forward to what lay ahead? Precisely what lay ahead for him! When the last day arrives, and all of humanity stands before the royally seated Christ, eternal judgment will begin. On that last day, those who have followed Christ into eternity will all appear before Him and be eternally rewarded, they will come to know Christ and the Father with the fulness of human satisfaction for all eternity. In that day, the things that caused us worry in this life will not even rate a moment’s reflection!
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
First Corinthians 2:9
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4
But for those who reject the Father’s offer of Christ’s sacrificial forgiveness, that day will be like an eternal ‘Ground Hog’ daywhere they will be given what they want – an eternal life without God – and the anguish that comes from the bitter regret of wasting their days on earth on things that ultimately didn’t matter for eternity.
The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
John 12:48
The next time you’re feeling flustered and life’s distractions have caused you to ignore the spiritual disciplines that build your eternal reward, remember, a day is coming when none of these distractions, deadlines, or detours will matter anymore.  This is why taking time out with your family each Sunday to come together as the church is an investment of your time and heart which reaps dividends for your soul now, but especially for eternity.
¶ “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 
Andrew Corbett

Thursday, 22 November 2018


So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.
First Samuel 30:9-10
How do you see the role of our church? For many, church is a place where worship, reflection, teaching, and prayers happen each Sunday morning. For some, church is a community of people who share common beliefs and values. For others, church is a mission from which resources are collected and stewarded to evangelise. Sadly, for a great many people, church is seen as an outdated irrelevant institution made up largely of elderly people who have not been scientifically enlightened – or worse still – an institution of hypocrites who abuse their positions to hurt others. Whatever your view of the role of our church, I want to present to you a compelling vision of a church that is broader, further, brighter, and higher.


I was in my early teens when I sensed a call to be a preacher. I was 18, in my final year of High School, when I approached my pastor, Joe Bowes, and shared with him that I sensed the call to full-time ministry. His sage advice to me was to get a job, experience what working with others was like, and begin studying for ministry at the same time. This I did. After Kim and I were married, I was credentialed by the Assemblies of God as a Youth Pastor while continuing to work a day job. I was then appointed as an assistant pastor. I then had the opportunity to go and pioneer a church not far from the CBD of Melbourne.
At the time, I was one of hundreds of church planters within the Assemblies of God. Our mission was relatively simple. Gather a community of disciples who could make disciples largely by conducting Sunday meetings which would be attractive. In this context, ministry and serving was what happened on a Sunday in the church meeting. It any pioneer pastor’s hope that as many of their fledgling congregation as possible will get involved in helping make the Sunday services work. If you ever ask a pioneer pastor what their ‘vision’ is, they will tell you (and I should know) it is about what their church will do and become. This is what I consider to be a youthful vision for a church. It’s youthful because it reflects the focus and enthusiasm of the pastor, and ‘youthful’ is a good description of a fledgling church.


Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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 4:15-16
tantrum-toddlerIt is every parent’s hope that their children will not just age, but grow up. Often it’s the very thing needed for this to happen that many parents today want to prevent their children from experiencing. I’d heard of ‘helicopter parenting’ where a parent will ‘hover’ close by their children to rescue them from any trouble or problems they might encounter, but I hadn’t until recently heard of ‘lawnmower parenting’ where the parent tries to remove any trouble or problem from their child’s life before they encounter it. But guess what helps a child to grow up? It’s the same thing that helped you to grow up. Yes, that’s right. It’s having to deal with troubles and problems!
Last Sunday night during our testimonies time, Ross shared about a season of pain that he and his wife had experienced. If I could paraphrase what he said as I heard him testify that this pain deepened their relationship and obviously gave them great empathy for others, I might put it this way- Pain can be a gift from God
Over the years I’ve been surprised by who has also said something similar. I’ve heard it from people who have experienced loss, cancer, betrayal, divorce, and trauma. Each of these people have experienced something redemptive (“God brings good out of something bad”) from their pain.
20thcs_lewis“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
C.S. Lewis

As a child learns that pain is an inevitable part of life, and they learn to deal with it – and even eventually see it as a gift from God, they grow and mature. I suspect that it is much the same for a church to grow and mature. It too has to experience pain. It too has to learn how to deal with pain. Only then can a church truly have the kind of compassion for those who are hurting and are in pain. Or, to put it the way the Apostle Paul put it, if we want to comfort the hurting we must have experienced God’s comfort in the midst of our affliction.
¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Second Corinthians 1:3-6

The church that goes into denial about its pain, loss, betrayal, will be hard pressed to comfort the hurting, help the distressed, heal the broken or save the lost. The church that avoids the pain of conflict and necessary confrontation is the church that will be hard pressed to help those it is ministering to whose relationships have broken down.
There’s something else that every parent also wants for their children so that they can grow up. When children are little, they need discipline from their parents. This discipline forms within them their guiding principles for how they treat others, how they carry responsibility, and how life’s choices have consequences. As the child accepts this discipline as good and right they begin to adopt it as part of their self-discipline. This means that even when no-one is telling them to bear their responsibilities, they tell themselves! It also means that when given the choice to do wrong, they tell themselves to avoid the wrong and do the right thing – even when no-one is watching.
Similarly, the church that seeks to grow up is going to be the church that is disciplined and self-disciplined.


My opening text of Scripture beautifully illustrates the difference between childish and mature. David, a young man in his twenties, has just returned from an arduous battle to find that the Amalekites have kidnapped the women and children of his men who have just fought along side him. They are already exhausted. Some of these warriors are so exhausted they cannot ride into the night to fight another battle – even to rescue their own wives and children. The men are tired and now vying for David’s head because they hold him responsible! 
In an episode that could have gone horribly wrong, David shows great maturity and exhibits the very traits that we have just been discussing that transition a child into an adult. David appeals to his men to come with him into the night on this rescue mission to get their wives and children (and bounty) returned. Some of his warriors ride on with him. Some stay with the baggage they leave behind. David’s mission was eventually successful. But some of the men who returned with him scorned the men who stayed behind with the baggage.
David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, and said, “This is David’s spoil.”
¶ Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.
First Samuel 30:18-25

What the men who returned from rescuing their families may not have appreciated is that these two hundred men who remained behind with their baggage were the very men who had fought alongside them in their last battle – and quite possibly helped to preserve their lives. Secondly, by leaving their additional baggage behind to go off after the Amalekites their lighter load meant they were quicker and more agile – which would have contributed to their decisive victory.
There is a principle here for a mature church. God calls some people into the front-lines where the battle is fiercest, and some He calls to ‘mind their baggage’. 


A grown-up church has a broader, bigger, brighter, further, higher vision of life and ministry. In this kind of church there will be those whose ministry has demanded that they ‘battle’ from Monday to Friday. They come into church on Sunday battle-weary. They are tired. Their responsibilities through the week are a heavy burden. Their self-disciplines require of them great concentration. The kinds of challenges they face are challenges that very few share. They are leaders of industry, commerce, education, media, justice, government, the arts, and health-care. They come to a grown-up church not to be a ‘pew-warmer’ but to be refreshed, renewed, revitalised for the continuing of the battle Monday morning. For these ministers (and this is how a grown-up church views them) this is their time and space to be restored.
¶ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness or his name’s sake.
¶ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
¶ You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23:1-6
A grown-up church is better equipped to minister to the hurting, lost, lonely, confused, and broken. It does this each Sunday directly by ministering to such people – but it also does it indirectly by ministering strength, inspiration, encouragement, is far wider than ours on a Sunday. Therefore, each Sunday we want to welcome the hurting, lost, lonely, confused, ill, and broken into our church family – but we also want to make welcome the healers, the leaders, the employers, the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the teachers, the mothers and the fathers – whom Christ has called to minister – who are each a part of the solution our city desperately needs!
Pastor Andrew Corbett

Thursday, 15 November 2018


F.W. Boreham once famously wrote about the grand statue of the beckoning Christ towering over the landscape of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Boreham’s deep appreciation for art allowed him to see things that weren’t always obvious to most others. After he moved from Hobart to Melbourne, he would visit the National Art Gallery of Victoria and admire paintings and sculptures for hours. Many of these prolonged moments of admiration resulted in profound essays about things most of us never notice. The recently constructed towering statue of the Christ over Rio moved FWB deeply. For Dr. Boreham, its significance lay primarily in its placement. It is set atop Mount Cocovada. For those in Rio to observe it, they have to look up. For Boreham this was a reminder that we all too often get caught up in our here and now and fail to see that there is a greater world beyond our little worlds.
F.W. Boreham also reflected on how this statue beckons people to come to him – but not just to the top of Cocovada – but to follow Christ beyond the Mountain! 
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20
Down through the ages, many people have done just that. Christ’s beckoning has led them to go where the language was unfamiliar, the food was strange, the customs were foreign, and the fashion was uncomfortable. Consequently, they have had to learn a new language, acquire new tastes, adopt a new wardrobe, and try to learn the unwritten rules of being polite that every culture takes for granted and considers normal
The statue overlooking Rio, which measures thirty metres in height, and spans twenty-eight metres across its outstretched arms, is called ‘Christ The Redeemer‘. While the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Mount Cocovada to behold this artistic marvel read the large sign at the entrance detailing that the enormous statue was begun in 1922 and completed in 1931 and was the collaborative effort of three Brazilian artists, I wonder how many consider the enormity of its name? I guess for many the name sounds like a familiar church or just another one of those meaningless religious phrases? If this is the case, it is a tragic loss for these spectating visitors!
The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34:22


A redeemer rescues. A redeemer set captives free. A redeemer helps those who cannot help themselves. A redeemer pays back the debts of another. A redeemer defeats the adversaries who oppress others. A redeemer pays a price to redeem and asks nothing in return. And Christ is the Redeemer! 
¶ “You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
You have redeemed my life.
Lamentations 3:58
In a world where so many people are lost, hurting, trapped in lifestyles they hate, suffering abuses, being unfairly treated and taken advantage of, couldn’t this world do with some redeeming?
¶ You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
Second Timothy 3:10-11


Of course, you don’t have to go to Rio to get a sense for the beckoning heart of Christ to people beyond our comfort zone. All you have to do now is go out your front door! It seems that the people missionaries who once had to spend years preparing to go to in learning their languages, cultures and histories are being brought right to our front doors – or at least next door. Even in our church on any given Sunday, we are seeming people to Christ’s outstretched arms have beckoned us to embrace. These are not just the people from far-flung lands who look and speak so different to us, it is also the people who look and sound just like us and yet their lives are broken and hurting and betrayed. These are the people who all too often have found momentary glimpses of relief and escape from a tablet, a needle, a bottle or a bed.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36


Christ-the-Redeemer5-over-Rio_de_JaneiroThis Sunday, don’t be fooled by how many people come through our doors who look like they don’t need a Redeemer. And while we enter into worship, we might like to take a moment to lift our eyes up beyond the distractions of our own worlds and catch a glimpse of the actual Christ The Redeemer beckoning us to look beyond where we usually devote most of our attention, and to realise that those outstretched arms of His –  which so warmly embrace us and fill us with deep love, security, and acceptance – are the same arms that also beckon us to come up and look beyond where we’re at.
Pastor Andrew