Advance Australia… that’s what we dream of for the new decade! Welcome to the final few days of the second decade of the twentieth century after Christ. While you’ve been thinking about Boxing Day Sales and pondering New Years Resolutions, we are leaving one decade and beginning the next.
So where are we going? Advance Australia. where? What are you going as a person, in your family, in your job or business? Do you fear for your future, for your kids, for your nation?
20/20 VISION… SEEING CLEARLY
I’m praying that 2020 becomes the year of seeing clearly as we Advance Australia. As an Optometrist is can do that! 2020 is not perfect vision, it is what we call good vision or average vision. 20 feet is 6 metres, so in our country 20/20 VISION is 6/6 vision. It means that a person can see at a testing distance of 6 metres what the average person sees at 6 metres, or 20 feet.
Yet in our nation I think we are seeing things less clearly than ever before, because our vision is distorted by the incredible power of the media and social media. Like an amusement park mirror, they are convincing us we are something we are not.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV Strong’s)
the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
ADVANCE AUSTRALIA WHERE?
Proverbs 29:18 (ESV Strong’s)
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
We sing our national anthem with pride, Advance Australia. Fair, but it feels like we’ve done nothing towards advancing for the average Aussie over this last decade. The media has us focussing on things trivial and sensational rather than important, and the dissenting voices of a tiny minority instead of the real issues that face many of our people in a new decade. Our vision is distorted and cannot Advance Australia..
As evidence of that, why did the media spend hours of airtime criticising the prime minister for taking a family holiday at Christmas time when fires raged across the nation? Distorted vision, and we cannot Advance Australia..
They can attack Christianity and insult or joke about Jesus, but if we say anything in reply or try to defend ourselves, we are labeled the bigots and the hypocrites!
Figure this out. Around 2% of our population is homosexual, yet they appear in almost 100% of our TV shows and movies, always in a positive light. Talk about ceding control to a minority! Around 2% of our population are redheads, but rarely are they in TV shows, and wrangers do not control the media and movies! Distorted vision.
Contrast this with Christians. The 2016 census revealed that 52% of Australians identify as Christian, although only 16% attend a church at least once a month. But why is more than half the population so under-represented in TV, movies and the media, and when they are presented in a negative way. Again, distorted vision. If you don’t believe me, then the plan is working well!
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ACTION?
Let me ask you, where are you going in this next decade personally as you try to Advance Australia.? Are you advancing? Will the world be a better place because you’ve passed through? Or will you be content to float along being told what to believe, or will you see clearly? Destiny, your destiny, depends not on governments or media or social media, your destiny is determined by the decisions you make.
Matthew 14:25-33 (ESV Strong’s)
And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
You can criticise Peter for sinking, but he was the only disciple outside of the boat that day. Peter was the only one to take action, to actually have a go! If you are to achieve anything of note in this decade, it will take action! So what is action, or rather, what is it not?
1. ACTION IS NOT OBSERVATION
Matthew 14:26 (ESV Strong’s)
But when the disciples saw him (Jesus) walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.
Fear relegates us to being involved as just spectators. We see what’s happening, but we take no action for fear of perceived consequences. That doesn’t Advance Australia.
Greek word for fear is phobos, from which we get the English word phobia. 21st century mankind is riddled with phobias, fear and anxiety, statistics suggesting over 30% of our society has at least one phobia (debilitating fear). You might know claustrophobia, or agoraphobia, and you might think some phobias like Acrophobia: fear of heights, or Trypanophobia: fear of needles quite reasonable. But what about these…
Coulrophobia, fear of clowns
Omphalophobia, fear of belly buttons or the naval.
Pogonophobia, fear of beards
Globophobia: fear of balloons
Hippo/poto/monstro/ses/quip/pedalio/phobia: Fear of Long Words
Pentheraphobia, fear of your mother in law
Nomophobia, fear of being without mobile phone coverage
People suffering from anxieties and phobias are paralysed by their fear. Fear so affects them that they cannot take action, and they rarely move ahead in their life. But fear is most often false evidence appearing real. It’s fake, it’s false, and most of what we fear never actually happens.
If fear is controlling you right now and relegating you to the bench, then 2020 is the time to get back in the game! Other people’s opinions won’t destroy you, what Facebook friends think of you won’t kill you.
Matthew 10:28 (ESV Strong’s)
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Serve God, not the opinions of others. Don’t let fears relegate action to mere observation.
2. ACTION IS NOT OPINION
In the 21st century people think they have a divine, God given right to state their opinion at any price.
In times past, most of us would temper our words if we thought they would hurt or disrespect another. But with social media today people voicing their opinion will hurt another, or disrespect another, not even checking if it’s true… they voice their opinion at any cost.
Opinions are like noses… everyone has one, and most of them smell! And none of them Advance Australia..
Proverbs 16:2 (ESV Strong’s)
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
You have an opinion, you can think you’re right, but that doesn’t make it truth!
You might say, well, I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in God or heaven or hell. That’s your opinion, but it doesn’t make it a fact. You’ll know the truth 1 second after you die. If you’re right, we all suffer the same fate, but if you’re wrong, you’ll suffer for eternity separated from God. Why not take a chance on God today, instead of letting your opinion condemn you for eternity.
Everyone has an opinion about everything these days, and voices it on Facebook, but most fail to do actually anything. We all have the opinion that poverty is bad, that single mums should be given a chance to become great mums and productive members of society. Fiona and I had the chance to convert a long held opinion into action and so we started Lily House.
James 2:15-16 (ESV Strong’s)
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Actions speak louder than words.
3. ACTION IS NOT INTENTION
James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
All good intentions are worth exactly zip of they are not accompanied by action. The road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Charles Blondin was the world’s greatest tightrope walker, and on September 14, 1860, he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched a quarter of a mile across the mighty Niagara Falls. Thousands came from miles around to see this great feat.
He did this many times over the years, on stilts, on a bicycle, blindfolded and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!
On one occasion he pushed a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes. Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”
The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”
“Okay,” said Blondin, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow.” No one did! Intentions are not action.
DOING NOTHING IS ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING
In our nation, and in our lives, we need to understand that doing nothing is doing something. If we sit idly by watching the dissenter be the deciders in our country, we won’t Advance Australia. and we reap what we sow.
Edmund Burton, all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!
All that is required for your family to fall apart, for your kids to fail in life, for your marriage to fail is for you to do nothing, because doing nothing is actually doing something, right?
Christians don’t speak out for truth any more because we are too frightened by the social media backlash. In our country, you’re not allowed to have an opinion different to everybody else. Israel Falau, agree with him or not, was demonised for having an opinion. If I fired one of my staff because I disagreed with their opinion, the wage tribunal would take me to the cleaners. But a footballer expresses an opinion on society and loses a $4m contract? Any wonder that just settled out of court in his favour!
Romans 1:32 (ESV Strong’s)
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Christians are so scared of the media and social media, they just go silent with of all this PC stuff, but silence is giving approval, and doing nothing is doing something. This year I’m praying for Christian leaders to have backbone instead of wishbone to Advance Australia!
2020… THE YEAR TO STEP OUT OF THE BOAT AND ADVANCE AUSTRALIA
It’s a new decade, and where are you going? Are you going to sit in the boat and play it safe, or is it time to take a chance and step out of the boat? Any dead fish can float along with the tide, but we need live fish to swim against it!
Matthew 14:28-29 (ESV Strong’s)
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
Jesus said come, in Greek erchomai, which means to come, to arise, to make an appearance or to find your place of influence. This was a Peter’s moment to take his place of influence as a man of faith, and he stepped out of that boat and into his destiny. Stepping out of our comfort zone in 2020 takes the same qualities Peter needed…
Fortitude is courage when a facing pain, adversity or challenges. It’s having the courage to step out of the boat and walk on water. It’s making a stand…
Ephesians 6:13 (ESV Strong’s)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Peter needed fortitude because this was something he had never done before, because he didn’t quite know what the outcome would be and because he was stepping outside his comfort zone.
It’s time for believers in this country to stand up and say enough! We will not stand idly by why our children’s futures evaporate in a sea of political correctness! It’s time for us as men and women of faith to stand for what’s right, pray for our families and believe for our future! Country club Christianity is finished, in 2020 it’s time for fortitude! New decade, new vision, new steel!
Matthew 14:30 (ESV Strong’s)
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus, and he saw the wind and the storm around him.
To destroy our home and families, the enemy doesn’t have to attack us, cause us to sin or ruin our lives, he just has to distract us! The more trivia he throws at us, the more he gets us interested in TV, or our businesses or jobs or sicknesses or anything else, the more he wins. Keep the main thing the main thing!
Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong’s)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Hebrews 12:2 (ESV Strong’s)
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
The Greek word for looking is aphoreo, which means to fix your eyes on. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus in 2020, not the opinions and dictates of a vocal minority!
Peter stepped out of the boat, then failed. In later years, Peter followed his Lord to a martyrs death, but on the sea that day he failed. You know what, failure is ok, it’s a necessary part of learning and growing. Paul wrote,
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV Strong’s)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
So don’t let fear of failure stop you getting out of the boat. You’re going to fail in 2020, as am I, but failure is not final, it’s formative!
Don Bradman scored 18 and 1 in hist first test in 1928, and England won by 675 runs, inflicting Australia’s heaviest defeat in history. He was dropped to 12th man in the second test, recalled for test 3 where he scored 79 and 112, then he became the greatest batsman of all time, averaging 99.94 in tests.
When a reporter asked Thomas Edison , “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Most Biblical greats failed… Moses, David, Noah,Elijah, Joshua. When Joshua failed to take the city of Ai,
Joshua 7:10 (ESV Strong’s)
The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?
If you’ve failed in your life, in your family, in your Christian walk. 2020 is the year to stand up and try again!
Peter was to determine to do what Christ wanted him to do (get out of the boat). He stepped into the unknown, he stepped out in faith and trusted his safety and future to God.
You know what… God loves it when we step out in faith!
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV Strong’s)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
It takes faith to trust God, it takes faith to step out of the boat, but hey, look at the prize!
COUNT THE COST OF NOT!
The devil never asks you to weigh the cost, he is like Nike… Just do it! Buy now pay later is his motto. If it feels good do it, says the devil, and don’t worry about the consequences, we’ll figure that out later.
People don’t think of the outcome, they just think of the moment. Have an affair, but it costs you your marriage, half you assets, the respect and love of your family, your friends, your reputation. I met a so called Christian lady, leaving her husband, signing over her child and moving to another country with someone she met on the internet. I predict pain, guilt and heartache!
God never says, just do it. He says, count the cost.
Luke 14:28 (ESV Strong’s)
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Weigh it up. And don’t just think of the cost, because for anything worthwhile, there’s a cost. Think also of the cost of not doing it. Think of the cost for our nation if no one steps up, if you and I remain silent. Silence is complicity, but I for one am prepared to step out of the boat in 2020.
How can you say you don’t want to be a Christian when you’ve never really checked it out? God is not asking for blind faith, He is challenging you to step out of the boat and fix your eyes on Him.
Isaiah 1:18 (ESV Strong’s)
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
Christianity is not a crutch, it’s a crucible within which character I’d created, and faith is refined and purified. And I aim to start this next decade stepping out of the boat, fixing my eyes on Jesus and standing for what is right and true, for my family, for my nation and for my God!
2020 is a Year of Vision, but 20/20 VISION TAKES LIGHT
In a cave, when you turn the light off is the darkest darkness you can imagine. No matter how good your eyes are, not matter how close an object is, you can see absolutely nothing. To see anything you need at least some light, and the darker it is the brighter light seems to be.
My challenge to you is will you join me in shining the light of Christ to this nation, in your family and in your workplace. I’m praying for you to ignite your faith in 2020, to do more than just have an opinion, and to do more than fade silently into the political correctness of our social climate.
Take action, take a positive step today. Why not join me reading the Bible every day. Why not join a connect group, join our prayer team, our kids team, our car park team. You can make a difference, but not by sitting on the sideline criticising, or muttering quietly with your friends or turning up every month or so to church. Get engaged, get involve and get committed in 2020, and let’s make this year the year of vision for a brighter future for us all.
At the start of this decade, it all comes down to you making a decision. Yes I have decided to follow Jesus, yes I will step out of the boat, yes I will get committed… or not. Your choice, but with every choice comes consequences, but for you and those you love.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong’s)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,