Can you believe it’s already December? Wow, this year has gone by fast! I think the older and busier you get, the faster time flies by. I don’t know about you but we always look forward to this time of the year. It’s a time to reflect on all that God has done in the past year, a time to celebrate the wonderful birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a time to look ahead at the incredible and exciting adventures the Lord has for us in the year to come.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the Lord radically and outrageously bless you.
Leadership Insight on Resolving Differences
The past several months have been exciting for me. I’ve been reading and studying heaps of leadership, church planting, and prayer books. Here is one of the insights I’ve learned on resolving differences. Memories, both those that bless and those that bind, can be abused as well as used positively. If church leaders take credit for what God does, they rob Him of glory and become preoccupied with themselves. I
If the leaders criticize former pastors, they build resentment into the congregation. If the leaders bury the painful past and refuse to discuss it, they cut themselves off from God’s blessings for today and tomorrow. On the other hand, if they resolve differences, even among participants in the congregation, it can transform relationships within a church. Those who do not understand forgiveness and the power of praying for past offenders sometimes refuse to face old painful memories.
Wise church leaders walk in the light and are not afraid to embrace the truth. They recognize that the only thing they ever have to admit to is the truth, which is always a liberating friend. Such leaders know that neither they nor their churches are perfect. They claim God’s grace to release them from the bondage of the past. They feel the pain, release it through forgiveness and bless those who curse them. The result is freedom and joy. Peace replaces pain. Wisdom grows from poor judgment. People, even people in their church, have permission to fail or to meet expectations if they are attempting great things for Christ. Love, laughter and a sense of life mark these leaders and churches. Forgiveness prepares the way for tough love. If leaders sweep repeated offences under the rug, they will soon trip over them.
It’s time to see churches, leaders, and the pastors deal with issues that hinder the work of God in their lives. One of the reasons we have not seen revival in the church is because people are afraid to speak or hear the truth. There needs to be true repentance and forgiveness in order for people to walk in the Spirit, and in holiness and humility. My heart breaks for the churches and those individuals who are in such bondage, tied down by legalism, and are simply unhealthy. The choice is theirs if they want to be set free, but so many refuse to take that first step.
The list of these insights continue to grip and inspire me to be the best that I can as a pastor, a shepherd, a leader, a husband, a father, and a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Photo: Boyz time hanging out)
If you have ever flown on a plane, then I’m sure you have experienced turbulence. In life, we sometimes experience turbulent times or tough seasons, whether it’s health related, spiritual, or financial difficulty. These are the moments when our trust and faith in the Lord to provide are put to the test.
What we are about to share with you is difficult and humbling at the same time. Our hearts desire is to be completely open and honest with the amazing team that we have behind us. It requires us to lay down our pride and allow the Lord to work independent of how we feel. Over the past several months, our financial support has decreased and we are now starting to feel the effects.
First and foremost, could you please join us in prayer for the Lord’s provision for this ministry? Your prayers are so dear to us and give us the strength to push back against discouragement. If you feel lead by the Lord to support us financially, please send your support through Saving Grace World Missions (see support detail on pg 2)
We serve such an amazing God who tells us not to fear because He is our God and He is always walking beside us. In Isaiah 41, it says that He will give us the strength and help that we need; He will uphold us with His righteous right hand. I don’t know about you, but these words bring such comfort and peace to my heart.
We are so blessed to have each and every one of you on our support team. Your prayers are making a huge difference in the lives and ministry here in Melbourne.
There have been several exciting and fun events that have taken place this past month. The Women’s Ministry pulled together and planned a fun night out to the city for Jennifer Bailey and Belinda Gloss’s birthdays. We had a great time of fellowship, and the Lord used this time to strengthen the relationships and unity within the group. (Photo: Preparing for Thanksgiving)
We also had our first Christmas Program practice at the ministry house. We shared a pizza dinner with the kids and then got down to business with the Christmas Concert practice. Wow, trying to control 14 kids in a small confined space is a bit challenging, nevertheless we survived. The kids did an excellent job! The next set of business was handing out parts for the Christmas Play. The children will be acting out “Just the Way You Are” by Max Lucado. They seemed very excited and were attentive during the practice. All in all I would call the night a success – thanks to all the wonderful and dedicated Children’s Ministry staff. (Photo: Friends over for Thanksgiving)
Our last event for the month of November was Thanksgiving. We were able to share this special holiday with several families from our congregation. Wow, there is a lot of preparation for this feast, especially when you are feeding 20 people. I was able to follow my family’s good old southern recipes, and everything turned out delicious (even our little 8 pound turkeys Lafonda and Bertha). I definitely could not have done this feast alone. Thanks to the help of Jenn, Belinda and my wonderful husband, Thanksgiving turned out amazing and everyone seemed to have a great time
Please pray for wisdom, health, vision and focus.
Pray for the church here to continue to get spiritually healthy
Pray for the protection over our family and the church.
Pray for provision for our ministry.
People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound.
To stay posted on what we are doing in the church and our services, log on to: www.calvarymelbourne.com.au
Pray that you have great day.
Blessings to you and until next time,
Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian