Musings

Feb 112018
 

In KidsChurch and Junior Youth today our young people are considering the importance of remembering and attending to what God says about us. How do you go at remembering – receiving and believing – what God says about you? Is it the basis of how you live? Most of us are pretty forgetful when it comes to remembering the truth of what God says about us. Some of us don’t really know what it is that God thinks about us; others of us choose not to live into what we know to be true and let other things shape us. Here are some of the truths that our kids are considering today: “You’re God’s kid”,  “You’re God’s special agent”, “You’re God’s creation”, “God loves you”, “You’re a part of God’s family”, “Jesus died for you”, “You’re forgiven”, “You have God’s power”, “You’re one-of-a-kind”, “God is pleased with you”, “You’re a world-changer”. Are these truths that you remember and apply to yourself?

Perhaps you are more likely to replay and listen to some of the lies that our kids are reflecting on today: “You’re a loser”, “You’ll never get it right”, “You’re lame”, ”You’re weird”, “You’ll never be good enough”, ”You’re no good”, “You’re bad”, “No one likes you”, “God is disappointed in you”.

Which are the statements that you are most likely to believe and listen to? Are you more likely to hear and believe the truths or the lies? It’s these believes that profoundly shapes our lives and from which our actions flow – actions that stem from being secure in what God says about us or from believing lies about ourselves and about God.

The story that our young people are reflecting on today is that of Jesus and how he responded to temptation. He remembered what the truth is and what His Father said and He stood firm in those things. Do you know the truth about what God thinks about you? And do you remember it at those times when you are tempted to believe one or more of the lies? What might you do to help you know and remember the truths about who you are this week and through Lent?

The bible verse the kids are encouraged to learn this week is James 4:7: “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Part of submitting ourselves to God is choosing to believe what He says about us. So, where we need to, let’s repent (change our minds) and believe the good news of what God says about us. It will impact our lives and the world around us in surprising and powerful ways.

Blessings,

 

Barb

 

Feb 042018
 

One month down being full time at The Common!

Here are some highlights, prayer points and upcoming events:

  • Governance board in place and have met twice.
  • We are now an incorporated body.
  • We are a week into a fundraising drive called ‘30 Common Days’ (check out our Facebook page).
  • We are gathering weekly at Bicton Baths with 30-40 people.
  • We are in discussions with Palmyra Primary School regarding being tenants in their old off-site kindergarten. (Please pray we get this.)
  • We run our first service on Sunday Feb 11th.
  • We start back ministering in the flats in late February.
  • We are launching a women’s small group led by Jane and Tenille.
  • We have two huddles running (leadership discipleship groups).
  • Jared resumes studying at Vose Theological College.
  • Yesterday I ran a mission and discipleship training day in Williams for the Diocese of Bunbury.
  • I will be in Wellington NZ in March to help run a discipleship training event for NZ Anglicans.

I’m so thankful for how God has blessed us. It is over 5 years since we arrived in Perth and I can honestly say that it has been the best years of my life. I love St Philips; I have been welcomed, loved, encouraged and challenged. I will still be here on average a few times a month for the first half of the year as a locum. After that I will be here quarterly to report back, preach and worship with you.

From all the Duffs, thank you for all your love and support. It’s been simply amazing.

Most importantly, keep strong in the faith, keep fixing your eyes on Jesus, keep loving one another and keep taking risks in the power of the Spirit.

Blessings

 

James

 

Jan 282018
 

I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s almost the end of January. I’ve had a good but full time over the last month. Many of you will have heard about our time at beach mission during last Sunday’s services. Since then, amongst other things, I’ve been working on planning for the year, particularly with regard to our kids and youth ministries, as well as working on a statewide Children’s Ministry Training Day.

As I write, I’m on a plane to Melbourne for the wedding of a good friend who I’ve been part of discipling over many years. It’s been great to have the opportunity to be present with her this weekend as it’s been a tricky journey for her, discerning what following Jesus looks like in the situations she’s found herself.

It’s interesting to note the timeliness of my presence in Melbourne in terms of being able to see family and other friends who also have significant things happening in their lives. I’m so aware in it all of the hand of God enabling me to be in the place and at the time He has for me to be there. And I continue to reflect on the questions I asked in my sermon last week: Where are we called to be and to ‘dwell’ this year? Who are the people of peace in our life? Who are we on the journey with?

How have your reflections around those questions been this week? Either Malcolm or I would love to talk further with you about your thoughts on those questions and how we can support you in the midst of that.

Another thing I’ve done this week is to take some time to retreat and pray further about the coming year. It’s amazing how helpful a few hours set aside for this purpose can be. Connecting with the Source of life, seeking His wisdom, guidance and direction in a relaxed and different environment with nature around helps this process. I used a tool with some helpful Bible reflections and useful questions that the Spirit used to open me up to what He was saying. If you are interested in accessing this or other material, just let me know; I have a few things that have been put together for the purpose of this kind of reflection. Time, space, conducive environment and a heart willing to receive . . . all are helpful ingredients for such reflection. Conviction, repentance, clarity, energising and empowering were all part of my experience as I entered into this space. Sharing with a friend some key aspects of what God was saying will also enable us to be accountable in this process.

How have you gone at abiding through January? Would it be helpful for you to intentionally create some space to reflect and abide as the year gains momentum.

Abiding, pruning, growing and fruitfulness – this is the rhythm of life we’re called to live into. It’s only as we abide in the Vine that our lives will bear good fruit, fruit that will last.

Blessings,

 

Barb

 

Jan 212018
 

On Wednesday of this week Cheryl and I moved house.  Our new address is 8 Dorcas Way, Coolbellup. We moved house so that new ministers could move into the rectory.  We did this because our experience with the Duffs has taught us that things grow where the energy for learning and evangelism is present.  We are in Cottesloe, so we need to put our people where we want the new energy to be. The Carrs have been delayed due to [continue reading…]

Dec 242017
 

Looking for a story from the life of Jesus that features a donkey, and innkeeper? It is not the account of Jesus’ birth [try the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke chapter 10, for that.] There is no mention of a donkey or an innkeeper in the account of Jesus’ birth [Luke 2]. In several English translations, there is an inn but this is a mistranslation of the word for the guest room. Jesus was born in a family home, [continue reading…]

Dec 172017
 

I had a couple of weeks holiday last month and drove up the coast with a good friend. Though I’ve been in WA for almost 7 years, I’d never been north of Kalbarri before. And even my few trips north of Perth had been very brief and often for my previous work. The Pinnacles, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia, Ningaloo. . . what an amazing State we live in and those are just a few of the fantastic things we get to [continue reading…]

Dec 102017
 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens as he begun to pen his famous novel The Tale of Two Cities. You may be able to describe your 2017 in a similar way. My 2017 has had both “best” and “worst” times. Planning and beginning to be part of a team who are planting a church has counted in the “best”. Hurting my back and still slowly recovering has to be counted as [continue reading…]

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…]

Nov 262017
 

I said last week, “There is no doubt, [we are seeing] a significant societal shift.”  One person said, “Well, that would be an understatement.” Understatement or hysteria?  We try and get the balance right.  Then this week, despite grave concerns of the health industry, Victoria has passed assisted suicide legislation [though they don’t call it that]. I suggested we have some work to do in considering the place and role of the local church in these days. The writer of [continue reading…]

Nov 192017
 

Well, we now know the result of our national marriage survey!  I’m so pleased it has been decisive and not 51%. Now the legislative games will begin. Thanks for those who have shared their thoughts, convictions and learning in these interesting times.  There is no doubt, this is a significant societal shift. The challenge into the future will be to find room for respectful discussion or debate on all manner of social issues that have caught the imagination of public [continue reading…]