Saturday, January 18, 2020

“What can we do?”

“What can we do?”  This is the plea of many Australians in the face of the destructive drought and fires ravishing our country in these days.

“What can we do?”  As human lives are destroyed and creatures both domestic and wild are burnt out of large areas of habitation our earth is crying out to us from the midst of this every increasing dry and fiery climate.  

In fact the cry is so great that around this planet people in other countries are commenting on the situation in Australia.

However, the reality deeply seated behind the cry “what can we do?” is not one of us wants to give up the things of this age we deem necessary for daily living.  Behind the question “what can we do?” is an ideology which casts blame on someone else so “I” don’t have to change anything in my life.

The last decade has been the hottest on record.  This was recently reported in the media just weeks into the new decade.  And things appear only to be getting worse.  As we face the devolution and degeneration of humanity, how can we fix years of havoc wreaked on our planet’s resources?

Let’s collect lots of money to fix the problem!  Let’s apply for research grants to understand the effects of fire and smoke on our community!  Let’s come together to save our world from climate change.  But let us first post on social media how wonderful it is to be able to drive to the shops, drink coffee out of a disposable cup, and buy goods produced for our pleasure through the evils of pillaging and plundering our planet. 

There is nothing we can do that will halt the spiral of disaster humanity is heading towards on this earth.  Our climate is changing; there are many different arguments why.  However, there is little in the answer to the problem of climate change.  The vultures will continue to circle the pool of money.  One evil will replace another as people seek to cast blame onto someone else.

Who can stop the inferno?  Who can stop the smoke?  Who can make it rain or make it stop?  Who can put the rainbow back in the sky where it rightfully belongs?  Can the scientist?  Can the bushfire fighter?  Can the farmers and the graziers?  Can the activist or the protester? Can the politicians and policy makers?  Can our mums and dads?  Can our children?  And we continue to cry out, “What can we do?”

Looking at ourselves and at our earth for the answers leaves us in a bleak situation.  And the state of affairs is very real.  We see any fix as impotent at best.  But then what can we expect if we are accidents of evolution?   Shouldn’t we expect extinction of humans, animals, and plants that are not the fittest in a changing climate, if we hold to this doctrine of the scientifically justified man?   If this is the case why do anything if this is our lot on a planet swinging from ice age to hot house.  If this is the case you or I can do nothing!

Regardless of whether we stand as individuals on this earth or every person on earth stands together as one there is no power within us to fix what is wrong on earth.  This world is decaying exponentially; this world is dying.  If any of us think we can fix our world, death overtakes us and the next generation faces the same deadly scenario.  When we ignore this reality we as humans demonstrate our conceitedness.  Many parade evolution but reality shows us devolution to be the truth!

Humanity stands at the crossroads of life and death.  In fact it has never been different, only in these days it has become more obvious in this age of technology and knowledge that knowledge and technology will not sustain life in the face of what nature throws at us. What we know and what we do will not save humanity!

But something can be done.  In fact it is being done.  It is coming.  God’s will is being done and his kingdom is coming.  It has been done, it is being done, and it will be done.  It has come, it is coming, and it will come!  When we take the rule of this world out of God’s hands, and impose our rule on this earth God leaves us to our own rule.  And yet as an argument against the existence of God humanity cries, “If God is ‘a god of love’ why is he letting this happen to us?” But God has lovingly given us our wish and removed his oversight from this earth so we might see the results of our rule.

The earth is crying out for mercy in these days.  Our fauna and flora is crying out for mercy in the wake of the fires.  Our livestock are crying out for mercy as the drought drags on.  But God is waiting for us to invite him back into our lives so he might show mercy on us.

What can we do?  Stand before God with humble hearts and confess our sin that; we have many other gods before him; we have used God’s name to serve ourselves; and we have ignored the teaching and preaching of God’s word.  It is time to put the spirit of humanity aside and let the Holy Spirit return us to Jesus Christ. 

In allowing the Triune God into our hearts through the forgiveness of sins, God’s love will be revealed.  God will bless our work to help our brothers and sisters recover from the fires and the drought.  We will have the power of the Holy Spirit to mourn with those who have lost loved ones. 

We will be the agents of peace in an age of fear turning hearts to take hold of our Heavenly Father, to see him as holy, to know his kingdom is coming in this dying world, to know his will is being done on earth as in heaven.  And by our trust in God we will show others that Jesus is the only daily bread needed for this life.

What can we do?  Let us pray, forgive us our sins as we forgive those, lead us not into temptation to build our own kingdoms, but deliver us from evil into the holiness of your name.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, Heavenly Father.  Amen.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  (Romans 8:18–23 ESV)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Climate Change

We as country, states, and communities commend our emergency personnel for the stand they have taken to defend us and our property.

This Spring and Summer in Australia has clearly demonstrated we live in a fallen world.  Creation is broken and our climate is changing for the worse.  Indeed we are in the grips of climate change.

But the climate change addressed below is not the climate change the government and political activists would have us take a stand against.

The true climate change is not a change which lays blame on individuals for not having an effective escape management plan or for not back burning around one’s properties.  It is not one which loads blame on individuals like the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison or Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese.  No! This climate change is one in which all of us need to address within each of us as individuals, state, and community!

The true climate change needing to be addressed is the climate change of the heart.  Cold stony hearts denying God entry does exactly that.  We are left alone.  God leaves us alone to stand alone! To stand in the power of ourselves!  To stand as individuals having ultimate authority!

But to live this way is contrary to living as creatures under the wisdom and authority of our Almighty God the Father. This is living without the mercy and grace in which God desires to immerse each of us and all Australians. When we live contrary to God and his Word, his will, and his way, we flip the way to live over to our way of existence as evil.

As community, state, and individuals we are all guilty of this.  Sins of commission and sins omission are being exposed as the deception of our dross loaded lives is being burnt away showing on what we stand to be impotent at best.

The only true power that exists in this world is by God working through a church that stands under his Word and by his Word and nothing else but his Word.  With God’s Word we the church are called to repentance.

The community of the Christian church is being called to account for lack of its repentance over its sexual misconduct and the greater sin of seeking to appease the world by joining it in its accusations of sinners.

The community of the Christian church is being called to account for not making a stand on God’s Word defining and defending love that is agape from love that is a heavenly eros.  That is love which solely focuses on love that comes down from the Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

Rather than seeking a love that flounders around in the human spirit to raise itself up in a righteousness of its own.  Each of us needs to ask God to reveal what kind of love comes to life when he shines the pure light of his love in us.

The community of the Christian church is being called to continue standing against the vulgar eros that two thirds of Australians voted for in 2019.  “Love is love” is not a love that lets us love unconditionally because it binds love to the individual’s idea or what is good and evil.

And the Christian church is called to account for it denominational eudemonic self preservation rather than focusing on Jesus Christ and his Word being the centre of our proclamation to our neighbours, communities, and state.  This is a proclamation where we confess our sinfulness and forgiveness to each other and the world; where we confess Jesus’ forgiveness to all who allow their sins to be lifted and put on the cross.

We as the Christian church are called to stand receptively under Jesus Christ, and remain standing despite the spiritual fires raging around us rather than join the judgement of world and stand in judgement over what God wants or says in his Word.  When we do this we love ourselves no differently than any other person or worldly institution.

When this climate changes and God’s people stand in the face of the fire, seeking forgiveness on behalf of the church and all other peoples in Australia we will see God turn down the temper of the climate change in this broken world.  Why?  Because God is the God of Love!  He stands for humanity so much so he stood his Son up on the cross to bear the flames of evil.  In doing so he flips evil on its head.

Obeying in its simplicity means to listen.  When God’s people repent they no longer rule over God’s Word but hear God’s Word, stand under it and live.  We stand under Jesus repenting of our evil.  We are covered by the love of his blood and the division of his body from the Father by evil, so you and I might live.  In ourselves we have neither the way nor the will to stand over evil in either the fires testing us physically or spiritually.  But the fires of God’s love are greater than our feeble back burns; they are even greater than the fires that blacken our skies and shut out the light in the middle of the day.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sewer and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:6–13 (ESV)

God’s will is to effect a climate change within all of us.  The fires are thawing our frozen stony hearts returning us to the warm blooded creatures God intends us to be.  God is a God of providence. God will cause his rainbow to shine again in the late afternoon sky because he will sustain life when we live it for his glory.  Human rainbows only confuse peace, hope, and love.

We cannot love God unless we have received the forgiveness of sin.  [Apology CA IV:311]  Alas, we cannot love anyone unless we love God.  Let us pray for climate change in our hearts, effected by the Holy Spirit, standing fast in the forgiveness of sin, in the love of God, in the face of whatever evil assails us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:10–13 (ESV)

As we seek ways to help survivors of the fires who have lost loved ones and property, let us bring our neighbours, our community, our state and our selves before the Lord of Heaven and Earth in faith and repentance.  In doing so we share the love that God has shown to us.

Pastor Heath Pukallus
Epiphany 2010

Friday, July 21, 2017

the Ball Brothers - It's About the Cross (OFFICIAL video)

If there is a song around that encourages one to look out of one's self to Jesus Christ, it has to be this song by the Ball Brothers.  Thankyou Ball Brothers, glory be to God!

It's not just about the manger
Where the baby lay
It's not all about the angels

Who sing for him that day
It's not just about the shepherds
Or the bright and shining star
It's not all about the wisemen
Who travelled from afar

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus
came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could
have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

It's not just about the good things
In this life I've done
Its not all about the treasures
Or the trophies that I've won
Its not about the righteousness
That I find within
Its about His precious blood
That save me from my sin

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus
came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could
have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

The beginning of the story
is wonderful and great
But it's the ending that can
save you and that's why we celebrate

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about God's love
Nailed to a tree
It's about every drop of blood that flowed from
Him when it should have been me
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could have real life someday
So that you and I could have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

It's about the cross

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No Time

In this insipid age where individualism and institutionalism make destructive bedfellows in governments, media, and churches of our society, God is calling his church to return to him and stand once again in him, alone! 

In the LCA, the call for repentance is no less than anywhere else!  The practitioners in this career driven organisation are losing their way.  The career pastor doing what he wants in an institution that does what it wants, has turned the word of God and his liturgy of divine service and worship into a means of controlling souls to the glory of many things other than the Triune God.

The people of the church are tired!  Tired of government control, manipulation by the media for the sake of business and retail power, now the church which more and more is modelling the media, marketing, and the pungent political strategies of a secularised world is feeding the already cynical and sceptical society in which we live.

Yet the parishioners too practise and participate in the very things that make them tired!  The very thing our society is work for is the very thing that is taking away the thing for which we work.  And it is no different in a church full of career pastors and “one-hour-a-week” parishioners.

The riddle is this:  We want more time!  Yet, the more we work for it the less of it we have!  And the church too is hell bent on the same goal.  But the career pastor and the parishioner are too busy to give time to the only thing that will sustain us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (the whole ontological package).  Why? Because we too have gone a worldly way and conformed to the wills of the media and government!  Ironically, these are the very things causing us to be distrustful of people who use given power for their own purposes.

Instead of following the seduction of secular society busying itself in a bid to not be busy, the church too has a mandate given by God, to be still, to stand, to remain, and to abide.  Our mandate is not to work for the weekend but to stop in God, to stop in his word, to rest in him.  Not just as a righteous work on Sunday morning to keep up appearances, but to be in him, remain in him, and desire it.

If we want to be less tired, have more time, we need to stop and give our time back to him.  If we want recreation, we need to be re-created, and if the church wants to be the agent through which Jesus Christ gives us the re-creation we so desperately need, we need to listen to God, not the prose of politicians, the bullying of bureaucrats, and the mantra of the media.

If the church wants people to give more time to the church, then the church needs to give more time to God.  Those career pastors and bishops, holding out for retirement, need to give time to God by being with people, not locked away behind a desk, or an infrastructure, or role that makes them too busy to be whom they’ve been called to be.

If people what our church to serve them, they need to let God serve them more than just one hour a week! 

We need to stop!  Say no to our practises and the practises of others that make us tired and cynical.  Rather than “do” we need to “be”.  To be still in God and listen to him!  To not just use his word as a justification of conforming to our wrong ways!

When our political system and the media along with our social structure collapses in the future, a church found seeking its security in these practises will tumble too.  Many will wonder why we have fallen apart.  But reality is the church that collapses will be a church that based its faith on everything other than Jesus Christ and looks to other things rather than the word of God, repentance, and forgiveness.

The church that crumbles will be one that does the things of God because it has too while it loves to be seen doing what the world wants.  The one true church will be the church doing the things of God because it loves to, wants to, and turns its back on the world to do so.

Bishops, pastors, and parishioners, it’s time to draw a line in the sand and stand in Jesus Christ alone.

Psalm 46:8–11 (ESV)
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Grace, Mercy,  Peace

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Relearning to Judge

On the stern of an aircraft carrier, a bunch of guys stand watching each landing performed on the carrier's deck.  They wear white vests (the colour designated for safety officers) and are called Landing Signal Officers.

Made up of senior pilots, these officers judge each landing on the carrier.  In each of their hands they also hold a trigger which at their judgement they can set off at any moment as the landing jet aircraft approaches, waving the pilot off if the landing is not looking as it should be. 

If the pilot gets out of shape in his landing, too high, too low, has not put down his landing gear or arresting hook the landing safety officer waves him off to go round and try the landing again. 

The signal officers also score each landing and many an ego of gung ho "top guns" has been brought down by a low scoring landing that they had performed.

These white vested signal officers are safety officers, they are their because of their wisdom and experience, they stand watch to protect and teach pilots with a different view of the landing.  They also stand as rear guards to protect the rest of the personnel on the foredeck of the carrier from being injured or killed by an out of control plane skidding across the deck of the Navy's carrier.

The Christian Church is like an aircraft carrier.   Because the church's charter is to bring others on deck though baptism into Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, through the preaching and teaching of his word, the administration of Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Absolution of confessing sinners, it makes the church a dangerous place.  Right from the nave of the church to the everyday lives of each Christian, we face the high seas of turmoil and tribulation.  Just as an aircraft carrier sets sail on the sea to stand guard over others, it also draws the attention of the enemy who doesn't want it there.

The signal officers stand guard over one part of the carrier's operation.  They judge to protect people, safety is their job!  These officer join in with a number of others whose job it is to judge.  Imagine if they were not allowed to judge, and all on the carrier could do what they wanted.  How long would the ship and it's navy survive?

Yet in this era of the church, people are doing just that!  People are turning against the authority put there to keep them spiritually safe.  Many believe they need to pilot their own entry into and out of the church, and because they do are missing the deck in the churning tumultuous times we live.

Our landing signal officers in white, our pastors, are being told they're not allowed to judge, and therefore aren't allowed to protect those who need guidance in their lives.  Even bishops and pastors are being sucked into the chaos advocating judgement being stamped out.  Therefore many look like pastors or landing signal officers, but are or have made themselves powerless to have any authority over our spiritual safety or how the ship of the church is ordered under our commander in chief, Jesus Christ!

Matthew 7:1 is often misquoted as a anti-judgement mantra.  However Jesus says in verse one and two,
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1–2 (ESV) 

What Jesus says here is if you don't want to be judged don't judge because the judgement you use is the judgement to be used against you too.  Because by humanity's very nature we're created to judge, surely we then need to place ourselves under a judgement and make judgements that create eternal peace within ourselves but more importantly, with our heavenly Father.

The LSOs (Landing Signal Officers) on a carrier are judged by the same judgements when they strap on a jet and land on the deck of the carrier.  I believe that they participate in the operations of the carrier because they believe the judgement process to be good.  Imaging how you might feel if you knew the carrier operations on which you were landing were in disarray. Yet this is exactly where the church seems to be sailing these days.

As it gets darker we need LSO pastors more and more, to make judgements so the church can sail through the darkness and people are brought out of the darkness and on deck with infallible accuracy.
We need to relearn how to judge.

From the Psalms - Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.  Psalm 58:1–2 (ESV)

Jesus says - Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24 (ESV)

The writer of Hebrews reminds - Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)

Human being have been created to judge, if we were to stop judging we would need to have most of our brain removed.  So rather than make bad judgements by pursuing the anti-judgement mantra it is time for the church to return to the right judgement given to us by Jesus Christ in the word of God, and we let the word of God stand in context to the entirety of God's written word.

Grace, Mercy, & Peace

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teaching children to leave our churches

The mantra heard in congregations these days is, "The future of our church are our children!"  Yet in many of these congregations the children are removed for "Kid's Club, or Sunday School" for various reasons somewhere during the course of the service.

These reasons vary from, "there being nothing in church for the kids", to, "they are too noisy and distract the rest of the congregation", to, "they haven't got a long enough concentration span to get anything out of the service", just to name a few.

This is a dangerous practice on so many diffent levels!

1) In focusing on children as being the future of our church, congregations inadvertantly disenfranchise many other congregation members across the age spectrum.

2) Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but isn't the future of our church the Holy Spirit gathering and calling a congregation of young to old together around Jesus Christ, who stands at the centre of God pleasing divine service and worship?

3) What are we telling the children about church by removing them from the worshipping community?

4) What are we saying to the children, about their place in the worshipping community of God?

5) What are we teaching our kids about being still and knowing that Jesus Christ is Lord?

6) Are we not further fracturing the family unit and in some cases usurping parental authority by willing children to leave the service?

Then there is the issue of the subject matter taught.  This can vary greatly.  However, entertainment seems to be the central tenent with a myriad of secondary matter being presented in preference to having the children hear the Word of God read and taught from the Bible.  After all the Holy Spirit works Christ centred faith when one hears the word of God (Rom 10:17), not words about the word of God.

And by chucking our children out of the service, how can parents then be exemlaries of faith practices?  How do children lean about the beauty and magisty of the means which God has give to us so we can recieve his forgiveness and love?

But furthermore, Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14 (ESV)

Why are we continuing to send our children out of church and then wondering why they don't come back when we've taught them to leave in the first place.  

Perhaps we put them out of church because of our own unbelief in Christ's promise to work through his Word by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Grace, Mercy, & Peace