We are very much enjoying our three month sabbatical in Sydney….and its not just because its a gorgeous city (constantly named as one of the top ten cities in the world to live in), nor just because of our lovely grandaughter and her parents! Its been good to get a break and to focus on doing something different (I am trying to write and Annabel has been as active as ever- even as I write just now she is out helping at a refugee centre). But this morning I was reflecting on another personal aspect (which applies to both of us) and that is the way in which the Lord has used ministry to minister to us.
Today I have just finished a series of three breakfasts for lawyers (with City Bible Forum) , and then spoken to a group of 25 Anglican assistant pastors. Last week I did a couple of businessman’s breakfasts in a packed boardroom on the 31st floor of the Deutschebank building
I have also loved speaking and visiting at a variety of different Anglican, Presbyterian and Independent – these are some of the ones we have visited or spoken at (Scots Presbyterian, Drumoyne Pres, Paramatta Cathederal, EV church and The Village Church)
Then there have been the opportunities to share at Moore College and Christ Presbyterian College….and to meet with students from different universities. I’m looking forward to sharing with the Chinese Presbyterians and going to Queensland Theological College in Brisbane in the next couple of weeks.
Its also been good to have been involved with our ‘home’ church – St Thomas’s . For me the best parts have been listening to Simon Manchester preach the word, and getting to meet the people. Annabel has been involved with the womens bible study and spoke at it this week (it was recorded but I fear dire consequences if I were to post that on here!). For me a highlight has been the young people who I spoken to on a couple of Friday nights. Last Friday especially was a highlight – with around 100 firing in questions….I was so impressed with them and with their leadership.
I realise that some of you might think – that seems an awful lot to be doing on a sabbatical! Perhaps it is…but it has been so worthwhile and encouraging to be involved in. I am still managing to do some writing and of course we are enjoying being together and loving the sunshine, scenery and good food! Although I have noted that Dundee has been warmer than Sydney in the past couple of days!
As we head into the last month of being here and look forward to returning to Dundee and St Peters, I cannot but be thankful for the opportunity to be here. It has certainly stimulated a lot of thinking and I think brought a lot of joy (for me!). As I left the lawyers breakfast this morning and headed for the bus to meet the Anglican pastors, I could not but reflect on why there is a sense of joy in all this?
For me it is quite simple – I love being able to share the good news about Jesus. and to do so in an environment where others are seeking to do the same – whatever the denomination. I have found a freedom and liberty here. It’s like when I first stood up in Borders bookstore and spoke of Christ there….its what I call the Eric Liddel moment – its what God made me for. Joy.
So my only question is (and its a question to which I either don’t have the answer or don’t want to know the answer!) – why do I seem to have so many more opportunities to do this in Sydney, than I seem to have in my own country?