Celebrating Christmas in a Secular Society

Many of us find ourselves with a sense of loss this Christmas, trying to cope with the downward spiral of a secular society.  We ask ourselves, “how do we live for Jesus in such a way that celebrates the heart of Christmas?”

Across the country, The Wesley Methodist Church is sharing our Vision Statement –  “We celebrate every time a disciple makes a disciple, and a church multiplies itself, until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia.”

What does “until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia” mean?
I want to continue to explore this in the months ahead, for it ought to be the natural by-product of spreading scripture Holiness. 

In our desire to see the transforming presence of Christ in our own lives and in our communities, we will find ourselves confronted by a resistance to spiritual truth.  Sometimes that resistance is not the reaction to the spiritual truth, per say, but a reaction to the way we share that spiritual truth.

However we need to understand 1 Cor 2:12-16  NIV
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Clearly there is no place for arrogance within the life of a Christian, for this wisdom is God given. I would ask that each of us have a close look at how we are responding to the world in which we live.

 Dear God, open our eyes to any hint of arrogance within us that tarnishes our attitudes and actions towards a world that does not know Jesus.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. * (John 3:17 NIV).

 Our message is Jesus.  Initially someone might think this is a simple statement and in some ways it would be.  But it involves a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus, to know Jesus, to discover Jesus throughout the pages of the gospels and throughout the whole Bible.

If we are earnest in our pursuit of holiness then the life and teachings of Jesus will confront every part of us.  We Christians have a tendency, or should I say a history, of diluting the message of Jesus, within our culture, our personality, our society, our desires, and our biases.  We can see this with some that are accepting the homosexual act as acceptable to God.

However, before we jump on this issue let us consider also with the same conviction our own acceptance of behaviours that are not pleasing to God. Where is the fruit of our justice, mercy and faithfulness?  If we wonder why the world has not taken us seriously?  At times it may come down to hypocrisy.  Therefore, how is the life and teaching of Jesus confronting us?

 If we are not being confronted by Jesus’ life and teachings then I wonder if we are just playing around in the shallows of His truth.

My personal prayer for this coming year is for each of us to take a fresh and closer look at the life and teachings of Jesus. The first place that I want to see the transforming presence of Jesus Christ is in my own life.

 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. * (Eph 1:17 NIV)

Would you join me in this prayer for Christmas and for the coming year?
 Heavenly Father open my eyes to see Jesus more clearly in ways that enable me to experience the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in my life. 

Rev. Rex E Rigby
National Superintendent

Posted in A Word from Rev Rex

World Hope Christmas Day Offering

These past few months we have been promoting the importance of clean fresh water and sanitation for communities where World Hope Int works.

  • Improper school sanitation facilities causes many health issues and is a reason for teenage girls to drop out of school. A gift of $1500 will cover the cost to build a sanitation facility and clean water in a rural school.
  • Many children spend 6-8 hours a day fetching water – hours that could be spent in school if there was a clean water supply near their community.
  • Long trips to water leaves girls vulnerable to abuse.

Clean water not only assists with health and wellness but with Education, Economic Empowerment and Safety from violence.  Click here for a brochure which you can share with your congregation this weekend to let them know the difference their Christmas Day Offering will make through World Hope Int.   You can find a video via this link to show as well https://youtu.be/Eo4Lcto9VUI

If you would like to donate our bank account details are:
World Hope International Ltd
Westpac Bank
BSB: 034 072
Acc#: 285805

Thank you for your support of World Hope International.

Ruth Thomas
CEO (Australia)

Posted in Sth Qld District

Alpha at Hills Church

Every Sunday night for eight weeks, laughter and conversation spilled out of the auditorium freely, as new friendships grew and God-based discussions happened naturally. A wide range of people gathered around the seven tables, from school-leavers to the retired; the sceptical to the bold, all coming together for our first term of Alpha. Followed by dinner, each group watched the weekly video about various topics such as prayer, faith, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. A total of eight topics in eight weeks.

This then lead into discussion times, where anything and everything goes. Each person has the chance to say what they really think. “Is God real? Is this even possible? Why would God forgive me?” The more honest the conversation, the deeper the trust between each individual.

I recall each team leader wondering how these people would connect and open up to one another. Yet here we are at the end, with solid evidence of both the internal changes, and the external relationships created. Most people became comfortable with one another during the Alpha weekend. Friday night, we all gathered for desert and trivia, followed by a simple introduction video to the Holy Spirit. As Saturday began, the leaders gathered and interceded for those to arrive, that they would not only learn about the Holy Spirit, but encounter him fully. That was our greatest hope, that these seekers would personally know the living God.

Following two video sessions and a discussion, we returned after lunch to the auditorium for worship and prayer ministry. This was when the leaders had permission to pray for each individual. Up until this week, prayer had been something slowly introduced, but now we did not want to hesitate to follow where the Holy Spirit lead. If he guided us to pray for them, we would. The encompassing idea was to pray the oldest, yet simplest prayer, in the Church: “Holy Spirit come.” And we would wait. Some felt his peace, others felt their burdens lifted. Some cried, yet all left with a smile on their face. We had the privilege to pray for whatever they asked for. While I cannot speak on behalf of other’s encounters, I can say with pride that my group of young adults all asked for more of Him. Even those who do not know him, nor even believe, were open to the Holy Spirit.

Two more weeks of Alpha after the weekend, and we have come to the conclusion. I see connections in all the groups created and strengthened. We have had several people accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Many seekers want more, and although undecided, have eagerly agreed to come back in the following months for a follow up course. Even the many people who were already Christians before coming said they learnt new things, made friends, and had their faith strengthened.

Our prayers for Alpha were answered. The Lord blessed it, revealing himself to those who came. He guided us, strengthened us, and filled us weekly. Connections were made. Most of all, our prayer was that many would accept his offer to come to him, as they experienced and believed in the love of Christ Jesus.

Rachael Bell
Hills Church

Posted in Sth Qld District

Kingsley Update

Study Opportunities in 2018

Once again, Kingsley College will have on offer many excellent opportunities for study in 2018. We are here to serve the church- to equip lay people and train ministerial candidates. Contact the college office on (03) 9357 3699 or 0423 127 199 for more information on study for credit in Christian Ministry and Theology*.

Professional Development opportunities are available once more. Some of the excellent PD offered in semester one, 2018 include:
Cultural Anthropology– offered over four Saturdays from the 3rd February 2018. Kay Fulcher will do an excellent job of coordinating this training. Available in class in Brisbane or Melbourne and via web conference.
Christian Ethics– offered over five Monday seminars from the 12th February 2018. Kevin Brown will coordinate with other contributors to lead a challenging discussion on the development and application of Christian ethics. If ever there was a time in Australian history when Christians needed to know how to discern God’s best in ethical decisions- it is now.
Inductive Bible Study– available on fortnightly Saturday mornings, Gordon Kuss will coach you through development of skill in inductive study of the Bible- an essential skill for every Christian leader. Commencing 10th February 2018.

(*Kingsley College delivers training under the auspices of Unity College Australia RTO 6330)

Kevin Brown
Principal

Posted in WMCA

A Tribute to Pastor Scott Lucas

After nine years of faithful service as a team leader and four years as camp director, 2017 marked Pastor Scott Lucas’ last South Queensland District High School Camp.

Over the last nine years Pastor Scott and his wife Donna have given huge amounts of time and energy to make camp the success it has been. Through this time hundreds of campers have been influenced by Pastor Scott’s love for God and his passion to see young people have a deeper relationship with Jesus.

During Pastor Scott’s time as camp director, the number of youth attending camp has increased significantly and he has helped build a solid team of leaders who will continue to lead camp in the future.

Campers and leaders alike will miss Pastor Scott as the loudest Blues supporter at camp and for the many tears he shed as he watched God move through the ministry.

For all your hard work Pastor Scott and Donna, and for your support Alex, Caleb and the Cooloola WMC, we thank you!

Rachel Mayer
South Qld District Youth Director

Posted in Sth Qld District

South Qld District Conference

The 35th Annual South QLD District conference began with enthusiasm under the clear blue skies of a beautiful Brissy spring day (…or is it summer already?!?). Rev. Rex Rigby was his usual jovial self, and shared passionately in his morning devotion “Christ in me, and I in Christ.”

Jeff Adams was all techied up with dual monitors to keep us on track during the business sessions. Rev. Dr Lex Akers enjoyed the opportunity to be back amongst us as he chaired the business sessions. According to Lex’s slip of the tongue, we need to raise “funny money” for our newly named ‘Multiplying Churches fund’ (formerly Co-Labourers).

Our moreish meals and delectable desserts were interspersed with dynamic electives. The exciting new vision of “National Impulse” was shared by the very passionate Rev. Troy Beer. Not church growth – church multiplication!

Our exciting evening services were beautifully led by an inspiring worship team. On Thursday night our “Down Under” American brother Rev. Joel Heron shared from 2 Kings 6:24 – 7:17. ‘How do we respond when under siege in our life or leadership’?

Day 2 was another beautiful day. Rev. Rob Simpson asked what we’re paying attention to, in his morning devotional. Moving on to the business session, there was a sweet spirit during the elections and we moved smoothly through the morning.

After an informative report from Lex re: the NSW district, Rex encouraged us to prayerfully consider moving to NSW to support the work there. Brendan Edwards asked Rex if he had a list of those he wanted to go!!!

We were so efficient the business was completed early and we had a bit of extra free time to catch-up with old friends. (Networking…that’s what they call it now)! The afternoon electives were again well attended and informative. The only complaint was having to pick only 2 of the 5 great options.

Friday night the worship again drew us into the presence of God. Joel shared from Joshua 1:2-9; 6:17-19 “Growing into your Next and New!” Challenging us to step out in faith where God leads. God added His own emphasis to a number of Joel’s points with some raucous thunder claps during the message.

Saturday morning was a leisurely late start due to the efficiency of the delegates in completing all the business the day prior. We were blessed to be ministered to in song by the Tongan Choir, and also by the Chinese Choir. It is such a blessing to be a part of a truly multicultural church.

Dr. Sifa Lokotui shared in the morning service from 1 Timothy 6:1-16 “The Pastor and the Personal Life of Holiness”. He teased that Rex had set him a difficult challenge by asking him to preach in front of so many other pastors, when English is his 2nd language. However, his challenge to us was very clear and poignant. The secret to our ministry and solution to our mistakes is to surrender ourselves to Christ. Have Thine own way Lord….

The highlight of the conference was the opportunity to celebrate the ordination of Siosifa Kaliopasi, Brendan Edwards and Pam Reid. It is wonderful to acknowledge the sacrifice, call and commitment as new pastors rise up to lead our denomination. We were then able to share in a time of communion together, led by Rev Kay Fulcher, where the new ordinands and their spouses served us the elements.

God met with us over the 2½ days, and so emulating the chairman of the Olympic committee I would like to declare this conference “The best conference ever”!

Merryl Farmer
LifeChurch

Posted in Sth Qld District

Childers

These Sunday School teachers & students (some missing from photo) had a great idea to raise money for the Bible Society.
A Father’s Day BBQ and dessert was held after church, the children helped and made bookmarks and biscuits for sale. Also for sale were jams & relish.
Other activities included “Guess the Jelly Beans in the bottle” and “Knockems”.  A total of $855.65 was raised and forwarded to the Bible Society.
We praise God for these precious children and thank our church folk for the wonderful support for their efforts.

Dorothy Haaksma

Posted in Sth Qld District

Kingsley Update

Some great Kingsley subjects have been offered in this past semester, among them has been Mentoring Leaders (Major). Simon Damen (Salvation Army) joined the class as a guest lecturer, experienced mentor and all-round great guy. Simon was able to coach us on the skills and spirit needed of a great mentor. Students from across the country connected via web conference and now have the task of putting their knowledge and skills into practice by mentoring others- now (for assessment), and for the years to come (because they are passionate about mentoring).

 

 

 

 

 

District conferences this year saw the ordination of Daryl Walker, David Eco and Jonathan Cole. It is exciting to see how the college had a small part to play in equipping these ordinands to follow their calling.

As a college, we are as passionate about equipping lay men and women for their ministry as we are about providing training to ordination. As God calls men and women into leadership in His church it is exciting to celebrate and pray for God’s blessing on the ministry of those ordained into His service.

 

 

 

 

 

I, as principal of the college, have had a busy few weeks travelling to all four conferences. But the time spent with Kingsley trainers, Kingsley students, pastors and potential students has been valuable. The college works well because of the great team of trainers who invest their lives into others. In the next few weeks we will welcome even more trainers into that team- that means more men and women will be equipped and gain the skills they need to better serve their Lord. That’s good news in anyone’s language!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Brown
Principal

Posted in WMCA

Commitment

Commitment. What a subject to write about. I am forever conscious of those around me that shine as a result of their commitment to serve God.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun. Ps. 37:5-6 NIV

I think of the many people that work in the background with very little acknowledgement. As someone who is in front where everyone one can see, I am often acknowledged. However, most of my efforts come from God’s enabling and also because of the highly committed people that He has placed around me.

There is a phrase that is often in my reports, “Together we can make a difference”. This is becoming more and more of a reality. God is drawing us closer together and empowering us to make a difference. I believe that we are in a good place as a denomination. We are on a precipice looking out at the beginning of a new day of opportunities, that God has given us.

I see this in the unity that we are experiencing across the districts. I see it in the leaders that are taking up the National Impulse that is led by Troy and Steph.

I see it in the vision statement –

“We are celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple,
and a church multiplies itself, until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia.”

In the midst of writing this, I attended the memorial service of Gordon’s mother, Valerie Kuss. The stories of her life were a beautiful tribute to one who lived with a deep commitment to love God, her family and those who crossed her path. As I sat listening, one question came to mind. What would be said at the end of my life? This is a question that we all need to ask. Are the commitments that we are making touching those around us for the glory of God? Are we leaving a legacy of love in the hearts of those who cross our path? If not then maybe we should have a good look at the core of our commitments. Everyone is committed, but to what is the question.

Another significant part of this day for me is Lien and my 32nd Wedding Anniversary. Many of us know that to keep a healthy marriage, requires the commitment of two. I might be able to share something of that commitment, however, I also acknowledge the quality of my wife’s commitment for she is the one in the background that often goes unnoticed. Yet she empowers our marriage in so many ways. So much of what I do, is a testimony to the commitment of her love.

Therefore, as I reflect on this word commitment, I am empowered by the commitment of the many around me and especially those that often go unnoticed.

Father, thank you for those around me who inspire me to commit my way to You. Help me in all my commitments, to reflect the depth and the beauty of your sacrificial love.

Posted in A Word from Rev Rex

Sth Qld District HSC

For six wonderful days in July, 124 youth and 27 leaders from South Queensland District gathered on the Sunshine Coast for an amazing week of fellowship at High School Camp!  Our camp theme was SOAR, and we spent the week digging into Isaiah 40:31, “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

During the week, Pastor Atu Lagi (NZ National Youth Director) shared from his personal experience how God can use our stories for His glory, and how we need to forgive others, as God has forgiven us. Through the course of the camp we saw 7 youth make first time faith commitments, 20 make a recommitment having turned away from God completely and 79 express a desire to go deeper in their faith – Praise God!

We also got to enjoy an awesome day at the beach, a bonfire, the “Amazing Race” and our annual celebration of our graduating Grade 12s on our formal night.  The best part, according to most of the campers, was catching up with old friends and making new ones and we look forward to next year when we can share together again!

Rachel Mayer – South Queensland District Youth Director

Posted in Sth Qld District

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