Written by Anthony Douglas on Thursday, 07 September 2017.

We sure like it, don’t we? Certainty, that is. We want our alarm clock to wake us at the right time, and if there’s gas to boil the kettle then that helps too.

There are also moments when we imagine certainty. If the entire population of the village decided to drive to Nowra at precisely the same time, there’d be gridlock for hours. When I get in my car, though, I’m pretty certain that’s not going to happen, and I can just content myself with bemoaning the roadworks. We live with such ‘sure things’ all the time, and think nothing of it.

It’s not an observation that only applies in the realm of the trivial. The things that are most important to us rely on the assumption of certainty: that our house won’t suddenly collapse around us; that our spouse truly loves us; that the bank won’t go belly-up and take our savings with it. The key components of our lives, the things that make us secure, depend on probabilities.

SureIn short, human beings are necessarily people of great faith. To truly rest only on that which is absolutely certain is the way of madness, and nobody wants to take that path. Instead, we work on the evidence we have, and draw the safe conclusions.

People speak of those who trust in Jesus as having great faith, but so what? Everyone has great faith, in all kinds of everyday things. My faith in Jesus says very little about me...and much more about his trustworthiness, demonstrated in all kinds of small ways each day of my life, and shown for certain two thousand years ago - for ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)


Ronnie Loberfeld, Bless Him

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 02 September 2017.

Tooth FairyLast year, on the This American Life radio show, Rebecca told a story from her youth. When she was in second class at school, her best friend Rachel was just busting to tell her some amazing news. She’d lost a tooth the night before, and happened to wake up when the Tooth Fairy came to collect. And it was her dad!

Rebecca, of course, on returning home proudly announced to her mother that she was now privy to the secret identity of the Tooth Fairy. ‘Who is it?’ her mother asked, and Rebecca spilled the beans: ‘It’s Ronnie Loberfeld!’

Her mother quickly swore her to secrecy - ‘nobody must ever know, he works so hard to keep his identity secret...’ And for years afterwards, Rebecca’s notes from the Tooth Fairy were always signed, ‘Love, Ronnie Loberfeld.’ It did leave her feeling a little envious of her friend, that her father was so important, while her own dad ‘just came home from work and that was it.’

It’s a great story, and it reminds us of the self-effacing kindness of fathers at their best. We dads might fail regularly, but every now and then we get one right. On Fathers Day we get thanked for it, but the truth is, we’re glad when we do our job right, and the thanks is just the icing on the cake.

The best thing about Fathers Day, though, is remembering our heavenly Father - who never loses his cool, never forgets an important moment, never fails to have time for his children. To him, a day is like a thousand years, and so we look forward to one long Fathers Day celebration when he calls us home.

Happy Fathers Day, today, and for eternity!

The Blind Spot

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 26 August 2017.

EclipseIt was a bonanza week for the manufacturers of sunglasses in the US, as the masses readied themselves for the solar eclipse that took place there on Tuesday. Total eclipses occur regularly - every year or so, somewhere around the planet - but very rarely do they take place over a nation with so much disposable income ... and the sense to avoid staring at the sun with the naked eye.

It is a spectacular sight, but it’s the reason that interests me. The moon has a radius of 1,737km, and the sun 695,700km. That makes the moon impressively aligned, if it is to block out so precisely a star that is 400 times bigger than itself. A total eclipse is only possible because the moon just happens to be precisely 400 times closer to the Earth than the sun is.

For many people, this is simply a phenomenal coincidence. It’s another of those remarkable things about this world that demonstrates that it is the non-believer who has the greatest faith of all. To believe that all the various evidences for a Creator with a detailed blueprint are merely happenstance takes an enormous amount of faith! Their blind spot lies in not realising how much blind faith they are exercising.

The truth is what God tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 - ‘The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’ So it was with us as well, but as Paul reminds the
Corinthians, God specialises in making light shine in darkness. No matter how much Satan attempts to block their view, the Son is still out there, looking down at them. Let’s pray that they take off those glasses, so that God is no longer eclipsed.


And You Thought We Had It Bad

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 19 August 2017.

It’s been a tough time for optimists around the country lately. On any given day, there’s been some news out of Canberra that would have been inconceivable a decade ago - or even a week ago. Our political representatives have sought in vain for safe ground, and found only quicksand.

If that weren’t bad enough, as a nation we’re in deep ourselves, struggling to work out whether there’s any way to resolve the debate around marriage peacefully. Or are we doomed to shout at each other for weeks and decades to come?

HannieBut spare a thought for the Netherlands, the first nation in the world to legalise euthanasia. Last year, a documentary examined how the legal framework had been working, and it included the story of Hannie Goudriaan, a 68-year-old woman who was suffering from dementia.

Her husband, with the camera rolling, said this: “If [the euthanasia] doesn’t go through then Hannie will soon have to go to a care home. If she goes to a care home, I won’t visit her anymore because I won’t go visit an empty person. If Hannie doesn’t see me for a month then she won’t recognize me anymore and then I won’t feel like visiting her anymore.”

No matter where people stand on the ethics of euthanasia or quality of life, it is pretty unavoidable to consider Hannie’s husband’s words deeply offensive - not just to her, but also to the concept of marriage. Yet in the Netherlands, the next move is to further loosen the legislative constraints.

Worse than national division is a national consensus that is profoundly tragic. Lord have mercy.

Speaking With Care

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 12 August 2017.

Handle With CareOur society stands at a crossroads, and yet we think we’re somewhere completely different. Listen to the radio, wander through Facebook, pick up a newspaper: wherever you look, the tension is simmering over Australia’s marriage laws, and how they might be changed.

But as significant as that discussion is, it’s not the real point of conflict in our society. Rather, the critical question is whether or not we are still able to communicate with one another. In an age dominated by mobile phones, the internet, and 24/7 news feeds, the tragic irony is that we seem less able than ever to talk with one another.

The evidence abounds. In the last decade of federal politics, even people within the same party have feuded endlessly. Pollsters can’t get a straight answer out of the public, whether it’s US elections or British referenda. What passes for debate in the public sphere too often looks a lot like a shouting match, and any effort at finding common ground is seen as betrayal.

In the next couple of months, especially, we are going to need to speak with care. And also, to speak with care. We will need to be as clear as we can that we speak out of love, not hate; out of grace, not a grudge; out of hope, not fear. That will mean we also must choose our words carefully, to avoid unnecessary offence or misunderstanding.

It won’t be easy, but this is a great opportunity. Christians will have the chance to not merely think differently, but to sound different. We’ll get many chances to turn the other cheek. Proverbs 15:28 tells us that ‘the heart of the righteous weighs its answers’ - so get out your scales!

Church Services

Contact Us

Phone: 4448 8179