I am responsible!


After a trip to Rwanda to visit her sponsor child, Brooke Fraser, a Christian musician wrote a song that included the lyric “Now that I have seen I am responsible.” 


This became something of the theme for the “Thai Team 2017” – a group of people from my local church who signed up for a Short Term Mission trip to Thailand.  They considered it as they were exposed to experiences that were heartbreaking and confronting. Dark places that most need the shining Light of Hope and Truth.

As a team, one of our greatest fears is that the impact of the confrontation and inspiration of this trip might fade as time and distance increases. It happens a lot. People are confronted or deeply moved, but then life settles back to its normal rhythm and nothing much has changed. 

So we repeat that phrase – now that I have seen, I am responsible! I can’t unknow what I know or un-see what I’ve seen. I can’t walk away from the need without asking God to show me the part He’d have me play in meeting it. I can’t enjoy the privilege of wealth and circumstance without considering how I might leverage it for those without.

We are responsible. 

It is just as true for us here in our day-to-day as it is for the Thai Team. We believe that God brings people and circumstances across our path for a reason. When He leads HIS people into the spaces where there is need it’s because something of His activity in those people is the answer. We can trust that He will supply what we require to respond as He asks.

How about you?

Who has God led you to? To what need has He opened your eyes? What’s the passion of your heart? What hurt do you feel or injustice do you find intolerable?

Now that we have seen – we are responsible.

Listen TO THIS PODCAST to hear more reflections from the Thai Team 2017 trip. 

 

serve one another – an example to follow


“I have given you an example to follow” – these are the words of Jesus to His disciples, to us, and the very core of discipleship. Jesus is our example of how to live and love, how to follow after God’s heart and pursue His mission, ministry and purpose.

Except these words were said by Jesus after He washed the stinky, gross feet of His disciples. Removing His Rabbi robes, wrapping a towel around His waist – the uniform of a servant, and kneeling on the ground to pick up one disciple’s calloused, dirty, smelly feet after the other – washing and drying them. (The story is recorded in John 13.)

I have given you an example to follow.

Sure, Jesus says His disciples should also wash the feet of others as He has done, but His call to follow an example is greater than that.

Think like Jesus

The text tells us that Jesus is filled with a sense of who He is and Whose He is and SO He gets up from the table and goes to wash the disciples’ feet.

That’s a completely different way of thinking. It’s a way of thinking about power, about position,  authority, about influence, about knowledge, about privilege, about entitlement, that is completely different to our own natural thinking on these things. Position and power for us can mean you think you are to be respected, treated differently; honoured. Our ‘celebrity’ culture is such that a person’s status or fame or notoriety becomes something of a free pass – you get the better seats, the table in a ‘booked out’ restaurant – all the bowing, scraping and pandering to your every need and whim.

Jesus THINKS differently. He sets us a different example.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus HAS the power, authority and influence. He just didn’t consider it something to leverage for Himself – for His own gain. Instead He set it aside, He gave it up … He took off the robes and He put on the servant’s towel. He humbled Himself enough to become human … but then He went even further and died a criminal’s death – the lowest of the low.

Jesus THINKS differently.

Love like Jesus

Verse one set up this whole foot washing scene through the lens of Christ’s incredible love for His disciples … for us. He had come to the world because of love. He had walked with them in the years of His ministry in love. This was the night before He was going to be crucified for the sins of the world because of love. And here in this room as He washed the feet of each one of them … it was again, an act of love.

And, of course, we see as He did go to the cross – this incredible demonstration of His love for us.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Jesus lay down His life for us out of love. This example that Jesus portrayed for us in the washing of the disciples’ feet was MAGNIFIED in the work He did on the cross. Stooping down. Bending low. Getting in amongst the dirt and stink and messiness. Using His power and authority to serve and elevate.

And our call is to let His love in us compel US to great love. To be so stirred by the needs of people around us and so captivated by the picture of others that GOD has – people of infinite worth and preciousness to their Heavenly Father – that we would respond by setting ourselves aside. Stooping low. Humbling ourselves. Putting others before us. Letting go of pride and self. Lifting our attention from us and our own needs and our own hurts and our own desires. Leveraging whatever power or influence or authority we might have for those who have none. Laying down our lives.

Jesus’ example is love.

He calls us to THINK like Him, to LOVE like Him and to RESPOND like Him.

Respond like Jesus

These two serving examples are pretty useless in terms of an actual activity to repeat.

Most of us can wash our own feet! We probably (hopefully) did it in the shower today or will tonight. If I showed up at your place and you proceeded to try and wash my feet I would probably be offended that you thought they stunk or that you were worried about me making your floors dirty or something – it certainly wouldn’t feel like an act of service. In fact, those who don’t like people touching their feet would probably leave rather than subject yourselves to a foot washing. It’s not a helpful illustration in that sense.

And neither is dying on the cross. There are very few opportunities we have to actually give our physical life for another’s. And certainly not in a way that would buy any sort of eternal security or salvation.

So when we look at this idea of ‘Responding like Jesus’ we have to look at the principles rather than the practice.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

We have to see that we are called to RESPOND … in humility, grace, forgiveness, generosity, compassion and mercy. We have to consider meeting needs of a practical nature – it might not be dirty feet but it might be a long lawn or overwhelming financial issues or a broken down car or a ministry opportunity. We have to consider meeting needs of a spiritual nature – to be prayed with and for, to be led to Jesus, to be helped to understand the saving message of Christ, to be grown in faith and obedience. And we have to consider meeting needs of an emotional nature – the need for companionship or a hug or advice or support through a difficult time.

We won’t be asked to give or do as much as Jesus – but we do need to be prepared for the fact that it will cost us something. Laying down ourselves by virtue does cost.

It will inevitably cost us time. It’s a blessed thing when you can serve someone else without impacting your own schedule – but it’s unlikely! It might be costly to your family, to your finances, to your study schedule, to your sleep – that’s what ‘laying down your life’ might mean. Completely setting yourself aside for the purposes of considering someone else. It’s big.

Serving costs us because loving costs us – it costs us something of ourselves.

Jesus says “I have given you an example to follow” … to serve one another in love.

Think like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Respond like Jesus.

Y O U T H & the power of a cause


If we want our kids to thrive in life and flourish as people – we’ve got to get them involved in serving and giving.

The power of participating in a cause is well-documented for its contributions to general well-being (or happiness). The associated implications for physical health and levels of anxiety and depression are meritous alone. But we add to that the whole “let’s make this world a better place” idea and there seems little reason not to. 

Here are just three of the many ways engagement in a cause empowers and encourages our young people. 

Purposeful use of their time 

Every summer holidays you’ll find a group of youth from our church serving our local community through the “SummerWorx” initiative. 


Here youth spend their discretionary time working together on projects in local schools and community organisations – cleaning, gardening, removing rubbish, painting and sorting. 
We often bemoan our young people’s overuse of technology or seeming laziness without necessarily giving them an alternative by calling them to a greater purpose and genuine satisfaction in the work of their hands. 

The camaraderie of time spent with others with a mutual goal and the shared success in the achievements, grow skills of teamwork and responsibility. While providing a sense of deep fulfilment and belonging. 

A way to understand and fight injustice

Each year our community participates in the PingPongAThon. A 24 hour table tennis event created to raise awareness and funds for exploited, abused and trafficked young people via a number of organisations on the ground in Sth East Asia. 


Last year we raised over $24,000 as young people responded to the empowering realisation that they could in fact do “something”. As small as their contribution might have been it was caught up in a greater whole and each was confronted by the privilege of their freedom and the power in each of them to bring hope and restore dignity. 

A call to something bigger than themselves. 

Within our church community, young people are encouraged and assisted into roles of leadership and serving. They supervise children’s programs and lead small groups, connecting with families and participating in the faith and life development of children and youth of all ages. 


These opportunities allow young people to invest in others as they themselves have been led and nurtured in different aspects of their lives. They see the role they have – to step in to the time and place they’ve been chosen to occupy in history and to work to provide a hopeful and fruitful future for emerging generations. 

What do you think? What benefits have you seen from youth engagement in causes and projects? What initiatives have you seen that facilitate such involvement?

8 questions to ask in every season


Our lives are a series of stages and seasons. Sometimes they pass faster than we’d like – when things are great it can seem like time moves too quickly (like holidays, for instance!). Other seasons just seem to go on forever – sickness, waiting, uncertainty, grief – these are seasons we’d love to skip through and yet they can seem interminably long.

Much of this is out of our control. We’re at the mercy of our age, our ageing bodies, the decisions of others or God’s sovereign (but ‘secret’) plans. So the only thing left for us to do is maximise the season we’re in.

Here are eight questions to ask to ensure that whatever season we’re in – however we feel about it – we’re not wasting this time.

1, Where is God?

There is no season in our lives that God is not present. Even when He feels distant – He is not. Look for Him. Be aware of how He is making His presence known – as teacher, comforter, defender, peace, joy … God is always ALL of those things, but in specific seasons we experience different aspects of His character in new or increased ways.

If there is a season for everything, then God is in every season. Look for Him.

2, What can I learn?

Each season holds opportunities to learn new things. What can I discover about myself? What can I learn about other people? When we are forced to walk a path we didn’t want or intend to we often meet people or experience things we might not otherwise have encountered. What can that teach us? What can we learn about the world around us and the character within us?

3, What can I develop?

Some seasons feel like they are ‘on hold’ seasons but they can actually be opportunities to develop skills and character we might otherwise not. Maybe part of the purpose of this season is for you to grow in patience, confidence, empathy, trust, compassion or a particular skill.

4, What does it reveal of me?

For better or worse, various seasons will show our “true colours”. In some situations you might discover that you are stronger or braver than you thought – or it might reveal that you’re NOT as strong or brave as you thought. A season might reveal impatience or intolerance. It might uncover a heart or passion for a cause or a specific group of people. It may reveal a deep trust in God or a strength you didn’t know you had.

5, What is it preparing me for?

Sometimes that’s a bit self-evident. If you’re studying something in Uni it’s probably a preparation for you to USE that study in some sort of work. (That’s the hope, anyway!)

Maybe it’s not quite as clear or obvious as that – but something of this season will be a preparation for a future season. Nothing is ever wasted. Some of your darkest seasons can be preparing you for a unique ministry to others who will go through similar experiences. Some of your greatest joys can be building reserves to draw on through more challenging times ahead.

6, What am I tempted by or to?

In seasons of struggle – of loneliness, grief, sadness, frustration, rejection, or difficulty – we are often tempted to self-soothe or distract to avoid facing them. When we are experiencing dissatisfaction or disappointment, when there is a sense of hopelessness in the season we are in we can turn to things like food, exercise, approval, pornography, alcohol, work, perfectionism, relationship – all manner of temptations or ‘escapes’.

Any of these things can lead us to addiction or to patterns of unhealthy behaviour when we try to avoid or ignore the realities of our season rather than face them.

7, What needs to be resolved?

Is this season you’re in the result of something that is unresolved? It may not be – but it’s a question worth asking. Is your broken relationship with your family because there’s forgiveness that needs to take place? Is there conflict or disconnect to resolve? Do you need to forgive? Do you need to ASK for forgiveness? Do you need to stop blaming someone for something? Do you need to stop blaming yourself? Do you need to get outside or professional help? That’s not to suggest that all our difficult seasons are our own doing, but it is a good question to ask to make sure we’re not being our own worst enemy!

8, What can I give or enjoy?

The uniqueness of each season – difficult or otherwise – will also hold unique opportunities to bless others or experience joy. Sometimes the joy will be harder to grasp and sometimes blessing or serving others will be the last thing we want to do, but maximising the season often comes on the back of taking a posture of focusing on others.