Friday, 29 November 2019


Earlier this year I enrolled in an Ancient Civilisations Historycourse with Global University. The textbook is a 1kg, 1200+ page tome. Each chapter takes me about 5 hours to read. As I have grumbled my way through this course, Kim has continually interjected, “But you’re enjoying it, aren’t you!” And, as usual, she’s right. I am fascinated by history and particularly the history of past empires and the lessons to be learned from why an empire arose; and, why an empire collapsed. (I sit the final exam for this course next week.)  This leads me to reflect on the most common I answer I get from people when I ask them, “What was/is your least favourite subject at school?” So far, my polling sample is unanimous with their reply: History! Some schools incorporate their history subjects into Social Studies (“Sose”) which sounds to me like they are possibly trying to hide the foul-tasting medicine capsules inside a chocolate cake! Another associated question I often ask adults is in two parts: (i) Can you remember anything you learnt in school? (ii) Have you learnt more when you were at school, or since you left school? The answers I get to the first part of this two-part question are mixed, but the answer I get to the second part of the question is always the same: “I have learned way more things since I left school” This raises another question I then sometimes ask – How do you learn things? And that’s the question I’m going to ask you now.
¶ Make me to know Your ways, O LORD;
teach me Your paths.
Psalm 25:4
Andrew Corbett teaching at Launceston College
Andrew Corbett teaching at Launceston College
Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you this frustrating truth: Just because they’ve taught something, doesn’t necessarily mean their students have learned it! Experienced and gifted teachers come to realise that learninginvolves far more than the mere broadcasting of information (“chalk and talk”). It requires creativity, retelling, demonstrating, enquiring, piquing curiosity, energy, passion, and enthusiasm. It requires persistence!
It’s not just school teachers who experience the frustration of the disconnect between teaching and learning. The apostle Paul expressed the frustration that many pastors sometimes feel when it comes to teaching the way of Christ and some people never quite grasping it. Even spiritual truths have to be learned as well as taught.
For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
Second Timothy 3:6-7

Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God!
Let Your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
Psalm 143:10
In 1999 "Mr. Guitar", the aged Chet Atkins presented the young Tommy Emmanuel the highest award in guitar playing, 'C.G.P.' (Certified Guitar Player). Only four guitarists have received this honour.
In 1999 “Mr. Guitar”, the aged Chet Atkins presented the young Tommy Emmanuel the highest award in guitar playing, The ‘C.G.P.’ (Certified Guitar Player) Award. Only four guitarists have ever received this honour.
The cry of the learner is – “Teach me!” We hear this cry throughout the pages of Scripture. Sometimes a really talented person describes themself as “a self-taught” person. But this is rarely entirely accurate. What they mean is that they have not had formal lessons. Tommy Emmanuel, widely considered the world’s greatest acoustic guitarist, describes himself as a ‘self-taught guitarist’. But listen closer to his story and you soon discover that he actually had several guitar teachers along the way, including “Mr. Guitar” Chet Atkins. It’s not that Chet Atkins gave Tommy formal guitar lessons, it’s that when the very young Tommy first heard Chet play on the radio, he began to “learn from the best” [Watch]. The point to sharing this little story about Tommy Emmanuel is that a lot of the best learning does not happen in a class-room—it happens in a heart and mind hungry to learn. There is an old Oriental proverb that says, When the student is ready, the teacher will appear
Sometimes it is a crisis that prepares a student to be ready to learn. When Augusto Odone’s son, Lorenzo, was diagnosed with the wasting and incurable disease adrenoleukodystrophy (A.L.D.) at the age of 4, Mr and Mrs Odone were told to go home and watch their son slowly die. But Augusto Odone, an economist with the World Bank, refused to accept the doctors’ verdict for his son. Despite having no medical training, he undertook to learn everything that a doctor was required to learn. Then he went beyond this and studied pharmacy. But he couldn’t wait to do all this over the usual 10 years ordinarily required for medical/pharmacy degree/s, because his 4-year-old boy did not have 10 years! The result was that he developed an oil which he called Lorenzo’s Oil, which when applied to his son added another 26 years to the life of Lorenzo. It was this crisis which gave Augusto the desire to learn as much as he could about medicine and it was his son’s prognosis of imminent death that gave him the motivation to do it quickly. It’s amazing what you can learn when you have the right motivation. (In 1992 their story was turned into a movie, Lorenzo’s Oil, starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon).
And many peoples shall come, and say:“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways
and that we may walk in His paths.”For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2:3

If you’ve seen the Tom Hanks’ movie, Apollo 13, you might remember that this doomed space-craft had a problem (“Houston, we have a problem”). In order to solve the problem the astronauts have to do advanced calculus with a pencil and note-pad so that they could get the correct orbit trajectory for re-entry into earth’s atmosphere. If you did calculus back in your school days, and excluding any astronauts or engineers, how many of us could recall today how to do calculus? For the Apollo 13 astronauts, their motivation for learning and performing calculus was a matter of life and death. This was a powerful motivator for learning this otherwise irrelevant mathematics. This perhaps illustrates that we learn best at the time when we already see the need to know it.   
¶ Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1
The crises and struggles we inevitably face throughout life can become great seasons of learning. This is why, for many of us, our greatest periods of learning do not happen during our school years, but after we leave school and enter the-school-of-life.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:26
A disciple is a follower and learner. While Jesus healed many people, and performed many miracles, His main activity was teaching. When He taught, people commented that it was completely unlike anything they were used to. Jesus spoke about God as if He really knew what He was talking about. But He did more than that. He lived as if He knew God. This also clearly stunned His closest disciples. They saw an authenticity in Christ that they had never seen before. They wanted to learn from Christ. This was, and still is, the heart of a disciple—not just to learn from Christ, but to become like Christ.
¶ And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Matthew 7:28-29
To grow as a disciple of Christ involves continual learning which sometimes comes from unexpected and even surprising sources and circumstances. 

I’ve often heard people say that you can’t learn anything from a book. Whenever I hear this I think to myself, “They’re not reading the right books!” God’s Word is a book. He has ordained for us to learn an unfathomable amount from it. It would, though, be more accurate to say that books are not the only way we can learn. We also learn by watching and observing others. Some people excuse themselves from learning anything new by repeating the mythological statement, “I’m too old to anything new!” The truth often is that an older, experienced, person often makes the beststudent! We might think of the apostle Paul as a great example of this. He came to Christ later in life. So much of what he had been taught and came to believe about God, the Scriptures, and salvation was shown to be overshadowed by the full revelation of the New Covenant. He was humble enough, and hungry enough, to learn from anyone, even those younger than him. As he grew in Christ, he probably discovered what every experienced teacher comes to know: teaching is one of the best ways to learn something!
Do you want to learn more about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Do you want to learn more about the Bible, the written revelation of God to the world? I do. It is one of my most oft repeated prayers – Oh God, teach me. Perhaps you could make it yours? In the meantime, let’s teach what we know to someone else—because it’s one of the best ways for us to learn something.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16
Pastor Andrew.

Friday, 22 November 2019


If it’s possible to have a favourite chapter of the Bible then Romans chapter 8 is mine. I often think of it as the ‘Treasure Chest’ of Scripture because it is almost of the culmination of God’s revelation of redemption. But it is also confronts the believer with the reality of living in a world where God at times seems distant and life seems unfair. While Romans 8:28, which is perhaps (if I’m allowed to have one) my favourite Bible verse, sounds inspirational, in the context of Romans 8 it is meant as a consolation (or comfort) for the suffering and confused believer who is dealing with disappointment, pain, hurt, mistreatment, and loneliness. If we learn anything at all from Romans 8:20, it is that we live in a world where people hurt, and long for healing. And if we look a little closer at Romans 8 we can see that there is a type of healing that requires learning.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
Romans 8:20

All creation is subject to futility. ‘Futility’ is anything which seems “useless or pointless”. This would include: pain, disease, breakage, loss, decay, injury, malpractice, and the effects of failure (of either procedures or equipment). Futility can result from inclement weather, natural disasters, or inherited genetics. But the worst kind of futility is the kind that is completely avoidable and utterly unnecessary and which is caused by a person needlessly hurting or harming another person. While this kind of hurt may result in physical pain, it nearly always results in an invisible pain called trauma. Trauma causes someone to continually live in the moment of their emotional/soul pain. Pastor Andrew Brunson knows what trauma feels like. He was a missionary in Turkey, one of the world’s least evangelised countries, and had been serving there for over 20 years. Then the Turkish government arrested him on charges of espionage and imprisoned for two years but not before the threat of being imprisoned for life. He suffered greatly during his time in a crowded prison cell which he shared with over 20 ISIS members being held on terrorism charges. One year after his release, he still has trouble eating and sleeping. He was tested for Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder after struggling for months after his release, but was eventually diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress instead. 
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief.
Proverbs 14:13
Pastor Andrew Brunson (centre of the picture), missionary to Turkey, was imprisoned by the Turkish government for 2 years and released October 2018
This invisible pain impacts how a person thinks and ends up distorting their soul – which cripples them emotionally. Someone with a distorted soul can look ‘happy’ on the outside but be aching on the inside. Because of the trauma they are suffering, their soul may have become distorted with misplaced guilt — where, despite being the victim, they are made to guilty for the abuse they have suffered by their abuser(!); or, unreasonable regret cripples them psychologically (“If only I’d…”) – which causes them to live disconnected from others and often leads them to always be disappointed in people generally. Such hurting people often become depressed and bitter and engage in unreasonable blame-shifting. These unchecked symptoms of trauma then become a downward spiral.
Pastor Rick and Kay Warren
A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13
The good news for anyone suffering from the pain of trauma is that there is a road to recovery and that many of the road markers toward their healing are to be found in Romans 8. Just ask Kay Warren, the wife of mega-church pastor, Rick Warren. Thirty-four years after her sexual abuse as a 6-year old girl, the effects of the trauma she had suffered for so long could no longer be denied or ignored. It crippled her and nearly ruined her marriage to Rick. She, and Rick, underwent three double therapist sessions per week for a number of years before her healing began. It was then that the statement, “It’s not your fault!” finally sunk in. It was then that the Scriptures in Romans 8 describing Christ bearing our guilt and shame finally sunk in.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Romans 8:3234

It seems that most of the people Jesus healed were miraculously healed (that is, it could not have happened naturally) and that their healing was also instantaneous.
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Acts 10:38
Sometimes Jesus would heal people by touching them.
Then Jesus laid his hands on His eyes again; and He opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Mark 8:25
Sometimes Jesus would heal people by speaking to them.
Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.
Matthew 12:13
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. ¶ Now that day was the Sabbath.
John 5:8-9
Sometimes Jesus would heal people by looking at them as they looked at Him.
When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
Luke 13:12
But not all of Christ’s miracles of healing were instantaneous. In the odd account of one blind man, Jesus progressively healed this man from his blindness (Mark 8:22-25). There are several possible things we learn from this account which at least includes the possibility that God sometimes deems it necessary not to heal instantaneously, but to outwork His healing grace over time. 

Kay Warren describes the wound she experienced as a 6-year old being sexually molested as always being there. This is one of the traits of trauma. Unlike breaking an arm or leg, she said, where the cast comes off and the bone has been reset and healed, the wounds that inflict a person’s soul, such as the abuse she suffered, do not have a ‘cast’ that can come off to mark the time of its healing. This is a common and frustrating experience for those whose souls have been wounded. Just when they think they have “moved on”, something triggers the trauma and they spiral down again. For Kay Warren, this was very confusing and after Christian counselling and therapy she now describes her ‘healing’ as incomplete until the Resurrection. Some wounds leave painful scars. 
An understanding of the insights gained from Romans 8 about the kind of pain people suffer over a lifetime reveals several important truths that can help anyone who would welcome even the kind of ‘partial’ healing that Kay Warren has now experienced.

Misplaced and unrealistic expectations about healing can actually add to a sufferer’s pain. But from Romans 8 we can see that by learning its truths we can learn to be ‘healed’:
  1.  This world itself is wounded by sin and those afflicted by the hurt of sin will perpetuate this hurt in others (Rom. 8:20).
  2.  Christ by the Holy Spirit empathises and intercedes for those who hurt (Rom. 8:26-27).
  3.  God is able to redeem pain, hurt, and injury (Rom. 8:28).
  4.  In this life we can only ever experience partial and temporal healing—or ultimate healing will come in the Resurrection (Rom. 8:23).
  5.  We worship, serve, follow and emulate a Saviour who suffered (Rom. 8:29).
  6.  God’s love is outpoured on us even when we don’t receive the healing we long for in this life (Rom. 8:35-39).
As we continue to reach out to those in our world, we will increasingly be ministering to hurting, lost, lonely, wounded people. May God grant us the grace to minister His healing love to them.

-Pastor Andrew

Friday, 15 November 2019


I love tennis. I’ve been to Wimbledon several times. While I think there are many reasons why the Australian Open is the best run of any of the 4 Majors, Wimbledon is still my favourite. Each of the Majors are quite different, but the differences between the US Tennis Open and The Championships (Wimbledon) are stark. 
Firstly, the demeanour of the crowds. It’s common for gentlemen spectators attending The Championships to come wearing suits and ties, and ladies to attend in elegant summer frocks. The English crowds are relatively reserved and offer polite claps in appreciation of the players’ efforts. The New York crowds to the US Open are often rowdy and frequently asked to be silent by the umpire. Secondly the way the players are addressed. At the US Open, the players compete in the Men’s or Women’s tournament draws. At The Championships, the players enter the Ladies or Gentlemen tournament draws. I wonder how many realise the significant difference the two sets of designations? My wonderment is partly fuelled by the alarming rate of “suicides of despair” (a term which has recently been coined to describe the trend of suicide particularly among young men, and increasingly, now, among young women, who have expressed their despair at living a pointless life). My contribution to solving this crises is not unique or original. It involves giving young men and women a vision worthy of giving their entire lives to. It the vision of being a lady or a gentleman.    


It comes in several forms and depending on your stage of life might be put in the future interrogative or past perfect tenses. “What do you do?” To the young child it sounds like, “What would you like to do when you grow up?” To the college student it sounds like, “What kind of job are you looking for when you graduate?” To the middle-aged person it sounds like, “What do you for a living?” To the elderly it sounds like, “What did you used to do for a job?” This question in its various forms will be the second most asked question you will ever answer (after the polite and most common question, “How are you?”). While it’s an interesting question, it’s not the most important question should be asked or take the time to answer. A far more important question that should be asked more often—and even if it’s not, it still should be answered: “Who do you want to become?”
I want to encourage young women to answer this important with something that sounds like, “I want to become a lady” and I want to encourage young men to give an answer that sounds like, “I want to become a gentleman.” When we think of “a lady” we tend to think of how they present themselves – hair nicely dressed and wisped; an elegant evening dress; subtly adorned with exquisite jewellery, make-up done (without any indication of the time it took to apply); an petite clutch bag under one arm, and Italian leather high-heel fashion shoes on. 
When we think of a “gentleman” we tend to think of how they present themselves – a Saville Row tailored (forgive the tautology) wool suit; a cuff-linked tailored shirt; a Windsor knotted silk tie with matching pocket square; an Italian leather belt and matching black dress shoes; and a Swiss-made Roamer analogue wrist watch. We presume that such a man drives a leather-appointed late-model European car, has an apartment in the city and a weekend retreat on acreage in the country, and only flies at the front passenger section on a commercial plane when his private jet is being serviced.      


Our global village has a problem. We have an epidemic of despair-suicides. And alarmingly in some parts of the world this tragedy is preceded by unbelievable acts of mass violence largely committed by young men who then took their own lives. Below is a graphic of the (mass) shootings in America in 2017 alone (according to [each red dot represents the site of a shooting in 2017]. “America has been rocked by 46,695 shooting incidents so far this year [2017]. Of those, 11,686 resulted in death, and 23,717 were injured, according to figures from Gun Violence Archive. More than 540 of those injured or killed this year were children, and 2,439 were teenagers” (The Metro, Associated Newspapers Limited).

There have been more than 46,000 shooting incidents this year already (2017) (Picture: Read more: Twitter: | Facebook:
The term ‘despair suicide’ (also referred to as “death by despair”) was coined to describe how many of these young people are feeling about life’s purpose – or more particularly, life’s lack of purpose. It’s difficult to blame them for feeling this way when those they are supposed to look up to continually them that life is meaningless — we are just an accident of random unguided atoms which a long time ago clashed and eventually coalesced to form human beings — this life is all there is — when you die you’re dead because there is no after-life and you have no soul (that’s just silly unscientific superstition). This cultural narrative is a grand lie. Yet, rather than call-out this devilish deception, politicians play a blame-game by pointing the finger at violent video games, graphic and gratuitous movies, and a lack of better mental-health care. (It is more probable that these things are symptoms of despair rather than its cause.)
With such a serious problem—a problem that closely touches us here in Tasmania—it may sound odd that I am suggesting that a significant contribution to its solution is a fresh vision of what a lady and a gentleman really is, and, is worth committing your entire life toward achieving. 
The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined -CNN
The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined -CNN



An upper-class English magazine, A Country Life, recently ran an article on what makes a ‘gentleman’. Their list of 31 qualities of a gentleman included such things as “Can build a model of an English manor out of Lego® blocks”! This is nonsense. The definition of a lady and a gentleman comes at a time when culture creating a perfect-storm of greater despair for the coming generation with its nonsense that there is no such thing as “a man” or “a woman”. At a time when such similar nonsense was raging over the channel in France, as the French tore themselves apart over what became known as the French Revolution, the Irish Philosopher and English Parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, wrote, “This European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles; and were indeed the result of both combined: I mean the spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion” (Source).
What then is a lady or a gentleman? There are four essential ingredients to being a lady or a gentleman and none of them particularly involve Lego® or Italian fashion accessories.
1. Virtue – a commitment to excellence in character
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge
First Peter 1:5
2. Consideration – a commitment to consider and respect others
¶ We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Romans 15:1
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
First Thessalonians 5:14
3. Self-sacrificing Service – a commitment to contribute to, serve, protect, and help their community, especially the vulnerable 
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:33-40
4. A godly moral code – a commitment to an unchangeable objective set of moral standards  
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:4-5
Therefore, a lady is a virtuous, considerate, helpful, godly woman. 
Therefore, a gentleman is a virtuous, considerate, helpful, godly man. 


Any parent who seeks to raise their daughters to become young ladies, and their sons to become young gentlemen, has a real uphill battle of a challenge! We live in a culture of cognitive dissonance (holding at two ideas which are completely contradictory as both equally true) which makes raising ladies and gentlemen really difficult. Firstly, there is culture’s absurd idea that there is no longer any such thing as gender intrinsically linked to one’s biological sex. Then there is the push for gender equality in the workplace where campaigners point out that there is still a huge pay gap between men and women! (Notice how these two ideas are contradictory?) Secondly, there is the “#ME_TOO” movement where women who have been sexually abused by ‘powerful’ men are speaking up about their abuse and calling out these evil predators. But in the midst of this movement getting traction in the media and the courts, Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died, and was hailed as a champion of the “liberation of women”. (I hope the contradiction in cultural values is immediately apparent!) Added to this is the message that pornography sends to men — especially young men — about how to treat a woman! Pray for young parents—especially single mums with sons!!
 A protest group hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse on 8 July 2019 in New York City. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
A protest group hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse on 8 July 2019 in New York City. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
This cognitive dissonance was highlighted again for me last Sunday night after our evening church service when I came home from church and made my dinner and then watched 60Minutes which featured the story of sex trafficker and rampant abuser, Jeffrey Epstein. What he did to over a thousand vulnerable girls and young women was deplorable. But either during the ad-breaks, or shortly after, channel 9 featured their station promo for “Love Island Australia”! I spoke to a representative of channel 9 over the phone yesterday about this and I made the point that I would be stunned if next week’s mailbag didn’t highlight this cognitive dissonance (at Home Group last night I suggested that Peter Harvey might even come back from the dead to read this mail! #humour). 

The confusion for young would-be ladies and gentlemen runs deep and is vigorously promoted by Hollywood with female super-heroes who act like men, and inept dopey men who portrayed as cowards. This is why we need a grand—not a quaint—vision of what a lady and a gentleman actually looks like.


The fourth attribute of a true lady or gentleman is godliness. Godliness means live life by following Jesus’ way of seeing, treating, and caring for others as you continually seek God’s presence in your own life. And when we consider the first three traits of a lady or a gentleman, there is no greater example of virtue (moral excellence), consideration (compassion for others), self-sacrificing service, and moral purity, than God in the flesh—Jesus Christ. Every time we ‘sacrifice’ to meet together with each other on a Sunday, we are sending a powerful message of the importance of having our lives shaped by Jesus and His Word to this generation of young people. These two institutions working in harmony together—the family, and, the local church—are the only ones truly committed at providing the authentic solution to how we are going to help foster a generation of ladies and gentlemen where young men treat young ladies with respect and dignity and young ladies see their value in who God says they are rather than who Pinterest says they should be!
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. ¶ Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
First John 2:14-17
 -Pastor Andrew