A Right to Life

You will no doubt be aware of the so-called “Reproductive Health” Bill that is before the NSW Parliament. This Bill will have wide-ranging effects on the frequency of abortions across our State as it will mean people can have this procedure for any reason.

The Christian faith encourages us to care for “widows and orphans:, ie to stand up for, and alongside, the weak, vulnerable and powerless. It is therefore important for us to stand alongside, and care for, the women who, for whatever reason, are considering having an abortion. However, it is also important for us to consider the best interests of the children in the womb who obviously cannot speak for themselves.

Can I encourage you to read and consider signing the petition at the back of the Church today, which the Archbishop will take with him this week as he presents to the Social Issues Committee of the Legislative Assembly who are considering this Bill.

Please also pray for a wise and just outcome.

The Times, They are a-Changin’”

So sang Bob Dylan in 1964 in the midst of tumultuous times. Perhaps, after last week’s announcement, you can relate to it ... I certainly can!

It has been a difficult process to go through, considering whether we should leave St Peter’s, but we really believe that God has been at work leading us to this decision.

In the midst of such times of uncertainty, it’s a great comfort to know that God is always with us. In our staff meeting this week we were encouraged by Psalm 136, which contains the constant refrain: “His love endures forever”. A promise that’s worth clinging to, I reckon!

Thank you

I want to say how great it is to be back after my recent medical adventures! I also want to say a huge “Thank You” to everyone who has been praying for me, enquiring about my health, dropping in cards or “care packages”, and much more.

I have been so encouraged by the love and care everyone has shown my family and me over the last month or so. Jesus said, “Love one another, for by this all people will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34). Well, I can say without any doubt that I have experienced this kind of love from our church community first hand, and I can only encourage you all to keep loving each other in the same way, and to pray that through the demonstration of that love many people will come to know the love of Jesus for them.

Over my Dead Body

Over my dead body” is a phrase that some of usmay have thought or said when we were under pressure.

It seems that Jonah may have been thinking in a similar fashion three times in Jonah.

In Chapter 4 , Jonah tells God that he would rather be dead than see God show compassion to the Assyrians. Yet for all of his hardness of heart, God continues to care for Jonah and talk to him about his problem. God never gives up on his people.

David, on behalf of Steve.

The Successful Prophet

Words are important. Your life has gone downdifferent paths because you said either “Yes” or “No”. Words can be used to encourage or tocriticise. They can help or hinder. Many things start or finish with a word.

The book of Jonah starts with a word. “The word of the Lord came to Jonah”. Jonah said “No” and so we have a “whale of a time”.
Not wanting to tell the Ninevites about his compassionate, caring God, Jonah sets off for Spain, only to tell some sailors about his God .. they come to a faith in the God of the Hebrews. Reluctantly, he eventually does as God tells him. He preaches the shortest sermon ever and againpeople’s lives are changed. The book of Jonah isabout words .. God’s word .. and how it can bringencouragement and help to disobedient people.

David, on behalf of Steve.

The Tale of Jonah

A whale of a tale” is often how the Book of Jonah is described. This month we start a short series on God’s dealing with the only prophet in all of the Bible who decides to disobey Him. Brave man, you might say, or an idiot!

There are two ways that people can disobey God. One is to not have Him in their lives at all by not trusting in Jesus. The second is, as followers of Jesus, to keep some sins to ourselves.

This week, as we look at Chapter 1, we will think about areas of our lives where we might not be listening to God through His Word, the Bible.

David, on behalf of Steve

St Peter's Has Got Talent

In recent years there has been an explosive growth in the “talent” industry. There are so many reality TV programs nowadays, looking for those with hidden“talents”. Thebasicideaisthatifyou’vegota particular skill (singing, dancing, cooking, juggling ...) you should get the opportunity to use it.

The search for “talent”, however, is not a new thing. In today’s parable Jesus tells the story of three servants who are given different amounts of “talents” (units of money, not skills) and are asked to put them to good use. Those who do so are richly rewarded, while the one who hides his away experiences judgement.

Our God is a loving and generous God. He has given us so many blessings - home, family, jobs, money, health, time, as well as our different skills and abilities. It’s fair to say that “St Peter’s has got talent”. The question is, will we use these blessings for the glory of God and the extension of His kingdom or will we “hide them away”or simply use them for our own interests. If Jesus returned today, would He find you using the blessings He has given you for yourself or for Him and His kingdom?

Accepting The Invitation

There’s been quite a shift in the way people respond to invitations today. In the past, an invitation came with an RSVP, which was strictly adhered to. It was considered rude and inconsiderate not to reply by the date given.

Today, however, thanks largely to Facebook I think, if they reply at all, people will often give a “Maybe” or “Interested”, rather than committing to a “Yes” or “No”.

In today’s parable (Mt 22:1-14), we see an invitation from the king to come to his son’s wedding banquet. You’d think it would be a “no-brainer” (who wouldn’t want an invitation to a Royal Wedding?), but instead the invitees either totally ignore the invitation, or even attack the ones bringing it!

God sends out such an invitation to us all to come to the “wedding banquet” of His Son. However, so many people are too busy, too distracted, or too hostile to take it up. Don’t make that mistake! Don’t just tick “Interested” to God’s invite. Grab hold of it with two hands and take your place at God’s table through faith in His Son.

Happy Anniversary

Today we celebrate 67 years of gospel ministry here at St Peter’s!

Firstly, we must look back and give thanks to God for all the things He has done here over the years. Perhaps you can think of people who have become Christians, who have been supported through life’s challenges, who have gone on to serve God in some kind of fulltime ministry, or maybe just the many ways God has been at work in your own life, moulding and shaping you to be more like Jesus.

Secondly, we must look forward. We have not “made it”. Our ministry is not over. Until Christ returns, we continue with the mission He gave us, being His witnesses, being salt and light in our dark, lost world. Having given thanks to God for the past, let’s also fall to our knees to ask Him to continue to do even more out of His bountiful grace in the years to come, that we might see the kingdom of God grow and His name glorified among the people of East Lindfield and beyond.

Amazing Grace

You probably know well the story behind the hymn “Amazing Grace”. John Newton was the captain of a slave ship transporting human cargo to America. He was a drunkard, abusive, depressed and wicked. Even his crew regarded him as little more than an animal.

However, through a particularly harrowing ordeal at sea, God was able to break through his wickedness to help him see his need of God’s salvation.

The fact that God, through his grace, was able to forgive and accept him moved him to write the now famous hymn.

In today’s parable (Mt 20:1-16), Jesus reminds us that each one of us are also recipients of this grace, & challenges us to be thankful even for the grace God pours out onto others.

Many Thanks

I wanted to say thank you so much for all those who were praying for Lorna, Ros and myself during our recent trip to Zambia. It was so encouraging to know that you were all with us in spirit, and your prayers were certainly answered! Thank you also to Parish Council for providing the funds that made it possible for us to go.

We were all blessed with good health and were excited to see the different ways God was working over the two weeks. Lorna spent some really valuable time in the two schools, teaching recorder as well as helping those who had fallen behind in their literacy. I had the great pleasure of teaching the Bible to groups of Pastors and other church leaders who were all so excited and thankful to have the opportunity to be fed from God’sWord.

Please keep praying for the work of Zambia’s Child andespecially for Gary Jackson, Bruce and Margaret Goldingay as they continue to serve the people there for the next week or so.