Over the last few weeks in this newsletter I've been reflecting on reasons for thankfulness. Two weeks ago I wrote of the gratitude we should have for the gospel, last week about God's generosity in giving us one another. Today - in light of our recent weather - I want to say we should give thanks to God for the rain.
For farmers this will be a no-brainer, it's the best season in years, and it's wonderful to go for a short drive out of town and see crops growing and green paddocks all around. I have no doubt that farmers will be rejoicing in the rain, and in this rejoicing we should all be thankful to the one from who all good gifts flow.
One lesson that drought teaches us is that God is the one on whom we ultimately depend. We are not in control of the weather, we can build dams and water pipelines to needy communities, but only God can send the rain that will end a drought.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Amos spoke of drought as a warning from God that the people did not heed (Amos 4:7-8). God took Israel's prosperity from them in order to call them back to him, but they continued in their materialistic ways and rejection of him. At the end of Amos a much worse scenario is spoken of:
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD." Amos 8:11.
Like a drought this famine of the word of God would be devastating. Not hearing God's word is like missing the rain. You may survive without it for a short time, but eventually, without it you cannot live. A drought of God's word is death itself.
Australia is not God's nation the way that Israel in the Old Testament was, but like God's people then we live in a nation obsessed by materialism and largely in rebellion against God. Drought reminds us that we must turn back to God, not only do we depend on him for water to live, but more importantly we need the refreshing water of the gospel to wash us of our sin and create a new heart within us.
So let us give thanks for the rain as it reminds us of the kindness of God toward us both physically and spiritually, and let us also pray that many will turn back to God as we share with them the life-giving news of his grace.
Thanksgiving Sunday is a special yearly service when our three congregations normally meet together to celebrate and give thanks for the goodness of God toward us. We can't meet as one big group this year, instead we are going to have one Livestream service at 10 am. We'll be hearing about the perfect priest we have in Jesus, Hebrews 7:1-28.
When: This Sunday, 28 June at 10am. Where: Via Facebook live. You can access this via our Facebook page, or, if you don't have a Facebook account, access the Livestream via our Online Service page on our website, you don't need a Facebook account to participate. Simply click the link on our website, or below, from 9.50am Sunday to watch the 'Happening Now' Live-streamed service. Who: Can I encourage each of us to gather with some others from church to watch and share in the service together. For Kids: There'll be a kids talk and song as part of the service, also activities will be uploaded to the Online Service page and Padlet as usual. No Zoom: Because of the different type of service, we won't be having Zoom morning tea or church@5 this week.
Romans Romans 12: 1- 18
This week is our last week of Kids Church for Term 2. Over the term it is my hope that the children of St Aidan's have heard and understood that they are loved by God, that we have hope because of who God is and what he has done and that we are changed by the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus. We have looked at passages that give us Hope that Jesus will return and passages that encourage us to stand firm for Jesus. I pray that these passages have been encouraging for you all.
This week in Romans we are reminded not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It's the Holy Spirit that does this work in us but it is through our actions and words that people can see that we are transformed into children of God. I encourage you to pray with your children that they will show how they have been transformed by God and that they will be strong enough to be different in the world.
Use the new July Monthly & Missionary Prayer Diary to pray for your church family.
Pray for those in our church family who are unwell and undergoing medical treatment.
Pray for leaders in government making decisions about COVID-19 restrictions.
Pray for our church leaders making decisions about gatherings for the months ahead.
Pray for generosity towards God's work through St Aidan's this Thanksgiving Sunday.
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