Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shoelaces and Stories - part 2

The shoelace stall was a success! The children raised over $100, raised awareness of literacy needs and spiritual needs in Timor-Leste....and also had a lot of fun in the process.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shoelaces and Stories

Remember the story of the widow's mite? God's doesn't use just the rich and prosperous for His work. He also uses the small, the poor, the little ones.

This Saturday my children are running a stall at their school fair, selling shoelaces! Yes, shoelaces! Little items that everyone in Geelong uses on a daily basis. They are doing this to raise funds to print Rev Arlindo Marcal's book, Jose Mehidor. Every shoelace sold helps to put another bible-based book into the hands of a Timorese child - a book they can read in their very own language, written by one of their own people.

If you are in Geelong this Saturday, come along to the Covenant College Spring Fair. If you can't make it, please pray for the kids as they help raise the funds needed for printing this important book.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Children and Worship

Grasa Mesak is a ministry aimed primarily at children and their growth in the Christian faith, so it may come as no surprise to you that I am very interested in the topic of children in worship. Especially when the topic is diligently brought to my attention by my friend and colleague, Pieter Stok. Pieter hopes to write a book on the subject and is gathering material toward this end.

What was your experience of church and worship as a child? Have a look at Pieter's blog - he would very much appreciate your memories of church as a child.

(To my Timorese and Indonesian friends - please don't worry about the quality of your written English - Pieter wants your experiences and stories; he doesn't care about spelling and syntax!)

Child in church - photo by Rob Duncanson

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Birthday Bibi

As it is my birthday next week, my beautiful friend Jeana gave me some goats (or bibi, as our Tetun-speaking friends call them.) Of course keeping goats in South Geelong would be rather awkward. But these are not real goats. They are paintings of goats:

Bibi - watercolour on paper, stitched thread.

Aren't they wonderful? I think they will certainly find their way into the Jose book.
I shall frame them and hang them on the wall, and seeing them, shall be reminded that I have been a recipient of God's providence for 40 years.
For four decades, He has guided and guarded me.
Challenged me and bountifully blessed me.
Directed me, developed me.
Upheld me by His marvellous, omnipotent hand. For forty years.
 If that isn't worth celebrating, what is?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Blessed Christmas to You All

Today, I was reading an article about the political correctness (or lack thereof) of Christmas, in which the author asks why so many people today find Christ and Christmas offensive and threatening. Of course, as he points out, that's an old story: King Herod found Christ so offensive, he sought to have Him killed.

I have no qualms about 'offending' here. I wish my readers, not just a 'happy' Christmas, but a truly 'blessed' one. I wish them the blessing that comes through receiving the powerful work of Immanuel - God With Us.

I rejoice that in Timor-Leste there are many Christian brothers and sisters who are celebrating the birth of our Lord. I also pray, as I have been praying for years, that many there will come to a true and meaningful relationship with Him who was sent as a tiny baby to earth for the salvation of His people.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Designing a Book

One starts with raw text: in a word document, in Times New Roman, on an A4 page. The challenge is to turn that text into a beautiful book any child would enjoy reading.
So we sat down, Jeana and I, and we designed a book. We shared ideas and enjoyed each other's creative energy. We created a vision of what this book might look like.
There are so many decisions that need to be made: layout, font and font size, illustrations, colour,  cover design, continuity of illustrations, content of illustrations, borders, page numbering, typography style......
You didn't think it was easy, did you?
Continue to pray for us!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Remembering the Reformation

Today is October 31. I am saddened to see the increasing involvement that Australians now have in Halloween celebrations. The supermarkets and department stores have huge displays selling lollies and creepy accessories. I would not be surprised to see trick-or-treaters at my door this evening. But I hope not. I see this shift towards Halloween, not so much as a shift towards Americanism, but towards hedonism. Australia embraces Halloween with all the enthusiasm of Christmas, Grand Final Day, Easter...and all the other excuses for spending money and indulging in excess food.

Today is October 31. It is also Reformation Day; the day many Reformed people around the world remember God's wonderful work in the 16th century. Today, if you were to come to my door, I would not give you lollies. I would give you something far sweeter, the five solae that rang out so strongly in the 16th century. I pray that they can ring out again through the world today:

Sola Scriptura - the Bible is the only inspired and authorative word of God.
Sola Fide - we are saved by faith alone, not good works.
Sola Gratia - this salvation comes only by the grace of God.
Sola Christus - Christ is the only mediator between God and man; there is no salvation without Him.
Soli Deo Gloria - the glory goes to God and to God alone.