“Stay the course” is one of those phrases that has been used in all sorts of contexts by all sorts of people.
Sometimes it has proven to be a positive statement spurring people on to better things, while at other times it has shown to be a dubious declaration used by characters with doubtful motives.
I guess it all comes down to the course we are being asked to stick to.
As I reflected this week upon all the things that folks are doing at St Luke’s for God’s Kingdom, the phrase that came to mind was for us to “stay the course”. Afterall, what better course is there than to see God’s name glorified and for more and more people to know His love in a personal way.
With this thought in mind can I encourage us all to make a special point of praying this week for one another and the ministries we are involved in which continue to operate at St Luke’s despite the COVID restrictions.
To name a few…
Owen, Lynda, Caleb, Steve and Brodie as they continue to maintain the on-line services to adults, youth and children. Where would we be without these vital points of weekly contact?
The Parish Council which strives with Owen to keep a steady hand on the tiller as we navigate our way through these unchartered waters.
Paul Barbieri and the Prayer team which meet the first Saturday every month.
Sue B and her team at NILS, which continues to serve the community and offer financial help and advice to those in need during these difficult times.
Julia and David and the team at Food Store, which has proven to be a constant help to those who need the most practical of assistance.
Sarah J and her team at CBSI which seeks to advance the study of God’s word.
John R, Bruce C, David and Emily who form the backbone of the production team which keep us “on air”
Keren and Jenny P who are striving to expand our on-line services to include more participants and change to suit the changing COVID restrictions.
The preaching team which spend much time preparing messages for us all.
This is not an exhaustive list as there are many, many informal ways as a church we are supporting and helping one another.
Let’s keep it up. Let’s stay the course.
Last but not least it is my great pleasure to introduce our testimony for the week.
This week Jeff Roma has put up his hand and “put pen to paper”. If you would like to “give it a go”, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q How and when did you become a follower of Christ?
I grew up as part of an Italian Assembly of God church, going to Sunday school each week, then to youth AND Sunday school, reading my bible regularly during church (as I couldn’t understand the sermons in Italian…) and at other times in the week.
Entering my teen years, I developed what was commonly referred to as a rebellious attitude, which coincided with my parents divorcing, which in those days meant being ostracised from the church and the community I’d grown up in. You could say my faith hit a rough patch during this period and the new friends I found lived a very different lifestyle to that which I had known. After many years of drifting from Christ and from the church I’d grown up in, the feeling and knowledge that something was missing became painfully clearer, with life becoming less and less meaningful the more I tried to find any real purpose in it.
During this period, it became clear to me that even though I thought I was drifting and alone, and that God had no place in His plans for someone like me, that was not true, and that not only was he clearly drawing me to Himself during this time, but he had never really left me alone at all. A bit like that ‘footsteps in the sand’ story. So, in my early 20’s God drew me close enough for me to put my trust in Him with everything from my addictions, job directions and even my life partner choices.
Q What is your career?
For the last eight years I have been teaching primary school, which came about after working as a school chaplain as part of my role with St Marks Emerald, where I worked in Children’s outreach ministries for about eight years. This was after working in call centre management for 5 or so years, which I began part time while working as a pastor of a small church in the northern suburbs, while completing a degree in social sciences which I decided to undertake after 6 or 7 years working with the gas and fuel corporation laying gas pipes in the western suburbs of Melbourne, before moving into their admin, planning and communications departments.
This was of course a very precise and clear career progression I pursued after officially leaving school at 15, working for years in various factories which manufactured everything from steel gas pallets, reconditioned engines, brass beds, concrete stumps, even roof tiling and cyclone fencing.
If I am made to retire at 65, I may still have 11 more years to spend in full time work, so hopefully there’s time to add to this list.
Q What have been your major achievements?
Getting married. Starting a family. I don’t know…built a kitchen with Keren. Took 3 years to plan and shop, 3 weekends to assemble and about 3 days to put in!
Q What gets you really excited?
Ideas get me excited. Seeing an opportunity, deciding its worth having a go, planning and putting everything into it, learning new stuff along the way.
Q Why are you committed to St Luke’s?
I really enjoy the direction that St Luke’s pursues in engaging the community we are in. There is an obvious commitment to serving our community meaningfully, strategically and therefore effectively.
Take care… and to borrow the words to the Corinthians;
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”
I Corinthians 15:58. (RSV)
On behalf of Paul, Mark, Tanya and myself