In the midst of playing about with the A To Z Blogging Challenge we've neglected the regular side of the blog, but it's May now so here we go with normal service being resumed.
With the five day weekend over I have to admit to enjoying the blissful peace and quiet in the office, no kids running around, making a ton of noise and being exuberant. Thankfully it's only short lived as they'll be back after lunch but the brief respite is very very welcome!
So here's a bit of an update on what has been going on in April besides abusing the alphabet.
We continue to be blown away by God's goodness and his grace being poured out on Tree Of Life Church. We describe church as "Church unplugged" because we have very little if anything in the way of resources. No worship band, no instruments, no experienced worship leader etc etc. We often scratch our head in amazement that anyone would want to be a part of this church given how chaotic it all seems at times. And yet people don't just want to be a part of it they have thrown themselves in and are part of the family. Family is something that shines out amongst us. We feel this physically as folk bring along their own extended families but also spiritually as we grow together and help each other work through the realities of daily living and some really tough issues.
Dean especially feels like this is a baptism of fire as he's straight in at the deep end of leading and pastoring the church but it's also something he has wanted to do for years but been prevented from doing so it's great to see him flying in what God has called him to do. A couple of years ago a dear friend had a picture of Dean as a caged bird unable to spread his wings, but they also had a word from God that he was going to open that cage. We really believe this has happened with the planting of Tree Of Life.
Some of the ladies in church recently joined Hillsong for their Colour Sisterhood conference and each of them came away having met with God, their gifts having been stirred up and each of them wanting to make a difference in the life of the church. Fantastic stuff. We were also very grateful to Hillsong for giving us very heavily subsidised admission and providing the transport. They really do get what church is about as they know that we're never going to join them and yet they still selflessly and unconditionally give to us. Thank you Lord!
Paula preached for a second time, bringing us a great word on Sunday (see the pic above). Paula was feeling very challenged through the Hillsong conference to step out more, so Dean asked her to preach the very next Sunday. Paula unpacked the story of the Canaanite woman and her demon possessed daughter. Jesus tells her to go away and the disciples get cross with her but she's persistent. Jesus likens her to a dog and she responds "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Matthew 15:27. Clearly Jesus is taken a bit off guard but is impressed by her faith. The thing is, we're all dogs until we're saved and it's worth remembering that as we go about life remembering to care for folk, love them as Jesus commanded us to and make every effort to share the gospel with them.
We're very excited about this coming week especially Sunday as we're having another testimony Sunday and also celebrating Oom Paul and Molly's 60th wedding anniversary. Good things are happening!