Special Events

Jack Simpson and His Donkey (an ANZAC Hero)

The ANZACs have a great hero called John 'Jack' Simpson Kirkpatrick who enlisted and was chosen as a field ambulance stretcher-bearer in Perth on 23 August 1914. On 25 April 1915, long with the rest of the Australian and New Zealand contingent he landed at the wrong beach on a piece of wild, impossible and savage terrain now known as ANZAC Cove. Attack and counter attack began. During the morning hours of 26 April, along with his fellows, Jack was carrying casualties back to the beach over his shoulder. It was then that he saw the donkey, and having worked... Read more →

ANZAC Day - 100 Year Anniversary

Tomorrow, in Australia and New Zealand, we commemorate the centenary of ANZAC Day. 'ANZAC' stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. The ANZACs landed on Gallipoli and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Their plan to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the allied forces were evacuated. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured great... Read more →

He's Risen! (Easter Sunday Reflections)

Matthew tells us the story like this: Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. Dont be afraid! he said. I know you are looking for... Read more →

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

A few weeks ago, on January 15th, Americans celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day in commemoration of his birthday. Dr. King was the chief spokesman for non-violent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honour began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Regan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some American states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It... Read more →

Australia's Defining Traits

As a nation, there are traits that have defined Australia for decades, but as the times shift and trends emerge McCrindle Research takes a look at the extent to which these are still relevant in defining us today. 1. The Lucky Country Statistics show that Australia is doing better than ever when it comes to health, education, economic opportunities, and even political participation. The economy is on a steady increase, even despite a recent global economic crisis. Cash flow is increasing with the net disposable income for everyday Australians now $10,000 more than it was a decade ago. We value... Read more →

Should We Move Australia Day?

On Monday, the 26 of January, we celebrate 'Australia Day' - the official national day of Australia. I love Australia. I have travelled to around 30 countries in my short time on earth and I love different cultures and places ... but there is no place like home. Amidst the fireworks and BBQs we remember the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales in 1788. That was when Governor Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain at that site. We can celebrate and be grateful for this beautiful nation... Read more →

Christ's Christmas Gift - Peace

Today is Christmas and people all around the world will be giving and receiving gifts of all kinds. Jesus offers us a gift today - something incredibly valuable that he alone can give. John 14:27. I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. NLT I pray that you will experience that deep and genuine peace in your heart and life today, no matter what circumstance you might find yourself in. Read more →

Essence: What is Most Important?

It is important in every aspect of life to understand what is essential/central and what is peripheral/unessential. Only by knowing what is essential can you truly make sense of life and live it to the full. As we begin a New Year, we step into the future. As we do so, we want to ask an ancient and foundational question: "What is most important?" As Christians following Jesus, we need to get back to the essence of our faith. In doing so, we can surround these essential parts of our faith with all other aspects of life. While we are... Read more →

Dealing with Grief at Christmas Time

Christmas is a joyful time for most people. But for some it can be a difficult time, especially for those who have lost a loved one. Christmas reminds them of what or who is gone. The pain of that grief can be quite unbearable. I had my first major encounter with grief when I lost my mother suddenly back in 1990. I had to navigate through all the ordinary stages of grief and it wasn't easy. The first Christmas after this was a painful time. Mum wasn't there any more and she wasn't coming back. Let's be sensitive this year... Read more →

Christmas JOY

Luke was a doctor who lived in the first century. Like most doctors, Luke valued facts and obtaining accurate information. That's why he spent so much time interviewing people and talking to eye-witnesses when he prepared to write his Gospel record of the life of Jesus Christ. Let's read some of the Christmas story as he recalls it for us ... That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel... Read more →

Halloween - Trick or Treat?

I remember attending my first Halloween party as a kid (not long after our family moved to the USA back in the 1970s), with its eerily lit pumpkins, freaky dress-up costumes and the scary dark room we were all dared to navigate ourselves through, kind of like a pseudo-haunted house. It was a lot of fun. And it was hosted by our local church! My, how times have changed. Christians today either continue to celebrate it as an innocent annual party or boycott it as evil and even demonic. Why the debate? Halloween (literally "hallowed or holy evening") originated as... Read more →

Indigenous Awareness Trip (October 2013)

In October 2013, my wife and I participated with a number of other church pastors in an Indigenous Awareness Trip, sponsored by the Concilia organisation. We began by flying from Melbourne to Alice Springs. It was my first visit to this iconic Australian town. It was not as big as I thought it would be - only 28,000 people. It was 41 degrees when we arrived - a very warm welcome. We began by visiting a number of the 20 Aboriginal camps around the town. Aboriginal people make up about 20% of the local population. We also visited some of... Read more →

Les Miserables

Two weeks ago, my family and I attended the Les Miserables stage production at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. It is one of our favourite productions. We have watched the 25th annviersary edition DVD recorded at the London O2 arena a dozen or so times and it never fails to move us (the finale, which is a 30 minute standing ovation and encore that brought the 1985 cast on-stage, is worth the price of the DVD). The Australian cast did an outstanding job too. The story, based on the book by Victor Hugo, is so redemptive and it captures and... Read more →

Australian Christian Book of the Year 2014

The shortlist for Australian Christian Book of the Year 2014 has been released. Join us at the 2014 SparkLit awards event. Come and celebrate the power of words with Simon Smart of the Centre for Public Christianity and performance poet Jessica Santosa. The 2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Teen Writer awards will be announced and prizes presented during supper at 7:30 pm for an 8:00 pm start on Thursday 14 August 2014. Join the finalists at St Alfred’s Anglican Church, Blackburn North, Victoria, corner of Springfield Road and Koonung Road. $20 per guest.... Read more →

100th Anniversary of World War 1

The first week of August 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I and the formal commencement of the Anzac Centenary. The war was one of the most destructive events in history, with almost all the countries of the world involved and affected. The Veteran's Affairs Brnach of the State Government are encouraging all places of worship in Victoria to participate in the commemoration, between Saturday 2 August and Tuesday 5 August, in order to: Remind their congregations of the impact of the war; Respect and honour all of those who fought and served in the... Read more →

Mother's Day

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day. I realise that this can be a difficult day for some people. Maybe your mother passed away recently, or you don’t have a good relationship with your mum, or maybe you always wanted to become a mum and it hasn’t happened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. It is, however, a good time to honour all of the mums. They are amazing people. Both Nicole and I lost our mothers a few years back now (Joyce Conner and Renata or 'Oma' Meyer). That's a good reminder to all of us to love... Read more →

Jesus is ALIVE! (Easter 2014)

Easter is here again and with it a holiday weekend, chocolate eggs and enough shopping sales to tempt any credit-card carrying buyer. What’s it really all about? All around the world, around two billion Christians will take time this weekend to reflect on and give thanks for the work that Jesus Christ accomplished through his death, burial and resurrection. That’s the real meaning of Easter. Followers of Christ believe that Jesus is ALIVE! The Living Jesus In his excellent book The Living Jesus, New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson notes that whether a person is dead or alive really matters... Read more →

Advent: Lighting the Fourth Candle - Our Waiting is Over!

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day [Re-light the three purple candles and the pink candle] We Celebrate the Birth of Christ In the season of Advent we have used the Advent wreath and its candles to help us get ready for this great celebration of the birth of Christ. When we lit the first purple candle, we asked God to come and be our Good Shepherd. God our Shepherd has come in Jesus Christ! When we lit the second purple candle, we asked God to come and forgive our sins. God has come in Jesus Christ to take our sins and... Read more →

Advent: Lighting the Christ Candle - Waiting for the Son

The Fourth Sunday of Advent (or thereabouts) [Re-light two purple candles and the pink candle.] We Remember the Meaning of Advent Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit.” In the Christian season of Advent, we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes many things: • We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore. • We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus. • We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins. • We prepare to welcome Christ at... Read more →

Advent: Lighting the Third Candle - Waiting for Joy

The Third Sunday of Advent (or thereabouts) [Re-light the first two purple candles] We Remember the Meaning of Advent Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. In the Christian season of Advent we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes many things: • We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore. • We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus. • We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins. • We prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas into... Read more →