Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Unto us a Child is Born-Expanded

Last Sunday I again had the privilege of once again sharing with the Renmark Uniting Church congregations in Renmark West and in the Renmark Town Church.
Here is an outline of the message and the order of service.
It is not exactly as delivered as sometimes I add segments and delete paragraphs.

Eagle at Renmark West

ORDER OF SERVICE 27/12/15 Renmark Uniting Church
Call to Worship:  Geoff Thompson (Psalm 148:7-13)
Hymn: “Praise to the Lord thee almighty” AHB 28
Prayer of confession praise and thanksgiving
Hymn: “I will sing the wondrous story” AHB 173
Offering and Prayer: Geoff
Hymn: 218 AHB “Unto us a boy is born!”
Bible reading: Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:41-52
Hymn:  “There is a green hill far away”  AHB 266 
Sermon: Geoff Thompson  “Unto us a Child is born”
  Hymn: “Thine be the glory risen conquering son” AHB 303
Benediction and Vesper

“Chosen by God!--- for What?” and also “Unto us a Child is born.”

Do you believe you have been chosen by God to be His child?

Is this something you readily understand or you struggle with?

There are some that believe that God knows from the very start who are going to hear His call and become Christians.

That we are predestined to become Christians!

Become a child of God!

Because of that idea some Churches think evangelism is a waste of time.
They think well it will automatically happen through God’s divine intervention that someone will become a Christian.

Some believe it is up to us as individual Christians to share our faith with others.
 If we don’t how can anyone else become Christians?

Especially within our circle of friends and relatives or workmates or even complete strangers.

After all people need to hear the Gospel(The Good news about Jesus) to respond to it.

If we don’t tell them who will?

Well I embrace all those ideas except the one that says evangelism is a waste of time.

Becoming a Christian is the most important thing in the world as our eternal salvation depends on that.

There is a saying that has some merit.

It goes like this.

“Share the Gospel , the Good News, as often as you can;--

and occasionally use words.”

I think our Bible reading today from Colossians 3 has a lot of that idea built into it.

Colossians 3
12 Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. 13 Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
If we have this passage firmly a part of our way of living.
Firmly etched into our minds,
   As how we should relate to others,
And actually do it,
there will come a time when people may well ask you what is your secret?
How do you live like that?
Which is a way of saying I would like to be like that too.
That is when you can tell them that this is not really my own nature this is how Jesus has come into my life and makes living so much better.
Then you have an opportunity to use words sparingly.
It might be a simple presentation of the Gospel that you share with them
        Showing how Jesus can come into their lives
 and make all the difference.
I believe we have this two fold responsibility
     if we are Christians!
To so allow Jesus to live through us that people will be drawn to Him,
    Not us!
Some will say “that it is just your nature to be kind and forgiving, but it is not our natural state.
That is a lie of course.
Without Jesus controlling our thoughts and actions, we are, each one of us, just as capable as the next person of being an unpleasant piece of work.
That is circumstances can bring out our sinful nature that is built in.
So if we have been called by God,
         chosen by God,
  We have a responsibility to be His child,
      His son or daughter.
As we watch young people growing up from babies to young children, to teens and adolescents there are times when we think they are absolute angels.
That God surely has His hand on that young person.
But we know, sometimes from painful experience, that they can be led astray like any of us.
But there is always this capacity for them to come through for God if we live our lives before them as we have been discussing.
We should not debate or be anxious about whether God is calling them or not but do our part in their upbringing.
How many of us if our young  son or daughter went missing, would expect that they have gone to Church to pray to God?
Jesus came to earth as God’s only son with a mission.
He was very definitely aware of what He was called to do.
We have been celebrating His advent these past few weeks culminating with Christmas day.
His earthly parents were not always in the zone on what He was all about even though they knew His birth was a miracle and of God.
From todays reading in Luke we are reminded of this.
41-42 When Jesus was twelve years old, he accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for the annual Passover Festival, which they attended each year. 43 After the celebration was over they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him the first day, 44 for they assumed he was with friends among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started to look for him among their relatives and friends; 45 and when they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there.
46-47 Three days later they finally discovered him. He was in the Temple, sitting among the teachers of Law, discussing deep questions with them and amazing everyone with his understanding and answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son!” his mother said to him. “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you realize that I would be here at the Temple, in my Father’s House?” 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them; and his mother stored away all these things in her heart. (mothers do that don’t they!)52 So Jesus grew both tall and wise, and was loved by God and man.
And what would you feel like if Samuel of the Old Testament was your son. Young Samuel was much admired by all as he was growing up.
This was our other reading.
18 Samuel, though only a child, was the Lord’s helper and wore a little linen robe just like the priest’s.[b] 19 Each year his mother made a little coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home Eli would bless Elkanah and Hannah and ask God to give them other children to take the place of this one they had given to the Lord. 21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile Samuel grew up in the service of the Lord.
26 Little Samuel was growing in two ways—he was getting taller, and he was becoming everyone’s favorite (and he was a favorite of the Lord’s, too!).
 (Hannah, Samuel’s mother, had prayed to God for a child as she had not been able to conceive and her and her husband dedicated him to God’s service as he was their miracle child. )
Samuel grew up to be an amazing leader of Israel and one of their greatest Judges.
He knew his calling and stuck to it even though he suffered great disappointment with his own children.
Here is a summing up of one of what we can learn from Samuel’s life by a commentator on the internet.
“A key verse in the life of Samuel relates his words to King Saul: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’” (1 Samuel 15:22). Obedience to God’s Word must always be our top priority.”
The Bible says “many are called but few are chosen.”
Many theologians have debated the meaning of that for centuries.
What it boils down to I think is that whether we think we are especially called, or ,we are Christians only because someone shared the Gospel with us, we have a responsibility as Christians to let the life and love of Christ shine through us to others.
To obey the Lord as he speaks to us through His word and as it is stored in our hearts.
We need to remember of course we cannot do this in our own strength but through allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us,
control us.
So over this Christmas period we have been celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus.
As Christians we know that this was only the beginning.
He went on to give His life for us on the cross.
Unto us a child is born.
I don’t know whether you saw just recently in the Advertiser or on the ABC news the story of Harrison and Brad Chilcott.
I will read some of  it as reported on the ABC website.
“An Adelaide father's kidney donation has saved the life of his eight-year-old son whom, even before birth, doctors had not expected to survive.
Brad Chilcott gave a kidney to his son Harrison, who was born with just 15 per cent kidney function.
"Doctors told us Harrison couldn't survive, that we should terminate [the pregnancy]," Mr Chilcott said.
"Right up until the day of delivery they told us to expect that he wouldn't survive. A month later they told us to take him home so he could at least pass away at home rather than in a hospital.
"Here we are — eight years and a bit later — and Harrison is charging at life and loving it."
Mr Chilcott said his son was an inspiration.
"He just attacks every day with this kind of energy and passion and he's full of ideas, he's a little entrepreneur, so he really inspires us to make the most of every day", he said.
Mr Chilcott and his wife Rachel were told years ago they were both matches for the kidney transplant Harrison would eventually need.
His kidney failed this year and he spent months getting dialysis treatment three times per week at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital.
Harrison's mother Rachel said the countless hospital visits had been exhausting for the whole family.
"I feel like I've been on dialysis with him. I'm here all the time, but he's so positive, he's so happy, it makes it a bit easier," she said.
In early December, Harrison underwent his life-changing transplant.
"I think he's the best dad ever, that would be fair to say," the boy said with a smile.
When we got to Skype from room to room, ward to ward, that was really exciting to see him try and force a smile — just to say hello and I love you, it was amazing," Mr Chilcott said.
There have been hurdles since the operation, with Harrison spending more than a week in intensive care.
"The operation itself went really well, my kidney is working well inside Harrison," Mr Chilcott said.
"There was a bunch of other challenges that Harrison faced as part of recovery over the last two weeks and there's still a long way to go."
Harrison is on anti-rejection drugs and ongoing blood tests are needed to check the status of the transplanted organ.
Mr Chilcott said he was pleased his son was no longer on dialysis.
"He's been on there three days a week for the last four months, missing school and a range of other impacts on his life so I'm really excited that he'll be able to go back to a much more of a normal kind of life after this," he said.
Harrison finally left hospital in recent days for a much-anticipated outing to see the latest Star Wars movie.
His assessment? "I reckon it's the best one they've made so far."
Harrison has had a transplant from his earthly father.
A wonderful act of love and sacrifice.
He was a son born with little hope of a healthy life.
His parents dared to hope and believe.
How much more wonderful is the sacrifice our heavenly Father has given us by giving us His only Son to die in our place.
To enable us to have the life of Christ living in us.
This is not something unfamiliar to Brad and his son Harrison.
Brad is a Christian Pastor.
He is one who gives his all in spreading the Gospel in words and actions.
So what will we do with these great truths we have been considering?
This great gift given to us?
If the whole world practised these next 4 verses there would be no more wars,no more murder,no more broken homes,no more broken relationships, no more drug addiction, no more fear,
  Only peace!
We read this in Colossians 4:4-8 

Amplified version
Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Finally, [a]believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
Will we head into 2016 with plans to make the above real in our lives?


Friday, December 25, 2015

Unto us child is born

Today we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
How does that affect us as Christians?

Some thoughts to ponder.

What we read below should follow on if we have really been impacted by the birth,death and resurrection of Jesus.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year. A new year that can only be happy if Jesus is Lord of our lives.

Colossians 3:12-17Living Bible (TLB)
12 Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. 13 Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
14 Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. 15 Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful.
16 Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with him into the presence of God the Father to give him your thanks.

PS  there will be a follow up post soon expanding on this message.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Birds on Stamps

We are fortunate to have within walking distance of our place a collector's paradise.
A rambling property with rooms and annexes in all directions and chocablock with all sorts of things from the past.
It's called Cross Road Collectibles and below is a link to their facebook page.

Every time I visit I find something I would like so I restrict my visits to save money.

Well the other day I was looking at old photographs and came across a treasure.

Someone's collection of stamps in one album of Birds of the World.

Being a bird photographer and watcher I had no hesitation in paying the required price.

The good thing these days with stamps is that they lead you intro all sorts of research as many of the birds and place names were unknown to me.

Whenever you look at so called Birds of the World books and websites I have come to believe they are not a record of all the birds there is.

These stamps seem to verify that.

I suggest, if you can, get into bird stamps.

That is if you are a Birder.

You will be able to research some wonderful places and bird locations.

I had never heard of Ras Al Khaima

So a bit of googling.

It's in the United Arab Emirates.

A great place for birding.

Who would have thought.

And that was just my first search based on the stamps.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Womens Cricket

I must confess I was never much interested in Women Cricket until I stumbled across a telecast a couple of years ago of the Australian team in action.
Watching Elyse Perry running in to bowl made me sit up and take notice.
I thought here was someone who knows what it is all about and then of course I saw all the other players were very skilled as well.
Today I was in a collectables shop that I try to stay away from as I always spend money.
I found the picture below of a young lady plying her wares as a bowler.
This was the image I had of womens cricket until more recent times.
Note the Dandylions in the grass.
Her name is "Bobbie" according to the biro name on the top of the picture.
She may have been a brilliant cricketer even famous then.
Her action looks good.
If anyone knows who she is please let me know.
 Below are some shots I took at Adelaide oval last year during a womens 20/20 game.Australia v West Indies.I was high up in the stands where you can see it all but you are a quite a distance from the action.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Big Bash

Well the Big Bash Domestic Australian Cricket series is due to start soon.
This is 20/20 cricket played at a frantic pace.
Last year it was none stop cricket each night for several weeks.
Very enjoyable to watch and some amazing talent amongst some of the younger players complimented by some former ageing stars.
Here are a few pics from last years semi final played on the Adelaide Oval.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Make your own app for a time table for photographing a wedding-on a Mac.

There are apps for everything these days but I could not find one for exactly what I wanted.
As a mainly retired wedding photographer I still like to keep active in learning new stuff and also encouraging and teaching new photographers.

Some time ago in my post on how to use a timetable for wedding photography I shared a copy of my wedding day timetable.
I have taught this to many over the years.
Below is a link to that post.

I thought there should be an app to do this but a quick search did not turn up what I had in mine.
Then I realised that with a Macbook or an iPad and an iPhone and gmail, I already had what I needed.

On the mac there is this app called notes.
It is also on the iphone.
There is also gmail I can access from my laptop and/or iphone.

Presto!  The solution.


1. Load a proforma of my typical wedding timetable into notes on my laptop.

2. Meet with couple and create a proposed timetable on the laptop, or even a piece of paper to be typed on the laptop after.

3. Copy or create from scratch the timetable in notes.

4. From notes you can share directly to email.

5. When the couple are happy with the timetable you have worked out you can email it to them on the spot.

6. This is then available for them to print on their home printer.

7. I usually give out paper copies of the timetable to those who need to know how the day will unfold on the day. We are all on the same page so to speak.

8. As a bonus even if I lose the piece of paper on the day of the wedding I still have the schedule or timetable on my phone and so does anyone who they have forwarded it to.
Notes on the iphone and laptop and I presume ipad(I don't have one) all sync with each other.

As at 8/12/15 in 4 days this post has had 162 views. It must be a subject of interest for new wedding photographers.
I am more than happy to discuss wedding photography with people starting out. I have trained many people in wedding photography over several years starting in 1975. It was all film,manual exposure and manual focus back then. A great grounding for the digital world that was to come.
Phone: 0417867476 (Australian mobile)