The Pharmacy of Heaven

In the brilliant 2007 movie ‘I Am Legend,’ Will Smith plays a Virologist in New York City trying to save mankind. A virus developed to cure cancer has instead wiped out 99% of the world’s population.

He alone is immune; the only other inhabitants have been turned into terrifying rage-filled nocturnal mutants. The movie is edge-of-your-seat thrilling and frightening in equal measures. I highly recommend it!

We all – each and every one of us – suffer from a disease. This disease will also kill all of humanity. There are no exceptions; this disease is cruel. Even Will Smith’s character won’t be able to find a cure.

Humans have been trying to find a cure since the beginning of time. All have failed. All will fail.

What is this disease that is killing us without mercy? Continue reading

Sand or Solid Rock?

The city of Melbourne is famous for its Yarra River – ‘the river that runs upside-down.’ The Yarra is, for the most part, a pretty safe and healthy river. It just happens to carry a lot of silt, which gives it the appearance of being muddy. All that silt gets deposited at the mouth of the river, as it has done from time immemorial.

I remember years ago the authorities began to develop the Docklands area of Melbourne near the mouth of the Yarra for commercial and residential use.

The story goes that they drove huge piles into the ground to support the weight of the planned buildings. Piles are piers designed to go below loose soil onto something solid and immovable, thus enabling the structure above to stand strong.

Apparently, they drove 14m (45′) long piles into the silt, which promptly disappeared. They drove another on top, which also disappeared. I don’t recall how many had to be piled on top of the previous one before they found solid ground, but it was plenty.

The point is that silt can’t carry heavy loads. Unless they could get the load transferred to something solid below the silt, the structure above would collapse in short time.

Not unlike our Christian faith… Continue reading

The first Twitterstorm

When was the first Twitterstorm? Anyone care to venture a guess? No cheating though, no using Google to search. A chocolate bar for the first correct entry (special conditions apply).

For those unfamiliar with the term, a Twitterstorm is “a sudden flurry of activity about a specific topic on Twitter.” Presumably, there are terms to describe similar trends on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

A recent example of a social media storm is the online outrage that arose after Australian rugby player Israel Folau paraphrased 1Cor 6:9 on Instagram. He posted it as a warning that “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators” will face punishment in Hell if they don’t repent and turn to Jesus.

The fury from some quarters was predictable. Strangely though, I don’t recall that drunks, adulterers, liars and thieves were quite as outraged. They certainly didn’t storm social media in rage. Continue reading

The joy of family

Well, that’s another Christmas done, and another year behind us. Many of us are on holidays, and many away travelling. It’s a great time to reflect – if you’re not holidaying too hard!

As we mentioned in last week’s Sunday Reflection, City Edge Church had the privilege of joining brothers- and sisters-in-Christ from Bread of Life Church for a combined service.

I had the pleasure of visiting a small church plant down near Geelong on the same day for their Christmas Carols service. I must say, it was refreshing to be able to join in without needing to think about or prepare for the next part of the service.

But what was even more refreshing was to spend time with other believers – all of whom were strangers to me at the time – and connect immediately and deeply with them. Continue reading

What if Jesus never came?

This week, City Edge Church had the privilege of joining with Bethel Bread of Life Chinese Church for a combined service. It was a great Sunday of worshiping together in both English and Chinese. What a privilege to be united together worshiping Jesus with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We should not belittle this. Where in the world can we find people of different nationalities, languages, cultures, backgrounds, experiences put aside their differences, and come together for a common purpose – that of exalting our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Continue reading

For King and Kingdom

As we approach another Christmas, we are reminded of the prophecy in Isaiah 9;

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this” [Isa 9:6-7].

We had the pleasure of Paul and Monika Zanardo’s company yesterday, and Paul shared with us from this – and many other – Scriptures about the kingdom of God.

The first thing Paul pointed out is that “of the increase of his government … there will be no end.”

We sometimes look at our society becoming increasingly hostile and intolerant towards Christians and despair for ourselves and for Christianity. We hear of the slaughter of Christians overseas, and watch the march of Islam, the New Age, and Secularism and wonder how the gospel can survive in the face of such opposition. Continue reading

Why would you perish?

I must confess to being surprised recently to discover that Universalism is gaining in popularity. Even a good friend is leaning in that direction. For those who don’t know what Universalism is, it is the belief that everyone without exception will be saved.
There are a few variations of this belief. Some believe that everyone immediately goes to heaven. Others believe that some punishment will still be required for sin – a time spent in purgatory – but the guilty person will get to heaven eventually.
Regardless of the timeline, the common understanding is that all will get there one day, no matter what they’ve done in this life. (Does that include Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Kony, and serial killers, and paedophiles??)
Given that God is love, and God so loved the world [John 3:16], this would be a reasonable assumption, would it not? Continue reading

Just how powerful is God, really?

God is omnipotent; all-powerful, there is nothing He can’t do. The Bible is pretty clear on that.

After all, God created the heavens and the earth with just a word. “Let there be… and there was…” [see Gen 1]. And it didn’t deplete His reserves of energy in the slightest. Even though the creation account tells us that God rested on the 7th day, He didn’t rest because He was exhausted.

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” the Lord says in Jer 32:27. He does whatever He pleases [Ps 115:3]. With Him, all things are possible [Matt 19:26]. He is the Almighty who reigns [Rev 19:6].

God is so powerful that He can even turn the heart of a king in any direction He wants to. Who can stand before the Lord?

So then, can God create a rock so heavy that even He can’t lift it? If we say no, He can’t, then there is something God can’t do, thus He must not be omnipotent.

It the answer is yes, He can, then if God can’t lift the rock, He is not omnipotent. Ha, gotcha! Answer that one, Christians!  Continue reading

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…

The measure of love is the value of the gift given. That seems so obvious as to go without saying. If someone loves another person, then no expense will be spared to give them what they desire.

Love that doesn’t give can hardly be called love. Love that takes rather than gives is not love at all, but self-interest, selfishness. Call it what you will; it’s certainly not love. The nature of love is to give.

If that is true, then, does it also mean that the rich man who buys his wife a $300,000 Mercedes love his wife more than the poor man who buys his wife a $3 block of chocolate? If that’s how love is measured, then the rich man must be more loving.

But is he really? Can we really measure love like that? Continue reading

For God So Loved The World…

“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” opens a famous 18th century hymn written by Charles Wesley. It is a sentiment that permeates much of modern thinking about Jesus, and yes, even some Christian thinking. “Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb” he also wrote in the hymn.

It is the idea of a soft, almost cuddly, Jesus, who would never dare to upset anyone, to challenge anyone, or to disagree with anyone, lest they be hurt and offended.

Of course, He is a God of love, so He is always careful not to offend. Isn’t He??

Continue reading