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This week marks the beginning of a new era in teaching Scripture at Oak Flats High School, as Adam Hotson, our assistant minister, joins me as together we teach the Bible to over a hundred students each week in years 7 and 8.
Last year I only taught each year 7 class once per fortnight, but this year I’m teaching those year 7 students every Friday, and Adam is teaching all the year 8 scripture students every week as well.
This is a significant jump in the face-to-face Bible teaching in our local high school, and we pray that it is a blessing to the students, the staff, and the whole school, as the gospel of grace wafts around the classrooms and playgrounds.
Please pray for Adam and me as we seek to teach well the truths of the gospel, and pray for the school staff who support us with such warmth and energy.
Pray also that through this ministry, many people would grow to a deeper understanding of the cross of Christ, so that they might repent and believe in the real Jesus, and find real hope in him.
The Anglican Church of Australia is a diverse organisation, showcasing a variety of different expressions of ‘doing church’.
Yet, amongst this diversity there has long been the expectation that there is a unity of belief, based on the historical documents of the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles of Religion, and the constitution and canons of the Anglican Church of Australia.
This weekend, Sarah Macneil (no relation) is consecrated as bishop of Grafton.
Whilst it is a concern that this position is held by a woman, the greatest problem is that Dr Macneil has stated that she is supportive of ordaining homosexual ministers, as well as preaching that the central teaching of penal substitutionary atonement, (namely that Jesus took the Father’s punishment for us), is “mechanistic and grim.”
These views are seriously out of line with the official position of our national church, and threaten to bring further serious division within our denomination.
Please pray that Dr Macneil changes her views to conform with God’s word and that the senior leadership within the Anglican church will have great wisdom in dealing with this division.
Pray also that the name of Jesus is not brought into disrepute over this conflict, and that people will come to know and grow in Jesus despite these errors in teaching.
For more details about this issue, please read the statement by the Anglican Church League.
With the reports of the poor conditions at the Manus Island Detention Centre, and this week’s resulting violence, our nation should be deeply concerned with the way that many legitimate refugees are being treated.
As a nation that “abounds in nature’s gifts” and prides ourselves as having “boundless plains to share” with “those who’ve come across the seas”, we should be moved to open our gates to welcome more people who are fleeing violent regimes.
People smuggling is an abhorrent crime, and we are right to do all we can to stop this crime.
But the problem, as Waleed Aly noted in the Fairfax newspapers on Friday, is that our nation has chosen to tolerate having the embarrassment of offshore processing because “it is the very logic of our asylum seeker policy – which is built on the sole rationality of deterrence – to create horror.”
Maybe Malcolm Fraser is right to suggest that the problem could be solved by increasing the number of humanitarian places we take directly from Indonesia.
Let us pray that our politicians act out of love and not selfishness, and that our immigration policies are humane and not cruel.
It would be difficult to avoid noticing that convicted drug trafficker, Schapelle Corby, has been released on parole from her Bali prison.
Despite her conviction and her sentence, people continue to speculate about her innocence, regardless of the strength of evidence that supports the original decision by the Bali court.
This public affair matters to us because we all have a deep sense of justice: we hate to see the innocent punished and we can’t bear to see the guilty set free.
Yet, this is what makes the crucifixion of Jesus so astonishing, for justice was not served on that first Easter: those of us who trust in Jesus are considered innocent, at the expense of the very life of Jesus.
Unless Schapelle says something genuinely new and different in her chequebook journalistic tell-all interview, we’re unlikely to know for sure if she knowingly smuggled the drugs into Bali.
But we can be sure that God truly knows everything, and that the day is coming when he will judge the living and the dead.
As our Aussie farmers wilt under the pressures of this latest drought in our land, we are reminded again of our dependence on God for all our everyday needs.
So what are we to make of this drought? What is God doing in our sunburnt country?
Well, we must remember Jesus’ words that God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
God is the one who brings rain, and as he does so, it affects both those who are righteous in his eyes, as well as those who have turned their backs on God.
But for us who are righteous, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
It is good and right for us to pray for rain for our land, and as we do so we should remember that God is in control and that he works through so called ‘natural’ events for the good of us who have been called to love him.