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Moderator's Comments - Posted 21 May 2015

Maxine and I returned to Australia on Tuesday after eight weeks overseas.

We were five weeks in the UK, first at the Word Alive convention.  This is like the Easter convention for the UK, this year held in North Wales.   Word Alive has a solid commitment to expository ministry, each day started with sermons from Romans and the day ended in week one on Matthew and in week two on the book of Revelation.  

We then travelled to St Andrew the Great, Church of England in the middle of Cambridge.  I spoke on the Sunday following their evangelistic mission.  As a result of the mission, 40 people joined a group for new converts or seekers.   

Then on to St Helen’s Bishopgate, in London, what a blessing is this church to the city of London, the Word of God is declared at every opportunity, the ministry is persistently evangelistic with a strong emphasis on Bible study groups and one to one ministry.  

Both these churches are very well led, a reminder that leadership is key.  The failure of the church, like Israel, is usually due to a failure of leadership.

You can access the excellent sermons and resources at both the churches through their websites:  www.stag.org and www.st-helens.org.uk.  

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Moderator's Comments - Posted 18 March 2015

Every pastor has been asked “will I know my loved ones on the other side?”

The intermediate state is the time between our death and the day when Jesus Christ returns and we receive our new body. In that time we are disembodied souls, will we be able to recognise loved ones?

We cannot be absolutely sure but the Bible gives us every indication of recognition.

We are made in the image of the relational God, the primary relationship which we will enjoy is with the Lord himself, and we will also enjoy relationships with others who are also in Christ.

Jesus pictures heaven as a banquet (Luke 14:15 – 24) and feasting at a table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 8:11). At the transfiguration, Peter, James and John recognise Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus (Mark 9:23).

Jacob spoke of his death as resting with his fathers (Genesis 47:30), God told Moses that he would rest with his fathers (Deuteronomy 31:16), God tells David that he will rest with his fathers (2 Samuel 7:12). God could have said Moses and David would simply die or join the dead but he uses a family term, a term, father, implying relational reunion.

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Moderator's Comments - Posted 2 March 2015

That there is an element of fear as we face imminent death is natural, after all, none of us are experienced at dying, we only die once. It seems so permanent and separating from all that we love.

Fear can only be quelled by love. John says that as we face judgement, “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear and fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18).”

Human love usually displaces fear, a parent’s minor fears are easily set aside by love for their child who is in imminent danger.

Knowing and trusting God’s love will always displace our fear, but fear is also fed by ignorance.

The Christian facing death has two common questions, I will deal with the first in this column, the second question in the next column.

The first question is, at the point of death, when I leave all that is familiar, what will be my conscious experience? The secularist believes there will be no consciousness beyond death. The believer knows that the factual resurrection of Jesus is the proof that there is life beyond the grave. Since I am “in Christ”, by faith, his experience of death will be mine.

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Moderator's Comments - Posted 17 February 2015

This is the third column in a series on truths which have been neglected and need careful and clear treatment.

Many writers have referred to the Holy Spirit as the shy member of the Trinity.  Every believer has the Holy Spirit living within.

The Holy Spirit is divine, He is God the Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity (Acts 2:33, Acts 5:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14, John 14:16, 26).  The Holy Spirit, though unseen, is real. Though a Spirit, He is a person rather than a force. He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and He can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19 – 20).  

The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to apply the work of God the Son to the individual; in this way, He acts without our co-operation.  Jesus said He is as sovereign as the wind; he brings new birth to us, without our help (John 3:3, 6, 8; John 1:13).

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Moderator's Comments - Posted 4 November 2014

Occasionally I watch Parliamentary Question Time and the truth of the above quote from Mark Twain impresses me again. Both sides of politics can use the same statistic and reach precisely opposite conclusions.

Having been a College Principal for 26 years, I know the power of statistics:

  • How many applicants do we have this year compared to this time last year?
  • How many graduates are going to serve overseas?
  • How much has been given compared to donations for the last five years, can we have a spreadsheet?

Every year may bring a new record number, but it is sobering to remember this year’s record is next year’s bigger challenge.