Some Parenting Advice for the Christmas Season

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so…

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so driven by and focused on achieving goals, it is clear that many parents have taken their eyes off the best gift to give to those you helped bring into this world.

Take a moment to reflect on your goals for your kids. For many it is providing a good education, setting them up for a good job, finding a life partner or a healthy lifestyle. As important as these may be, there is one goal that sits atop the list.

The biblical teaching clearly sets the home/family as the primary center for faith formation and nurture. As Christian parents our highest ideal is that our children will find the faith that we have and become lifelong, active followers of Jesus. To provide extra support, God has provided the gathered church, grandparents, extended family members, friends and mentors.

So what strategies and priorities are you setting in the everyday dance steps of life to work towards achieving that goal? Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” is a proverb (not a promise) that will most often be realised if we work hard at it.

Reflect on your week and consider how much time is being invested into this one goal. The only screens at the meal table should be the reflections in the eyes of each of the family members present as we listen to, and reflect biblically, on the events of our day. What family traditions are we implementing? What are we sacrificing as parents to create the time and energy into this one goal for our children? This is not about quoting Scriptures at our children all day – it is about seeing faith as a natural and intentional ingredient in our daily life. It is vital that we explore the big and the small questions of life around table conversations, windscreen conversations, bedtime conversations…. all of which flow from the words of Deuteronomy 6.

Can you add these ‘gifts’ for your family to your list?

  1. Get back to the meal table (a ‘screen-free zone’) with your family on a regular basis. Listen, laugh, struggle and journey together.
  2. Celebrate together the ‘seasons/events’ in your family year – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, holidays, first/last days at school, etc.
  3. Create your Family Traditions: choose your own meal on your birthday; write affirming words in all birthday cards to each other; family ‘treat’ after church; reading the Christmas story around a candle; etc.
  4. Write down a short list of goals for your children and develop some priorities that will work towards achieving them.
  5. Have fun together. Start and maintain an ever-growing list of activities you can all enjoy together – and make the time to tick them off.

So finish this sentence: One gift I will bring to my family this Christmas Season is … ?

Merry Christmas, everyone! Wishing every blessing upon you and your family in this special time.


Terry Williams
Family & Children’s Ministry Specialist
Scripture Union Queensland & International

Posted: 5/12/2019

Encouragement from the Scriptures – Learning to Listen

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His…

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the World” Hebrews 1:1-2

In a world where wrong and right have become subjective and where things are changing so fast we can barely keep up with all the changes, I sometimes wonder if we are all in a huge boat being driven by the waves and the wind with no rudder and no visible horizon to gain our bearings….

But wait! What about God? I believe in God and I am so glad to have Him in my life as a Rock, a foundation, a strong tower in times of trouble. I know I can always go to Him, rely on Him and speak with Him and listen to Him as he guides me each and every day.

Yes God is alive and he is active in our world and He speaks!  He speaks in general and absolute terms to “all” people, and he speaks to each and every one of us. Why? Because you matter. I matter. We all matter, and God wants us to know Him and to be guided and held by Him each day.

Let’s stop and take a moment to Listen….

 

Ps. Dony Johnson

Senior Pastor Kawana Life Baptist / Chaplain at Kawana Waters Surf Club  

Posted: 7/11/2019

You helped these boys become overcomers

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly. Young…

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly.

Young people who anger easily and struggle to control their behavior can have a huge impact on the pace and feel of a camp. But the truth is, they can feel isolated and alone.

Don Truss’s heart for these at-risk youth spurred him to assemble a team of leaders to launch Overcomers Camp. The camp, which ran for the first time in the 2019 June/July school holidays, hosted 17 boys from South and Central Queensland schools.

The boys came from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some had a parent in trouble with the law or came from broken homes, while others had experienced alcoholism or substance abuse first-hand – or even a combination of all. The camp focused on loving and supporting these young people through a week of fun, yet sometimes messy activities.

“I guess the heart behind it is to support boys who are going through major challenges internally and don’t know how to express it without acting out or getting angry,” Don says.

“A bunch came off suspensions at school – when they feel threatened they often answer with their fists, which gets them into trouble. The week gave us a great chance to speak into that space, showing God’s love and giving them alternatives to the physical responses they often default to.”

The camp was themed around military history – focusing on how character and mateship are crucial for any good soldier.

“On the first day, we ran team challenges where the boys and leaders had to get everyone through obstacles in thick mud,” Don recalls.

“One of the rules was to get through together – no man left behind – so we got sent back to the start a lot of times!

“But in the end, they got through it together and the feeling of success as a group was such a powerful way to start camp.”

On top of the mud-based activities the boys conquered a range of obstacle courses, had flour bomb fights, explored tunnels together and ended the week zipping around in dirt buggies.

12-year-old camper Eli had a great time on camp.

“My favourite part was going through the mud,” Eli recalls.

“I think it’s important to have fun in life – this camp was heaps of fun and much more.

“I’d love to come again, and I’ll make sure I bring more of my mates with me!”

Overcomers Camp introduces 17 at-risk campers to aspects of leadership, responsibility, self-control, respect, forgiveness and mateship.

Thanks to your support, at-risk teens in regional communities are growing through tough circumstances at camps like Overcomers. Keep this vital support going – visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 7/11/2019

A Little Church with a Big Heart

Hidden in the bush between Esk and Somerset Dam stands a little white church. Built in 1905 by the local community, this church was founded with a purpose –…

Hidden in the bush between Esk and Somerset Dam stands a little white church. Built in 1905 by the local community, this church was founded with a purpose – it is ‘undenominational’ (sic) and the doors are open to all.

This concept was revolutionary in the early 20th century, however, it perfectly aligns with the heart of our school chaplains.

Since 2004, Caboonbah Undenominational has made a yearly donation to Chaplaincy, a gift that both honours the legacy of the church founders, and blesses the local chaplains – and the children and families they serve.

The great-granddaughter of Church founder Henry Somerset, recalls the stories her mother told her when she was a little girl, “[My great-grandfather] always said that Caboonbah was built on compassion and grace, and I’m really proud to have him as an ancestor.

The church reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son. Everyone is welcome in God’s house in the same way the doors are open to all at Caboonbah.”

This message has a beautiful link to the work of school chaplains, who are there to listen to and include everyone who crosses their path.

The community of Caboonbah is a close-knit one, with many members having been involved for over 50 years.

One such member says, “The church has a very special feel about it. I think it’s the peaceful surroundings, with the mountains in the distance and the Brisbane river running not far away.”

While the church no longer runs a weekly service, the idyllic venue is often booked for weddings, christenings and funerals, and the annual service which is held in early November.

The simple history of Caboonbah carries a rich encouragement that we can take with us today. What was founded long ago by a group of believers in the bush, is the same message of non-judgmental love and compassion that is carried forth by our school chaplains.

You can support SU QLD’s school chaplaincy ministry, by heading to suqld.org.au/donate.

 

Posted: 16/09/2019

Bringing Fellowship to the Outback

Over three decades ago, Trevor Meares founded Church of the Outback from his base in Broken Hill after seeing the desperate need for Christian fellowship in rural communities across…

Over three decades ago, Trevor Meares founded Church of the Outback from his base in Broken Hill after seeing the desperate need for Christian fellowship in rural communities across Australia. Today, Alan and Myril Frankham continue his legacy as pastors of this unique community.

Pastor Alan “gathering” with his community by dialing in online. 

Each Sunday morning, Church of the Outback helps around 50 Christians from remote communities across Australia connect with other believers, who are eager to grow and nurture their faith – but would otherwise struggle due to their distance from a local church.

“Like any church, we gather together to meet with the Lord on Sundays, but our community does this by dialing in or logging in online,” Pastor Alan says.

“As part of SU QLD’s ongoing commitment to work with churches to bring God’s love, hope and good news to children, young people and their families, we’ve had the great pleasure of partnering with Church of the Outback by offering the use of our telephone conference calling system.

“This has been a real blessing for Church of the Outback because the connection is large enough to host all of our members simultaneously,” Pastor Alan says.

Beyond the online connection, Pastor Alan and his wife love hopping in their caravan throughout the year to visit their flock for face-to-face fellowship and to provide pastoral care.

“It can be lonely in these remote communities. So it’s important that we get out there and remind our church members that they are not alone. We are indeed one body,” Pastor Alan explains.

Albeit a unique one.

“Recently while doing Bible Study during the week, we had people dialled in across three states of Australia, plus a young man on an interstate train travelling back to his work in far western Queensland, and another couple connecting in via the internet from Vanuatu. It’s mind-boggling,” Pastor Alan says.

“Our services include welcome, worship, a Bible reading and message, communion – with everyone providing the elements in their own homes and a dedicated time for prayer.”

Church community is a connection that is so often taken for granted, but it is vital for believers to come together, regardless of how that looks. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

“We’re technically denominational under the umbrella of Churches of Christ, but we’re also not,” Pastor Alan explains, “What we are about is the gospel: that’s our focus.”

Pastor Alan uploads his weekly teachings onto the Church of the Outback website, so even if members do miss Church, they can still listen to the sermon later in the week.

With SU QLD now transitioning to internet-based conferencing, Church of the Outback is also making a similar change using both the phone and internet/video based communication.

Church of the Outback is a community of friends in rural communities who have been able to share in the fellowship of believers.

Members stand together in times of difficulty, pray for one another regularly, and show the love of Christ to their mates in their outback communities.

For SU QLD, it is a pleasure to be partnering with this amazing community.

Please pray for this beautiful ministry and for our brothers and sisters in remote communities in need of fellowship.

If you or someone you knows has a heart to serve in outback communities, SU QLD currently has a number of chaplaincy positions to fill. Find out more, visit suqld.org.au/morehands.

Posted: 5/08/2019

Encouragement from the Scriptures

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) Have…

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

Have you ever played Snakes and Ladders? It’s a frustrating game – doing your best to climb all the way up to the top only to land on a snake that slides you down all the way to the bottom. Snakes and Ladders is an analogy of the experience many Christians have in their relationship with God. They view their life as an attempt to avoid spiritual snakes (sin) and to climb spiritual ladders (good works) in order to reach the finish line (heaven). (more…)

Posted: 19/03/2019

Encouragement from the Scriptures

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all…

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  — Romans 10: 11-13

The gospel is universal! (more…)

Posted: 12/10/2018

Encouragement from the scriptures

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone.” — Matthew 14:23-24 ‘Doing ministry’ is at…

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone.” — Matthew 14:23-24

‘Doing ministry’ is at times hectic. It seems that if you ask anyone how their day has been or how they are, the answer is usually, ‘busy’. Our minds have become busy too.  One task leads to another. We bounce from one thing to the next and amongst it all we are craving to know God’s will and purpose.

(more…)

Posted: 17/09/2018

Encouragement from the scriptures

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one…

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” — Acts 17:27-28

As a child I remember trying to look over the large stone wall of our neighbour’s yard to see what was there. The best vantage point was when my dad swung me on my swing set.

If dad pushed me high enough, I could peer over the wall for just a second and see my neighbour’s vegetable patch.

(more…)

Posted: 18/05/2018

Footprints in the sand imprinted on the heart

As a young girl growing up in Wales in the 1940s, SU QLD supporter Billie Patrick, made footprints in the sand at the very same Llandudno beach Scripture Union founder,…

As a young girl growing up in Wales in the 1940s, SU QLD supporter Billie Patrick, made footprints in the sand at the very same Llandudno beach Scripture Union founder, Josiah Spiers, first crafted his simple, yet inspirational message of God’s love.

It was the same beach Billie’s great grandfather, a contemporary of Josiah Spiers, is believed to have shared God’s love as he preached among the sand dunes.

(more…)

Posted: 28/06/2017

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