Nov 5, 2017
Waiting For God
Posted by Rebecca Inglis
Series: Unfair
I’m not a big fan of waiting, in fact, I don’t like it at all. Waiting is just so frustrating. It’s boring and it seems to be a total waste of time. There have been seasons of my life where I have spent a lot of time in waiting rooms, particularly with my kids at speech pathologists, specialists, Roads & Maritime Services, doctors surgeries, Medicare, hospitals and orthodontists. The list is endless.

My most difficult waiting experience was about 6 years ago, when my husband, Phil, spent just over 3 months in hospital. That time consisted of waiting for countless things; waiting for him to come out of surgeries, waiting for results, waiting to see if treatments were working, waiting for one or more surgeons to return from ski trips to perform the next surgery, and waiting for God to heal him when it appeared like nothing else was working. During this period of waiting, we did a number of things to pass the time. We talked, we ate, we did crossword puzzles. Each day, I would walk to a great coffee spot and bring back some coffees for us to drink while we watched season after season (six in total!) of our then favourite TV Show, The West Wing. We did these things simply to make the days feel less like they went on for forever, and to distract us from the fear that grew as we waited. It really wasn’t productive waiting.

Most of us spend seasons of our lives waiting; confused about God's will, his timetable and his agenda. God knows that some lessons can only be learned over time. There are some things we cannot understand. Sometimes it is necessary that we spend time waiting.

In Habakkuk 2 we see the prophet waiting for a response from God about his complaint, his argument, that God is unfair. “I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.” (Verse 1) God then tells Habakkuk to be patient, but also gives him direction in what he should do while waiting. Rather than just waiting mindlessly for time to pass by drinking good coffee and watching TV, (Habakkuk had no Netflix anyway), there were things he could do while he waited on God.
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  • Nov 5, 2017Waiting For God
    Nov 5, 2017
    Waiting For God
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    Series: Unfair
    I’m not a big fan of waiting, in fact, I don’t like it at all. Waiting is just so frustrating. It’s boring and it seems to be a total waste of time. There have been seasons of my life where I have spent a lot of time in waiting rooms, particularly with my kids at speech pathologists, specialists, Roads & Maritime Services, doctors surgeries, Medicare, hospitals and orthodontists. The list is endless.

    My most difficult waiting experience was about 6 years ago, when my husband, Phil, spent just over 3 months in hospital. That time consisted of waiting for countless things; waiting for him to come out of surgeries, waiting for results, waiting to see if treatments were working, waiting for one or more surgeons to return from ski trips to perform the next surgery, and waiting for God to heal him when it appeared like nothing else was working. During this period of waiting, we did a number of things to pass the time. We talked, we ate, we did crossword puzzles. Each day, I would walk to a great coffee spot and bring back some coffees for us to drink while we watched season after season (six in total!) of our then favourite TV Show, The West Wing. We did these things simply to make the days feel less like they went on for forever, and to distract us from the fear that grew as we waited. It really wasn’t productive waiting.

    Most of us spend seasons of our lives waiting; confused about God's will, his timetable and his agenda. God knows that some lessons can only be learned over time. There are some things we cannot understand. Sometimes it is necessary that we spend time waiting.

    In Habakkuk 2 we see the prophet waiting for a response from God about his complaint, his argument, that God is unfair. “I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.” (Verse 1) God then tells Habakkuk to be patient, but also gives him direction in what he should do while waiting. Rather than just waiting mindlessly for time to pass by drinking good coffee and watching TV, (Habakkuk had no Netflix anyway), there were things he could do while he waited on God.
  • Oct 29, 2017Where are You God?
    Oct 29, 2017
    Where are You God?
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Unfair

    Eight or nine years ago I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma; a benign tumor growing on my balance nerve in my left ear canal. It meant that, at some point, I would have to have brain surgery. For the first few years though, the doctors just monitored the tumor because it was small and it didn’t appear to be growing any larger yet and surgery had risks.

    For a few years I had regular MRIs and lived with the knowledge that at some point in the next decade or so I would h

    ave to have brain surgery. It was like a dark cloud on the horizon of my life. I talked with God about it a lot. I wanted to know why me, why my family? It wasn’t fair.

    I knew that surgery would be bad. But I knew that God meant for me to go through it, and that through the medical ordeal I would be cleansed and healed. The time came, earlier than expected and it was much worse than I had expected. Due to complications I spent three months in hospital and underwent four separate surgeries and completely lost hearing in the left ear. There are still times I think it’s unfair.

    Today we begin a three week series looking at the short Old Testament book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk’s whole first chapter is devoted to asking God why things are so unfair. Why doesn’t God bring justice? Why do good people suffer and evil people prosper? Questions that still seem so powerful today!

  • Oct 22, 2017Brave!
    Oct 22, 2017
    Brave!
    Posted by Nicole Viles

    'Brave' is a word that is used in many different contexts in our society.

    People are described as being 'brave' for going to the dentist, trying something new, helping in an emergency, attempting the Ninja Warrior course, and even jumping out of a plane. (That last one sounds more silly to me than brave!)

    So what was the apostle Paul meaning in 1 Corinthians 16 when he told the Christians to be 'brave'?

    Join with us this weekend for our WSA Kids celebration! From the youngest to the oldest at Wollongong Salvos, we will explore the concept of 'bravery' from a biblical standpoint and have a lot of fun along the way!

    Come on - you know you want to - be 'brave'!

    #wsakids #wollongongsalvos #welovesundays #brave

  • Oct 15, 2017Deeper
    Oct 15, 2017
    Deeper
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    Series: Deeper
    During the October school holidays, a number of our youth attended a week-long camp at The Salvation Army’s Collaroy Centre called EQUIP. The aim of the camp is to see young people discipled and equipped to engage in the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army across our division. Over the week, youth from Wollongong Salvos participated in electives including photography, brass, drama, worship team, video making, and beginner guitar. Not only did they grow in their skills in these areas, but they were also challenged about how they can use their skills to impact their local church and community.

    As our young people engaged in worship and teaching over the week, they were challenged to go ‘deeper’. Our youth explored what it means to have faith to follow even though bad things happen, doubts arise and struggles occur in their lives. Through Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on water, our young people were challenged to not only to step out of the boat and keep their focus on Jesus, but also to know more of who Jesus is and what he is calling them to.

    Join us this Sunday at 10am as we are led in worship by our EQUIP 2017 campers, and are similarly challenged by this miraculous event to go deeper in relationship with Jesus. #wollongongsalvos #equipnswact #deeper#welovesundays
  • Sep 24, 2017Blessed are the Poor
    Sep 24, 2017
    Blessed are the Poor
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: The Poor
    I grew up in a middle class home. We had a large house in the inner west of Sydney, a couple of cars and most of the trimmings. The neighbourhood was very multicultural but none could have been described as poor. Occasionally I would encounter poor people near the train station, but I don’t think I ever spoke to someone who was poor.

    My exposure to the poor wasn’t totally absent though. I went to middle class Salvation Army Corps where we talked about the poor and the issue of poverty. We looked at the “Self Denial” promotional material that highlighted the plight of the poor overseas, and once or twice we even visited Salvation Army centres.

    None of that prepared me for my first real understanding of the poor when I signed up to be a camp counsellor at a camp for underprivileged children. At this camp, held in the very middle-class Collaroy, I really met, and talked with poor kids. I had visited poor neighbourhoods before, but this was the first time I truly learned what it was to be poor.

    The bible considers the way we treat and interact with the poor as the primary concern for the people of God. Over 200 times in the Old Testament we are taught about the poor, and Jesus' opening line in his famous sermon on the mount is “blessed are you, the poor.” But just how much do we understand about poverty? What does the bible teach us is the root cause and how are we supposed to respond?
  • Sep 17, 2017Develop a Rule of Life
    Sep 17, 2017
    Develop a Rule of Life
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    One of the trials of my school years was the requirement to draw a red margin down the left hand side of every page. We were instructed to measure two centimetres in from the edge of the page on both the top line and the bottom line and then to use our ruler to connect these two points using our red pen. I had problems with this on so many levels. I felt like it was pointless because there was already a perfectly good line formed by the edge of the page. It was frustrat

    ing because all the measuring and ruling on each page was tedious. And I found it difficult because I would always be in a rush, so the stupid ruler would shift as I made my way down the page.

    Early on I thought I would solve the frustration by just drawing the margin by hand with no tedious measuring required. I could draw a straight line. How how hard could it be? The truth is, it’s very hard. I can’t draw a straight line freehand. No matter how hard I tried, I could not prove that rulers were useless for anything other than sword fights. If you have the time and inclination you should try it. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and draw the straightest line you can. Then take a ruler and draw a line with the ruler and you'll see just how straight your freehand straight line is.

    In our lives there are lots of instances where we find tools and supports to help us complete tasks. Thousands of years ago people discovered that spiritual development and growth is also supported by tools and supports. These disciplines and practices can increase our effective growth and spiritual maturity and have been used by different Christian groups over the centuries. The particular set of disciplines and practices that a Christian employs is known as their ‘rule’ for life. Perhaps, in this illustration it would be better to call these ‘rulers’ for life. A ‘ruler’ for your life is a particular set of spiritual skills and practices you chose to put into your life to help you draw the straightest, most perfectly satisfying life you could ever imagine.

  • Sep 10, 2017To Grow Into Emotionally Mature Adults
    Sep 10, 2017
    To Grow Into Emotionally Mature Adults
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    Not long after I’d gotten my provisional licence, I was out driving with my brother during a family holiday in Queensland. We’d enjoyed a fun afternoon at a theme park and as we drove back to our hotel, I was pulled over by a police officer who informed me I was driving 10km over the speed limit. The more lenient laws in Queensland for provisional drivers meant I didn’t lose my licence, but the fine really cut into my holiday fund and of course, it definitely wasn’t my fault.

    In my mind (and in my pre-prepared speech to my parents that I would deliver upon arrival back at our hotel), I thought the speed limit was 80, even though it was 60, so getting caught for going 70 wasn’t that bad because I was actually going 10kph under the limit I had made up in my head. I was also lost, in an unfamiliar area, and driving an unfamiliar car. Not to mention the police officer was a total jerk! There was no way I was owning that getting that speeding fine was 100% my fault. The reality was, I was typing an address into the GPS, while driving on an unfamiliar highway, paying no attention to the speed limit signs. I was no doubt distracted by my brother, our way-too-loud road trip playlist and the gigantic blue slurpees we’d just picked up from 7/11. I should have been focused because we were in unfamiliar territory, but I wasn’t.

    As a 17 year old, it’s probably expected that I’d have the inability to own my mistakes and to blame anyone or anything but myself. But stepping into adulthood, this behaviour would mark me as immature. I wondered this week, as I reflected on the situation, if my reaction would be different now. I’m an adult, but would I take ownership for my poor choices and behaviours, or once again try to blame?

    Sadly, many good Christian people have grown chronologically into adulthood, but have failed to grow emotionally and spiritually since first accepting Jesus. They don't own their mistakes and limitations, they blame other people or things for their issues and they cannot connect what they know to how they live. Unfortunately, the process of growing in these areas is unlike that of physical ageing - it is not inevitable. Growing spiritually and emotionally happens only through disciplined choices to spend time with God, to experience self-reflection and actually allowing God to challenge those parts of our nature that need to be transformed to better reflect his. This type of growth is hard. It hurts. But it also leads us to a full and free life where we can love God and others well.

  • Sep 3, 2017Sabbath and the Daily Office
    Sep 3, 2017
    Sabbath and the Daily Office
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    When I was a kid we treated Sundays with 'proper respect'. We considered Sundays as our days of rest. We didn’t go to sporting games. We weren’t even allowed to play cricket in the backyard. We didn’t go to movies or even watch television. We didn’t go shopping because most stores weren’t open. We didn’t mow lawns, or vacuum, or hang out washing. Anything that could have been done on another day of the week was absolutely forbidden on a Sunday. I can remember my p

    arents arguing the point over what to do with a stained shirt needed for Monday, to wash it, or not to wash it? Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest!

    Now, at the same time as we were having this “day of rest” we were actually pretty busy. Sunday was church day! We had Sunday School, Prayer Meeting, Band Meetings/Spirituals, the morning Holiness meeting, usually followed by a visit to a nursing home, then we raced home for a big late Sunday lunch. We then went back for the afternoon open-air, the night meeting and usually finished off with a youth group supper at someone’s house. I really couldn’t figure out how this was a day of rest. Sure, dad didn’t go to work, but for me, it was the busiest day of the week.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, this level of activity, established by our great grandparents, slowly began to diminish as each generation began to see the flaw in having a day of rest that is the busiest day of the week. This week in our series on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, we explore the idea of Sabbath rest, what it means and how it is achieved. An emotionally healthy spirituality is only possible if we recover a Sabbath rest.

  • Aug 27, 2017Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief and Loss
    Aug 27, 2017
    Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief and Loss
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    The theory of plate tectonics explains the movement of the Earth’s rigid outer layer, the lithosphere. Deep below the surface of the Earth, there are several plates which meet at tectonic boundaries. The energy generated by the inner layers of the Earth causes these plates to move, eventually resulting in the formation of mountain ranges, volcanoes and earthquakes. There is much activity occurring deep inside the Earth that cannot be concealed or controlled forever. The effect of tectonic movement below the surface of the Earth can be incredibly destructive when energy is eventually released.

    Sometimes, we can allow our encounters with grief and loss to be buried beneath the surface, much like these plates. When we deny the emotions that accompany these experiences, grief and loss are stored up and suppressed - eventually erupting in unpredictable ways or rising to the surface in unexpected situations. The problem is, when we deny the emotions of anger, sadness and grief, we deny part of our humanity. Grief and loss, although difficult, are a natural and expected part of life. When Jesus’ betrayal and death loomed, he did not hide his feelings of deep sorrow. While he submitted to the Father’s will, he did not avoid expressing his pain and sadness as he faced unimaginable grief and loss. As we grow in emotional and spiritual health, we should look to enlarge our souls through these experiences, rather than suppress our humanity by denying our deepest feelings.
  • Aug 20, 2017Journeying Through The Wall
    Aug 20, 2017
    Journeying Through The Wall
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    A few years ago I participated in a fundraiser which involved walking 50 kilometres in one day. I walk all the time, so I was pretty confident that I could go the distance without too much of a struggle. But of course, by the time I’d reached the 38km mark I’d developed a pretty good idea of how hard it could be! I wasn’t sure I could keep going. Every part of my lower body ached, my toes were mangled and bloody, and I felt completely exhausted. But it wasn't these physical

    ailments that were going to stop me from finishing. It was a mental battle, believing I could actually go on. The entire focus for the last 12km was just surviving. I had to convince myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    It happens to most distance athletes at some point. They've been running, or cycling or swimming hard, pushing their physical limits, when suddenly things take a sharp turn for the worse. The body feels like it is moving through treacle. Each leg feels like it weighs a couple of tonnes. Some people might even start to hallucinate. Quickly, and very unpleasantly, everything seems to be shutting down. They have ‘hit the wall’. When you hit a wall like this you have two choices: keep going, keep pushing, or just give up.

    We can hit similar walls in our careers, in business, in study, in relationships and certainly in our faith. In the middle of these spiritual life crises we really feel like our faith doesn't 'work'. Perhaps we have more questions than answers. We don’t know where God is, what he is doing, where he is taking us, how he is getting us there, or when this will be over. Many even get to the point where they are not even sure if God exists. These walls are more emotional and spiritual in nature than physical, but the struggle to push through rather than quit is just as real.

    Abraham ‘hit the wall’ numerous times while trying to follow God. He made mistakes at walls, he got stuck, he retreated, but as he matured and allowed God to transform him, he pushed through walls far more effectively. Abraham often had no idea what God was really doing. But he persevered. He waited on God. He trusted. He was faithful. He obeyed. He continued the journey because he knew God was good and loving, and something good was going to come out of what he was facing even though he couldn't see what it was. So he moved forward.