Blog

How Much Should I Give to God?

How Much Should I Give?             This is a question that many of us would like a clear answer to. How much am I expected to give back to God? Whenever this question arises, someone will often chime in “we should give everything to God because He has given us everything.” Of course, this is true, but it fails to answer the more practical intentions of the original question. Generally when people ask “how much should I give?”, they are […]

Gospel Math

Gospel Math Mine, Mine, Mine   The world around us says that we deserve the money we earn and that the more money we earn, the happier we will be. After all, we have worked hard for our money and it seems only fair for us to be able to enjoy the fruit of our labor. But when we work hard, we can only do so with the abilities, opportunities and health that ultimately God supplies. If God had decided […]

The Rich Man’s Math Book

  The Rich Man’s Math Book Winning the Lottery            Have you ever considered what you would do if you won the lottery? When one views the various advertisements for the lottery, it appears that the lottery promises security, contentment and joy. Yet the reality is harshly different. Studies of lottery winners have shown that after winning, many struggle with depression and anxiety, have serious family issues, occasionally go bankrupt, and in some cases commit suicide. It seems that what […]

Restoring Sabbath Rest

  Restoring Sabbath Rest (Part 3) See Part 1:Sabbath Difficulties See Part 2: Sabbath Rest Laws and Intentionality             How do we practically take the necessary rest our bodies, minds and souls require? We have already addressed both the difficulties in taking sabbath time in our culture (see here) and the importance of rest that reaches all the way down into the soul (see here). It is important to work in this order because if these elements are not properly […]

Sabbath Rest

  Deep Rest (Part 2) See Part 1: Sabbath Difficulties             Have you ever considered why God rested after creating the world in Genesis 1-2? Did God really need to rest? Had He become tired through His work as we often do? Of course, if we think about it for a moment or two, we would quickly conclude that God is an infinite and all-powerful being. Therefore, He cannot get tired like us. Then why did He rest? The answer […]

Sabbath Difficulties

Sabbath Difficulties             Why is it so difficult to take time off in our day and age? While there are exceptions, it seems that many people in the Western World find it difficult to consistently take a sabbath. Now I know some will immediately say that the sabbath was for the Jewish people and we no longer have to follow all those Old Testament regulations. But I am not talking about taking every Saturday off as the Torah describes, rather, […]

Book Review: On Birth by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, ON BIRTH. New York: Penguin Random House Books, 2020. 97pp.             Timothy J. Keller (1950-     ) is a pastor, theologian and Christian Apologist. He is most well-known for having planted and pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and his work with City-to-City, a ministry that helps to strategically plant churches in major population centers around the world. As a New York Times best-selling author, each of his published books comes with a high level of expectation […]

Francis Schaeffer: A Man Committed to the Lordship of Christ (Part 2)

  Francis Schaeffer: A Man Committed to the Lordship of Christ (Part 2)             After Francis and Edith had moved to Switzerland, many individuals began to stop by and ask questions about faith, philosophy and the world. During this early time in Switzerland, Francis experienced a spiritual crisis that forced him to reexamine his Christianity. This new evaluation concerning both his position on orthodoxy as well as a consideration of the not-so-Christian form of Christianity which seemed to be prevalent […]

Francis Schaeffer: A Man Committed to the Lordship of Christ (Part 1)

Francis Schaeffer: A Man Committed to the Lordship of Christ (Part 1)             Born in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, Francis Schaeffer was the only child of working class parents. Schaeffer was not brought up in a strong Christian tradition, but rather voluntarily attended a liberal Presbyterian church. He eventually became unsatisfied with this arrangement because his questions were not receiving satisfactory answers.[1] During his high school years, he became an agnostic. He then began to read extensively in the […]

Book Review: On Marriage by Timothy & Kathy Keller

Timothy Keller, ON MARRIAGE. New York: Penguin Random House Books, 2020. 97pp.             Timothy J. Keller (1950-     ) is a pastor, theologian and Christian Apologist. He is most well-known for having planted and pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and his work with City-to-City, a ministry that helps to strategically plant churches in major population centers around the world. As a New York Times best-selling author, each of his published books comes with a high level of expectation […]

A Holy and Passionate Preacher

A Holy and Passionate Preacher             “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” These words were written in 1840, by Robert Murray McCheyne, pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Dundee, Scotland. Such words seemed to typify McCheyne who emphasized Christ-like holiness above all else in both his preaching and actions. Although many other characteristics and descriptions are often given about Christian […]

What is Love?

What is Love? Thoughts from I Corinthians 13            There is a great deal of talk in today’s society about love. We are immersed in talk of love, read books about it, watch shows about it, and long for it, but we rarely stop to think what love actually is. It seems that everyone wants to love and be loved, but very few have given any thought to how “love” is to be defined. Surely all the other questions about […]

Movie Review: The Circle

The Circle – Proposing a Much Better Solution             If I told you that there was a new movie coming out with Emma Watson & Tom Hanks and that was all you knew of the movie, would you be interested to watch it? This was the situation in which I found myself recently. I had enjoyed both actors in the past and thought that I could not go wrong. And I was almost correct. The dystopian movie The Circle was […]

In All of Life, Glorify God!

In All of Life, Glorify God! Thoughts From I Corinthians 10            The Bible continually makes clear that all people worship and serve something. In the ancient world, this would oftentimes be a god or goddess made from wood, stone or precious metals. While some still choose to worship such figures, many in the Western world also worship idols, but they simply cannot be bothered to make a little figurine to represent what they worship. For instance, many spend their […]

Who Owns Us?

Who Owns Us? Thoughts from I Corinthians 6            Although it goes against Western sensibilities in the present day, the Bible claims that all of us are owned by one of two masters. Using the servant/slave metaphor is common in the Bible in order to teach a spiritual reality. The reality is that all human beings serve something. Whatever we love most in life, that is the thing that receives our attention and worship. Everyone worships something, it is just […]

Book Review: 7 Myths About Singleness by Sam Allberry

Sam Allberry, 7 Myths about Singleness. Wheaton: Crossway, 2019. 172pp.             Sam is a pastor, speaker, and writer with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, as well as an editor for the Gospel Coalition. He is the author of a number of books, including Is God Anti-Gay? James For You; and Why Bother with Church? He is also a writer and co-founder for the website Living Out which provides stories and Christian resources for those who are same-sex attracted. Sam has been […]

Yes, God Does Care About our Sex Lives

Yes, God Does Care About our Sex Lives Thoughts from I Corinthians 5      There is a common idea today that the God of the Bible only cares about the well being of our spiritual parts, but that He cares not-at-all about our physical parts. This comes to the forefront in the Western World whenever sexuality is brought up. Many people seem to have the notion that God either has nothing to say about sex, or that we can ignore […]

Do Not Judge!

Judging Properly Thoughts from I Corinthians 4: There is a common misconception today that people should not judge one another. Not only is such a notion impossible to actually carry out, but it would also be foolish to try and carry it out. Just try to go through an entire day without making any judgments against another person. If you are a salesman, then you will not be able to sell anything, because doing so involves the judgment to know […]

Race – the Long War Against God

Race – The Long War Against God Preached by Nathan Muse 21 June 2020 Ephesians 2:11-22 Grace Church International – Kogarah, NSW Introduction Recently, around the world, the topics of Race, Racism and Injustice have once again been placed in the spotlight. Yet, if Christians are not careful, their desire to work against injustice may lead them to uncritically accept patterns of thought and action that directly violate God’s Word, the Bible, and the distinctly Christian worldview that Christians are […]

Book Review: The Prodigal Prophet by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy. New York: Viking, 2018. 230pp.   Timothy J. Keller (1950-     ) is a pastor, theologian and Christian Apologist. He is most well-known for having planted and pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and his work with City-to-City, a ministry that helps to strategically plant churches in major population centers around the world. As a New York Times best-selling author, each of his published books comes with […]

Why is the Church so Divided?

Why Is The Church So Divided? Thoughts from I Corinthians 3: Many people today ask why the church seems so lacking in unity or why there are so many divisions in the church. Sadly, many who ask these questions never look into the Bible for an answer. However, when we look into the Scriptures we find that God has much to say about divisions in the church, what causes them, and what can heal them. The Church Has Been Divided […]

Speaking Ability and Proclaiming Christ

Thoughts from I Corinthians 2: Speaking Ability and Proclaiming Christ             Paul reminds the Corinthians that when he was first among them, he did not preach the gospel news about Jesus with clever tactics of oratory. Because Corinth was historically a Greek city, and because the Greek philosophers and their descendants prized polished speaking ability, some of the Corinthians thought Paul should be using those clever forms of communication when preaching the good news about Jesus. This expectation had become […]

Book Review: ON DEATH by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, ON DEATH. New York: Penguin Random House Books, 2020. 97pp.             Timothy J. Keller (1950-     ) is a pastor, theologian and Christian Apologist. He is most well-known for having planted and pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and his work with City-to-City, a ministry that helps to strategically plant churches in major population centers around the world. As a New York Times best-selling author, each of his published books comes with a high level of expectation […]

God’s Foolishness is Wiser than Man’s Best Wisdom

Thoughts from I Corinthians 1: God’s Foolishness is Wiser than Man’s Best Wisdom Often I hear people, both those who would claim to be Christians and those who would claim otherwise, say that the God of the Bible seems so difficult to understand. They question God’s wisdom, assuming the God of the Bible exists, concerning how this world operates. Many can agree that God’s workings seem confusing at times and that God’s actions are certainly out of step with how […]

A Distracted People

A Distracted People? We live in an age of distraction. Constant, unyielding distraction that never gives us a moment’s rest. Our cell phones continually remind us of new messages and emails, Facebook and Twitter send us notifications multiple times per hour, and we are constantly being bombarded by media news and commercials. On average, people check their phones every 4.3 minutes all day long.[1] In many ways, this wealth of information is a blessing, but most people have still not […]

Mary Magdalene – A Picturesque Journey to an Undisclosed Location

Mary Magdalene – A Picturesque Journey to an Undisclosed Location             Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-screening of the new movie Mary Magdalene. I must admit that I did not have high expectations for the film since I expected it to be more non-historical and sexually-charged drivel like that of the Dan Brown novels. Thankfully, the film steered clear of such obvious historical inaccuracies and was a pleasant surprise in many ways. What follows […]

Respectful Love: The Christian Version of Tolerance – Part 2

Not long ago, the word ‘tolerance’ meant ‘bearing’ or ‘putting up with someone or something not especially liked’. Now, however, the word has been redefined to mean ‘all values, all beliefs, all lifestyles, all truth claims are equal’. Denying this logic brands a person as ‘intolerant’, and thus worthy of contempt. However, what the person means by saying, “You must be open to everything” is really, “You must be open to everything that I am open to, and anything that […]

Book Review: Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper

John Piper, Coronavirus and Christ. Wheaton: Crossway, 2020. 121pp.             John Piper is the founder and teacher of DesiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring God and Reading The Bible Supernaturally. This work is unique for “Pastor John”, as some call him, because it was written in a very short period of […]

Respectful Love: The Christian Version of Tolerance – Part I

An ancient maxim reads, “About matters of taste, there is no disputing,” while another advises, “About matters of truth, we should engage in dispute.”[1] These two sayings nicely capture the essence of the solution to the contemporary problem of tolerance and truth. On the one hand, we hear much in public discourse about the need for tolerance, usually presented as the non-judgmental acceptance of all perspectives. On the other hand, those who stand for truth are often branded as narrow-minded, […]

Book Review: Where is God in a Coronavirus World? by John Lennox

John C. Lennox, Where is God in a Coronavirus World? Denmark: The Good Book Company, 2020. 76pp.   John C. Lennox is the Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College; and Associate Fellow of the said Business School. He holds doctorates in mathematics, science and philosophy/theology. Outside of his many articles and writings within the field of mathematics, he has written most extensively on the relationship between science, religion, […]

Is the Bible Worth Reading Today?

It seems a bit odd in this day and age to read something as old as the Bible. It was written so long ago that many wonder how reading it in the twenty-first century could ever be of any benefit. But here are a few reasons why all people should consider reading the Bible. First, it is the most banned and burned book in history. If nothing else, sheer curiosity – as to why such a book would be so […]

Issue #198

One of the great things about church is that it is a mix of different people: from different cultures, with different personalities and interests, and at different stages of life. This creates a rich environment in which we build up and enhance one another with what God has taught us. At Grace International Congregation, there is still much to be done in becoming a multicultural community. But nonetheless, God has blessed us with a diverse range of people across the […]

Issue #197

Moses was a great leader in the history of Israel. He had led God’s people for many years, through some of the toughest times they had ever faced. God did many amazing and wonderful things through him. He was already an old man when he started leading Israel (80 years old!), and after a faithful ministry over 40 years, it was time to hand over the reins to Joshua, a man half his age. Though I am not quite half […]

Issue #196

I have had a marvelous four years serving here at Grace! What a joy it has been! How blessed I have been in being your pastor! There are so many precious memories that I take with me. So many precious brothers and sisters who have impacted my life! Thank you dear church family for being a most wonderful church family! How I will miss each one of you! As this is my last note to you, I thought that I […]

Issue #195

I have often thought how difficult it would be to live a life in blindness. I remember as a child that we used to play games where we were blindfolded and how we challenged each other to try and make our way through the house. I also remember when once caving, my helmet light went out and I found myself in total darkness. It was frightening as I did not know which way to move due to the unknown that […]

Issue #194

We are now up to our seventh character in our series, ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’, who has an encounter with Jesus … and what an encounter this one is! There are some undertones of Jesus calling of Levi (Matthew), the despicable tax collector, in this particular encounter. This time it is Zacchaeus, the little man who caused people many difficulties. He was the Chief Tax Collector of Jericho! Jesus certainly knows how to choose them! I remember hearing about […]

Issue #193

I was 18 years old when I accepted the gift of salvation and became a follower of Jesus. Within the year, I was teaching Sunday School and ever since then I have been serving the Lord in way or another. I spent 16 years being involved in Beach Missions in caravan parks and camping grounds on the NSW south coast. I have been a youth leader, scout leader, Bible study leader, missionary and pastor. I have shared the good news […]

Issue #192

I have been very touched over the past four weeks witnessing Jesus’ encounter with four very different but needy people. His demonstration of love, compassion and grace has been wonderful. God’s grace is ever so precious. It is hard to imagine all that God has done and continues to do for us on a daily basis let alone His amazing grace and mercy when it comes to our salvation. It is all of Him … and nothing of us! Yes, […]

Issue #191

I remember the line from the movie Braveheart where Mel Gibson stands before his troops as they face the might of the English army and cries out, “They may take away our lives, but they will never take our freedom!” And with this, his Scottish rag tag army fought the battle of their lives. Freedom is ever so special. It is worth fighting for! Take it away and gloom and doom sets in and an attitude of hopelessness envelopes us. […]

Issue #190

Forgiveness is ever so special particularly when someone forgives me for the hurt I may have caused them or for when I am less than sensitive to their needs or feelings. It sure is a weight off my mind when forgiveness comes my way and when relationships have been restored to normal. Forgiveness and grace is at the center of the Christian faith. Where would we be if we did not have a gracious and forgiving heavenly Father? We would […]

Issue #189

When I was a pastor at Central Baptist Church in George Street in the city it was always interesting to see who would come into worship on Sunday mornings and Friday evenings when we ran services. We had people coming from all over the world as they visited our beautiful city. I remember having a Prince come in one day. Other days we had NASSA Scientists, business executives and other high flyers. I was often daunted realizing that God had […]

Issue #188

In my downtime I have been reading a biography of a young 18 year old man who joined the navy to serve his country in the Second World War. His name is Darby Munro. He was from Byron Bay on the far north coast of NSW. He served as a ‘stoker’ in the engine room of HMAS Perth. It was only a matter of a few months before HMAS Perth was sunk and he was captured and became a Japanese […]

Issue #187

Confidence is defined in the Macquarie Dictionary to mean ‘full trust; belief in the trustworthiness or reliability of a person or thing; certitude or assured expectation’. As Christians, confidence is something we can have in great measure! We never need to lack confidence as we place our trust in God. We can fully trust Him with our lives. He is totally and utterly reliable to deliver on His word and what He has promised. We, therefore, can have incredible certitude […]

Issue #186

I really admire our Olympic sports people from across many of the various sporting activities. As I watch them perform in their various disciplines I rarely think of the dedication and faithfulness they have displayed in causing their selection into the Australian Olympic Team. We often do not hear of the ‘before dawn’ training sessions almost every day of the week. We do not hear of the injuries they receive during the times of training and preparation in the build […]

Issue #185

Happy Easter to my dear and special church family! How I love worshipping with you! I thank God for you and for the joy we share together in knowing who we are in Christ! How blessed we are in being assured of where we stand before God and what the future holds for each one of us! It is all because of Jesus and what He did 2017 years ago on the cross of Calvary and what He achieved three […]

Issue #184

I am not sure about you but I find Paul’s teaching a little complex at times when it comes to sin, law and righteousness. I realize very clearly that I have been justified by faith through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I also understand that I am no longer living in the ‘realm of Adam’ and that I now live in the ‘realm of grace’ or, more precisely, the ‘realm of Jesus’. In this realm, sin does not mix. […]

Issue #183

Sometimes I really struggle watching movies or television shows depicting slavery. I think back to Alex Haley’s sensational mini-series called ‘Roots’ from many years ago that follows the lifeline of an African slave called ‘Kunta Kinte’. It was a hugely popular series, but for me, I found the weekly exposure of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ being portrayed in this series completely devastating. The way in which people have been abused by ruthless godless people for millennia astounds me and disturbs […]

Issue #182

Sometimes when I read God’s word I can become quite overwhelmed. Often it is because of the wonder of God’s grace and His love to me. But on other occasions, when I read certain sections of Scripture, I find that living the Christian life is too hard and often just downright impossible. I quickly lose that spring in my step that goes with walking with the Lord. I begin to question my suitability of being a servant of the Lord. […]

The Gift of God through Jesus

This Sunday we look at two men – who represent us as humans. One is Adam and the other is Jesus. Both men were inaugurates, both men ushered in eras. However one was catastrophic and the other magnificent.

Issue #181

I trust by now that you are beginning to realize just how wonderful it is to know how blessed you are if you know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. After last Sunday, each one of us should really be praising God for the situation we are presently in. We have peace with God! We have a special access line to God where we can tap into Him at any moment of any day! We have inexplicable joy in our […]

Peace, Joy & Hope in God

Did you wake up this morning realizing just how wonderfully blessed you are in Christ? Too often we forget the many blessings and benefits we enjoy as Christians! This Sunday we will explore five benefits of being justified by faith and they are incredible.

Issue #180

I have been doing some reminiscing! I have been playing some old vinyl records … LPs … before CDs and MP3s! It is fun looking back over the years and touching base with music that once played a big part of earlier life. I grew up on folk music (and some classical). These songs mostly tried to get a message across. Many were poetic … some good, some bad and some were downright crazy! Such was the 70s! One song […]

The Faithfulness of God

This Sunday we continue our journey through Romans and are reminded of God’s faithfulness as we consider how we are justified by faith through what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Issue #179

In last Sunday’s sermon I gave the analogy of the trauma of being stuck in quicksand. I hope I didn’t cause you to have any nightmares of falling into quicksand! I shared with you that once stuck it is impossible to get out unless someone comes along and helps you. The harder you try to escape using your own strength the more trapped you become. I went on to suggest that this is the position we find ourselves in when […]

The Righteousness of God

This Sunday we come to a section in Romans which allows us to realize just how hopeless a position we are in when it comes to a righteous and holy God. However we will understand that God has overcome this is by crediting us with His righteousness.

Issue #178

Sometimes we find ourselves ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’! This is where we come to the ‘end of the road,’ so to speak, with no chance of turning around and heading in a new direction. Life is like this sometimes. And when these events come, we feel as though we are trapped with no place to go. Sometimes we become distraught as there is nothing we physically can do to escape the predicament we find ourselves in. […]

It is God Who Judges and No One is Excluded!

As Christians, it is very easy to be judgemental to others. Romans 2 reminds us of that judgement only belongs to God and that we all will face judgment no exceptions.

Issue #177

It is always special to hear someone say of another, “I have never heard him/her speak a bad word against anyone. They only speak good and kind words of others”. Sadly, there are not too many of these people around today! I think that the bulk humanity have become a critical and largely judgmental bunch always gossiping and putting down someone or other most of the time. James Evangelidis was a friend of mine from many years ago. He was […]

Issue #176

Are you like me and find it difficult to accept that you make mistakes? Do you, like me, try to make excuses for those mistakes? I think that we in Australia have made making excuses an ‘art form’! No one seems to take any responsibility for the not so good decisions we sometimes make … it is always someone else’s fault! Often we blame the government … often we blame our friends and family members … other times our work […]

Issue #175

Do you have a favourite book of the Bible? When I ask this question I am quite surprised to hear the answer … many acknowledge that Paul’s letter to the Romans is their favourite! Romans is quite a complex and sometimes troubling letter. It has much to say about sin. It is not an easy read. It has some strong teaching. It doesn’t mess around with some of the great truths of Scripture! And yet, if I have a favourite […]

Issue #174

Have you ever seen poverty up close and personal? I mean real poverty where people live in sub-human conditions and where their next meal is never assured. Have you ever witnessed people being downtrodden and at the mercy of ruthless landlords and businessmen? I witnessed this when I served as a missionary in Kenya. It is awful! There is no other word for it. It is sad beyond belief! People living in ramshackle buildings that are packed together like the […]

Issue #173

After reading this week’s Bible text, I am ever so glad that I will never have to face the realities of God’s wrath! It is a very depressing read indeed as we witness firsthand the suffering of people because turned His back on them. They had decided that they would rather live their lives with little or no regard to Him. So He gave them what they wanted … and more! They could live without Him but there was a […]

Issue #172

As we continue our investigation of this rather dour book of the Bible, Lamentations, I am reminded of how blessed we are to have a God like ours! Yes, He is righteous and yes, He is a just God. And yet, He is a God of great love and a God who is incredibly faithful! I turned my desk calendar over the other day and read these amazing words of encouragement from Isaiah … “Don’t be afraid, for I am […]

Issue #171

This past week has seen another release of secret Cabinet documents that have been sealed for the past 25 years. The documents reveal the discussions and decisions made by the Cabinet of the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating. One commentator has said that now knowing what was discussed, argued and considered by the Cabinet at that time, now brings greater understanding of why certain decisions were made that has greatly impacted our nation. I think at that time there was […]

Issue #170

It is a brand new year! When you are my age the years seem to roll by quicker than ever! Did you know that it has taken me almost a life time to sit down and study the book of Lamentations? One read of it, and I am thinking that I should have left it even longer to study! It is not an easy read to say the least. Lamentations comes from the word ‘lament’ and lament means crying, weeping […]

Issue #169

So we come to the end of our investigation of the parables of the kingdom. It has been interesting to say the least. One truth that I have been reminded again and again is that Jesus is coming back just as He has promised! Another truth that I have been reminded of is that I had best be ready and active in my service of my Lord! This is serious business! The last two parables, concerning the ten virgins and […]

Issue #168

I often hear Christians say that they are looking forward to meeting the Lord in heaven and hearing the words, “Well done good and faithful servant …” Yes, I am hoping to hear those words too but sometimes I wonder whether the Lord will be pleased with how I have served Him. Too often service is done because of obligation! Too often service is done because it is considered the right thing to do and besides my friends are doing […]

Christmas @ Grace

Join us this Christmas at Grace Church. Pot luck diner & service at 6pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day service at 9am. All welcome, bring your family and friends.

Issue #167

How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus? How can we be watchful? How can we be waiting expectantly? How can maintain faithful service over the years and decades? How can we avoid the hurdles and pitfalls of life and stay focused on walking the narrow path that leads to life? These are challenging questions to say the least. Yet God’s word answers these questions over and over again. We are currently considering what God’s kingdom looks like and […]

Issue #166

I have had the greatest privilege of all to serve the Lord over the past four decades! It all started as a late teenager when I was asked to teach Sunday School at a little Methodist church at Connell’s Point. I have enjoyed almost every minute of this service! Yes, there have been some hard and difficult times but serving the Lord has brought me much joy and satisfaction. I have no idea of whether I have made any difference […]

Issue #165

As I read this latest parable under our investigation today I was somewhat struck at the bluntness of it. Jesus was trying very hard to make a breakthrough with the Jewish leaders. They had positions within the temple that required leadership. They were God’s representatives to His people. Yet, sadly they had failed in their duties. Their prime responsibility was to serve the people with God’s love and assist them in learning to trust Him and know Him more. God […]

Issue #164

The parable of the tenants is a powerful allegory that in many ways speaks for itself. You do not have to be a great theologian to understand its meaning. It is a clear, no nonsense hard hitting story that points the finger at the waywardness of Israel’s religious and legal leaders. However, this little allegory also has a clear and hard hitting message for people like you and me! It has a lot to do with the word ‘tenant’ and […]

Issue #163

Today we start a new series of preaching and study. We are going to spend the next several weeks looking at seven parables that Jesus used to teach about God’s kingdom. The series is simply titled ‘Parables of the Kingdom’. We will use Matthew’s account of the parables to guide us in becoming better equipped to be citizens of God’s kingdom. It is important for us to gain a clear understanding of what God’s kingdom looks like and who may […]

Issue #162

Today we come to the end of our current preaching series in 1 Corinthians. It has been an epic journey as we have looked in through the window, so to speak, of life in the early church at Corinth. What we have witnessed has been rather interesting to say the least. We have seen a troubled and somewhat divided church. Yet it is a church that Jesus loved and it is a church that God used for His glory. This brings much encouragement to me! Our […]

Issue #161

It was so special spending time with the wider church last weekend at our Church Camp at Stanwell Tops. I hope that many of you found it as a time of encouragement as we met together for fun, fellowship, worship and teaching. The teaching from Mike Wilson was great too! Where would we be if Jesus did not rise from the dead? Where would we be if there is no resurrection for us? What if the whole concept of resurrection is all a hoax? Paul says […]

Issue #160

Last Sunday was a great blessing for our little church family. It was a real joy to see so many friends and family here to witness the baptism of Eddie, Joseph, Hannah and Victoria. Once again I really need to thank those who have played an important role in the lives of these four young people. It is a team effort and there is much hard work in preparing people to hear the gospel and then to pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes […]

Issue #159

To My Dear Church Family, How blessed we are to be part of Christ’s church! I never seem to be able to get over how God has placed us together in His family here at Kogarah. I marvel at Him doing this! Who would have thought it? Such a different group of people and yet we meet for worship every week! It is remarkable what Jesus achieved on the cross at Calvary and how He brought us together to be a body serving Him! Last weekend […]

Issue #158

I love diversity! I think how boring life would be if everything was the same! Yet, for most people, having differences can cause difficulty. Being who we are, we find it difficult to accept others who are different to us, and in particular, when they do things differently to us. We often mistakenly think that there is only one to do this or that! How insecure we can become when placed beside people who may share the same foundational truths as us and yet act out these […]

Issue #157

Recently I was overwhelmed by just being with my church family … yes that is right … being with you! How blessed I am to have you as my fellow Christian. I can’t imagine worshipping anywhere else on a Sunday morning and meeting with many of you during the week at various activities. I thank God for you! I am so blessed because of you! God is so good to me! The local church is very special to me. I remember listening to Bill Hybels, who […]

Issue #156

A week or so ago I picked up a book to read just as I went to bed. It was designed to turn my mind off from a host of matters that were spinning around in my head and ease me into sleep. Nice idea but it was the wrong book to do this. I started reading the old classic by John Bunyan called ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The opening sentences enticed me in, and soon I was so caught up in what I was reading that my […]

Issue #155

I have been very encouraged over recent weeks and months to see our church family growing as well as seeing many serving their Lord. It is always a special joy for a pastor to see those whom he loves serving in a way that brings glory to God and joy to others. I have had a special week in so many ways. I have valued your prayers concerning my father. He is slowly responding and at the time of writing ‘hanging in there’! I so much […]

Issue #154

Last Sunday, the City of Sydney was brought to a standstill as over 80000 runners competed in the now famous ‘City to Surf Fun Run’. I was talking with one competitor late that night and he said that by the time he started the race, the winner was already crossing the finish line! Such were the numbers in this 14km event. For many people this was just a run for fun. People were dressed in all sorts of costumes including gorilla suits! They took their time […]

Issue #153

One of the great ‘turnoffs’ for the average Australian is when a preacher focuses his teaching on ‘judgement’. There was a great backlash many decades ago when preachers taught on the second coming of Jesus and how that played out. They termed it ‘fire and brimstone’ preaching and it was all too negative and ever so judgmental. People left the church in droves as this cramped their lifestyle. They thought that God was some pariah who will get his delight in destroying all that He has made. […]

Issue #152

I often enjoy a good spy thriller whether I read it in a book or watch it in a movie or television series. There are some great ones out there! The Cold War era of the 1960s and through the 70s was an interesting period of time with spies, espionage and counter espionage being quite prolific. I recently watched a series called ‘The Americans’. This was based on a Soviet couple being planted in the USA who were known as ‘sleepers’. They came into the community, set […]

Issue #151

When I served with SIM as its State Director I often met some very special people. My job was to assess people’s suitability for overseas missionary service. It was a great privilege to do this. Jan and I found it difficult to sleep after meeting with some of these people over dinner and then on into the night as they shared their desire to serve Jesus. These people had a ‘fire in their belly’ so to speak and were eager to forsake the comforts of life […]

Issue #150

As Australia continues to spiral into a truly secular nation it is becoming harder and harder to make a stand for the cause of Christ. We live in a very skeptical world indeed and Australia has been caught up in its snare. Some of the great truths of the Christian faith are now being challenged and compromised by people who should know better. Sadly, many churches in seeking to be relevant in this skeptical world, are walking away from the essential truths and teachings of Scripture. We […]

Issue #149

The new ‘Star Trek Beyond’ movie is about to burst on to the cinema screen. My wife can hardly wait! What challenges I must endure!!! I don’t mind sitting with her and watching movies like this as this is plenty of action and, as an action man, I become involved in the movie. Speaking of action, I firmly believe the solution to the problems of spiritual dryness is to become actively involved in serving our Lord. When approaching danger is imminent from an enemy, the Captain of […]

Issue #148

There are certain periods in our life where we can become anxious and stressed. The first one is when we enter Year 12 at high school and prepare for the Higher School Certificate. For some reason we think that our life totally depends on how we perform in these exams. As if! And the next stressful period of life centres on our employment and the early days and months of our first job. Again we think our life and its outcomes depends on this choice. As if! […]

Issue #147

I have been on holidays! It was a great time to relax and enjoy island life on Magnetic Island. There was plenty to do for a guy like me – walking, snorkeling, reading, eating and having coffees everyday – and then of course there was time with Jan and my best friends too. I read a great book as well called ‘Double Cross’ that recorded the events leading up to D-Day in the Second World War. It was all about the work of double agent spies […]

Issue #146

It is not uncommon for each one of us to go through a spiritually dry period. Sometimes difficult events push to a stage of despair and doubt. Life brings with it various twists and turns that often saps our emotional and physical resources. Often we feel all alone where very few people (if any) really understand the struggles we are experiencing. This loneliness even extends to our relationship with our Lord. God seems somehow strangely distant. Anxiety and frustration builds up and life becomes a great challenge […]

Issue #145

Today is an exciting day in our church life. Why? Because we have six young people who desire to publically testify to their allegiance to Christ! They have all made the most important decision of their life! They have been made aware just who God is and who they are. They have come face to face with the reality that God is holy and righteous and they are exactly the opposite. They have accepted the fact that they are guilty […]

Issue #144

I often hear the cry “That is not fair!” It is normally from children complaining about the treatment of one of their siblings. Yet if the truth be known I am hearing more and more adults complaining about one thing or another and normally it revolves around the theme of how they are being treated unfairly. Someone else is always better off than they are for some reason it is always someone else’s fault! It seems that in this time in history it is our birth right […]

Issue #143

We are coming up to a Federal election in another five or six weeks … is it that long away? We will elect a particular political party to govern our nation for another four years. Day after day we hear one promise after another from the various parties in an effort to entice us to elect them. Sometimes I really tire of the games the politicians play to gain that vote. And I tire hearing one politician after another trying to destroy the character of their political […]

Issue #141

Today we come to the last sermon in this first series of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians titled ‘Challenging Church’. It has been a time of learning as we have taken a good look at a church that had its problems and how Paul counseled the church to make it a more unified and loving church. We will continue further study of this great letter later in the year when we consider the second in the series titled ‘Loving Church’. This should be very encouraging for us […]

Issue #140

Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth is becoming more and more interesting … and difficult for that matter! Up until now, Paul has been addressing serious issues within the church that was caused by factionalism and division as well as a failure to deal with sin in the church. Weighty issues to be sure! Issues that Paul saw as incredibly important in the life of any church! Now Paul addresses issues that were raised by people in the church. The first one is […]

Issue #139

It is very hard listening to the stories being told at the ‘Royal Commission into Child Abuse’. I find it appalling that the ‘church’ has so much to answer for in regards to the sexual abuse of children. It seems to be a similar story being told again and again by both males and females who suffered at the hands of ungodly men and women. These men and women, who were entrusted to care for the children, took it upon themselves to use these same children for […]

Issue #138

I have been in leadership, in one form or another, for over 40 years. I still find it very challenging. I have never found it easy. Of course, when I was younger I thought that it would be a breeze. I was headstrong and full of confidence. I thought I knew so much. How arrogant I was and I cringe when I think back to those early days of leadership. It did not take too long to realize my stupidity […]

Issue #137

Our world has become pretty impersonal and in particular in the bigger cities. The sense of community, as I knew it as a boy, has been lost. Community brings with it familiarity and a sense of belonging. Community harnesses resources where its residents rally together for a cause. I have been blessed by living in a number of communities over the years. I learned the value and strength of working together and have enjoyed the sense of camaraderie as we […]

Issue #136

I was a young teenager when I started following the great British football team named Manchester United. As I think back as to why I started supporting such a team I recall that it was because I liked their name! Manchester United … well it had a ring to it! I liked the idea of a football team being united in its bid to win as many games as it could. At that early age I was taught the importance of playing together as a team. […]

Issue #135

The local church has had an interesting history over that last two thousand years. On one hand, it has been a powerhouse in being a great blessing to society in the way it shows leadership, compassion and love. In our own nation, the church developed schools and hospitals well before any government agency took on the responsibility of providing these basic services. On the other hand, and sad to say, it has also become known for its division, sin and lack of love. Even at […]

Issue #134

How firm is your conviction as to the resurrection? Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead? If Jesus rose, do you really believe that for those who are in Christ they too will rise? These are important questions for us to consider on this day that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter Sunday morning. Many in the world today simply laugh at us when we talk of being resurrected. “How can this be?” they ask! “Surely this […]

Issue #133

Today we finish our series on ‘Being a Distinctive Disciple’. We have learned much over the last several weeks and I am sure that each one of us has been challenged to review just how distinctive we are as followers of Jesus. It has been sobering to say the least as I meditate on all that we have considered. Our last distinctive is another one that requires very careful consideration. It is the distinctive of rest. In this very competitive world we live in, and […]

Issue #132

The distinctive disciple of Jesus is quite some person. This series in ‘Being in God’s Service’ has certainly awakened me to the need for some urgent remedial work on my character. I have been greatly challenged to rethink my motivation in serving; how I display love to those around me; how I serve others; whether I have integrity in all I do; whether humility is really center stage as I serve and whether I am truly content in the knowledge […]

Issue #131

The Bible teaches that ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’. Why is contentment so elusive? We seem to be always chasing something. So often I see myself looking at greener pastures somewhere else. Why is it so difficult to be happy and satisfied with all that God has already given us? When I was young my father instilled in me a competitive nature. I worked hard at being the best sportsman I could be. I went into an athletics race to always be first across the […]

Issue #130

The next distinguishing character of a disciple of Jesus for our consideration is ‘integrity’! Integrity is defined as ‘soundness of moral principle and character; uprightness and honesty’. In a world where morals are open for much debate it is difficult to know where to draw the line when it comes to integrity. Morals are all about right conduct and distinction between right and wrong. Sadly, what is ‘right and wrong’ is also the subject of much debate and seems to be more based on ‘situational ethics’, that […]

Issue #129

‘Connecting Sundays to Mondays’ … and the rest of the week is challenging! Last week we were confronted with the need for love as a key distinctive in the life of a genuine disciple of Jesus. A deep love for God and our neighbour is foundational in being a disciple who will stand out from the crowd. In fact, we are told that everything, that is all we do, hinges on this love! How then are we to live this […]

Issue #128

I am starting to think that becoming a distinctive disciple is certainly a challenge. So far in our journey on this topic I have learned that my motivation really matters. I need to be setting my mind on things above where Jesus is seated with God. My mind must not be tuned in to earthly things and certainly not to the temporal. I need to be always thinking from an eternal perspective. Now that is a challenge! Then I learned […]

Issue #127

I remember sitting at my desk and looking out the window to the distant hills of Yetholme. I had just been relocated to Bathurst and was given the prime spot in the whole building where the view was incredible. It was a time of excitement. Out there in those hills lay places to discover and enjoy. It was one of those magnificent days that beckon us out into the great outdoors. Only trouble was I was stuck in the office […]

Issue #126

Today we start the next in our series on ‘Connecting Sundays to Mondays …’ We move from ‘The Foundations for the Good Life’ to realizing the importance of being a distinctive disciple in the various places and situations we find ourselves in. Distinctive meaning ‘distinguished, unique and not being the same’. How can we not be the same as everyone else and stand out in the crowd? Should we stand out? If so, why should we stand out? In reality, […]

Issue #125

I have been greatly challenged as we have considered Jesus’ foundations for the good life as taught in the beatitudes over the past six weeks. I have had to consider a number of my attitudes, notwithstanding my motivation, as I seek to serve God. Last week, following our teaching on persecution, I was very much forced to consider to likelihood of persecution after hearing of the abduction of Dr. Ken and Jocelyn Elliot in Burkina Faso. These people have served […]

Issue #124

As we continue our journey into Jesus’ teaching in the Beatitudes I am finding it increasingly difficult. I realize the importance of having strong and solid foundations to build my life on. That is common- sense just as it is commonsense to ensure my home has solid foundations. I am happy to pay the extra money required to have engineered specifications for these foundations. Why then do I struggle with paying the price to ensure that my life is built […]

Issue #123

When I was as a high school student I longed for the day when I had money of my own. I came from a poor family, but to be truthful, I did not seem to lack too much. Nevertheless, my mind was often occupied with the thought of living the good life and enjoying it to the full. It seemed to me that you needed resources to do this and, in particular, money! The good life for me was getting married, playing football, having a sporty […]

Issue #122

Some years ago we were holidaying at East’s Beach in Kiama. I was on a fitness binge and had decided to do a 20km bushwalk in the Barren Grounds which is part of the Morton National Park. It was predicted to be a hot day so I started off early. I took two muesli bars, 500ml bottle of water and an orange. I walked very well but as the heat rose so did my thirst. I arrived at the half way point feeling hot but […]

Issue #121

There are so many programs on television these days concerning home renovations and the like. One of my favourites is ‘Grand Designs’ hosted by Kevin McCloud. This has proven to be very popular television with over fifteen series being produced. It is all about people building their dream homes. Mostly they are ‘grand homes’ and it is interesting watching the progress of the ‘build’, set over a period of several months! What interests me is the engineering specifications for the building’s foundations. I am also very interested in […]

Issue #120

Do you ever have doubts concerning Jesus? Do you ever wonder that may be you have it all wrong? After all, it is all a bit hard to believe, don’t you think? God creating the cosmos, including the world and everything in it? God coming down in the form of a baby? This baby growing up and going through adolescence without making any mistakes? This teenager growing into a humble carpenter and then becoming a teacher and charismatic figure with thousands following him? This teacher eventually being […]

Issue #119

It is the third week of Advent. This is the month leading up to Christmas and it is a time where we reflect on the coming of the Messiah Jesus. This is a momentous time in human history and it is one where it is right and proper that we take time out of our busy year to reflect on God’s amazing grace in sending His Son to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. It is also right and proper that we prepare ourselves for […]

Issue #118

The Christmas season is almost upon us. I love this time of the year in so many ways. Despite all the commercialism and the push to rid Christmas of Jesus, His name is still prominent. In a time where people love to do what they think best, it is a timely reminder of what the world can become without a righteous King! Jesus is this righteous King who has come to bring us humans back into harmony with our Creator […]

Issue #117

Today, we welcome Stephen Downey from The Pocket Testament League. Stephen has a passion to see God’s word in the hands of all people regardless of culture. He can testify to how the Holy Spirit transforms people’s lives by reading God’s word. It will be great to hear what God has been doing through the ministry of The Pocket Testament League over this past year. Also today, we will give thanks to the Lord for the life of two little […]

Issue #116

In his book titled, ‘The Unfolding Mystery’, Edmund Clowney states, “God had shown that He could deliver Israel with an army of willing volunteers; He had also shown that He could save with as few as three hundred … But when the Spirit of God came upon Samson, the Lord showed that He had no need for even three hundred. He could deliver by one!” In Samson, we can see the power of God being demonstrated in an amazing way. He was miraculously conceived by a woman […]

Issue #115

It certainly has been an interesting walk over the past several weeks learning from the Israelites, especially through their ups and downs. We have met some interesting characters along the way – Deborah, Ehud, Othniel, Gideon, Abimelech and, last week, Jephthah. I guess what we have been learning the most is just how easy it is to become complacent in our walk with the Lord as we come face to face with the myriad of idols out there in the […]

Issue #114

Last Sunday was a time of encouragement for us all. To see the church full with over 200 in attendance at the baptism of Terry, Selina, James and Emily was very special. Imagine if our weekly church service was full to capacity every week! There is no reason why it cannot be the case! I shared with you from the baptism pool that I firmly believe that we must work as a team if we are to bring people to Jesus and prepare them for service. […]

Issue #113

It is always exciting to hear the testimonies of people who have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. I never tire of this as my heart rejoices in knowing that people, both young and old, come into a relationship with the Heavenly Father I know so well. What an amazing God we have! Even as we take a long hard journey through the book of Judges we see His mercy, forgiveness, compassion and love to a people who, quite frankly, do […]

Issue #112

I very much enjoy the times during the year where I attend the Baptism Class. It is always so encouraging witnessing fellow brothers and sisters excitement of being like Jesus and going through the waters of baptism. The class looks at the fundamentals of the Christian faith and the importance of walking with the Lord each day. It also encourages us to realize the responsibilities of caring for others both within our Christian family here at Grace and our own […]

Issue #111

There is one truth that we are learning over and over again in our walk through the book of Judges – when complacency comes into our spiritual walk with the Lord so too does indifference and sin! This is the lesson the Israelites struggled to learn generation after generation. When things go wrong for us, perhaps we need to ask the question – how is our walk with the Lord going? Are we out of fellowship with God? Have we […]

Issue #110

Last week I reminded you that God is a master at choosing people time and time again who the world deems inappropriate. The Bible records so many people that you least expect to become ‘heroes of the faith’ who come from vey humble backgrounds. Over the past three weeks, we have witnessed God choosing brave and courageous men to lead Israel such as Joshua, Othniel and Ehud. They were victorious because of their military skills and how they trusted God in times of great danger. Today, we […]

Issue #109

Tim Keller says, “God is a God of grace, not works. He takes and uses people who are at the margins of society – in order to show that salvation is from Him, not from our own human ability”. I continue to marvel at who God chooses to be His representatives at times of great difficulty. He seems to always choose the least desirable applicant! Once again today, we will witness from His word the unbelievable choice of a man whom society would shun to do […]

Issue #108

Why are we studying the Old Testament book of Judges? What relevance does it have to us in this modern day and age of 2015? These are good questions to ask as we embark on our new adventure into this rather confronting and somewhat disturbing part of the Bible. Many years ago I read a very helpful book titled ‘Out of the Saltshaker’ by Rebecca Manley Pippert. It was required reading in the attended beach mission. In fact, we have […]

Issue #107

Today we give thanks to the Lord for the past thirty years of the existence of the English speaking congregation of Grace CCC. There have been many faithful people who have served in various capacities over this period to ensure that this congregation has grown and is what it is today. The Lord has been good and it is His name we praise today! I am thankful for the ministries of past Pastors who faithfully, not only taught God’s word, but shepherded the flock. Rev. Keith Noldt […]

Issue #106

I have thoroughly enjoyed our journey through John’s gospel. Today we will conclude our time in this gospel as we look at John 10 where Jesus proclaims that He is the Good Shepherd, and not only this, but also the Gate for the sheep. I have no idea what you have learned over the past few months. But for me, well I have been reminded and challenged of the great blessing we have in knowing Jesus personally and being in Him. I have marveled again and […]

Issue #105

Today we celebrate Father’s Day and remember the importance of being fathers. It is not easy to be a godly father in this present climate of greed and secularism. It is hard to be different to the world in being a parent that brings honour and glory to God. But this is exactly what fathers must do. They are given the amazing task of raising up their children in the ways of the Lord. This is a tough call but it is one that […]

Issue #104

As we continue our journey through the gospel of John it is hard not to notice a change in Jesus. He is becoming more forthright in how He speaks to the Jews. I guess as you think about it He had to do so. Despite performing many amazing miracles and despite His powerful teaching the people were not convinced of who He said He was. His testimony was considered invalid and not trustworthy. The people disputed His claims. Why was this? What prevented them […]

Issue #103

We are at a very interesting time in our short history as a nation. In many ways we are now at a major crossroad where our nation is on the brink of walking away from our Christian heritage and all that it has done to define our nation. The critics say Christianity is outdated and is now holding us back in our pursuit to become a truly secular nation. They say that there is no place for God, or the teaching of the Bible, as this […]

Issue #102

Recently I sat with someone over coffee who shared with me that they were over going to church. The reason she gave was that the church was too narrow in their beliefs and unloving toward those who were different. She believed that Jesus would not turn anyone away and that He would embrace all people. In one way she is right. Jesus does embrace people regardless of their background or sin. As Paul reminds us in Romans 5: 8, “But […]

Issue #101

It has been quite a week for me as a pastor. It is hard seeing people going through difficulties, feeling pain and struggling with some of the tough issues of life. Yet I feel greatly blessed to walk with people through these times. I am so privileged to be part of a church family who cares for one another. And I have witnessed this once again as I see people going the extra mile to help those who are going […]

Issue #100

Having been in Africa recently really brings alive the Scriptures for me. Nothing much has changed over the centuries in some rural parts of Africa. Clothing may have changed as well as some forms of transport. One of the biggest changes is that people have mobile telephones even in remote rural areas. It is very cheap to have one of these phones. But farming practices are still the same as they have been for millennia! So when we come to […]

Issue #99

Today we take time out of our Gospel of John series to address the issue of same sex marriage that seems to be the ‘hot issue’ at the moment in our nation. I am not so sure that it really is the ‘hot issue’ that everyone is making out. It is a minority group who have marshalled the media for their cause. The media is the one driving this issue now and until they succeed in their cause it will […]

Issue #98

I remember as a child watching a silk worm slowly but surely be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. It was an amazing sight! It was hard to believe that such a thing could occur. As I reflect on the night that Nicodemus came under the cover of darkness to interrogate Jesus, I am reminded of the amazing transformation of the silk worm to the butterfly. I know this may sound strange as you read this account, yet Jesus is teaching […]

Issue #97

It is such a joy being a pastor witnessing members of the church family serving the Lord faithfully. It is particularly joyful when you see people stepping out in faith for the glory of the Lord. I witnessed this last Tuesday as our Holiday Kid’s Club Team commenced this year’s event. Serving the Lord is indeed a great honour and privilege and as we work as a team it is something very special. The study of God’s word prepares us for service. We come […]

Issue #96

It was quiet humbling sitting in the lounge room of a young family being served lunch after church last Sunday. Mama Justin and Baba Justine invited us to share lunch with them in their small house located up an unformed track about 100 metres off the main road. We had enjoyed a good service where about 13 adults attended for Holy Communion. My son, Glen, together with the young elder Christopher, led the service. The singing was rich once again without any musical instruments. […]

Issue #95

It is morning and the roosters are crowing and the birds are singing. The voices from the shamba (farm) next door awaken me from sleep. It was a long night as loud music played all night from a property somewhere in the distance. This was the second night that the music blared out across the quiet of the night on the banks of Lake Victoria. The music was from a funeral as families and friends gather together for a time of mourning that lasts […]

Issue #94

I am sitting at Johannesburg International Airport awaiting our next flight to Dar Es Salem in Tanzania. I have had no sleep and seem to be wide awake! It is dawn here and I am noticing my first day in Africa. Yes it is very different in so many ways. Take for example the people. There is laughter as the Africans start coming to open up their shops and they greet one another with warmth. This brings back many happy memories for me as […]

Issue #93

What do you think of history? During the week, following a full day, I went home and just wanted to sit down and relax for half an hour. In an effort to turn my brain off I have been watching a World War 11 series called ‘Victory at Sea’. It is old … in black and white … but still very interesting. In one of the last episodes, it focused on the last days of the war following the allies’ invasion of Europe. […]

Issue #92

I love reading and meditating on some of Jesus’ parables. I know that I have an active imagination. But when I think about the parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and the pearl of great price my mind conjures up all sorts of images. I am amazed what people will do to seek what is lost and what they desire. I am surprised at the lengths people will go to in search of what is important to them. Some […]

Issue #91

In my younger life I enjoyed being part of the Scouting movement. I started as a nine year old. I finished as a seventeen year old. I became a Scout Leader when living in Molong and had a great time preparing young men for the many different circumstances that life could bring. As a scout, I learned the motto ‘Be Prepared’. This motto was drummed into us. We had to be prepared for any event that came our way. We […]

The Living Church

From John Stott’s ‘The Living Church’. It was originally penned on 24 November 1974, in honour of All Souls Church’s 150th anniversary of its dedication. I have a dream of a church which is a biblical church — which is loyal in every particular to the revelation of God in Scripture, whose teachers expound Scripture with integrity and relevance, and so seek to present every member mature in Christ, whose people love the word of God, and adorn it with […]

Issue #90

As I write at my desk it is the aftermath of the Federal Government’s Budget 2015 and debate is in full swing. Commentator after commentator is examining every aspect of the government’s plan for fiscal management over the next year or so. The common question being asked is – “what is in it for me? How better off will I be?” This self-centered attitude of our nation is starting to really annoy me. Greed at every level of society has […]

Issue #89

I have found great blessing applying what I have learned through our series on prayer. My prayers seem to have new focus and direction. They are less focused on me and my family, although I still pray about our needs. They are becoming more focused on the bigger picture that Paul has taught me. Still, I must confess, it takes much discipline to pray like this! Today we start a new series in a book of the Old Testament – Amos. It certainly […]

Issue #88

On Wednesday morning I spoke to my mother for the first time in almost a week. She lives on the Central Coast and was suffering life without electricity and the telephone following the bad storms of last week. She shared with me how difficult it was living day after day without power. Once it became dark they could not see anything so they went to bed after dinner at 6.30pm! What joy it was for them when the light finally came on sometime on […]

Issue #87

When I was working in the slums of Nairobi I witnessed many sad events. I met people who had nothing. Many suffered greatly. I often felt helpless as people came up to me seeking help. It was overwhelming. I remember crying out to the Lord and asking Him what I should do. His still quiet voice came to me one day when I was overwhelmed and said ‘Be like Jesus to them’. I was asked to love these people like […]

Issue #86

At our weekly Tuesday morning prayer meetings I am staggered at how quickly the time passes. An hour in prayer seems just like a few minutes! I am also staggered by the love and faithfulness of our God. I stand amazed that He bothers to listen to the faltering words of a few people and, not only this, but amazingly answers these requests time and time again. Prayer is such a blessing yet I still find it difficult! Why is this? Why do I […]

Issue #85

Today we start our new preaching and study series on the subject of prayer. It is fair to say that prayer is often a challenge for us all. I have been involved with the mission organization SIM for the past 20 years. Its motto is ‘By Prayer’. They realize that it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to make advances for the Kingdom in difficult parts of the world without prayer. They take seriously the scripture, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders […]

Issue #84

It certainly is a special day today as we remember the resurrection of Jesus. This means so much to the Christian. As Paul said so well, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The promise of resurrection for each of us is very real and something for us to cling to when difficulties come our way. It is a truth that one day we too will be resurrected to be in the company of Jesus and His Father as […]

Issue #83

Thank you to the many people who attended our International Congregation Retreat last weekend. It certainly was a time of encouragement as we met together for worship, teaching, prayer and fellowship. It was a joy seeing our little church family coming to know one another a little more and in the process developing more as a team. It takes a team to fulfil the commission the Lord has given us. We are certainly blessed in our church family to have people who are gifted […]

Issue #82

I will miss seeing you all today as I am at the retreat. As you can tell many of our people are away at our International Retreat this weekend. I am sorry that you could not make it! I trust and pray that your week has been a good one and that you have enjoyed some positive times in your walk with the Lord. Sometimes our busyness gets the better of us and we seem to be always tired and weary. At these times […]

Issue #81

Today is our final sojourn into Paul’s letter to the young Christians in Thessalonica. It finishes on a high note where Paul challenges the young Christians with a list of responsibilities that flows form his teaching and all that they have learned. When I was in high school I remember learning in science the theory of causality. This is the relation between an event (cause) and a second event (the effect) where the second event is understood as a physical […]

Issue #80

Today’s sermon title is a good one. With all we know, and with all that we have learned about the greatness of God and the countless blessings we have been graciously given, then what is stopping us from stepping out in faith and living victorious lives for Jesus? With the Holy Spirit living in us and providing us with power to do God’s will, what is holding us back I guess if we were truthful with one another it probably is […]

Issue #79

In almost every sector of life there are expectations placed on us. Whether it is in the business world, sporting arena, family life or academia expectations are a norm and we generally accept these expectations. Sometimes these expectations are difficult to achieve and satisfy. Normally, if you fail to deliver on the required expectations there is fallout. You may be penalized in some way. It could be a demotion at work or fined if that expectation is not realized. Some […]

Issue #78

I remember learning an old song when I first attended youth group many years ago. The chorus to the song went something like, ‘And they’ll know we are Christian by our love, by our love; Yes they’ll know we are Christian s by our love …’ Christian love is ever so important. Paul teaches much about love in his well-known critique on love in 1 Corinthians 13. He argues that we may be able to speak in the tongues of men and of angels; we may […]

Issue #77

I have been very moved this past week as I have contemplated Paul’s heart for his friends in Thessalonica. He longed to see them but couldn’t. His circumstances prevented him from doing so. He prayed often for them asking the Lord to sustain them, protect them and help them grow in faith and dependence on God. He thought the worse and expected that their faith in Jesus would begin to fade and eventually die. It was tough times out there […]

Issue #76

Having been a former town planner I spent much time researching and investigating ways and means for urban renewal. There are those parts of cities and towns that fall into decay and soon become areas of crime and poverty. Strategies needed to be determined and decisions needed to be made if these dilapidated areas were to be renewed and given new life and vitality. Action was required and steps for this change had to be taken. Somehow people needed to be moved forward! This […]

Issue #75

I was listening to an ABC’s sport commentator’s comments following the loss of Nick Kyrgios’ to Andy Murray in the Australian Open Tennis Championship earlier in the week. He commented on Kyrgios’ awesome tennis skills. He predicted that Kyrgios, although only 19 years old, will have a very bright future. But the commentator also commented that Kyrgios is a poor role model for the youth of Australia in the way he plays tennis. His anger, aggression and the words he […]

Issue #74

Do you find waiting difficult? I know I do! I guess I have battled with patience all of my life and I am therefore still a ‘work in progress’! I think this will be the case until I breathe no more! In this final section of James’ letter we are counselled on how to survive when we face troubles and sickness. This is a special section of scripture because James reminds us of what awaits us in the not too […]

Issue #73

It is a new year and slowly but surely life is becoming normal again. So what is in store for us as a church family for 2015? Will there be any changes in our direction as we seek to be a church family after God’s heart? Our church theme remains the same … Reaching In to Reach Out! God has called us to tell others about the good news of Jesus in our community. Our major thrust will remain the same and that is to become ‘international’ […]

Issue #72

The Titanic was a most amazing ship. At the time she was the largest cruise ship ever built and had a crew and passenger total of 3547. I guess you know that on her maiden voyage to the USA she collided with an iceberg and subsequently sunk with the loss of 1517 people. What is interesting about the ship is that its rudder that had the responsibility of turning the ship only weighed 0.22% of the total ship’s weight! It […]

Issue #71

Our journey in James continues again this morning. It is good to welcome one of our own to share God’s word with us this morning in Brett Lee-Price. James 2 is written in two sections which is very similar to other chapters in his letter. The first section centres on the issues of favouritism and the damage this can cause to both individuals and the church alike. James claims that favouritism is a great sin – in fact he forbids […]

Issue #70

Our church theme is Reaching In to Reach Out. We have been on an interesting journey this past year. I have sought to challenge you firstly, to reach in so that you may exactly know who you are ‘in Christ’. And then secondly, to encourage you to reach out to others by showing your love for Jesus in action. We have spent time in the Psalms of Ascent, the Book of Acts, looking at the exploits of the reluctant prophet […]

Issue #69

The year is fast coming to a close! Where has it gone? Yet as I look back over the year I have witnessed God at work in the life of our church. In many ways it has been a year of blessing as we have seen our little church grow and have been blessed with new family members for us to come to know and love. We have seen many answered prayers as we have watched God at work in […]

Issue #68

Sometimes we are so forgetful of the blessings we receive every day. We live in a time of plenty and maybe even excess. There is nothing we really lack. I cannot think of a time in history when we have been so blessed as a nation. Australia is certainly living up to its name as ‘the land of plenty’ or ‘the lucky country’! Lucky is a word that I do not often use in my vocabulary. As I look over […]

Issue #67

It is exciting for us today to witness seven young ladies go through the waters of baptism. It is always a great joy hearing and seeing people publicly confessing their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ! This is what baptism is all about – a public proclamation of a person’s commitment to Jesus and how they identify themselves with Him. Jesus said, “Repent and be baptised and follow me!” All followers of Christ first repent of their sins, confessing their […]

Issue #66

Ever heard of ‘tunnel vision’? Tunnel vision is an eye complaint where peripheral sight is lost. All you have is a central field of vision. The term ‘tunnel vision’ is also applied to people who can only think, act or concentrate in one way or one direction. Some are very narrow in their thinking and the way they do things. Tunnel vision has its pros and cons. At its best it helps us focus directly on a particular task and […]

Issue #65

Our church theme is Reaching In to Reach Out. All that we have been studying and learning about throughout the year is to help us realise who we are in Christ and who we have as our God. Earlier in the week I was reflecting on our journey thus far in our preaching and teaching series. We started the year in the Psalms of Ascent and were encouraged in how the pilgrims ascended to Jerusalem to worship God at the […]

Issue #64

Have you ever wondered just how amazing our God can be? As I reminded you last week, God is faithful, generous and loves to please. He is a good God who never breaks His promises. He is a God who blesses His people in incredible ways. Today, we witness first hand the magnificence of God as He blesses His chosen king in ways unheard of in all of history – past, present and future! As we unpack 1 Kings 4 […]

Issue #63

Over the past year you may have heard me say that Christianity is not for the spectator. All followers of Jesus are to be involved! I often reflect on what Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:11-13 “it was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all […]

Issue #62

Protocols are important. According to the Macquarie Dictionary protocol means the customs and regulations dealing with the ceremonies and etiquette of the diplomatic corps and others at a court or capital. We have widened the meaning to apply to a host of actions or steps that are required to be taken for certain tasks to be done. I guess in my kind I simply summarise protocol with these words – first things first! In our Bible reading today from 1 […]

Issue #61

I am writing to let you know how encouraged I am by you’re faithfulness in serving the Lord. It is such a blessing to see how our little church family is growing spiritually and becoming a larger family. It has been special welcoming new brothers and sisters to our family over the past year. I watch with joy as many of you serve others in the life of our church in a number of ways. Truly it is a blessing […]

Issue #60

I have been watching with great concern at the march of ISIL through Northern Iraq and now Syria. This barbaric mob is intent on creating a new state or kingdom in the name of Islam. It is based on unmitigated terror and all who stand in their way are slaughtered in the most horrific of ways. It seems that history continues to repeat itself time and time again. Sadly, mankind never learns from the mistakes it has made countless times […]

Issue #59

Today we finish our walk through Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Just prior to giving his personal greetings to some dear friends he gives one final plea to his readers. It is a plea for prayer! Why prayer? Why is Paul so adamant that we must become a people of prayer? I think that he is trying to persuade us that the spiritual battle is very real. He has just prepared us for the battle in outlining the […]

Issue #58

Can you imagine an Australian Defence Soldier going to war in Afghanistan or Iraq without protective clothing or weaponry? Can you imagine our Police men and women not being in uniform and carrying arms? Can you imaging going to the beach in summer without protective clothing, hat and sun scream? The answer is no! Yet we Christians are involved in a spiritual battle that rages day and night! What protection do we have available to withstand the battle? What armory […]

Issue #57

It is sad to witness the demise of the family unit. There are so many dysfunctional families within society today. The struggles between husband and wife and parent and child, together with sibling rivalry, is in many ways a tragedy. Last week we investigated the counsel Paul gave to the married couples of the Ephesian church. He talked of the need for submission and love between husband and wife. We spent time unpacking what it means to be a wife […]

Issue #56

One of the movies I have enjoyed watching over the years is Kevin Costner in ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’! There are a few scenes in the movie where one of the characters has had to yield to another, normally after an energetic sword fight! There is humility and respect shown when this occurs. However, submitting to another is often exceedingly difficult, and to be truthful, against our human nature. So when I read Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 5: 21 […]

Issue #55

Incentive is a word that is used to encourage people to greater action and effort. Most of us require some incentives to work harder at our place of employment or to study harder at school and university. You will often read about added incentives being provided to sportsmen and women to sign up for a particular sporting club or endorse a certain commercial product. In some cases huge incentives are offered to have the sportsmen sign that lucrative contract! I […]

Issue #54

Today we look at the next building block as Paul continues his building program of the church that glorifies God. The next foundation stone is all about purity in the life of the Christian and the church. Purity is really a challenge for all men and women! The reason being is that once we lived lives that were worldly and were out of step with God’s ways. I don’t know about you but sometimes life brings with it a host […]

Issue #53

If I asked you to tell me what is the greatest commandment you would answer “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”. And you would be right! If I asked you what is the second you would answer “to love your neighbour as yourself “. Again you are right! Life is such a challenge and then there are the people… I was saddened during the week as I visited someone in hospital. I […]

Issue #52

Over the past couple of months we have seen many examples of passionate patriotism. First, we had the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil where emotions ran high as Germany became world champions. It was funny watching the lengths spectators would go to in the support of their team and country. People walked around resplendent in their respective national colours as well as their national flags wrapped around them. Faces were painted and it was not hard to tell which […]

Issue #51

I have been deep in thought this past week as I have reflected on Paul’s teaching for today. He talks of a new humanity and a coming together of the people of the world. As I listen to the daily news, read the online newspapers and watch graphic images on my television I am thinking how can unity amongst the varying people groups of the world be a reality. It seems to me that evil continues to reign around the […]

Issue #50

Today I desire to challenge you with four realities. The first reality is the awareness that the state of our world is one of gloom! Just listen to the media and witness what is happening around the world today and you will scratch your and realize how sad a world we live in. The second reality is that the human ‘outside of Christ’ has a life that is spiritually dead, enslaved to sin and worldliness and under condemnation from a […]

Issue #49

When you pray – what do you pray for? What issues are paramount in your prayers? Do you have trouble thinking of things to pray for the people whom you care about the most? Prayer is a most amazing blessing for us but sometimes we all find it too difficult and it finishes up a last minute thought at best. I am not sure about you but I am still feeling a little numb after being reminded that as a […]

Issue #48

Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus is one of his best. It was John Calvin’s favourite letter. The late John Stott says that the letter is a ‘marvelously concise, yet comprehensive, summary of the Christian good news and its implications. Nobody can read it without being moved to wonder and worship, and challenged to consistency of life’. Today we commence a twelve week sojourn into a letter that should spur us on to great heights as we begin to […]

Issue #47

James said, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” This is a rather blunt statement, don’t you think? As hard hitting and ‘as in your face’ as it may be, it is true! Throughout 2014 we have been studying the Book of Acts as well as Jonah. These two books have had strong teaching on ‘going’ and ‘doing’. We have been exhorted to be about God’s business and that business is making His name known to the nations of […]

Issue #46

Two Sunday’s ago, Julian shared with us a children’s talk about Jonah sitting under the shade of a vine tree that God provided for him. He was sitting on a hill overlooking the great Assyrian city of Nineveh waiting to see what God would do with the city’s inhabitants. I think this is perhaps one of the saddest scenes in the whole Bible. It is hard to imagine a prophet, a man of God, sitting and wilfully hoping the city […]

Issue #45

When God laid on my heart to go to Kenya in Africa I broke out in a cold sweat! Sleep was almost impossible! I kept thinking about the ‘what ifs’! I had a family of five to care for. I had a secure job. I had a hefty house mortgage. I had elderly parents. I was content with life – well almost! Why would God call me to Kenya? What could I possibly do in the city of Nairobi? It […]

Issue #43

As I write this week’s note to you I have just returned from visiting our dear sister in Christ, Jessie. It is always a joy sitting with people who have walked with the Lord a lifetime. There is a richness in their understanding of who God is and what He has done, continues to do and will do! As we reminisced about special times in our lives it was humbling to see God’s hand at work in just about every […]

Issue #42

It has been a week where the Lord has brought many songs of praise to my memory as I have meditated on Jonah. One song that I thought of was that great hymn “I Cannot Tell”. The words that William Y. Fullerton wrote over a century ago are so powerful – [wc_testimonial by=”I Cannot Tell” url=”” position=”left”]I cannot tell, why He whom angels worship should set His love upon the songs of men, or, why, as Shepherd, He should seek […]

Issue #41

I continue to marvel at how the Lord is patient with people like me. As I read, and re-read Jonah 1 during the week, I began to realise the extraordinary lengths He goes to bring His people back to Himself. Take Jonah for example. He was asked to go on an assignment of great importance – to be God’s missionary to a foreign land. God had a message to give them and He needed someone to take that message – Jonah was the […]

Issue #40

It has been a great week! I have seen God at work! I have been greatly encouraged through my reading! I have been moved during times of prayer! I have been touched by people that I have met! How blessed I am to be a child of God and part of His family! How has your week been? I have been challenged as I have meditated on the life of Jonah and his dealing with the all-powerful God. I have […]

Issue #39

Today is an exciting day in the life of our church family. Eight people will stand before us and confess their allegiance to Jesus Christ and go through the waters of baptism. It has been my joy to walk with them over the past couple of months through our Baptism Class. I can testify that they are serious about their relationship with God. They really do want to make a stand for Jesus! Let us rejoice with them as they […]

Issue #38

If God’s mission is unstoppable then what can we do to be an active participant in such a mission? Is God’s mission still applicable today in this twenty first century in which we live in? As people are we any different to those people who part of the mission in the very first century after the ascension of Jesus? Jesus last word’s to all those who followed Him was “go and make disciples of all nations”. This was the mission! […]

Issue #37

Easter is very much about hope. My wife gave something to read last week. Let me share it with you. Fifty years ago, a scientist of questionable integrity, stumbled on an enormously important finding. Curt Richter placed some ordinary rats in jars of water, to see how long they would survive before drowning. The average time the rats could keep their heads above water was seventeen minutes. Richter then repeated the experiment with a new group of rats, but this time rescued half […]

Issue #36

I am not sure about you but when I am nearing the end of a book that I have been reading a sense of sadness fills my heart. The book and I have enjoyed some special moments and in some ways the book has been a constant companion for a period of time. This is how I am feeling now as we come to the end of our time in this most marvelous book. I have so much enjoyed the […]

Issue #35

Isn’t life a wonderful blessing! There are so many joys we can experience because of the goodness of the Lord. There are times when my heart wants to leap out of my chest with thankfulness at what the Lord has given me both in experience and in the physical blessings. However, sometimes life brings surprise and on occasions difficult situations. They say that through these times of adversity our faith grows deeper as we have to call out to the […]

Issue #34

Today we visit Ephesus and take a look into a most significant time in the growth of the church in this strategic and important coastal city. We continue on in our postcard theme as we learn of four significant events in Paul’s visit to this city. Acts 18-21 is a great read as we see God at work in planting His church and how it impacted the various communities. Of course, Paul and his small team were responsible for the planting and growth […]

Issue #33

I remember back to the time my elder sister, Kay, left with her husband, Richard, on an around Australia car trip. They drove a Mini Moke and were planning to travel for at least a year. This was back before GPS, mobile phones, email and Facebook. Not sure how we survived but we did! They were really going into the unknown at that time and this was one of those great adventures. The only contact they had with us was through […]

Issue #32

I am very proud of our sporting teams in how they are seeking to show the light of Jesus through sport. This is an example in how we as a church can cross the cultural divide! How our teams play and how they care for one another is a great testimony to the unity we have in Christ. I know that in some games they get a rough deal from the officials and at times the opposition use less than […]

Issue #31

I was greatly encouraged during the week to hear how some of the people of our church are involved in voluntary work programs in the local hospitals and nursing homes. These people are a real blessing to others who are going through difficult times. It seems that our people are crossing the cultural divide and showing the love of Jesus to people of different nationalities. This was a far cry from the early Christians. They were all converted Jews and […]

Issue #30

It is quite remarkable how after the devastation of a bushfire that it is not long before life once again begins. It is quite delightful seeing new shoots of growth popping up in the blackened soil. I find it remarkable to see that through a bushfire plant seeds are scattered far and wide and they end up in the most unlikely places! Soon these same plant seeds take root, germinate and blossom into something quite beautiful. This is the scene […]

Issue #29

I’m not sure about you but I am so enjoying our walk through the Book of Acts. In some ways it is a whirlwind visit but in another way it is a joy to gain a bigger picture view of what God was doing in this first church in Jerusalem. It is remarkable how the believers banded together for the cause of the gospel and it is equally remarkable how the Holy Spirit grew the church. Even many of the […]

Issue #28

I continue to be amazed at how God has adopted me as His child! I know me and I know how far short I fall in being acceptable to God! Yet what I do know is that He sent His Son to take my place and through what His Son achieved on the cross at Calvary I can now be one of His children! All I had to do was to accept this gift of salvation, confess and repent of […]

Issue #26

Ever wondered what God’s overall plan entails? What is it that matters most to God? I have been a Christian now for forty years and continue to be astounded by what matters most to God! God’s heart is for the nations of the world. It always has been and you will notice this from the front cover of His word to the back cover! The plan of God is the salvation of the nations. Jesus is the one to carry out this plan […]

Issue #25

Are you assured of your salvation? Is it possible to be assured beyond any measure of doubt that you will receive eternal life upon your passing from this life? Do you really believe that you have eternal security? How you answer these questions will have a big impact on how you will live your life in the years the Lord has given you to live. There are so many blessing that come with having this assurance of salvation. For me the greatest blessing is […]

Issue #24

Forgetfulness is a terrible and sad state that many people find themselves in, particularly in their senior years. Many of us have parents or grandparents who are or who have been at the stage of dementia. We ache with them as they struggle to remember family members, important events and even how to do the basic things in daily life. It is even more tragic and sad when Christians develop spiritual dementia and begin to forget who their God is, what He has done, […]

Issue #23

Have you ever cried out for mercy? Have you ever been in a situation where all you wanted was relief from a difficult situation? In Psalm 123 we read of a time where the writer of the Psalm came to such a time in his life. He cries out for mercy and he receives mercy from his only hope and that hope is the Lord God. We have already learned that our strength and help come from the Lord. We have discovered that our […]

Issue #22

Happy New Year! Who can believe it? Another New Year is here already! 2014 is upon us and it only seems like yesterday to me that we ushered in the new millennium! Fourteen years have now passed since that day! I often wonder how our lives may have changed in these 14 years. I hope we have grown in maturity and I pray that our walk with the Lord too has matured! I hope and pray that each one of us have grown more […]

Issue #21

In Australia, Christmas is often the time when industry and professional services close down for their annual break. The business centers of a city are quieter and industrial areas are empty! It seems as though many people head off for their annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the coast for family holidays or overseas to visit family. Churches are quieter too as members often go on missions whilst others join the annual pilgrimage to holiday destinations. Today, on this last Sunday of 2013, […]

Issue #20

As the year draws to an end I realize just how much change there has been for me in my life. And for you too! I have felt very privileged coming here to Grace to be your pastor. I realize that I am a little different to other pastors you have had to lead you. I do hope that I have been an encouragement to you in some small way. I know that I have felt very encouraged by you […]

Issue #19

It is important to realize that the heavens rejoice when a soul is saved! When we make that decision to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus and ask for forgiveness of our sins and accept Him as our Saviour there is much rejoicing in heaven as well as here within our church family too! It is a momentous occasion – a life once lost but now found in Jesus! Baptism goes hand in hand with  conversion. Baptism is where […]

Issue #18

If you really want something special then you are normally prepared to do anything to acquire that something. If you are anything like me much of your waking time will be spent thinking about it and researching it. You will share with others what you hope to acquire. You will work hard and save your money. You will be ever so careful in not wasting a dollar so that you can secure that special something as quickly as you can. […]

Issue #17

It would be foolish if we took today’s text from Proverbs and believed that great wealth and prosperity will be ours if only we do exactly what Solomon counsels us to do. Sadly, we normally only ever think in the temporal and thus limit God’s blessing to the here and now and only in ways we seem to think that He can best bless us. I am talking about blessing in wealth and materialism. Yet upon examining the text for today, it is certainly possible that God […]

Issue #16

I have been greatly saddened by the incredible loss of life that we are presently witnessing in the Philippines. It is hard to take in the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan caused to the island of Leyte and other islands throughout the Filipino archipelago. The degree of property damage is unbelievable. The loss of life is nothing short of terrible. As I watched the news night after night my heart ached at seeing broken families, scores of children without parents and weeping women sharing […]

Issue #15

When planning for overseas travel it is wise to check the Australian Government’s website concerning travel alerts. This is particularly important for backpackers who like to travel in remote and exotic locations. Failure to do so could cause travel disruption and even harm. There are a number of countries and localities that presently have been issued with a ‘do not travel’ or ‘reconsider your need to travel’ warnings. One would be unwise to travel to these places unless very careful […]

Issue #14

I am amazed what people will do to find treasure or special items that they see have great value and must have. The lengths they will go to and the money they are prepared to spend to have these items is staggering. I love Jesus’ parable about the pearl of great price. It is so relevant for us in this 21st century. If only we truly understood what Jesus was trying to teach us! If we do understand and grasp […]

Issue #13

Sometimes I wonder why people ignore warnings! Warnings have a purpose! Warnings are there for our well-being and safety! Warnings are there to save us from a premature death! So why do people flagrantly disregard warnings? If we are honest with ourselves we have all done this at some stage in our lives. More often than we would like to admit we think we are safe from danger and convince ourselves that certain warnings do not apply to us. We seem to think we […]

Issue #12

How do you handle peer group pressure? I guess that no matter the age we are the pressure we receive from our friends, colleagues and even family members to do things we know that are not right is very real. The enticement to follow others down the path of sin is forever in front of us. It is like throwing a fishing line into the water to catch a fish. We place a hook on the end of our line […]

Issue #11

Job once said, “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living…. It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver….Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies…It is hidden from the […]

Issue #10

Have you ever meditated on Jesus’ call to His followers, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me?” This is a tough call and has made me think through what it costs to be a disciple of Jesus or more particularly a Christian. To go by the name of Christ brings with it consequences and responsibilities. To be accepted as one of Jesus’ disciples requires denial of self, sacrifice and […]

Issue #9

They say smart people seize opportunities! Whether it is in property or financial investment or simply seeing long term gains or prospects for betterment, the person who takes these opportunities is often considered wise or astute! People applaud those who have the courage to take those opportunities for gain and seize them! The letter to the church in Philadelphia is a letter of commendation to a church for doing exactly this – stepping up to the mark and seizing the […]

Issue #8

Paul says in Romans 8: 37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Are you like me and do not often feel like a conqueror at all? Do you feel that you are more often being conquered by the challenges of this world? How can we actually live a life knowing that we are in fact conquerors? The Bible reading from Revelation 3: 1-6 gives us some great counsel to consider. The […]

Issue #7

One of the great difficulties for us all is not to fall into mediocrity or indifference in our walk with the Lord. This is a struggle for each one of us as we live in a world that is constantly testing whether we are committed to the teaching and commands of God’s word. I note that in our church constitution that Grace CCC believes in the Divine inspiration and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures as originally given and its supreme […]

Issue #6

Are you a slow learner like me when it comes to the matter of holiness? As the years roll by I often wonder when will I ever learn when it comes to sin! It is …. such a struggle in so many ways! I think I am mature! I think I have self-control! I think that because I am a pastor the struggle with sin should be so much easier to beat! But sadly time and time again I fail […]

Issue #5

How important is it to hold on to the truth of the Bible? How do we hold to the great truths of Scripture when the world is constantly telling us that there is no truth? How do we make a stand for the infallibility of the Bible when we are slandered and accused of being short-sighted and people with little intellect? Holding to the deep truths of Scripture is a must for all Christians because these truths provide the very […]

Issue #4

Have you have ever pondered the challenges of suffering for your faith? As you read the Scriptures and gain an understanding of how difficult it was for people to follow Jesus have you wondered whether you would sacrifice all to be that follower? I think about this often and hope and pray that if I am called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ that I would do so courageously and in complete trust and dependence on my Saviour […]

Issue #3

Can you remember the day you surrendered your life to Jesus? Can you remember the emotion you had when you were overwhelmed by His grace and love? Can you remember how blessed you were when you realised that your sin was forgiven and the promise of eternal life was yours? I clearly remember that day so many years ago! It was just like yesterday in many respects. That day was the first day of a deep relationship with someone who […]

Issue #2

Imagine coming face to face with the Living God! That is what happened to John and it will happen to us too when it comes time for us to stand before Him. It is a serious matter to stand before the Lord and have Him review our life from the time we enter this world to the time we depart! Today we gain some insight into who is the Sovereign Lord God. John gives us first hand evidence to who […]

Matthew 20:29 – 21:11: The Triumphal Entry

In this passage, we find one of the greatest moments in human history. Jesus is presented to his people and to the city of Jerusalem as their Messiah and King. Celebration begins and the enthusiastic crowds accompany him and his disciples into the city. But all is not as it appears.

Matthew 20:17-34: True Christian Service

Why did Jesus come to earth and how does His Kingdom operate? These are the very question that Jesus answers for His disciples in Matthew 20. While they were wondering about power and authority, Jesus talked about service and then He showed them what He meant.

Matthew 20:14-16: Why Christianity Makes No Sense?

Grace – a common, ordinary word that everyone has heard of. And yet many people do not know what grace means. Jesus tells a parable to explain what God’s grace is like, and challenges us to live as people of grace.

Matthew 19:29-30: What the Rich Can’t Afford?

“What must I do to get eternal life?” There are many ways to answer that question. But when a rich man comes to Jesus with that question, he receives a surprising answer. Jesus’ response is a great challenge not only for the rich man but also for us.

Matthew 19:9-15: Marriage, Celibacy and Children

What was Jesus’ view of marriage? What about Singleness? Oh, and what about children – their place and importance? Thankfully, we do not need to guess. Rather, Jesus speaks to all of these important topics in just a few short verses. Yet, He does so in such a way that the people who heard Him were very surprised by what He had to say. Just as in His day, what Jesus taught on these issues remains counter-cultural still.

Matthew 19:1-12: Marriage and Divorce

It might surprise people to know that some of the reasons and allowances for divorce in Jesus’ day are very similar to our society’s view in the modern day. In this passage, the religious leaders try to catch Jesus by giving Him a trick question on a difficult topic – divorce. But Jesus does not fall for their ploy, rather, He uses the opportunity to clearly explain God’s original purpose and design for marriage.

Romans 14:1 – 15:7: Loving Christians When We Disagree

How can Christians love one another when we disagree about a matter that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible? How can we still fight for unity in a church and love for individual Christians when we hold different views. This is not a new problem. In fact, Paul spends more than 10% of his letter to the Romans dealing with this very question. What he says is vitally important for the current situation of the church.

Romans 13:1-4: The Duty and Limitations of Government

What is the role of human government and how are Christians to respond to human government? Romans 13 is a familiar passage on these topics but it is also a passage that is often misunderstood. Join us as we consider God’s defined role for human government as well as how Christians should respond to government and God.

Matthew 18:15-35: Confrontation and Forgiveness

How should Christians confront those who have sinned against them? Can a Christian every withhold forgiveness from another person? These important questions are considered in Matthew 18 as Jesus instructs His followers how the church is to act in these challenging circumstances.

Matthew 18:10-14: Guardian Angels, A Lost Verse and a Lost Sheep

This is a fascinating passage. According to some, it teaches the idea that each of us has a guardian angel watching over us. But in most modern translations, it also has a verse missing. Finally, Jesus uses a familiar illustration but with a slightly different point for his hearers. Join us as we find out how these three items fit together.