30 June 2011

Margaret River - The Town

Margaret River is a small town south west of Western Australia, 277 km or three and a half hour drive from Perth.

It is a quiet town at the time we visited in October. I see Margaret River primarily as a one street town, a pit stop before passing through to the many tourist attractions within the region, the wineries, surf beach and caves.

As a pit stop, the tavern seems very much to be the centre of the town. So we had some lunch, a pint and some good Aussie country music.

23 June 2011

The Devil and The Duck

Hebrew 8:12 (NLT)
And I will forgive their wrongdoings,
and I will never again remember their sins.

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with, out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.

As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved! In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, 'Sally, let's wash the dishes'.
But Sally said, 'Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.'

Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?' So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, 'I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.' Sally just smiled and said, 'Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help?

She whispered again, 'Remember the duck?' So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.

Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, 'Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.'

------------------------ o ------------------------

Thought for the day and every day thereafter:

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is...You need to know that: God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing.

He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.

The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness; He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved. When Jesus died on the cross; he was thinking of you!

Contributor - Anonymous

16 June 2011

Jesus, the Noah's Ark

Romans 8:28 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
For the most part of last year, we have been visiting several churches in and around Melbourne city, one at a regional township in Victoria and at least two interstate churches. What strikes me most was the variety of worship and service formats from the churches visited, even among churches within the same church denomination.

It was also fruitful to meet with and talk to the leaders and "shepherds" who care for their congregation and to be among the people, young and old, who worship God, exercising their faith with others within their congregation and also within their community. God is working in them and through them.

It was an eventful journey. I found some of my personal views, I hold of certain church denominations challenged and it got me thinking.

Have you ever wonder why there are so many church denominations in the Christian faith? You could go to a library and read up on church history and find the historical perspective. You can read the biography of the great men and women of God, who by revelation or calling have brought about a church denomination or a movement.

However, is it how God intended this to be? Was it part of God's plan or was this as a result of man's pride at work?

In seeking the Lord on this matter, the story of Noah's Ark (Genesis 6-9), the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20) and the Parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) came to mind.

Noah's Ark
In the story of Noah's Ark, it writes of God's sadness of the extent of the people's wickedness; it broke His heart and of His decision then, to wipe out the human race. (Genesis 6:5-7)

But Noah found favour with the LORD. Having told Noah of His plans, God instructed Noah to build an ark. Genesis 7:1-3 gives an account of who and the various kind of animals and birds that can be brought into the ark, when the day of the flood which will cover even the highest mountains on the earth, comes. (Genesis 7:19)

Noah and his family represents the "shepherds" charged with looking after the many animals and birds in the ark. The animals and birds represent Noah's flock or congregation. It is interesting to note that the name Noah means; "He will bring us relief from the painful labor of farming this ground that the LORD has cursed." (Genesis 5:29 (NLT))

Isn't that an appropriate description of the role of a pastor?

The ark itself represents Jesus Christ which is how God the Father planned to save the world and to reconcile His creation back to Himself. With Jesus as the head of His church and with us, the church under His direction/leading (Ephesians 4:15-16), Jesus will bring about a unity of purpose to carry us, the church, His bride, through the storms and floods that we face in our everyday lives.

Parable of the Sower
The parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20), is often used to shows how well the seed, the Word of God, is received by a person and his response to it. When the seed takes root (Mark 4:8), it bring forth a thirty, sixty and even a hundred times return in that person.

In the light of the above revelation, this person can very well typify the level/amount of revelation received by the various churches, denominations or movements. Hence, the many church denominations.

Photo by Terry Howes

Parable of the Growing Seed
In this parable (Mark 4:26-29), once the farmer sowed the seeds in his field, he goes about doing his many other activities. He does not need to understand the workings of how the seed sprouts and grows from the ground, but when the season is right he will go and harvest his crop.

From the above, I come to understand that the churches, denominations and movements exits to minister the Word of God/Gospel to the world. Like the farmer in the parable, there is no need for me/us to understand how the Word of God/Gospel affects the people who hear the Word but that the Word of God will do His work and produces its fruit. This is as was said of the Word in Isaiah 55:11.

Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
For some of us, this verse may be more familiar and better expressed in the King James Version;
Isaiah 55:11 (KJV)
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

12 June 2011

Cape Naturaliste - Walking to a View

Cape Naturaliste is at the northernmost tip of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, on a rugged promontory at the western edge of Goegraphe Bay. The nearest town to Cape Naturaliste is Dunsborough, 13km away and beyond that, is Busselton.

Cape Naturaliste is also the site of a lighthouse, a 20m high cylindrical tower built of limestone, the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Its surrounding environment is host to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

As October is within the whale annual southern migration to the Southern Ocean, we opted to take the Whale Lookout track to the whale watching platform. It is the shortest option and the most popular, for obvious reason, about 2km from the lighthouse car park. It is well worth the walk, for the trail provides panoramic coastal views and an opportunity to spot birds living in the area.

07 June 2011

Here in Your Presence - New Life Church - Lyrics

Psalm 16:11 (NLT)
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 56:13 (NLT)
For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.
Psalm 116:9 (NLT)
And so I walk in the LORD's presence
as I live here on earth!
Ephesians 3:12 (NLT)
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome.
Hebrew 10:21-22 (NLT)
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's people, 22 let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

04 June 2011

Busselton - Jetty Interpretive Centre

Busselton is a small coastal town just a short 52km drive from Bunbury and 220km south west of Perth. It is one of Australia's fastest growing retirement and holiday towns. I can see the attraction of this place, a country lifestyle with the convenience of a modern town, cafes, restaurants, a wide range of boutique shops, and speciality stores.

Probably its most iconic attraction is the Busselton Jetty, a 1.841 kilometre long jetty (pier) into the calm turquoise waters of the Geographe Bay. It is the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere.

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