Category Archives: Pastor’s Blog

News and views from our Pastoral Team

A Window into 2018

As you look out of the window of your life into 2018, what do you see?

I love crossing the threshold into a New Year. It is a powerful symbol of the grace of God in our lives. One writer called it the “shutting of a gate”, and by this he meant that what is passed is passed, and we can only walk forward into the year ahead. For those who follow Jesus, there are no “good ol days”,for the best is always yet to come. The life Jesus calls us to is lived in the present, with eyes on the future. God can, and does forgive our past sins and wasted days, so we walk forward in Christ’s abundant grace and mercy. Jesus is always making “all things new”. Hallelujah! 

So here’s an idea or two…

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail; and, if you aim at nothing, you will be sure to hit it. The truth is that many people are negotiating life with the attitude of “how can i do life with the least amount of effort and discomfort?” If comfort and a pain-free life is your aim, then be inspired by the cemetery; there’s no pain or discomfort there! Jesus taught us to embrace pain, to embrace self-sacrifice, to embrace hardship as necessary elements to a vital and full life. 

So what are you seeing as you look out the 2018 window? Maybe you are looking for work or considering a job change; perhaps you are fearful about the health or circumstances of a loved one or friend; maybe you are getting married; or are you concerned about your financial situation? Whatever it is, God wants to help you and bless you. So put yourself in an environment and attitude to take hold of God’s help and grace. In God’s grace to us in Jesus, consider these 4 elements for your spiritual life in 2018:

  • Grow: where do you need to grow and what spiritual practices do you need to embrace to grow spiritually in Christ?
  • Gather: who are your companions on the journey and are you invested in a spiritual community of Jesus followers regularly?
  • Give: How are you sharing and being generous with the gifts of time, talents and finances God has given you?
  • Go: Who are you reaching out to in Christ’s love and word, and are you seeking to make Jesus known locally and globally?

I would love to meet with you and talk with you about your plans and hopes for 2018 and support you in growing in Christ. Just ask! But don’t let the year pass thinking “business s usual”. God ALWAYS has so much more for us than we can ask or imagine. 

I don’t know if you noticed, but lately the world is pretty much going mad. So what is needed more than ever are sane an peaceable followers of Jesus that are living and sharing a different and compelling story of love, forgiveness, welcome and hope. 

Nicholas 

Advent: Spreading the Word

When they [the shepherds] had seen him [Jesus], they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:17-18

Last Sunday night (3 December) the Kew Community Carols took place. Due to extraordinary weather, the event was moved from Petrie Square to our own church building. For many years carols has been a great opportunity for people who wouldn’t normally enter a church to hear about God’s great gift to us in Jesus Christ, and consider what this might mean for us today. On Sunday night, we again participated in fulfilling that mission of the shepherds who first encountered Jesus, spreading the word about this incredible child.

But does it stop with the carols? Is the carols the one occasion where the good news of Christmas can be proclaimed in a culturally-safe environment? Or could we continue, like the shepherds, to spread the word about Jesus during Christmas; at meals, in conversations, during road trips, or while washing Christmas lunch dishes? While sharing our faith is challenging, could there be someone we could share with this Christmas season about the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ?        

Paul Pallot

Advent: God With Us

Have you noticed that cakes just don’t appear out of thin air? Or that pumpkins don’t just create themselves? And although babies appear to suddenly pop out of nowhere, so much has been happening unseen and unnoticed for 9 months.
Cakes take time, planning, preparation and work. Pumpkins the same; a seed planted, watered, cultivated before the harvest is ready. And babies; well, enough said, really. 

It takes time, patience, work and attentiveness – small steps coming together – for good things to appear.

Are our spiritual lives any different? I reckon we miss so much of what is happening under the soil of our souls because we are so busy, living fast, in a hurry and incessantly looking for the quick fix and the shortcut to happiness and an easy life. There is another way…

Jesus said “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Could there be any more sublime, winsome and transforming words ever spoken in this world? And to prove he was willing to back up his promise, God came to us in person with this invitation! You can believe and have confidence in the invitation from Jesus to come to him, because he took the loving initiative to come to us. This is what the Season of Advent means: we remember afresh and enter into the mystery of the incarnation: God in human form – a baby!

Make some time, slow down and don’t miss what God is doing, wants to do and will do in your heart and your life as we celebrate again the birth of Jesus. You can’t rush beauty, truth and goodness…

Here are some wonderful Advent Resources for individuals and families to share in over December:​ 

  • Unwrapping Advent:
    A 4-Week Devotional by Margaret Feinberg: Celebrating the Wonder of Jesus’ Arrival Then and Now.
  • Reason for the Season
    24 Ready-Made Family Devotions that will put the focus back on Christ this Christmas.
  • Advent – the Village Church
    This guide contains five weeks of material, with both a study to complete on your own as well as a plan to help families talk about the Advent narrative together.

May the Lord Jesus come to you in a new and powerful way this Advent, bringing rest, healing and transformation.

In Jesus,

Nicholas

Bloom where you are planted

“I’ll never grow up to be a beautiful flower”, said the seed to the soil.

“Why is that?”, asked the soil with concern.

“Because there is so much stacked against me, I can’t do it. There’s a ton of concrete and bricks above me for miles; it’s so unfair!”

The soil thought for a while and said to the seed, “I have an idea. I will support you and hold you, but I need you to send your roots downward, and look up to the tiny shaft of light between the concrete and the bricks. And then make a run for it and don’t stop!”

“But I’ll never make it, it’s too dark and I might sink or get stuck!”, said the seed.

“Trust me”, replied the soil.

So the seed listened to the soil, started to send down some roots to create a solid base, and then looked up and started to reach for the tiny shaft of light. She was terrified! But all of a sudden she burst through into the full sunshine and then the miracle: the seed became a beautiful flower and bloomed where she was planted.

It is likely that you are facing difficulties, challenges, or disappointments in your life currently, or you are most likely to in the future. What is your foundation and what is your vision? For without something firm to stand upon and if you are lacking a vision for the future, you will attract both fear and despair.

In our world there are many false foundations made of sand and many visions made of smoke; ultimately they will sink and blow away. Jesus knew this and offered us a foundation and a vision for life that no one or nothing could ever shake: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built their house on the rock…it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7

And what earthly vision could surpass this one: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21

Make sure your foundation is Christ and your vision is the kingdom of God. Then come what may, you will bloom and you will overcome.

Nicholas Tuohy

Is it time to walk away from Jesus?

Giving birth is really difficult and very painful. This is second-hand information, to be sure; but I have it on good authority that this statement is undeniably and universally true. Enough said on birth, let me extrapolate the point: things that are difficult and painful can be very good things indeed. For is it not life and new humanity that is the result of those difficulties and that pain?

But our culture is pain-averse and is largely therapeutic. That is, we spend much time and many millions trying to minimise and avoid pain, and though much of this is well-intentioned the truth remains that some good things, even great things, only come to us through pain and through difficulties.

Imagine for a moment the silly scenario of an expectant mother avoiding for years, if she were able, the birth of her child. She waddled around free of the pain and difficulties of child-birth, but no life ever came forth! In this imaginary scenario she avoided much pain, but she also missed out on much life. How tragic!

Or what about the young man who had a passion and a calling to become a medical doctor, and yet he was averse to the pain of study and the hours of research and training needed? Sure, when he came to his exams he had experienced little pain and discomfort over the year in his studies, but then he failed. By now you are thinking of the commonly used phrase “No Pain No Gain”, and so you should be. For reasons known mostly to Himself, God has woven pain and struggle into our humanity in a way that we are fools to always try and avoid pain.

True, some pain must be avoided and fought: the pain inflicted by violence or evil words, the pain inflicted by poverty, the pain inflicted by betrayal and rejection, and the pain experienced through loneliness. But not all pain is to be avoided.

In John 6 we read of a time when, due to the heat and pressure rising in following Jesus, many, yes many, disciples turned away. “It’s too difficult”, they grumbled. “It costs too much” lamented others. The result was that “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Think about that breathtaking statement for just a minute: here they were with the Son of God speaking words of life and bringing in the kingdom of God on earth, and they walked away!  And then with the few friends he has left, Jesus turns to them and says “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Only Simon Peter spoke up and said “no”, which wasn’t really very encouraging for Jesus, was it?

Maybe in our culture and society at the moment we wonder if it is too difficult and too painful to follow Jesus. But remember that principle of pain leading to life? Those who walked away from Jesus missed the resurrection, missed the joy of the early church and maybe even missed the kingdom of God. It might be Friday in our part of the world, but don’t forget that with Jesus, Sunday is always on its way.

Nicholas Tuohy