09/05/2021

On Friday morning in the early hours I waited with anticipation for my football team (Arsenal) to play in the second-leg of their semi-final again Villareal as a part of the UEFA Europa League.

90 minutes later I am disappointed as my team crashed out, and will not be going on to the final this year.

After the game at a more reasonable hour, Kelly came downstairs to ask how it went, and how she was ‘awoken’ with some yells and screams at various times through the morning.

But it highlighted for me how passionate I was to cheer on my team, and how I rode the highs and lows of the game with them.

It also led me to wonder how often we do this for others – whether they be children, parents, extended family, friends or work colleagues?

I mean, I know each of the players on ‘my team’, I know a little bit about them, where they’ve come from, what recent injuries they might have had, how old they are, and more.

Are we as invested in the people around us?

I am doubtful I will actually form a real friendship with any football player from ‘my team’, but what about you? Are you forming friendships with others, getting to know more about them? Riding the highs and lows of their life with them?

A few weeks ago I was speaking to the new LCA Director for Cross-Cultural Ministry, Craig Heidenrich, and his comments in regards to so many within the church is that we have forgotten how to be a friend to others.

And if we are ever going to share the gospel with them, we need to start by building that relationship first, by learning what it means to be a friend, sharing life, the highs and lows, showing support and encouragement to them at all times.

So let’s start with the basics. Forming friendships and loving others as Jesus has loved us. Let’s not get tripped up with how to share Jesus, and focus first on being His hands and feet to others around us.

Unless we are building relationships, and growing friendships, we are not going to have opportunity in the future to share Jesus with others.

Let’s make friends!

Pastor Ben

02/05/2021

It is gone – all of it.
 
What am I talking about? My facial hair – of course!
 
I do believe that for the almost 8 years I have been here serving as pastor in Ipswich, that I have not been clean shaven – until Wednesday.
 
Wednesday – it all changed. For how long? I guess we will find that out together (it is hard to hide).
 
If you still wanted to donate – there is opportunity over the next few days to still do so, and you can do that here: Lose The Moustache (mycause.com.au)
 
But why? Well – as many of you are aware – I am quite passionate about sharing ‘Messages of Hope’, and in a world that is struggling in more ways than ever (and not just because of the global pandemic), it is very important that we share hope and the Gospel message to the many people in need.
 
One way that is done across Australia and New Zealand (through over 800 radio stations) is by Lutheran Media, but a great way for it to continue is for each of us individually, and together to share that same message of hope and Gospel to those people around us.
 
We don’t have to lead people to baptism in the space of a 30 minute coffee catch-up, but we are called to give reason for the hope that we have, and it is a case of constant relationship with others that open up doors and avenues for the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to inspire faith in others.
 
My encouragement to you as you share hope and Gospel with others is to not give up. But also love the person for who they are.
 
Sometimes we fall into the trap of loving people only because we want to share Jesus, but these are real people, so just love them for who they are, not who you want them to become.
 
We also sometimes give up to easily because we don’t see results. But this work takes time, because relationships take time.
 
So let’s seek to build on the work of Lutheran Media in following the call of Jesus to bring the Gospel to light within our community.
 
May God bless you in this task,
Pastor Ben