Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Temptation/Good Luck


28th November 2007

Temptation/Good Luck

Hi Guys, Fred here.

The blokes at Men’s Brekky recently got into a discussion about Jesus and Temptation. One line of thought said “yeh, but you know he was never going to sin.” My response was “well, if he was like me and was confronted by a beautiful babe who was ‘willing’, I’d have to admit the temptation was real.” At that point, another of the group quoted a ‘rock song’ with this line:


It’s true that Jesus did not sin. It was the only way he could be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But without doubt he felt the tug of sin, including through the Mary Magdelenes’ of this world.

He did not sin however because he allowed nothing to come between himself and his Father in Heaven. He chose – willed himself – to remain utterly focused on Abba Father’s will. And that is why he did not suffer confusion as the writer of the line above did.

The beauty of it is that his clarity – read his purity and holiness – is what is given to us in the Spirit when he takes our sin to the tomb, and we trust him and his message for life.

“Our Father, who in heaven…your will be done…lead us not into temptation.”


Enjoy your week.


Something else…remember the Colin Powell’s favourite quote from last week’s Cross Purposes?

It’s from Thucydides: “Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most.” Powell elaborated: “The more powerful you are, the more people want to trust you with that power. They would hate to not trust you with that power.”

Somebody responded with this quote:

"Anyone who wants to be a politician shouldn't be allowed to be one."

And The Bulletin in discussing ‘the Powerful’ in it’s November 27 2007 issue included the following:

“The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.” Lord Macaulay

In regard to the last quote from Lord Macaulay, it could be amended to describe Jesus and his attitude to power:

“The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without using it.”

That my friends, is biblical meekness.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Power and Restraint


21st November 2007

Power and Restraint

Hi Guys, Fred here.

The Sydney Morning Herald of November 16th 2007 had an article about the election by it’s political editor, Peter Hartcher. In that article he quoted former US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The quote goes like this

“The former US general and secretary of state, Colin Powell, has a favourite quote. It’s from Thucydides: “Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most.” Powell elaborated: “The more powerful you are, the more people want to trust you with that power. They would hate to not trust you with that power.”

Without a doubt Powell is right about the psychology of the way the governed think and feel in their hearts towards those who are in power. It’s why we hate it when we are lied to, manipulated, played for fools, treated like idiots. We respect those who come clean with us and are upfront with us. May Jesus Christ bless your voting, whatever way you vote. Vote in good faith according to your faith and conscience and he will bless you.

This Cross Purposes is not about the election though. It’s about that son who was entrusted with power on earth as he went about his fathers business. He was faithful – to the bitter end of his human life – faithful unto death – to everything his father wanted said and done. This has consequences for us.

As Jesus life is restored he receives “all authority in heaven and on earth” and Jesus becomes the one “before whom every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess…” This is truly the One to Fear. But there is good news here. For those who fear him in the right way, who trust him, who revere his name, Paul has a word of comfort. Here it is:

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

See, God in Christ Jesus is for us. He has power and authority which is being used “for us”, for our good, for our faith, comfort, forgiveness, restoration and vision.

My challenge to you this week is to absorb and digest what Paul is praying for you and me in Ephesians 1: 18-23
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

Have a good week, Christmas is coming, be at peace!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The funeral of Colin Klabe


14th November 2007

One of St Pauls long standing members died last Sunday. The name Colin Klabe is probably unknown to most of you and carries no weight. Colin was 64. He’d been sick and declining for a long time. He just sort of faded away.

Colin was no visionary of the prophetic church. You’d never call him a “charismatic”. Wasn’t given to the making of stirring speeches at Annual Meetings. Wasn’t one to go creating trouble and mischief either. A quiet man, peace loving, never pushed himself into the public eye and able to be almost invisible. Yet the hole he leaves in our church is enormous.

Consider the following quote from a note which arrived by email from the USA soon after the news got out:

“Laura and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Colin Klabe. At the same time we celebrate Colin’s graduation into heaven! His memory has a lasting and positive place in our hearts.

Colin had a tremendous impact on our lives while we lived in Sydney. Colin has that gentle spirit and always made us feel welcome at church. In fact, when Laura and I attended other churches in the states, we would always look for the “Colin” of the church. Colin set the standard for engaging with people of all ages. He is a true saint and a big part of the congregation to welcome us to St Pauls. Our faith grew knowing Colin. Colin and Ruth always welcomed us and many times opened their home to us (and many others) who were away from home for the holidays.

Mark & Laura Kurtz

Mark captures it perfectly. Every church needs a “Colin”. I’ve never known anyone with such a heart for Jesus and his people – a heart for helping people connect quickly and easily. He didn’t welcome people. He became the welcome. Time after time I’d check with him about visitors and he’d have the info at his fingertips. He saw his role among God’s people and lived it out. He did lots of other stuff around the place but the business of “being Colin” was what really blessed St Pauls since he was confirmed in 1957 – ie he did it for 50 years!!

St Pauls has a rich history which was largely built around the Colins of this world. You can build a church on “Colins”. They are simply “there”. The great gift they bring is to be present, rain, hail or shine. You never have to wonder where they are – they’ll be there doing the simple, helpful, tidy up things without an ounce of fuss or bother.

So, think God for Colin and Colins!

And, in what way are you a Colin? In what way can you be a Colin? How able are you to break the Baby Boomer / Gen X / Gen Y moulds, seize the day, and allow yourself to commit to Jesus Christ’s cause for the blessing, the Kingdom blessing, of others who need Jesus Christ?

So there! I dare you to risk being a Colin.


PS – Colin just adored his Lord!

Friday, November 09, 2007



9th November 2007

Hi Guys

A couple of weeks ago in the blog I put forward the view that to imply that a loved one who has died has somehow been promoted to angelic status is to demean them. Angel status is not the goal of God’s action with humanity. His goal, when he puts people “in Christ”, is to cause them to share the status of Christ! As Ephesians 2: 6 makes clear, he raised up up with Christ to the right hand of the throne! He’s the heir and we get to “co-heir” with him.

So today, along similar lines, another challenge to muddled and unhelpful thinking. Someone we knew had been called from this life. We sent a condolence card to the family. A few months later a preprinted card arrived in the mail with a photo of the dearly departed. Underneath, an inscription that looked like this:

Fred Bloggs
Born: April 24, 1922
Entered Eternal Life: August 16, 2005

Nice card! Nice thought! But not true. The starting point for “Eternal Life” is not the moment the soul departs the body. It’s the point at which one is born again – born from above – through water and the Spirit. Your (and my) eternal life begins at the point we come “into Christ Jesus”, usually at our Baptism.

That is a core position for followers of Jesus Christ. We are called and challenged to live our lives here on earth out of the gift we already have. It’s not how the world sees it of course. Where there is some sort of belief in God and an afterlife it likes to proclaim that we live towards life with God – and mostly implies that if you do reasonably well in your life (at least what the public sees) your family and friends can declare, at your funeral, that God ought to be pleased to receive you!

Unless you get this difference between ‘living to express’ and ‘living to impress’, the chances are we will live unrestfully, always hoping we’ve done enough for acceptance. Thank God that it is by grace you have been saved!

Pastor Fred