Apr 292018

I repeatedly remind you that, ‘God owns the room’.  I always loved it on the US Presidential drama The West Wing when President Bartlet would say, “Give me the room!” and everyone would scurry out. You can do that, you know. You can say to God, “This is your room,” and it is.  And, you get to stay!

I come close to God’s room when I read the bible attentively.  I really believe God spoke to me through one of the readings set for our midweek communion service this week [Acts 11:19-26].  For me it was an affirmation and confirmation. It sounded so like the journey we have been on.

In the story, Christians had been scattered all over the place due to upheaval, even as far as Palmyra and north-west Kenya! As they went, they invariably shared what they were doing and why. It was because of the Lord Jesus they were doing what they were doing, and people followed them and joined up.

One of these scattered groups went 760kms to Antioch, in what is today south-east Turkey.  It was founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Antiochus.  There the early Jewish Christians crossed ethnic and perhaps even gentile barriers.  And a great many people believed in Jesus as Lord. News of this trickled back to Jerusalem and the foundation church there sent Barnabas to Antioch. 

Why Barnabas?  He was an encourager, joiner, one who linked up people and events to produce better outcomes.  Today we’d call him a facilitator.  He could encourage and join up and innovate, but his gift-set did not include teaching.  Despite this, his enthusiasm and encouragement alone saw many come to the Lord Jesus.

But then Barnabas’ master-stroke: he left the new Christians at Antioch and travelled the 245kms to Tarsus.  Who lived in Tarsus? The gifted teacher Paul.  Barnabas brought Paul back to Antioch where he stayed for at least a year, teaching the faith to whoever would  listen. 

We can exhort all we like but it is great teaching and learning and knowing that establishes us and enables us to help others establish others.  We all teach in some way or other but gifted or natural teachers are a special blessing.

That is what James and I went looking for over two years ago and started talking to Kieran. Old Barnabas [Pottsy] went to Melbourne to find a teacher, and thankfully, in God’s providence here he is. 

I pray that, as Kieran and Ruth settle, we will be able to more effectively teach God’s truth gently but usefully, to bring life and strengthen faith and understanding.  In other words to establish the believers so they can establish other newer believers, especially amongst the young.

Here it is in the bible, practical steps. . . and here it is unfolding at St Philips.  I found that affirming and encouraging.  I pray you do too.






Apr 222018

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180422-Malcolm-Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 30:41 — 10.5MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Luke 13:1-9  Reading 2         Matthew 5:17-48   

Apr 082018

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180408-Malcolm-Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 30:02 — 10.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Matthew 5:1-16 (p.785) Reading 2         Luke 10:38-42 (p.845)  

Apr 012018

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180401-Malcolm-Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 22:08 — 7.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Matthew 27:62-66  Reading 2         Matthew 28:1-10   

Mar 252018

I have been embroiled in some strange conversations this week.  Some of them have been about Kieran. We are still waiting for a determination from head office to make the pathway clear for him to join us. They have their reasons for questioning some things, but from my perspective, what’s the hold up?  Get on with it!  It feels like we are dangling like a carcass on a hook.  It feels unfair on us AND especially on the Carrs. We [continue reading…]

Mar 252018

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180325-Malcolm-Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:58 — 8.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         2Peter 3: 1-9  Reading 2         Matthew 21:1-9  

Mar 112018

I thought it was worth summarizing at some length an article I really enjoyed in this month’s Eternity Magazine. The author, Greg Clarke, CEO of the Bible Society, wrestles there with how truth works these days. He declares that, according to many people, “The best book to read is the Vible.” What is the Vible? Well, it’s something you feel in your guts.  It’s the vibe, and its sacred text is called the Vible. The Vible is the summary of [continue reading…]

Mar 042018

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180304-Malcolm-Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 32:54 — 11.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Exodus 31:12-17 (p.68) Matthew 12:1-14 (p.792)

Feb 252018

When we farewelled the Duffs, I gave the family presents.  I hope they were meaningful items that encourage wise living and godly behaviour. In light of the Deputy Prime Minister’s last fortnight, I think our 2017 studies of Proverbs and the emphasis on wise living are particularly appropriate.  As I thought about ‘a Barnaby’ of a fortnight, I found myself reflecting on my present to Will Duff, a magnetic compass.  Objective truth, morality and deciding right from wrong have become [continue reading…]