December 2009 Update

Greetings,

Can you believe it’s already December?  Wow, this year has gone by so quickly! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  What a great time to spend with family and friends and reflect on the many blessings that the Lord has given us throughout the year.  No matter what has happened to us, whether good or bad, happy or sad – there is always something to be thankful to our Lord for.

Let me share with you something that happened to us last week.  We were so blessed that we got to spend Thanksgiving with some close friends and fellow Americans from the church.  Now, the day started out like it was going to be great, but if you know the weather here, it can drastically change with in minutes. It can drop in temperature over 20 degrees in a short period of time.  It can also change from sunny to pouring rain, extreme force winds, and thunder and lightening. On Thanksgiving afternoon, that is exactly what happened. It poured so hard, it dropped about 4inches of rain in less than 30 minutes, and caused our back yard to flood and the water to rise up underneath the house and flood the bedrooms. Needless to say we spent the next several hours, moving furniture, cleaning up messes, digging trenches to help the water subside, using heaps of towels to soak up the water in the house and  continuing to prepare the Thanksgiving meal. The flood did enough damage that the insurance company is going to need to replace all of the carpet in the house and repair some walls that have been water logged. This Thanksgiving will forever be etched in our minds.  It was a fun, stressful, unsettling, and chaotic event, but we are so thankful, because it could have been a lot worse.  It is all a matter of having the right perspective or attitude. Our attitude can make all the difference.

Having the Right Attitude

This past week I was reflecting on the different attitudes that we can have and how it can make all the difference in our lives and in the circumstances that surround us. I’m reminded of a poem/quote from Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. Let me share it with you:  Attitude: The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skills. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

I pray and hope that we would all have a great attitude especially as we close out the year and celebrate Jesus birth.

Men’s fellowship

This was our third men’s fellowship and we had 18 guys come along. The man who hosted this fellowship is a Manager / Executive Producer for some big bands here in Australia. He has been coming to our church for about six months and is a very humble guy.  He has won 5 Aria awards, which is equivalent to our Grammy awards in America.  Anyway, it was so cool to see so many guys inviting their friends, family, coworkers, etc.  They are so hungry for the fellowship, the Word and of course the great food.  I’ve been teaching on discipleship with this group.

Baptism

This last Sunday, I had the pleasure of baptizing seven people. We had about 50 family, friends, and fellow brother and sisters come along to support those being baptized.  It was raining throughout the day, so we were able to use another local church’s baptismal pool.  The atmosphere, warmth, location, and the water were just right for this blessed event.

Niki’s Corner

Women’s Group

We just completed the study “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore.  Wow, what a great adventure this has been with such a beautiful group of women!  The Lord has revealed, stretched and healed many of the women through this study.  What an awesome time to reflect on God’s Word and discover things in our lives that hinder us from living the abundant life our maker intended for us.  We have shared a lot through these past 10 weeks, and the Lord has drawn us closer together.  God is continuing to bless this wonderful group.  We have 14 women coming consistently on Tuesday nights.  Praise God!

Thank you for all of your prayers for this group.  It is making such a huge difference in the lives of these women.  I am so blessed that I get to watch them grow and become more like Jesus every week.

Children’s Ministry:

What a blessing it has been to be able to watch the Lord work in the life of our new Children’s Ministry Director.  She is doing a phenomenal job.  Thank you Lord for always providing for our needs!   Please be in prayer for our upcoming Christmas program.  The children will be performing in front of the congregation on the 20th of December. We were blessed this year to have our wonderful worship leaders take over and teach the children the songs and actions for the program.
Junior High Group:

This group is doing awesome!  Three of my girls got baptized this past Sunday.  It brought tears to my eyes – what a special time.  We are continuing to meet every other Friday night for a time of fun, fellowship and digging into Gods word.  We are going through the book of Corinthians on Fridays and we will be starting the book of Daniel on Sundays.  We would like to do a junior high camp in the coming months, could you please be in prayer for direction, and wisdom.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As we close out this year, we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May the Lord pour out His blessing upon each and every one of you!  Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and for all your support.

Financial matters

It is always difficult and humbling to bring up finances, but I know how important it is to share and let our team know the areas in which we need support.  One of the things worth noting is the exchange rate; we are almost dollar for dollar. Then as we head into this next year we have two big expenses that will be coming up. The first one is homeschooling costs (approx $1,500) for books and supplies for both boys.  The second is our permanent residency. The total cost will be close to $5000.  We know the Lord will provide and that He is in control. Would you pray with us for these items and also for our monthly support? Thank you and God bless.

Prayer Points

Pray for vision and focus, wisdom, discernment, guidance, and provision.

Pray for revival, for harvest, for the Lord to raise up more laborers.

Pray for the continued protection of the church.

Pray for monthly financial support

Pray for our family (Niki, Joshua, Christian, Andrew)

Thank you for your encouragement, your faithful support, and most importantly, thank you for your prayers J

Until next time……

Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian

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