Archive for September, 2012


How to Climb and Move Mountains

I came to know this quiet, intelligent, humble man named TARAKSH. A NAME gives you a specific, unique, personal identity, but in his case it was more than merely a means of addressing him, more than a title, tag, or label. it was something that inspired him to be the person he was to become.

I remember the discussion that I had about his name. I was learning how to pronounce TARAKSH and I asked him if his name had a meaning. I think we might have been discussing how in the Christian Bible the names of various people given at birth reflect something of significance or describe the course of their lives. For example, ADAM is named after the “EARTH” from which he was created. (Genesis 2). ABRAHAM means father of many nations which was to be his destiny. JESUS means “THE LORD IS SAVIOUR” because He came to save us from our sins.

A name often describes the CHARACTER or a PARTICULAR HOPE that the parents have for their child. But Taraksh told me that in India sometimes parents can take years before their children are named and this was true for him for many years.

He described to me a family PILGRIMAGE TO A MOUNTAIN. Apparently thousands of people from India have made that same pilgrimage, following a tradition going back thousands of years.

The mountain was Mt TARAKSH and it was at the base of that mountain that he decided that TARAKSH would be a good name for him to take. So TARAKSH named HIMSELF after that mountain. (Note – “Taraksh” is not his real name but in the interest of confidentiality I have used that name because it is an Indian name meaning “mountain”.)

I was so intrigued by the fact that he had GIVEN HIMSELF HIS OWN NAME that I found an article on the internet about that mountain. MT TARAKSH means GREAT ONE. And in keeping with his name, TARAKSH wanted to achieve great things. He became a THEORETICAL SCIENTIST and also a GREAT FATHER to his children.

So perhaps the legacy that Taraksh leaves is the legacy of the mountain. Mountains are often symbols of our lives. Mountains inspire us and demand respect, test our strength and expose our weaknesses. They humble us. They can symbolise stability and inward strength. They encourage us to rise beyond the mundane and to achieve our goals and dreams. They remind us that life’s journey requires perseverance and faith. They call us to reflection and encourage us to look beyond ourselves.

Mountains often have that SACRED ASPECT of contemplation and SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE. A place where we get PERSPECTIVE for life. Taraksh attended many of my talks and we enjoyed discussions on matters concerning what it means to be a follower of Christ. I appreciated his friendship and openness to discuss spiritual things.

Mountains also CHALLENGE us to OVERCOME OBSTACLES and move mountains, but on Tuesday 30th August at about 1.45am Taraksh faced an INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLE that one day all of us will face. In the presence of those who loved him, he died.

Psalms 121:1-2 (NLT) says “I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Jesus is our Lord, our Mountain, our Rock, our Refuge, our Foundation, our Strength and Stability, the One from whom we gain perspective for our lives, the One who overcomes the obstacles of sin and death.   

I’m not sure whether Taraksh responded with faith in Christ. What about you? In the end what will you rely on? Will you rely on the mountain of your achievements or the solid Rock of faith in Christ.

It’s wonderful to have great accomplishments to look back on but in the end it will be what Christ has accomplished on the Cross for us that counts. He died for our sins and defeated death, so that we could be forgiven and stand before God without any obstacles getting in the way of us going to heaven.

Psalms 24:3-6 (NLT) says “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? (or in other words Who can have a relationship with God?) Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, (or in other words Only those who have been forgivenwho do not worship idols (that is Those who don’t worship, trust and rely anything other than God. We can make a god out of achievement or success or money) and never tell lies (that is Those who are honest with God). They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Saviour (The name Jesus meansThe Lord is Saviour, because He died to save us from our sins). Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence, O God of Jacob. …” 

Pastor Ross


Old shed, still in use after all these years

At home, Jack was a hoarder and he loved his shed. Like the footy game and the meat pie with sauce, the AUSSIE BLOKES SHED has an important place in Australian culture. Someone said a man’s shed “stands as a symbol of the Aussie male′s ingenuity, a testimony to his ability to fix anything with a length of fencing wire, a hammer and a piece of 4″ x 2″”

It’s a place to wear old clothes and be yourself. There’s pride in the corrugated iron, the tools, the shelves overflowing with all kinds of imaginative, half-finished projects and interesting bits and pieces that might be used one day to fix something.

It’s really the LAST refuge in a world dominated by oestrogen. Every Aussie male dreams to own a shed. It’s part of who we are. It’s in our heritage left over from when we lived on the land.

Going into a man’s shed is a little like going into a time-warp for an era gone by. Jack’s shed is like this. It is well-organized to the discerning eye but has a chaotic charm to the uninitiated. It is for fixing things and for having fun and is definitely hands-on.

Someone described it as “The Institute for Backyard Studies” where you keep ancient treasures that have been passed down from generation to generation which tell a story of your birthright.

There’s something easy-going and undisturbed about a BLOKES SHED. It’s a place to just be. Someone said a blokes shed “… is almost a spiritual thing for some people. A place where you develop your own identity… a calm spot, isolated from the rest of the world.” A place to go to listen to the footy or the cricket or spend time with your son on bike projects and broken toys. My grandchildren think that Pa can fix anything.

I’m sure HEAVEN is a little like a blokes shed. It’s a place where you spend time with your heavenly Father working on new projects, a place of peace, a refuge where you feel complete. Jesus once said “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). He could easily have been talking about a blokes shed.

Jesus speaks about a MANSION in heaven. I’m sure He’ll include a shed made of CORRUGATED GOLD out on the back lawn, because He said “I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-3 NIV).

The Bible says Heaven is offered as a free gift. A place to go to be with our heavenly father. “Absent from the Body and Face to face with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

A blokes shed is strewn with projects that didn’t quite get there. Ever had one of those shed projects where things just don’t go as you expected. And there’s nothing you can do to change it. I have. Some projects just don’t go right.

Life is a little like that. Not everything goes as expected. Jack didn’t get to know his dad because he died when he was young. He went through a WORLD WAR and the DEPRESSION. He knew some TOUGH TIMES when life didn’t work out as expected. He had his share of difficulties in his old age with his health. Life, like a man’s shed has the evidence of all kinds of memories and cluttered regrets of things that go wrong.

Our SPIRITUAL LIVES are also like a project that has gone wrong too. The Bible says we have all MISSED THE MARK. Romans 3:23 says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” No one gets it right. The shed speaks of how we have chosen to do things our own way and our sins have caused a separation between us and our heavenly Father. Something inside us has died and lies broken on the floor, sins and regrets, guilt and unrealised dreams and it could have remained like a broken project if Jesus hadn’t stepped in. God the Father sent His Son to get things right again, to get the project back on track, to get things done, to fix it.

A blokes shed is where things get fixed. If my grandson asks me to fix something, I can come out of my shed within minutes with something that will get the job done. OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES ARE NO DIFFERENT. Jesus was a CARPENTER in the early days so I’m sure He had a SHED. The Bible speaks of Him building our lives on a FIRM FOUNDATION. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He has the RIGHT TOOLS to get the job done. DIY. He Died In Your place, for your sins. He offers forgiveness to those who entrust their lives to Him.

As a Chaplain working in an overtly Christian organisation, I always encourage people to PUT THEIR FAITH in Jesus Christ personally. I shared this message with Jack once again as I prayed with Him for the last time before he died.

Jesus is the only One who can get the job done perfectly. He said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me”

I conducted Jack’s funeral. I will miss his quiet, reserved character. It was as if he invited us into the sanctity of his shed as we gathered in the Chapel where we celebrated His life. The blokes shed that day was cluttered with the collective memories of his life, ready to be used when needed in our own lives. His legacy remains like tools passed down to the next generation, ancient treasures, tested and true, from an Aussie blokes shed.

Pastor Ross