Aug 13, 2017
Going Back in order to Go Forward
Posted by Phil Inglis
Last week Rebecca and I went to see the movie, 'The Big Sick'. Loosely based on a true story, it is a film about how a young Pakistani comedian living in Chicago meets a non-Pakistani girl and they fall in love. This would be a very unremarkable story were it not for the families of both characters. Kumail's parents have their own expectations and since they also live in Chigago, they have regu
lar family dinners. The cultural expectations go further than regular family dinners. His parents are actively searching for a suitable (Pakistani) woman with whom they can arrange a marriage for Kumail. When Emily contracts a life threatening disease and is placed in a coma, her parents rush to the hospital where they meet Kumail for the first time. During the rest of the movie, Emily's parents' dysfunctions are revealed and Kumail has to navigate a tricky path through the questions, suspicion, expectations and demands of both sets of parents.

God's interaction with people began with one family. The family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a family revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, so much so that these are called the Abrahamic religions. The truth is, however, that Abraham's family is extremely dysfunctional. Peter Scazerro, in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, says "The great news of Christianity is that your biological family of origin does not determine your future." This is only true, however, if we take the time to understand the past and reflect on how it affects our present.
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  • Aug 13, 2017Going Back in order to Go Forward
    Aug 13, 2017
    Going Back in order to Go Forward
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Last week Rebecca and I went to see the movie, 'The Big Sick'. Loosely based on a true story, it is a film about how a young Pakistani comedian living in Chicago meets a non-Pakistani girl and they fall in love. This would be a very unremarkable story were it not for the families of both characters. Kumail's parents have their own expectations and since they also live in Chigago, they have regu
    lar family dinners. The cultural expectations go further than regular family dinners. His parents are actively searching for a suitable (Pakistani) woman with whom they can arrange a marriage for Kumail. When Emily contracts a life threatening disease and is placed in a coma, her parents rush to the hospital where they meet Kumail for the first time. During the rest of the movie, Emily's parents' dysfunctions are revealed and Kumail has to navigate a tricky path through the questions, suspicion, expectations and demands of both sets of parents.

    God's interaction with people began with one family. The family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a family revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, so much so that these are called the Abrahamic religions. The truth is, however, that Abraham's family is extremely dysfunctional. Peter Scazerro, in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, says "The great news of Christianity is that your biological family of origin does not determine your future." This is only true, however, if we take the time to understand the past and reflect on how it affects our present.
  • Aug 6, 2017Know Yourself To Know God
    Aug 6, 2017
    Know Yourself To Know God
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    This week I had the opportunity to go back to my old high school and speak to a group of young leaders about life after school. As I prepared what I was going to speak about, I found myself reflecting on what it felt like to be close to the end of my time at high school - excited about the beginning of a new chapter, but also incredibly scared about the future.

    Like many teenagers, I hadn’t quite figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I had decent grades, I was a leader in my church and school community, and I’d worked hard at extra-curricular actives that put me in a good position to apply for university. The only problem was I didn’t really know myself. As a result, I made decisions about my future based on the opinions of other people. I thought it sounded impressive telling people that I’d been accepted to study a Law degree. Well intentioned teachers and family members told me that it was a great achievement. Lawyers were smart, they were driven, the good ones were rich - I was going to build my life into something great.

    The only problem was, I hated it. I didn’t care about 90% of the stuff I learnt in my first semester of uni. I didn’t want to be a lawyer and no matter how much I tried convincing myself and everyone else around me that I had it together, I didn’t. I was living out my false self, and it didn’t feel good. I didn’t know myself well enough, so I didn’t have the capacity to differentiate between who I was and who I thought other people wanted me to be. It wasn’t until I spent some serious time in self-reflection and prayer that I figured out who I really was and began living as my authentic self.

    The first of seven steps towards emotionally healthy spirituality is knowing ourselves so that we may know God. If we lack understanding of who we are, we can be tempted to live as our ‘false-self’ rather than become our ‘authentic-self’. God created each one of us to think and feel differently, and we position ourselves best in relationship with him if we come as we are.

    ow Yourself To Know God" by Wollongong Salvos.
  • Jul 30, 2017The Problem with Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
    Jul 30, 2017
    The Problem with Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    Like most kids, when our twin daughters were four and learning to write, they began by learning to write their own names. As they were both getting to the point they could almost write their names legibly, I noticed that someone had used permanent marker to write the name ‘Chloe’ on the door of the fridge in very rough writing. I asked Chloe, “Did you write your name on the fridge?” Instantly s
    he replied “No, Emily did.” Unfortunately for Chloe, Emily was still struggling to write her own name, so it was extremely unlikely that she was able to write her sister’s name. But Chloe insisted and refused to back down. I wanted to say “Seriously, how dumb do you think I am?” but I was struggling not to laugh. Chloe didn’t get why I thought her response was humorous. She was only 4 years old and so obviously pretty immature. Fortunately, as she has grown up and matured, she has largely grown out of this tendency to point the finger and blame someone else, especially when it’s blatantly obvious she is at fault.

    In 1 Samuel 15 we read that God tells Saul to go to war against Amalek and to destroy everything, including all the cattle and sheep, no exceptions. But Saul does make exceptions and he spares the choicest sheep and cattle because it makes him look more favourable in the eyes of the people. Then he boastfully tells the prophet Samuel, “I accomplished God's plan to the letter!” Samuel however wasn't having any of it. He responds with great sarcasm, “So what's this I'm hearing - this bleating of sheep, this mooing of cattle?”

    Chloe & Saul had some growing up to do if they wanted to also be spiritually healthy. They needed to develop emotional maturity if they were to be able to develop spiritual maturity. Many of us try to present our lives and the situations we experience in a particular light, with a particular spin, when underneath there’s a very different reality that just doesn’t correspond. The most confronting truth is that often we are the last to see it.
  • Jul 23, 2017Stay Positive 4 – I’m Encouraging
    Jul 23, 2017
    Stay Positive 4 – I’m Encouraging
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    Apparently, when you catch a crab and place it in a bucket, the first thing it will try to do is escape. Usually, this lone crab succeeds and can climb up the walls and out of the bucket with ease. However, if you are to place two crabs in the same bucket, neither one will escape. As soon as one crab begins climbing up out of the bucket, the other will grab it by the legs and pull it back down. This process is repeated each time a crab starts climbing. It’s possible for both

    crabs to get out of the bucket, but instead they hold each other back from doing so. Crabs are dumb. But sometimes, sadly, we’re not so different. It’s difficult to maintain a positive perspective if we’re constantly pulled down by the negativity of others, and we never get out the bucket if we’re the ones doing the pulling.

    Over the past three weeks we’ve focused on attributes that help us to be, think and stay positive. Positive people are optimistic, grateful and enthusiastic, and this week we take a look at the importance of being people who are encouraging. While it’s tempting for us to pull each other down or to lose sight of each other’s best interests, Hebrews 10 encourages us to be people that look out for each other. Truly encouraging people have the ability to not only consider others, but to spur them on to God’s best. Unlike crabs, we can all get out of the bucket if we can stop for a moment and think about how we can best understand, help and motivate each other.

  • Jul 16, 2017Kids Special – Superhero
    Jul 16, 2017
    Kids Special – Superhero
    Series: Special
    Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wonder Woman and a multitude of others, are iconic figures within popular culture. Comics, TV, movies and even radio shows have been produced, and are being produced, to tell the stories of impossible feats of bravery and heroism. Each superhero has a super ability, and they fight the enemy with this super ability and win. Their missions often involve rescuing hostages
    , recovering stolen property, destroying aliens, or fixing whatever other tragedy has threatened to befall humanity.

    I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but in recent decades superhero movies have grown up. In recent years the focus has been on deeper issues. Stories often revolve around the origin of the superhero, or the motivations that drive the hero. Questions about the hero’s true identity, their true motivations, and the consequences of their actions, all have to be wrestled with before they will act. All across the spectrum, superheroes are facing their own ‘demons’ as they struggle with identity, motivation and responsibility. Of course, the heroes are victorious in each of these stories, but the victory comes before the enemy is vanquished. The victory comes when the hero is able to deal with their inner struggles and steps up to the fight, the big fight. Victory at the end can often be seen as an inevitable expression of the true battle that took place in the heart and soul of the hero.
  • Jul 9, 2017Stay Positive 3 – I’m Enthusiastic
    Jul 9, 2017
    Stay Positive 3 – I’m Enthusiastic
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Last week the government of the Philippines signed into law a bill making enthusiastic singing of the national anthem compulsory. I wonder how many school children are at risk of having to pay the $2,500 fine? I remember in kindergarten having to sing our national anthem. I was really enthusiastic, I was proud that I had remembered the words and I sung fervently. As the weeks progressed however, my level of enthusiasm waned. By the time I was in year one, I was about as enthusiastic as a fish at an athletics carnival.
     
    It's not that I didn't love Australia. I have always known that we live in the greatest country on earth. I just didn't like being forced to sing and it just wasn't cool to sing, so I didn't want to be seen to be singing.
     
    It's a very common thing, to lose enthusiasm. Time, discomfort, effort and distraction can all contribute to a decline in enthusiasm. David, the kid who fought Goliath had such fervour and enthusiasm, but when he was king, his enthusiasm waned, to the point that he no longer went to fight. Instead he engages in murder and adultery. If we want to 'Stay Positive' about life, spirituality and faith, we need to treasure and cultivate our enthusiasm.
  • Jul 2, 2017Stay Positive 2 – I’m Grateful
    Jul 2, 2017
    Stay Positive 2 – I’m Grateful
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    “You didn’t thank me for unpacking the dishwasher.” “Why don't you thank me when I look after the kids?” “You never notice when I help out around the house.” For a number of years after we got married, these were the things I heard from Phil. It seemed so weird because I did the majority of work around the house and with the kids, and it seldom resulted in a "thank you." Phil simply took it for granted that I would do most of the work. He never voiced his gratitude, neve

    r recognised his dependence, or acknowledged how much better his life was because of me. We’ve since had many 'discussions' about this, and thankfully we've come a really long way. It still makes me think though, if we can take for granted those who we see everyday, how much easier is it for us to take for granted a God who is unseen.

    Experts say that gratitude is the value that unlocks so many other positive values. Gratitude makes you generous. Gratitude makes you encouraging. Gratitude makes you positive. Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement and expectation.

    We are very good at complaining, but very slow to show gratitude. We are quick to ask “Why do bad things happen to me?” but rarely do we ask “Why do good things happen to me?” In Hebrew, the word for gratitude is the same as the word for confession. When we show our gratitude to God we are confessing our dependence on him. When we show our gratitude to God we are acknowledging that he has the power to help us. When we show our gratitude to God we are admitting that our life is better because of him.

  • Jun 25, 2017Stay Positive 1 – I’m Optimistic
    Jun 25, 2017
    Stay Positive 1 – I’m Optimistic
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” This is a phrase I have heard a number of times in recent years and it’s not hard to see how people form such an opinion. The state of the world economy has seen a huge number of people lose their homes. Global warming has seen ice caps melting, the extinction of species and the rising of sea levels. The amount of violent crime, from shootings in Chicago to sieges in Melbourne that we see each night when we turn on the news,

    or anytime we turn on our phones is overwhelming. The number of stories about paedophiles and kidnappers appear to be increasing and the details we read about are more and more graphic. The rise of global violence, the war with ISIS and any number of other things can lead us to the conclusion that we live in the darkest of days.

    The truth is however, that we actually live in a golden age. Comparative to any other age in history, we live in a time with less war, less financial instability, less violent crime, more support for those who suffer relationship breakdown, better welfare systems for those suffering financially, and safer streets. So why do we see higher levels of anxiety? Why is it that some parents no longer let their kids walk to school? Why is it that people are more suspicious of anyone who looks different?

    The reason is simply exposure. The information age, in which we find ourselves, is one in which we are more connected and informed than ever before. This added information gives us the impression that such occurrences are increasing, but in fact, we are just hearing about it more. It is important to be careful to balance the volume of negative information with a proactive attempt to be optimistic.

  • Jun 18, 2017Stand IN FAITH
    Jun 18, 2017
    Stand IN FAITH
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    Series: STAND
    To be completely honest, there are very few people whose coffee shop recommendations I would actually be willing to test out. I’m fussy - I like my coffee to be perfect, always. So when I set out on a little road trip to Melbourne this week, who better to ask for a list of potential coffee locations than the owner of my absolute favourite cafe? I had total faith in this list, and boy did it come through. I might have had some of the best coffee of my life over the past three

    days!

    But the thing is, I had good reason to have complete trust and confidence in this list. I hadn’t been to any of the cafes on it before - I hadn’t even heard of most of them. But I knew the creator of the list. I knew she loved coffee and knew a lot about it. I’d also never had a bad coffee at her cafe, so I knew we were on the same page in terms of quality. She’d been to Melbourne and experienced all of this coffee before. She absolutely knew which coffee was best. Having faith in the list really wasn’t a leap in the dark at all.

    For Christians, people who put their trust in God, faith isn’t about taking a leap in the dark either. Faith in God is trust based on promise. It’s assurance that God does deliver because he has in the past. It’s reliance on a God whose way is best, whose kingdom will come, even when we cannot see or understand. And for Daniel, the man who stood out as exemplary, the one who stood up for what was right and stood strong in the midst of opposition, faith was a sure thing. Daniel couldn’t always see God’s plan, but he always had faith because he was sure of who God was, what he had done and what he had promised. Faith is our firm foundation, and the more we live as Daniel did, the more our faith cultivated and strengthened so that we can stand in it despite our inability to see or understand exactly what God is doing.

  • Jun 11, 2017Stand STRONG
    Jun 11, 2017
    Stand STRONG
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    Series: STAND
    I am in the habit of walking first thing of a morning. Before anyone else is up (or at least awake enough to hold a conversation), my alarm goes off, I get up, put on my clothes and shoes and walk out the door. Now I have absolutely been through stages where the habit has faded, but when I am in that habit, nothing really stops me. I don’t particularly notice that it’s raining, till I’m well on my way. If the weather is so ridiculous that I bail, it feels really strange a

    nd I am really lost with what to do with myself, as it totally throws out my routine.

    Habits take time to form though. They come from making a decision and doing something purposefully and consistently until it happens naturally. I’m absolutely and completely convinced that so much of the success of Daniel’s life, and his ability to stand strong, was based on predecisions that became habits. He predecided not to defile himself with food that was set aside for idols. He predecided, long before the law of the land made it illegal, to seek God three times a day in prayer. So sure enough, when it became illegal, risky and actually life-threatening, his habit took over. “In his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom.” (Daniel 6:10)

    As we continue our look at the life of Daniel this Sunday, we’ll be encouraged to consider that if we want to stand strong in the trials and temptations we face, and not be swayed by the crowd, by the majority, then we’ll make some decisions, that we decide consistently until they become habits.