18th July – 16th Ordinary Sunday

Today is Mission Sunday, a special Sunday we set aside each year to focus on the command Jesus gave to his disciples to make disciples of all nations.  We’re going to be joined online by our BCA mission partners, the Van’t Spyker family, working in Yeppoon in Queensland.  (Originally they were to be here in person, but we can do that another time!)

The roof project is underway, as you’ll see from the photo.  Scaffolding is up around the church, and the slate work is expected to begin next week.

I am starting a new series of sermons called The Christian Life Inside-Out (a reference to the children’s movie Inside Out which is all about emotions).  We are going to explore the emotional life of a Christian under topics such as fear, joy, shame and compassion.  This week, the topic is Gratitude.

You may have heard that there has been significant unrest in South Africa following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.  Christian brothers and sisters close to Sydney’s Anglican Aid have been distressingly close to all this.  Steve Rockwell, from George Whitefield College in Cape Town, described it like this:

“Imagine 10,000 people storming your local Westfield and totally destroying it, stripping everything off every shelf of every shop and then setting the whole thing on fire. But even as I type that … it’s still not the same. It’s very hard to understand and appreciate the desperation of the situation in this country.

Fifty years of apartheid and twenty-five years of corrupt democratic leadership, combine that with COVID deaths and over a year’s worth of constant lockdowns and infrastructure failures and near 50% unemployment – all of it has left the country on its knees.

People are desperate, and this is the outcome. Zuma’s imprisonment was merely a spark on a veritable forest of dry tinder that has been systemically prepared for ignition over decades, generations even.”

Family members of some of our own parishioners are also living near the sites of the unrest.

Our friends in South Africa have asked us to be praying for them in this crisis.  We will be praying in today’s service, but can I also suggest you pray along these lines:

  • That the Lord will show his hand of mercy and quell violence and criminal acts.

  • That South Africa’s leaders will exercise wise leadership both in speech and action as they try to quell factions and build unity.

  • For God’s people to visibly demonstrate true reconciliation, unity and peace that is found in Christ and seen in the ‘every tongue, tribe and nation’ family of God.

  • For God to work through this crisis to draw people to himself.

Finally, the Van’t Spykers have shared these prayer points with us:

  • Thanks be to God for a great first 12 months here in Yeppoon. He has provided friends and lovely neighbours for our kids and for us, a welcoming church who is enthusiastic about having us, a great start for the programs we have put in place, and a wider Christian community who has been encouraging in our work at school and at church.

  • Please pray for our work to bear fruit, for hearts to be softened and minds to be opened, that families and young people may repent and turn to Christ.

  • Please pray for our family and marriage to be strengthened as we serve one another and with one another here in Yeppoon. For us to put on the whole armour of God and stand firm on Jesus the rock.

Please see the attached support card for more information on how to support the Van’t Spykers’ work.