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Southern Presbyterian Church Camp


The Southern Presbyterian Church (SPC) Hobart congregation is planning to hold a family camp from 15-17 March 2024 at Orana Girl Guide Camp, Roches Beach, Tasmania (suburban Hobart). The speaker is Pastor Tom Budgen from their Launceston congregation. He will be giving four talks on "The Christian's Devotional Life." The meetings will start on Frid...

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Make a Joyful Noise Concert

As part of a collaboration between the PCEA Brisbane congregation and the Christian singing group called Lucem Vitae (Light and Life), around 12 singers are putting on a beautiful little concert of psalms this Saturday at 7:00pm at the church (Entry by donation). We will be singing some of our favourite psalms and tunes in an effort to bring glory ...

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Northern Presbytery Psalmody Day


Members from our three congregations gathered together on Saturday, 30 September in Maclean for our second annual Psalmody Day. After John Forbes began the day with a brief devotional, Julie Schmidt and Sonya Hamilton helped us learn the parts for two tunes. After a time of lunch and fellowship we learned two more tunes, followed by an opportunity ...

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PCEA Psalms on YouTube


Julie Schmidt from our Brisbane congregation has been hard at work, along with others, to set up a YouTube page with Psalms set to various tunes. Please have a look at the page, have a listen and then subscribe, like, ring the bell, etc to help encourage Julie in this wonderful work.

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Job 1:21: God Gives, God Takes

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. We must remember that what we have, our health, success, material possessions, are simply a loan from the Creator. Our creator can retrieve them whenever he wants. People who don't realise this want to hold on to things tightly. They assume they own them. And when they are taken back they feel sad. Job knows, however, that when the Lord takes back what he loaned us, He always leaves behind a superior gift, and that is, the joy of fellowship with the eternal God. This blessing remains forever. May the name of the Lord be praised.

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Give Thanks to The Lord: Psalm 107:1 —3

The sacred poet encourages the covenant community to give thanks. He assumes that gratitude is a theological impulse in Yahweh's redeemed people. But what is gratitude? Gratitude is made up of three things: knowing, feeling, and responding. Let's focus on these factors individually.Knowledge is the way the worshiper interprets the blessings he receives. Here the psalmist knows that blessings come from God. This naturally precludes the possibility that God's blessings are the product of chancy events. The believer knows that God's blessings are God's actions. For that reason, he gives thanks to God. Notice carefully, he doesn't give thanks to life itself nor does he give thanks to circumstances around him. It's clear then that we cannot be thankful until we know that everything is from God (cf. James 1.17). If we associate the divine blessings with other things, we're going to lack full knowledge, this is going to affect our emotional state, which will drastically decrease the behaviour. of gratitude. Now the state (feeling) derived from knowledge is joy. Joy in God, not in blessings or even in acts of kindness towards us from other people. This joy is based on the knowledge of God's proximity in our redemption, which in this passage means that God is near to us in goodness and love that endures forever (verse 1). The last factor in gratitude that is connected with joy and the knowledge of the Giver of blessings, is action or response. The action is what is expected of the thankful person. What is this action? The psalm calls us to use the "tongue" to give thanks and to express adoration with our restraint to God. Read the rest of the psalm and you will realise that the tongue, or the act of vocalisation is always present in gratitude to the Lord. For complete thankfulness all three must be engaged in praising the Lord.

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The Foolishness of Atheism: Psalm 14:1

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God."

Here the psalmist shows what is the root of all ungodliness. It is the "foolishness" of thinking that God does not exist. The agnostic is undecided. He has doubts about the question of God. What is called practical atheism is not an opinion but a way of life. This attitude may coexist with a weak belief in the being of God, but the person lives as if there were no God. The statement made here goes further. Here we find the complete rejection of Christian theism. Now when atheists argue that they are absolutely certain that there is no god, they implicitly claim to know all things. This is nonsense. For the atheist to claim that there is no God, and that there are no traces of God's existence anywhere, the atheist must have explored all the infinite regions scattered throughout the universe. This requires omnipresence, or in other words, it would imply that the atheist is God himself. Atheism is irrational. It’s not a system that satisfies the intellect. You can never be sure that there is no God. It assumes a kind of knowledge that the human mind simply does not have. David is right! Only a fool would be satisfied with the claim that there is no God.

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The Foolishness of Atheism: Psalm 14:1

The Foolishness of Atheism: Psalm 14:1


The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God."

Here the psalmist shows what is the root of all ungodliness. It is the "foolishness" of thinking that God does not exist. The agnostic is undecided. He has doubts about the question of God. What is called practical atheism is not an opinion but a way of life. This attitude may coexist with a weak belief in the being of God, but the person lives as if there were no God. The statement made here goes further. Here we find the complete rejection of Christian theism. Now, when atheists argue that they are absolutely certain that there is no god, they implicitly claim to know all things. This is nonsense. For the atheist to claim that there is no God, and that there are no traces of God's existence anywhere, the atheist must have explored all the infinite regions scattered throughout the universe. This requires omnipresence, or in other words, it would imply that the atheist is God himself. Atheism is irrational. It’s not a system that satisfies the intellect. You can never be sure that there is no God. It assumes a kind of knowledge that the human mind simply does not have. David is right! Only a fool would be satisfied with the claim that there is no God.

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Active resistance in Romans 1:18-27


Among the multitudes of problems oppressing humanity, in Romans 1:18-27 repression is described as the most catastrophic. The problem of repression is introduced in verse 18:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.


This text assumes that people already know something about God, for otherwise there would be nothing to suppress. It also presupposes that the act of repression has become a persistent rejection of the evidence for God in creation. In verses 19-20 Paul continues saying:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

People simply refuse to act on what creation tells them about God. Repression, in Paul's psychology then, is an intense resistance to the natural contents of consciousness regarding God. The divine properties of God are clearly visible in the physical environment. This knowledge is part of our life. It’s displayed everywhere in the created order. It provides reliable information about the Creator. Paul tells us that through the created things God has made it perfectly clear that he is a Being of incomparable power and intelligence. But human beings insist on their excessive attempts to ignore God.
This cognitive effort traps the person in an endless tension of opposites. As long as people experience this conflict, that is, the tension between the inescapable presence of God and the persistent repression of God’s self-revelation in nature, they will always live in opposition to God and in opposition to themselves. When there is tension in consciousness, life cannot be enriched. On the contrary, life is impoverished. Paul tells us that this useless attempt to empty consciousness of the knowledge of God makes an outlet for itself in repulsive acts of theriomorphic worship (verse 23), and attempts to seek enrichment of life in sexual acts outside the psychophysical operations determined by the biological structure of the individual (verses 26 and 27). That’s the consequence of personal repression. Humans are sexually confused. They deify visible things. Even worse. They give themselves passionately to the creature, instead of acknowledging God. This strategy of ignoring God by numbing the human conscience with forbidden behaviours very quickly loses its charm and after a while what promises freedom turns out to be slavery. The evidence is all around us: boredom, the endless search for cheap thrills, the pursue of pleasures that offer no deep, lasting fulfilment. As long as humanity is fully occupied with repressing the knowledge of God, it will experience a sense of lack.
The inborn tendency of consciousness is to recognise God in the world. Repression, however, encourages the misuse of the body and mind, and degrades human life with all the despicable and irrational things that God rejects. If there is a certain amount of knowledge about God and his properties to be perceived in the data of physical world, and, therefore, in consciousness, the entire world must accept the truth that everything in universe is a declaration of the glory of God. While it’s true that the natural knowledge of God is not enough to save people and make them feel his fatherly love, it’s an important fact; a fact that must be recognised if the human population wants to recover social morality, sustain mental wellbeing and avoid idolatry. Of course, this can only be done by giving up active resistance to the evidence of God in the external world. In the end, Romans 1:18-27 makes one thing pretty clear. It’s a historical certainty that if the natural knowledge of God is suppress, the world is always dysfunctional.

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Active resistance in Romans 1:18-27


Among the multitudes of problems oppressing humanity, in Romans 1:18-27 repression is described as the most catastrophic. The problem of repression is introduced in verse 18:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.


This text assumes that people already know something about God, for otherwise there would be nothing to suppress. It also presupposes that the act of repression has become a persistent rejection of the evidence for God in creation. In verses 19-20 Paul continues saying:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

People simply refuse to act on what creation tells them about God. Repression, in Paul's psychology then, is an intense resistance to the natural contents of consciousness regarding God. The divine properties of God are clearly visible in the physical environment. This knowledge is part of our life. It’s displayed everywhere in the created order. It provides reliable information about the Creator. Paul tells us that through the created things God has made it perfectly clear that he is a Being of incomparable power and intelligence. But human beings insist on their excessive attempts to ignore God.
This cognitive effort traps the person in an endless tension of opposites. As long as people experience this conflict, that is, the tension between the inescapable presence of God and the persistent repression of God’s self-revelation in nature, they will always live in opposition to God and in opposition to themselves. When there is tension in consciousness, life cannot be enriched.
On the contrary, life is impoverished. Paul tells us that this useless attempt to empty consciousness of the knowledge of God makes an outlet for itself in repulsive acts of theriomorphic worship (verse 23), and attempts to seek enrichment of life in sexual acts outside the psychophysical operations determined by the biological structure of the individual (verses 26 and 27). That’s the consequence of personal repression. Humans are sexually confused. They deify visible things. Even worse. They give themselves passionately to the creature, instead of acknowledging God.
Since the strategy of ignoring God depends on numbing the human conscience with artificial possibilities of experience, this enterprise very quickly loses its charm and after a while it becomes a prison.
What promises freedom is essentially slavery. The inborn tendency of consciousness is to recognise God in the world. Repression, however, encourages the misuse of the body and mind, and degrades human life with all the things the despicable and irrational that God rejects. If there is a certain amount of knowledge about God and his properties to be perceived in the data of physical world, and, therefore, in consciousness, the entire world must accept the truth that everything in universe is a declaration of the glory of God. While it’s true that the natural knowledge of God is not enough to save people and make them feel his fatherly love, it’s an important fact; a fact that must be recognised if the human population wants to recover social morality, sustain mental wellbeing and avoid idolatry. Of course, this can only be done by giving up active resistance to the evidence of God in the external world. In the end, Romans 1:18-27 makes one thing pretty clear. It’s a historical certainty that if the natural knowledge of God is supress, the world is always dysfunctional.

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New Editor for The Presbyterian Banner

The beginning of August marks the first issue of the new editor of our church magazine, The Presbyterian Banner. Rev. Jim Klazinga takes over from Rev. Dr Rowland Ward. Thanks go to Rev. Ward for his efforts and our prayers are for Rev. Klazinga as he takes the reins.  Our vision for the magazine is that it be used as a vehicle ...

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The Qualities of Scripture: Perfection


What makes the Bible the Word of God is the fact that God speaks in it. We can summarise this doctrine with a simple statement: What the Bible says is exactly what God says. Now if all this is true, then what God said and what God will say in the Bible it’s going to be very different from what we say to ourselves and what other people say in the culture around us.
The Word of God always tells us something fresh, something that we have never heard before. And what’s that? That God made us for his glory. This is why God makes himself heard in Scripture.
The Triune God says things in the Bible to change us and to prepare us for the perfection of glory, a condition of life which is free from sin, evil, suffering and imperfection. So in that sense the Bible is perfect. There’s nothing lacking in the Word of God for growing in holiness and developing a passion for the perfection of God. Psalm 19:7-8 says this about the Word of God:

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Here, the Hebrew poet tells us that God’s revelation is specific and is also perfect for the spiritual community. Since the Word of God is complete it would be a crime to add or to subtract anything from Scripture. In fact- we have strong warnings in Scripture against the practice of manipulating the content of divine revelation. In Deuteronomy 4:1-2 Moses said:

Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.



The first thing we see here is the connection between the Promised Land and the commandments of Yahweh. If Israel and the generations to come want to live on the land and enjoy physical wellbeing, they must be faithful to the words of the Lord. But something more important than the “land” is at stake here.
The verse implies that God will be their Lord as long as they don’t mess around with his commandments. So the thing that Moses wants the people to understand is that listening to words with inferior authority will make our commitments to God become weak or even neutral. The other text that forbids adding or subtracting to the Word of God is Revelation 22:18-19:

 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.  And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.


The warning is serious. And it shows us that God himself puts a tremendous importance on his words. God obviously wouldn’t be saying this if He didn’t think that his divine revelation wasn’t perfect. It seems to me that the church hasn’t fully appreciate the weight of this text. We’ve downplayed the seriousness of the warning by insisting that God doesn’t mean what he says or by deliberately adding things to the prophecy. We need to remember that God has a meaning for every word he says and that “all” his works and words are perfect.

Since the Bible is the basis of our faith and necessary for our salvation and perfection in glory we need to love Scripture. How do we do this? I have some suggestions for you:
First, people who want to live for the glory of God must interact with the Word of the Lord as if God himself is speaking to us though his mouth. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul tells us that the church should engaged the Scripture.

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

You see. The church in thessalonica received the message of the gospel as Word of God and God immediately began to work in their lives. I believe this also applies to how we listen to the preaching of the Bible. Some people listen to a sermon but they they say to themselves “there was nothing” in that sermon for me. This attitude is very often the outcome of pride or because we’re listening sermons with the anticipation of finding things to criticise. If we’re doing this we are telling God: Lord I’m not ready to let You say anything to me. What is needed here is repentance and humility.
The second reason for why we should love the Bible is because God is the author of it. Don’t forget: God is not an everyday person. He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Father-Son and Holy Spirit -the great and only immortal God.
If we love the literature produced by poets and theologians and philosophers and scientists, why we shouldn’t we love the writings of God, especially when all human writings are limited and imperfect. I love the way Psalm 12 describes the speech of God:

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.


Another reason for why we should love the Bible is because the Bible equips us to live with glorious purpose in life. Without the Bible we are dead to God and if we are dead to God life becomes tedious and exhausting. The Word of God helps us to experience the joy of living for God and the comfort of “being” loved by the God of the Bible. There are many more reasons to love the Word of God but I think we have enough to see that the Christian life must be interpreted, guided, conditioned and transformed by the Word of God.

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The Holy One of Israel: Psalm 78:41

In this text we find two properties of God put together in one verse: the transcendence and the immanence of God. The transcendence of God is defined in terms of the perfect Holiness of God "The Holy One." The immanence of God is immediately emphasised by the phrase "of Israel." The point: God comes near to us to make us holy.

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God Has Spoken: The Foundation of Glorious Living


The ability to live for the glory of God is not a behaviour that we are born with. This is something we get from God and it must be conditioned by God. And the Bible is the "only" frame of reference that helps us to live in the way God wants us to live. I don't know if you noticed my emphasis on the word "only". I want to emphasise this "word" because many Christians today speak of God's revelation as something that you can find in feelings, mystical experiences or in the private voice that speaks to us during the day.

This is not a good way of speaking about God's revelation. Why? Because it gives more credibility to our physical organs than the Word of God. For me it's difficult to believe that the God who speaks in Scripture would take us to anything else that is not already in the Bible for evidence of his speech. In the Christian church, we believe that "God has spoken" and this supernatural revelation of God has been communicated to the human writers of the Bible. The Bible is therefore the finished product of God's self-revelation.We should never put our trust in feelings, experience, logic or even "worship-songs" in the place of the Bible. I don't think it's an accident that Psalm 150, the last hymn in the Hebrew Psalter calling us to praise the Lord great enthusiasm is where it is. This Psalm is found at the end of the Psalter. But before we get to this Psalm we have go though Psalm 119 which is the longest in the Psalter. Here we find verse 176 telling us about the importance of the law, the testimonies, the ways, the commands and ordinances of the Lord. The sacred poet is showing us that our spiritual wellbeing and our faithfulness depends on our obedience to the Word of God. Okay. What I want us to do now is to see what Bible say about itself though the words of the authors of the Bible. A passage that we all know and is fundamental for understanding the supernatural character of the Bible is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The apostle Paul has been encouraging Timothy to a develop meticulous study of Scripture. And he gives him two reason for doing that. First, all Scripture is "breathed out" by God.Here, the word "all" means "any passage of Scripture" or the "every Scripture". This is a comprehensive statement. And even though Paul never calls his own writings Scripture, Peter clearly regarded them as Scripture. In 2 Peter 3:16 he says:

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Peter tells us that he regards the writings of Paul as "Scripture". So he puts them in the same level with the Old Testament. Now Paul also shows us the basis for encouraging Timothy to read Scripture. The Scripture is breathed out by God. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us what this means:

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is the Word of God. This doesn't mean that the sacred book fell from heaven. The Bible came to us through the ministry ofmen who spoke from God by the Holy Spirit.The biblical authors were the instruments of God and what they said was exactly what God wanted them to say and to write. The second reason for serious study of Scripture is the transformative power of the Bible.

The Scripture, says Paul is useful for:

teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The Bible not only gives us information about spiritual things. The Bible changes us to become spiritual people, completely equipped to do what is good in all spheres of life: civil good, moral good and spiritual good. To read the Bible is to be transformed for righteousness.

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Living for God's Glory

A goal is a vision of the life that we want for ourselves. When we have a goal everything we do in life contributes to the objective we have in mind. Paul speaks about the power of personal goals in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27:

 

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

 

Paul is using metaphors from the Roman world of athleticism. And he sees himself as a runner in the stadium. But then he says something really interesting. He tells us that the struggle to win the spiritual prize is not a competition against others. The struggle is with himself. That’s why he practices self-control. This is the kind discipline that gave him the focus to live a life of complete devotion to God. The apostle Paul was indifferent to the things that most people value today: social recognition, pleasure, beauty and possessions. From a non-christian perspective, Paul was not getting anything out life. But he shows us here that his life was pretty exciting, organised, and always moving in the right direction. What direction was that? What was Paul striving for? The prize! The eternal crown, which in Romans 5:2 means “the glory of God” - the never-ending joy of praising the beauty of God. That’s what Paul wanted in life. That what his goal. And that’s what God wants for us. He wants us to live for his glory. But what exactly does it mean to live for the glory of God? It means at least two things:

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Why should the Church obey Government Restrictions?

My answer is simple. Well, I hope it will be. Human communities face two types of demands. There are physical demands like the need for food, warmth and shelter. But there are also demands for cooperation in social activities. This cooperation is influenced by common sense, by the expectations of other community members, and by theological convictions in the Christian's life (Romans 13: 1-7). This means that we do not have unlimited freedom. We have to share the social space with others, and this often requires being willing to suffer personal limitations to help others. The new situation with the virus is doing just that. It's demanding a new attitude from society -an attitude of collaboration. Of course there is another alternative; indifference and civil disobedience. The substantial limitations that the Government is imposing on the Church, due to the rapid spread of the virus, should not be seen as a setback but as an opportunity to demonstrate love for the neighbour and cooperation among all members of society. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this vision of society. There are still people who refuse to give up their personal wishes or even show sympathy in these circumstances. So much so that the Government is being forced to crack down indifferent gatherings. All this to encourage the basic feeling of cooperation! In "normal" circumstances the principle of competition and self-centredness constantly gets in the way of the responsibility of cooperation. But in the circumstances that we have now we should expect a break from stereotyped routines that follow the same mechanical course of competiveness and selfishness. Thank God we are seeing that respite. But what will happen when things return to normal? I am afraid that society will relapse into prejudice, rage, panic, intolerance, greed, aggressiveness and lack of cooperation. It seems that it is only under emergency conditions that society can find a balance in life. As soon as things improve, the destructive side of human nature will inevitably re-emerge. That is why the whole world needs to hear the message of the Bible.The Bible not only shows the way of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus, but also provides power for civil duty and creates emotions of deep and genuine intensity for the vulnerable and pain-stricken in society. Over the centuries, the Hebrew prophets, the Son of God, and the Christian preachers of the New Testament have relentlessly emphasized the importance of life being conditioned by the words of God. Why? There must be a good reason for this. The reason is God's awesome purpose for the future of humanity. The apostle John, shows us this new condition of life in Revelation chapter 21:1-4:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

What we expect from God, is not simply eternal life, but the complete transformation of our existing environment. This is not prophetic fancy. When people believe the Gospel, there is a natural disposition of obedience to the ruling authorities, which make progress and real cooperation in society possible. Belief in Neo-Darwinism does not work. We can only hope to see real changes in human nature by living our lives in the truth of God. So what should believers be doing under these conditions? First, we should be suppressing self-serving tendencies. In Philippians 2: 1-4 we have this practical exhortation:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (ESV).

That’s the right attitude of the followers of Jesus in society. That’s how we escape the restrictive control of the sinful nature. In addition to this, we should be mindful of our civil responsibilities. In Romans 13:1-3 Paul writes:

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Facing The Virus Crisis in the Awareness of God’s Eternity

If there is something that has clearly emerged from this pandemic, it’s that the question of social instability can no longer be evaded. True. When we look at the mountains and the stars, we see a pattern of stability and immutability. But this appearance of unchanging endurance is misleading. Nothing is permanent in nature. Nothing is permanent in human existence. We grow old. The Twelve Apostles collapsed. Viruses disturb human welfare. Things have their limit. Things change. We will never catch the world taking a holiday from this universal law of development, change and instability. From a human point of view, stability is thought of as desirable. But from God's perspective, stability is not always good. Why? Because a stable existence often forces us to return to modes of life that are undesirable. For instance, the excessive attachment to things believing that they will go on unchanged. Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the current outbreak of the covid-19 virus and the insecurity that is unfolding right now is desirable. It is not! The virus is unleashing confusion, and is affecting the lives of thousands of people around the world. The point I simply want to underline is that we should not seek security in this planet. To do so will require a fundamental shift in our theological conviction regarding the divine promises of eternity. In times like this, it’s good that we don’t forget the truth of Psalm 102:25-28:

 

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you (ESV)

 

The Psalm begins with a prayer for help but in verses 25 to 28 the writer gives us a song of hope encouraged by the eternity of God. God created the world a long time ago and He continues to sustain the creation. Life as we know it, will change but God remains forever. This section in Psalm 102 is calling us to interpret this world of uncertainty and deadly viruses in a new way. It’s telling us to make a mental transition. From the deceptive idea of stability to renewed faith in the reality of God’s eternity. The moment we do this we begin to live life in the real sense of the word. We see therefore that our expectation of stability is not supported by evidence from nature and the Scriptures. So where does it come from? It comes from our persistent habit of regarding human existence as more important than the eternity of God. The Christian mind, however, can rise above the deceptive appearance of security by the spiritual insight that God alone is stable and unchanging. There is no reality that is more stable, more uplifting, and more comforting than the unchanging character of God.

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EPC Biennial Youth Camp 2019-2020 UPDATE

Minden Retreat

Our brothers and sisters in the EPC are holding a Youth Camp in Brisbane at the end of the year. They have graciously invited our young people to attend. If you are interested and available please consider going to share fellowship in Christ and enjoy the Queensland sunshine! For full details AND NOW REGISTRATION download the updated ...

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PCEA Youth Camp 2019

Youth Camp is finished for the year. A wonderful time of fellowship and learning was had by all, and we had a great attendance this year. Rev. John Forbes' talks are available on a playlist here

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The Vicious Habit of Envy: Galatians 5:16-25

In this paragraph, Paul tells us how to move from the bondage of self-indulgence to the sphere of life in which human behaviour is totally controlled by spiritual love. The process is simple: "live by the Spirit and you will not satisfy the desires of the sinful nature" (verse 16). Following the apostolic mandate we find a graphic catalogue of behaviours that belong to the sinful nature (vv 19-21). The order is not significant, except that envy is underlined among these non-spiritual ways of life. What exactly is envy? Envy is a universal emotion. Everyone at some point feels envious under certain conditions. People sometimes envy good looks, a successful career, someone else's possessions, spiritual gifts, etc. However, for the person controlled by the sinful nature, envy has acquired an exaggerated dimension. The envious person seeks to devalue others to protect themselves from the internal pressure of their envy. This person despises others in order not to feel envious. Envy becomes for them a constant companion. Envy accompanies them to work, is present in social relationships and does not remain outside the place of worship. The envious person observes that another person knows more or does things better than he does, and feels a deep sense of anguish and jealousy. Envy poisons everyday life, prevents Christian love and hinders spiritual growth because the envious person is always concerned about what others do. Envy does not allow them to concentrate on the life of the Spirit. Let us be led by the Spirit and we will escape the compulsions of the sinful nature.  

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