When Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Law, he didn’t know what he was going to get was a revelation of the character and nature of God:

Exodus 34 6And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

This is a beautiful picture of the love and compassion and graciousness of God toward His children, contrasted against the truth of His justice and judgement of sin and rebellion.

We all deserve to be treated in the latter way, but because of the character of God, we get to be treated in the former way. God’s heart is for people. It is for people who are lost, for people who are seeking, for people in need. He is compassionate, gracious, patient, loving and forgiving.

The heart of God for all people is seen again and again throughout Scripture, and it’s particularly clear that His heart is for the weak and powerless (see James 1:27, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 12:5, 146:7 just to name a few). The heart of Jesus’ ministry also focused on the weak, powerless and needy. And it’s particularly clear that we also are called to show compassion towards the powerless and down-trodden in our society.

We are called not to jump on the bandwagon of ‘us and them’, or of stepping on or over others to get ahead, or of pointing the finger or oppressing another people group. In fact we’re called to go out of our way to lift others up and in so doing, bring about some measure of equality. To exhibit the character of God in us by offering compassion and grace, when we’d rather withhold it. James says thisis true religion!

This… the extending of a hand of help or friendship to someone who – it’s easy to think – doesn’t deserve it, as God in Christ Jesus did for us. This…the hard but merciful act of forgiving a painful offence when it would be easier to hold a grudge. This…  the personally challenging gift of giving yourself (time) or your possessions (wealth) to benefit another person, who, we think, ought to take responsibility for their own lives.

Compassion is seeing the need in others and being moved to action, not just feeling bad, it’s actually doing something about it. That costs us, as it did our Lord. It’s the way of the cross and it’s the way for a Christian.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  [Philippians 2:5-11]

Rev Rob Simpson
Sth Qld District Assistant District Superintendent

Recently the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand ran their National Conference, ConneXion. Rev. Rex Rigby was able to attend and preach at the opening worship service.

The Conference was a wonderful time of fellowship as well as a fruitful time of business. Richard Waugh was re-elected as National Superintendent.

Within Kingsley College our vision is to develop and equip people to work in and through their local church to shape their world. We do that work to develop and equip others by connecting students to training in a training centre in person or via web conference. Our 10433NAT Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology* is an excellent platform for equipping lay people for their ministry, and it also works as the first year of study for ministerial candidates.

Beyond equipping lay people and ministerial candidates, we also endeavor to draw in others looking for non-accredited training- be that lay people or experienced leaders. This photo tells some of that story:

In this past semester Paul joined the Leading and Developing Othersclass as an experienced leader looking for professional development. Scott and Scott completed the subject as the final subject toward ordination in the *Graduate Certificate. Nuku and Elisiva studied as part of their journey toward ordination. Paul joined the trainer in person, while the rest of the class joined via web conference. All of the students were challenged to develop as leaders and equipped to lead others well.

Around the country men and women joined Kingsley Community classes and gained the training to equip them for the ministry God has for them. 2018 has been another good year of ministry training. We are exciting by what God will do in the life of the college in 2019.

Please be praying that God will call many more women into study in 2019.
Pray that word will spread to international students who are seeking study with a Methodist college in Australia.
Pray for Kingsley College trainers- as they seek to serve God with the teaching gifts He has given.
*Kingsley College delivers training under the auspice of Unity College Australia RTO 6330, CRICOS code 02160A.
Kevin Brown
Principle

Discovering Discipleship Pathwayswas the clear theme for this year’s selection of speakers as we took on the first of three years inspired by our National Heartbeat. Next year we will be Discovering Leadership Pathways and in the third year we will Discover how to grow and become POD Churches.

 It was truly a family atmospherewith Rev Melissa George (National Children’s Director) engaged with 17 primary -aged children and Jonathan McClintock (District Youth Director) motivating 13 High School age children in a total of 82 people in caravans, campervans, and cabins. A potential snake bite and a near-tragic swimming incident only served to strengthen the bonds between us and heighten our worship of our Lord.

While 7 of our 8 churches were represented – we missed our dear brothers and sisters from the One Mob Fellowship church and Band – we are excited with the prospect of planting two new churches in the coming year. Co-labourer’s support this year is being directed to the new church plant at Elliot Springs, the Cairns replant, One Mob Fellowship and another potential church plant.

Over the past 12 months, our District celebrated the Ordination of David Robertson; the arrival of Kenneth Wilson from Canada (Townsville WMC Youth & Young Adults); the appointment of Carol Major as Supply Pastor to One Mob Fellowship WMC, increased membership (177-181) and attendances in worship(+3%), small groups (+4%) and Sunday School (+54%).

The elected District Leadership team, almost unchanged, is working well together and looking forward to spiritual and numerical growth both in new churches, and also in membership with only 19 more to reach Provisional District Status.

The messages from a variety of speakers complemented each other:

  • Rev Stuart Hall – the urgency to take the time and personal commitment to see Christ formed in our disciple-making;
  • Rev Rex Rigby – abiding: choose your connections, they determine your capacity;
  • Rev David Robertson – the necessary heart choices to become fruitful disciples
  • Rev Keith Rose – being qualified, not under-, over-, or dis-qualified.
  • Rev Ron McClintock – presented their Yeppoon “under construction” Discipleship Pathway
  • Rev Dr Don Hardgrave – challenged us to be ready in a day of opportunity with the message of holiness needed for a might spiritual awakening in our day.

Presentations were also given by Rev Kevin Brown about Kingsley Australia, by Mrs Ruth Thomas about World Hope Australia and by Rev David Collins about Wesleyan World Missions (focus on the Solomon Islands)

Our Church family went out inspired by the messages, encouraged by the fellowship, hopeful for the harvest and prepared to pay the price to be true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Rev Stuart Hall
Nth Qld District Superintendent

Out of the passage in Matthew 25:34-40) comes the words of Jesus,“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” * (ESV)

I had the privilege of sharing over the last month in New Zealand and Melbourne on the theme, ‘There are Ghosts all around us’. I was not talking about Charles Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol’.  And for the movie buffs I am not talking about the Bruce Willis movie, The Six Sense with the statement “I see dead people.”

I am talking about the invisible people; the people that feel that they are unnoticed and not understood. They are the ghosts in the crowd, the invisibles.  I have had people tell that they feel invisible, unnoticed and not understood.  Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D said that,“if we do not or can’t, experience others as understanding us — who we are and what we’re about — then all of these other wants can end up feeling relatively meaningless.” [1]

It is as the song Mr. Cellophane from the musical Chicago states.

If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised their voice up way out loud
And waved their arm and shook his leg
You’d notice him

If someone in the movie show
Yelled, “Fire”, in the second row
This whole place is a powder keg
You’d notice him

And even without clucking like a hen
Everyone gets noticed, now and then
Unless of course, that personage should be
Invisible, inconsequential me

Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name
Mr. Cellophane ’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me and never know I’m there.

By John C. Reilly 2001

 To feel you are not noticed, to feel you don’t belong, to feel you are not understood is to feel invisible. There are ghosts all around us.  They are in our churches, and in our communities.  The invisibles at times can be those of our own culture who just can’t seem to fit in. They can be those that are outside the dominate culture and for both groups it is like living in the shadows.  The words of Jesus, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” * (ESV) confront me and calls me to go to them.  A concerning danger that we face today is that we have a consumer concept of church. The idea that it’s about me and what I can get out of it. Meanwhile there are ghosts in our midst that are crying out to be heard and to be understood to the point where they do not feel they are valued, and they lack a deep sense of belonging. Maybe we all feel like this at times.

To see this change requires of us all an adherence to passages like, Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV) “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

 The question for us is how we can do this; how can we live out this biblical mandate? It can be as simple as first looking around and noticing the invisibles and then going out of our way, moving out from a place of comfort to welcome the strangers in our churches and in our communities.  It may require a step of faith to go to those in the shadows and a faith that responds to the interests of others.

When the baby Jesus was lying in a feeding troth in a barn, some might have said that’s ok; that he was an unimportant child.  If only they had known who he was.  We have the opportunity of welcoming the ones that may appear unimportant!  And not just at Christmas.

Some other verses to note.  Deuteronomy 10:19, Leviticus 19:34 and Hebrews 13:1.

Questions

  • Who are the strangers?
  • How can I welcome them?
  • How can we live out Philippians 2:3-4?

Rev Rex E Rigby
National Superintendent

Wesleyan Women (WW) have been planning for a number of years for a National Women’s Retreat. Our planning and prayers came to fruition in August this year with Rise Up Retreat. The enthusiasm for Rise Up was beyond what we could have anticipated. We were booked beyond capacity weeks before the event. Rise Up was a coordinated effort between the National WW Executive, and I’m thankful for the support, wisdom and efforts of this team, and the South Queensland Wesleyan Women’s committee. SQWW had a mammoth task to coordinate the details for the efficient and smooth running of the weekend but their attention to detail, their work ethic and passion was beyond measure. I continue to be overwhelmed by this team and my heart overflows with gratitude.

We were blessed with Dr JoAnne Lyon as our keynote speaker. She brought powerful messages from the front and exhibited a humble and down-to-earth manner in every interaction. What a blessing to have her with us. I am confident that her messages continue to resonate with each of us.

What we didn’t anticipate was the response from our sisters from the Solomon’s and PNG. We had nearly forty women present from our neighbouring countries. Our own women rose to the challenge to assist with the extra expenses with fundraising going towards bus hire, linen hire and helping with registration fees but we heard of the incredible and concerted efforts of women from SI and PNG to raise their own funds to join us. What an honour to have women from all over our nation and overseas.

One particular highlight for me was to have Gloria Philip, SI National Wesleyan Women Director, bring one of the messages. Over the years WW has provided speakers for the SI Women’s Conferences so inviting Gloria, a respected leader and teacher, to bring a message to us was a significant moment. Teaching and resourcing was also provided via workshops. Cheri Floyd spoke on cross cultural ministry, Julie Tyler taught on domestic violence and Ange Van Der Leeuw shared on hope and healing.

I could continue to elaborate on the many moments comprising the weekend but enough to say that it was evident to all that the Holy Spirit had brought us together and God’s work was achieved over the weekend. All glory to God.

Mrs Annette Dobson (National Director WW)

Church Planting Study Becoming a Reality
It has been almost two years since David Robertson completed study of Church Planting and Development with Kingsley College. His final project for the subject was to draft a proposal for a church plant. David’s pastor, Hugh Cameron, asked if this proposal could become a reality. But David said “No,” he was happy serving in the Capital Wesleyan church in Townsville. But God has had other ideas…

At the recent North Queensland conference David and Stacey Robertson and their team announced the plans to plant Hope Church in Elliot Springs, Townsville. The church plant will be supported by both existing Townsville churches and the North Qld district.
David said of the church plant, “Hope Church at Elliot Springs is gaining momentum. The church plant will be located 15kms south of Townsville in a new satellite city that is at present only made up of a handful of display homes. At its completion the 1,600 hectares will be home to over 26,000 people.”

David and Stacey are forming a team and working toward a launch for the church in February 2019.
At the college, we are excited to see students putting their study into practice. This is not the first time that a project in the Church Planting subject has led to an actual church plant. Nor is this the only example of how a Kingsley student has applied their study to practical ministry. But it is a recent, exciting example.

Please be praying for this particular church plant, and also for the many Kingsley College students across the country who are learning, growing in confidence, and applying what they have learned.

International Students Welcome at Kingsley College
Great news for 2019! International students can apply to study with Kingsley College at the Broadmeadows campus in 2019. Please pass on the news to your international contacts, and encourage them to contact the college and begin the visa application process.

Another option for people looking to study an Australian award is that they continue to live and minister in their country, but connect to Australian classes via web conference. Once again, if you have contacts overseas who would like to study Christian Ministry and Theology- then please put them in touch with the college office M: 0423 127 199 E: kingsley@kingsley.edu.au
These are exciting study opportunities for international students- they can come to Australian to study, or connect to classes via web conference. Please be praying as we follow up contacts and look to serve others through on-going contacts.

Kevin Brown
Principle

The South Queensland District Conference was held on the 27th and 28th of September 2018. The venue was Three Sixteen WMC who did a fantastic job hosting the event.

Pastor Brett Hoy led us in worship each day and we were blessed with a daily devotional by Rev Kay Fulcher (Glass House WMC) and Jeanie Trudel (Principal of Christian Heritage College). Rev Dr Lex Akers chaired our business sessions very competently and sometimes entertainingly.

I am proud to report the following leaders who were elected to district positions:

Rev Rex Rigby was re-elected to serve as our District Superintendent for another 2 years; Rev Rob Simpson was also re-elected to serve as our Assistant District Superintendent.

Scott Griffith was elected to serve as our Youth Director, Jade Griffith to serve as our Women’s Director, Warwick Stone as our Prayer Secretary, Claire Markotanyos as our Young Adults Director, and Bonnie Thompson as our Children’s Director. Other re-elections were Jeff Adams as Secretary, Gordon Kuss as Treasurer, Doug Ring as Statistician and Rod Hall as World Missions Director.

You might have thought that after all that electing we had been doing, there wouldn’t be time for anything else – But wait! There’s more!

Elective sessions were run after each business session. The topics for these sessions were Church boards (by Rev Rob Simpson), Membership (by Rev Dr Lex Akers), policies and compliance (by Jeff Adams), and Worship (by Ps Brett Hoy). There was also a Kids Forum and a Youth Forum, where questions could be answered by our district’s kids and youth professionals.

I personally felt blessed to have been involved in a wonderful conference attended by amazing leaders. I have huge confidence that the South Qld District of the Wesleyan Methodist Church is heading in the right direction and I praise God for the work he is doing through his faithful servants.

Bless you all and see you next year!

Jade Griffith
Gayndah WMC

Unless we understand that fasting is an act of worship, it can develop into an attempt to manipulate God.  Noting Dr Elmer Towns, “Even if we wanted to, we could not manipulate God. We fast and pray for results, but the results are in God’s hands. One of the greatest spiritual benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God—becoming more aware of our own inadequacies and His adequacy, our own contingencies and His self-sufficiency—and listening to what He wants us to be and do.”[1]

As I contemplate fasting the question that comes to mind is, what is at the core of fasting?

Is it the discipline of sacrifice to make us feel closer to God in an attempt please to him? This sounds too much like works.  A lady told me some 30 years ago, that she liked to walk to church because it made her feel she had sacrificed something to God and that it prepared her for church. In those early days I though just listening to my messages were sacrifice enough. However scripture reminds us, ‘For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ * Psalms 51:16-17 (ESV)

Fasting and prayer is a journey of a contrite heart, a journey that may bring about a brokenness as we encounter God.  Brokenness from the trials and struggles of life is the motivation that leads us into time of special prayer and fasting.  Fasting is a journey of transformation, a journey away from the everyday distraction seeking for a greater clarity to listen.  It is a journey of humility coming to that place of renewed dependence upon God.  It is also a search for answers, wisdom, direction and the intervention of God. Where do you need an intervention of God today?

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ * Psalms 51:17 (ESV) The broken spirit may be the place of coming to the end of ourselves, that place where we acknowledge that we cannot do it in our strength. It is the place of true repentance and of total dependence upon God; it is the place of the contrite heart, the humble heart that is not self-reliant but God reliant. As the song writers penned,

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Songwriters: Keith Getty / Stuart Townend. In Christ Alone lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Prayer and fasting is sometimes seen as a means of moving heaven and hell, however I believe that it is a place firstly to move us, to the place where we depend on Christ alone and walking in the peace and joy of His presence, in line with his will.  As the Lord’s Prayer states in Matthew 10:6 KJV. ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’,and in our lives first.  When this happens, everything changes for; this is the journey of prayer and fasting.

[1]https://www.shadesofgrace.org/2013/01/12/fasting-day-4-quotes-about-fasting/