In-person church gatherings will resume on 27th Sept. Pre-registration is required for attendance. In parallel, live-streaming of the 10am Service on Sundays will be done via our Penno Connect channel on YouTube. 

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Posts by John Macindoe

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Penno's COVID-Safe Plan

COVID_Safe_Badge_A3 - black

PennoBaps' COVID Safe plan is officially registered and is available for everyone to read. Please have a look at the document linked below. PennoBaps' COVID Safe plan PennoBaps will commence single Sunday morning service at 10am with attendance limited to 100 people. Registration is required to attend this service. The first service will be on August 2nd, 2020. ...

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Debt Wiped

thumb up

I've been planning a two-week holiday for months. Anna and I were soon off to Japan to catch up with our son, Adam, eat wonderful food, and go places we had not been before. And then Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, I contacted the booking agency and was told that it would cost $1000 to cancel our flights. We really wanted to go, and we didn't want to lose $1000. So, we decid...

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Antidote to Despair


The past few months have been tough. First there was drought. Water restrictions bit hard as lawns and gardens turned brown and farmers despaired. Then came bushfires. Week after week of smoke, haze, and destruction coupled with loss of property and loss of life. Then came the rains a mercy to be sure, but why so much at one time? Rivers flooded, roofs leaked, trees fell, ...

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Merry Christmas

merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone At least I think so If that's OK? If you don't mind. Not everyone likes 'Merry Christmas' and I'm not talking about those who prefer the vacuous term 'Happy Holidays'. I remember being told that it's not an appropriate greeting in church circles and that we should also be circumspect about singing the carol 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'. Apparent...

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Coronavirus & Christians


Coronavirus COVID-19. It's big news and it's scary news. We don't know how far the virus will spread, how many people will be infected, and most worryingly, how many will die. Health officials warn of a likely pandemic and urge preparedness. How should Christians respond? Four general comments: God is on the Throne: There are many things we don't understand and even more ...

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Back in the 19th Century


I spent a recent weekend at Boot Camp in Katoomba with the young men of our church. We had a great time. And it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained just as it did back here at Pennant Hills. Indeed, it rained so much I had trouble getting home. Three trees fell and brought down two power poles over the road that leads to our house. As a result, our little nook of ...

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Content with Yourself


Last week I shared some thoughts from my son, Adam. At the risk of overplaying my hand, I'd like to share just one more thought from his core values that caught my attention. Adam lives in Tokyo, works a busy job, and was reflecting on 'Life in the Fast Lane'. Moogie is our brown Labrador. Moogie has taught me a lot about being simple. He's usually the one in the room...

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God's Church at Mission

united hands

Our son, Adam, has been living and working in Japan for the past few years. Recently he wrote down what he considered to be his core values. He shared these with Anna and I, and after checking, he's OK with me sharing some of his thoughts with you. Here is some of what he wrote on mission: Most people quote the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20 when thinking about ...

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Bildad's Advice

suffering statue

Anna and I have been reading through the book of Job. It can be tough. From Chapters 3 to 31, after intense personal suffering, Job sits in mourning with three of his friends. How do you make sense life, and hope, and God when your world has completely disintegrated around you? Job's friends offer advice. They encourage, they reason, and they rebuke. Job kicks back. He ca...

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Up Close and Personal

ghost boats

On our recent holiday Anna and I stayed in a house at North Arm Cove. You could look out (despite the bush fire smoke) and see, dotted below, yachts and motorboats sitting at their moorings. From a distance they looked luxurious even decadent. I could imagine myself standing at the till, sails unfurled, sunglasses on, wind in my face, drink in hand, Anna preparing a fea...

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Child Safety - Riding the Wave


The recently completed Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended 10 child safe standards that every organisation working with children should adhere to. The NSW government has indicated that compliance with these Child Safe Standards will soon become mandatory for all organisations that provide services to children, including churc...

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Joyful Submission

moogs man bright

The following devotion was written by my neighbour, Colin Noble, who is Chaplain at William Clarke College in Kellyville. Can you identify the characters maybe even yourself? I set out for a morning walk with my dog, Tara. She's a rescue dog a mongrel who tips the scales at about 35 kilos. To her, dogs under 10 kilos have always been annoying rodents viewable only as p...

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Body Life & Pool Maintenance


Anyone can keep a pool clean in winter, but as summer approaches you need to be on your game. Nobody likes green water, so out to the pool I go. I notice a few things not right. First, the skimmer box inflow is very low. Debris remains on the water surface after the filtration cycle is finished. Perhaps something's wrong with my filtration pump that could be expensive. S...

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I Have Read My Bible Very Well


In 1727 an ailing King George I introduced an Act of Parliament to allow German born composer, George Frederick Handel, to become a naturalised British citizen. Handel's first commission was to write the music for the coronation of George's son, who later that year was crowned King George II. Handel's four coronation anthems have been used in British coronations ever sinc...

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Right in the middle of Paul's oft quoted exhortation to 'Rejoice in the Lord always', and 'Be not anxious about anything' but rather pray with thanksgiving so that 'the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus', is a frequently overlooked phrase. Right in the middle of this wonderful passage Paul says, 'Let your gentleness be evident to all' (Phil 4:5...

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Slavery & Freedom


I found an anecdote about a visit Abraham Lincoln once made to a slave auction. I doubt it's true, but it makes for a good story. Lincoln's heart was drawn to a young woman on the block. She looked with hatred and contempt on everyone around her. She had been used and abused all her life, and this time was but one more cruel humiliation. The bidding began, and Lincoln off...

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Will God Forget?

mum and tot

One thing I've had the pleasure of observing over recent years is many of our young couples becoming parents for the first time. Their lives are transformed, literally, overnight. This transformation seems especially powerful for the new mums. Young women who previously seemed so distracted - busy with career, social life, coping with their husband, church ministries, o...

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A Strange Encouragement

study note

I had an unexpected encouragement this week I'd like to share with you. I was searching for a Bible study on Jeremiah amongst the collection of notes amassed on top of my bookcase. I didn't find the book I wanted but bumped into another study from Jeremiah on the topic of endurance. Like many Bible studies, it starts with a general question to facilitate discussion: Comp...

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Community - Old and Young

old people 4 year old

Erin encouraged Anna and I to watch a new reality TV program that runs on the ABC on Tuesday nights (also streaming online at ABC iview). As a rule, I'm not that keen on reality TV, but we gave it a go. What a great show! It had complex characters, drama, and suspense. We laughed, we cried, and were constantly wondering what would happen next. Watch it: 'Old People's Home...

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The Master's Voice


I often walk through the bush near our place in the early morning or late afternoon, just as the light is changing. It's noisy, very noisy. In summer cicada song fills the air as they raise their voices (or drum their abdomens) in joyful chorus. At other times of year kookaburras laugh, and parrots of various sorts squeak, squawk and squabble in the tree tops. But the sou...

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Encounter Bay


On the 8th April 1802, Matthew Flinders sailed his ship, the Investigator, into a sheltered harbour near what is now Adelaide. He was on a voyage of exploration, mapping the 'Unknown' south Australian coastline. Much to his surprise he discovered a French vessel, the Geographe, captained by Nicolas Baudin, at anchor in the same harbour. France, ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte,...

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For Men: Seeking a Happy Marrige

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I came across this little story by Marilyn K. McAuley. It outlines the secret to a successful marriage. Relationships are complex and perhaps it's a bit simple. But it sure has the ring of truth about it. See what you think: A couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary were asked what the secret was to a successful marriage. As the elderly are wont to do, the old...

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Reach for the Stars

reach boy

I wrote this back in 2007. Still holds true today. There is hope in Jesus. It's been one sad story after another. Keith Urban, gifted singer/songwriter, marries a glamorous Aussie movie star, and a couple of months later checks in for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Two weeks ago pop-star Robbie Williams, at the peak of his career, is admitted to rehab for prescriptio...

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Flying Crooked

white butterfly

I love this poem. Flying Crooked The butterfly, a cabbage white,(His honest idiocy of flight)Will never now, it is too late,Master the art of flying straight,Yet has who knows so well as I?-A just sense of how not to fly:He lurches here and here by guessAnd God and hope and hopelessness.Even the acrobatic swiftHas not his flying-crooked gift. Robert Graves ...

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Bonsai Christians


We have a book at home compiled by the Directors of the Japan Bonsai Association called 'The Masters' Book of Bonsai'. It tells you everything you need to know to create an award winning bonsai. Bonsai is the art of growing trees in a small pot so that, although perhaps only a foot tall, they give the appearance of a tree, to quote, 'found high in the mountains, or a form...

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Peculiar People

Camp 2019

The word 'peculiar', in common usage, means, 'different to what is normal or expected; strange'. So, wearing a clown suit on a commuter train that's peculiar. Planning a romantic weekend getaway in Bankstown that's peculiar. Writing a novel with a crayon that's really peculiar. This year's church camp theme is 'Peculiar People' because Christians are supposed to be p...

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Bouncing or Bearing


The following devotion from Matthew Jacoby challenges my 'bouncing ball' personality. 'A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger' (Proverbs 15:1). Conflict is like one of those very bouncy bouncing balls. Every time it hits a hard surface it is propelled back up in the air. Likewise, conflict is perpetuated by hard hearts and anger bounces back ...

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Listen to Your Heart?

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When life is a struggle and dreams hang in the breeze, when you're not sure what's next and long for a hopeful tomorrow, what should you do? The mantra of our culture is clear. 'Listen to your heart. Be true to yourself and go wherever your heart should lead'. Celebrities tell us it's true. 'The Voice' affirms it. Disney has built an industry on this message. And pop psy...

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Israel Folau and Religious Freedom

Glenn Davies

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, this week issued a statement on theIsrael Folau furore that has swamped media coverage over past weeks. I quote in part: "Israel Folau's right to express his faith and act according to his conscience is of fundamental importance in any democracy, and it is of great concern to many Australians that this right is being denied a...

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A.C.T.I.V.E Prayer

ACtive PRayer

Many years ago, I was taught the 'ACTS' pattern for my personal prayers. It's a simple acronym. Begin with A Adoration (Praise and worship), then C Confession (Of sin, seeking forgiveness), then T Thanksgiving, and finally S Supplication (Make your requests to God). Oscar Muriu suggested a slight modification. He calls it ACTIVE prayer. It's an acronym. Same, same - b...

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My Wildest Dreams

Sydney  Metro

When our family lived at Cedarwood Drive, Cherrybrook, I never drove to church on weekdays between 7:30am and 9:00am. It could take more than 20 minutes to travel two kilometres. There was talk that one day the government would build a North-West train line. 'One day!', I thought, 'How about today!' Seventeen years later and the Sydney Metro line is open for business. Has...

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Sacrifice and Service

sacrifice and service

Just before I went on leave our church shared a weekend with Bishop Oscar Muriu and his wife Beatrice, from Nairobi Chapel. What a blessing that weekend was. I'm still processing the input. We had the privilege of being confronted by the godly wisdom of a world renown church leader from a different culture, who perhaps sees what we're blind to. On Monday morning Oscar and...

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Beatrice & Oscar Muriu Interview

Open Bible - Guests

Interview with Beatrice Oscar Muriu. Pastor Oscar is a gifted leader blessed by God. Pastor Oscar dedicated his life to Christ in 1983, and has served as the Senior Pastor of the Nairobi Chapel since 1991.Under his leadership Nairobi Chapel has grown from a small gathering of about 20 people to a church of over 3,000 members with 26 church plants. Oscar has also implemen...

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Penshurst Prayer


Dear Lord, I went to Penshurst the other day. I'd never been to Penshurst before. It's just next to Hurstville and Oatley and Beverly Hills. How is it that I've managed to miss Penshurst all these years? I saw lots of people in Penshurst, which is, I suppose, to be expected. How is it, Lord, that although I know next to nothing about Penshurst, you have an intimate knowl...

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Hear Oscar Muriu

Pastor Muriu

Last October the Baptist Association organised a church planting and evangelism conference in Nelson Bay. Given our 'Towards 2020' goal to 'Raise up and send team/s for strategic Kingdom growth', I thought I should go. Perhaps I'd learn something, but mostly I wanted to network. I really didn't want to attend. I figured I'd be hanging out with groovy church planting types...

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Resurrection People

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We are people who believe, at the core of our being and values, in the hope of resurrection. We celebrate Easter, not as an extended public holiday, but as an affirmation of the promise of new life. Jesus was crucified for our sin. On Friday afternoon He breathed his last. His body was hastily embalmed and placed in a rock tomb. A large stone was rolled over the entrance, ...

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Silver Fern Believers


On our recent holiday, our family spent considerable time walking through lush, green Kiwi bush. Kauris, Tawas, and Rimus towered overhead, bedecked with epiphytes, as we wandered through a forest floor clogged with fernery in all shapes and sizes. Every now and then we would see the brilliant white underside of New Zealand's national emblem, the Silver Fern, lying amongs...

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The Last Word

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Dallas Willard, best-selling Christian author and academic, was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California for 47 years. During that time, he must have engaged in countless discussions with brash, young university students. John Ortberg shared one of those interactions as he gave a tribute at Dallas Willard's funeral in 2013: In one of his classes...

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Learning from the Animals

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Leah has been working as a vet for the past three years. University Vet School, whilst invaluable, must be a million miles away from the reality of handling needy animals and their anxious, wallet restrained owners, week in and week out. No doubt Leah has learnt a lot. So I asked her: 'What have you learnt from the animals?' I was expecting something like 'Their remarkabl...

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Are We Being Fruitful?


The Apostle Paul was the greatest missionary the world has ever seen. Called by the Lord Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, gifted and prepared by God, Paul travelled the Roman Empire preaching the gospel and starting churches wherever he went. These churches, in turn, grew into Spirit filled communities that proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus and served their neighbours i...

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A Good Read


Anna and I were in Scotland when I finally finished a heavy non-fiction book I had been lugging around. I decided my next book would be a light, non-confrontational piece of fiction. So off to the bookshop I go. Before long I'm pouring over shelves and displays, looking at titles and authors and cover designs. Nothing grabs my attention. So off to another bookshop, and an...

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Your Ministry Legacy


My great, great grandparents, Thomas and Ellen Macindoe, married in the Barony Church Glasgow in the mid-1860's. Its minister was Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod. MacLeod served the Barony Church from 1851 until his death in 1872. During that time the church experienced considerable growth. MacLeod also became Moderator of the Church of Scotland, helped found the Evangelical Alli...

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God is Sovereign

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My great, great grandfather, Thomas Macindoe, lived in Glasgow, Scotland over 150 years ago. One day his flatmate showed him a photo of pretty girl. Thomas was impressed and kept teasing, asking to meet the girl. His friend said, 'No. She's mine'. And then. One Sabbath morning my fellow lodger asked if I would go with him to the church he attended, and I had no objection ...

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Trust in God


It was totally ordinary. I was driving away from our house, as I have done thousands of times before, listening to music on the Christian radio station, HOPE 103.2. Next on cue was a devotion - Linda Bailey. Never heard of her. She had a sweet voice. I didn't want to listen to a sweet voice. 'Nup', I thought, 'I'm out of here. Time to change the channel'. But I didn't. I...

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In 1644 French philosopher, Rene Descartes, wrote his Principles of Philosophy and penned in Latin three simple words that changed the world: 'Cogito, ergo sum'. Descartes was trying to doubt everything and thereby examine what he considered the foundation for true knowledge. His conclusion - translated into English: 'I think, therefore I am'. Those words helped lay the ...

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PennoLife Miracle


We've done it again! The PennoLife miracle is complete for another year. Who's going to lead? Will the theme work? What about decorating the church? Will anyone come? Will they be glad they came? It takes so much planning and teamwork. It all seems too much but every year God blesses us with a small miracle. Why bother? Here are three things that motivate us: To Bless ...

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Christmas Group Therapy

christmas light

A friend sent me a Christmas cartoon that tickled my fancy. A serious looking psychologist sits on a chair holding a notepad and pen, with four other characters facing him. Above them is a banner, 'CHRISTMAS GROUP THERAPY'. They share their struggles. Santa says, 'I don't believe in myself'. The Snowman bemoans, 'I think I'm bi-polar'. Rudolf complains, 'All the other rein...

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Passing Through


If you've ever been on a driving holiday you will have clocked up a few kilometres, passed through numerous towns, and hopefully seen some wonderful sights. On a driving holiday you're always 'passing through'. You might book a hotel room, eat a meal or two, buy some petrol, but the impact you make on each town is minimal. I'm sure the locals are glad that you visited and ...

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Set In Stone

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'Don't worry. These plans are set in stone'. It's what you might say when something is fixed, immutable, unchangeable. Paper is soft; computer data subject to manipulation; pictures fade. But when something is set in stone well, stone is hard, permanent it ain't gonna change, is it? A few years back I poured a concrete base on the side of our house for a water tank. Befo...

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Love of Others or Love of Self


What motivates your choice of seat at church? Is it prestige and prominence? Or perhaps comfort and a sense of security? Or do you select your seat based upon a desire to be friendly, serve others, and welcome newcomers. To put it simply, is you seat choice motivated by love of others or love of self? Every Sunday morning we seem to form a nice red U of empty seats in the...

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Falls of Shin

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We were in the highlands of Scotland ready for a day of sightseeing. We planned to head west to the coastal town of Ullapool and then further north to explore some remote lochs. As we crossed the range, the rain started. It was wet, really wet. Ditching our plans, we decided to follow our noses and head back east. And so we happened upon the Falls of Shin: a most pleasant...

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The Truth is Your Friend

kitchen nightmares

On my recent sabbatical, I found myself watching more television than usual. My favourite show was 'Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - USA'. The plot line of this reality TV show is always the same. A restaurant on the brink of closing calls Gordon Ramsay in for advice and a makeover. It's immediately obvious why the restaurant is struggling. Their dreadful food and work pract...

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A Healthy Church


I was chatting with Cameron Eccleston from Baptist World Aid when our conversation turned towards what makes for a healthy, Spirit filled, life-giving church. Cameron visits lots of churches and he always leaves with an impression, imperfect though it be, of their spiritual vitality. The churches that leave Cameron buoyant in faith are not necessarily the biggest churches...

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On Time

10am clock

During my recent Sabbatical, Anna and I attended three different churches. I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but at each church, people arrived on time. Our first Sunday was spent at Mortdale-Oatley Baptist Church where my friend, Tim Burns, is Senior Pastor. MOBC is, in many ways, much like Penno. A diverse congregation of over 200 people gathered to worship God and enco...

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Beauty in All Things

st andrews path brigh

I'd often go for a walk or run along the track that runs up the headland above East Sands Beach at St Andrews, Scotland. At the height of summer, the track is hedged in by a wild garden brimming with flowers, foliage, and life. A trained horticulturalist would be hard pressed to cultivate a more delightful plot. Blackberries, in flower and with berries in various shades o...

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Going To Church

st andrews service

Sunday morning in St Andrew's Scotland; 10:15am and we're off to church. Out the front door, up the road, through the car park, and into the local high school auditorium. Strangers look at us and smile. As we approach the entrance another stranger says hello and holds out a piece of paper. We grab it quickly and enter a large hall with hundreds of chairs and masses of peo...

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This is God's World


I've just returned from six weeks Sabbatical and two weeks annual leave, most spent with Anna in Scotland and Belgium. So many thoughts have passed through my mind over the past two months. I hope to share many with you in this column over the next few months. However, one thought stands over all: THIS IS GOD'S WORLD. Humans have been making their mark in Scotland and B...

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scots cow

8th July is my last Sunday at Penno for two months. The church has graciously offered me six-weeks Sabbatical leave, which I will be combining with two weeks of annual leave starting tomorrow. I'm almost embarrassed to take up the offer, but I also know there is much godly wisdom behind it. We should all practice a regular weekly Sabbath a time of rest from our labour, ...

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God Had Other Plans

john saunders

John Saunders was born in 1806, the son of a London City Alderman, grandson of a London City Alderman. As a young man he was articled to an attorney and became a solicitor. Everything was in place for a successful legal or political career. But God had other plans. Aged 17, John was baptised by immersion and began attending Cold Harbour Lane Baptist Church in Camberwell. ...

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A Cheerful Heart

cheerful heart

There's good days and there's bad days. Sometimes everything comes up roses, other times life is an onion patch. That's the way it is for all of us. No one is immune. Some of us, however, and I don't count myself among them, seem to be able to navigate the troubles of life with a smile on their face and a constantly cheerful heart. Their positive outlook has an enormous i...

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My Saviour Leads Me

iStock_man and canoe ocean

She was born in Hong Kong in 1912. Her mother died when she was four and, with the outbreak of World War I, her father was unable to care for her. Her childhood was spent moving from one relatives house to another, sometimes in China, sometimes in Hong Kong, always a burden. She never went to school and never learned to read properly. She married by arrangement at 18 and ...

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Sydney Prayer Breakfast


On Wednesday morning, at the invitation of BaptistCare, I attended the Sydney Prayer Breakfast at Darling Harbour. It started at 6:30am. Myself, along with 1400 others, committed to a very early morning. Guests included NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, former Premier, Mike Baird, former Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, former Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, alon...

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Love Speaks All Languages


I met Mary, an energetic woman with sparkling eyes and an infectious laugh, on my recent holiday. Mary serves in a troubled part of our world. It's dangerous work. She can't speak the language. Being a woman complicates matters more, but she loves her work. She overcomes, I suggested, because love speaks all languages. 'Oh, yes!', she said. And then she told me about her f...

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God's Don'ts

border wire

My friends in Central Asia have a farm very close to the national border. To see over the border, you only need to cross the road on their boundary and walk up the edge of an irrigation canal. Then, on the other side, you'll see heavy barbed wire fences, an area set aside as 'no-man's-land', and beyond that the country next door. I was curious. I really wanted to have a l...

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Cost-Benefit Analysis

cost benefit

Spotify Premium! Should I, or shouldn't I? That is the question. Spotify has been my 'go to' music streaming app for the past year or two. It's fine, except for all those annoying ads, with the volume twice the normal level, that keep interrupting my listening pleasure. Of course, it doesn't have to be this way. If I upgrade to Spotify Premium, then, for the low price of ...

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Makeover - Inside Out or Outside In


Reality TV loves a good makeover. Contestants, who start the show as regular Joe's and Alice's - nice enough but lacking the X-Factor are transformed in a single day by on-trend style gurus. Things will never be the same again. Hair is coiffured. 'Target' is replaced with 'Sass Bide'. Subtle shades of makeup suddenly reveal latent beauty. Add the accessories and shazam ...

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Ball Tampering - And the Australian Way


It was a minor news item on my phone. 'Australian cricketers caught ball tampering in South Africa'. 'No, that can't be right', I thought to myself, 'We don't do that sort of thing'. I read the article and it was true. I was aghast. What were they thinking? Why wasn't there more comment in other news feeds? It seems I caught an early report. Within hours, 'Australia caugh...

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Easter Greetings

'Merry Christmas', 'Season's Greetings': They're our most popular Christmas well wishes. I still baulk at the supposedly inoffensive 'Happy Holidays'. But what about Easter? What is this season's most appropriate greeting? Well, I've done a bit of research and there seems to be consensus. 'Happy Easter!' wins the prize. I don't know about you, but it's hardly inspiring. ...

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Boot Camp

Boot Camp(noun): 1.a military training camp for new recruits, with very harsh discipline.2.a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training. This weekend Jonny and I, along with some of our young blokes, are away on the Penno Baps Boot Camp. Although it won't be military in discipline, still we hope for a weekend that is mentally, physically, and spiritually intensive ...

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Humble Roots: Book Recommendation

humble roots

Our church theme for 2018 is 'Walk Humbly with Our God' and I thought I'd better do a bit of extra reading. I looked online at the Christian booksellers and ordered those titles that seemed most relevant. One book had the title 'Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul' by Hannah Anderson. Hannah is a rural pastor's wife who lives in the Blue Ridge Mount...

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Leviticus: Thank You Jesus

I've been reading the book of Leviticus. You'd think after all these years I'd find it easy. You know, everything fits into place and this passage means this and that passage means that and the application is obvious as I encounter 'Bible Gem' after 'Bible Gem'. Instead, I'm struggling. What is God trying to tell me? Nevertheless, certain truths have hit home, even if (fr...

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Steeplechase Living

I can imagine kids saying to their mum, 'One day, I want to go to the Olympics'. 'Oh, really', comes the reply, 'what would you like the compete in'. The answers to come thick and fast, 'Bobsled, figure skating, ski jumping'. All the glamourous stuff. Or perhaps: 'I want to run like Usain Bolt, swim like James Magnusson, play basketball with the Boomers'. What child aspir...

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Blue and Green Should Often Be Seen

Anna's work has been running a 'Live More Project' with staff. Participants are given simple, practical tips on how to improve their mood and have a more positive approach to life and work. Mood and emotions are largely controlled by a deeply buried part of our brain called the Limbic System (or Limbo). The third session had the simple catchphrase: 'Blue and Green Should ...

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Billy Graham

We all have our heroes. One of mine died this week. It was 1978. I, along with my school mate, Philip Martin, jumped on a bus at West Ryde Baptist Church and travelled across the Gladesville Bridge into an unknown part of the city, finally stopping with tens of thousands of others at Randwick Racecourse. We were there to listen to a preacher, an evangelist from America, B...

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Our vision for Nepal

At the end of 2015 our church adopted a vision,'Towards 2020', that encouraged us to be increasingly healthy and fruitful, with space to grow. One of our objectives is as follows:'We continue to be generous supporters of Christian ministry and good works outside of our direct sphere of influence. In recent years we have significantly increased our financial giving, praye...

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Happiness and Holiness

Here are some thoughts on happiness and holiness from Christian blogger, David Murray. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.(Nehemiah 8:9). Holiness and happiness are inseparable. You can't have one without the other. Holiness produces true happiness, and true happiness strengthens holiness. The proof? In Nehemiah 8, God'...

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Christmas Worship

Jesus is Worthy of our Worship - as an infant in the manger, and as the risen King of Glory...

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Seated In Heavenly Places

Believers enjoy the best seats in the house, seated in heavenly places with Christ. ...

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What a Gem!


Here's a good news story. Life was tough for Big LT. He lost a leg in a car accident and was finding it hard to make ends meet. One day, watching television, LT saw a Navajo Chief's blanket appraised on Antique Road Show for $350,000-$500,000. He owned a similar blanket that had been passed down through the family. Perhaps it might be worth up to $10,000. You never know. ...

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What matters

Randy Newman, in his excellent bookQuestioning Evangelism,outlines nine guidelines to help us be more effective in sharing the hope we have in Jesus. Take note: Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Arouse in the other person an eager want. Become genuinely interested in other people. Smile. Remember that a person's name is to th...

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Salt and Light

Jesus said to his disciples,'You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again You are the light of the world let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven'(Matthew 5:13-16). Christians are increasingly being marginalised and demonised in Australian society. Why must...

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Salt and Light

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again… You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:13-16)....

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No way to live

Not all 'famous last words' are despairing, but consider the following: Frank Sinatra: 'I'm losing it'. Graucho Marx: 'This is no way to live'. Winston Churchill: 'I'm bored with it all'. Joan Crawford yelling at her housekeeper who was praying: 'Damn it! Don't you dare ask God to help me'. What a difference it makes to know Jesus. It makes a difference to life and death ...

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What is success?


Every Monday Anna's workplace, the SAN Hospital, distribute a 'Monday Mission Message'. She shared last Monday's message with me and I thought it worth sharing a portion with you. Success is a most misunderstood term. Its Latin origin is from "successus" which literally means "an advance" or "a coming up." It seems that the intent was to communicate a journey, rather tha...

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‘Jesus’ or ‘sin’

It may be a bit simplistic, and maybe I haven't thought hard enough, but I'm wondering if every question regarding the Christian faith can be boiled down to one of two answers. It's either 'Jesus' or 'sin'. Most people are mildly happy with those answers. Let's face it, everyone likes Jesus. He is a great religious teacher, a world changer, a man of peace. And most are ha...

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All men created equal

The United States Declaration of Independence assertsthat'all men are created equal with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness'. Let me take that last phrase, borrow from the Apostle Paul, and paraphrase the unstated life philosophy of so many.'And now these three remain, Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: bu...

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A new word

I've discovered a new word. It's a beauty. I was reading'The Preacher His Life and Work'by J.H. Jowett with a friend when we came across the following sentence:'The absence of a sense of vocation will eviscerate a man's responsibility, and will tend to secularise his ministry from end to end'. Don't you love that word'eviscerate'.I can't wait to use it in a sentence, but...

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God's love for me?

We're dog minding Matthias for a couple of weeks whilst his owners enjoy a holiday. He's big and black and quite a nice fellow; friendly and happy and mostly obedient. Moogie, our dog, is glad for the company. If you asked me whether I loved Moogie, I'd say, 'Of course I do. He's a big brown bundle of mischievous goodness'. If you asked me whether I loved Matthias, I'd re...

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Thought from CS Lewis

C.S.Lewis was a great thinker and writer. He often takes my half-baked thoughts and distills them into simple clarity. Below is a fine example from his 1948 essay'Living in an Atomic Age'. 'If Nature when fully known seems to teach us (that is, the sciences teach us) that our own minds are chance arrangements of atoms, then there must have been some mistake; for if that w...

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Church Camp?

Every second-year we debate whether to organise a church camp. Won't it be too expensive? What about families? Who's going to organise it? What if nobody comes and it's a big monetary loss? Who should we get as a speaker? Where will we go? The questions pile up. Every time we've taken the punt. This year our church camp, at least in terms of numbers, was the best yet. We ...

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60 Minutes

The media drive me nuts. Everything is spun this way or that. Facts, data, and a balanced perspective are sacrificed on the altar of 'political correctness' or put out for slaughter in the colosseum of 'ratings'. Christians, and those issues important to most Christians, are portrayed as dangerous relics of a bygone era. Modern media moralism is incredibly intolerant of di...

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Whats your motivation?

The French aviator, author, and mystic Antoine de Saint Exupery once said, 'If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea'. Training is one thing. Motivation another altogether. It pays to begin with the end in mind, to have a clear vison of a preferred future....

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Most weekday mornings Anna and I go for a walk. We leave in the dark of night and get home around first light. The stars shine brightly as we turn and make our way into Pennant Hills Park. Familiar scenes are now indistinct and shrouded in mystery "What was that noise?" "I'm sure this path is clear, but ?" "There are potholes ahead, I'll be careful no I'll turn my phone ...

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Two Ideas

I'd like to share two ideas from Christians brothers I respect greatly. First, my mate, Kel Willis. One day he asked how comfortable I'd feel walking into a TAB. That's easy. I did it once in New Zealand (ask me later). I haven't done it since. I don't plan to. The TAB is not my scene. It's foreign. I don't know the people who hang out there and, although I've got a gener...

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Be a introducer

Australian author, journalist, and radio personality, Kel Richards, has the following simple, some might say simplistic, definition of evangelism. Evangelism = Introducing People to Jesus. ''This definition",he writes,"makes our responsibility clear. And it also makes it clear where our responsibility ends". Let's say I have two friends, Craig and Fred. I say to myself,...

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City on a hill

The 2016 Census results are in and, depending on who's reporting, it's either a cause for celebration or national mourning. The statistic I hear reported most often is this: 'Australia is losing its religion'. About one third of Australians now say they don't have a religion up almost two million from 2011. Furthermore, those who identify as Christian have declined in num...

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London bridge is falling down...

'London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down my fair lady'. It's just a nursery rhyme, but over the past few weeks it seems eerily close to the truth. Every day there seems to be a new report of some atrocity happening in the English capital. But it's not just London, war in Syria continues apace, school children in the Philippines are targeted by militants, ...

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Lemuel Haynes

Born in New England in the 1750's, Lemuel Haynes was abandoned by his parents as an infant and raised by a Christian family as their indentured servant. At the age of twenty-one he was granted his freedom whereupon he enlisted to fight in the American Revolutionary War, first as a Minuteman (civilian colonists who formed local militia) and then as a regular army soldier. ...

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Seasons of our lives

Only ten days till Winter Solstice. It's cold and dark. Some people prefer this time of year (I'm married to one), others can't wait for the heady days of summer. Winter in Judea, the land of Abraham and Jesus, is much the same as our winter we're about the same distance from the equator. For example, an average winter's day in Tel Aviv is 618oC, ours is 917oC. Winter m...

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A Conversation...

Earlier this week a friend of mine told me about a conversation he had with another friend of his. This person chose to make a decision detrimental to their health and well-being. In response, my friend responded in frustration, 'OK. You make your choice.may your gods go with you'. What I think he was trying to say was, 'I don't think this is going to turn out well. So wh...

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The Prodigal Son

Jesus tells a story: A young man demands half his father's inheritance. It's a shocking request met by shocking agreement. In quick time the young prodigal spends everything and finds himself bereft. Out of desperation he decides to return home in hope that he will be accepted, not as a son, but as a hired servant. It's a risky plan, but it works. His father, seeing his s...

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Walk by Faith

He stood on a thin white platform that was shaking in the wind full of cocky self-assurance, screeching at the sun above. Below were ten meters of space and a hard rock ledge. One false step, one structural failure and surely, he would drop like a stone. But he cared for nothing; fearless despite the perils of his circumstance. I watched on in awe and fear No I didn't! I...

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Smelling Good Fruit

For the next two weeks, whilst I am on leave, I'd like to share some excerpts from Andrew Turner's blog (he's the 'Fruitful Church' guy). This one is on smelling good fruit. When occasionally I'm tempted to despair, I find myself repeating this little phrase from Jesus over and over: "They don't pick grapes from thornbushes. They don't pick grapes from th...

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Christmas is a marketer's dream. It's all there: the infant, his mother, the wise men, their gifts, the stable, angels, peace on earth, good will to all men, and the hope of better things to come. Most people don't believe the Christmas story any more than they believe in Santa Clause, but most people, I suspect, would like to believe the Christmas story. It complements th...

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The Gospel of John

'The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart'(Hebrews 4:12). 'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped f...

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First Impressions

'You never get a second chance to make a first impression'. So goes the adage and it's true. At a job interview, networking at a business function, when you walk into a shop or a church, the opinions formed in the first thirty seconds carry far more weight than those formed over the following minutes or hours. Today is Palm Sunday, the day we remember the first impression...

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A Fruitful church

On Monday afternoon Anna and I waved goodbye as our son Adam drifted through the departure gates, off to a new life in Japan. It was sad and left us both feeling empty. We miss him. But it was also good. We didn't raise our son to live at home, be dependent on us, and keep us company. We raised him with the hope that he would one day be independent and make a positive con...

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Attitude to prayer

I have been skiing once - a long time ago. I was not very good at it. I fell over a lot. It was expensive. I needed to hire special gear that was cumbersome and felt uncomfortable. It took a lot of effort to get to the snow. It was crowded. I had to queue. I haven't been back. Of course I would love to ski. It looks like enormous fun. You get to spend time in the great ou...

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Trusting God's word

John's gospel is different to the other three. It has more direct theological reflection, less narrative, and is perhaps more abstract in its major themes. Liberal scholars used to suggest this was clear evidence John's gospel was written by church leaders in the second or third century, after the church had sorted out its major teachings. More conservative scholars argue...

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Fragility of Marriage

I well remember a conversation I had with a good friend a few years ago. He, like me, was in Christian ministry and I held him, and still do, in high regard. We were talking about our marriages and the considerable merits of our respective wives. We were both immensely grateful to God for the gracious, seemingly miraculous, gift of our spouse. Then he said, 'But you can n...

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Bible Society

The Bible Society, formed on the 7thMarch 2017 at Australia's first Government House (todays Museum of Sydney), has been operating longer on these shores than any other organisation. Much has changed over the course of two hundred years. Back then, the Bible was widely viewed as the bread of life and essential spiritual sustenance that contributed to both the private and ...

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Bible Society

200 years ago, on 7thMarch 1817, a group of men, including Governor Lachlan Macquarie, gathered to form an auxiliary branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the colony of New South Wales. Their vision was to assist in "distributing the word of God the Bread of Eternal Life to the poor perishing souls of our fellow creatures". One month later these same men met...

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Walking in the rain

Last week, interspersed amongst some stinking hot days, we enjoyed two days of solid rain. On one of those mornings Jeff Dillon and I went for a walk along the bush gully behind the pony club. It was hardly ideal conditions. We took umbrellas and fully expected to come home with wet shoes and socks. Jeff's socks were in fact quite wet when he got home, blood red wet, thank...

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The president

There's a new president in the United States. Maybe you've heard. Despite his boasting of ungodly behaviour and despite his lack of any Christian convictions, he has been courting the Christian vote very effectively. On 2nd February, President Donald J Trump attended his first 'National Prayer Breakfast'. It received considerable media attention. During President Trump's ...

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Hear, Believe and Obey

The first priority in our 'Towards 2020' Church Vision is that we continue to remain and even grow as a healthy church. In pursuit of our vision we have decided to have a church health theme for every calendar year. Last year our theme was'Exiles Fit for Mission',encouraging us to see our entire life as a mission endeavour as we wait for the coming of Jesus.This year our t...

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Stealing From a Child

She walked into church looking for the Pastor. 'Yes, that's me. Can I help you?' She handed over a rainbow coloured book, a gift from the Christian Democratic Party and Australian Christian Lobby. I said 'Thank You' and wondered what the heck all this was about. I often get given books. Some I'm glad to read, others not so. There is only so much time and I prefer to set m...

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A visit to the Ballet

We live in an age that celebrates individualism and self-expression. Be yourself. Don't let others define you. Stand out from the pack. Shine! Social media has become a significant platform for expressing individuality. Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts lets the world know who we really are: the real me, not a manufactured one no one would be so shallow so a...

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Our lives as history

Last Sunday night I began a new series in the book of Exodus and, as always, I felt both excited and daunted. Excited because I haven't spoken on this part of God's Word before and I'm looking forward to unearthing new treasures. Daunted because I know it's going to be hard. I'll be dealing with weighty matters, difficult passages, truths pertaining to life and death, an...

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Paid in Full

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large g...

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Year ahead

February 1. The silly season is now officially over. We mourn its passing. Time to get back to work, into routine, nose to the grindstone. Stress and competition, traffic and queues, early moring, late nights, meetings, projects, deadlines and agendas until 2015 comes to a close and the silly season returns for another brief respite. Is it really that bad? The pessimist i...

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Being a Peacemaker

It's been a tumultuous week in our city. The peace we all assume as normative was brutally disrupted by a crazed gunman who caused enormous disruption and the sad loss of innocent life. It should not be so. We all long for a world where peace is normative.The Hebrew word for peace is 'Shalom'. To be in a state of shalom, for the ancient Hebrew, was much more than the absen...

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Are you a peacemaker?

It's been a tumultuous week in our city. The peace we all assume as normative was brutally disrupted by a crazed gunman who caused enormous disruption and the sad loss of innocent life. It should not be so. We all long for a world where peace is normative.The Hebrew word for peace is 'Shalom'. To be in a state of shalom, for the ancient Hebrew, was much more than the absen...

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New Structures

Last week we launched Elvanto, our new church database. It should be a great blessing to our church, providing us timely information, helping us establish effect processes, and offering a central local for such things as event planning, calendars, and rosters. A church database is not ministry, but Elvanto will help us create structures to facilitate more effective ministr...

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I remember when our kids were small, days out, even holidays were often planned around the location of playgrounds. If the kids were happy, we were happy.Anna and I got to relive this experience a few weeks ago. We were out with some friends on the Central Coast when their kids spotted some humble play equipment, just a slide and climbing bars, in a small, non-descript par...

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Happiness is..

I remember when our kids were small, days out, even holidays were often planned around the location of playgrounds. If the kids were happy, we were happy.Anna and I got to relive this experience a few weeks ago. We were out with some friends on the Central Coast when their kids spotted some humble play equipment, just a slide and climbing bars, in a small, non-descript par...

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A time away

On Monday, after 12 years at Pennant Hills, with the encouragement of our Elders I bit the bullet and set off for a three day retreat. I took my Bible, the Church Directory, a couple of books and made plans to spend the bulk of my time in isolation before God reading, praying and reflecting. I was apprehensive - three days along - just me and God - I'm really not wired th...

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a Retreat...

On Monday, after 12 years at Pennant Hills, with the encouragement of our Elders I bit the bullet and set off for a three day retreat. I took my Bible, the Church Directory, a couple of books and made plans to spend the bulk of my time in isolation before God reading, praying and reflecting. I was apprehensive - three days along - just me and God - I'm really not wired th...

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