The Pastors’ Pen

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

The SCPC year is over! You might have heard us say before that our SCPC year runs from Celebration Sunday to Celebration Sunday. From all reports, Celebration Sunday in September was a fantastic day at East Lismore, celebrating God’s extraordinary love to us in the gift of Christ Jesus. 

Now at SCPC, for our Leadership Team and staff, we turn to planning mode! Could I ask you to pray for our elders and staff during this critical phase? Pray firstly for our elders on Leadership Team as we head away shortly for a weekend of planning in Bonny Hills (south of Port Macquarie). Leadership Team will be looking at our vision for 2023 and a five year plan from 2024-2028. We will also have input over the weekend from pastor and author* Dave McDonald. Leadership Team will also attend the Sunday Gathering of Salt Church with Dave and his wife Fiona. This is a vital, exciting and hugely positive time for our Leadership Team.

Secondarily, pray for our staff team as we confirm ministry teams for the new year and continue working on how to streamline our administration and how we organise and enact our Sunday gatherings at East Lismore. So a huge ‘shout out’ to our Ministry Coordinator and Admin Assistant for the incredible creativity they are bringing to this space. 

Finally, will you begin praying for 2023? That together, God willing, we would be clear on our vision to be growing followers of Jesus by… (can you finish that statement?)…

Worship: Growing our love for God,
Community: Growing our love for each other, and  
Mission: Growing our love for the world. 

Part of doing that will be considering how we manage the rhythms of life! Could I suggest pre-ordering a copy of our SCPC 2023 calendar (we will print to order for 2023). We will try to give you a couple of weeks to order your calendar. I joked with our East Lismore staff team that we have to do everything to get this message out. I even suggested sky writing, after seeing it done recently on the Gold Coast! Staff just looked at me with that “Stew you are absolutely nuts” look! So, sadly no sky writing, but do get the word out to our church family to pre-order your 2023 calendar

However, as our series in Proverbs reminds us, we can’t get ahead of ourselves as we don’t know what tomorrow brings. And yet, we can rest in the providential care of our wonderful Father God, who even directs king’s hearts! 

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. Proverbs 21:1

*Dave McDonald is author of Hope Beyond Cure from Matthias media. You can purchase the book here.


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The Pastors’ Pen

‘All the way to WA’ was a trip that took our family for, what we heard others on the trip call, ‘the lap of Australia’, focusing, however, in WA. We started through central QLD, the Red Centre, the Top End, and into WA, returning via the Nullarbor, the Great Ocean Road, North Western Victoria, Central NSW and back into the Northern Rivers.

It was a three-month journey across our country to WA and back. Many long days of driving, early starts to pack bags and swags, and many new people met. Here are three reflections:

  1. Australia is vast. It is BiG, really BiG! Many days over our trip, we would travel 700km between stops and not really see a great deal in between. This did present opportunities for reading on long straights and allowed me to finish two Australian classics: We of the Never Never and The Harp in the South, written by Jeannie Gunn and Ruth Park. Jeannie’s work was particularly pertinent as we travelled through the top end and moved through many areas she sought to capture. However, as we moved through that Northern part of Australia, we felt like we met a side of Australia that we didn’t really know existed or had ever read about in these remote outback towns. To be honest, we weren’t too sure how to understand the needs that were present or appreciate some of the societal factors at play, particularly for our Indigenous sisters and brothers. We were, however, especially encouraged by a number of Christian leaders we stayed with who have a vital work in some of these communities, which takes me to my next reflection…
  2. Gospel ministry looks the same. We had the rare privilege to stay with many gospel partners, particularly in WA, which would often coincide with their Sunday gatherings. Some of these gatherings may have had fifteen to twenty people, others fifty or sixty and others over two hundred. Though their contexts were often very different, the same gospel message came shining through. It was exciting to know the same gospel we proclaim at Southern Cross is the same one being proclaimed across the country. I realise a trip around the country is to see many of the fascinating and rare landscapes, and yet seeing this gospel partnership was the highlight for me.
  3. Staying calm is harder than it seems. It can get a little tense living out of a car for three months! We were eager to be inordinately patient and calm, but sadly and somewhat predictably, we struggled in this space. I even read a new book, A Non-Anxious Presence: How a changing and complex world will create a remnant of renewed Christian leaders, which I very much enjoyed but somehow, I was the most anxious presence as I harried and chided our family towards a camel ride in Uluru!! We pray that for our children’s sake, we have mentored them in: how to fight well. What I mean by that is; how to engage in the inevitable conflict that will emerge in such confined quarters. We pray that we tried to display how to remain patient, consider others’ needs and just step back and take some deep breaths. Prayer, of course, still needed and appreciated.

We certainly felt removed and remote for much of our trip, and my mind was driven by survival mode! Therefore, coming into the planning season of Southern Cross with Vision Sunday not far away, please pray for my renewed and refreshed mind, that I can now turn my thoughts with our team of brilliant elders in the Leadership Team, to plan well for the adventure that will be 2023.

As I continued in my Bible in a year journey for 2022, here is a section of the Bible that inspired me and my interactions with new campers and people we met. How cool were Paul and his companions, ‘daring’ to share the gospel? Love it!

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-4


Posted in Pastors Post

The Pastors’ Pen

As always, there’s a lot happening in the life of the SCPC church family!
Last weekend, 26 of the young adults spent two nights at Old Bonalbo, hearing talks from Scott Curtis from 1 Corinthians 5-7 on complex relationships. From all reports it was a very valuable time, both in the word and with one another. Why not ask someone who went along to share with you about what they learnt?
This weekend our marriage course begins. Twenty one couples have registered for the course so far. Please be praying for all those planning on attending, that God would be strengthening their love and respect for each other.
Looking further ahead, on the 11th of September we’ll be enjoying Celebration Sunday together. Make sure you lock the date in your diaries and don’t forget to send in your photos and your stories of God’s love from the past year to as we reflect on, and celebrate, God’s work amongst us over this last year.
I hope as well that you have been benefiting from our time together in the book of Ephesians each week. I’ve been hearing many encouraging stories of people growing in their appreciation for, and understanding of, their union with Christ. Perhaps you could pray this prayer of Paul’s from Ephesians 3:16-19 for someone else in your Gospel Community today?
“16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”


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Shirts are $27 each and come in a range of sizes (kids 4-16 & adults S-2XL).

We plan to have these available for you to collect on Sunday September 4.

Please note that due to the short turnaround and requirements from the supplier, we are unable to extend the order window.
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