Merry Christmas to everyone reading this our last newsletter for the year!
Last week I witnessed one of the most gracious, generous and loving acts of kindness I’ve ever seen. Our very own Jess Pinkerton attended to the needs of two men who came seeking help from Community Helping Hand. They came on the wrong day and out of hours.
They were looking for food but they were in a very poor state in terms of their own health and personal hygiene. They were apparently homeless, looked a bit scary and did smell very badly. They were babbling what sounded largely like nonsense to me & Jess, (I was there for moral support) and we couldn’t do much more than listen.
One man’s feet and ankles were so swollen that he had to wear thongs because shoes would no longer fit on his feet. As a consequence he had badly stubbed his little toe which was bleeding and looked terrible. Jess and I eventually decided we should offer some kind of cleaning – perhaps a shower – but the man said “no, just my feet please”.
As Jess rolled up his trouser legs, we discovered enormous ulcers on both legs which were deep, surrounded by dead skin and had some very grubby bandages on. On one leg the two ulcers were about the size of my fist in width. On the other leg the ulcer was even bigger: as large as my palm and fingers. And they smelled, and it was horrible.
But Jess put on her gloves and bathed his feet and legs; carefully wiped away some of the dead skin and put some decent bandages on. While she was doing this he fell asleep in the chair, right there. His mate had meanwhile gone to sit down on the bench under our church porch and had also fallen asleep.
We learned afterwards from the police that probably they were coming down from an “Ice high” which was why they couldn’t stay awake. There’s a lot more that could be said about this episode but the main point I wanted to highlight was the very practical way Jess found to be “good news” to those men. Sometimes the gospel is not complicated, even if it is difficult.
It seems fitting at Christmas, when we recall God getting his own hands dirty, as it were, to come and live amongst us as Jesus. Next year we’ll be “Digging into Discipleship” and one of things we’ll learn over and again is the need to find a living (if not perfect) example of what it means to follow Jesus. Good on you Jess, for showing us the way!
God bless you all this Christmas and into the New Year, Ian.
Welcome to everyone reading this newsletter, whether online or in print. We’re glad you’re a part of us and we’re a part of you – which is what makes God’s family so special. If we can ever do anything to help you and improve your sense of belonging, please do let us know.
- Our Annual Meeting is coming up fast on 31st March. We aim to do at least three things at that meeting:
- Receive the annual reports
- Begin to cast Vision for the short to medium term future
- Elect elders to oversee and steward all this process.
There are information brochures about the Elders’ elections available in the foyer of the church, at the church office or indeed you can contact Helen during office hours and she will get one to you ASAP. (Unfortunately due to my recent illness we are a bit short of time on this but if we all act swiftly and with good grace we should get there!)
On the day we will have a special morning tea, which will be provided, after our usual combined service at 9:30am. We hope to commence the meeting at 11:15am and be done in time to be home for a reasonable lunch! Please do come if you can – it’s so important that we are all informed and take ownership of our future together. If you’re worried about the kids, we will have some activities for them to do so please don’t let that stop you!
It has been an excellent 12 months and we have much to be thankful for as you will read in the reports. God really does appear to be doing something special amongst us and its only just beginning! I wonder how you can be directly or indirectly involved? Do come, find out and get inspired!
News from next door at Enoggera State School is that they will be receiving a new Principal at the beginning of term 2. This feels hard – things were starting to settle down after so many changes over the last few years. And of course very tough for Angela the outgoing Principal having to find a new placement. But let us redouble our prayers for this next season for her and the school, especially for a smooth transition and continued good relationship between our two communities.
By the way, I don’t know if you’ve been to check out the newly refurbished office space – it’s wonderful and all those who use it are very grateful for a warmer, more welcoming feel and a far more efficient use of space. Thank you for allowing it to happen. Likewise the new playground work at Tiny Town looks stunning - the committee are to be congratulated.
I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting if not before.
In His grip and grace,
Welcome to Emmanuel!
We hope you find both a place to belong and launching place from which to do mission. We are Real People with Relevant Faith for Our Community and we’re glad to have you with us!
It’s good to be back with you all after such a long time. Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and well-wishes. I think God has granted me a “re-boot” for which I am very grateful. My Grandpa Weaver died at 52 from a heart attack and this genetic influence seems the most likely contributor to mine. I’m on a bunch of tablets each day now to keep my blood thin and coupled with a high protein, low carb diet and some decent exercise should see me right for another 20-25 years, at least!
Inevitably, I suppose, it has given me a chance to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going to in life. It was sobering to think that if medical knowledge had not advanced in the 70 years since my grandpa died I would have already joined him! So I’ve been giving thanks to God for all that advancement. But I’ve also been asking Him how best to use the extra time now given me. The answer has been unequivocal - “Follow Jesus and help others to find and follow Him also”.
This is what the essence of Missional Discipleship is – it’s all about knowing and following Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. It’s not that complicated!
Writing on Discipleship, Jim Packer wrote, “we can see what sort of thing Christian simplicity is - not naivety or dim wittedness, but sincerity and straightforwardness in facing the moral and spiritual demands of being Christ’s person . . . simplicity was seen supremely in Jesus, and is a mark of stature in his followers. If ever you have met a genuinely holy person, you know that already.”
The two most helpful questions I’ve found in my own discipleship are these: What is God saying? & What are you going to do about it? In other words (and let’s make no mistake about it!) – God is speaking to us all, if only we would learn to listen. He is calling us all into a life following his Son – learning to imitate his words, works and ways.
2019 is our year of “Digging into Discipleship”. May I encourage you also to take stock.
Do you hear from God?
How can you trust what you hear?
And if it is trustworthy, what are you going to do about it?
In His grip and grace,
Emmanuel is a community filled with various expressions of Christian faith.
We have fellowship groups to encourage community and friendship in a Christ centred context, and Explore groups which exist to foster a passionate growth in Biblical literacy and faithful discipleship to Christ. We have worship lead out the front by people with gifts and talents in performing arts and communication, as well as technology focused individuals and the many who manage and share the responsibilities of the offering and the celebration of communion, working behind the scenes. We have men and women who are the “front page” of our worship services as they warmly welcome all who enter into the building and those who faithfully serve morning tea as the services end. Emmanuel is a faith community that ministers to children and youth through our Sunday School, Brigades, and Youth Band and shows Christs love to our community through Tiny Town, our dedication to community helping hand and our continued support of Enoggera State School.
As we launch into the new year as a church family, we’ve decided to take time in each of the services until March 3rd to commission our leaders of the groups we have a Emmanuel. Each of these groups listed as well as more that goes on through our expression of faith to our community is ministry and it is helpful to remember that it is both a privilege and a responsibility. Thankfully, as we partner with God in His ministry we have the honour of receiving the Holy Spirit who we work alongside as we minister to people in our various capacities. While we recognise our groups we’d also like to recognise that our faith need not only be expressed in the church building but also in our homes and into the rest of our lives. We recognise that there are many whose expressions of faith are most clearly seen in their relationships and one on one conversations with people.
As we commission our various ministries throughout February, and recognise the amazing things that God is doing through the people who make Emmanuel we, the ministry team, would like to say thank you. Thank you for being a community of Christ. I look forward to seeing what the year has in store as we continue to learn to discern where God is leading us.
Grace and Peace