Image of Craig StalderWelcome to our church today

It’s great to share with you at church today.

Please make yourself known to our staff if you are visiting.

Our next Sermon series – 1 Samuel

A number of our members have spoken to me of how helpful they have found the James series.  I know too that a number of our LIFE groups use the study guides as a way of preparing for church and listening to God prior to the sermons.

Others have asked me how we decide on what is preached.  There’s no mysterious magic.  Sometimes it’s in response to suggestions or request you have made.  At other times I consult with staff or LIFE group leaders on what they think we need.  But broadly I’m seeking to work systematically through the whole Bible.  I’ve been here now 6½ years and although we’ve covered a fair bit there’s a lot still to go!  I also work on the pattern that each year, over 4 terms we cover the Old Testament, New testament, Gospel and topical issues.  This helps to avoid favourites or hobby horses, or neglecting parts of God’s word that aren’t “popular”.  If you have suggestions I’d love to receive them as we are now beginning to plan our 2017 program.  The 1 Samuel study guide is now available from our office in hard or soft copy.

Tour for Tanzania – 2016 – the Great Western ride.

Well folks – I’m back from the wild west and what a great time away it was! Over 8 days, we rode through the hills of western NSW staying in places like Blayney, Cowra, Temora, and Canowindra. With the help of a few friends, I managed to complete the 1000kms I promised for exceeding my $6K fundraising target (my total currently sits at $6660 – a great effort!). This ride had it all! We had horrid days with rain, wind, cold, even sleet! And other days of beautiful blue clear skies with the sun out in full glory. Along the way, we were able to raise awareness for the work of Katoke Trust through photos for local papers and interviews with local radio stations, as well as our chats with locals wondering why a bunch of people in Lycra were walking around their town!

One of the things God taught me while I was away on the ride was about team work.

It still amazes me how much of cycling on these sorts of rides is about team work. Usually I think of riding my bike as “me getting myself to my destination”. But when you’re riding in a team it’s about all of us getting our whole team to our destination. And there is blessing and burden in being a part of such a team.

One blessing from team riding is everyone shares the load. You take turns sitting out the front being a wind break and then can come back and enjoy the draft when others do the same for you. Another blessing is the comfort of shared suffering and the safety of numbers on the road.

The burden of the team is that different riders, ride differently. Some riders need more breaks than others, so you need to stop with them – even though you might want to keep going. Some can’t maintain the speed you want to – which means you need to ride at a slower pace than you would like to.

In any team there is both blessing and burden but for the team to work effectively – everyone needs to see the blessings outweigh the burdens – and to be thankful and committed to the team you’re a part of. It’s better to ride together than alone.

I think this is true of our ministry teams at Gymea. It’s so much easier doing ministry in teams rather than alone and there is great blessing in this but there are certainly burdens that can come. With different personalities, different ideas and methods, different passions – there will inevitably be tensions and conflicts which we might be tempted to grumble about. But we need to see what a blessing it is to have the team we’re in, we need to thank God for each other and work together to make the team as effective as possible for our common goal – being considerate and caring of each other. Burdens of team work will always be there but we have the choice: to grumble about it (which accomplishes nothing) or to grow through it together for God’s glory. Which will you choose?

   Your brother in Christ, Craig Stalder