Understanding and the Trinity

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Understanding and the Trinity, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Trinity Sunday 22 May, 2016. The Reading was John 16:12-15.

Trinity?

Today in the life of the Church is what is called, Trinity Sunday. It’s a day where we celebrate one of the great mysteries of the Church. One of the great Theological conundrums. That we worship one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our Third doctrine says that “We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.” So we believe that our one God is three persons, but they can’t be divided. It’s something that can be a bit hard to understand. Continue reading

Feeling Safe

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Feeling Safe, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Mothers Day, Sunday 8 May, 2016. The Reading was John 17:20-26.

Feeling Safe

Liesl and I are very different in some respects. For example, I have no qualms about walking around at night alone. No worries at all. She, however, won’t step out at night unless she’s with someone. I would be more than happy to walk around the city at night, to take public transport or catch a taxi alone at night, where as those things would make her very nervous.

And I get it. I understand it. I am a privileged person. As a white male, I am less likely to suffer abuse when in those situations, than Liesl is. Still unlikely, but the unfortunate reality is that women grow up with an inherent understanding that if they are alone at night, they are in danger. Continue reading

Listen to the voice of the shepherd

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Listen to the voice of the Shepherd, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday 17 April, 2016. The Reading was John 10:22-30.

We listen for what we are trained

A guy was walking down Bourke Street, the hustle and bustle of everyone heading off to their jobs, trams going all over the place, cars beeping their horns, noise everywhere. And all of a sudden, a young guy taps him on the shoulder. The young guy says to guy, “Hey, can you hear that cricket?” And with an incredulous look, the guy says “Seriously? In amongst all this noise, you’re saying that you can hear the sound of a cricket?” So he stopped, looked at the guy, and dropped a coin onto the pavement. It was as if the whole street when suddenly quiet, as a number of people looked down to see where the coin was. The young guy said “I guess we hear what we want to hear”. Continue reading

God’s Gifts

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, God’s Gifts, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday 14 February, 2016. The Reading was John 21:1-23.

Societies Contrasting messages

As I’m sure you’re aware now, I turn 30 today. And it’s with these big birthdays that you start thinking about your life, about making sure that you’re doing things that you should be doing. So earlier this year, I went to get a skin check, and you probably saw me with a bandage on the back of my neck where I had a biopsy done. All clear, which is good, but it was a bit of a wake up as well. I want to make sure that I’m around for as long as I can be for my kids – but my word is the world a tough place to live in. Continue reading

God’s Big Reveal

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, God’s Big Reveal, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Easter Sunday 27 March, 2016. The Reading was John 20:1-18.

I love a big reveal

Liesl and I love watching – when we remember that it’s one – we love watching this show on ABC2 called Penn and Teller’s Fool Us. It features two Magicians, Penn – the tall one who does all the talking, and Teller, the one who doesn’t speak. They have a big Las Vegas show, and through this TV show, they feature a whole heap of magicians who come on and perform a trick. If they are able to fool Penn and Teller, that is, if they aren’t able to figure out how the trick is done, then they win an opportunity to be the warm up act for their Las Vegas show.

Now magic is all about the big reveal. The showing of the box being empty. The showing of the girl sawn in half. The showing of the card that you signed being found inside the walnut which was inside the egg, which was inside the lemon. And I love it, because it gets you thinking – how did they do that? Continue reading

Jesus invites us to a party

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Jesus invites us to a party, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday 6 March, 2016. The Reading was Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.

We’re fine with equality so long as we come out on top.

Now, I’m hoping that you will appreciate my jokes a bit more than Liesl does, but I’d like to start off with a joke today. The story goes that this is an old Jewish story. There was a hardworking farmer, and the Lord appeared to him and in response to his hard work and faithfulness granted him three wishes, but with the condition that whatever he wished for, the Lord would give double to his neighbour. The farmer, scarcely believing his good fortune, wished for a hundred cattle. Immediately he received one hundred cattle and was overjoyed until he saw that his neighbour had two hundred. So he wished for a hundred acres of land, and again he was filled with joy  until he saw that his neighbour had two hundred acres of land. Rather than celebrating God’s goodness, the farmer could not escape feeling jealous and slighted because his neighbour had received more than he did. Finally, he stated his third wish – that God would strike him blind in one eye. And God wept. Continue reading

Be part of God’s Family

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Be part of God’s Family, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday 14 February, 2016. The Reading was Romans 10:8b-13.

Beard, Mates, Family

Ben - Before and After

Ben – Before and After

You may notice something is a little bit different about me today. That something appears to be missing. Now, it’s not just because I was tired of Davey pulling at my beard, or that I wanted to look even younger. No, the reason that the beard came off is much more meaningful to me.

I’ve got a few really close mates. We’ve been mates since high school, when we all went to the same church. We’ve been through our ups and downs together, and through it all, we look out for each other. One of my mates, Christian, or CJ as he’s more commonly known, recently had a lump removed which was making him sick. The biopsy results came back, and he has commenced a treatment of preventative chemotherapy – which, if you’re have to have Chemo, is probably the best type to have. Now one thing that defines CJ is his facial hair. He always has some facial hair. Sometimes it’s a goatee, sometimes is a rough and wild bushman’s beard. The only time he’s ever bare is November 1st, when he shaves it all off to grow a moustache for Movember. So now, because of this treatment, he’s had to shave his beard off. Continue reading

Prayer for Asylum Seekers

In Australia, Asylum Seekers has been a major, divisive issue for a long time. Just recently, following a High Court appeal, Churches around Australia are offering sancturary to Asylum Seekers living in the community, offering them protection from being deported to the regional processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island (Papua New Guinea). In response, I wrote this prayer, which is able to be used in congregations and in personal prayers, as need be. (For my own congregational use, I add a prayer from The Worship Sourcebook, but can’t reproduce it here. Second edition, pg 146. 4.3.27 if you have the book and wish to use it.)

You might also like to use this song alongside the modern hymn, Beauty for Brokenness (God of the Poor) (998 in the new Salvation Army Songbook). Continue reading

God’s Busy Love

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, God’s busy love, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday 31 January, 2016. The Reading was 1 Corinthians 13.

Words for Snow, Words for Love

Did you know that it is said that the Inuit people, or Eskimo as they’re sometimes commonly known, supposedly have 50 words for snow. 50! You know, I come from Perth, and we don’t really get snow there. Occasionally there would be a small patch about the size of a dinner plate on Bluff Knoll, and it would make the news. For us, if it’s white and came from the sky, it’s snow. But for the Inuit’s, because they live their whole lives in the snow, their language developed a lot of different designations for what type of snow it is. Apparently, they have words that mean “powder snow”, “drifting snow”, “snow that falls quickly” and “snow that falls slowly”. They have words for “snow that doesn’t reach the ground” and the “First snow of the year”. But I don’t trust my source, because it also claims that the word for “snow which has melted” is “wa-ter”. So I may be a little bit misled in my claim. Continue reading

End times?

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Worship as Lifestyle, was given at The Salvation Army Devonport on Sunday 15 November, 2015. The Reading was Mark 13:1-13.

end-is-nearHear Ye! Hear Ye! The End is near! War is upon us! Syria is rising up against the world! Russia and the United States are arguing. Israel and Palestine! Earthquakes all over the world. Famines through Africa. A shortage of Baby Formula in China. Donald Trump being an US Presidential Candidate. Starbucks not putting Merry Christmas on their coffee cups. Bunnings rising up next to K&D. These are the end times people! Jesus is coming! Look Busy!

As the human race, we seem to have an addiction to wanting to know when the end of the world will happen. The Great Fount of All Knowledge, Wikipedia, lists 168 Apocalyptic predictions, dates when various people have predicted the end of the world would happen. There are also 13 future estimates currently listed, including three scientific predictions over when the earth will no longer be habitable.

Some of these predictions, we seem to laugh at – such as Harold Camping, who had six attempts at predicting the end of the world. But others are from people that we respect, such as Sir Isaac Newton, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church from where The Salvation Army traces its lineage, and Martin Luther, the man who started the Reformation.

We want to know. We want to see Jesus. We want to know how much time we have left. We want to know whether it’s worth us doing the washing, or whether we’ll have enough clean pants to see us through… Continue reading