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 grown over the years. There are several youth group generations who have been shaped by this couple, as they have opened their home and lives to the peers of their four children, ministering to us deeply in all sorts of ways as they did so.

In Canberra I spent some time with the Apopeis. They are staying with a couple who I know through SU circles – a couple who have opened up their home to the Apopeis while they continue to look for a house in a tough rental market – a huge gift and answer to prayer for the Apopeis. This is just one action in a long history of such hospitality and generosity by that couple. (As an aside, do continue praying for for the Apopei’s house hunting process!)

What fantastic examples to us all these two couples are – and they’d be rather embarrassed to be written about I’m sure! As the woman I was staying with said, “You serve God with what he’s given you, with the things and people he puts in your life.” So I wonder what those things are for us, that might be a blessing to the people and contexts that we find ourselves connected with and in? How might God be inviting us to minister to those around us? So often simple things at particular times or offered consistently over time make such a difference.

There are many examples of such things around and in our congregation. For example, it was fantastic to see photos of the Days for Girls sewing day last Saturday that Clare Brans coordinated. Hearing about a need and a way of participating in making a difference towards it, she then followed up by both alerting others to the need and facilitating a way for people to participate in the solution. Then lots of people got on board and took part – people from our congregation and beyond.

It’s so easy as we approach the end of the year to get consumed with the things that need to be done and that we have on. I encourage you to continue to have your eyes open for how God might have you reach out to those around you with who you are and what you have. It might be in the midst of the activities and demands that these months can contain, or it might be people, things and contexts that are separate to the other things that are happening for us at this time.

It’s important that this comes out of our relationship with Jesus and empowered by His Spirit; it’s not about just doing more good stuff! So let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and continue to be filled with the Spirit as we live as God’s people in the places and relationships that He has placed us within.

 

Blessings,

Barb

 

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. This year I again have the privilege and responsibility of co-leading this team. This weekend those of us who will be forming this missional community in January will have our first full team meeting.

A couple of weeks ago we had a core group goal-setting and program-planning meeting. This was a fantastic time of each of us bringing to the table what we have to offer and our perspectives – thinking and working hard, seeking God together, aiming to love the people who will be in Flinders Bay this January and seeing the Spirit of God weave things together. Being clear about our desire to share the gospel in word and deed, we asked contextual questions about who will be the people in the caravan park while we are there, who God is calling us to particularly focus our attention on, what we see as the best way of doing that and what the good news might look like for those people. We’ve begun to reshape and tweak what we will do this January around the answers to those questions. I’m excited about the fruit that this may bear and looking forward to seeing how God will be at work in Flinders Bay this January. I’d love you to join us in prayer as we continue our planning.

It’s also made me wonder about each of us – who God is calling us to be particularly present with. Who has God put in our path and our lives? Who are the ‘people of peace’ in our lives, the ones who like us, listen to us, welcome us and serve us? (These are good clues as to who God might be particularly calling us to.) How is God already at work in their lives? How might we love, serve and share the good news of Jesus with them? Have we thought what aspects of the good news of Jesus might be particularly pertinent for them? I’d love to chat with anyone as they ponder these questions.

It would also be fantastic to ponder them with others from our church community who you regularly meet to share and pray with. There’s such a diverse range of places that God has us as a community, such a wide variety of places He has for us to be salt and light in and people to share the good news of Jesus with.

I pray for us to have eyes to see and hearts that are willing to engage with God where He is at work; for ears to listen and the wisdom to know how to respond to the promptings of the Spirit; and for courage to step into all of this. Our own deep conviction and experience of God’s love and grace expressed in Jesus is the source of this. I pray too for an ever-deepening knowledge and experience of this for each of us. It’s from that place that we have something to share with those around us.

 

Blessings,

Barb

 

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   

Aug 122018
 

This week I’ve enjoyed reading a book called Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey by Sharon Garlough Brown. It’s about four women at very different points in life, who all join a spiritual formation group at a retreat centre. The book describes their engagement with some spiritual practices and each other over the months that follow, and the way each grows in her relationship with God. As I’ve been reading Sensible Shoes (and have now moved onto the [continue reading…]

Aug 052018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180805-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:04 — 5.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Luke 1:26-38  Reading 2         Matthew 1:18-25  

Jul 292018
 

Almost 30 years ago, as a 13-year-old Year 9 boarding school student, I turned up at a suburban Presbyterian church in Sydney with a couple of Year 12 students. That Sunday we were invited back to lunch at a retired single woman’s house just down the road. The next Sunday we were invited to lunch at the house of a family with young children . . . And so it went on. I later learned that there were a range [continue reading…]

Jul 082018
 

A few weeks ago in the 9.30 service each of the testimonies had the theme of passing the baton. If I remember correctly, the people who prayed together before the service also had a similar word for us. As well, Kieran and I have been thinking about this concept strongly as we’ve planned and prayed about introducing the New City Catechism. It’s at the heart of why we are doing it. It’s so important for us to pass on the [continue reading…]