Heavenly Father, you are a holy and awesome God and we cannot stand before you in our weakness, but you have revealed yourself through your word. Through your Spirit, give us eyes to see your majesty, your grace, your salvation, and give us hearts to cling onto you in faith. Hold onto us, Lord, through Christ the true man, your only begotten Son, and give us life. May we have confidence in his righteousness to stand before you completely pure. Give us your strength to transform us day by day into his likeness. Give us joy that we can call you our Father and cast ourselves on your steadfast love.
Thanks again for your partnership in what we’re doing here at JCU Cairns and beyond. It is so encouraging to know that you add your amen and your own prayers to mine. Feel free to dip into this blog site whenever to pray along with me.
It has been an encouraging semester. Above is a bunch of the students who came together at the start of semester to make some plans and dreams for the rest of the year. The group was twice as big as I was expecting and had some great outcomes. It was a good opportunity for me to point them to the gospel again and help them see how that shapes what we are all about as a group on campus. It was also a good chance for the students give some ideas on what we could be doing as a group in light of this. The students were keen for some Bible Talks to happen, and wanted to invite their non-Christian friends along to some of these; they set up a regular social sport event; and wanted to see more one to one Bible reading happening. It was so good to see how they have taken ownership of the group this semester and made things happen for the sake of the gospel at JCU.
Pray that the students will keep being driven by the gospel and seek to point each other and their friends to Jesus as our only hope and salvation.
It was exciting to have a couple of main meetings this semester where I preached rather than ran a Bible study. The above talk was one that was targeted particularly for students to invite their friends. We looked at the surprising call to fear God at the end of Ecclesiastes and how this makes a difference to the worries and frustrations of life in this world. It was wonderful to see students invite their friends and for some of those to come along.
Pray that God will keep working through his word, drawing students to himself that they may have eternal life. Pray that our students (and I) will be able to have ongoing conversations those friends who were invited.
Things still feel slow. Many of the hoped for one to one’s have not happened; there are often few interested in coming along to social events; my preaching/ teaching often feels flat, but I know the immense value of God’s word in our lives, so we press on to keep proclaiming the gospel at JCU. God has often surprised me with the growth he has brought about in and through me, even when I feel weak.
Pray that I will not be discouraged by “slowness” but labour diligently in God’s word, praying for him to bring about fruit.
The National Training Event is fast approaching. It’s the annual gathering of all the AFES groups around Australia (plus many people from other countries) to be transformed by God’s word, be trained in the gospel, and sent out again with the message of good news. I’ll be leading a strand group where the students will dig deep into a passage from the Bible, understanding its message and think about how to teach it to others. It’s great to see so many students together and share our unity in the gospel, encouraging each other to carry on in faith. I’m currently on the Atherton Tablelands with a mission team from JCU, helping to serve the local church up here before we head to NTE These kinds of missions are a staple part of NTE and a great way to use the training we receive (or give context for the training yet to come for those pre-NTE missions like ours).
Pray that through this conference, the students will be rooted and built up in their faith in Christ, treasure him more dearly, and speak of him joyfully. Pray that the local church may be greatly encouraged and served by our partnership with them.
Here are some pics of the kids, as much to remind ourselves that they can be precious sometimes rather than testing. We keep looking to God for patience and that we will model and speak the gospel to them always. We do have lots of fun and we’ve often leaned on the love and support of our church family when times are frustrating. We’ve also had a few visits from friends and relatives this semester which is always encouraging for us. WE ARE EXPECTING ANOTHER CHILD IN THE NEW YEAR! Capslock in case you’re just scanning through but also because we wait with both excitement and trepidation! Wendy has been getting involved in “Staying Sharp,” a church/community program for elderly people (Brynley and Erin provide the entertainment at times). We feel settled in up here and are looking forward to the rest of the year.
Pray that we keep modelling and teaching the gospel to our kids with all patience. Pray that the new baby will arrive safely and come to know you as its father also.
Thank you all again for your partnership in this mission to proclaim Christ at uni. We need God to step in and work so let’s keep praying for him to do that.