Come Once, Come Weekly

Did you make it to a Sunday Service yesterday?

At Redlands CRC in the AM we welcomed Redland City Mayor, Melva Hobson and Councillor Wendy Boglary, and we hosted representatives from Queensland Police, State Emergency Services, and Queensland Fire & Rescue Service. To celebrate our National Day of Thanksgiving, we wanted to specifically thank those who work in police and emergency services. So we issued special invitations, got in the commercial espresso machines, and treated them to some great Christian affirmation. We also made gestures of thanks to some in the church family who do so much behind the scenes and yet who are not often affirmed. It was great to honour God together for what he does through people! It was so encouraging to hear (and feel) the buzz in the room! It really is good to glorify God as we meet together. Thanks for being part it!

Truth is, not everyone makes it every Sunday. For some, this is unavoidable. Whether through career or other circumstance, from time to time we just cannot make it.

But did you know that a proportion of the Redlands CRC family attend only once every two or three weeks?

Is that you?

I know: no one needs a guilt trip. But having a good look at how we spend our time, and what we spend our time on, could be a timely thing to do. I’ll leave that exercise to you…

As you think about Sundays, though, it’s good to remember the metaphor Paul uses to describe the church in 1 Cor 12. He refers to it as ‘the body of Christ’. One of the key points he makes is this:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. ” (1 Corinthians 12:27, TNIV)

God wants you to be active in the church. If your typical attendance pattern is to come every second week, or every third week, or less – have you ever thought about the impact that has on the body? You might think that it doesn’t matter too much whether you’re there or not. If you don’t think it matters, try this: take just one piece of your body out of the picture – just for a day. Let’s say, your left hand. You’re probably right handed – it shouldn’t matter that much, right? Or a toe – or even a section of a toe – ever tried walking with an ingrown toenail? See, if just one small part is out of action, the rest of the body knows all about it.

The reality is that God really loves it when the body is working well. Every part of it. He loves it when the body is healthy. He loves is when the body worships and serves and works the best that it possibly can. He loves it when the whole family meets and worships together!

It may even be that the body needs you more than you need the body. Either way, when the whole body works well together, God is honoured and is grace is more evident in the church and in the world.

So why not make a plan to come more regularly: come once, come weekly. Glorify God with His people, and together pray that the wonderful news of his son will be carried into his world just that little bit better as we do.

Dave

Members of Queensland Fire & Rescue, along with Cr Wendy Boglary
Dave Groenenboom, Tom Short (SES), and Mayor Melva Hobson

Another QF&R Officer with some of the more important people at Redlands CRC

Photos: Kev Hudson

Where is God in all this?

Are you asking why? I am. I do regularly when things happen that that hurt and leave me a mangled.

My problem is that I don’t ever get too far past that question.

And I’m guessing that there are many people in Australia and the world over for whom the question ‘why’ is a regular and relentless visitor.

As a follower of Jesus I am not immune to pain and grief and doubt. The questions come

  • What have I done to deserve this?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Is this how God works?
  • Where is God in all of this?

Those questions were driven home with even more intensity this morning as I learned of a Melbourne Pastor who has announced his view that the fires in Victoria are a result of that state’s abortion laws. I am no supporter of abortion, but these words are ugly.

Reading them made me sick. Right in the gut. Angry. And very, very sad.

That voice sounds so arrogant, insensitive, and judgemental. It is devoid of all hope and grace. It reminds me of fingernails running down the blackboard: just stop it. It is callous and heartless. It perpetuates the pain of this tragedy.

And then I got thinking about the big question: ‘where is God in all of this?’

While I’m wary of platitudes, I think there’s something in the Bible’s picture of a seeking God, who risks his own comfort and safety to go after the lost and the broken.

So here is my portrait, for what it’s worth…

 

 

I saw Jesus this morning. You may disagree, and others may doubt. But I saw Jesus. I did.

He’s the fellow in the orange suit, the red goggles, the gloves, and the big hard hat.

He was standing there, leaning forward against the pressure of the water.

Beating back the flames.

Now, his face is blistered and burned from the heat.

He’s feeling spent.

But he’s there to save people, to fight fire. To turn back hell on itself.

He’s the bloke wiping the sweat from his brow. Staring. Cuppa in his hand, it’s tipping a little, like he has no strength left.

And you can see the tracks of his tears down the blackened, dirty cheeks.

 

See the pilot of the Ericson Aircrane dousing the flames with water?

Did you see the woman, weeping on the shoulder of another, because her husband had died?

Or the policewoman, with the mask to her face, looking into the shell of the burnt out car. What is she holding back?

Or the ambo, holding the mask to the guy with the badly burned arm.

Or in every one of the $15m currently pledged from one man to his mate.

This is where God is. At the rescue’s front line. Bringing hope. And a new beginning out of hell’s inferno. He’s been in this business a long time. And we shouldn’t be surprised to see him show up the way he does.

 

 

Shalom

Let’s unite to bring relief in flood & fire tragedy

Hear the cry… Help the grieving… Lift up the broken… Bear the burdens… Share with those in need…

Today I have been struggling to grasp the size of the natural disasters in Victoria (Bushfires) and northern Queensland (Floods).

I was watching the Channel Nine news last night, when I heard that well known Melbourne newscaster Brian Naylor and his wife, Moiree, had perished in the fire. I choked up a bit about that. I did not know the Naylor family personally, but he seemed a likeable man, someone who genuinely cared for other human beings. It then occurred to me that there are many other families affected by the fires, either by death of friends and loved ones, significant loss of property and homes. Or simply the terror of being threatened by fires, or in the case of northern Queensland (the town of Ingham in particular), rising floodwaters.

It’s Monday afternoon here in Brisbane, 2:45pm, and the death and damage toll is rising every hour. Everyone says the numbers will get worse in the next few days.

Here are a few stats as they stand at present

Queensland

Cyclones and heavy rains have brought severe flooding to northern Queensland

  • Ingham residents isolated for the eighth successive day
  • Townsville residents sandbagging in expectation of a king tide
  • Millions of dollars of fruit produce have been lost, the cane harvest in worst affected areas has been ruined http://tinyurl.com/aeagcm
  • Many towns are isolated, many people are homeless
  • Damage bill could exceed A$190million

Victoria

  • 128 confirmed dead in Victorian Bushfires
  • The towns of Kinglake and Marysville have been almost wiped off the map
  • Over 30 fires still raging
  • Over 5000 people homeless as a result of the fires

Excellent news coverage for both Queensland and Victoria on the ABC News web portal: http://www.abc.net.au/news/

Give Generously

Now is not the time to argue about which agency should receive the funds, whether they go through churches, or community or denominational groups. People have died, thousands are homeless. Grief, trauma, and severe hardship has invaded the lives of too many people.

Now is the time to act. Act now. Be compassionate. Help your brother. Hear the cry of your sister. Care for the children. Read Matthew 25:31-40

And God would just want us to come to their aid, so here’s how you do it:

Bushfire Appeal: channel funds through the Australian Red Cross. Red Cross have stated that 100% of the funds donated will go to victims and their families. You can go straight to the donations page at https://www.redcross.org.au/Donations/onlineDonations.asp

Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal: Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, has launched a special fund to help alleviate the effects of flooding in northern Queensland. People can donate to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal by:

• Phone: 1800 173 349. The Smart Services Qld Call Centre will be open 24 hours a day.

• Mail: Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal, PO Box 15185, City East, Qld 4002.

• In person: Visit CBA, NAB, Westpac, ANZ, Bank of Qld or Suncorp.

• Internet banking: Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal, BSB: 064 013, Account number: 1000 6800

These agencies have a proven track record, capacity to deliver, forces on the ground, and public transparency.

God loves cheerful, generous and courageous givers.

Now is the time to act. Go for it!

Shalom,

Dave Groenenboom