As 2008 draws to a close, it is fitting to remember the great works that Jesus has done in us, for us and with us this year.
Psalms 111:1-4 (ESV)
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered and the following are a few highlights from our year that I remember – a year in which we began City Edge Church.
In February this year our family moved from our home of 5 years in Berwick to our new home in Burwood East as part of our relocation into the Burwood community. Even though we moved from a largish house to a much smaller one, it has allowed us to simplify our lives during a busy year while leading the new church and working for our current employers.
In October this year we were blessed to be able to go on a 5 week family holiday to China and Europe. While we saw many ancient places and followed the tourist trails, the major highlight for us was spending time with work colleagues in China, family in England and close Christian friends in England and Spain. We also think that France is awesome – the cities the countryside and the people.
There is so much that went on this year after beginning the church in Russell & Sue’s house back in February.
Some of the highlights for me have been the continued realisation that Jesus builds. As we follow he calls together a group of people in a particular locality to worship him, care for each other and spread the good news about what he has done and is doing.
We had the opportunity to welcome the Gould family who after much prayer were released with the full support of Life to the Nations Christian Fellowship. They have been a real blessing to the church and I’m sure will be well into the future.
Also, during the year the Manderson family from Perth felt a calling to part of a church plant and to relocate to Melbourne. They arrived on a cold rainy Friday night in December – just as you would expect from Melbourne in summer? They have never been to Melbourne before and are simply following God’s call on their lives. The church has welcomed them in as though they were here from day one and I am looking forward to some great fellowship with them over the years that lie ahead.
Warren married Rebecca in Taiwan and has returned to Melbourne with his new bride. This time last year in his mind he was heading to Perth – God obviously had other plans.
Our first major input from the NCMI apostolic team came from Russ & Mary just before they left for the States and then later in the year from Rudy & Wendy. Both couples helped to establish foundations in our first year.
Life to the Nations Christian Fellowship and New Generation City Church also helped out during the year by sending us preachers and a music team. This allowed me to travel with work and for us to have a family holiday.
For me personally it has been a year full of events on a family, church and work level.
At work I had the opportunity once again to visit China, this time in May shortly after the horrific earthquakes. In October I was promoted to Customer Service Manager.
Also in October while on holiday I learned to drive a left hand drive car on the right hand side of the road in Paris of all places. Fortunately for my family, I went no where near the crazy Champs Elysess. We also drove to the south of France and spent a day in Geneva before heading to Barcelona. From there we drove back over the Pyrenees on our way back to Paris.
Prior to this church plant I had only ever preached twice in a row on one occasion, so to preach almost each week has been a real stretch. But the one thing in all of this busyness is the wonderful sovereignty of God in that not even the most mundane events of my life escapes his notice and his ever present help. Jesus gives us a peace not as the world gives which relies fully on favourable circumstances, but his peace gives us comfort and wisdom in some of the most challenging circumstances that we find ourselves in. To him be the glory.
I hope 2009 is a great one for all of you.