Musings

Sep 162018
 

I want to give thanks this week for encouragement.

There are so many examples of people joining in with the Holy Spirit in ways that bring so much encouragement.

I shared the front with two of our parishioners during funerals this past week or so, whose lives, words and love were such an encouragement to me.

I am on the Being Church email feed.  It is where ‘the left hand reports to the right hand’ what it has been doing pastorally.  I rarely respond but I find those little updates so encouraging.  The pure volume of activity from you, the people of God, to others… pure encouragement.

The steady, thoughtful and gracious work your Parish Council does encourages me.  So much happens behind the scenes in terms of governance, finance, strategy and Spirit-led reflection on what we are doing.  I am encouraged by their love for Jesus and hunger to hear his voice for you.

The fuel tank, or perhaps the engine room, of St Philips is prayer.  The faithfulness and power of turning up to weekly prayer gatherings; the growth of the monthly Sunday evening gatherings which Kieran has taken on . . . such an encouragement.

Speaking of prayer: Last weekend thirteen youth, four leaders and three cooks/support people took a road trip to Busselton to the beautifully-located SU campsite on Geographe Bay.  Before it all happened, two of our mature saints, completely off their own bat, interrupted a holiday to prayer walk the campsite.  Meanwhile, others back home were praying specifically for the campers who were away.  What scintillating [my Dad’s favourite word!], loving encouragement.

At the camp there was delicious food, lots of  relationship-building, fun, conversations, exploring faith and encountering the Holy Spirit.  How encouraging.

But check this: Margerie, David and Josh Williams provided the scaffolding of the weekend by buying, preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up.  What a gift! What encouragement!

There was a programme and fun games  throughout the weekend that took lots of time, preparation and commitment by staff and volunteers. Thank you. That is deeply encouraging.

The Youth Alpha videos about the Holy Spirit inspiring lives of purpose and meaning led to deep questions and conversations.  What an encouragement.

A highlight for Kieran, Dani, Linda and Barb was the privilege to pray with young people and for some young people to have real, deep and personal encounters with God’s Holy Spirit. So encouraging.

Throughout the lead up and over the weekend, there was a deep awareness of the support and excitement of the wider St Philips community about the weekend. Partnership in prayer, finance, passion and just turning up is so encouraging.

Paul says to the tricky Corinthians, Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you [2 Cor 13:11].

Three keys to giving and receiving encouragement:

  • Lift up your head and look around you to see what is encouraging. Rejoice!
  • Don’t be difficult; sort it out, get with the programme, look to the needs of others. To not do that will only fill your discouragement tank. 
  • And a promise. When we fix our eyes on what God is doing through his people by his Spirit and get on board, love and peace come as his gift.

Now that is so encouraging.

 

Blessings

Malcolm

 

Sep 092018
 

‘‘Sustainable September’ is an initiative of the Anglican EcoCare Commission who devise a programme and activities to celebrate and honour God’s creation and our place in His purposes.  It  gives EcoChurch an opportunity to remind you, His people, of those purposes and encourage you to take seriously His commission to support justice and equity in the world (EcoJustice).  When I asked Malcolm if EcoChurch could have the Musing space, he asked me to consider how Christians are not simply ‘greenies’; that we are much, much more.  I have had the best time investigating and developing that; and the worst time trying to put it together in the limited Musing space.

There are three elements to the “how much more” of the Christian position on the environment and social justice, three essential things that define us –  the three big life questions:

  1. Who am I?  – A child of God (Identity)
  2. Why am I here?  For His glory (Destiny)
  3. Where am I headed?  To God’s New-Creation world (Destination).

You can see here the FATHER-IDENTITY-OBEDIENCE triangle in operation, because obedience achieves God’s purpose – both our identity and destination.  We are being trained for our role in the future kingdom by living it now, obeying the Father.

As children of God, our destiny is irrevocably linked to the Creation Commission in Genesis 1. There God commands humankind to deal with both the physical and social elements of creation with equity and justice, in His likeness.  That’s our life’s work.  Looking after creation is both the medium and the means of our transformation into the humanity God created in the beginning.  He intends each of us to work out our salvation through EcoJustice.  We are the hidden element in the renewal of creation.  God’s glory can only be honoured through our obedience to His command to rule our lives and oikoses justly and mercifully. 

The universe is both the invitation and the challenge for us to work out our salvation, by walking into the good works God has prepared in advance for us – the work of ‘ruling’.  It is our training ground for the future age.  We represent the Prince of Peace, the King of Righteousness, the One who came to set the captives free.  Look at the world – the inequities, the slavery, the waste and pollution . . . the greed!  What opportunities there are to bring glory to God, instead of shame and judgment on ourselves.  This is our reason for being here – to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.  That’s what makes us more than simply green in our efforts for the planet.

He has showed you, O man, what is good (creation). And what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly (obediently) with your God (Micah 6:8).

  

Blessings, 

Lesley Wilson for EcoChurch

 

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 a chance to pray for her. One of the highlights of her time there so far is the partnership with our church community and the ten volunteers that are present in the school in various capacities. Please do be praying for Naomi and the ten people from our church who are involved in volunteering at North Cottesloe Primary School.

Next weekend we have our Youth Alpha Weekend Away down in Busselton. We are really aware of how significant these times can be and also of how dependent we are on God for this. The “Here to Stay” research about factors that influence young people continuing on in their faith has “peak experiences” like camps as a key ingredient. Other research  indicates that almost 50% of all faith decisions have been made on a camp. We’d love your prayer for safety and deepening of connections and belonging, as well as for God’s Spirit to be at work in our young people (and their friends), drawing them closer to Himself.

In the Spring school holidays, we are significantly involved with two holiday camps. Kieran is leading on the CRUWest Spring Leadership Camp for those in Years 9-11 and we’ve got several of our youth going as participants. Kieran’s leading a session each day on biblical theology, helping the young people have a big-picture understanding of the Bible. In the same week, Sally Howe is team-leading an SU primary-aged camp, Kids in the Kitchen. Eliza Kan and Lynn and Rosalie Wadley are also leading on this camp. Please be praying for these people as they lead on these camps and pray that God’s Spirit will be at work in each of the young people attending. (You can also pick up some specific prayer points for Kids in the Kitchen at the back of the church or from Sally.)

For a number of years a few of our congregation have been involved as part of the Augusta (Flinders Bay) Family Festival (Beach Mission) team. I joined them last year as the team leader of this mission team. We have just started planning our time there for this coming January. We form a missional community, camping alongside holiday-makers and aiming to share the good news of Jesus and God’s Kingdom in word and action. I’d love to speak with anyone who might like to join us. We’d value your prayer for our preparation, team-building and time in Augusta.

Finally, lots of us are involved in the lives of children and young people through our roles as parents, grandparents, teachers and friends. It would be great to be praying for each other as we share life and faith with young people in these everyday contexts, that our lives and words would proclaim Christ and shape our young people as followers of Jesus.

 

Blessings,

Barb

 

Aug 262018
 

When Malcolm asked us to write a musing about what’s is going on in our world as we partner with you on mission, we were grateful for the many blessings that came to mind, primarily the opportunities God has given us to build relationship back into the historical town of Guildford. Over the past twenty years or so, the relationship between the Town and the church has, to say the least, dwindled! So, for the past three and a half [continue reading…]

Aug 192018
 

Good to be back from holidays. Cheryl and I had our time away all sorted out and things got tossed on their head the first week in.  We ended up back in Perth and didn’t get away again. Family stuff…..you know how it is?  In fact, I felt God gave me a picture of the St Philips congregational life as I considered my own challenges.  The picture was of the sea off Cottesloe…… On any day it can be different, [continue reading…]

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
 

I went to an excellent seminar by Christian sexologist, Patricia Weerakoon Monday last week (patriciaweerakoon.com). The main topic she covered was about pornography. The point that struck me the hardest was how naive Christian parents can be, in her experience, about what their children are accessing on their phones/tablets/computers. One pastor at the seminar, who works with teenagers, expressed despair over how little he was able to help teenage boys because their parents were not engaged in the fight. The [continue reading…]

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 222018
 

It was a quick trip to the UK and back but why was I there? You may be aware that I lived in a Christian Community for ten years.  The fruit of that was what I would call an ‘integrated Christian life’ – that is a life that does not separate God stuff from life stuff. This ultimately expresses itself through households that have a language to articulate this integrated life, not as some weird super-spiritual cultish thing but as [continue reading…]

Jul 152018
 

As we continue with our series ‘Who is God?’, I want to draw your attention to the structure of The Apostle’s Creed. It would be a shame for us to teach all the way through the creed without pointing out the overall structure. That would be to miss the forest from the trees. So let me point out the forest. The creed has a three-part structure: I believe in God the Father I believe in Jesus Christ God’s only Son [continue reading…]