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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Joy to the World

Below is an outline of the sermon and communion talk I gave today at the Parkrose Nursing Home where Lesley and I help with the service from time to time.

Parkrose Sermon 29 Dec 2012

Joy to the World, the Lord is come:

We sing these words with enthusiasm each Christmas season and yet this song of Joy should be ours all year round.

We should be rejoicing because Jesus has come into the world.

We have a Saviour who walks and lives and breathes among us.

And yet we mostly fail to recognize his presence.

The whole of creation cries out to us that He is here and has been here.

In the song we sung earlier  we sang

“ And heaven and Nature sing.”

We have the beauty of God’s creation all around us and every day the miracle of the birth of a new born babe happens in our hospitals and places all around the world.

So do we have joy or express it?

Do we count our blessings of this past year or do we count the things that caused us grief?

Here are some of the things that we should rejoice about if we are Christians:

We are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14).

We do have something to share with the world.This passage tells us not to hide our light but let it shine.When we are being Joyful to the world that is what we are doing.
We are children of God (John 1:12).To all of us who have received Jesus he has given us the right to be called Children of God.What a privilege! We see exemplary people and parents in the spotlight from time to time and might say I wish my parents had been or are like them.But we are children of God himself.That should make us leap for joy.
We are members of Christ’s Body (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30). We are here today as a body of believers.What a privilege to be part of His body, the Church.
We are citizens of heaven, seated in heaven right now (Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:6).
According to the Bible we are already seated and guaranteed a seat in Heaven with Jesus.It is something that has already happened before our earthly passing.
Is that a cause for Joy or not?
We are joint heirs with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Rom. 8:17).
Inheritance humanly speaking can be a wonderful gift from our own families.Think of what it means though to be a joint heir with Jesus.That is hard to imagine but surely a cause for Joy.
We are one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5).

Last Sunday we attended the Activate Church at Bowden where one our sons and his wife and their 2 boys attend.The Sunday school children did a little play.Our grandson Lucas was dressed up as a construction worker.He was carrying a big papermache boulder.His role involved dropping the rock on the platform and declaring “On this rock I will build My Church!” He announced it with gusto and the whole church burst into applause.
Isn’t it exciting to be a one of the living stones chosen by Jesus to be His disciples on this earth in our communities. A real cause for joy.

Jesus rules the World with Truth and Grace.

His Righteousness is glorious.

His love is wonderful.

When we make room in our Hearts he comes in to dwell with us.

As we approach the new year of 2013 we don’t know what is in store for us.

We may have had things happen in 2012 that were upsetting.

We may have lost love ones.

And yet Jesus is still Lord over all.
His grace has been more than sufficient to enable us to cope with what may have just happened this last year and certainly what may be ahead of us.

Let us resolve to continue to trust Him in days ahead  with our whole lives.

Let us rejoice not in the troubles that may come to us but that Jesus enables us to continue with Dignity and Grace and Healing.

Let us also continue to be prayerful,and practically helpful where we can, for others who we know are struggling ,for when we do we are helping to bring the Joy of Jesus to them..



Have you ever wished you were someone else?

Someone who seemingly had it all together?




Physical good looks?


Good Job?

Lots of friends?

Wonderful family life?

Great House?

Would these things make us happy?

Would we be full of joy?

Sometimes we get that low in our feelings and our self esteem we wish we were someone else or might even cry ourselves to sleep each night.

The Truth is The Truth will set us free from the darkness we often can feel.

The Truth is Jesus.

“He said I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one can come to the Father except through me.”

We may have claimed Jesus as our Saviour, but have we claimed Him as our Lord.

Can we say with the Apostle Paul, “It’s no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me”

The Bible says whoever loses his life in Christ will find his true liberated life in Him.

Some people call that the Exchanged Life.

What Jesus has done on the Cross for us enables us to be one with Him.

Let’s celebrate this morning as we take these emblems the Great Exchange that Jesus offers us.

He took our place on the cross  so that we can have life,life to the full.

      I am (have been)  crucified with Christ : never the 

less I live; yet not I but

      Christ liveth in me: and the life  which I  now live in

 the flesh I live by the faith

      of (or in ) the Son of God who loved me , and gave

 Himself for me.”

      Galations 2:20

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Greetings

To all who regularly read this blog or stumble across it I pray you will have a wonderful Christmas Holiday with those closest to you.
If may be also that you are struggling at this time of the year.
It can be a lonely time for some.
Some may have lost loved ones this year or even years ago.
So take some steps towards Jesus today by reaching out to someone else in His name.
Listen to some Christmas music.
Take who you are to Jesus in prayer.
Tell Him of your situation and ask for His peace.
If you can attend a Church service that would be good.
There is also on this blog a booklet on the real meaning of Christmas by Frank Hunting.
Look it up in the index or start with this link..

Jude 1:24-25
King James Version (KJV)
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Christian love from Lesley and Geoff


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Garden Residents

In Renmark this last weekend we were entertained by some of the resident birds that occupy the front garden
They regularly visit for handouts.
A  family of Willie Wagtails and a Top Knot or Crested Pigeon.
Also a white plumed honey eater visited for nectar.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rescuing Bees from Drowning

It has been very hot in Adelaide this week and my wife noticed bees were drowning in our backyard bird baths while coming in to drink.

She set about rescuing them and putting a twig in the bird bath so they had something to climb onto.
I thought that is the uniqueness of my wife.
Those who know her,know of her caring nature but I thought that was going the second mile.
So I googled "rescuing bees from drowning" and came across an amazing website/blog by Betsy Seeton.
Obviously a person who cares also.
Follow the link below to some amazing photography.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Dangers of Passivity for the Christian

For the Christian nothing can be more devastating than to be deceived by the devil.
Sadly many Christians are every day and this is ongoing and their lives and families are being destroyed.
These Christians may really want to be serving God and Jesus and are very anti the devil and all his works.
One of the most gifted Christian writers with much insight in this sad business was Jesse Penn-Lewis.
You can google her on the internet.
He most famous and important work was and is "War on the Saints".
Many Christians over the years have dismissed her views and indeed for a while were translating her book without parts they disagreed with.
You can download the whole unabridged work from the internet.
I have included just a little bit below from the book on the dangers of passivity for the Christian.
This is not saying that people so deceived are not Christians but of course being set free from such deception can be prove to be a very liberating experience.
if you are not a Christian and reading this you would benefit from reading some basic tenets of the Gospel found in other places on this there is a whole scanned booklet on Heaven and how to get there.


There is a passivity of the will; the "will" being the helm, so to speak, of the ship. This originates from a wrong conception of what full surrender to God means. Thinking that a "surrendered will" to God means no use of the will at all, the believer ceases to (1) choose, (2) determine, and (3) act of his own volition. The serious effect of this, he is not allowed by the powers of darkness to discover, for at first the consequences are trivial, and scarcely noticeable. In fact, at first it appears to be most glorifying to God. The "strong-willed" person suddenly becomes passively yielding. He thinks that God is "will"-ing for him in circumstances, and through people, and so he becomes passively helpless in action. After a time no "choice" can be got from him in matters of daily life; no "decision," or initiative in matters demanding action; he is afraid to express a wish, much less a decision. Others must choose, act, lead, decide, while this one drifts as a cork upon the waters. Later on the powers of darkness begin to make capital out of this "surrendered" believer, and to work around him evil of various kinds, which entangle him through his passivity of will. He has now no power of will to protest, or resist. Obvious wrong in his environment, which this believer alone has a right to deal with, flourishes, and grows strong and blatant. The powers of darkness have slowly gained, both personally and in circumstances, upon the ground of passivity of the will, which at first was merely passive submission to environment, under the idea that God was "will"-ing for him in all things around him.
The text that such believers misinterpret is Phil. 2: 13, "It is God which worketh in you, both to will, and to work, for His good pleasure." The "passive" person reads it, ". . . God which worketh in me the willing, and the doing," i.e., "willeth instead of me."note 2 The first means God working in the soul up to the point of the action of the will, and the second assumes His actually "will"-ing instead of, and "working" instead of the believer. This wrong interpretation gives ground for not using the will, because of the conclusion "God wills instead of me"; thus bringing about passivity of will.
The truth to be emphasized is that God never "wills" instead of man, and whatever a man does, he is himself responsible for his actions.
The believer whose "will" has become passive, finds, after a time, the greatest difficulty in making decisions of any kind, and he looks outside, and all around him for something to help him to decide the smallest matters. When he has become conscious of his passive condition, he has a painful sense of being unable to meet some of the situations of ordinary life. If spoken to, he knows he cannot will to listen till a sentence is completed; if asked to judge a matter, he knows he cannot do it; if he is required to "remember" or use his imagination, he knows he is unable to, and becomes terrified at any proposed course of action where these demands may come upon him. The tactics of the enemy now may be to drive him into situations where these demands may be made, and thus torture or embarrass him before others.
Little does the believer know that in this condition be may, unknowingly, rely upon the assistance of evil spirits, who have brought about the passivity for this very object. The faculty unused lies dormant and dead in their grip, but if used it is an occasion for them to manifest themselves through it. They are too ready to "will" instead of the man, and they will put within his reach many "supernatural" props to help him in "decision," especially in the way of "texts" used apart from their context, and supernaturally given, which the believer, seeking so longingly to do the will of God, seizes upon, and firmly grasps as a drowning man a rope, blinded, by the apparently given Divine help, to the principle that Godnote 3 only works through the active volition of a man, and not for him in matters requiring his action.
Passivity of the mind is engendered by a wrong conception of the place of the mind in the life of surrender to God, and obedience to Him in the Holy Spirit. Christ's call of fishermen is used as an excuse for passivity of brain, for some believers say, God has no need for the use of the brain, and can do without it! But the choice of Paul who had the greatest intellect of his age, shows that when God sought for a man through whom He could lay the foundations of the Church, He chose one with a mind capable of vast and intelligent thinking. The greater the brain power, the greater the use God can make of it, provided it is submissive to truth. The cause of passivity of mind, sometimes lies in the thought that the working of the brain is a hindrance to the development of the Divine life in the believer. But the truth is, that (1) the non-working of the brain hinders, (2) the evil working of the brain hinders, (3) but the normal and pure working of the brain is essential, and helpful for co-operation with God. This is dealt with fully in Chapter 6, where the various tactics of the powers of darkness are shown in their efforts to get the mind into a condition of passivity, and hence incapable of action to discern their wiles. The effects of passivity of the mind may be seen in inactivity, when there should be action; or else over activity beyond control, as if a suddenly released instrument broke forth into ungovernable action; hesitation, or rashness; indecision (as also from a passive will); unwatchfulness; lack of concentration; lack of judgment; bad memory.
Passivity does not change the nature of a faculty, but it hinders its normal operation. In the case of passivity hindering the memory, the person will be found looking outside himself for every possible "aid to memory," until he becomes a veritable slave to note book, and helps, which fail at a critical moment. With this is also passivity of the imagination, which places the imagination outside personal control, and at the mercy of evil spirits who flash to it what they please. One danger is to take these visions, and call them "imaginations." The passive state can be produced without crystal gazing,note 4 i.e., if a person gazes at any object for a prolonged period the natural vision is dulled, and the deceiving spirits can then present anything to the mind.
In pure inactivity of the mind, the mind can be used at the will of the person, but in evil passivity of the mind, the person is helpless, and he "can't think!" He feels as if his mind were bound, and held by an iron band, or by a weight or pressure on his head.

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,

What could be better than to start your day with a discussion like I just had out the front of this building? I was talking with a lovely 79 year old sausage about how the world has changed in his life time. He's spent all of his life within walking distance of the Cross. He was an only child and so his company as a kid was a horse, a goat, two cats, two mice and another horse that belonged to his father. He lived just off Parramatta Road! There was no plastic in his day. No one had a fridge, everyone had ice chests. This man's father only shook hands with his son once, at his 21st birthday. It was the only time they touched. All his working life, this fellow was a self taught panel beater and he worked hard. He always loved Kings Cross. He loved that it felt like it was a bit of a naughty place and took pride in telling his friends that he spent his weekends at the Cross. He was brought up a strict Catholic and he talked of being belted by nuns for not being able to read. "The stupid part of that was, that I could read. I read all the time at home to avoid the rows between my parents. The problem was 'terror'. Terror held me back so that I couldn't perform even when I knew my stuff. One of the beltings I got left a mark on my chin that took years to go away." While this fellow calls a spade a spade, he isn't bitter. He just knows that life was different not long ago. He comes to Wayside only for company and for cheap food. He said, "Like it says in the gospel, or some holy book or other, 'No one knows the day or the hour.'" It is his way of saying that life is too precious and too short to be bitter. He loves Wayside and always has, "In this place, care seeps into your body by osmosis," he said.

I sent a note this week asking you to 'Donate a Plate' for our Christmas Day Street Party. I don't normally ask for help with this event but the increasing costs and the ever growing burden of bureaucracy will one day kill this event. For now, and the next few years, we're pressing ahead and we'll cop the financial burden. I hope you don't mind that I've given you the opportunity to 'Donate a Plate' on behalf of yourself or a loved one. You'll be helping us to put on Christmas lunch for 600 of our nearest and dearest. You can donate a plate here.

Tuesday was a magnificent day at Wayside as a group of our people harvested our first honey from the hives in our garden. I think we harvested about 8 litres of honey. The best part of this event was the beautiful expressions on people's faces as they forgot all their troubles and learned how to harvest the honey. Wayside honey is here! What a buzz!

The Wayside "No Bell P*ss Prize" is awarded jointly this year to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. I have far more respect for politicians than most because I've seen from close range just how hard they work. However, the competition to see who can be the meanest to asylum seekers has not only been unseemly but it has damaged the Australian soul. We are a more hard-hearted Australia at the end of 2012 than at the beginning.  Labour came to power with a promise to treat such people more humanely and so this year has been a bitter disappointment. This Christmas season we should remember that although Mary and Joseph weren't boat people, they were donkey people, and their status was similar. We should ponder that perhaps our country's salvation, maybe a future prime minister, is currently on a boat headed for Australia. If only we acted like the shepherds or even the wise men (and women) instead of like Herod whose insecurity led to pointless cruelty.

Here is a note from a 10 year old girl that came yesterday. "My life is so bad and so sad. We carry bags in the streets and stay at different places trying to find a home. We sometimes have blankets and sometimes have no food because we are homeless. I love my Mum and she smokes cigarettes because she is stressed because she is trying to protect us from other people who take drugs. I love my Mum." It's a tough time of year for some.

I'll send a note next week and then I'll give your inbox a rest for some weeks. I'm writing a book and hope to head off to a quiet place in New Zealand to get my manuscript ready to submit. More information on this project next year.

Until next week, our deepest thanks for all your good will and for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross

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