The Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to The Pastors’ Pen – an update for life at Southern Cross.

We are nearly half-way through the year!

It is painfully clear that the natural disaster in February and March took its toll on us after an already long and difficult season with the covid pandemic.

But as we emerge from this tiring period as a church family, we begin to lift our head to the second half of the year and its knock-on effect for the year to come!

As you may know, I will be taking Long Service Leave in Term 3. So, before my departure I was keen for us to begin to re-engage the question around James Ritchie’s call. As we discussed late last year, we would leave any questions about James until Term 4 this year. That time is quickly approaching, particularly given my absence in Term 3.

Therefore, we will run an informal information night as part of our Leadership Team meeting next Wednesday the 15th of June from 7:30pm-8pm. Matt Oates, the Superintendent of Ministry and Mission, will be on ZOOM to explain the vacancy that exists at SCPC and the pathway to calling a minister to that role.

Oh, what a demanding period we have all undergone! And yet, as we saw in Exodus last weekend, we await our Father God’s daily provision, and so entrust ourselves to his determined and precious care, for He is able to satisfy our deepest needs each day. Remember Jesus’ bold promise to us in John 6:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

SP

Posted in General

As I reflect on this very familiar Psalm, particularly in light of events past that have shaken our community to its very essence, I am reminded that people in these times look to leaders for direction, assurance and above all, comfort. The nature and consequence of these events are such that disappointment and disillusionment will inevitably follow. No man or organisation will ever be able to fully satisfy people’s material and emotional needs in this time.

As our community rebuilds its lives, homes, places of work and social connections, there is anxiety about the cost of building materials and basic food items, and the availability of those things as well. The writer of the Psalm says “I shall not want”. How can our city’s people, not want for these things when so much is needed? How can I tell a family living in their car or a tent to not want for something better?

The answer to these questions is both simple and difficult. Simple in that God, through this Psalm, says that He will lead us, He will provide for us and He will be our comfort through adversity. And I know for all of this to be true.

The difficulty is in letting go of the things that consume our daily thinking – our families, work, deadlines and school runs – all of these are relevant and important. 

For myself the turning point was when God restored my soul. That time was many years ago now. However, I still recall it vividly. In that moment when I knew that my sin was forgiven, I also knew what it was to be able to read and relate to every word of this Psalm.

My (and our) only hope is this world, is when the spiritual aspect of our lives transcends the material.

Ray

Posted in General

The Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to The Pastors’ Pen – an update for life at Southern Cross.

A week can be a long time, can’t it?

This week started with horrific events in a nearby town. A heavy week for those who knew those young lives so tragically affected. 

James was able to spend time on Thursday with youth and young adults that had been affected to debrief and pray.

On Wednesday, I spent the day in Sydney as a member of the Northern Rivers Presbytery commission to meet with Bible college students to help them consider serving in our district in years to come.

Then this Friday, June 3, is our annual training for Vision Coordinators with Jono Andrews who is assisting us to lead with hearts resting in the deep love of God. Jono will stay for an additional day to provide training for ministers and elders of the Northern Rivers. 

So as this long and complicated week comes to a close please consider praying for our nearby town as it mourns. Also pray for our region that in the years to come, young faithful leaders might come and join us in partnership to proclaim the deep love of God to this needy region.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8

SP

Posted in General

Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to The Pastors’ Pen… An update for life at Southern Cross.

In a few days we’ll have our Food for Thought Sunday!

How did your Food for Thought go? Our Gospel Community shared a counter meal together at a local club. But more important than the meal, have you been able to pray that our family and friends who don’t know Jesus might be able to see that Jesus is not bad for you (as our culture seems to be advocating). Rather, He is great for you! Offering you salvation, identity, contentment and deep satisfaction.

But don’t be too worried if your friend or neighbour can’t come, Jesus can sort something out! What about inviting them to read John’s gospel with you through Word One to One? Watch this video to stimulate your thinking and praying!

Sadly, Phil has been unwell in Sydney, but is still eager to join us. If his health does not improve, we will aim to pre-record the Bible talk and postpone the Equip night until Term 4.

Remember we are heading to John 14 on Sunday.  Our family read it around the breakfast table this week. You might like to pre-read it too, so you are better prepared to answer questions of friends and family that may come up.

Listen to this potent and intriguing little conversation from John 14:

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

SP

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