Sep 012019

(This musing was written by Sally about two months ago.  Mal thought it was fitting to share as a word in season today)

What do you love about the Holy Spirit?

Our kids were asked this one Sunday in Kids Church – to either think specifically about the Holy Spirit or about God in general. Most of them answered referring to the Holy Spirit:

  • He’s always willing to help;
  • He sticks with you;
  • He somehow manages to fit three beings into Himself. (Isn’t the Trinity brilliant!);
  • He made us;
  • He’s trustworthy;
  • He is always with me;
  • He looks after my guinea pigs;
  • When I’m not great he always shows me a new path to make me feel better – He’s like a light bulb;
  • He’s always forgiving;
  • He loves you no matter what, even if you do the worst things.

We could spend a lifetime praising and thanking God for those things the kids suggested, couldn’t we? He even cares for guinea pigs! I am still marvelling at how quickly and confidently they responded to the question. It reminded me of the clear vision children often have of God’s beauty and his goodness to us, and what Jesus was at least partly on about when he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).

Yes, we have much to learn from our children – and it is not about them being naïve and free from life’s worries either.  In our prayer time together that same day some children shared really very hard things that they and their families are living through. However, the main reason I share this is to praise God along with you for how his Holy Spirit is at work in growing our children’s love for Him, and their knowledge and understanding of Him.

Also, I urge you on in your very good work of praying for the child you ‘picked out of the box’. Prayer works, God answers, He is faithful. As we pray and see the faith of our children at St. Philips grow, let our hearts be filled with love, faith and thanksgiving for Him.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all answer as quickly and as surely as the children did last Sunday, about what we truly love about Him!

“Thanks for this encouragement Sally, I couldn’t agree more. And thanks for your prayers for our young people as they navigate their world. Don’t stop, keep going and never lose heart.”
~ Malcolm

Sally (and Malcolm)

Aug 042019

By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16 NIV)

Words are powerful (I remember so vividly a scornful comment from my Year 7 class teacher delivered 40 years ago.)  Daily we communicate words of life (blessings) or words that kill (curses) to others and ourselves. AND, words are cheap. They can’t stand alone – they scream hypocrisy when inconsistent with our actions. When they match, we see integrity. 

At my ministry workplace, Scripture Union (SU), we hold to the truth that real life transformation ONLY comes from Jesus, so we look for opportunities to ‘speak’ his gospel with our words AND actions. SU people are God’s people seeking to lovingly serve others –  particularly youth, children and their families – then watching as the Holy Spirit gives people faith in the power of God’s Rescue for them through Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension.

We are confident in God and in his love, and he often chooses to reach people through SU – whether on camps, at holiday (beach) missions or in schools. However, hoping that’s true isn’t enough; we need to ask participants in SU programs what the impact has been for them.

Malcolm asked me to share some stats from camper feedback on SU 2018 holiday camps:

  • 104 campers were interested in knowing more about Jesus;
  • 100 wanted to connect with a church or youth group;
  • 32 decided to follow Jesus;
  • ·53 wanted a Bible (and probably didn’t already have one).

83% of campers on SU programs also claim the camp experience moved them either closer or significantly closer to God. Now that is why we do camps! Real fruit.

To personalise it, a mum of a 15-year-old girl on CHIC camp in April wrote me this:

“Our words could never express the kindness and true love that has been shown to M by you, Jamie and Holly. I know M has felt the immense prayer and unconditional love over her life.”

I share this with you not to blow my, SU’s or anyone else’s trumpet, but to blow GOD’S trumpet! (and not in a Revelation kind of way). It is to HIM we owe all thanks and praise and glory.  His goodness and power have given us the most precious treasure to share.

I do want to mention some in our church family who have been pivotal SU workers and volunteers in years past. These people don’t look for honour and I usually only know about their SU work through others: Liz and Trevor Parry, Pam Kerruish, Jan Morgan, Rosalie and Lynn Wadley, Graham and Alison Dowling, Bevan and Tess Hill, John and Ellie Macpherson, as well as others I have forgotten or not yet heard about. Current SU staff and volunteers continue the gospel work of those who went before them, right back to our beginnings in 1867 – back to the first disciples, who passed on to us the words and the ways of life from the Living Word himself, Jesus. True fruit from the true Vine. Praise him from everlasting to everlasting!


Dec 032017

A couple of weeks ago there was a terrible accident where a distracted driver ploughed her car into a school building. Two 8-year-old boys were killed and others injured. As one little boy lay dying he said, “I want my Mum.” When the crunch comes, we just want Mum – one who genuinely and deeply cares. For an 8-year-old, that’s often Mum. This sad story didn’t cause me to reflect on motherhood, as much as it triggered a pondering on [continue reading…]

Feb 192017

It was a bit of a shock. . . to hear that really loving someone is excruciating.  But it made sense, because where does the word ‘excruciating’ come from?  The cross – the greatest symbol of love the world has ever seen!  (The ‘cruc’ part of the word means cross in latin.)  The God/man, Jesus, willingly surrendered his perfect life and his perfect unity with Father God, to suffer rejection by those he came to love and die for. God [continue reading…]

Apr 062014

“It is at the moments when we are at our least that we discover who or what we believe in the most.” This has been a statement that has engaged some of us at St Philips this Lent season, as the following testimony shows. Being blessed by being served…. I completely agree that we are blessed by serving others – One Hundred Percent! I want to describe how blessed I’ve been in the last week by being served. In truth, [continue reading…]

Jan 202013 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 37:57 — 13.0MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Listen to this exploration by Sally Howe, of John’s gospel . Readings – John 1:35-51 recorded at 9am service.

Jan 082012 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 27:33 — 9.5MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Sally Howe spoke about “who God is and who we are in relationship to God”. Readings: 1st Reading  1 Corinthians 12 : 12 – 27; 2nd Reading 1 John 4 : 7 – 21 Recorded at 9am service  

Aug 302011

Walk to Water 2011,  3pm -5pm, 10 September at St Philips Cottesloe. As a result of Walk to Water 2009, Open Doors provided 4 new boreholes to villages in Northern Nigeria, at a cost of about $52 000 USD. The cost relates to needing to bore through subterranean rock, below the level of rivers carrying typhoid to access “clean” water. A pastor at one village said  “We cannot thank enough the people that made this borehole possible.Only God can thank [continue reading…]

Jan 092011 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 28:23 — 11.4MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? How we learn to hear the voice of our living God. Firstly we must see with our ‘ears’. Sally Howe takes this further as she walks through Isaiah 42. Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9, Acts 10: 34-43, Matthew 3:13-17 Recorded at 9am Service

Aug 082010 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:45 — 9.9MB) Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Your Testimony – How is God with you? Psalm 8, John 1:29-34 9.30 Baptism Service Sermon and Testimonies from Sally Howe , Cathy Kiernan, Dianne Hooley and Nick Lockwood