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 that way - am I?

Praise God, I had a very special time, but nothing like I expected or feared. My 'retreat; was soon punctuated by 'life':real life - grief and loss and suffering. On monday afternoon I found myself standing on an isolated bush ridge. It was just me and the Lord and good phone reception. I was beginning to organise the funerals of two people whom I loved.

In the midst of confusion and pain, my experience of 'real life' actually helped sharpen my focus.

What really matters? Relationships. Relationships with God, with family, with others. What in this world has the prospect of lasting for eternity? Relationships There is no church vision, no end point, no utopian dream to be realised until Jesus returns to establish the New Heavens and New Earth. Until then life, and church life, will go on. People will be born and die, come to faith and struggle in faith. What we need to focus on is supporting life that lasts, that is increasingly developing relationships so that they count for eternity.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full.