25/07/2021

Dear Church Family,
 
I is with very mixed emotions that I write this brief word to you all. Pastor Ben has had his final day  here among us as pastor which means change. And even though aspects of that reality brings sadness to many, and even though resultant change might bring forward certain anxieties, it is also a time we can enter into with great anticipation and joy.
 
Yes, change or “chaos” is not easy, but it is through chaos and change that God put us back together in a way, should we let Him, that image Him more closely, love other more dearly, and creates a true joy that we cannot find elsewhere.
 
My hope for you, and indeed all of us, is that you will see this season ahead as an opportunity to draw near to God and experience His joy-creating life-giving formation and direction like never before.
 
In His Service,
 
Pastor Roelof

18/07/2021

Eight Years

Who would have thought that 8 years ago when I started here at Ipswich Lutheran Church that I would be writing this final letter to you.

It has been an amazing journey, with ups and downs, and in-between times all thrown in as well.

Through it all though, I truly have appreciated being able to journey with you all in partnership in the Gospel, as we have sought to ‘know Christ and make Christ known’.

Some of you may not have even been a part of our faith community when I started, others were here long before (and I pray will be here long after), but it has been a privilege to be able to be your Pastor for this time.

Just to give you some overview, I think I have baptised 87 people into God’s Family; I have married 20 couples, and I have also conducted 66 funerals as we have farewelled those who have gone on into eternity.

Through it all, I pray you have heard 1 thing, and that is Jesus Christ and Him Crucified – for you.

Because no matter how eloquent the words, no matter how short or long, no matter if it was by text, on the phone, or in your home – that is the reason that I do what I do – because I was called, by Christ, to share the Good News with you. I was called (twice actually) to do that here in Ipswich, and I truly pray that is the news and the message that you have heard as you are reminded of the forgiveness of your sins and been reassured of the promise to eternal life.

As I move to my new calling, to serve the Lutheran Church of Australia, Queensland District as the full-time First Assistant Bishop, I look forward to continuing to serve you as one of the parish’s within the district.

I also look forward to sharing the same message of Jesus Christ with people across the whole of our state, as each church (the people – not the building), seeks to go out into their local community to share this message with others, so that the Kingdom of God can continue to grow, and that we can continue to celebrate more people coming to faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you over these past 8 years, and I ask that you continue to pray for Kelly and I into this exciting future journey God has us on.

In His Service

Pastor Ben

11/07/2021

From little things, big things grow

What comes to mind when you read those words? Maybe, like me, you remember the Industry Super advertisements that used that theme song for their commercial. Maybe you have other memories that go with those words, or that song.

I think of those words as I watch the plants in my garden grow. It took almost a year for Kelly and I to finally get around to planting out around our house following some landscaping we had done last year, but it has been fun and exciting to watch the lavender and hibiscus and lilly pilly’s that we have planted (along with some herbs and sweat pea’s) grow what appears to be almost daily.

Almost each day I see a new flower or leaf or that the sweat pea’s are at the next rung of mesh on their pursuit upwards.

I wonder if our faith is the same? Yet sometimes we don’t see it growing as much as we might like, or we grow even complacent with it just stagnating.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if, like my plants, I could see my faith growing each and every day? This happens as I spend time each day in the Word of God, listening to what God has to say to me, as I spend time each day in communication with God through prayer, as I spend time each day serving God and the people around me in my daily vocation as husband, brother, son, pastor, helper, friend.

I know God can do infinitely more than we could ever possibly dream or imagine, that from little things, big things can certainly grow.

But it starts with us, with our attitudes, with our desires, with our faith. Let’s be the people that seek to grow, each and every day, so that we can see the tangible growth of Christ in our lives.

Ps Ben

04/07/2021

This week I was blessed to be able to chat with Erin Kerber (LCA International Mission) together with Pastor Roelof and Lauren about our Myanmar Partnership in the Gospel.

A big thank you to all those who recently donated towards our appeal where we have sought to help provide some assistance to the effect of both Covid-19 and the ongoing government crisis the people find themselves in.

This meeting was a wonderful reminder of the wonderful partnership that we have with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar, but also how it is a partnership in the true sense of the word.

And that is because we are equal partners in the gospel. As we continue to seek to pray for each other, learn from each other and share from each other (even though we might like to do this personally – we can also do this virtually), we are encouraging each other to be the local expression of the church within the context of global partnership.

Because each of us are seeking to know Christ and making Christ known in the communities, cities and districts where we work, and through our partnership we help each other to share the Gospel in the places where God has called us.

Thank you for the part that you play, not only in God’s mission, but also within our partnership as you individually pray, learn, give and grow from our sisters and brothers in Christ, but also be reminded that they are praying, learning from, giving to and growing from you as well.

It really gives a global expression to what Paul means when he talks about the church being ‘one body, many parts’.

God’s richest blessings continue to be with this wonderful Gospel partnership into the future,

Pastor Ben.