No More Procrastinating

Matthew 4:19-20   Approaching Peter and Andrew while they were fishing

“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and went with Him. A little further up the shore He saw two brothers, James and John, sitting in their boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their nets. And He called out to them to come, too. They immediately followed Him, leaving the boat and their father behind” (NLT)

How often have you thought or said you would do something today, only to put it off ’til tomorrow. ‘I’m too busy now’, ‘I’ll worry about that some other time’, ‘Someone else can do that’… the list of excuses go on and on. God leads us to many forks on the paths of our lives, allowing us to choose to go with Him, or against Him. He teaches and refines our character and mindset so we can learn to make the decisions that conform to His will for us. However when His voice calls out to us, how often do we choose to ignore it? How often do we make excuses not to obey or respond to His call?

Procrastination has been an enemy of mine at times. I allow myself to get caught up in issues and excuses instead of making the active choice to faithfully obey God and boldly follow Him NOW! I lose sight of the bigger picture and the privileged, vital work God has for me to do and the person He would have me become. When Jesus called the disciples, did they make excuses not to follow straight away… no! They left what they were doing and trusted that Jesus knew what was best for them. Delayed obedience to God is disobedience. When we choose to put off responding to God now, we are choosing to disobey Him. We may try to cover up our disobedience with seemingly valid and noble excuses to ease the burden on our consciences, but in not following God straight away when He calls us, we are saying He is not faithful and doesn’t know what’s best for our lives. God is omniscient. He knows all the details of our lives. He knows when is the best time. He knows when we are ready. He knows our struggles. In refusing to not act on God’s calling immediately, we are saying He doesn’t know what’s best. We are saying we know better and would prefer to do it our way. Well, if we choose to do that, then we mustn’t expect to be blessed and walk closely with God. We are choosing to walk a path foreign to what God has for us, allowing our consciences to be deadened to His voice, and inevitably missing out on His riches and blessings. How tragic a life of missed opportunities is.

What’s causing you to ignore God’s calling on your life, leading you to disobeying Him? Are you afraid of not being ‘equipped’ to follow, what you might lose, or the struggles you may face? Are you using your family or the people around you as an excuse?

Obedience will be costly, but it will bring us a life of satisfaction, joy, peace and eternal significance (Matt 10:39)! We only need to look at Jesus’ life to see the ultimate cost of obedience and the resulting glory! How will we feel when we die and are asked by Jesus what we did with our lives? Will He say ‘well done good and faithful child’ or ‘why did you ignore all that I had for you to do?’ God created us to make a difference in this depraved world (Eph 2:10). Our earthly lives are precious and filled with God-given purpose. We only get one crack at it! We will only make a difference by responding to God in faith, trusting that He knows best, and knowing He will give us all we need to live for Him (Matt 6:32-33). We don’t know if ‘tomorrow’ will be an option, so let’s make the most of ‘today’ and respond to whom God has called us to become and the work He has for us to do!

A Call to Ministry

Many fine Christians believe in a call to ministry.  I have often been asked whether I am called to ministry myself.  What does the Bible say about such a call?

I wonder if the idea of a call comes from the call of prophets in the Old Testament.  Isaiah and Jeremiah were called to be prophets; Saul and David were called to be kings.  However if this is where the idea comes from it would be on very shaky ground!  We must read the Old Testament as fulfilled in Christ (Luke 24:44-46).  The kings and prophets are types of Christ, not us.  We are not kings and prophets; we are like the normal Israelites.  We need to move from the Old Testament to us in application by a two stage process, not a one stage process.  A one stage process jumps from the Old Testament straight to us in application, bypassing Jesus and the gospel.  Many errors result from such a reading of the Bible.  A two stage process moves from the Old Testament to its fulfilment in Jesus, and only then to us.  I do not believe that the call of kings and prophets in the Old Testament applies to us.  These calls apply to Jesus (and perhaps the apostles).

Broughton Knox says: “It is better to speak of “being sent” than of “being called” when speaking of the Christian ministry. “Calling” is a status concept, and in the New Testament refers to being called to be a Christian, called into God’s presence. Then God send us out, he sends us as labourers into his harvest…”[1]

In the New Testament we are called to be holy (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9); we are called into fellowship with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9).  In short, all Christians are called: called out of darkness into light, called to salvation (1 Peter 2:9).  There is no verse that I am aware of that speaks of being called to be a minister.

Why is this important?  It is a good idea to use Biblical words in a Biblical way.  We should not use Biblical words in an un-Biblical way, however much it may be accepted in our own Christian circles.

My hope is that all of us who are Christian will serve Christ in holiness all the time.  Some of us may leave secular work and serve in church or on the mission field full time.  But we are all called to serve Christ in holiness all the time.  If you are a Christian, then you are called to ministry!  You might keep your day job, or you might leave it.  But either way, you are called to be a Jesus-person all day every day.

[1] [D. Broughton Knox Selected Works (ed. T. Payne; volume 1; Kingsford, NSW: Matthiasmedia, 2000), 351.]

Bible College or Bust

For years I have held the belief that you do not need to go to Bible College to go into ministry or even to be a good minister. One of my heroes of church planting in the last century is Steve Murrell who planted a church in Manilla in 1984 and now has over 50,000 people meeting across his Victory Fellowship churches every weekend. He is famous for saying that all you need to go into ministry is ‘a bible and a passport’. He places a massive emphasis on discipleship but not on understanding everything or studying for years before you get to work fulfilling the Great Commission.

Given my admiration for the work Murrell has done without a large emphasis on ‘theological’ training why do I find myself about to move my family from Melbourne to Sydney to attend and study at one of the most academically rigorous and highly regarded theological colleges in the Southern Hemisphere?

Ultimately it has come down to a couple of key reasons. The first is that after being a Christian for ten years, three of which were served in full time ministry and having been on the leadership at two different churches I have come to appreciate all the more the importance of sound theological training in a church’s leadership.

Paul writes to Timothy to watch your life and your doctrine closely so that you will save yourself and your hearers (1 Tim 4:16). James writes that teachers will be judged more harshly (James 3:1). Paul repeatedly instructs the churches he writes to in his epistles to preach the gospel that was preached to them and not a distortion of it.

I do not believe that you need to go to Bible College to understand or teach the gospel correctly. You can absolutely read and study on your own and listen to sermons and teachings by yourself to do this. But it will be harder to persevere on your own and more limiting because you will most likely lack other like-minded individuals to discuss ideas with and you will probably be limited in resources as well. At college you can be exposed to different views and also network with other young Christian leaders that will challenge you and provide a support network as you enter into ministry. Once again you can do it on your own but it’s harder.  Will all due respect to Mr Frost, this time I have not taking the road less travelled.

The second big reason for me to go to Bible College is that in some sense the world of academics, learning and writing is something I value and a desire to be an influencer of in one way or another. This desire is a part of who I am. I appreciate being able to help people think through complex ideas or confusing topics and I want to be able to do this accurately and to the best of my ability. I believe that theological training will help me do this even better. Another way to say it would be to say that it is in line with my gifts and abilities.

Finally there is something to be said for the biblical principle of iron sharpening iron. If you want to be the best then it is good to work alongside those who also strive to be the best and there is no doubt that those who attend Bible College are for the most part keen to become the best equipped and the best able to minister the word of God and to evangelise the nations. I am looking forward to the friendships and sharpening to come.

Finally I want to give a big thanks to my pastor Martin Pakula and Hills Bible Church for the encouragement, input and support that they have offered in making this decision. It is a real blessing to be a part of a community of believers who seek to give God glory and want to help you to do the same.


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Questions for Bible Reading

Steve Farrar in his book “Point Man” says that reading the Bible is the equivalent of a soldier eating his rations.  The Bible is our spiritual food, and without it we become weak and easy prey for the enemy.

This month’s Briefing magazine ( contains a series of questions to use when reading the Bible.  These come from the Cornerstone church in Kingston, south-west London.  Their church uses these questions when reading large slabs of the Bible, and they can be used individually as well.  They’re great questions and I hope they can be of use to you in your Bible reading.  Not all questions will apply to every passage.

  1. What strikes you? What questions does this passage raise?
  2. What dangers/ warnings/ sins are there? (1 Corinthians 10:11)
  3. What do you learn about God – Father/ Son/ Holy Spirit?
  4. How is Jesus previewed/ revealed? (Luke 24:27)
  5. How are you corrected and rebuked? (2 Timothy 3:16)
  6. How are you encouraged to endure? (Romans 15:4)
  7. What do you learn about doing works of service and building up the church? (Ephesians 4:11-13)
  8. What do you learn about loving God?
  9. What do you learn about loving your neighbour as yourself?
  10. How do you feel you need to change to live as a man/ woman of God?

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