2018 principal blogs

Celebration Sunday
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-03-22 11:58:15
 
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

After Jesus’ death for our sins on Good Friday, his body was placed in a guarded tomb. This is because the Jewish Sabbath, or day of rest, was on Saturday and so they could not attend to preparing Jesus’ body for burial until Sunday. But when his family and friends entered the tomb on Sunday morning, they found that Jesus’ body was missing. At first distressed, they quickly learnt that he was alive, just as he had said would happen. After demonstrating his power over sin and evil, Jesus rose to life again and spent several weeks amongst the people. They ate with him, observed the wounds in his hands and side from the crucifixion, and finally understood his messages about God’s plan for our salvation. Easter Sunday is when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, for that is when he showed that he is indeed the Son of God. And he did it all for us to gain eternal life in heaven. 

No Longer Separated from God
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-03-14 14:46:27
 
The curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38)

At the heart of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was a space known as the Holy of Holies. This was seen as the space where God resided and only the High Priest could enter. This occurred each year at the Passover when he would offer a sacrifice in return for the forgiveness of everyone’s sins. This sacred space was separated from the rest of the temple areas by a large curtain reaching several stories high.

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain tore in two, highlighting that Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice for everyone’s sins and that, because of Jesus, we would no longer be cut off from God. It’s also significant that the curtain tears from the top, showing us that it is because of God’s hand (God’s work) that we are reconnected to him. It is not because of anything we have done.

Our God loves us so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, who was innocent and without sin, to die for our mistakes. Let us give thanks for that this coming Easter season. 

Lutherans and Lent
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-03-7 13:51:40
 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Lent occurs in the 40 days before Easter. Unlike Catholics, Lutherans don’t see Lent as a sacred tradition that must be upheld. Instead, they view it as a positive tradition that can help prepare for Easter by having us reflect about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. Some Lutherans use Lent as a time to give up something as a symbolic reminder of Jesus giving up his life. It’s also a time to think about our sins and to appreciate how great God’s love for us is that he took upon himself the punishment that we deserve. As we approach this Easter season, may we use Lent to give thanks that our Heavenly Father sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to be the perfect sacrifice, knowing that there is nothing we could do that would be sufficient to earn God’s favour. May we also take the time to begin focussing on the real meaning of Easter and to share the message of Jesus’ love.
 

The Intersection of Peace
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-02-28 15:28:04
 
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)

Our focus theme for this year is Peace and I found a number of things intersecting on that topic last Friday when I took the Student Council Executive to the United Nations Association of Australia Global Citizens School Program at Parliament House. One of the speakers and hosts was retired Bundaberg minister, Clem Campbell. He made the point several times that Peace was the key to making positive progress in societies, for it is only when peace exists that people work together to make things better for everyone. Peace allows conversation, peace allows building up rather than destruction, peace allows celebration and inclusion, and peace allows improvement for all groups. At the same time, the Executive students focussed their project idea on building greater harmony and peace between students so that everyone could feel happier at school and not be subject to negative or hurtful comments. And 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice peace agreement at the end of WWI, which will be a focus project for our school during this year. So I sat there smiling at how these unrelated people and ideas were all intersecting at the same point – the important of Peace for our community and our world.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and I believe we are challenged to be the agents of that peace. Within our school we will act locally but with a global view for change. So many parts of our nation and world require peace at this time. Changing hearts is the first step. Changing actions is the second. I pray that our community will always be a leader in those areas as we live as God’s people.
 

Under Attack
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-02-21 15:15:28
 
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:1-5)

The media regularly highlights the way people are under attack these days for simply sharing a view or taking a particular position on an issue. Even when their social media post is about something positive, it doesn’t seem to take long for people to find fault with it. Perhaps they feel the smiling baby should be wearing a wide-brimmed hat and the parents are labelled as irresponsible, perhaps the clothing the person is wearing is challenged because it’s not available to everyone at K-Mart or, as often happens, the comments flow from the respondents not having the full story or from not keeping the situation in context.

Attacking others seems to be the go-to default for many people in the 21st Century but does that make it right to do? No. And is it unique to our time in history? Again, no. Negative comments may be more readily sharable and distributed in our modern, always connected world but it’s been going on for thousands of years in one way or another. Even Jesus, who as God’s Son was perfect and without sin, was attacked for his actions, statements and beliefs.

We see things best from our own vantage point and we generally believe that our thoughts and feelings are more right and more important than other people’s. The challenge, of course, is for us to understand the journey that others are on and consider whether it really requires our comment and outrage. If we all take a deep breath and a step back, God reminds us that we will find greater contentment and peace within our communities when we give and receive in the way that we would like to be treated. At Good News we aren’t perfect either, but when we actively work towards maintaining our core values of Identity, Compassion and Respect then we’ll ensure that our school and the relationships within it are special, positive and transformative for a lifetime.
 

Everyday Action
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-02-14 13:34:50
 
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

The annual National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence is only a month away, being held on 16 March. Good News has been involved for a number of years to highlight the desire for a bullying and violence free world. Of course, it’s not just one day a year that we seek to remember this; it is everyday, and it is positive actions everyday that will make a difference. The Bible is clear on this too. Throughout the New Testament, in particular, we are told to care for one another, to treat others as we would like to be treated and to interact without violence and hurt in all forms. Yet clearly we still have a way to go. Yes, we live in a sinful world but that’s not a licence to actively hurt others. Daily we need to think about our own actions that hurt others, particularly when we are in a position of relative power, and make the necessary changes to what we do. When we all achieve that, then a bullying and violence free world will be attainable. Over the coming month, as we work towards the National Day of Action, let’s consider and change where necessary what we say and do, so that all can celebrate a community that is just as God intends for us to enjoy.
 

Brokenness and Grace
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-02-7 14:46:44
 
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
(2 Corinthians 12:8b)

Finishing my series on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, this week I’m focussing on our weaknesses – our brokenness – as an important part of leading us to God’s grace. Paul was initially a hater of Christians and set about rounding them up for persecution. Through a life changing event, however, he not only became a Christian but also one of its biggest evangelists. All was not perfect, though. Paul speaks of a “thorn in his flesh” that he repeatedly asks God to take away but God’s answer is that his grace is sufficient to allow Paul to cope. Paul shares that it is in our brokenness, in our struggles and challenges and in those things that make us call upon God the most that show us our need for his grace and forgiveness. We are all imperfect and we are made strong again in our weakness because of God’s love and light through Jesus Christ.
 

Boasting in our Failures
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-02-1 08:13:35
 
If I must boast, I will boast about things that show how weak I am. (2 Corinthians 11:30)
Continuing from last week’s focus on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he explained that we are like fragile jars of clay to carry the message of God, Paul also outlines his struggle with being questioned on his level of Christian commitment and suitability as a minister. Paul feels compelled to explain all that he has done and endured to counter their claims but knows that in doing so he would not be “living as Jesus did”. At no point did Jesus boast about who he was or what he did. If recognition was given, it was always by giving glory to our Heavenly Father for the actions and outcome. So Paul decides that the best way forward is to boast about his failures: and most especially the things that show up his need to depend on God. For in the end, it is the troubling times, the hardships we face and the weaknesses we acknowledge that light up our need for God’s mercy and grace. We are imperfect and cannot do everything alone but through Jesus we are made right again. This year, may we acknowledge our own faults and call upon God for the strength we need to endure the things that we cannot face alone. For through God, nothing is impossible. 

Clay Jars
  Adam Richardson  -  2018-01-29 15:54:47
 
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Last week our staff devotions focussed on Paul’s second letter to the congregation in Corinth. Paul was writing to congratulate them on changing some of their ways of behaving but also to address some of the new challenges that were forming in the early church. He reminds the people that they are like jars of clay that God has made for the purpose of carrying the message of God’s salvation. But why refer to a material that can crack and break so easily? Because it shows that we are not perfect and that we need to rely on God for our continued strength. It also reminds us that it is through our brokenness that we recognise our need for God and his saving grace.
 

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