Dear Friends, being a pastor gives one a unique vantage point to see the difference Jesus makes in people’s lives. Week in and week out I get to chat with people who testify to the love, inspiration and grace they have discovered in Jesus. I see the way people go about their working lives, study, friendships with a willingness to serve and bless others.
And I see the way a church community can have a positive impact in the community in so many ways. I think of the team of people heading down to the Collingwood public housing each month and putting on a free BBQ, playing sports with the children, talking and being friends to the immigrants and refugees who live there.
I think of the group that goes each month to Carrical Boarding House to provide dinner and friendships to the residents there – many of whom have had difficult lives.
There are the shout-outs and fundraising appeals we do such as Ping Pong-a-Thon last week which has raised $2000 to help vulnerable children. Recently we asked you to help support a Middle Eastern asylum seeker and you all chipped in another $2000. And last Sunday Alex Flavel told us about 22 of our young people giving up a week to serve and bless the Schoolies with Red Frogs – oh, and you all chipped in another $900!
Did I mention the $32,000 in our budget this year for mission and aid projects we already give? I also forgot to talk about the visits to the sick and seniors who can’t get out, the meals to new mums and bubs, the hundreds of hours a month of volunteer work across ministries such as the Kew Student Res, then there is the friendship, prayer and love shown in a thousand unseen ways every week.
It’s not that people who trust and follow Jesus are better than others; they know they are not. But Jesus gives us such a wonderful, and endless, source of love and inspiration to spur on kindness, good deeds and compassion.
And it was such things that made one of Australia’s most prominent atheists renounce his faith – in atheism. Bill Hayden, the former Labor leader and governor-general said “it was witnessing so many selfless acts of compassion by Christians over his lifetime, and deep contemplation while recovering from a stroke, that prompted his decision.” He said that “I could just feel in my heart that I didn’t feel fulfilled. There is more to life than just me. I had to make a dedication of myself for the good of others, before God. I felt that strongly.”
And this week we celebrate the difference Jesus makes as Bree, Hannah, Tim and Jordan all celebrate their faith in Jesus by being baptised.
On behalf of the Ministry Team here at Kew, thank you for your faith and living lives marked by the love and compassion of Jesus.