Happy new year, Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
As I write this first edition of my Pastoral Message for 2023, I am reminded of how great is our God and His love that endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34). God remembers me. He knows when I sit and when I rise; He perceives my thoughts from afar. He discerns my going out and my lying down; He is familiar with all my ways (Psalm 139). God is my rock and my Salvation. He is my strength, He is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. I take refuge in Him, He is my shield, my salvation and stronghold (Psalm 18). Amen!
Ou te fa’afeiloai atu ma le fa’aaloalo lava i le suafa manumalo o le Atua le Tama, le Alo ma le Agaga Paia. (I welcome our church family and friends in the name of Jesus).
What a wonderful Christmas Eve, Christmas day and community dinner we had. Such a joyous, happy and faith filled week celebrating the birth of our Lord. Thank you to all those who took part in the services, setting up the church and of course the community dinner. What can I say?? It was incredible. A big thanks to Julz, Tamiele and the team. God’s named be praised!!!
My first sermon of 2023 was titled ‘Remember God, Refocus and Restart’ and our prayer for you is that you have found the time to relax and refresh over this summer break, spending time with our Lord to recharge your spiritual batteries ready to serve our God in 2023.
For our summer break, Felicity and I decided to do a “roadie” from Melbourne to Adelaide travelling the great Australian ocean roads. Amongst the highlights for me was the blue lake in Mt Gambia and the amazing public swimming pool (circular in shape, a size of two rugby fields) in Naracoorte. However, nothing can beat the beauty of New Zealand. Leaving Adelaide and arriving in Auckland and driving back to Tauranga, enjoying the clean, green air and countryside I can honestly say that we do live in a beautiful part of God’s planet. Aren’t we all blessed to live here in this little piece of paradise. Perhaps today you can take a moment to sit and breathe in the beauty that surrounds you and thank God you are living in this beautiful city of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui.
My thanks to our session elders, worship leaders and musicians for leading our Sunday services while I have been away. Thank you also to Rev Mike Uttley and Marion Sanders for providing sermons. Thank you for your ongoing prayers for us and the family, we have returned full of life and ready to serve this wonderful church.
We are looking forward to hearing each other’s stories of what the Lord has been doing or revealing to you in the New Year over coffee following our church services or as you pop by the church during the week. If you have a testimony of God’s amazing provision or goodness that you would be willing to share in our services over the next few weeks, I would love to hear about it.
This week we have Marion sharing and next Sunday I will be finishing my new year series, ‘Remember God, Refocus and Restart’ with part 2 ‘Restart’. I encouraged you on the 1st Jan to start a remembrance journal, I hope you have taken up the challenge. Have a great week! See you Sunday.