- Who we are
- What we do
None have escaped CV19’s domination. Old words have become new, new meanings have been found while the title “pandemic”, not seriously applied worldwide since the Spanish Flu at the end of WW1 and transmitted to Australia as the troops arrived home from 1919, now sits in the shadow of the grim reaper.
In 1919, nearly 12000 Australians died of the that flu from a population of 5,303,574 or 0.23%. 102 Australians have died from CV19 so far from a population of around 25M.
What is normal?
The tragic death tolls have become front page news and behind each is a personal story that may never be told due to the volume. However, each is known to God and highly valued.
As CV19 has taken its course, there has been one dominant catch cry worldwide: “We just want life to get back to normal!!!” But what is normal, do we really want it??? Abundant Gospel opportunities have been presented by the pandemic, but has there been a rush to repent in the face of imminent death, or to witness, or revival in the heats of God’s people or an avalanche of Prayer Meetings calling for guidance and forgiveness?
Governments have struggled. NSW seems more interested in re-opening gambling facilities than places of worship. Life has never been about easy answers as one PM said.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 God says: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away behold, new things have come.”
What normal do you to seek after?
– Geoff Kyngdon
As of last Friday, we have been able to begin meeting in person again. But this is restricted to groups of 10 at church, 5 visitors in homes and distanced wherever we are.
Will this disrupt our existing patterns of ministry? Yes. Will this impede God’s mission of advancing his kingdom? No. Will it mean changes for us? Yes. But that is OK. In every age, the Lord Jesus and his gospel has remained firm, but the patterns of sharing it have changed. In 2020 it changes from month to month!
Change is difficult for us all, because all our patterns of life are anchored to deeply held values. Change is easier when values can be articulated. Change is much harder when we hold values we don’t even realise.
As things continue to change, and our church and evangelistic practices change as well, we would be well served by reflect upon what is worth restarting, what is worth changing, what is worth leaving stopped.
Why do we do what we do at Oak Flats Anglican? What values drive us to do things the way we do them? Should we hold to them firmly as gospel values, or loosely as cultural and personal values?
It was pointed out again to me in an email last week, that we are essentially the only church in this suburb. What must we restart, change or stop, to better reach our suburb of over 6000 people? How can we – for the sake of the gospel – be all things to all people so that by all possible means, we might save some? (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)
– Sam Pursell
As you may know, the NSW government has announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions from Friday May 15. This includes:
In line with the Stage 1 of the government and also diocesan requirements, the Wardens and I have decided the following:
To meet in the church, the following requirements will need to be observed:
Signs will be put up around the church. At the front door will be hand sanitiser, information, attendance record, and cleaning products.
Let’s be diligent in these measures for one another’s safety, and thankful to God that we can begin meeting together in this way.
– Sam Pursell
The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated us all for the last two months. Thousands of lives have been lost globally, and the economic cost has been crippling.
Australia has been joined by others demanding an enquiry into the origin of the virus, and a universal race for a vaccine is underway so ‘…something like this will never happen again’!
However, while not in any way diminishing the impact of the pandemic, is there a bigger picture we should be seeing?
On one occasion, Jesus was made aware of two disasters in Luke 13:1-5, one man-made (human sacrifice) and the other ‘natural’ (a collapsed tower). Both resulted in the loss of life. His response showed surprising disinterest in both the extent of the victim’s sinfulness and the cause of these tragic events. Rather, Jesus was more concerned with the fact that death (and judgement) will come to all… sooner or later! These events were warnings for all to be prepared!
Similarly, in Matthew 24:6-8, Jesus speaks of wars, famines and earthquakes – all of which have occurred in every generation and claimed countless lives – as the mere birth pangs pointing us to His inevitable second coming and the eternal judgement it will herald.
While we rightly pray for those affected, and a vaccine to combat the corona virus, let us more earnestly pray for this pandemic to awaken sleepy Australians to the truth that there is no refuge from the judgement of Jesus when he returns (Revelation 6:15-17)… but there is refuge in Him!
– Phil Pratt
“I like to drive a manual car, because I have more control”
I remember a friend once saying this many years ago as she reflected on her own personality. She liked to think of herself as someone in full control. But while it is possible to learn how to control a car like a rally driver, it is a delusion to think we can have total control over our life.
We are all used to being able to control so much in our lives. I can control my immediate environment to perfectly match my preferences – light, dark, hot, cold. I can speak to anyone, anywhere in the world. And if I like, I can visit anywhere in the world (up until a few weeks ago!).
But if you look at the news in any week in history, the most ‘in control’ people are clearly operating in an out of control world. It’s like watching a rally car spinning off the road into some long grass.
So, can we do anything?
We can do this: Put our trust in the God who has absolute control.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
– SAM PURSELL