Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Pastor's Perspective Collection

Here is a collection of Pastor's Perspectives that I have published in the Rosny Bulletin over the last year....

29/11/2004
Have you ever seen someone famous? I was in a tourist shop in Hawaii once and noticed a woman, who looked remarkably like Sigorney Weaver, looking at stuffed dolphins. Then it struck me... "She is Sigorney Weaver!" She had a baseball cap pulled low over her eyes and was making as little eye contact with people as possible. I, on the other hand, was staring at her and whispering to the person with me about my discovery.
If you met someone famous how would you act? Flustered? Shy? How would you feel? Intimidated? Overwhelmed?
One day when I was studying the Bible with two young people in Geelong their dad walked in the house followed by a man I had never seen before. The kids calmly introduced me to him, "Dave this is Gary. Gary - Dave." He said, "Hi Dave, nice to meet you." I returned the greeting and he left the room.
I returned to the study and the kids started laughing at me. I stopped... "What?" I said, bewildered.
"Do you know WHO that was?" They asked.
I was lost, "Yes. You said his name was Gary. Nice guy. Why?"
They roared! "That is Gary Abblett!"
Obviously this revelation was supposed to elicit a reaction of some surprise or awe... But it didn't. Being an American, I had never heard the name before. "Gary who?" was my unemotional response.
After a lengthy explanation of the god of Australian Rules Football I had a new respect for the man whose hand I had just shaken. A few minutes later Gary reentered the room and I had a chance to make things right. "The kids tell me you play football." I said.
Mr Abblett smiled, "bits and pieces."
I am glad I met Gary. He gave me a better understanding of what it is like for people who meet Jesus for the first time. They may have heard His name, may have even met people who know Him. But, when someone finally explains to you who it is you've just had the pleasure of meeting, the whole picture changes. You're life is changed and you suddenly have a story to tell! A story that's meant to sweep the globe quickly so that every person can know Him when He returns.
Today is a special day - A testimonial Sabbath. Today we hear some of the stories that make up our church family. Stories of the day when some of us met Jesus for the first time. Stories of Jesus' impact on our lives. Stories that changed the person telling the story. Stories that can change us as we listen. Let's meet Jesus again today as we share our hearts.

- Pr Dave


4/12/2005
What's your story?
Imagine if someone asked you, "What is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you?" What would be your answer? What do you think Zacheaus' answer would be? What about the woman at the well? What about the Roman Centurion who said, "Surely this was the Son of God?" What about Nicodemus, Jairus, Mary Magdalene or Peter? Do you see a theme here? Anyone who has met Jesus has one major highlight in their life - the day Jesus changed everything!
Today is a testimonial Sabbath. Testimony is just a big word for "sharing your story." What is your testimony? How did you meet Jesus? What did he change for you? If you can't easily explain your ChriSTory (that moment your story and Jesus' story collided) you need to set some time aside and think it out and write it out. Then when someone says, "So, what's your story?" you'll be ready to tell them about a man who told you everything you'd ever done, raised you from the dead and called you to follow Him!

- Pr Dave



12/12/2004
This year has been a fantastic introduction to Tassie and Hilliard for our family. I know that Cyrus and Mikey have both enjoyed the school. And so have I! What a great bunch of kids and the staff are great too(except for those two guys who shaved my head!)... It's a lot colder up on top than I can ever remember. But, what a worthy cause! Mikey and Cyrus will both enjoy that new playground. I have a number of really great memories from this year at Hilliard - telling stories to the littlies every Wednesday morning, doing the Week of Prayer during first quarter, finding my very own snow-friend at the top of Mt Wellington, beating Cameron at tennis (he reckons we'll finish the game one day so, I guess it ain't over but it is 6-3, 6-5... just give me four good serves buddy!) And what about those two year 5 boys who coined a new name for me, "Can we call you Noodle?" I've never seen a name stick so well - that one made it all the way to NNSW Camp (I was speaking to the Juniors and told them... So all 250 of them called me Pastor Noodle for the whole week!) But, of all the great memories that happened this year, none hold such a fond place in my heart as baptising Brittany and Teyana. That's what life is all about - new members in the eternal family! God bless you all & I'll see ya next year!

Pr Dave


11/12/2004
I've just been chatting on the net to a teenage girl from Queensland who is trying to convince a friend that life is worth living. It's not the first time she's tried to talk a friend out of suicide. The first time she tried, she failed. Now she has made it her purpose in life to find down-and-out students at her school and love them out of their pain. Every time I chat with her she asks me deep questions about helping people. Right now we're talking about Sin - can God really forgive us for the bad things? How do you know? She needs the answers to help another suffering friend. There is a powerful life lesson in this girl's story. She's trying to save others from what she has seen happen to a loved one. How are your friends and family? What's your primary purpose in life? I hope it's to take them to Jesus. Have you ever lost someone who didn't know Jesus? Does it hurt? Then save the others. Make it your passion.

- Pr Dave


18/12/2004
Mikey carried a folded piece of cardboard around with him most of this morning. At least that's what Cyrus and Rachael said it was. But Mikey was convinced it was something more. "It's a present for Mummy," he claimed repeatedly. After withstanding hours of torment, he gave his 'present' to Jenny. She unwrapped the small parcel that had been lovingly lashed with numerous strips of sticky tape and discovered... A piece of cardboard. Upon unfolding the cardboard she found one word scrawled in Mikey font - "MUM." Mummy was overjoyed, Mikey was elated and the 'present' now stands on the mantle with the other Christmas cards.
Imagine an old barn. Imagine a newborn infant wrapped in a used shirt, lying on some half-eaten hay in a feeding trough. Imagine the father saying, "It's over dear, are you all right?" Imagine the inn-keeper sticking his head in and asking, "Is the screaming finished? People are trying to get sleep in the house." Imagine the teenage mum saying, "He's God's gift to the World." Of course she meant it. But how many of those who heard the oft-repeated statement thought there was any more to it than every other first-time-mum? "Of course he is sweety. Of course he is."
But Mary knew. Jesus was a gift from above. A gift that, when opened, reveals Divinity's plan for eternity. Much like Mikey's small card Jesus entered the world seeming rather small and insignificant. But he wasn't! It has been said that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' What do you see when you look at the Baby Jesus? A Christmas card? Or a gift of eternal proportions?

- Pr Dave


25/12/2004
There's something about the spirit of giving... It's infectious. I'm sure you know what I mean. Somebody gives you a gift and you are drawn to give a gift in return. Then you've got it in your blood and you start giving to others. Christmas time is a laboratory for this type of culture. It gets crazy! But, there's even more to it than wrapped boxes of chocolates and gifts. Pr Campos from Glenorchy church told me today that their carols program last Sabbath evening took up a collection for Danny's bus - over $450 was raised! For our Danny and his fantastic ministry. That's the Spirit! Jenny's parents are here for Christmas. Siggi has been painting the house all week and it looks fantastic! Elfreiede has been cooking beautiful dishes for the family and giving Jenny a break in this busy season. That's the Spirit! What has it been like around your place? Have you noticed a trickle down affect in your home from the Christmas storm outside? It's the one time in the year that the World gets caught in Christian crossfire. And they love it! The Spirit is alive and well today in Hobart. Let's keep living and giving throughout the year! And perhaps we can make a meal for the World out of this taste of the Spirit that they had this week!

Merry Christmas,

Pr Dave


1/1/2005
A little girl holds a sign for all the world to see – she is alone. A father stands holding the clothes of his infant daughter, the mother stands nearby sobbing. Earth movers dig a huge mass grave along a train line to bury everyone in the train. Whole villages and islands have been cleared of their population. Putrefying bodies left by receding waters now threaten the remaining population with disease. "This was the worst day in our history," said Sri Lankan businessman YP Wickramsinghe. "I wish I had died. There is no point in living." "People told me it was as if God had unleashed his anger on the people," said Haji Ali, a resident in Patong Labu.Was this mighty earthquake that shook the seabed and unleashed a devastating tsunami that took 100,000 lives an act of God? If not, where was God? People want to know the answer. In Colossians 4:5,6 Paul said, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." The opportunity is here. What is your answer? Where was your God?

- Pr Dave



8/1/2005
A Collinsvale man really got me thinking this week while I was visiting him in his home. He said, "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in constant communion--constant communication. Prayer is us joining in the conversation." Then he went on to paint a picture of what it would be like if you walked into a room with three of your hero's in a given field -- he spoke of basketball. "What would I do if I was invited to join Shaq, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in a discussion about basketball?" What would you do? Start bragging about your skills on the court? Ask for help with your jump shot? Remember, they were already in conversation and you just showed up... What would you do? Most people, if not all people, would just sit and listen - basking in the knowledge and presence of three great men. Now, what about prayer... How do you act when you enter the presence of the Holy Godhead? How often is listening your primary reason for prayer - Just to sit in God's presence and listen to his wisdom? I love that view of prayer! It really helps "listening to God" to make a lot more sense!

Pr Dave


5/2/2005
Thursday I was sitting in my car as the rain thundered down all around me. While I was seeing and experiencing the power of nature here in Tasmania my mind was far away. I was listening to the live "State of the Union Address" given by President George W. Bush in America. I listened as he spoke of the American people--their past, their present and their future. He said many things, all of them directed at making his people feel that things were moving ahead for America and for the World because of America.
After I got out of the car, and had some time to go over his speech in my mind, a new thought came to me. What if Jesus showed up once a year and gave a "State of the Church Address" to all of Christianity? What would he say this year? We know the past and we know the future, but what would he say about what is going on now? What state is His union of workers currently in? Many are lazy. Most are selfish. Few are
passionate about telling their friends and family about Jesus. Would Jesus' speech make us cheer wildly like President Bush's did for the American people?
We need to stop waiting for the next big thing to come out of the Conference, Union, Division or wherever and offer ourselves be used for the Glory of God right now, right where we are! Are you ready to bring someone to Jesus? Then tell Jesus you're His servant! And ask him to use you for a personal revival today!

Pr Dave

26/2/2005
This week I spent two days in Melbourne. They were long days - I was in meetings from 9am-9pm. But, they were fantastic days! We spent the time talking, planning and praying about evangelism, church health and the well being of our pastors.
The Ministerial Secretaries from each conference, Union President Chester Stanley and Union Evangelist Geoff Youlden were there sharing their stories, statistics and visions for the future. And they all worked together. For two days there wasn't an unkind word spoken. No one raised thier voice in anger or frustration. (There were plenty of raised voices in laughter!)
And now I ponder... What can cause 11 dynamic Leaders to come together in such unity and peace? Only one thing - the commitment of each man to Jesus' vision for the people of Earth. We were all there for one reason - to see Australia brought to Christ. Imagine what people would expereince in coming to Rosny Seventh-day Adventist Church if we were each completely compelled by the Love of Christ for a lost world...

Pr Dave

19/3/2005
"In just a moment I am going to ask you to make a new commitment in your walk with Jesus. I want you to be ready."
The Franklin Graham Programs last weekend had a huge impact on Tasmania! Total attendance for the three sessions was 10520 and total who came forward to give their hearts to Jesus was 612! I was so impressed with Franklin's style that I have been talking about it all week. His sermon wasn't that flash. He wasn't animated (he never left his pulpit). It was his invitation to Jesus that was so practiced and effective. I guess that is because he does it so often and he had a great role model in his father.
The challenge that has faced me is, "How can I be that bold in sharing my faith and calling people to Jesus?" I have talked to a number of kids at the school about sharing their faith. I have challenged them to be bold in their love for Jesus. How many times in your life have you shared your faith boldly? What can you do to increase this number? I have decided that from now on I will be more intentional in my faith sharing and more direct in the invitations I give others to make commitments.
So, now it's your turn. If you would like to get serious about Jesus' call for each of us to lead people to Him I challenge you to develop a boldness in your faith sharing. Let's do it together!

Pr Dave

26/03/2005
Today is a very special day! It is a day of looking back, a day of finishing and a day of beginning.
Today is Easter Sabbath. It is the day that Jesus rested in the tomb. The price had been paid, but the outcome was still unsure. Was Jesus dead forever? Was there any hope for those who loved and followed him? We know the rest of the story and we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus that assures us not only of our salvation from sin, but our eternal reward of life with Him. We look back to that cataclysmic day of change in the universal destiny of mankind. We look back in awe. We look back in thanks and praise for the cross and the empty tomb.
Today we are finishing our 40 Days of Loving Relationships. The series has gone very well and many people have been drawn closer to each other and to Jesus. The stories from small groups and personal testimonies are many. This last six weeks has been a real blessing for our church.
Today is a new beginning for Dylan and Melinda. They have been growing closer to Jesus for months now and the day has finally arrived for them to demonstrate their commitment to Jesus and accept his sacrifice on their behalf. Today is a "rebirthday" for Dylan and Melinda. May God bless them in their future with Him!
What a special Sabbath we have today! Stay by afterward for lunch and get to know your friends and family here at Rosny Seventh-day Adventist Church even better.

God Bless,

Pr Dave


30/4/2005
Have you ever seen someone famous? I was in a tourist shop in Hawaii once and noticed a woman, who looked remarkably like Sigorney Weaver, looking at stuffed dolphins. Then it struck me... "She is Sigorney Weaver!" She had a baseball cap pulled low over her eyes and was making as little eye contact with people as possible. I, on the other hand, was staring at her and whispering to the person with me about my discovery.
If you met someone famous how would you act? Flustered? Shy? How would you feel? Intimidated? Overwhelmed?
One day when I was studying the Bible with two young people in Geelong their dad walked in the house followed by a man I had never seen before. The kids calmly introduced me to him, "Dave this is Gary. Gary - Dave." He said, "Hi Dave, nice to meet you." I returned the greeting and he left the room.
I returned to the study and the kids started laughing at me. I stopped... "What?" I said, bewildered.
"Do you know WHO that was?" They asked.
I was lost, "Yes. You said his name was Gary. Nice guy. Why?"
They roared! "That is Gary Abblett!"
Obviously this revelation was supposed to illicit a reaction of some surprise or awe... But it didn't. Being an American, I had never heard the name before. "Gary who?" was my unemotional response.
After a lengthy explanation of the god of Australian Rules Football I had a new respect for the man whose hand I had just shaken. A few minutes later Gary reentered the room and I had a chance to make things right. "The kids tell me you play a bit of football." I said.
Mr Abblett smiled, "bits and pieces."
I am glad that I met Gary. He gave me a better understanding of what it is like for people who meet Jesus for the first time. They may have heard His name, may have even met people who know Him. But, when someone finally explains to you who it is you've just had the pleasure of meeting, the whole picture changes. You're life is changed and you suddenly have a story to tell! A story that's meant to sweep to globe quickly so that every person can know Him when He returns.
Today is a special day - A testimonial Sabbath. Today we hear some of the stories that make up our church family. Stories of the day when some of us met Jesus for the first time. Stories of Jesus' impact on our lives. Stories that changed the person telling the story. Stories that can change us as we listen. Let's meet Jesus again today as we share our hearts.

- Pr Dave

The Book of Life
It's late Thursday night and I'm reflecting on my day. I saw the full spectrum of life today.
This morning I presided over a funeral for my neighbour, Bill. He was 87 years old and had Motor Neuron's Disease. We watched him over the last year as he deteriorated very quickly. As I stood in the pulpit looking out at the 100+ people who attended, I realised what the life of one person who loves much can leave behind. Bill was a good man and his legacy lives on in those he loved.
This afternoon I went to the maternity ward and visited a new little person, Ella-Dawn Holden. I don't know which was more touching - the pride in Luke's eyes as his tiny daughter snuggled into his chest, or Ella's expression of complete tranquility and trust! But one thing is sure, Meridith and Luke are truly blessed.
I am a different person now than I was this morning before leaving the house. I have seen and experienced the bookends of life. And I recognise that today was a special page in my book, a day that reminded me of the title page and previewed the final chapter. And while I know how many pages have been written, I do not know how many remain.
After tucking the kids in bed tonight I sat on the foot of Rachael's bed and watched my Ella-Dawn drift to sleep. I only hope that when I turn to tomorrow's page I will not forget what was written today. For today was a day truly blessed.

Pr Dave


14/5/2005
This week I have been in Albury, NSW speaking to the students of Border Christian College for their Week of Prayer. My theme has been that God works thru "nobodies". It has been amazing what emotions the talks have dredged up in the kids. I have had numerous talks with young people who have told me their stories. The message that has come so very loud and clear from the kids is that they learn from the actions and words of their parents so much more than from anything else.
One girl sat crying as she told me of her dad shouting, "I hate you. This family would be better off if you were dead." I nearly cried too as I shared with her how valuable she was to God. I bumped into one of the grade 10 boys in the shops after school. He was smoking. I asked him how long he'd been a smoker. "A long time. Since I was eleven." When I asked him how he got cigarettes he just smiled and said, "My dad smokes. He gives them to me. He's cool!" This morning a 15 year old girl told me that she lives with her Grandparents because her mum is a drug addict. Another girl caught my arm right after the first meeting Monday morning, "Can you pray for something? My parents are getting a divorce. Can you pray about that?"
How can they hear us? How can these wonderful young people hear our caring words when their whole reality is being rocked by parents who are self-absorbed and dysfunctional? How can we make Christ real to them?
I've decided to start at home. To make sure I am who my kids need me to be. After this week I can say without any doubt that there is nothing more important in the whole world than to make sure my kids have a dad they can follow and trust. But what about all these other broken kids? We can care. We can pray. We can be examples of Christian love. We can share Jesus with them. He makes sense to kids like these. He really does.

Pr Dave


21/5/2005
Friday morning I took Rachael to the Moonah McDonalds to play on the playground. As I was sitting there reading a book a lady tapped me on the shoulder. "You are speaking good English?" she questioned. I informed her that I am able to speak English.
She then produced a few handwritten pages and said, "You eat first. Then you make my English good for professional letter. Ok?" I smiled and said that would be fine.
After spending about an hour with her translating her explanation of the pages, we had produced a reasonable affidavit of an event in which she had been involved. We also got to know each others stories. Her two children were with her and played with Rachael while we worked.
After they left I began to consider our mission at a people of God. How could I have taken her from that conversation to Jesus? I mentioned Hillard. I talked about being a church pastor. But, we never got to matters of faith...
This afternoon we are going to have a time of prayer and planning in which we will discuss our mission as a church. We will consider how we can fulfill the Great Commission in our outreach, nurture, discipleship and leadership. We are called, not to be good people, but to bring those who don't know Jesus into his presence.
Join us this afternoon as we reach toward a greater understanding and participation in Christ's mission for His church.

Pr Dave