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The Imagine Project: Shoot and Crop (20)

Bishop John - church 1 (small)

From the Bishop

Click here to catch up on
Bishop John's blog. Here are some recent posts...

  • No dignity in euthanasia
  • Can Allah Just Forgive?
  • Killing baby girls: Belief & its consequences
  • Australian Christian Book of the Year – Shortlist 2011
  • When is a religious rite not right?
  • Prayer for Sudan
  • Atheists & ‘competence extrapolation’
  • Pray 4 Egypt’s peace

From the Bishop's Desk is the bishop's regular email newsletter. Click here to see his recent newsletters or to join the mail list.

Bishop John's recent publications, Addresses, letters, reflections, messages: click here.

Bible Study & Preaching Material

Stressed out with no time to write bible studies? Try our Lectionary-based study outlines for home and church-based study groups and personal study; will also help preachers. To have a look, click here.

The Bible

Preaching Resources

This resource is provided to help guide, encourage and resource the preachers in our diocese, be they new or experienced. It's new and evolving, so we recommend that you drop in from time to time.

A PRAYER FOR transformingLIFE

Transforming God,
as we meet together
fill us with your wisdom.
Give us the capacity
to work boldly
and with humility,
embracing the challenge of mission.

Use us to bring transforming life
to our Christian communities and
all Tasmanians

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Download the transformingLIFE document

Will the Imagine Project change your life?

CMS: This study is a gift

CMS Australia logo

While Andrew & Pam Lake visited over 24 parishes in the Diocese before heading to the posting in Damascus, Andrew had been busy on another project. He has released this short book called Christian Mission for Tasmanians. This is a very personal approach from Andrew on this important topic of Mission written for the Missionary Diocese of Tasmania. Andrew says of the book,

"My hope and prayer is that this study will help put mission front and centre of the church's agenda. I make no claim to infallibility and will have achieved my aim if this has helped start some fruitful conversations about mission."

We offer our thanks to Andrew, having served in the Diocese as an Archdeacon and Mission Support Officer. But now we offer our thanks for this impressive gift to the church in Tasmania.

Of particular interest to you, dear reader, is the freely available nature of this book. In fact, you can click here to read it right now. So is it free? Andrew explains in his Forward:

"This study is a gift to the Tasmanian church. It is freely available on the diocesan website but I invite you when you use it for personal or group study to make a donation of $10 per person to the Church Missionary Society of Tasmania."


Archive of Home Page: 2011 June

Christians on Facebook

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[wed 06.jul.2011 rob] A Christian should be seeking to glorify God in everything they do, right? So what about Facebook? In fact, what about being a "light to the nations" through Facebook?

The article 'Reaching those we know: Be being a Christian on Facebook' ponders the important topic of how we reflect Jesus on social media. Have you thought about how you might be perceived by your friends in the way you use Facebook?

Click here to read the article.

"Did my neurons make me do it?"

cyclone clouds winds yasi
[tue 05.jul.2011 rob] 2011 ISCAST Annual Lecture presents Professor Nancy Murphy: Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

On Thursday 25th August, 7:30pm

St George's, Battery Point

Contact: Alastair Richardson at
Presented by ISCAST: Christians in Science and Technology (

Sermons from Synod

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[sat 02.jul.2011 rob] Our Tasmanian Synod for 2011 was memorable for many. For some, it may have been the great morning teas :-) For others, the warm debate. And yet for others, the great way in which God spoke through the preaching of The Dean of Hobart and the Director of Business Services. Until now, some have not known where to find printed version of their sermons, but they are now made available to you.

  • Click here for the Address to Synod Worship Service: Stewardship (Director of Business Services, Russell Morton)
  • Click here for the Opening of Synod 2011 Sermon: Once for All Hebrews (The Dean of Hobart, The Very Revd Richard Humphrey)

Administrative Circular

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[tue 28.jun.2011 rob] The latest news from the Registrar's office in the Administrative Circular.

Click here to read the latest edition (05/2011 - June 2011)

Expressions of interest are invited...

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[tue 28.jun.2011 rob] Expressions of interest are invited for the position of Priest-in-Charge for the Parish of the City of Devonport.

Click here to view application information.

10 things an effective minister must remember

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[sun 26.jun.2011 rob] Well, the title says it all... What do you think of Douglas Wilson's list?

Parenting 001 (certainly not 101!)

The Gospel Coalition
[sat 25.jun.2011 rob] I don't know where I found this, maybe it was on Facebook, maybe it was looking through the Gospel Coalition website, but to find an article that is so open and honest about Christian parenting was refreshing.

He doesn't have all the answers, he can't tell you how to make sure your kids will be in heaven with you... it's the reality of parenting. Sometimes I just need an article on Christian parenting that encourages me and yet doesn't pander to my pride (by telling me everything is OK).

This article called 'Parenting 001' by Kevin DeYoung is from the website 'The Gospel Coalition'. I have included a link to a video by Mark Dever, which explains who the Gospel Coalition are.

  • Click here to read the 'Parenting 001' article by Ken DeYoung.
  • Click here to find out more about the Gospel Coalition.
  • Click here to learn more about the writer, Kevin DeYoung.

Australian Christian Book of the Year: 2011 Short List

Bp John Harrower (cowboy hat)
[fri 24.jun.2011 rob] The following books have been short-listed for the 2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award:

  • Bible bites: 365 devotions for Aussie families, Ladeane Lindsay, Anglican Youthworks.
  • Christianity alongside Islam, John Wilson, Acorn Press.
  • Economics for life: An economist reflects on the meaning of life, money and what really matters, Ian Harper, Acorn Press.
  • Hot rock dreaming: A Johnny Ravine Mystery, Martin Roth, Ark House Press.
  • Isaiah: Surprising salvation, Kirk Patston, Aquila.
  • Judgment day: The struggle for life on earth, Paul Collins, UNSW Press.
  • The rag doll, Stephanie Carmichael & Jessica Green, Matthias Media.

Click here to read Bishop John's post with more information about the judges for 2011.

Positions Vacant: Deputy Headmaster, The Hutchins School

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[fri 24.jun.2011 rob] Expressions of interest are invited for Deputy Headmaster at The Hutchins School.

Click here to view application information.

From The Bishop's Desk

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[fri 24.jun.2011 rob] The latest From The Bishop's Desk is available.

Click here to view or download.

Oxygen 2011

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[wed 22.jun.2011 rob] I'm sure many of you are aware of the Oxygen Leadership Conference which is to be held in Sydney in August-September this year. Many ministers and lay leaders will be attending from the Anglican church in Tasmania.

For those who are not aware of the conference, the main speakers are John Piper and John Lennox and is expected to be largest gathering of Christian pastors, chaplains and lay leaders in Australia's history.

Here is a little helper from the conference website titled, 'Ten Reasons Not To Miss Oxygen'. Click here to go to the website.

Caring for our Church Admins and Personal Assistants

Geneva Push
[tue 21.jun.2011 rob] Mikey Lynch recently posted a great article about how to look after our Church Administrators and Personal Assistants.

In his helpful post, Mikey looks at some processes for ensuring an Admin and PA are carefyully selected for the task, and that their training, orientation and even their ongoing role in the church team is considered. What I like most is that Mikey doesn't shy away from encouraging the significant role that Admins and PAs play in the Ministry of a church.

A great read, and an important lesson for Ministry Team leaders. Thanks Mikey!

Click here to read Mikey's post.

A new BCA video!

[tue 21.jun.2011 rob] Those who attended Synod 2011 were able to watch the new video from BCA. Now you can too! Just click on the video to play.

BCA - Bush Church Aid (logo)

While you are thinking of BCA, don't miss this video interview with Mike and Chantalle Keith with BCA at Lightning Ridge. Click here to watch their video.

Twitter (small)

From Twitter...

[mon 20.jun.2011 rob] Here are some inspiring tweets from the 'Fresh Look At Mission' conference which occurred on Friday 17th June.

Regarding Christians, "If we disappeared tomorrow leaving only our buildings, do you think anyone would notice?" davemiers

"Evangelism is our mission. Love for others is our character." jkforsyth

"Be devoted to the time consuming, energy draining, sin confronting, mind stretching, soul bearing challenge of leadership" jmoff

A great example of respectful engagement with Islam

CPX: Centre For Public Christianity
[mon 20.jun.2011 rob] The Centre for Public Christianity (CPX), they have posted a video on Vimeo. The video, as Rev Luke Isham puts it, is a great example of respectful engagement with Islam.

In the clip below John Dickson from the Centre for Public Christianity interviews Diaa Mohamed the man behind the campaign.

Click here to see the video.
Click here to see other interesting CPX videos. Or visit their website at

Atheists & ‘competence extrapolation’

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[sat 18.jun.2011 rob] Bishop John found an excellent article by the Rev Dr John Dickson on ABC Online Religion and Ethics titled, 'Pitting historical facts against atheist schoolyard delusions'. Take this as another commendation encouraging you to read Dr Dickson's article.

Bishop John said,

"John Dickson pleads for an informed atheism. He comments on the tendency of atheist commentators in their critique of the Christian faith to stray well beyond their areas of expertise: in Dickson’s apt words "competence extrapolation". He notes these concerns in addressing arguments put against the teaching of religious education in state schools. ...This is an article to read and ponder when you have a cuppa and 30 minutes (well for me, anyway!)."

John Dickson said,

"Tamas Pataki, a trained philosopher and well-known figure on the atheist circuit, recently put up four arguments against state schools offering Special Religious Education (SRE). It leads to divisiveness, strengthens group identity (a bad thing because of the first), is factually untrue and, unlike Graeco-Roman wisdom, argues from parable and dogma instead of by reasoning. Pataki is wrong on all four counts."

  • Click here to read Bishop John's post on his blog.
  • Click here to read John Dickson's ABC Online Religion and Ethics article, 'Pitting historical facts against atheist schoolyard delusions'.
  • Click here to read Pataki's article.

Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[fri 17.jun.2011 rob] A classic hymn written by John Newton in 1779.

Click here to hear this great hymn and read along with the words.

Death in Prime Time

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[fri 17.jun.2011 rob] Bishop John has recently commented on the BBC viewing of a pro-suicide programme. He says,

The decision by the BBC to broadcast the assisted suicide of a prominent hotelier along with the accompanying advocacy of prominent author Terry Pratchett promoting euthanasia/ medical killing / assisted suicide, takes the reporting of suicide to another dangerous level. It is one thing is to consider reporting suicides in order to engender healthy conversation and support of people at risk. It is another altogether to document someone committing suicide with someone else promoting it. This is not just a bad idea, it is deadly practice!

Click here to view the post on Bishop John's blog.

New Zealand hit by further earth tremors

New Zealand Flag
[fri 17.jun.2011 rob] "Christchurch Bishop fears her clergy face exhaustion of spirit following tremors." This headline appeared on the Anglican Communion website this week.

From the article,
In the wake of yet more big jolts in Christchurch, Bishop Victoria Matthews says she fears her clergy are facing “exhaustion of spirit”. “People are tired. They have been more than magnificent. Let me say that clearly."

To read more, click here for the article.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in New Zealand. May God be with them at this difficult time.

Updates to Bishop John's blog

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[fri 10.jun.2011 rob] Over on Bishop John's blog there are a number of new posts which have recently arrived on the topics of:
  • Synod,
  • euthanasia,
  • the elderly,
  • cows,
  • our Registrar Russell Morton...

Click here to visit Bishop John's blog.

Human disability and the purpose of God

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[fri 10.jun.2011 rob] John Piper looked at John chapter 9 where Jesus encountered a man born blind. The question was asked of Jesus, "who sinned that this man was born blind". The conclusion of Jesus answer to this question was, "that the works of God might be manifest".

For many of us, we may look past the modern day experience of blindness. However, after preaching on this passage Piper decided to interview a member of his congregation, John Knight. Knight was born blind. This is the second interview in a series of two.

Click here to watch this second interview in the series.

Other links:
Click here for John Piper's introduction to the series of interviews with John Knight.
Click here to watch John Piper's first video with John Knight.
Click here for a video of John Piper's sermon on John 9:1-23 that started this interview series.
Click here to read the bible passage John 9:1-23 in the ESV bible translation.

From the Diocesan Offices

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[thu 09.jun.2011 rob] Just released... From the Bishop's Desk 10.11 (8th June, 2011).

This edition includes news of Bishop John's visit to King Island, his Chaplaincy visits, his visit to Sandy Bay/Taroona and more.

Click here to read the latest news From the Bishop's Desk.

Sinned in a literal Adam, raised in a literal Christ

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[wed 08.jun.2011 rob] Over on the Gospel Coalition website, a cracker of an article by Tim Keller affirming the literal nature of Adam in the creation narrative. This article is defintely worth a read, fom a man who has some wonderful theological insight. A little bit from the article:

Question: If biological evolution is true and there was no historical Adam and Eve, how can we know where sin and suffering came from? Answer: Belief in evolution can be compatible with a belief in a historical fall and a literal Adam and Eve. There are many unanswered questions around this issue.

Compared to other questions laypeople ask pastors about creation and evolution, I find the concerns of this question much more well-grounded. Indeed, I must disclose, I share them. Many orthodox Christians who believe God used evolutionary biological processes to bring about human life not only do not take Genesis 1 as history, but also deny that Genesis 2 is an account of real events. Adam and Eve, in their view, were not historical figures but an allegory or symbol of the human race. Genesis 2, then, is a symbolic story or myth that conveys the truth that human beings all have and do turn away from God and are sinners.

Disagree with Keller? This site is just getting you to think theologically, so if you know of an article articulating the other point of view, please let us know.

Click here to read Tim Keller's post.

Anglicans... on Facebook!

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[wed 08.jun.2011 rob] Are you on Facebook? Did you know that there is a page for Tasmanian Anglicans which lets you know when interesting items appear on this page? Or, have you ever wanted to comment on any of the posts on this page?

Well, you can do that on the Tasmanian Anglicans Facebook page.

Click here to go to the Tasmanian Anglicans Facebook page. When you arrive at the Facebook page, click on the 'fan' button to join the group and you'll be kept up to date.

The Piper-Warren Interview

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[wed 08.jun.2011 rob] Most Christians will probably know John Piper or Rick Warren, even more likely have read a book by one of them. Their most significant books (you can argue that out in the Facebook link):
  • John Piper, 'Desiring God'.
  • Rick Warren, 'The Purpose Driven Life'.

This video is 88 minutes long and is John Piper interviewing Rick Warren. As Justin Taylor's website explains:

Piper explains that he read The Purpose-Drive Life [sic] with a fine-tooth comb and significantly disagreed with certain Reformed critiques of the book. The heart of the interview is Piper seeking clarification and confirmation from Warren on various doctrines and distinctives. Piper explains his intentions like this:

My aim in this interview is to bring out and clarify what Rick Warren believes about these biblical doctrines. In doing this my hope is that the thousands of pastors and lay people who look to Rick for inspiration and wisdom will see the profound place that doctrine has in his mind and heart.

Click here for Justin Taylor's post on the Gospel Coalition website. His post includes the video, his own review and also an index to the 88 minute video. Links to audio-only and a transcript are also available through this link.
Click here for the Gospel Coalition Website.
Click here for John Piper's post about the interview (also includes the video)
Click here to get a glimpse of Rick Warren's book, 'The Purpose Driven Life' on the website.
Click here to go to our Facebook post on this article if you want to discuss it further.

Bishop John on Euthanasia

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[mon 06.jun.2011 rob] Remarking on Bishop John's Presidential Address, ABC News (5th June) said,

"The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania says it is impossible to legislate protection for people against euthanasia if it is legalised."

Click here to read the ABC News article.
Click here to read the PDF of Bishop John's address.

Synod 2011 Presidential Address:

Passionate Spirituality

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[sat 04.jun.2011 rob] Click here for the complete address and notes in PDF format.

Are you passionate about Synod? What about your church? What about your own walk with God? According to our Natural Church Development surveys the area in which the Anglican Church in Tasmania is habitually weak is Passionate Spirituality. For the Church to grow in health and vitality as well as numbers, we must grow in passionate spirituality.

Natural Church Development defines passionate spirituality as the energy source that fuels every church, providing the energy and momentum to move forward toward mission. … (Passionate spirituality) continues reproducing itself when we tap into the source and stay connected to it. Passionate spirituality goes beyond our personal devotional times to our encounters with God in moments of daily life, and the various ways we experience and engage with his presence. The outpouring of passionate spirituality is an integration of our inner life with God into every aspect of our outward lives as well, resulting in stories of changed lives and transformation.

Our passion for God is founded in God. God is the creator, sustainer and end of our life. In God lies the source of our passion for him and his world. The Letter to the Hebrews is described as an exhortation (13:22), it is a call to live out the faith, to run the race before us (12:1-3). What is the source of this exhortation? Is it not God? Our “God (who) is a consuming fire”; who has a passion for purity, for holiness? (12:29) In bringing the first twelve chapters to a close the Writer of Hebrews highlights the person of God,

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (12:28,29)

Thankfulness and awe before ‘our “God (who) is a consuming fire”’ are the source of Chapter 13’s call to a passionate spirituality, to dedicated discipleship. Our passion for God is founded in God. God is the initiator of our relationship. Note also that the word translated worship in 12:28 (TNIV and NRSV) holds both worship and service in its meaning. Thus in the Amplified Bible,

Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe; For our God [is indeed] a consuming fire.

Knowledge of God’s character leads to ‘pleasing service and acceptable worship’. Our passion for God is founded in God. Consider our Anglican heritage. Where is our passion for God? What aspect of God’s character inspires our passionate spirituality?

What does the Book of Common Prayer tell us? The first service in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662, (BCP) opens with verses which state plainly that Anglicans are sinners! Welcome, one and all! But wait! The best is yet to come. We are sinners redeemed by grace through Christ’s atoning death. Now that is good news.

Anglican spirituality starts with God who is holy and us his people, who are unholy. We seek mercy and forgiveness as we humbly approach the Holy God. Anglican worship is penitential. Anglican worship starts with our sin. We have rejected God, are subject to God’s wrath and in repentance seek God’s mercy through Christ.

The first service in the BCP is The Order for Morning Prayer: Daily throughout the year. The very first sentence of the very first Anglican Prayer Book service is a Bible verse. Anglican spirituality is rooted in the Bible. Do you recall the Bible verse?

When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezekiel 18:27

Other verses follow, the next being,

I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Psalm 51:3

Following the reading of the Bible verses the Minister says,

Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. … Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart and humble voice unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me:

A general Confession to be said of the whole Congregation, all kneeling.

Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against thy holy laws …

Then the Absolution or Remission of sins is pronounced by the Priest, standing: the people kneeling.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live; … Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our passion is expressed as contrition before the holiness of God, the receipt of his pardon through Christ and living a holy life.

This resonates with the Writer to the Hebrews who extols the glories of Christ, his superiority in all things and his finished work in which there is forgiveness. The Christians are not to drift away from such a great salvation. But such forgiveness does not lead to idleness but to holiness. Thus, Anglicans see the Holy God, the ‘consuming fire’, and we acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness.

The holiness of God fuels Anglican worship and discipleship: that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy. Our passion is derived from the holiness of God. Passion for God brings forgiveness, holy living, joy and not infrequently, suffering.

The Book of Hebrews has the long list of the faithful who suffered as they sought to live holy lives. As we run our race we remember such witnesses. The Friday of our Synod is the day in our Anglican Calendar when we remember the Martyrs of Uganda (1886) and the Archbishop of Uganda, Janini Luwum, (d.1977).

The Martyrs of Uganda were page boys who had become Christians. On the basis of their newfound faith they refused the King’s demands for homosexual practices. All the boys were ordered to stand before the King. The Christians were ordered to stand out and asked to abandon their faith. When they refused the order was given for their death. On Ascension Day 1886 they were burned alive. One executioner recorded the Christian page boys went on praying until they died.

One of the martyrs, before he was placed on the pyre, said to his brother, 'A well which has many sources never runs dry. When we are gone, others will come after us.'

And the well did not run dry. Passion for the way of Christ continued flowing in Uganda. Ninety years later, the Archbishop of Uganda, Janini Luwum, spoke out against the corrupt and blood-stained dictatorship of Idi Amin. The Archbishop, along with many Christians, including clergy, university teachers and judges were martyred. Passion for the way of Christ speaks out for justice and mercy.

Kathleen Jones concludes her commentary on the Ugandan martyrs with these words,

In a country stricken by poverty, AIDS, and the threat of war on its borders, the example of the martyrs has meant much to devout Christian communities.
[The Saints of the Anglican Calendar, Kathleen Jones, Canterbury Press, Norwich 2000, p.133]

Or in Tertullian’s words, The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

Passion for the way of Christ makes disciples of Jesus Christ.
o Not seekers but disciples.
o Not comfortable pew warmers but missionary disciples.
o Not prosperous consumers but prayerful activists.
o Not happy shoppers but hilarious givers.
o Not selfish narcissists but sacrificing neighbours.
o Not political ideologues but passionate Christians.

What about ourselves? What aspects of God’s character motivate us; inspire our passion for Christ? As bishops do, I turned to the Registrar for advice. As this Synod well knows the Registrar maintains order in the Bishop’s Office. His is a business role. What is the Registrar’s passion? What drives him? – an ordered Synod? This is an outcome he clearly works towards. But is ‘an ordered Synod’ the fuel for his passion? Russell the Registrar responded with a sonnet! Here it is,

God left his glory on the sunlit hills.
He dropped his peace beside all quiet lakes.
He put his power where the torrent spills
from mighty cataracts, where thunder shakes
the dome of heav'n and wild lightnings flash,
where oceans lift their calm and level lengths
to mount in breakers, foaming as they crash;
and in all growing things he put his strength.

But when God wanted men to glimpse his love
he chose a wooden cross, a simple thing,
one timber pointing to his throne above
and one stretched out to human need. 'Oh sing
my ransomed soul throughout eternity -
the love of God, in Christ, on calvary.

I asked Russell who wrote the sonnet, was he, himself, the author? His reply, "No, but I learnt it many, many years ago. I recall shouting it from a vantage point on the top of the Grampians watching a sunrise at Easter 1964 when I was 18, so must have known it then. No idea who wrote it. Possibly that character ‘Anon’."

His reply and the sonnet are a very ‘Russell response’! – humorous, insightful and remembered treasure. The sonnet goes to the basis of the Christian’s passions. Do you see that basis in the sonnet? Yes, the sonnet finds in God's person the key motivators of our response to him. The sonnet speaks of God’s glory, peace, power, strength and love.

These characteristics of God enliven and empower the Registrar’s passion for God. Why, he even shouted about it! What characteristics of God enliven and empower your passion for God?

For Silvia it is love. Silvia suffered a great deal during the so called Dirty War in Argentina. Her fiancé was kidnapped, never to be seen again. He is one of the 32,000 disappeared. Following this tragedy Silvia read a New Testament and fell in love with One who loved her without limits; Jesus Christ. The love Silvia saw in Jesus fuels her passion for God and the kingdom of God to this day. Silvia knows she is loved by a loving God.

God’s love has sustained her through wars and tragedies. Silvia set aside her career to minister as the General Secretary of the Argentine Universities Bible Association. Why? So that others might experience God’s love, just as she did. Silvia is passionate about God.

The Christian’s passions are based in God’s person and character. They are expressed in words and deeds. In our Anglican tradition this is stated in the 39 Articles. Article 12 Of Good Works says:

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

A true and lively Faith which bears fruit; sounds like passionate spirituality to me!

What does Passionate Spirituality look like in practice? The writer to the Hebrews leaves the readers in no doubt! Disciples of Christ are to live lives that befit their calling as sons and daughters of the living God.

If you have your Bibles with you please open them to Hebrews chapter 13. This final chapter of Hebrews commences Let mutual love continue. The Christian community is to be a community of love. Recall Jesus’ words, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)

There are many symbols and slogans that capture a key aspect of the community of Christ. We have crosses, doves, serving towels, vines and wheat grains – the symbols are many and varied. But the mark of the Christians that Jesus captures, which will distinguish his followers, is their love for one another.
Love is the mark of the Church.

Love is not containable. Love overflows. Love is for neighbour as well as brother and sister. Love of neighbour is love of all people. Hebrews 13:1-3 says, Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . remember those who are in prison … those who are being tortured.. Do these words ring true for us today? Strongly so!

Concerning hospitality to strangers; I ask the Federal Government:
o Is there not enough goodwill in our community for asylum seekers to be cared for in the community?
o Why have children behind bars?

I cannot express how proud I am of our Anglican community at Pontville offering hospitality to asylum seekers. What a picture! In front of a hostile meeting, Rick asks for hands up from those people prepared to support asylum seekers. This is the Jesus way: hospitality to the outsider. This is passionate spirituality. PTL!

Christians are called by God to live a chaste life. Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled. (13:4)

In Launceston last month we celebrated 200 years of ordained Anglican ministry in Northern Tasmania. We gathered at Prince’s Square, opposite St John’s. I had the privilege of dressing up as the Revd Bobby Knopwood; top hat, coat tails and all. During his four week visit he baptised 42 children and performed 23 marriages.

I preached from the baptism and marriage services in the BCP of 1662. The marriage service clearly states that the joining together of a man and a woman in marriage signifies the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle. Marriage is to be honoured not just because God honours marriage but because it signifies the relationship between Christ and the Church. Guard your marriage by mutual loving. That is passionate spirituality.

Keep your lives free from the love of money. (13;5,6) Why? Because we are to be content with what we have. Contentment shows our trust in God. Avarice and a chasing after money show our lack of trust in God. Moreover, as Paul warns, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) Some parishes are struggling to finance new facilities to facilitate ministry. Will Anglican parishes and individuals support them generously, even sacrificially? Will the strong support the weak? Did the water of baptism engulf our wallet, drown selfishness and give birth to generosity? How are we to grow our discipleship? Follow the example of godly leaders. Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7)

Who are the godly leaders in your life? Do you remember them?

I remember Bishop John Wilson. Some here may also remember him. Bishop John took my retreat prior to my ordination as Bishop of Tasmania. When confronted with issues over these past 11 years of bishoping in Tasmania I would frequently reflect on his life and ministry and seek to imitate it.

We are to centre our life on Christ. Why? Because Jesus is the firm foundation, the unmovable rock on which to base our life. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (13:8-13) John Calvin commented, The only way by which we persist in a true faith is to hold on to the foundation and not to depart from it in the slightest. (Commentary on Hebrews, p.207)

Passionate spirituality commits to active engagement. It does not fear suffering, setbacks and loss. Why? We bear suffering for Christ by remembering that here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (13:14) Our spirituality is shaped by our vision of the future; by our eschatology.

There is an end to history that is neither the grave nor playing 18 holes with St Peter! There will be a Just Judge to judge the earth: nations and individuals. There is a time, an eternal time, an eternal moment when the Bridegroom, Christ, comes for his people and there will be no more crying or tears. (Revelation 21:1-4) Jesus suffered, so will we. Jesus conquered death, so in him will we. We base our lives on Jesus and his future coming again in glory to rule over all. This cosmic vision sustains our spirituality. Our lives have cosmic consequences.

Tasmania has many needs. There is suffering here in Tasmania. We are called to partake of that suffering with Christ. I saw this lived out recently in our prisons and hospitals as our chaplains attended to the needs of clients and staff. Please uphold these ministries where passionate spirituality is called upon 24/7.

Praising God is of lips confessing his name; speaking of being Christians among family and friends. (13:15) Our worship honours God. Passion is practical: do good and share what you have. We are to be passionate all seven days of the week. (13:15,16)

I love verse 17. Let me paraphrase it: Let your leaders exercise their ministry of oversight with due diligence because they are accountable to God. What is our role? Obey your leaders and submit to them. And yes, I know Australians are not good at that. Well, let me give you an Australian answer: be practical! A happy leader is better than a sighing leader.

Pray for us. (13:18,19) How many people do you have praying for you? People praying for you, will grow your life in Christ. Our Diocesan Prayer Diary is one way that we bring prayer power to parish communities, chaplaincies and agencies. What are you doing to bring prayer to you and your community? When your parish’s day in the Diocesan Prayer Diary happens to be on a Sunday, do you send some prayer points to other parishes? This will help them pray for you.

Our challenge is to deepen our passion, our commitment, our dedication to Christlike living. Our passion for God is founded in God. God is the initiator of our relationship. Passions fuel life. Our passions are shown in word and deed.

Holy Spirit,
deepen our knowledge and experience of God;
fuel our passion to live for God; and
build a healthychurch … transforming life.

And the blessing from Hebrews: (13:20,21)

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Bishop of Tasmania

Media Release: Bishop to Speak Out on Asylum Seekers

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[fri 03.jun.2011 rob] The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, The Right Reverend John Harrower, will tomorrow speak out on the treatment of asylum seekers in his address to the annual Tasmanian Anglican Synod meeting.

Click here to read the complete media release.

Required Reading for Synod

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[thu 02.jun.2011 rob] Are you attending Synod? Your Bishop has written an article for you to think about before you attend.

Click here for Bishop John's post.

Prayer for Synod

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[wed 01.jun.2011 rob] The Tasmanian Anglican Synod begins this Friday. This is where ministers and church representatives meet to reflect and make decisions about the Tasmanian Anglican church.

Are you praying for Synod?

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AnglicanTas frontpage editor: Rob Stanley