Jul 232017

I love our mission statement – “Seeking God and Stepping Out Together.”

I believe St Philips is a place that sincerely seeks God.  We seek him through reading and studying the Bible together, praying together, services and participating in communion together, witnessing and participating in baptisms together, playing music and singing together, doing mission together. . .

Do we step out together?  Yes, we do.  We have CRE teachers, chaplains, prison ministry, missionaries, food ministries, an art ministry and EcoChurch.  We partner with CMS, BCA, Shenton College Chaplaincy and Trinity Theological College.  We support the ministry at St Matthews Guildford, run a Good Friday Service on Cottesloe Beach each year, conduct Alpha courses in the church and in our homes.  We reach out through the ministry of the missional community ‘The Common’ in Palmyra.  I’m sure you could add more.

As Malcolm, Barb and others have been taking on the very exciting process of interviewing for a new youth and young adult minister for St Philips, I have come back from holidays and have begun to seriously focus on what “Stepping Out together” will look like – with the support of St Philips – as my family and I transition to fulltime mission work, planting a mission-focused church in Palmyra. 

Dr. Timothy Keller, a world leading theologian, writer and church planter, wrote: The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city.  Nothing else – not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes – will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.  This is an eyebrow-raising statement, but to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.

Michael Frost, Australian lecturer and missiologist writes: Evangelistic mission works effectively when we are living generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christlike lives as missionaries to our neighbourhoods – and when the gifted evangelists in our midst join us in sharing Christ with our neighbours.  That’s not just good evangelism strategy.  That’s the biblical model.  (We are stepping out together with this biblical model firmly planted in our minds.)

We are convinced, as Australia becomes more secular that the never-changing good news of Jesus needs to go out and be expressed corporately in ways that have been forgotten and need to be rediscovered. 

The Common’s vision and mission statement is:

Vision – A community that releases a movement of blessing in Jesus’ name, beginning in Palmyra and then moving across Australia.
Mission – Nurturing and empowering people in the gospel, to go and bless together in Jesus’ name.

Can we do this?  Can we really be part of something that under God’s grace will bless Palmyra and then Australia?  It sounds a bit lofty doesn’t it?  At one level it would be easier for everyone, for me to take a parish somewhere in Australia and minister faithfully.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that – actually a very godly calling – but it is not mine.  I believe God has called me to reach outside of the church with the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus.  But it doesn’t end there.  He has been preparing me, along with others, to empower groups of people to join this ‘blessing mission’ in light-weight, practical everyday ways.  It must be light-weight; we are deadly serious about this.   

September 3rd will be my last Sunday fulltime employed at St Philips.  From then until the end of the year I will be parttime, serving at the Sunday services and on one staff day per week, which will include staff meetings, etc.  The rest of the time I, with the help of many others, will be structuring The Common missional community to function around a new worshipping community that we will develop as we step out together. 

I’m always up for a chat if you have any questions and please remember us in your prayers.  We are deeply thankful for all your support as we step out together. 


Jul 022017

We are away on holidays for the next few weeks.  In the past our holiday schedule has looked more like work than rest!  When we go back to Victoria to visit family we have to be careful not to just make it a complete social overload.  This month’s bookstore is concentrating on the theme of rest.  I recommend you take the time to check out some of the books Barb and I have chosen.  As it is now the school [continue reading…]

Jun 252017

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20170625-James-Duff.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:30 — 8.4MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe?Readings: Proverbs 1:1-7 Proverbs 9:1-6, 13-18

Jun 182017

The kingdom coming near, heaven touching earth, a falling of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus, an over-realised eschatology – whatever you want to call it, we are experiencing it! Here are some examples: Alpha – Five people have made commitments to follow Jesus. Healings: One of the members admitted that during the healing night at Alpha she was afraid to ask for healing prayer for her knee.  She confessed this week that she felt that a heaviness was [continue reading…]

Jun 042017

I have just finished a fascinating chat with Malcolm around ministering and working from our wounds, compared to working out of a healthy identity in God.  I am far from an expert in this field but I thought I would share some of my thoughts.  I know of many theologians, psychologists and philosophers who are far more insightful on this subject but here we go. As I reflect back on why I stepped into ministry, I can clearly see it was [continue reading…]

May 212017

Mums are truly special.  Last Sunday in Australia we celebrated Mothers Day, an opportunity to give thanks for our mums and mother figures.  This week Malcolm and I have had our own mums on our mind.  It is great to have Malcolm back from Geelong.  It wasn’t the easiest trip for him as it involved moving his mum (Joan) from her home and into an assisted living facility.  I’m sure he will share more of his experience with us in [continue reading…]

May 142017

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20170514-James-Duff.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 26:51 — 9.2MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe?Readings: Proverbs 11:16-31 Matthew 5:13-16

May 142017

We live in a world of suffering.  By the time you have finished reading this musing at least one child in the world will have died from abuse or violence.  Tens of thousands of people die every day due to unexpected tragedies.  Shakespeare seemed to understand this when he wrote: Each new morn New widows howl, new orphans cry, New sorrows strike heaven on the face. We all experience suffering in this life.  For those who are currently not, but [continue reading…]

Apr 302017

Let me preface this musing by saying it is just that, a musing.  I hold much of what I have written lightly but I have never been so serious in my short life about hoping it gives you a laugh or at least a smile. I often relax by listening to different Christian apologists and theologians.  I even listen to them before I go to sleep.  I recommend you give it a go if counting sheep is failing.  Ravi Zacharias [continue reading…]