Overcoming evil


Evil doesn’t get much press today. If anyone talks about evil, it is usually associated with concentration camps, serial killers or waiting too long in line. We picture evil flourishing because of people like Frank Underwood who plot away in dark corridors of power and influence.

I wonder if evil is more like ivy. It starts by sending out tendrils that convince good people that they are powerless. Its fiberous strands strengthen when honest people feel that building the wall, shooting the addicts or stopping the boats is not only right but righteous. It blooms when fair-minded people become convinced that only way to put the world straight is for them to use violence and punitive punishment. It prances when strong and decisive leaders promise to fix and deliver everything.

Paul the Apostle offered a different vision and a more radical solution. Evil grows when we care only for ourselves, our family or our nation. Consequently, the only tonic that works is love. Love is neither soft nor easy. It takes strength to weep, determination to hope and conviction to stand for a different future. ‘Do not be overcome by evil’ said Paul, ‘but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12.21). Love is not for heroes. Love is what ordinary people do everyday to make bad situations better. Why not come along to Basement on Sunday from 10am and discover how.


churchHave you ever bought an icecream only to have it fall to the ground? The five second rule doesn’t work. Day. Ruined. Church is often like that. It’s too big or too small, too noisy or too boring, too creative or too stuck in the past. All we see is icecream in the dirt, half melted. But what if we’re their icecream rather than the schmuck holding an empty cone?

Church doesn’t exist for me. It exists so that God can finish the work that started in Jesus. God can go to work only when we follow Paul’s sage advice, namely to ‘take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering’ (Romans 12.1). Lives that are filled with God makes any church a space where empty cones are suddenly full and delicious.

Why not come along to Basement from 10am to discover how God works miracles through us, even when we’re gritty, drippy and melting on the footpath.

Playing with Grace

graceI meet many Christians who are content to be like ‘deadwood’ (Romans 11). Of course, they don’t see themselves this way. They’re upholding the faith and ensuring that church is done properly. They’re too busy being holy to enjoy what God has given them. They just go about yelling at others to get off God’s lawn.

Much like grass, grace is meant to be walked over, played on and rolled down by everyone. Thankfully, God lets anyone interested to play on the lawn to do so, regardless of their history, race, creed or sexuality. That’s why, God grows new churches and cranky Christians get sidelined.

Why not come along to Basement this Sunday (from 10am) to discover more about grace? We won’t yell at you to get off the lawn. We’ll give you a picnic rug and invite you to play rollypolly instead.

Jesus saves

02-jesus-savesMy home town had a sign like this – Romans 10.13 written in garish neon. The sign only bothered me after I had become a Christian. What did it mean? If salvation depended on what I said or thought, I was stuffed. Even today, I meet people for whom Paul’s words induce worry because they don’t measure up.

I think Desmond Tutu nailed what Paul meant here, ‘God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.’ Paul expressed in completely outrageous terms just how low God’s standards are (Romans 10). God’s passionate embrace extends even to those who weren’t looking or even asking for it. Come along to Basement on Sunday and discover God’s embrace from 10am.

Missing the point

missingpoint Lots of people don’t get Jesus. Most of them are church people. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice in a Dolores Umbridge kind of way.

Folks who miss the point of Jesus can be spotted easily. They’re usually talking more about upholding the faith than wondering how to live it. They have a Bible verse for everything and see endless outreach possibilities provided that everyone fits in with how they like things. They  believe that everyone is lost and know how they should all be saved.

Paul points out that this view gets it all wrong (Romans 9.1-33). Grace and mercy are not owned by good people. Rather, God makes people good – whether they are terrible, plain, smart or just missing the point. Why not come along to Basement from 10am to discover more points that you’ve probably missed.







Morning tea

morningteaThis Sunday,  Basement is having a morning tea off-site at the Brightons.

If you’d like to join us, send Wayne an SMS on 0407 408 333 and he’ll you the details.

Basement will meet again at St Mark’s on Sun 18 September.