I recently said to a person at my new church that I had waited for my first day at St Phil’s for twelve years! It was in 1989, during my first year at Uni, that I decided that I wanted to be a full time minister of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. When I said that I was 18 years old, single, and bubbling with enthusiasm. Today I am almost 30 years old, married with two beautiful children… and still overflowing with enthusiasm.

It is a thrill to be involved with the people at St Phil’s. We have been lovingly welcomed, and everyone we have met have gone out of their way to help us with the major transition to our life. We live in a beautiful house on a beautiful street. God has blessed us richly in so many ways!

Mandy and the kids are settling in very well. It has not been without its share of frustrations, but now we think we know where ‘home’ is. Liana and Jemimah had their birthday party 2 weeks ago, and it was great to have all their friends join them in their new home.

My boss is Max Boys, the Senior Minister at St Phil’s. With his lovely wife Rose he has supported Mandy and me as we have tried to work out where to begin and how to cope with all the new pressures. I value Max’s unending support and guidance, and feel greatly privileged to have been asked to assist him in his responsibilities.

We have also met many of the people who attend the evening church, our main focus on Sundays. The people are filled with excitement for the many changes that have been underway at the church over the months prior to our arrival. Most significantly is the introduction of a new 5pm church service, and the re-launch of our 7:15 service (now meeting at 7pm). It is great to see how everyone is so flexible in making such important changes to their lives together, and I trust that this and other changes will ensure that we keep moving our sights on the ever-changing targets that are the lost of this world.

I have spent many late nights getting to know the youth leaders and discussing together what our goals should be as we minister to the youth of our area, and how it is that we should aim to meet those goals. I have been struck by their keenness to serve and their endurance of my many long-winded pep talks. We have together made some changes to how the youth ministry happens at St Phil’s. It will be exciting to see how God uses our plans.

The last four weeks have not been without frustrations and trials. I have been quite sick for the past 7 days with a head and chest cold, which has slowed me down quite a bit. I have much to do at the moment, but this has prevented me in many ways. We have been very busy, and are trying to learn about how to cope with the different lifestyle away from College. It has also been very sad to see many of our close friends from College move all around the world away from us. Some have moved a few hours away; others have moved interstate and even overseas. Those who have moved only minutes away also seem far away as we try to find time together amidst our ever-busy lives. The best and worst thing about College was the new community of friends. It was wonderful to meet such beautiful friends, but it is heartbreaking to have them move so far from us. I remind myself, ‘heaven awaits’. Then I pray ‘Come Lord Jesus’!

Our family went to Katoomba last week for the Katoomba Youth Leadership Convention (KYLC). It was wonderful to meet so many young leaders who are energised to serve the youth of our city and beyond. The program is great, and it was excellent to see the 17 and 18 year olds in the group that Mandy and I led together grow in their understanding of God’s word in only a short time.

Next week I get ordained as a Deacon in the Anglican Church. Many years ago I think I saw ordination as merely a hurdle to ministering in an Anglican church. Now I feel that I am beginning to understand the significance of being commissioned for leadership in Christ’s body, the church. I know that that has happened informally already in many places and at many times in my life. But to have it happen in such a formal way reminds me of the magnitude of the responsibility and privilege of pastoring God’s flock. Whilst the Anglican church is only ‘one boat to fish from’, it is nonetheless the boat that I am fishing from at the moment. And it is an honour to be commissioned to ‘fish’ in this way by those who already fish, and have taught me to fish. [If you would like to come to see me ordained, click here for details.]

Please pray that Mandy and I will continue to remain faithful to God, to each other, and to all our friends and family. I preached on the 14th Jan on ‘Faithfulness’, and looked at God’s faithfulness as shown through the prophet Hosea. It is amazing to consider God’s faithfulness, and to know what our faithfulness must look like in response. May we all be faithful, like God.

I preach next on the 4th Feb on the topic ‘He saved us’, where I will be expounding Titus 3:3-8. May God bless me as I prepare, and all those who sit under the word on that day. We are hoping that many newcomers will join us on that day, and God willing, put their faith in the only one who can save them.

May God continue to bless you and those close to you in the days ahead.