Posts Tagged ‘Transformation’


What a timeless classic children’s story is the Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle, which we loved reading to our children and grandchildren.

Very Hungry Caterpillar

When thinking about my Easter message this year I thought what better illustration by way of a parable to consider the truths of God’s Word regarding Christ’s death and resurrection.

Eric Carle begins his story by saying, “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.” How amazing is this egg, fixed to the leaf with a very special rubbery substance which soon sets solid?

  1. GRACE

In our parable, this little egg represents you and me, and God has created and protected you and me for a purpose. We love chocolate eggs at Easter but this is not a chocolate egg, and this egg is not to be devoured and forgotten. It is an entirely different kind of egg.

Like this tiny egg, you may feel small and insignificant in the scheme of things, but Psalm 139 says that God is intimately acquainted with all your ways”. King David says in that Psalm, “I will give thanks to You (Lord), for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well…  lead me in the everlasting way.”


Eric Carle’s story continues, “One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry Caterpillar.”

He started to look for some food. I’m so HUNGRY!, he said. On Monday he ate through 1 apple. But he was still hungry. 

On Tuesday he ate through 2 pears, but he was still hungry. 

On Wednesday he ate through 3 plums, but he was still hungry. 

On Thursday he ate through 4 strawberries, but he was still hungry.

On Friday he ate through 5 oranges, but he was still hungry.

On Saturday he ate through 1 piece of chocolate cake, 1 icecream cone, 1 pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, 1 slice of salami, 1 lollipop, 1 piece of cherry pie, 1 sausage, 1 cupcake, And 1 slice of watermelon.

That night he had a stomach-ache!

The very hungry caterpillar then ate through one green leaf. He started to feel better.

Caterpillar on leaf morguefile

Now, the caterpillar was no longer small. He was a big, fat caterpillar.

(In the interests of the parable about Easter, I have added to the story,)

“He thought that he was born into this world simply to crawl in the dirt and gorge himself with the leaves of plants.

All he had done was eat and look after himself with no real concerns about anything else. He didn’t know that he was created for another purpose. The ugly, hungry caterpillar didn’t realize the possibility of TRANSFORMATION.

The Bible says we are like that Caterpillar, but we are created for more than simply survival. We may even feel that we are big in the eyes of the world, but God has offered us the possibility of Resurrection life. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). And Romans 3:20 says that “The gift of God is Eternal life.”

  1. SIN


“It wasn’t always easy for the Caterpillar. He had to be careful of predators like spiders and wasps and one time a bird tried to eat him but he camouflaged himself on a leaf.”  

Like that Caterpillar, there is a Predator in our life that stops us from living life to the full, the life for which we are created. The predator we face is SATAN. We live in a sinful world and commit personal sin.

Caterpillars may make use of camouflage to evade their predators, but very few eggs and caterpillars survive. Unlike the Caterpillar, you can’t hide from the results of sin. The Bible says “The Wages of Sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose (Satan’s purpose) is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT)

Now you may have accepted this grub kind of existence and think that you are destined to crawl around and eat whatever the world throws at you, trying to avoid sin and death, thinking that there’s nothing you can do about your lot in life, and your RIGHT.


  1. GOD

The good news is that the Bible says that God has made you for so much more. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we might ask or think.”


“The Caterpillar was fully grown now and didn’t want another bite. In fact, he was so tired of all the hard work of eating and trying to keep away from predators that he began to wander around for a while not really knowing what to do. He WANTED A CHANGE. He longed for something MORE but didn’t know what it was. He decided to build a small house, called a cocoon around himself. He stayed inside for quite some time.”

Like the Caterpillar, we have to find that place of spiritual rest where we can reflect and begin to see the need in our life and desire something more. Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST” (Matt. 11:28). It’s only when we trust in Jesus that a miracle on the inside occurs.

 “And something happened on the inside. As he rested, an AMAZING TRANSFORMATION began to take place. Most of the tissues and cells in his body began to break down completely. In effect, his body died except for some tiny cells that were ACTIVATED.

Those cells began to use the nutrients of the Caterpillar in such a way that he was BORN AGAIN INTO SOMETHING COMPLETELY NEW. It was a miracle. He was born again.

When the transformation was complete, he could hardly wait to see himself. He nibbled a small hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and… “

(At this point I released a butterfly from a small box. He stayed on my finger for a while and then flew into the audience only to land on someone else) 

Butterfly Morguefile

“… A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY emerged. He spent an hour basking in the sun to dry out his new wings and then as the wind lifted him, he took flight. He glided aloft, fluttering and riding the currents of the air, alighting on flower after flower, tasting the nectar and ‘showing off his vivid colors to the vibrancy of the blossoms.’ 




2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATION; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

  1. FAITH


In John 3:6-8 Jesus says, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be BORN AGAIN.’

The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are BORN OF THE SPIRIT.”

There is much more to life than what we now see and what you may have accepted. And there is hope beyond the grave.

The parable of the very Hungry Caterpillar reminds me of the hunger every person has on the inside for relationship with God. When we trust in Christ, something new is activated from within. Our old life is gone but nothing is wasted. In His hands, we are made new, with a new life. We are a new creation.

The Bible says God became a man but without sin. The Bible says He paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the Cross for us. He was laid in a tomb.


The story of the Cocoon and Crysalis reminds me that on Sunday Morning after Jesus had been crucified and taken to the grave, the disciples came to the tomb and saw JESUS’ GRAVECLOTHES lying there, much like an EMPTY CHRYSALIS. An angel told the startled disciples. “HE IS RISEN,”

(At this point in my message I released 15 other butterflies into the audience)

Why do we have this Easter service? To go through the ritual? Not at all! Rather we gather to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death itself. He is our Lord and our Savior, His Victory is our victory. In celebrating His resurrection we celebrate our own assurance of ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OVER DEATH.


Let’s pray this prayer together. It is for all of you who would like to know for certain that you are born again and that you have eternal life. 

Lord God, thankyou that You have created me for much more than I can even imagine. Thankyou for creating a hunger in me for spiritual truth. Thankyou Lord Jesus, for dying for my sins. Thankyou for rising again so that I too could have new life. 

Come into my life, Lord Jesus. Make me a new creation. I am under Your authority. I am in Your hands. I spread my wings, and fly to You, 


Pastor Ross

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The Parable of The Butterfly





The original Eau de Cologne is a spirit-citrus perfume created in Cologne in 1709 by Giovanni Maria Farina (1685–1766). In 1708, Farina wrote to his brother: “I have found a fragrance that reminds me of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain”. He named his fragrance Eau de Cologne, in honour of his new hometown. A single vial of this aqua mirabilis (Latin for miracle water) cost half the annual salary of a civil servant.

But something else stinks in Cologne.

The skyline is dominated by an imposing, dark, dirty, sandstone structure, one of the largest Church buildings in the world. We visited the Cathedral in the old part of the city of Cologne today (21st May 2016), begun in 1248 and finally finished in 1880, and constantly being repaired to this day. It remained standing, despite 14 hits by aerial bombs, when the city was decimated by WWII.

Accumulating the pollution of the world around it over the years, Cologne Cathedral is a tortured ugly soul, streaked black on the outside with the residue of war and industry since its medieval history. The sandstone could not withstand the pressure of the water needed to clean it, and the city could not afford the cost of the “bathwater and soap” for such an enormous enterprise.

The only alternative is to replace the offending parts, stone by stone. Some stained glass and damaged sections have been replaced by modern designs and these stand in contrast to the dirt and soot of the years.

As a whole, it stands as a testament to the sins of the world around it absorbed into its structure and it groans babel-like, a giant coal-worker unable to wash itself of the grime accumulated throughout it’s working life. Having gone through the hell of wars it now faces a world gone mad with values and lifestyles that deny the reason for its existence.

Around 20,000 visitors a day look up at her mace-like, contaminated spires. She is another story of degradation, a metaphor of a vestige of humanity standing there with bare, dirty feet, reaching out to God with sin-stained hands, mascara stained face, wanting to shake herself free of grime and collapse in a heap of rubble. But although wars have spared this creature, she is still abused by a miscreant city who continues to impregnate her with filth and use her for its own profit.

Some Cathedrals in Europe are no longer places where a Church meets but have been taken over by the city to operate as Museums, empty relics of the past (We visited a Cathedral in Bruges which had a Michelangelo statue that the city charged 20 euro’s just to look at. The altar was screened off, an unholy of unholies formed for the city’s greed. I wondered what happened to the people of faith who once met here to worship God).

1 Peter 2:4 (NLT) says that God’s Church is far from an empty relic of the past. “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honour. And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple.” Not a dead monumental, stained, empty tower, but a living organism responding to what God is building.

Far from the dirt and grime image of Cologne Cathedral, Titus 3:5 (NLT) says, Jesus “… washes away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” He invites us to become a living temple, pure and holy, untainted by the world’s polluting influence.

Ephesians 2:20 (NLT) says “Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself.”

Colossians 2:7 says “… let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Eau de Cologne was believed to ward off Bubonic plague. But even Eau de Cologne cannot ward off the deep-seated stains of sin in our world.

Something stinks in Cologne that needs more than a perfume to fix. John 12:3 gives me hope as Mary pours a costly perfume over Jesus’ feet, wiping His feet with her hair in an expression of trust and hope. The room is filled with the perfume of faith in Christ. Such a fragrance is the worship of those who have become a sweet smelling incense to the Lord as they trust in Christ.

I pray for such a fragrance in Cologne and in my own life, today. Perhaps then we, like Giovanni Maria Farina of old could rephrase his sentiments, “I have found a fragrance that reminds me of worship that is new every morning, of a holy mountain climb in spring, of a stream in the desert and the lilies of the field after the rain”.

Pastor Ross


Inside Out is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

A girl named Riley is born in Minnesota, and within her mind, five manifestations of her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger—come to life. The emotions live in Headquarters, Riley’s conscious mind, where they influence Riley’s actions and memories via a control console.

Heidi Grant Halvorson says, “If you have a brain, you’re automatically biased … The process of perception is, not surprisingly, a biased one. We have loads of biases hardwired into our brains …”

Like the characters from the movie “Inside out” (Pixar and Walt Disney’s animated comedy drama), my biases seek to control my emotions and push buttons and twist knobs to help me, but mostly to hinder me, in my interactions with others and in understanding my world. They are hired and fired at will, but encountered in all areas of life.

Faces of my Bias © Ross Cochrane

Faces of my Bias © Ross Cochrane

A quiet, patient, good-natured person who doesn’t look that unusual on the outside. But dive into the grey matter of my psyche, and you’ll find, hiding behind the shelves of my attitudes, lurking in the forests of my subconscious, and taking shape in the clouded dreams of my imagination, the many faces of my biases.

I wonder what would happen if our negative biases completely took over the controls of our thinking? It seems Zophar has a control problem with his biases and treats Job badly.

Job has already objected to this kind of treatment, “One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty. My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook…” (Job 6:14-17 NLT).

Who are the characters of bias? What can I do to redirect the power of negative bias into something that lines up with what God intends for my life?

DARREN, THE DEFECTIVE DOCTOR (Selective Bias and Myside Bias)

Snake Doctor by Ross Cochrane

Snake Doctor by Ross Cochrane

I am suffering at the moment with a cold; coughing and spluttering and my brain feels like it is packed tightly in sponge and being bounced down the slope of a mountain. I love it when people pray for my healing. These are the encouraging words of life that wash over my soul and bring God’s healing grace.

  1. A Patient Re-Examination rather than a Hasty Diagnosis

When Darren is at the controls at Headquarters, Zophar is the kind of Doctor who gets it wrong by making up his mind too quickly and stubbornly, pursuing the wrong course of treatment? He interprets Job’s symptoms to favour and confirm his own misconstrued diagnosis, beliefs and faulty assumptions (Selective Bias). I don’t want the difference between amputation and ointment to be dependent on Darren.

Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy says, “opinion—hasty—often can incline to the wrong side, and then affection for one’s own opinion binds, confines the mind” (Quoted in Wikipedia).

In utter frustration, Job says to his friends, “As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks. If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do. Listen to my charge; pay attention to my arguments” (Job 13:4-6 NLT).

Whenever I refuse to search for why my initial ideas about a person may be wrong, I hamper my ability to investigate for the truth in a more neutral, forensic and spiritually unbiased way. A patient re-examination of my biases in the light of God’s Word gives me greater perspective. Then I can decide what attitudes should be challenged to effect internal change.

Overcoming negativity is a daily commitment to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, a willingness to be educated in the ways of God, a daily habit of guarding against negative bias, adjusting my thinking, seeking to see the bigger picture from God’s perspective and allowing Him to remove the internal obstacles along the way.

  1. Open-Mindedness Rather than Narrow Thinking

Zophar lacks an “active open-mindedness,” (Myside bias). Like an Audiologist with a hearing problem, the sound of Job’s arguments are not getting through to the inner ear. There’s build-up of Myside Bias wax in the auditory canal. He is not paying attention and his lack of concern is eroding the quality of his relationship with Job.

By open-mindedness, I am not saying that we accept everything, but a willingness to look at things from as many angles as possible before coming to a conclusion, especially when it comes to relationships. Am I seeking to look for the best rather than the worst in people? Don’t be bullied by Darren into limited thinking.

  1. Responsible Compassionate Service rather than Impulsive Bias-Driven Rhetoric

Job would love one of his friends to pray for his healing or ask how to help. That obviously hasn’t occurred to Zophar as yet. Zophar just wants to put in his two cents worth. He is just as intractable as the last time he spoke. He says in Job 20:2-3 (NLT) “I must reply because I am greatly disturbed … my spirit prompts me to reply.” And then he unloads on Job.

Ever said this? It’s a lie. The truth is I don’t have to reply just because I feel an impulsive urge to say something because I am annoyed, defensive, or angry. In fact, that is probably the best time to leave things unsaid. Zophar is out of line and it would have been better if he had been out of words.

Am I more inclined to have an impulsive bias-driven response for why a person suffers or am I the person who asks “What can I do to help?” The answer to that question will test my understanding of compassion. Be determined to live a life of service rather than question the integrity of those who suffer. Invest in others by speaking words of life.


Broken Life by Ross Cochrane using Morguefiles and

Broken Life by Ross Cochrane using Morguefiles and

  1. Get The Full Story rather than Rely on Skewed Perceptions

The evidence is skewed by his hasty generalizations based on insufficient evidence. Zophar has obtained his news-breaking story but refuses to investigate for the truth. He refuses to think of all the variables.

The words of the song “Oh, Lord, only the good die young” are reversed by Zophar. His headline is, “Only the Wicked Die Young.” His argument goes like this, “the triumph of the wicked has been short-lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?” (Job 20:5 NLT). In other words, Job you’re about to die before your time, so you must be wicked. Very encouraging! Very wrong!

Job suggest that Zophar takes a good look around him. It is obvious that what he is saying isn’t true. It is nonsense to say that the wicked die young. Job points out that often they “prosper, growing old and powerful… And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of You and Your ways. Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey Him? What good will it do us to pray?’” (Job 21:7,14 NLT).

All Zophar has to do is look around to see that what he is saying isn’t true. Abel disproves his theory. Sometimes the righteous do die young. And years later so will Jesus. Zophar, like Connor, is spouting theories that don’t have any backing in real life or in the Truth handed down to him concerning his faith.

What could be happening in this picture? Who do I need to talk to? What evidence do I have that may be flawed? Perceptions have as much power as reality. Avoid sweeping statements and generalizations arising from taking an anti-stance on life.

  1. Humility to Admit I May be Wrong rather Than Overconfident Conclusions

Like negative newspaper editors, Job’s friends have an excessive amount of confidence in their own conclusions about Job (overconfidence effect). They will print the story as they see fit. They think they are 100% right. At the end of the book, God calls them to account for their slanderous narrative.

Like an impatient paratrooper who has jumped too early, do I leap to the wrong conclusions and land in the wrong field entirely at key moments of communication? When I exercise humility, and admit that I could be wrong, I am more likely to see things I may have missed. Adjust my thinking to looking for the best rather than the worst.

CARL, THE CONFUSED CLAIRVOYANT (Mind Reading and Fortune-Telling Bias)

Crystal Ball © By Ross Cochrane

Crystal Ball © By Ross Cochrane

  1. Optimism rather than Pessimism

Acting as mind readers, Job’s friends are over-influenced by Carl and give Job a malicious appraisal and predict a negative future. They predict, “No one will remember you. … thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world … neither children nor grandchildren nor any survivor in the place where you lived … God’s anger will descend …”

Zophar is great with his analogies but a bit GROSS. He says in effect, like the wicked, Job will fade away and be forgotten, thrown away like their own DUNG….They will VOMIT the wealth they swallowed. God won’t let them keep it down.” (Job 20:7,15 NLT).Their children will beg on the streets and die young.

He virtually accuses Job of oppressing the poor and destitute, of being greedy and never satisfied. He hasn’t read Job 1 obviously. He looks at Job and says, “This is the reward that God gives the wicked. God’s anger will descend on them in torrents” (Job 20:28-29 NLT).

Nice one Zophar! Slap a man while he is down and heap on him a curse while you are at it. Rather than gathering around a crystal ball of retribution, it would be good if the prayer meeting for their sick friend started sometime soon, but it’s nowhere on the horizon.

But then, I’m not sure I would want to receive the sort of prayers these guys have to offer – full of judgment and curses.

I am not ruled by what might happen. Give no place to Carl at the controls of Headquarters, trying to predict the worst possible scenarios based on “What if…” especially when I am an Ambassador for Christ, speaking at times about spiritual issues to my hurting friends.

I am an instrument of Christ’s hope when I look for the best outcomes based on God’s mercy in turning cursing to blessing. I can create a legacy for the next generation based upon God’s Word. Nothing is impossible with God, especially when I refuse to allow my biases to sabotage my relationships and my attitudes. I determine to build my perceptions on the truth of God’s word so that I can find the solutions, not just the problems.

It’s not a sweet cartoon about character that is taking place in Job. Sin is biased towards negativity, painting a blacker picture of my world, creating clouded memories and dysfunctional relationships. Christ died for my sin and the fruit of the Holy Spirit gives perspective to biases.

“… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Christ is the only competent person I can trust at the controls of Headquarters.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Pastor Ross


Opera House Mountain. Image by Ross Cochrane using and ForgeFilter.

Opera House Mountain. Image by Ross Cochrane using and ForgeFilter.

The mesmerising laser lights transform the city of Sydney into a dazzling spectacle of creativity each year. “Vivid” is a unique demonstration of imaginative possibilities. The world’s largest Art Gallery comes alive, a breathtaking canvas of creative expression, especially when the iconic Sydney Opera House sails become a palette for light artists.

Of course, even the incredible spectacle of Vivid has been accused of “superficiality, of ‘technicolor yawns’ and smartphone-toting happy snappers.” Others, however, describe it as “a poem written in light”. 800,000 visitors from all over the world are attracted like insects to this light, and the festival of Vivid continues to grow each year.

Vivid pales into insignificance when compared to that night when Jesus takes three disciples up on a mountain to pray. Jesus often goes up to a mountain at night to pray (Matthew 14:23-24, Luke 6:12) but this night is bathed in the vivid aura of a miracle.

A week earlier He had tried to tell them that “some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom” (Matthew 16:28 NLT). The kingdom authority of God is about to grasp the vibrant promises of the past, embrace the raw immediacy of the present and infuse it all with shocking future intention.

Matthew 17:2 tries to describe what happens “As the men watch, Jesus’ appearance is transformed so that His face shines like the sun, and His clothes become as white as light.”  

There is no superficial lacklustre, no laser lights or money-making festival atmosphere, just a breathtaking spectacle as Jesus is inexplicably altered in His appearance. A bewildering, disconcerting disturbance of penetrating light explodes from within His being. Filled with transcendent significance, a light so vivid and unexpected that it consumes your senses like a purifying fire from heaven; a light that illumines the very recesses of the soul.

Hebrews 1:3 (NLT) tries to describe it; “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” When Jesus says “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” He is saying that everything about Him is associated with light. More than analogy, this picture of light is based upon the reality of His being. Psalms 104:2 (NLT) says of the Lord, “You are dressed in a robe of light….” The gospel is the message of Jesus; a light shining in the darkness and here on a mountain the analogy is personified.

To witness this miracle changes a person forever. Many years later, John recalls this event: “…we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:14 NLT). Belief in Christ transfigures us. We are changed outwardly as the reality of what has happened deep within reveals itself. We are intended to be a palette of light painted on a mountain in the intimacy of relationship with Christ.

Paul contrasts this experience in 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT); “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” 

Is the transfiguration about transformation? Much more than that of course, but for now, Jesus is inviting us into His presence to be “the children of light” (Luke 16:8 NLT). Shining the light of Christ has to do with our character and changed values; integrity in Christ personified. When we know Christ, we shine that same light. Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). 

We are not designed to live life in the colours of “superficiality, and ‘technicolor yawns”. Jesus invites us to be a “a poem written in light”. 

Pastor Ross