Which seeds will thrive?

The parables of Jesus often relate to the work of the people. Farming was familiar, and the listeners could relate to the situation that not all seed would sprout and some, after sprouting, dies for lack of water or good soil in which to grow. The interpretation provided later in the chapter helps us understand that not everyone who hears the good news about God’s kingdom will embrace it, believe it and live by it. As followers of Jesus we can become discouraged that not everyone chooses to follow him.

This parable puts it in perspective that faithful witness leads to fruitfulness for the kingdom. Even though when we are planting seeds we cannot imagine which seeds will thrive and which ones will not. That is up to the choices that individuals make in response to what they have seen and heard of the gospel. So let us recklessly and prayerfully scatter the seeds and leave the results to God.

Grace and peace, Kaye

A trail of kindness

In Matthew chapter ten we eavesdrop on the discipleship training school. Before Jesus sends out his twelve apprentices, he outlines what they can expect and how to respond. He gives them authority to act in God’s power to restore the broken and heal the sick. Jesus warns that there may be trouble, even within families, but he encourages them to pursue the mission and to begin with the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. Then he says some interesting things about hospitality. The custom of the time was to offer hospitality to travellers and to keep them safe from those who might want to harm them. Jesus them to be humble and gracious guests and not to keep changing households looking for better lodgings.

Travellers from our society usually plan an itinerary and book ahead, and the journey becomes a series of commercial transactions. Even ‘grey nomads’ who dream of being on the road in their retirement can find themselves ‘keeping the schedule’ rather than being free to explore the landscape and engage with the locals. Hospitality offered and received provides a space where conversations about life and faith naturally happen. Exercising a gift of hospitality enables the mission of God!

Grace and peace, Kaye.

The ones who are sent.

Today at Severnlea the congregation will be using the worship service prepared by Frontier Services. In Queensland now there is the Cunnamulla-Burke and Wills Patrol (based in Cunnamulla and Charleville) and on Cape York the  Kennedy Patrol is being re-developed. Patrol Padres have a well-equipped 4WD vehicle and supplies for the journey. The Gospel reading from Matthew 9 recounts the adventure of the disciples who were sent on mission to minister boldly while depending entirely on God for their needs. They did not arrive with a car load of possessions and supplies, nor with a contract or stipend arrangements in place. It was an era where people had few personal possessions, but Jesus even instructed the people to leave everything at home and just set off in their sandals and the clothes on their back. Maybe their physical dependence on God enabled them to practice the same trust which allowed them to ask God to bring wholeness to the ones whom they met on the way. The instructions given by Jesus emphasised the urgent nature of the mission. When we allow ourselves to be moved with compassion for the people who do not yet know Jesus, the importance of the mission becomes clear. The disciples, the ones who learn, become the apostles, the ones who are sent. In what ways might your “stuff” be holding you back from getting out and being Christ to others?

Grace and peace,

Kaye Ronalds

Easter – a gift to a hurting and broken world.

Across the Easter weekend we consider the stories about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as they have been handed down to us in the Bible.
On the night when Jesus celebrated the Passover Feast with his friends he held up a piece of bread and after giving thanks said, “This is my body.” The next day Jesus was tormented and tortured until he offered up his last breath and the body of Christ hung lifeless on the cross. His friends lovingly carried that body to a borrowed tomb and laid the body in the burial place. By the Sunday morning, the body of Christ had been transformed by the mystery of the resurrection. It must have been somewhat changed because Mary didn’t recognise him at first. The body was the same and yet different, recognisable yet veiled. Many of the friends of Jesus saw him, although they did not always recognise him right away.
After he had appeared to many of them Jesus went away from view and entrusted to his followers the task of being the Body of Christ. I like the words of St Augustine which are sometimes quoted when the bread and wine are served for Holy Communion.
“Let us receive the Body of Christ, let us become what we receive, the Body of Christ.”
The work of Jesus continues as the Church carries on the business of being The Body of Christ, a gift to a hurting and broken world, new life where despair and decay have taken hold, a story to nourish and inspire us for our life together.
Happy Easter!

Click here for an Easter message from the Queensland Synod moderator Rev David Baker. 

Love is more than a feeling…

Love is the theme for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Love is more than a feeling. Love is something you do. Much has been written about the role of Mary as the mother of Jesus, but what about Joseph’s situation? A few verses in the first chapter of Matthew explore what was happening for Joseph.

He is described as a righteous Jewish man who was to marry young Mary. All the arrangements were in place, and then there was a ‘spanner in the works’. Mary was pregnant. The law gave Joseph two options, either to publicly divorce her on the grounds of adultery or to quietly call off the engagement. Either decision could be justified for he was certain that he had not fathered that child. A messenger of God helped him see another option. Mary may have been blessed among women but Joseph was embarrassed among men. Joseph made a loving choice and that gave a measure of protection to Mary and the child.

God’s plan to take on human flesh was full of vulnerability and risk. As Charles Wesley put it, ‘Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.’

Grace and peace, Kaye.

Lydia: A dealer in purple cloth and hospitality

In the early church the good news was spreading… towards the west…and today’s story from Acts 16 comes from the east coast region of modern day Greece. The apostle Paul is travelling west and at Philippi they went out of the town to the riverside where they hoped to find the Jews gathering. Amongst the women listening to them that day was Lydia. Lydia, a business woman, was a dealer in purple cloth, who worshipped God. Paul’s words about Jesus helped her to a deeper relationship with God and then Lydia and her whole household were baptised. She put herself, her home and her business at God’s disposal. Lydia, the first convert in Macedonia, offers hospitality to Paul and his fellow travellers. What aspects of your life have you offered to God out of thankfulness for the new life in Christ?

Sharing the Good News

The good news about Jesus is delivered to us in the basket of the culture in which we live. The leaders of the early church, like Peter, have been raised in the teachings, language and customs of the Jewish faith. The challenge was to work out what aspects of their Jewish religion had to be carried forward by the followers of Jesus. The readings from Acts chapter 10 and 11 describe the painful adjustments made by the first believers and the discovery that sometimes God’s actions do not conform to the expectations of God’s people. The Gentiles, outsiders to the Jewish faith, decided to follow Jesus and received the gift of the Holy Spirit even before Peter finished preaching. For the early church this was a sign that the Good News could be received and shared amongst new peoples – from Jerusalem, to Judea and to the ends of the earth.


What would you ask Jesus to do for you?

Blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting beside the road when Jesus passed by. Calling out he attracted the attention of others in the crowd as well as Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He responded, “O teacher, I want to see.” The man was spiritually blind but had great vision. As Jesus came near he saw the opportunity to have his needs met. He was clear about his needs and he was confident that Jesus could and would help him.
How about you? What would you ask Jesus to do for you? Perhaps we could have a conversation about that one day.

Grace and peace, Kaye

Success and discipline

No matter what field of activity you think of, success depends upon discipline. Whether it be sport or weight loss, gardening or performing, graduating or driving, running a business or being an employee, nothing worthwhile is accomplished without discipline. Yet discipline is irksome. We dodge it if we can. We have to have sufficient motivation to be prepared to accept it. Only self-discipline is effective. Discipline imposed by another can only be effective when it becomes internalised.

As with everything else then, success in living the way God wants us to live requires discipline. Mark 9: 42-48 spells this out in a vivid and dramatic way. People don’t just drift into the kingdom of God. There is a constant bias toward selfishness and sin that has to be overcome. We have to take deliberate action to curb the impulses working against God’s ways of generous love. Of course this does not contradict the gospel of God’s grace. We are accepted, we are reconciled by grace, but we are called to live life within that acceptance and reconciliation.

This is where discipline comes in – the discipline to cut out that which gets in the road of living Christ’s way, the self- discipline that voluntarily places restrictions on our wants and desires. But that runs counter to the mood of the day. Voices around us are urging us to get rid of inhibitions. However if the motivation is strong enough people will accept discipline. To gain their objective they are prepared to place themselves under a coach or tutor and undergo a strict training regime. Love is the motivator for Christian self-discipline – love for God and love for other people. The Holy Spirit is the instigator of Christ-like love.

Grace and Peace.
(This message was quoted from ‘The Upper Room’)

The muscle between our teeth

I agree with the statements in the book of James about the tongue. “We can use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse our fellow humans who are created in the likeness of God.” James reminds the readers that although the tongue is a small organ in the body has great power like the rudder that steers a ship and a bit in the mouth of a horse.

That is why we need to be careful and disciplined in the way we speak, for our tongues can be used for blessing and curse. A gentle word turns away wrath, but gossip and slander can destroy the life of our neighbour.

Grace and peace, Kaye