Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Psalm 82:3
Author: Ben Clapton
I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.
Today in church, I did something that – to my knowledge – I haven’t seen any minister do before. I certainly hope that I am wrong in that though.
Today, I was vulnerable in front of my congregation. After talking about my previous mental health problems, I told them that I was currently struggling through a dark patch. I told them that I was going to be seeking out professional help, but I let them know that I was struggling. Continue reading “I see a black dog rising”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Whose Kingdom?, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday November 26, 2017. The Reading wasJohn 18:1-19:42.
On Friday April 13, 1742, some 275 years ago, Handel’s Messiah oratorio was first performed in Dublin, Ireland. This was a performance arranged by Handel in order to benefit three charities, one of which was Prisoners’ debt relief. The concert raised 400 pounds, giving each charity 127 pounds which allowed 142 prisoners to be released of their debts. Continue reading “Whose Kingdom?”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Now and Later, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday November 12, 2017. The Reading wasMatthew 25:1-13.
End times predictions
There is an endless possibility to get yourself lost on the internet. And there is a multitude of rabbit holes that are just waiting to suck you down. For example, you could start by looking to see what other movies an actress you had just watched had been in, and all of a sudden, it’s 3am, and you’ve somehow connected the Lunar Landing with the JFK assassination and how John Lennon’s soul is to blame for it all.
One of those rabbit holes are End Times predictions. Since the year 2000 and the Y2K collapse of civilisation that didn’t happen, there have been no less than 36 end time predictions, the most recent being October 15, and the next being November 19, both by David Meade, a Christian numerologist who believes that the planet Nibiru will collide with Earth first in September, but then that was wrong, so we didn’t understand his prediction, then it was October 15, but again, we didn’t understand his prediction, so now it’s November 19. Again, I somehow think that we haven’t understood his prediction. Continue reading “Now and Later”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Room for All, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday October 15, 2017. The Reading wasMatthew 22:34–40
Snooker at Bethesda
For a year or so, my dad held a position at a Nursing Home near our house in Greenwood. I was in year 7 at the time, and had to take public transport home, which involved catching two busses. But some days, generally once a week, I would get to catch the bus, and stop in at my dad’s work. I really looked forward to these days. It may seem odd for a year 7 student to look forward to getting to spend an afternoon at a nursing home, but I really enjoyed it. While I was there, one of the jobs they would get me to do was to help serve the residents dinner. For those that weren’t able to head to the dining room, I would take around their dinner and jugs of water to their rooms. And I loved being able to help out in that way. But I think the bigger attraction for me was that once all of the dinners were served, and the rest of the residents were in the dining room having their dinner, I would get to play on the snooker table. I would play by myself, trying to see the highest score I could get, seeing how many I could sink in a row before missing. I would play until my dad was ready to head home, and I had the greatest fun. One of the things I especially liked doing was practicing the break. I tried to perfect where I needed to place the cue ball, where I needed to hit on the triangle, with how much force, so that whenever I broke, I could immediately sink one of the red balls. But I could place the ball in the right spot every time, I could aim at the right spot, I could use exactly the right amount of force, but if I didn’t hit the cue ball in exactly the right spot, then I would have no chance of sinking a red ball. I needed to ensure that my connection to the cue ball was right. Continue reading “Love… but how?”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Whose Image?, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday October 22, 2017. The Reading was Matthew 22:15-22.
It’s A Trap!
I think it’s no real secret that I’m a bit of a nerd. I’ve talked a bit about being a Theology nerd before, but that’s not the only thing I’m nerdy about. I love Star Trek. I love it, and I’m proud of it. I’m very much enjoying the new series on Netflix, Star Trek Discovery, and Liesl is ashamed that not only am I watching Star Trek, but I’m also watching a show that discusses the latest episode, called AfterTrek. I do love my Star Trek, but
I also love Star Wars and am really looking forward to new movie coming out in December. Before Episode VII came out, I invited friends over and we watched all six movies in one night – not sure I’ll do that again, but it was good.
I’m reminded of a scene in Episode VI, The Return of the Jedi. The Rebels have found the location of the new death star, apparently still under construction, and decide to attack it before it is operational. And in this scene, we have a line from Admiral Ackbar – who is the large orange-brown alien that looks a bit like a large prawn – and this line in recent years has gone on to have a cult following of it’s own. Continue reading “Whose Image?”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Room for All, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday October 15, 2017. The Reading was Matthew 22:1-14.
Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to get invited to a banquet? To get one of those invitations where you know that there’s going to be lots of food, and often the best food, there’s going to be all the big names, all the important people, and if you get an invite, then you might get to meet them as well. And, best of all, you know that you don’t have to do the dishes that night – even better!
Now, it may not be a banquet that we get invited to, but maybe it might be a dinner party? They’re just as good, and you know that you’re still not going to do the dishes. Or maybe you’re the type of person that loves entertaining and sends out the invites for the dinner parties. Do you realise that when you hold a dinner party, there are actually two points of invite? The first is the initial invite, to say “I’m holding a dinner party, on Saturday. Please come at 6pm.” But the food isn’t on the table at 6pm. You wait for all the guests to arrive, and they might sit in the lounge room, having a chat, maybe a drink. And then, when everyone’s there, and the food is on the table, the host comes out and says “Dinner is served. Please come to the table.” Continue reading “Room For All”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Give Freely, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday September 3, 2017. The Reading was Matthew 13:1-9.
I feel as it is Father’s day, this story is appropriate.
A weathy Texan was in the habit of giving his dad unique gifts on Father’s Day. One year, it was lessons on hang-gliding. The year before, it was the entire record collection of Slim Whitman. But this year, he felt like his had outdone himself. He purchase a rare kind of talking bird that could speak five languages and sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” while standing on one foot. The talented bird cost ten thousand dollars, but he felt it was worth every penny. This would be a Father’s Day gift his dad would never forget.
A week after Father’s Day, he called his father. “Dad, how did you like the bird?” His father responded, “It was delicious!” Continue reading “Give Freely”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Honour God, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday August 27, 2017. The Reading was Matthew 6:1-4.
There are some things, as an officer, you learn to give up. Some, you’re aware of before you start. For example, I knew that I was giving up my freedom in choosing where to live. Don’t get me wrong, I love living here, but I am a long way from my family. But I knew that going in it would be unlikely that I ever get sent back to WA. At the very least – I don’t have the choice. But there are some things that you aren’t told going in, and one of them is my very minor OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Continue reading “Honour God”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Moving outside the private faith, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday June 25, 2017. The Reading was Romans 6:1-13.
Living in a Foreign Land
I want you to imagine that you have moved to live in another country. Not there for a holiday, but moved there permanently. But you haven’t moved to one of the English-speaking countries – you’ve moved to France, or Germany, or China, Uzbekistan or Chile. And you don’t know the language. What are you going to do? Continue reading “Living in the Holy Land”
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Moving outside the private faith, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday May 21, 2017. The Reading was John 14:12-24.
The Joy of being an Introvert
A couple of years ago, I was able to go and do a study unit that involved spending a week at a Monastery over in Perth. And part of what that unit involved was taking part in the Monk’s daily routine, which included their six daily prayer sessions, and maintaining silence between their final prayers of the day at 8.15pm and their first prayers of the morning, at 5.15am.
Now I’m sure that some of you might wonder why anyone would subject themselves to such a life for even a week, let alone commit their whole lives to it. But I found myself bubbling with energy after just a couple of days. You might even say that I was overflowing with energy.
You see, I am an introvert, and that means I get energy from being by myself.