We are thankful to God that Geoff Harper will be joining the KCC platform as a speaker at Katoomba Easter Convention (KEC). In this interview, Geoff shares on life and faith, and gives us some advice on how we can persevere and be spiritually disciplined ahead of eternity.
1. What occupies your time during the week?
I teach Hebrew and Old Testament at Sydney Missionary & Bible College. I also write whenever I can carve out some space. Current projects include an edited volume which explores interpersonal forgiveness and a book on teaching Leviticus aimed at pastors and Bible teachers.
Coming from an island nation I enjoy the ocean - so swimming, fishing, kayaking, snorkelling are on the menu as often as I can swing it.
2. What do you think are the benefits of attending conferences like Katoomba Easter Convention?
KEC offers the chance to gather with Christians from other churches and regions and is an implicit testimony to what God is doing outside of our own contexts. That is deeply encouraging. The opportunity to sit under good teaching and to sing and pray together is not something to which we all have equal access. KEC can thus be a place of refreshment and re-invigoration to aid us in the tasks God has called us to in our own context.
3. Who is someone who has inspired or spurred you on in your Christian walk?
Many people have: some living, and many more through what they have written. Above anyone else, I am blessed to have a godly wife who is not afraid to call me out when I'm wrong or to point me to the gospel. There are plenty of times when either (or both!) has been required.
The writings of C.S. Lewis and Martyn Lloyd Jones have also been of immense benefit over the years. Each has, in his own way, demonstrated the importance of a sound biblical understanding coupled with perceptive thinking. While I may not agree with everything, they have certainly helped me sort out my own muddled thoughts as well as inspiring me in my role as a teacher and preacher.
4. The KEC theme this year is "The end of all things: life on the edge of eternity". How does the 'end times' and promise of eternity with Jesus shape the way you live today?
I hope it gives an overall shape and purpose to my life. The important things are those that will last, they are the ones to invest in. I try (and often need reminding) to work knowing that my labour in the Lord is not in vain and with the goal of hearing the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
5. What spiritual disciplines or habits helps you to persevere ahead of eternity?
It's hard to go past the key 3: prayer, the Bible, and Christian fellowship. Each of these has been vital for my faith, yet also requires constant attention and investment. Whenever things feel "wobbly," it's usually because one of these three is suffering. At the same time I tend to get bored with routine, so variation is key. For example, I don't follow any particular Bible reading plan. I do, however, keep a track of what I have read to ensure I keep reading through the whole of Scripture (I keep track of what we read with the kids for the same reason).
6. If you could give some pastoral advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Take personal holiness seriously and strive for it, rather than just assume it will happen by itself. Be aware that the patterns you form early on will have an impact on the rest of your life - for better and for worse.
Hear Geoff preach at KEC 19!