Preparing Hearts for Jesus
We’ve encountered a lot of bad news over the last 12 months: bushfires, floods, and a global pandemic that has invaded our lives. You may have friends or family that have suffered as a result of these. While few of us have been infected with the virus, its outbreak has affected every one of us.
Just when we thought we were “safe” and things could “return to normal”, we’ve found ourselves under new restrictions. Yes, we are grateful that the outbreak has been contained. We keep praying, hoping and waiting for the good news of restrictions being eased before Christmas.
It’s always “good news” when threats are removed, fears are stilled, peace is restored, and we can look forward with hope to the future.
Good news is like the sun coming out after the storm. It lifts our spirits, puts wind in our sails, and gives us reason to rejoice.
In the ancient world, the word for good news (euangelion) was used to announce a king’s victory; or that a new king or emperor had come to the throne – with the anticipation that something better is on the way.
Like a herald declaring the reign of a new king, Mark announces: The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God… (Mark 1:1 NIV)
Immediately, Mark tells of another herald sent by God to prepare the way for the LORD: John the Baptist. What was it about John’s preaching that drew vast crowds out into the wilderness? How did people respond to his preaching? And how did this prepare his hearers for the coming one – who would baptise with the Holy Spirit?
John preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The Good News is that God is ready to forgive all who stop doing life on their own terms, and turn to him for forgiveness. The goal of repentance is restoration of relationship with God. Repentance leads us from despair to joy in the LORD’s mercy.
Luther highlights this in the first of his 95 theses: ‘When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent’’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.’
Advent is a season of repentance… of preparing our hearts for Jesus. Join us via Zoom this Sunday as we reflect on our lives in the light of Mark’s opening verses.
Pr Rolly Stahl
Bible Readings: Mark 1:1-8 (see also: Malachi 3:1, 4:4-6, and Isaiah 40:1-5)
Please check the website www.paravista.org.au for podcasts and video archives of weekly messages or head to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/goodshepherdparavista for regular updates and encouragement from our pastors.
From the Board
Firstly, I would like to thank Wynand de Wit for his work here at Good Shepherd. He has been a member for a long time, playing in the band and more recently Council Chairman.
I would like to wish Marilene, Wynand and their children all the best in their new church home and for them to go with our blessing.
As has been proposed and accepted at the half yearly meeting on Sunday, the board has an important task ahead. The Board together with Pastor Reid have been discussing and developing a strategic plan for the future. Recently we had a planning day and here is a snapshot of progress.
This diagram shows areas that, as a team, we consider to be important and need focus.
- Youth/Family/Groups: Equipping for the future
Connecting and building relationships as groups so we will keep learning the language of faith
- Service: As an extension of faith
Connecting and building relationships in acts of service so people will experience the love of Jesus
- Worship: as celebration
Connecting and building relationships in worship through celebrating the story of faith so people experience God’s unfailing love and participate in His restoration plans
Here are some of my experiences from the last year that show how God prepares us for the future:
The world has changed: Twelve months ago, Julie and I were about to embark on a journey to Northern Europe during the dark of winter. While away, we heard lots of news from Australia: that all had burnt and little was left; images of Koalas drinking water from a bottle; floods; then just after we returned, this thing called COVID-19.
Just before I left Pastor Reid asked me if I had any more thoughts on videoing the Sunday message. While away, I had some time in Germany and I conducted some research into what other churches were using and how they put systems together, such as cameras, video switching systems etc.; the end result of which was I designed a system we could use. Little did I realise that few short months later we would need a system such as this and also God would provide the funding through a bequest and COVID-19 funds.
My hope during the next phase of refining is to keep the Good Shepherd community informed and involved. Feel free to discuss this with me, or any board members.
Also, I ask that everyone keeps us all in their prayers as we work through this important task.
Here is another example of God leading us into the future:
It says in Acts 2:17, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’
The board had a proposal from one of our members who had a dream. This was to form a ministry support group with a small team of well-respected people in our church community. The board looked at this proposal and decided to proceed, the first step of which was to set up some terms of reference.
This week in our worship service, Dianne Ollino, John Dolling, and Ros and Merv Thiele will be inducted into the role of Ministry Support.
From the terms of reference, their role is to:
- To maintain contact and encourage all ministry groups in the congregation
- To provide advice and support in areas of team development and unity
- To assist with identifying and encouraging new ministry team members
- To keep the congregation aware of the various ministry teams and the blessings that God is pouring out through their ministries
- To keep the pastors aware of the various ministries and their spiritual and “operational” health
- To help identify and assist in the development of new ministries
- To assist Ministry Teams to comply to the Policies and Procedures of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Para Vista, South Australia.
If unsupported, we often feel inadequate or afraid. Jesus formed teams: the twelve, the 72, or teams of two. We can’t find a better model than the one He has given us.
The team should never impinge on direct communication of ministry groups with our pastors, but encourage groups to take positive outcomes and suggestions to them.
They will be responsible to the board and report to the lead pastor of the congregation.
Again, if you have any question, feel free to ask me.
I’m looking forward to seeing how God continues to work amongst us.
In closing, I would like to thank our volunteers, pastors, staff and board for all their dedication and hard work this trying year.
Lindsay Freund – Board Chairman
As we adapt to our new way of living please forward all prayer requests to the church office via email@example.com or phone 8263 5087. If you know or have spoken to anyone who does not have access to a computer, please assist them to submit their request and offer to pray with them. Prayer requests are not included in the weekly news online. If you would like to view the current requests please refer to the email that alerted you to this weekly news.
Calendars 2021, The Australian Christian Diary 2021; small daily planners; Christmas stock including nativities, gifts, tree ornaments, music, DVDs, Bibles & covers; books for all ages.
Shop 5, Gawler Arcade, Gawler; ph. 85221677;
Trading: M-F 10-4, Sat 10-1.
Late Night Shopping Special event: Thurs 17 Dec.
Dear Church Family,
Being prepared…many people seem to use a checklist in December, either in their head, on their phone or perhaps old school with some paper on the fridge. There is a lot to organise: end of year celebrations, Christmas presents, Christmas itself! Things are collected beforehand so that when the day arrives, everything is sorted and the day can be enjoyed by everyone. So what does it mean when you hear the words, ‘Now is the time to prepare the way of the Lord?’ GFH offers some family oriented suggestions to consider!
God bless your week.
We enjoyed our final Little Lambs for the year this morning: a teddy bear’s picnic at the playground with special guest Chris Jaensch. Heartfelt thanks to the wonderful ladies on the team: Beth, Andrea, and Candita from church; and Lucy, Dani and Katie from school, who worked together this year to make a beautiful, creative and fun experience for our little ones come to life. I am truly grateful! God bless each one of you.
Many thanks to the ladies who helped organise and pack our Advent bags from Good Shepherd church this year. They are chock-full of activities for children of different ages to enjoy as we prepare for Christmas… available right now. We would love for you to have one.
Feel free to drop by after the Zoom service on Sunday (4th December) between 11:30am and 12 noon. I’ll be waiting for you at the front door of the church. Grandmas, grandpas, why not pick one up for your grandchildren?
Alternatively, if you would like to contact me via email on Georgie.firstname.lastname@example.org we can organize for a pack to get to you.
It is also our intention for our Family Christmas Service to go ahead on Christmas Eve at 5pm here at Good Shepherd.
We are planning a celebration of the good news of Jesus’ birth, through singing, acting and sharing the story. You are most welcome to attend!
We are just asking that people keep an eye on our church website for any updates in regard to details.
God’s peace be with you all,
Hmmm. Upcoming Summer holidays: What to do, what to do… If you are in Years 4 to 7 you might like to consider spending time in Barmera with some other like-minded friends for a few days. Please contact Georgie or the Church office for the sponsorship code for your discount.
Support for Family Zone
The amazing support continues for the Family Hub with the amount of donations given last week. Besides a mountain of food there were donations of quilts, a child’s car seat and $290 in cash. Some of the food donated has already been distributed. Due to Covid-19 the Hub’s planned Christmas celebration has been postponed and instead money donated will be used to celebrate the beginning of what hopefully will be a much more settled year in 2021.
If making a cash donation please place in an envelope marked Family Hub, and drop into the church office. Due to the present restrictions donations may be made up until Sunday 13th December.
Hair conditioner (we seem to have lots of shampoo)
Muesli bars – nut free if possible please
Large cans tuna
Long life milk
Biscuits – sweet and savoury
Sincere thanks for the on-going support
Gardening Appliances Needed
Do you have any older or unneeded gardening gear that is not being used? Thinking of upgrading some of your outdoor appliances? Please don’t throw them out – our asylum seeker friend Arsha is looking to establish a gardening business and has a lawn mower, but needs some other gardening tools. He is excited about getting started and making a difference in the lives of others!
Please set aside anything you are willing to pass on (whipper snipper, blower vac, or any other appliances or tools) and call Aston on 0415655393, or contact the church office.
Give a Gift of Life this Christmas
For Christmas in 2020, Maranatha Health is sharing Gifts of Life with our Ugandan community. We invite you to donate and receive Christmas Gift Cards to share with friends and family – and give a Gift of Life that lasts long into the future.
At this time more than ever, access to high quality compassionate health care and community health literacy is so important!
Your gift of a donation to Maranatha Health can provide life-saving medical care, increase community understanding to prevent ill-health, and help build a more accessible and just health care system that will bring lasting change to people’s lives.
To give a Gift of Life and order your cards, simply follow these simple steps:
- Choose and order your cards via the simple online order form on the MH website at maranathahealth.org/christmas. Or have a look at the display in the hall to make your selection. Then fill out an order form, which is pinned to the display. Give the order form to Wendy Hampel or Julie Freund so that your order can be processed.
- Make your donation to MH via Give Now: https://givenow.com.au/mhchristmas
- Receive your cards within 2 weeks!
News from Maranatha
The world is still dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic and Maranatha Health in Uganda has been impacted to. In fact, with lock down easing, the Clinic is quite busy again, seeing patients and their families who have been waiting for come to the Clinic. Programs like the nutrition classes and community health workers are gearing up again to inform local communities of ways to increase health in the local communities.
Go to the website for more information on giving, or purchasing Christmas Gift Cards of Life (per above): https://maranathahealth.org/give/
Thanks for your ongoing partnership with Maranatha Health!
While we are in a state of flux there has been lots of movement within our building. This has been in the form of tiny critters that have decided to make homes in the corridors and other places. Servant hearts are required to assist these little critters in finding new homes as soon as possible.
Please contact Stephen email@example.com or turn up while the front office is open to help.
The church is required to comply with current Covid-19 restrictions as mandated by the State Government. From 1st December the updated plan requires us to display a location-unique QR Code. Anyone attending the premises (for whatever reason) is legally required to check-in using this QR Code. If you do not have the ability to check in using this code you are required to sign the visitors’ book with your name and telephone number. Please note the telephone number must be written on the sheet if you are registering your attendance in this manner.
Please respect the safety of staff and others by complying with current social distancing regulations.
The competition is open again this year on Thursday 24th December at 8.30am to find the best dust blowing machine on the block. The competition assists in giving the church grounds a bit of a dust off and the facility a bit of a spruce up!
For free entry, please bring along your best blow vac machine with safety equipment and join the group to create an inviting appearance to our church facility for Christmas. If you don’t have a blow vac and have the time, still come along as I have a few spare.
Cobwebbing will also be completed so if you don’t have a competitive machine maybe you can compete for the longest broom handle. The little critters will also require assistance to move home from the interior of the building via the sucking machine and hands will be indispensable in ensuring this happens.
Car parking attendants are required to assist with traffic and parking on Christmas Eve from 4:14pm-6:45pm, Please contact Stephen on 0403 180 814 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to assist.
A Parking Blessing for Christmas
Should numbers permit this year and we require extra parking the school oval will be available leaving the parks close to the entrance of the church as a blessing for our visitors. These arrangements will be in place for all Christmas services. Parking signs will be in place and your assistance in following directions is appreciated.
Office Closure over Christmas
The office will be closed for an extended period to allow staff to exhaust leave. Times will be
24 December 2020 9.00am to 2.00pm OPEN
25 December 2020 to 11 January 2021 CLOSED
Office Opening Times in 2021
Tuesday to Friday OPEN 9.00am to 3.00pm
Every Thursday, staff meets at 9.00am and the office will be closed till 10.30am
For urgent ministry contact during closing times please call 8263 5087 and leave a message. Messages will be retrieved as soon as practical.
The last Weekly News for 2020 will be published on Thursday 24 December and the first edition for 2021 will be published on 15 January.
Please continue supporting our congregation’s mission and ministry through regular offerings as our facility and staff continues to operate in a different way.
Electronic Deposits can be made to the following bank account details:
Account No. 100354939
Account Name GSPV REG; or
Click on the GIVE button on our website.
LLL REG: Download the form here and use the same bank details as above in the “account to be credited” section, and email back to address shown on the form. Alternatively contact the LLL on 83607200 or 1800 556457.
“The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”
Weekly News Submissions should be made by the Wednesday
prior to Friday publication.
Church Giving via Electronic Funds Transfer:
Regular Electronic Giving (REG): BSB 704 942; Acc 100 354 939
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388 Montague Road Para Vista SA 5093 | Phone: 8263 5087 | PO Box 306 Modbury North SA 5092