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 how I pray, “I want you, Jesus.”

Do I? Do I want Jesus as desperately as that little boy wanted his Mum at that moment?

Honestly, often, no.

This is despite that I have clearly shown myself that doing life on my own doesn’t work well. Despite the reality that I too, like you,  am ‘dying’, and rational thought sees eternity is the main game and this earthly life is only a shadow, a sigh in time. Despite the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is who he said he is – the one holy God.

A couple of weeks ago I was caught up in the wave of hopelessness and grief which sometimes washes over me when I visit my dear close family member and notice her ongoing deterioration from dementia, and remember the vital, curious, engaging and engaged person she used to be.

At the beach soon after I cried out to God as I looked across the ocean. Other areas of grief flooded in as if to a spontaneous ‘grief party’ – a beautiful friend’s broken marriage, a teenager’s chronic pain, the suffering people of Yemen, Syria, etc. The wave was building into a tsunami! How do I hold all that pain, grief, disappointment? Help!! “I just want someone to partner with me in all this,” I pleaded to God, “someone to share this deep sadness, for whom it isn’t unknown or overwhelming.” His response came to me instantly:  “I will partner you.”

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you [Isaiah 41:13].

In a few seconds everything looked different. Feelings of thankfulness and joy rose in me. Brighter, lighter, I jumped into the car. This is what repenting looked like for me that morning. Not a brow-beating self-loathing. I have done that too. It is obvious to me that I am sin-full. This was my response to a real call of God to turn back to him and to remember He is the one who saves. “I want you, Jesus.”

What does it look like when you repent? I’d love to have that chat with you. Language around repenting often pushes me into a defensiveness. Yes, I know; that too is my sin. But what does a winsome invitation to repent look like for you?

I suspect Jesus (on earth) invited those to repent who knew their brokenness well, with a softeness in his voice and compassion in his eyes. Deadly serious AND full of mercy.

Happy repenting to the one to whom we can safely say “I so need you.”






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 is Love.

If God is not real, as our teenagers sometimes suggest as they explore, stretch and try out their own faith, then Love cannot be real, because God is Love.  No God, no Love.

Some weeks ago, I listened to Dave Andrews (sometimes called a Christian anarchist) talking about love and justice.  Dave was speaking at AMUC (Among the Urban Community), a week-long residential mission in central Perth for those aged 18+, designed to help people explore where our Christian faith and social justice connect.  It helped me see how these two vital concepts relate.

Our fundamental calling, said Dave, is to love. We are made by Love for love.  Justice is simply how that love is expressed in public.

Love = the ideal, a commitment to the welfare of the other.  It’s an attitude.

Justice = how we show love.  It is action and reality. 

God’s justice does not stand in opposition to His love; rather, it is the fulfillment of His divine love in practice.  This has challenged my thinking that I am often judgmental, in that I am ‘too much about justice’ and ‘not enough about love/mercy’.  But, if I am following God in showing people godly justice, it will actually be an outworking of my love for them.

Oh . . . ! (light bulb moment).

I’d love a discussion on this. . . Would you? Suzie Brans went to all of AMUC, whereas I just made one day.  If you are interested in love/justice or further details about AMUC, I’m sure she’d be happy to talk to you too.

Jesus calls me to imitate him more and more closely.  I can do that by reading the gospels and scriptures that talk of him (UP).  It’s essential I don’t ruminate alone but discuss what I find with others (IN).  Then I explore REAL ways of receiving his Love and giving it to others who so desperately need it (OUT).

In Love,



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 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 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 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 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