2018 principal blogs

God's Love Covers our Imperfections
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-06-14 09:17:01
Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. (Job 1:22)

This week in chapel I was talking about Job from the Old Testament. He was quite superstitious and lived in fear of God’s punishment. He strongly believed in balancing out wrongs with rights so that he didn’t get into a deficit situation with God. He also complained a lot to God and about God in regards to his circumstances that seemed to go from bad to worse. Job didn’t believe that he deserved his circumstances and that he was only suffering because God was mean.

After endless complaining, Job’s friends and mentors called him a fool in terms of his thinking about God. They could see that he wasn’t perfect and that God wasn’t just being mean to him. Life happens and, when Job finally understood that, his fortunes began to change. Once he relied on God, rather than blaming God, he was blessed with more than he ever previously had.

So how does that fit with the verse above? Well, it needs to be read from the perspective of God’s eyes. Even though Job did sin, and even though he cursed God regularly, God’s love for Job forgave those things. God saw him as perfect because he is a God of grace. In the same way, even though we make mistakes and have misfortunes in life, God’s love and grace for us covers over those things and makes us new again and righteous in his eyes.

Participate with Integrity
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-06-7 09:33:47
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 
(2 Timothy 2:5)

Today we had our athletics carnival and again witnessed great efforts, friendly competition and wonderful team spirit and sportsmanship. Of course, the success of the day is dependent upon everyone – competitors and officials – all following the rules and expectations for the various events. Without that, consistency and fairness are lost and disharmony increases. This passage from 2 Timothy reminds us to also live our lives with fairness and integrity if we are to join in the celebrations God has planned for us. We are to treat each other well and keep our focus and trust in God. Then we can enjoy all that he has planned for us here on earth and later in heaven.

The Interceding Spirit
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-05-31 09:17:17
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26)

I know this passage from Romans is about the Holy Spirit interceding on our behalf with prayers to God, and that the Spirit is so close to our heavenly Father that the words don’t even need to be audible. However, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit regularly steps into my life in other ways too. Or perhaps the Spirit has prayed to God on my behalf and God has acted on those prayers. For example, people closer to me know that I say things like, “There you go, it’s the Holy Spirit at work again,” or perhaps, “That’s the Holy Spirit intervening.” The times I say these types of things are usually when something done unintentionally could go pear shaped, be embarrassing or become a bigger issue but then, just in time, an event happens to alert me to the issue and it can be corrected. Maybe an unrelated conversation triggers the error realisation, maybe an email shifts someone’s thoughts or another event changes the course of things and all works out for the best. Crisis averted! Some will say that’s just coincidence but I know the interceding events usually also take a few things to line up in order to raise the awareness of the impending problem. And I’m thankful that I have that kind of faith and trust in God. I certainly can’t just do whatever I want – that usually doesn’t end up so well – but in those times of genuine mistake, I see the blessing being offered and give thanks to God and to the Spirit for interceding on my behalf.

Flamin' Good News
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-05-24 12:45:40
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

I feel like I’m channelling Alf Stewart with the title above, but it’s really a reference to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to us after Jesus ascended back to heaven. Our Year 2 students and Pastor Paul shared the Pentecost message very well last Sunday, helping us to understand how amazed the 3 000 or so people gathered were when they saw tongues of fire above people’s heads and heard the disciples speaking in their own regional languages all at the same time. The Holy Spirit has always existed but with the coming of Jesus and the ushering in of the New Covenant between God and his people, we live in a time when the gospel, rather than the law, is the prime focus. The Holy Spirit helps us with our relationships, with our development of faith and with our connection to God. Now that’s pretty flamin’ good news!

The Growing To Do List
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-05-17 09:11:27
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I know I’m not alone in this but my list of things to do seems to be growing exponentially. I have a tower of sticky notes, I have several digital lists and apps that require multiple scrolls to see everything, and I have a few boxes under my desk (and a full cupboard) with items that need attention. And then there are the 3 987 unopened emails (and that’s after all the deleted and previously attended to ones have been removed) that sit in my Inbox. There’s a point of realisation that even if I spent every waking hour on the current list then it would take weeks to get through – and that assumes that no new tasks got added along the way. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. No doubt you feel the same with your life and home / work commitments.

It’s exactly at these times that I need to stop and draw upon the strength that God offers. Spending time asking for his support, seeking his guidance and thanking him for what I have achieved helps to sustain me. I know that he understands what being busy is about and having to prioritise items – Jesus faced this many times during his ministry too – and that he will walk the path with me and carry me through when needed. May you call upon him too when you need an extra measure of strength to get through your To Do lists.

Rising to Heaven
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-05-10 08:05:54
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. (Luke 24:50-53)

Tomorrow is Ascension in the church calendar and marks an important time in Jesus’ ministry. However, it doesn’t always get a lot of attention, especially when compared to his birth, death and resurrection at Christmas and Easter. But Ascension is the bridge between Jesus’ earthly human existence and his return to heaven where he sits at the right hand of God, our Father. The right-hand side is the most trusted position and shows us that Jesus reigns with his Father. Ascension also sits just before Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent to us by Jesus to help with our faith development and to grow God’s kingdom. Together all 3 are God, and each is separately God. Conceptually that can be difficult to understand but it needn’t trouble us. Many things about adults can seem difficult to comprehend by children but they gain that wisdom in time, just as we will when we are finally reunited with God. For now, it’s sufficient to know that Jesus didn’t die again. He is living eternally with God and is waiting for the time when he will return to earth.

Be Patient
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-05-3 12:53:51
If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)

Each morning I take a moment to look out my bedroom window and enjoy the sight of our garden. Most of the plants are now relatively mature and not growing as much, but I remember planting many of them as tiny shrubs or trees and imagining what they’d look like in a few years’ time. With that time now passed, lots of them have grown even more than their original tags indicated (in some cases 100% bigger) and the reward for my patience has been similarly increased.

I’m connected to our garden in a way that would never happen in a park or at someone else’s house because I’ve invested so much into it. In the same way, our relationship with God can take time to develop. It grows because of the commitment we invest in the relationship and the connection deepens over time. God is patient enough to wait for us to build a strong relationship with him, and we need to be patient when he doesn’t always do things in the timeframe we desire. But when we are patient, we get to experience rewards that are larger than we ever imagined. 

  Adam Richardson  -  2018-04-24 14:42:18
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

During Anzac Day we focus our thoughts on the sacrifices that so many people have made for our freedom. They have served for us, fought for us and died for us in numerous conflicts and peacekeeping operations. That’s a significant commitment to ensure long- term peace can be achieved and we should never take those actions for granted. Being prepared to die for someone else, especially someone you don’t even know, is an incredible gesture of kindness, love, selflessness and sacrifice.

Jesus represents that in its ultimate form. He was without sin and yet he fulfilled his Father’s will to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people at all times past, present and future. The weight of the burden must have been immense and yet he hung on the cross and asked his Father to forgive the very people who were killing him. Jesus died, descended to hell, won the battle over sin and evil and rose again in full glory, showing that he really is the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour.

This Anzac Day, may we give thanks to all those who have given of themselves so we can have a better life, just as at Easter we give thanks to Jesus for giving us the gift of eternal life.

Walking Together
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-04-19 11:29:17
Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)

Each day on my drive to work, I see an elderly couple having a morning walk. The stretch I see them on overlooks the city, so I guess they start the day feeling energised and excited as the morning sun reveals the day ahead. I don’t know where they walk to or for how long but they are always together at the same time of day. I’m sure they’ve built up many happy memories together and have come to rely on one another to stay fit and active in retirement. I like to think of God being the same with us. Wherever we go, he is walking beside us, keeping us company and looking out for us. He also can bring us energy and give us that warm feeling that comes from being in a loving relationship where we are the most important thing to him. This term, whatever it may bring for you, I pray that you rejoice in the knowledge that God is always with you and that you feel his warmth in your heart.

Rest, Refresh and Reconnect
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-03-28 15:31:09
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)

With the school break upon us, it is time for students to rest and refresh after a busy term. It can be a chance for parents to rest a little too, as you put aside the morning rush and the evening routines that keep the wheels moving during school weeks. And it’s important to do so, and to take the opportunity to reconnect with your children in a more relaxed and casual way. Spend time visiting a museum or art gallery, play some board games, discover new walking trails, stroll along the beach, head to the airport and watch some planes, visit portside and farewell a cruise ship or go to the Commonwealth Games. Whatever it is you choose, make sure you reconnect, create new fond memories and celebrate the wonderful world that God has given to us to enjoy together, always giving him the glory for our many blessings. May you have a wonderful Easter and school break.

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