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Oct 15, 2017
Deeper
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
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  • Oct 15, 2017Deeper
    Oct 15, 2017
    Deeper
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.