Still others… still needs to happen

Well the big weekend is over. The Salvation Army in Australia is now one territory, and judging by the events that happened over the weekend, you could be given to thinking that everything was rosy, and the future of The Salvation Army in Australia is great and that this weekend is a once off event and now that it’s over we can go off and live our own lives.

But if you think that, then you are mightily mistaken.

Continue reading “Still others… still needs to happen”
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Holiness and New Life

Replacing Addictions and Habits

Black Coffee in a Red Keep Cup
Coffee

I don’t know if you’ve ever been addicted to anything. According to Liesl, I’m addicted to coffee. It’s true. I do love the stuff. And it would indeed be a rare day that I would not have a coffee. And I keep saying to her that I could give it up any time, I just don’t want to.

Alright. So maybe I am addicted.

But I have gone through times of giving it up. Sometimes for health reasons, sometimes to prove to Liesl that I wasn’t addicted. But I have successfully gone for periods of not drinking coffee. And what I’ve found is that in order for me to give up something that I may or may not be addicted to, I need to replace it with something else. Preferably something that is healthier.

So for example, when I gave up coffee, I would replace it with water. I would drink lots of water, and I would have hot water to replace the social aspect in my brain of having a hot drink.

In the times that Liesl and I have come into contact with Salvation Army rehab units, we’ve discovered a similar thing. Most recovering drug addicts and alcoholics take up smoking, and most centres are ok with it, because it is giving up a damaging addiction and replacing it with something less damaging. They realise that if you take the addiction away but don’t replace it with anything, then it won’t be a long term solution.

Or maybe you’ve tried to get rid of an old habit? In the very same way, it is a deliberate action that we must take to replace a bad habit with a good habit.

Continue reading “Holiness and New Life”

Unity in Diversity

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Unity in Diversity, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday August 5, 2018. The Reading was Ephesians 4:1-16.

One Body, One Spirit, One mind?

This past week, Liesl and I have been at Officer’s Fellowship – the first Officer’s Fellowship of the unified Victorian division. Now you may be wondering what we do at Officer’s Fellowship. Do we get away for a week of frivolity, where the rules are somewhat relaxed? No. Do we spend the week in deep and rigorous bible study that enriches the mind and spirit, but leaves you physically tired? No. The reality is somewhere in the middle.

Of course, this year was somewhat different. This was the first year we have had one Victorian Division. In past years, there would be a fellowship for each division – so last year, there was a retreat for officers in Western Victoria Division, Eastern Victoria Division, Central Victorian Division and the State Social Command. This year, all of those came into one – with the result being 178 officers in attendance. So it was massive. Continue reading “Unity in Diversity”

Come Away to a Deserted Place

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Come Away to a Deserted Place, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday July 22, 2018. The Reading was Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.

The many things we need to do

What’s your standard response to the question, “How are you?” Do you say “I’m Good” or “I’m Well”, or “Fine” or something else? In a couple of weeks, Liesl and I will be at Officer’s Fellowship, which will be the first one for the whole of Victoria division. Apart from being much larger than normal, and fairly crazy as a result, I suspect that with a number of catch ups, there will be the question asked “How are you” and more than a few responses of “I’m Busy.”

In today’s society, “Busy” is almost becoming a default response. Our default responses are the way that we want to be seen. How often have you responded “I’m Well” when you have a cold? And as such, “Busy” is seen as something we want to be. If we are busy, we have many things on the go. If we’re busy, we’re doing lots of things. “Busy” seems to be the ideal, much better than “oh, nothing much” Continue reading “Come Away to a Deserted Place”

Grace Through Our Weakness

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Grace Through our Weakness, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday July 8, 2018. The Reading was 2 Corinthians 12:2-10.

Young, Old, Weak, Strong

Who here is celebrating a birthday today? No one? Are you sure? I have a list of Birthdays here, let me see who’s on it.

Well, I don’t have everyone, but you get the idea – we are all celebrating a birthday, because every day is another day since our birth. I heard someone once say that today is the oldest you have ever been, AND it is also the youngest you will ever be again. I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing to realise, but it’s true. Continue reading “Grace Through Our Weakness”

Who is Jesus?

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, A Most Unlikely Hero, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday June 24 2018. The Reading was Mark 4:35-41.

Expect the unexpected

I know that there might be a bit of a feeling that Liesl and I preach very differently. That when I’m preaching, you will get a bit more of a standard sermon, that hopefully teaches, inspires and puts a new spin on the reading for you. Where as Liesl…. Well, anything can be expected. You might even expect the unexpected. And that’s ok, we need both, and I know Liesl and I are both glad we don’t preach exactly like the other, because my style will connect with some better than hers, and she will connect better with others. So if you’re one who connects more with Liesl’s preaching, I apologise but you have me again. I’ll try not to put you to sleep.

One of the shows that I watched a lot of in my teenage and early adult years was Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I loved the weird, British humour, and the older I’ve become, the more I appreciate what they were doing through their skits. One of the skits I remember well was the Spanish Inquisition. Now I bet you didn’t expect me to bring up the Spanish Inquisition.

Continue reading “Who is Jesus?”

The Kingdom of God is like a Seed

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, The Kingdom of God is like a Seed, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday June 17, 2018. The Reading was Mark 4:26-34.

Context is King

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Context is King” – it’s this idea that without knowing the context surrounding a passage, you aren’t fully understanding what is happening.

As you all know, I love Star Trek. I recently finished re-watching The Original Series on Netflix. And one of the things that I love about Star Trek, and Sci-Fi in general, is that it reflects the current day issues in a futuristic context. Without understanding the context that the sci-fi was written in, you’re not fully understanding the meaning.

For example, watching The Original Series today with modern eyes is slightly jarring. The role of women in the series is often portrayed as helpless, or as administrative assistants, which did reflect the role of women in the 60’s when the show was produced. While the men wore a uniform fit for work and battle, the women were often in very short skirts. If it was made like this today, it would be decried as out of date and out of touch. Continue reading “The Kingdom of God is like a Seed”

Sabbath Living

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Sabbath Living, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday June 6, 2018. The Reading was Mark 2:23-3:6.

Improving on what God has made

We have to admit that God is pretty clever. Humans have been trying to emulate God for years, but there are not many things that we have improved upon what God has made. We have tried making humans – both through cloning and through robotics, but both have presented us with either ethical or technological problems that we just can’t solve. We have tried creating new ways at creating plants, and light, and all sorts of other things. But they all result in more problems. Even something that I might be willing to admit that we did better than God – the Tablet… still has it’s issues. I don’t think that Moses ever had issues with the ten commandments freezing, or getting addicted to playing Candy Crush on the stone tablets. He did break his stone tablets though, so maybe ours are still just as fragile.

But there is one thing that we have improved upon what God created. Continue reading “Sabbath Living”

Hope Where It’s Needed Most

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Hope where it’s needed most, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday May 27, 2018. The Reading was Luke 10:25-37.

Elizabeth Ballard of Chesapeake, Virginia, tells the story of a school teacher named Miss Jean Thompson.
Miss Thompson would greet her new students every September with the same words: “Boys and girls, I love you all the same. I have no favourites.” Of course, she wasn’t being completely truthful. Teachers do have favourites and what’s worse, they sometimes have students they just don’t like.
Teddy Stallard was one of these. Continue reading “Hope Where It’s Needed Most”

The Great Banquet

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, The Great Banquet, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday May 13, 2018. The Reading was Luke 14:12-24.

It’s 6:30am, and the temperature is in the single digits. I’m sitting on a picnic blanket on the lawns of Parliament House. To the left of me are two sisters and a friend who have travelled there from Adelaide. Next to them, a native Hawaiian who now lives in Sydney. Someone from Canberra. A couple from Newcastle. Behind me is a man recently arrived from Syria. And on the other side of the group, another man who originates from the Congo but arrived only last week into Australia from a refugee camp in Burundi. Prior to today, I had only met these people the night before as we watched the budget and shared in prayer and worship. Yet today, these people, from varied backgrounds and faith traditions, today we are family. We meet together to learn from scripture, and to be a voice for the unheard.

Over to our right, the news crews stand in readiness, ready to interview a range of politicians as they discuss this latest budget. And in front of us, a banquet table, jam-packed full of goodies to illustrate how the blessings of our abundance means that we have plenty to share with all who need it. Continue reading “The Great Banquet”