Kawepūrongo | News

Sorry not sorry for the huge Charles Mail this week—God is doing so much good, I can't resist telling you all!

I got a bit emotional.

Last week in Charles Mail I linked in a conversation with Blue Bradley asking for people to serve at Baptist Camps over Easter. In response I received this note: 

“Thank you for your incredibly informative and profound post each week. It’s rich in God at work among us. The interview between Blue and you touched me deeply. My hubby asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday (on Easter weekend). I have to work as all pastors do over Easter, however, I asked if we could go and help Blue pack down on Monday.” 

As I read this, tears came to my eyes—wow!! How beautiful are Baptist people!

And here are just six examples I received last week of God at work amongst us:

1. This photo came in from Rachel Murray (Regional Leader — Otago & Southland Baptist Association) of 115 women from the Otago/Southland region who gathered together at Gore Baptist Church on Saturday. Hannah Cossey drove down from Christchurch to be the speaker for the day. How brilliant is this—awesome associating. I love Baptist women!

2. And then this from the children’s ministry at Epsom Baptist Church. They had a Bake Sale on the roadside of their church grounds and raised a good amount of money for Eskdale Primary School who had lost everything in the recent flooding. 

3. Helen Brereton (Nelson Baptist Church) wrote to me, "Little things making me grin like a Cheshire Cat this week—the signs are now all in place and the world can see where home is for the Chin Glory Evangelical Church. #joyunspeakablejoy"

4. I absolutely loved the photo below from Ngāruawāhia Baptist Church of their first Baptism service in the mighty Waikato River on Sunday. Just look at Santiago's face! 

Stewart Best (Pastor) writes: "This young man came to see me recently with his dad and shared how he had been praying in his bed and God clearly told him it was time to be baptised. His dad joined us in the river, and it was a special time, check out the joy on his face. No doubt the Holy Spirit was at work here..."

5. And from Rangiora Baptist Church, this picture of a group of women who have decided to meet together each week to work through our Robust Leadership Training Course. How cool is this!?! Please do invite me to come down—I would love to join in one of the studies with you. Anyone else out there doing this course? Do let me know how it's going. 

6. Finally, from Craig Vernall (Bethlehem Baptist Church), this amazing photo below of Tom Frew preaching. Craig writes:

This last weekend Bethlehem Baptist celebrated Pastor Tom Frew’s 90th birthday. Tom & Aileen were the founding pastors of Bethlehem Baptist when they planted and then served for 6 years from 1988. So this last Sunday we got to experience Tom’s passion for Jesus and his heart for the lost. Tom’s message covered 3 points. Christ missing, Christ’s ministry and Christ’s mission. With a great dose of Tom’s celebrated Irish humour. Tom challenged his listeners and many responded to draw closer to the Lord or give their lives to him. Tom’s family came in from all parts of NZ to celebrate and enjoy the birthday cake he was given. What an inspiration Tom was as he spoke at 2 full morning services and never missed a beat. A day to be very grateful for the special people God puts in our lives.

God is at work amongst us! Thank you New Zealand Baptists for being so amazing!

And now to my week

I have had such a great week! What a privileged position I find myself in, being able to connect with so many diverse people and places from week to week. I count it an honour:

Ethan Miller’s Mihi Whakatau

Last Monday morning we welcomed Ethan Millar (National Youth Catalyst) to the National Support Centre with a Mihi Whakatau. It was great to see the room full of so many young and old youth pastors and leaders. In the photo below Merrilyn Withers is praying for Ethan. Welcome Ethan—it is so good to have you on the team. 

The way of Raukura: A Parihaka Musical.

Then on Tuesday afternoon I had the privilege of talking with Steve Worsley (musical director and Baptist pastor) and Sarah Tahere (cultural advisor) - of The way of Raukura: A Parihaka Musical. Click here to jump into our conversation on how the musical came about and why it is a must to buy a ticket. 

The musical is showing 18-21 May 2023 at Auckland Bruce Mason Centre. See info here.

I am attending Thursday evening May 18—let's see if we can fill the place out with Baptists! Please do promote this within your communities. See you there!

Talking discipleship 

A highlight for me last week was meeting up with Carey Baptist College New Testament lecturer Jonathan Robinson to talk discipleship. Thank you Carey for your commitment to producing discipleship materials for Baptist churches. A thriving faith community will be marked out by growing disciples

Baptist Women

Last Thursday Kathryn Heslop and I met online with Heather Ameye-Bevers and Monique Lee from Baptist Women New Zealand, where we talked together about how we can continue to connect and associate with Baptist Women, and some of the exciting priorities Baptist Women have been working on. Bring on the future!

Until next time

And I am keen for you to know that Part Two of my sabbatical starts on Monday 3 April. I will be out of the office until Friday 5 May. So, no Charles Mail for the next few weeks. 

I love working at the National Support Centre. I am looking forward to coming back in May and working with you all for another 3-years—for the purpose of bringing Gospel renewal to people and places within our local neighbourhoods. 

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Kia ora Baptist whānau 

It’s so easy to have your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus at Easter.   

This week, my devotional book pondered how Matthew’s gospel affirms the word of God to the prophet Isaiah as being fulfilled in Christ, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him…”  (Isaiah 42:1). 

As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2: 

7 He made himself nothing 

by taking the very nature of a servant, 

being made in human likeness. 

8 And being found in appearance as a man, 

he humbled himself 

by becoming obedient to death— 

even death on a cross! 

The paradox of the Lord of the universe becoming a servant never ceases to amaze me—God divesting himself of his infinite splendour and taking on himself our limitations, our poverty, our suffering—to be a servant. What an incredible display of love! 

Remember that time when the disciples were seeking Kingdom positions of comfort, privilege and power? Jesus took them aside and said, “Not so with you…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45) 

In 2023, it’s very easy to become preoccupied with self, comfort, position, privilege, and success. But Jesus wants his followers to know that servanthood becomes the terms of discipleship.  

My devotional book highlighted the way many of the New Testament writers introduced themselves. 

The Apostle wrote to the church in Rome, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.” (Rom 1:1) 

Peter addressed himself as, “Simon Peter, a servant…of Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) 

Jude, the brother of Christ, expected no special treatment, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:1) 

And the disciple closest to Jesus declared the great vision was made known to, “His servant John.” (Rev 1:1) 

It is my prayer…

Karakia | Prayer

...that we would be a movement that truly reflects the servant heart of Christ.

...that we would willingly give up our rights for the rights of another. 

...that we would take on a posture of humility and lowliness, in order to lift others up.

...that we would keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, constantly looking to Him.

...that we would always remember the incredible love that our Lord Jesus displayed to us through his death on the cross. 

...and that we could always sign our name as [........] a servant of Jesus Christ.

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