2019 blogs - all categories

A Heart for God
  Sonia Gillis  -  2019-12-5 15:31:21
 
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.    (Luke 1:37-38)
In the lead up to Christmas, as we reflect on the glorious coming of our saviour, we also reflect on the humble means by which He came. Jesus came to earth as the son of Mary and Joseph. Mary was told an amazing thing would happen to her, that she was to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And while Mary was a young woman of faith and she may have known that the saviour was coming, she would not have known that she had a significant part to play in God’s plan. An angel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive a son, the son of God. Though concerned, and more than likely confused, her response was one of humble submission. She was a young woman who was a perfect example of love and obedience. Her trust and faith in God meant she was able to embrace the path before her, as mother of Jesus on earth. We can learn a lot from Mary about how we too can embrace all God has planned for us. I pray that you feel blessed this holiday season with the knowledge that your God is faithful to His promises. He is behind you every step of the way on the path towards His kingdom.
 

Advent
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-11-27 15:49:02
 
The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:16

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and, when used in conjunction with Christmas, reminds us of the anticipation and expectation held over hundreds of years by the people of Israel for the arrival of their Messiah and promised King. Today, we mark Advent with the display of a wreath. Its circle reminds us of God Himself, eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen, reminding us of the hope of eternal life. The four outer candles represent the time of waiting and preparation for Jesus during the four Sundays of Advent. The light of the candles reminds us of the Light of the world, and the prophetic promise of His coming. The white candle, lit on Christmas Day, reminds us of His first Advent and the pure, humble means by which He came. In this season of Advent, may we all encourage one another with the promise that Jesus Himself will return in splendour and majesty. May our lives, thoughts and words reflect our desire for the coming return of Jesus, our glorious King.
 

Humility
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-11-21 08:09:05
 
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

During his ministry, Christ lived a life of servant leadership. In obedience to his Father, he humbled himself and ensured that his motives for action were focussed on others and not himself. Jesus didn’t act because of what he wanted or could get out of the situation. His actions were centred on his Father’s will and on helping others to focus on God’s love and grace. The writer of the above verse from the letter to the congregation in Philippi wanted them to stop using their own desires and ambitions as the driver of actions. Instead, they were reminded to act like Christ and not see themselves as more special or more worthy than others. In the same way, we are reminded that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s family and when we put others first then we display Christ-like character through love and humility.
 

Remember to Pray
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-11-18 09:00:18
 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)
The current bushfire crisis has heightened our awareness of how quickly nature can change circumstances. And that there are so many fires at the catastrophic level can leave us feeling helpless about what to do. At these times, our collective prayers can still be powerful. May we pray for those affected and those who are being threatened by fires, and let us pray for the firefighters and volunteers who give so much to protect people and property. Ask God to watch over the affected communities and to minimise the losses that so many are experiencing. And pray that we can assist in whatever practical ways are needed so that collectively we look after our brothers and sisters in need.
 

God Speaks Through the Prophets
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-11-6 15:45:59
 
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me; The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know me.”

This week I spoke during chapel about the prophets in the Old Testament. As God spoke through them, he explained the current circumstances of the people (which were usually not going well because they’d taken their focus off God), outlined the situation they’d continue to face if they persisted, and described what life would be like when the Saviour arrived. When talking about the existing relationship with God at the time, he used the images of broken marriages and of children rebelling against their parents. In the passage above, God is saying, “What’s wrong with these people? Even the animals know to stay close to the one who takes care of them.” Jesus wasn’t mentioned by name but the events that would take place through the Saviour’s arrival were foretold, along with how the broken relationship with God would be restored at that time. Some of the prophets also foretold of Jesus’ second coming, which we currently wait for with anticipation. When that day arrives, God will raise all to life again and create a new heaven and earth because of his great and eternal love for each of us to be with him in close relationship.
 

Luther's Rose
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-10-31 08:12:25
 
Although Halloween has now clearly embedded itself in Australian culture, tomorrow is also Reformation Day. The Reformation was when Martin Luther challenged the church teachings, particularly around justification, and so the protestant movement began. As the teachings of Luther gathered momentum, he oversaw the creation of a symbol to reflect his theological understandings. Now known as the Luther Rose, below is how Luther described the meanings of each component.
"Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural colour, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Rom. 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural colour. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the colour of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal. This is my compendium theologiae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen." 

God's Whisper
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-10-23 15:59:29
 
After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)
In yesterday’s Senior Chapel, we heard about God whispering to the prophet, Elijah. Elijah worked hard to convince people that the true God should be worshipped rather than false gods and idols. Elijah even allowed God to be put to the test to prove he was real, and God responded with spectacular results! And yet, it wasn’t in any of those events that Elijah heard God speak. It was actually in a quiet moment, when Elijah heard God’s whisper. In a similar way, we usually don’t hear God shouting clear instructions at us. It’s more a feeling of inner peace about the decisions made and the path walked that lets us know when we’re hearing God’s voice, which is always for our good. 

Resting in God's Strength
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-10-16 13:55:19
 
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might he increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29)
We’re only a week and a half into this term and the school is already buzzing with activity and events. For some that’s exciting and for others a sense of being overwhelmed is created. The busyness of life demands active engagement and high energy. In reality, though, we can often be left feeling depleted or inadequate. It’s at these times that God most earnestly reminds us to call on him for our strength and we are encouraged to take time to be still so we can refocus and recharge. Instead of pushing him aside in an attempt to get through our schedule, it’s precisely taking the time to pause with him that will sustain and uphold us. As we work towards the end of the year, may we all keep God at our centre. 

The Unmasked God
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-10-9 15:27:22
 
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Throughout the Old Testament, God revealed himself primarily to the Israelites through the judges and prophets. But even then, there were things that people were unsure about in terms of what was expected of us and how to execute God’s desires correctly. And then a new dawn arrived in history when Jesus began his ministry. He showed us with great clarity what God’s plan is, how he wanted us to live, that the old covenant was finished and that a new one with Jesus at the centre was now established. The Old Testament is a bit like when the Masked Singers are giving their clues: we can be guided but may not interpret things perfectly. And the New Testament is similar to when the masked singer is revealed; suddenly things are clearer, we see how the messages fit together and point to the person, and we have the chance to hear firsthand about God. How blessed we are that we live in a time when we know God as revealed through his Son, and that when we experience doubt or confusion, we can confidently go to the words of Jesus to know what God requires, expects and offers. 

In Union with the Lord
  Adam Richardson  -  2019-09-18 16:46:45
 
May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

With our 35th anniversary Celebration Day this week, it’s worth remembering that the journey hasn’t been made alone. Christ has always been with us, remaining central to our ethos and approach to education. That doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect, though. No Christian or Christian community has ever been in that situation. After all, we are flawed individuals who suffer at the hands of sin in our world. However, knowing that Christ has walked the human journey himself, and that he continues to walk with us in our life journey, can give us much comfort and peace. When faced with troubles, call on him for strength. When filled with joy, give him praise. And for the past 35 years, we give God our thanks. 

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