Category Archives: This blog

20th of May 2018 Pastor Haydn’s Sermon – Being Whole in Body, Spirit, and Soul

The most important reason why Jesus died on the cross to save sinners in this world was to take them out of sin and work in their lives so that they are completely holy in spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  But what strategy are we to have to accomplish this?  What is a soul?  What is a spirit?  How does it connect with the body?  Here is my sermon today on this from 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (c.f. Deuteronomy 6:1-9).

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

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Joshua 23-24 Bible Study

In Joshua 23-24 of the Bible, these remaining two chapters tell us what the future of God’s new nation will be like.  Joshua dies, and goes to be with his ancestors at the ripe old age of 110 years.  What does the future look like?

Here is my Joshua 23-24 Bible Study (in PDF).  Feel free to use it.  It includes the passage from the ESV, although there are some expressions that I have changed for the sake of maintaining consistency with the Hebrew that it was originally written in.

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

23 October 2016 sermon – Luke 17:20-37 – Watch Where the Vultures Descend

When will Jesus be returning again, to judge the world?  It’s expected to come, from Daniel 7-12 and Jesus comments on what that will be like.  He said that those days will be like those of Noah (where people were warned for about 100 years that God was going to judge them, but they ignored the warning signs).  They will be like the days of Lot, where people were so used to evil that even young and old could no longer discern between good and evil any more.  Today I preached on this from Luke 17:20-37 (c.f. Genesis 19:1-26) Given all the dangerous things that are going on today like ‘gay marriage’ and the social indoctrination of children into homosexuality, this is an extremely relevant passage – these days really are like the Son of Man, and perhaps in my lifetime the Lord will return.

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

A MUST-READ book for all pastors

Dangerous-Calling In November 2015, I fatefully met up with a friend who, until recently, was an associate pastor.  He suggested that I read the book ‘Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry’ by Paul David Tripp.  It has honestly revolutionised the way I have been thinking about ministry and how to keep myself, as a pastor AND as a son of God, refreshed in my calling.  I have noticed in the short 10 months that I have been pastor that stewarding a church – even a small one – can be quite stressful.  That can happen because pastors can get caught up worrying about where the money’s going to come from (particularly where congregational size is small and their financial contributions are commensurate to their size!) and it feels like the future of the church – and, well, everything – is on their shoulders.  Many pastors question their calling as a result, and being a pastor ends up being all about pumping out good sermons like a vending machine pushing out sodas.  

Many pastors, sadly, end up seeing it as their role to keep the church going (even though it really is God’s) and as they do so they end up bitter, angry, resentful, and jealous of others.  As such, they don’t look after their own bodies, they disengage from their wives and children, eschew accountability and friendship with others, become harsh to people in their churches, and end up with no devotional life whatsoever.  They assume they have arrived at the place where they think they no longer need God’s grace – that, they may assume – is for non-believers and apostate Christians, but not them.  This can eventually have them being addicted and even acting on those addictions, which can cost them their position and even their legal freedom.

This book by Paul Tripp is such an invaluable one to get through.  It’s only 224 pages, although it is not an easy read – it will bring up every painful thing that pastors may be running away from and unwilling to face.  But it’s what EVERY pastor needs to hear.  

“You are your most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you are aware that there is no truth that you could give to another that you don’t desperately need yourself” – p. 23.  

Sadly, this is not something that Bible colleges are giving to their seminary students, most of whom end up being Theo-bots (theological robots), “the guys who see theology as an end in itself rather than as a means to an end” (p. 44), which is to glorify God in the most fitting way.  This is most dangerous when a pastor is better at exegeting the biblical concept of grace than he is in showing it.  Indeed, knowing about God is insufficient compared to knowing God and being known by Him – and yet many pastors amble through their ministries trying to do just that.  Message: change begins with us pastors.  If we won’t demonstrate change, then we have no place preaching on it.  

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Tripp’s book is immensely practical without being over-prescriptive.  I cannot recommend it enough to other pastors and even to those supporting their pastors, like elders and deacons.  Be asking your pastor and pastoral applicants the hard questions to ensure he will last the distance and not find out that he can’t when it’s almost too late.  This book really has saved my heart from a lot of self-pitying sorrow since reading it, and it will do a good work in setting pastors free from brittle condescension and performance-based assessment.  It will help you to remember 1 Peter 5:6-8,10-11:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Haydn’s Devotion – Salt & Light (4th of September 2016)

Georges River Congregational Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn –

Significant in Christ: Salt & Light

 

In 1995, I watched the movie Muriel’s Wedding, an Australian-made film with lots of ABBA music about a messed-up young woman called Muriel Heslop. Her father was a failed politician who vented his angry frustrations on his wife and children, calling them “ a bunch of useless no-hopers”. Muriel thought the only way to be significant was to get married; she eventually got herself into an arranged marriage with a South African Olympian. After the wedding, she realised that she wasn’t being really honest with herself, and that her marriage was a façade that had not solved her real, deep problems.

People do this sort of thing all the time, as if a giraffe has forgotten starts quacking like a duck because it hates being a giraffe. It can happen for all sorts of reasons, even for Christians. Like King Saul in the Old Testament, we can do this because (like Muriel Heslop) we believe the Devil’s lies that we are worthless, stupid nothings whose lives are insignificant and who have been abandoned to rot by God (1 Samuel 15:17, c.f. 9:21). If you’ve suffered persecution and lost your desire to follow God, you’re light can start to dim as you self-pity and become bitter. Perhaps you’ve let your guard down after being a Christian a long time; you’re so used to “Church-ianity” and going through the motions of faith that you’ve allowed some sin to grow here and there.

Jesus warned His disciples not to lose their ‘saltiness’ or let their light go out in Matthew 5:13-14. Salt was a precious thing in the Ancient Near East: it was a preservative and flavoured food. If it failed to do its job, like anything else, out it went into the garbage. Christians are to flavour this dead, sick world with the gospel of grace, not to withdraw from it into a Holy Hovel because of persecution. Neither is it to be like the world and be ineffective. The light is not to be hidden because the world is dark – in fact, because the world is dark, our light must shine.

Saints of Georges River Congregational, do not believe the lie that you are useless and that your presence is a waste. Be salt! Be light! Get into the world and share your light and be so godly that the world will glorify God. This is our purpose for being here.

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

28 August 2016 sermon – Luke 15:1-10 – God’s Love for Us: The Lost

God only saves lost people- and people who KNOW they are lost.  Mankind IS lost and has been since his fall into sin in Genesis 3, where he ended his relationship with God to be the boss of the universe.  We are so lost we don’t want to be found (apart from the work of the Holy Spirit) and we have no power whatsoever to save ourselves.  Many who are lost will never be found because they will not humble themselves to accept that they are lost.  But God the Father shifts heaven and earth to find the lost; indeed, He longs to be reconciled with His estranged creation because He experiences no end of joy at having us back.  Here is my sermon on Luke 15:1-10 (c.f. Jeremiah 2:1-19).  

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

Pastor Haydn’s Devotion – Satan Won’t Harm God’s Sons (28th of August 2016)

Georges River Congregational Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn –

Secure in Christ: Satan Will Not Harm God’s Sons

There was a story recently about a woman in India who had a pet snake, which she had taken to sleeping with. The reptile liked it too, but the woman noticed that soon after the new sleeping arrangement, that the snake had stopped eating. Thinking it was sick, she tried to give it every kind of food; but it wasn’t interested. Eventually she consulted a vet, who asked, “Have you been sleeping with the snake?” “Yes, of course”, was the answer. The vet had some devastating news. “That snake you’ve been sleeping with isn’t sick or dying; it wants to eat you. When you’re sleeping and the snake is rubbing up against you, it’s sizing you up to see if you will fit in its stomach. One day it will strike you and consume you”.

It’s a horrifying thought, and something that you may expect in a Steven Spielberg sci-fi thriller but the reality is that the human heart is so sinful that it entertains evil and even speaks with it instead of telling it to go away (Genesis 3:1-6). We take it on as a pet like the Indian woman, seeking to sleep with it and feed it, little realising that it is always sizing us up to one day swallow us whole. Worse, mankind is so blind to this sickness that people seek to silence those who warn them in the name of Jesus. We are so naturally sinful that no-one needs to tell us how to sin; we do it masterfully by default without needing to think about it.

Jesus Christ Himself was no stranger to temptation, and even He did not escape the ancient serpent getting close to Him (Matthew 4:1-11). Yet Satan had no claim over Him because He fought back and obeyed God. Jesus was so excellently obedient that He was able to completely overcome sin. For those who follow Jesus Christ, we have the power to overcome sin and death because of Jesus’ person and work! We can resist Satan, even when he’s seeking to eat us for breakfast! That is because Jesus empathises with all our struggles (1 Corinth. 10:13, Hebrews 2:18). Satan has a stronghold on God’s children only inasmuch as we let Him come close (James 4:7), but we have the power to stand firm and resist (James 4:8, Titus 2:11-12). Church, let us resist our enemy mightily this week so God can draw close to us!

God bless, Pastor Haydn.

Time of fasting and deepening

Recently God has been putting on my heart through the voice of His Holy Spirit and various dreams and vision the need to do three things: 1) Spend as much time with Him in prayer (and Bible meditation); 2) casting off sin (Ezekiel 18:31, Proverbs 28:13); and 3) fasting.  I’ve also had several vivid dreams of God warning me about upcoming spiritual attack on myself and my family, which I consider to be warnings from Him of things to come.

As a consequence, for the next week – or however long I need to – I will be spending time in prayer and God’s Word.