Issue 112 May – July 2018
Our quarterly newsletter edited by Venessa Crane.
Contributions are welcome.
Click here to email a contribution to Venessa.
From New Birth to Empowered Life
As the season of Easter moves into the season of Pentecost, we also move our focus from celebrating new birth in Christ (through His death and resurrection) to empowered living for Christ (by the gift of the Holy Spirit living within us). Pentecost reminds us that the overflowing effect of Jesus’ resurrection is that it has made way for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us, to guide, counsel, instruct, challenge, and enable us to live as followers of Jesus (see John 16:5 – 15).
And so as we draw to a close on Paul’s Letter to the Colossian Christians in May – through which we have been reminded that the Gospel is all about Jesus, our Christian life is all about Jesus, and our eternal hope is all about Jesus; so let’s look at Christ clearly! – we will be turning our attention in June and July to living out life in Jesus through the privilege of prayer and the joy of giving.
As we focus on these two aspects of Christian discipleship, we pray along with Augustine, that the Holy Spirit will continue to change us into the likeness of Jesus and help us to live Godly lives for Him: Breathe in me O Holy Spirit that my thoughts may be holy;
Act in me O Holy Spirit that my works, too, may be holy;
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit that I love only what is holy;
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit to defend all that is holy;
Guard me then O Holy Spirit that I always may be holy.
St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)
As the 15th National Assembly of the Uniting Church draws near (8th – 14th July in Melbourne) we are invited to join ACC members around Australia in prayer.
Each day during the Sacred Season a daily devotional will be available for personal reflection and prompts for prayer –you will be able to sign up for these daily posts on the ACC School of Faith web-site: www.confessingschooloffaith.com
Fasting during the day is not compulsory, but may be a helpful way to focus your thoughts and your time of prayer. Prayer is our first call, not our last resort.
Settling into Japan – Jackson Pengilly
Sam Whybrow and I moved to Japan in April to study in Kanazawa University for one year, as part of our degree in International Studies. After spending one month in Japan we are starting to settle into the daily routines of our university, home and church lives here.
University in Japan is busy with Japanese classes daily and an exam every second day, but our Japanese skills are growing rapidly because of this.
On top of our Japanese classes we also do Japanese culture classes, which Sam and I chose to pick Karate and Family Life as our electives. Karate is fun and a good workout, while Family In Japan pairs us up with a class of Japanese students as we discuss the differences between families in Japan and other countries.
We are also settling into our apartments and learning lots of valuable life skills now that we are living out of home. Living out of home is both a scary yet liberating experience, and I have a new-found appreciation for the tireless work my parents have done for me over the last 22 years I lived at home.
We are also very excited to be getting settled into a church here in Kanazawa. By God’s grace we have managed to find two different churches both of which are friendly, inviting and preach God’s word faithfully and in English! We had the privilege of seeing a Japanese woman get baptised and hear of how she came to faith in Japan.
It was encouraging to hear about how despite Japan’s tiny Christian population, God is still moving and saving people! The Christians here are super inviting and friendly, offering us lifts to church and free lunch after the service! As a uni student living out of home without a car this is a massive plus! But more importantly they love Jesus and love his word. Services usually involve more traditional hymns, a bible study style discussion instead of a sermon, and a time of open prayer. We are currently going through the story of Joseph and I have found encouragement in learning to trust God’s plan in a foreign land.
[Jackson and Sam may be away from us for a time, but they still contribute to our KidzChurch ministry with some wonderful videos they made in Japan. With the magic of modern technology,our Family Service was able to watch “Grandpa” and “Jimmy” ponder the wonders of life, and God, and family. We praise God for their faithfulness and their ongoing ministry to us even from afar. We miss you Jackson & Sam and look forward to hearing more of your Japanese exploits! – Ed.]
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