Dec 232018
 

December . . . So often so tricky for so many people; either too busy or too quiet; the end of the year bringing pressures that are real, imagined or put upon us; events that feel like obligations; spending time with people who  we would not necessarily choose to hang out with. For some of us there’s great things in the mix too: fun, celebratory times with good friends and family; the finish of school, work and other commitments for the year, and looking forward to relaxing and refreshing holidays. Along with this, all the things of normal life are thrown in there as well, and the things that might come about at any time can and do happen. For so many people it can be a pressure cooker situation.

In the midst of this we are celebrating the gift of Jesus coming into the world. Often people try and push the pressure cooker aside to get some space for this ‘real’ message of Christmas, and there can be a time and place for that. But Jesus came into the world because it is messy and broken and because we are sinful and in need of salvation. He comes to us wherever we are and however we are. He comes to bring life in all its fullness. That’s why He came. That is why He became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14).

I’ve had one of those tricky Decembers – internal pressures, sickness, tiredness, my own sin and trying to make life work being so real. As well, some external pressures way beyond my control have been thrown into the mix. At points it’s felt like I’ve been thrown for a six and it’s into the reality of that kind of place that I’m remembering and celebrating the fact that Jesus has come into the world to bring us salvation. Through that we know love, peace, joy and hope. The richness of this salvation and hope and the knowledge of His ultimate plan and purpose are leading me to trust him and giving me peace this week.

Where are you this December? What shape are you in as we come to celebrate Christmas? We gratefully celebrate the coming of Jesus who has entered the reality of the world with all its joy and mess. He longs for us to know the depth of that mystery and through that to know salvation and fullness of life. I pray that, as we focus on Jesus coming and making his dwelling among us this Christmas, we will once again be amazed and filled with love, peace, joy and hope.

Happy Christmas!

 

Blessings,

Barb

 

Dec 092018
 

As we come to the end of the year, I’d like to thank the many people who have led and served our children and youth this year. There are so many of you.

Firstly, there are the many people who have been involved as leaders or helpers of our crèche, Kidschurch and youth times on a Sunday morning – people who have prepared, been present, loved, taught, modelled and cared; people who have sought to assist our young people to be shaped in the knowledge and love of God. Sunday mornings have been a time of shaping, learning, caring and fun because of you.

Secondly, there are those who have been involved with youth group or girls’/boys’ groups on Friday nights. We’ve had a rich time on these nights and leaders have put in so much to enable our youth to have fun and to grow in their understanding and relationship with Jesus. And we’ve all been served by those who have cooked and those who have offered their house for gatherings. These leaders and cooks also helped facilitate the excellent youth group camp in September.

Thirdly, Cathy Kiernan and Cheryl Potts continued to serve through playgroup until it finished at the end of Term 3. Their consistent presence over many years has seen many young children, their parents, grandparents and nannies loved and supported and experiencing something of the love of Christ.

Fourthly, a range of people have offered their homes for family gatherings, where our young people have continued to grow in relationship and connection with others in the church community. Thanks not only to hosts but those who have been committed to attending and been active in connecting with people of all ages during these gatherings.

Fifthly, parents have taken their role as the people with the primary responsibility of the faith-formation of their children. This has taken place in many ways including as they have pointed their children to Jesus, taught them, prayed for and with them, encouraged them to come to church and youth group, worked alongside the various things we have been doing within the children and youth ministry, and actively lived their own journey of discipleship around their children. As well as this, many people in our church community have prayed and supported our young people, parents and leaders and connected with them in ways that really lived out the extended family/village that we are called to be as God’s people.

Finally, there are many who have ministered to young people beyond our congregation in all sorts of settings, including as a presence at North Cottesloe Primary School, leading on camps, teaching religious education at schools, running kids clubs, forming others for kids and youth ministry, being on the staff or board of organizations that minister to young people in Australia or overseas, and plenty more.

It’s pretty exciting to list these many ways that we as a community have been involved in loving and shaping young people this year (and knowing that there are plenty of things I haven’t mentioned), many things that have helped them know that they belong and that have nurtured them in their journey of faith. As well as the ways we as adults have served our young people, they’ve served us in lots of ways this year and taught us many things as well. I’m convinced that these things are all crucial aspects of them coming into relationship with Jesus and continuing on in that journey.

Thanks so much for your part in this tapestry. I look forward to these things continuing and broadening and deepening in the coming year.

 

Blessings,

Barb

 

Dec 022018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20181202-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 15:23 — 5.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1       Luke 1:39-45 Reading 2       Luke 1: 46-56  

Nov 182018
 

I’m passionate about God’s people being equipped and ready to share their faith in the contexts they operate in. This will include families, neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, sporting/hobby clubs, and plenty of other places and relationships. I’m also passionate about us as Christians going into spaces where we can shine as a light, make a difference by our presence and actions, and take up opportunities appropriate to the context, to share the good news of Jesus. I’m particularly conscious of the [continue reading…]

Nov 042018
 

I’ve just come back from a great couple of weeks on leave. I spent time in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra – lots of time with people, with some time as a tourist thrown in,   as well as reading a few good books. In Sydney I stayed with a couple who I’ve known for almost 30 years. As a teenager I was in and out of their house as a close friend of their daughter and the friendship has continued and [continue reading…]

Oct 142018
 

The end of the year is fast approaching and for me this year one of the things that means is that the Augusta (Flinders Bay) Family Festival is not that long away. For the first ten days of each year a group of Christians go and camp in the Flinders Bay Caravan Park in Augusta, form a missional community and aim to share God’s love and the good news of Jesus in word and deed through presence, relationships and activities. [continue reading…]

Oct 072018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20181007-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:15 — 5.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1       Genesis 2:18-24  Reading 2       Mark 10:2-12   

Sep 302018
 

It’s school holidays. It’s also a time of the year when a number of our congregation take the opportunity to travel. These can be times of busyness or rest, times that offer a chance to be refreshed, or times to be distracted. They may present the chance to connect with one another and, in some deeper ways, with God; or it may be harder to maintain our rhythms of Bible reading, prayer and connection during these seasons. It’s important that [continue reading…]

Sep 022018
 

We’ve got many exciting opportunities coming up for our children and young people and a number of our congregation are involved in contexts where they’ll be ministering to children, young people and families beyond our church. Would you join with us in prayer for these things? This Sunday at the 9.30 service we have Naomi Fulton, the Chaplain at North Cottesloe Primary School, with us. She’ll tell us a bit about her work at North Cottesloe and we will have [continue reading…]

Aug 262018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180826-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 16:26 — 5.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1          1 Corinthians 15:1-11  Reading 2          John 20:1-18