Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What is deputation?

For the next 6 months or so, Sarah and I are involved in 'deputation'. So what is this 'deputation'?

Deputation is the old word for what we now call 'mission education'. As missionaries of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) (www.cms.org.au), one of the privileges we have is to be involved in education - especially the education of people in Australia about what God is doing all over the world. The idea is that as we talk about the work God is doing in Mexico, in Latin America and in all four corners of the globe, our hearers will for moved to pray for the work, care for their missionaries, give to support what CMS is doing, and perhaps consider going.

We have two majors areas where we are responsible for mission education.

First - we have six link churches. These are churches that have said they would like to specifically support us as their link missionaries. They will take a particular role in caring and praying for us, our prayer points might go in their weekly bulletins and on their websites, they might direct some of their church budget to CMS to support us - that sort of thing.

We will spend a week (or two depending on the size of the church) at each of these link churches. We'll be meeting as many of the church members as we can in situations from Sunday services, to small group Bible studies, dinners, morning teas - whatever they organise for us to do. We're really looking forward to this opportunity and the new friends and partners we're going to be meeting.

Second - we go to various one-off events - either organised by CMS or by someone else to which CMS people have been invited. Sometimes these are big events, like campus midyear conferences, sometimes they are smaller - regional CMS support groups and prayer meetings. Sometimes we'll be asked to talk about the work we're heading to do in Mexico, but other times it might be something a bit different - like how we became missionaries, or the training strategies of CMS.

Wherever we are, we're really keen to answer questions, share what God is doing in our lives and invite our hearers to become partners with us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The importance of the word of God

Have you ever wondered why it is that Christians seem to talk about God's word so much?

I've joined the Men's Bible study group at St Matthew's Ashbury, and we've just started doing the Matthias Media 'Blueprint' studies - a series of 9 studies that look at Christian doctrine. This week's study was on God's word.

There were all sorts of great things we were reminded of, like the fact that God created the universe by his word, he inspires his word, he has made his word available to us in a language we can understand. But the point that particularly struck me was the fact that as we read God's word, not only do we hear about the things that God has done in the past and a bit about what he is like, but we come to know God himself.

For many of us, we don't need convincing of the need for regular reading and thinking about God's word - but I wonder what we think is happening as we do that? 2 Tim 3:16-17 talks about us being corrected, rebuked etc - and that is true. We must look to the word of God for all guidance in matter of faith and conduct.

But I think we need to be reminded that we can go one step more. Not only can we know what God wants for us as we read his word - but we can know God as well. What a special honour that is!

Now before we get too puffed up with our own self importance and we think we can read God's word and 'work him out', we need to make sure that we understand the part the Holy Spirit plays in or understanding.

"We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." 1 Cor 2:12-13

The Holy Spirit allows us to know God as we read God's word. Again, what a special honour.

If you are like me, sometimes (OK - more than sometimes) Bible reading can drop off, get squeezed out by those important things like sleeping or watching 'The Amazing Race'. But I was reminded at Bible study as we thought about God's word to again read it to be corrected and instructed, but also to get to know God.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A first attempt at blogging...

Well, this is it. My first attempt at blogging. 

My good friend Peter Orr, on his last day in Australia convinced me that blogs are 'the new books'! We'll see Pete - but hopefully this will help me stay in touch and share some thoughts as we head overseas in 6 months or so.

The family and I are currently about to start deputation with our CMS link churches - which will be an exciting experience I'm sure. Its a great thrill to be traveling around the place talking to people about what we are praying God will be doing throughout Latin America.

We start at St Andrew's Cathedral on August 10th, and have many visits following that. We'll also be speaking at various one off events around Sydney, in Canberra, the Southern Highlands and in Newcastle. If you are around it would be great to see you at one of them.

I'm aiming to update the blog about once a week - hopefully with things a bit deeper than this! But there you go - this is an introduction.