Monday, April 16, 2007

Will and Nerida are Moving!

Sorry to cause any inconvenience but Nerida and I are moving our home in Cyber-space to here. It just makes it easier for everyone to find us and it reduces any confusion that might have arised from the name of the old site. Hope you drop in from time to time.

Annual leave wrap up

Well back on deck after taking the last of my annual leave for 2006 and I guess you don't really appreciate time off until you are in the midst of it. Highlights were the chance to catch up with my sister Mary and her son Isaac before they headed back to the U S of A. We miss you.
Nerida and I also had a great time away for three restful days on the beautiful Gold Coast while my Mum and Dad babysat the kids.
I also went and watched 300 (by myself) and I thought it was great. I definately wouldn't recommend anyone underage going as it is very violent etc but the storyline is powerful and has real depth in speaking to our generation about values, discipline and courage to stand firm till the end. Hmmm Jesus had a bit to say about those very issues to His disciples in Matthew 24:9-14.
Anyway I just so happened to trip over this interesting article regarding the movie 300 by the Sydney Anglicans - check it out here.
Anyway all in all it was a great time to catch up with family. Gotta do it more often. End Post.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Newlife's Easter Saturday Community Outreach Wrap Up

Well if Friday was good this morning was even better. It was great yesterday to come together as Christians to celebrate together our unity in the Lord Jesus BUT it was fantastic to see the hand of God at work today as the people of Newlife went OUT and shared the good news with our community in a words and kind deeds.
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to serve the people of our community this morning. I know God approves.
In Luke 15 Jesus repeatedly tells his disciples that "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Jesus' heart broke for the lost.
When we grow in our faith it is only natural that the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will impress on our hearts the need to share the good news with the lost and disconnected in our community. Thanks to you all for being serious about sharing your faith with a world lost without Jesus.
I now commit to prayer for tomorrow.
Will you pray too? Better yet- pray AND bring a friend.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Combined service @ USQ Wrap Up

Well I reckon it's an understatement to say that the Easter Friday Service at the USQ went well.
It was flippin awesome!
God certainly showed His sovereign hand in it all as He spoke a concistent Christ Centred Message through the songs (yay Newlife Music team), the prayers, the sermon... everything. It was a great testimony to His goodness to us and the true unity that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Let's keep Praying for Easter

Jesus teaches us how to pray in Luke 11.
He wants us to pray specifically and continually, never giving up.
He also assures us that God wants to pour out His Holy Spirit on us so we can live lives of love and holiness. Lives that are empowered to 'Go' and share the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection with others.

PLEASE PRAY for EVERYTHING that's going on over the Easter Weekend. We've been praying but let us not get weary doing good, even more so as we know the day of His return is one day nearer than it was when we went to bed last night.

Pray and Invite Someone... trust that God wants to use you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Newlife in the NEWS

Here's a couple of links to the online edition of the Springfield News promoting our Easter Events.
Click here for the awesome front page!
Click here for the wrap up on page 4.
WOW God is certainly at work in everything, and His word is getting out, it can't be stopped. Why not take the opportunity and time to connect with your neighbors and invite them to one of our Easter Events.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Newlife Easter Events 2007

Hey Easter is here. Or nearly here. Anticipation levels are rising and we're praying that God will use us, all of us at Newlife to share His love, His message of forgiveness and hope with our community this Easter.

Good Friday - Combined Service 9am University of Southern QLD, Main Auditorium
Easter Saturday - Easter Eggstravaganza at Spring Lakes District Park. Beginning with a pancake breakfast at 8am, followed by Easter Egg Hunts from 8.30am, it will be a great day for the Newlife Family as we show the Love of God to our community in a simple way... by serving them and pointing to Jesus.
Easter Sunday - Sunday Service 9am at the University of Southern QLD, level 3 main auditorium.

Don't just come, bring a friend!

easter video Ridge Stone

Check out this clip. It's the crew from Ridge Stone Church having some fun promoting their Easter Services.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Newlife Beach Camp 2007

Well I'm sitting back home burnt, tired, red eyed and yet extremely satisfied with the way that our Beach Camp went this past weekend. Overall the weekend was a great success, apart from minor mishaps like the rec centre omitting to tell us that there was NO cabin 11 in reality but there was one on their official camp sheet (it was like an episode of the X files)??? Nerida and I have got to say that this camp was right up there with the best camps we've ever been on. Don't know if that's got to do with the relaxed laid back approach to the timetable or the people who attended or both but everyone who went had a good time and we all learnt stuff about following God and we all were encouraged and challenged by Pastor Bob Burnett's talks from the gospels. Props go out to a heap of people who made big efforts to be there and live the gospel with others in community. As my youth pastor told me many years ago camps have a tendancy of knocking the rouch edges off people in a way that Sunday church just can't.
Jane and Kirsty, I'm sorry you had to go home early. Thanks also to the Faith, Jess, Steve, Ian, John Shield, Sam, Jack, Sonya and Beth for making the camp go so well. I know I've missed out important people but before I go I wanna give a BIG shout out to the 'Par Boys' (not the Bra Boys... but close) for coming along, I trust the surf of the Sunny Coast was up to your standard... ;)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ridge Stone Easter Promo Video

Check this video out, Gary and the 'Stoners have yet again pulled something out of the hat. ;)
Happy Easter to y-all in Canton, Georgia, U S of A.

Why Church Plant?

I've been asked a couple of times why do I call my blog "Newlife Church Plant Brisbane"? My answer is simply this, I'm convinced that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God, sitting in glory with God the Father. Jesus humbled Himself, set aside His Glory and was born of the Virgin Mary, lived, served willingly died upon a cross to deal with your and my sin. He then rose from the dead on the third day. He humbly did all this so that mankind might have the opportunity to repent, place our faith in Him and be made right with God the Father. Jesus has told us that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as testiment to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14)
Jesus has plainly told us the state of play. He has given His followers His Spirit. He tells us now to 'go and share the good news to everyone everywhere.'
The daily question I have to deal with is, is Jesus God & do I trust Him with my life?
If I do then I will humbly and joyfully join Him in His mission whilst there are those who have not yet heard the good news. Church planting, whether it is continually replanting and relaunching existing congregations or launching new ones is fundamental to the achievement of this mission Jesus has called us to. At Newlife Church we aimed to be relaunching regularly. Staying focused, flexible and committed to growing in our relationship with Jesus and sharing Him with the disconnected in our community.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Big Props to the 'atchurch team'

Hey if you've arrived here through our website you're aware of the neat fresh site that we've got. Well props where props due and I'd like to give a big shout out to the 'atchurch' crew. Sarah and the crew from atchurch have always been super creative, supportive and just plain patient with us at Newlife. Check them out they're well worth the visit.

Bono, truth, the Gospel and us provin' our faith by our deeds!

I just watched this clip with Bono steppin up into the pulpit and bringing it home about Jesus and His love and concern for the poor. I've always loved U2, right from my early days being sent from the family farm (no music & heaps of love) to boarding school (heaps of music...). Bono had a way of cutting through the rubbish to the heart of matters for me back then... and I reckon nothings changed. Bono has a knack of telling the truth to his generation without being labled as some kind of 'religious nut.' I pray that Bono and the U2 crew keep telling the truth - that Jesus followers must "prove their repentance by their deeds! (see Acts 26:20)." Bono in this clip is just statin the bleedin obvious. Sometimes I wish I was born Irish, only for a second then I remember that being an Aussie is heaps more potent!
Love must be proved in our actions.

How to keep the LOST out...

Here's 10 good ways to keep the LOST out of your church...
As for us at Newlife we're going to keep working hard at being inclusive to the disconnected. It's simply not negotiable when it comes to following Jesus (Luke 15 & 1 Corinthians 14).
Thanks to Church Redone for the 10.

1. Don’t have a website : This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church. No church website, no blog, no flickr account, and don’t podcast your sermons. Knowledge is power and providing me easy access to information about your church might empower me to learn more or even visit. So even if you must have a website, make sure it is poorly designed, lacking in information, hard to navigate, out of date and doesn’t have an rss feed to make things even remotely easy for me.
2. Be completely inactive in the community : If you’re not doing anything in the community then no one will talk about your church. That makes it a lot harder for me to accidentally find out anything useful. So don’t serve the community or partner with other churches or non-profits. In fact it’s really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don’t do anything missional in your city.
3. Don’t answer your phone : Regardless of what time I call (weekday, weekend, morning, afternoon, evening) don’t answer the phone and don’t have an answering machine or voice mail for me to leave a message or prayer request. If you do have voice mail, don’t include your website address, service times or directions to your church on your message, and don’t ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I’m lost en route to service, I’ll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.
4. Allow misinformation : Sometimes you just can’t prevent denominations or directories from listing information about your church. When contact information changes, don’t tell them about the update. You can save time by providing them incorrect information initially and for added confusion make sure each directory lists different information about your church, all of it wrong.
5. Lack clear signage : Even if I’m determined to visit your church, you have several on site options to discourage me. The first is to play hide and seek. Is your church in a nondescript building or on a street with several other churches? Have absolutely no signage; none, whatsoever. Except maybe on the mailbox, where you abbreviate things beyond comprehension. If you run a Christian school, put up a 10′ x 14′ sign just for it, so I’ll be led to believe the building is only a school.
6. Have insufficient parking/seating : Other discouraging on-site options are lack of adequate parking and seating. Does your church seat 200? Only have 30 parking spaces. Been running at capacity for weeks or months? Don’t start another service, so that there will be standing room only. Have visitors’ parking? Put it in the corner of the lot away from the entrance. Have adequate parking? Don’t stripe the lot or have parking attendants; chaos is best. Have adequate seating? Make it as uncomfortable as possible.
7. Ignore Visitors : Despite your best efforts I have found and attended your church. In fact, I even filled out a visitor’s card requesting more information. Don’t acknowledge my visit in any way. Don’t call me, don’t send me a thank you card, don’t answer any of my questions or give me any information about how to become involved or learn more about Jesus. Also don’t have any literature available to provide visitors and don’t train your volunteers to be courteous or helpful in anyway.
8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries : If responding to information requests at all, do so extremely slowly and only partially. Wait 1 week or more to return emails or phone calls and if I ask several questions, don’t answer them all. Instead just tell me I should come to a service to find out more. That saves you a couple minutes of response time and makes you look very busy and important. Whatever you do, do not start a dialogue with me.
9. Be evasive about your beliefs : When I ask a direct question about the church’s beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don’t understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs. For “What We Believe”, only include the Nicene Creed on your website or literature. If I’m adamant about wanting positional clarity, instead tell me about the love of Jesus and how Christianity isn’t about division. For those times you do answer my questions, act offended that I would even ask, then try and make me feel stupid or sinful for questioning you.
10. Lie to me : When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church. You might just get a few weeks of attendance out of me before I learn the truth. Are you denominationally affiliated? Don’t mention it ever and talk about how independent you are when I find out. Being on mission is important to me, so make it sound like all 500 of your members are actively involved in serving the city, even though you don’t give a single cent to local missions and never talk about it from the pulpit, because you actually hate the city and it’s sinful people. Lastly, spend a lot of time telling me how you are distinctive from other churches, even though you’re not.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Easter is just around the corner!

Well it's just a bit under two weeks till Easter!

And things are ramping up for the biggest weekend of the year for Newlife Church. We're busy planning our Easter Saturday 'Eggstravaganza' where the church hosts its annual outreach event to Springfield. Starting with a pancake breakfast at 8am we then go onto a a short gospel talk for the kids (led by Pastor Will) followed by a number of age appropriate Easter Egg hunts. The 2007 Newlife Easter Outreach is not to be missed - we had around 300 adults and kids at the event last year and we're trusting for more for this year with over 3000 eggs organised for the big day!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Love is in the Air!

Today my sister Sarah marries her beloved Hugh. I am totally stoked for them. Nerida is jittery and on edge and the kids are having their afternoon nap and it's only 10.30am! We're all amped and ready to cheer them on this arvo. We pray God's richest blessing on you and both have a great honeymoon :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gary Lamb and Marketing to LAUNCH!

We've been working through the best way to market the launch of our second congregation (6 May 2007) and I reckon Gary Lamb's thoughts on the subject here are really worth looking at, chewing over and doing!

Sharing Christ @ Staines Memorial College

This morning I have the privilege of attending Staines Memorial College, Springfield. I'm really looking forward to talking to the staff and kids from God's Word and encouraging them to know and follow Jesus. I'll post my thoughts later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Redeemers Vision for New York & the World

Sometimes it's just good to sit back and listen to what God is doing out there in His world. I've really been encouraged by Tim Keller's passion and enthusiasm for following Jesus and giving his life to reach out to the lost in New York City and beyond. And for those who would say it's all happening because of Tim, I just can't see how any movement (much less a church planting movement) can be created or sustained by any one person. It's just impossible. Sure he can give his life to serve God, but each church planted must be lead by fresh leaders, that's where the real ministry of 2 Timothy2:2 has to kick in.

Check out the vision Redeemer Pressie's chasing here.

Other resources are being added regularly here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Breakdown

Well today was another real encouragement to me and the crew who make up Newlife Church. The meeting at Springfield went well and it was good to have a little bit more room to move today but we miss all the internationals and uni students. The music team once again did a great job and it was good to have a new song introduced this morning.
Then it was over to Graceville for the second congregation. It also went exceptionally well with 46 attending. The main thing that needs to be worked through is the sound and technical issues associated with the music. Other than that it was a great morning and it was good to work through the book of James, chapter 2 together.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Newlife International Congregation Preview Service No 4

Join us this Sunday 11.55 at Graceville Presbyterian Church, Banks Street Graceville.
We’d love for you to be our special guest this Sunday!
Church Service will be followed by lunch and activities at Southbank.
11.55 Church Service
12.55 Lunch together
2.30 Coffee at Southbank
3.30 Cricket at Southbank

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nick Cave & Jesus

Nick Cave is an awesome songwriter and famous for his music created with the “Bad Seeds.” However few people are aware of Nick’s encounter with Jesus a few years ago. It seems to me that Jesus made an impact, an impression that's still being worked through. In his latest work Grinderman Nick writes in the song Go Tell The Women: “We are scientists, we go do genetics, we leave the religion to the psychos and fanantics.”
When questioned as to his feelings about modern Christianity being hijacked by an lunatic fringe Nick replied,
“I have certain tendencies in that direction and it is hard work having them and admitting to having them these days. I’m sad about the decline of the Christian religion. It’s sad that it seems to no longer be a functioning religion and it has no relevance any more. There is a message in there that I think is the relevant and right message, but unfortunately the whole idea of Christianity is so tainted these days that it is an anathema.”
I’d love to have a coffee with Nick and pick his brain further on this one… hmmm.
Now I’m not sure where Nick’s at on his journey with Jesus, but you can get a bit more of an idea of the issues he was working through here in his introduction to the Gospel of Mark for a re-release of the KJV Bible.
(The Sunday Mail – “Cowboy Nick on the line.” Music News, March 11 2004, p4.)

Orion Shopping Centre Opens Today

Nerida and I just arrived back from represnting Newlife Church at the official prayer for the Orion SC. a big shout out to our man Councillor David Morrison! He did a great job on behalf of the local churches and certainly pulled no punches about pointing to Jesus as the source of peace and blessing. Check out the Orion website here.

It's amazing to be a part of a church that's been placed by God so strategically right in the heart of this new satellite city that is Greater Springfield. I just can't wait to see what God is going to do not only on the next few weeks but over the next few years as we keep focused on sharing Jesus with our community.
By the way stay tuned over the few weeks as I share a massive part of the vision that God is unfolding at Newlife. I can hardly hold it in... gotta go.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

stop press - Springfield Community Oasis

For those who are interested here's an article just arrived on my desk on one of our neighbour chuches Springfield Community Oasis. Interesting read. Props go out to the Churches of Christ for being the only denomination with the vision to step out and buy land prior to the development of the Springfield Region. Brett Swan and the Oasis Crew are in a prime position with ample tools to get out and really reap a harvest for Jesus... go for it guys!
Hmmmm... key thought for me... 'Vision coupled with strategy is really the hard part. And the results speak for themselves."

Scott Whitaker and Momentum

For those who aren't aware, Scott Whitaker has some great insights regarding leadership, vision and momentum. I read this post last year, and for me it was gold back then. But as I've seen how this can work out in reality I'm convinced that Scott's right.

Momentum is a result of...
"Discomfort --> Fed by Vision -->Ignited by Anticipation -->Led by Change = Momentum"

Stop and think about any movement that has momentum (we see this in politics all the time), and then think about the factors that have lead up to the movement. There's always a discomfort or lack of ease with the status quo. This leads to a fresh vision for how things should and could be. This vision when communicated to others results in anticipation for change and action to bring about change which leads to forward movement towards the vision and the Big Mo.

Thanks Scott. By the way check out this podcast where he unpacks it all further with Nelson Searcy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fergus' words of wisdom

Just relaxing after my quiet time this morning and I couldn't help but keep chuckling to myself about the way Fergus puts things. He doesn't hold back, in fact his honesty is really refreshing. Here's just a couple of the latest Fergisms...
His older brother Will politely asks, "Fergus can I share that bunch of grapes with you?"
To which Fergus neatly replies, "No thanks Will."

Fergus just loves vegemite on toast and the other day when he saw that I was serving it up for breakfast he just looked at me and smiled, "Thank you Dad, yummy Dad, yummy for my tummy."

And just this morning, I encouraged him for finishing off his breakfast so well by saying, "Good boy Fergus." Fergus smiled back at me and said as only he can say, "You're a good boy too Dad." Man - needed that. Thanks Fergus.
"Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!" Proverbs 15:23 The Message.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Furtick Says Things Straight

Was just chillin out, winding down checking a few blogs when I was hit right between the eyes by Steve’s blog here. A word of warning, before you read it pray, slow down, check it out, and stop… and before you do anything pray again, think about what he's saying. I suppose I'm saying don’t let the bluntness of the message trip you up. Instead think about it, I reckon he’s really onto something. His thoughts remind me a lot of what Andrew M said to me a few weeks ago about church not being just about us. Furthermore Steve reminds me of how God thinks about his church. You see church isn’t all about us, it’s all about God and His purposes for His bride. Let’s not get sidetracked into a self centred approach to church, it just doesn’t cut it with God.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Arvo Sit-down

I'm sitting here reflecting on how awesome today it was just to sit in the crowd and listen, to be refreshed and rechallenged about keeping Jesus as the reason for everything we do here at Newlife. The International Music Team were rippin it up mixing old with new (how about Sarah on the drums - man) and it was great to listen to Norm as he reminded us of the power of Jesus to not only save us but to grow us into His image. The good news about Jesus is for everyone, the lost and those who've been brought home.
It was also good for me to have some time out over the past two weeks just to sit and reflect upon what God has and is doing amongst us His family. He's been consistently bringing new people; families and singles, some who know Jesus others just wanting a safe place to check Him out. Some move on (for good reasons) but a whole bunch have stayed and for that I'm grateful. God is building His church and it only makes me all the more passionate about sharpening our focus on teaching and applying the good news so that lives of both the lost and found are changed for eternity.
Let's always strive to be a safe place for those who don't know the love, grace and mercy of God in His Son Jesus. With Easter just a few weeks away let's all be praying about who we can invite along and let's embrace those who're visiting God's Church for the first time.
It's been a great two weeks. Busy but great.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Church Plant Research Report - Ed Stetzer & Phil Conner

Hey if you're a church planter, pastor or a Christian with a heartbeat for Jesus and His gospel you need to read this report. Okay it's American and things are different in Australia (research says its harder to plant a church in Australia) but it's worth reading and considering the ramifications regarding the need to plant churches and how to do the job.
Thanks go out to Gary Lamb here for puting it up on his Church Planting Resource Site - Ridgestone Backstage. Backstage is itself a pastor/planters goldmine with heaps of thought provoking posts and links, get into it it, Gary and his crew certainly will stretch your thinking if nothing else. Thanks Gary for sharing your journey with us all I appreciate it.

Newlife Aussie Beach Camp nearly here!

If you haven't got your gear together and filled out a form for the Newlife Aussie Beach Camp then get it in this weekend. We need you! It's going to be a great weekend of fellowship, teaching and fun on the Sunshine Coast. The guest speaker is Bob Burnett from Grace Christian Church Buderim, some of you know him and know that the teaching will be top shelf. So get those forms in... spaces are limited and you don't want to miss out.

Ramping up for Easter

Well it’s been a HUGE week. Things are really hotting up in the preparation for Easter and the post Easter launch of our second congregation ‘Newlife International.’ Last Sunday I shared both the vision for this new congregation and need for us to show the Home Missions Committee our commitment to this work and more importantly our support of Tim Kim. I shared that a simple way to do this was to simply anonymously fill out a Newlife 2007 Partners Card indicating your financial support of our Church. Well the response was overwhelming, those who filled out the card on the spot committed to give a total of $1545 per week. It was all I could do not to cry. Thank you for your support of God’s work. Thank you God for your commitment to working in and through us to reach the lost with the good news.
Newlife Partners 2007 - Last Sunday to fill out a card! As we launch our 2nd congregation (Newlife International) on Sunday 6th of May, we need your support, your investment in the effort. If you haven't filled out a Newlife Partners Card yet, may I encourage you to... Please Pray. Ask God what He is calling you to give to His work over this coming year.
Listen for His response.
Easter Weekend at Newlife
As usual, we have action-packed Easter weekend planned. Start inviting friends now!
Good Friday - April 6th Combined Church Service @ USQ Springfield
Easter Egg Hunt & Pancake Breakfast - April 7th (8:30-10am) Springfield Park Easter Sunday Service - April 8th

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Props to Norm B

Just wanted to thank Norm Bartlett for taking the load and preaching this weekend. Just talking to him I'm excited about what's coming this Sunday! His talk is coming from the letter to the Roman Church (in the Bible) and it's all about "The Heart of the Matter." (Now Norm's got the inside running when it comes to having a big and passionate heart for Jesus so it'll be good) Two things...
1. Make sure you get there this Sunday cause it's going to be a great time of encouragement.
2. Invite a friend. Some studies show that OVER 95% of Christians say it was the clear invitation at a Sunday Service that got them to the point of their decision to follow Jesus.
Hey and let's keep praying for the Bartletts, they're an awesome couple committed to serving others with God's love.

If you don't have an org chart... you have a disorg chart

Hey I'm going to chance my hand here... church planters & pastors out there could you share with me your resources for church organisation charts. I've been thinking alot about this and loosing a little sleep over it. I recognise that this is a crucial issue for facilitating and nurturing the growth of the church.
For more on this topic check out Ben Arments thoughts or org charts here. He's fueled the search and I've asked him for a copy of the one he mentions.
Gary Lamb has a post regarding Ridgestone somewhere... but I just can't find it...
Andy Stanley and his team make sense of it all here, but again for me a picture is worth a thousand words.
Can anyone help here?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hey I can't sleep

I don't know what's going on but for the past few weeks I'm just really restless and finding it really hard to sleep. I'm waking up at all crazy hours of the night and just lying there thinking about what God is doing at Newlife and I find myself praying like crazy for people, for the Springfield congregation, for the planned launch of the International congregation... praying for the vision that God is pressing into my heart. Quite simply God seems to be really stepping up my awareness for prayer. I'm praying for people in the family and those outside. God cares. And that's enough for me. Will you join me in praying. By the way pray that I get some sleep too.

Countdown has begun... 6... 5... 4...

Man am I getting jacked up about the Newlife International Launch. With 55 adults there at our last preview service, who wouldn't be getting ready for the blast-off.

Don't forget to join us for our next sneak preview service to be held on 11.55am Sunday the 18th of March. We're meeting at Graceville Presbyterian Church, Banks St, Graceville (a huge shout to the people of GPC, thanks for helping us get off the ground). Lunch will held after the service, so come be encouraged and stay for food with friends.

Also - put in your diaries these dates, 22nd of April is our 5th and final preview before our official launch on the 6th May 2007. Make sure of this, if nothing else, do set aside 11.30-2pm on May the 7th cause history is gonna be made. YHEEW-yeah!

Pray for, invite, come and celebrate what God is doing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Newlife Legend of the Week

Well as I sit here to post the Newlife legend of the week I know I have bias but I can't go past Nerida Henderson. She works hard for the church serving in areas she is gifted and just serving in others to make things work. She loves others exceptionally. She goes the second mile concistently. She demonstrates grace to difficult people in large measures. She guards and nurtures her husband and family. She opens her home to people and shares her life. She is completely sold out for Jesus and she's real, I love that in people. And what's even more amazing is this... she's my wife. I love you honey. Thanks for joining me on this journey. I couldn't do it without you. You are my no 1 legend always.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Day Off Getting Back to Basics.

Well I'm late in posting for my day off, because it really wasn't one with O-Week activities at the Uni and other things that popped up but...

I did manage to score a few hours at a local Golf Driving Range with Golf Pro and future brother in law Hugh Hofmeister. It was a great deal, $15 dollars and unlimited buckets of balls. I can't tell you how surprised I am at how sore I am today. I've got blisters on both my thumbs. But the part that really was cool was there was this we kindly offered to move out of the shaded part when a 80 year old bloke came along with a middle aged lady we assumed was his daughter. Well the move was absolute GOLD for Hugh. This bloke was a PRO Golf Coach giving this lady real good advice... I know nothing about Golf but He did cause just casually listening to him Hugh managed to immediately correct a year long problem with his driving. And I managed to actually concistently hit the ball. It's all in the...

straight arm

short backswing

closed left eye (for me)

bent knees

head over the ball

snapping the wrists

NOT looking until the ball has truely gone etc
Golf, get into it it makes the frustrations of life seem insignificant!

Grace Christian Church Buderim

Hey I just want remind everyone that Pastor Bob Burnett will be giving the Bible Talks at our upcoming 'Aussie Beach Camp.' Hey for Bob's information we've got people who've said, "Oh so Bob's doing the talks... we'll come then." I'm not sure how I feel about that... good I guess.
Also if you're ever up on the Sunshine Coast for a holiday make sure when Sunday comes around that you drop in to Grace Christian Church. Oh and if you ever go to the Mooloolaba Coffee Club (as you do) make sure you take a good look around, cause chances are Bob'll be there... it's his ministry office... lol.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The difference colour makes

I don't know about you but I'm blown away by the difference colour makes to a website. It has huge implications. I can't express how much this has influenced me. Check it out.

Ben's church website before...

Ben's church website after.

You choose. I'm done. I'm changing my thinking.

What’s the Big Idea?

To be honest as far as I can see it all started with Haddon Robinson and his book Biblical Preaching. But from the first look at Dave Ferguson’s new book “The Big Idea” it seems he’s wisely grabbed the batton from Haddon and is busy passing it on to another generation of Pastors.
Now let’s get a few things straight. If you’re a Pastor out there and you don’t know who either Haddon or Dave are check them out as they’ve both got a lot to offer in terms of sharpening up Pastors communication skills.
Read the books they’re worth it. But when it’s all said and done in many ways it all gets back to that simple motto that I had drummed into head as a young bloke… “Keep it simple stupid.” You can’t go wrong.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 & Impotent Leaders…

I’ve just been reading some interesting blogs tonight from some different church planters and pastors who attended the recent conference (by the way the podcasts are worth listening to if you’ve got time to get a different perspective of things).
From a brief scan of the blogs it seems like the conference would have been a great time to stretch thinking when it comes to what a church plant’s ‘job’ is. I’ve always thought that if you’re going to plant a church it should primarily be aimed at reaching the lost with the good news NOT just stealing or gathering up the disgruntled from other churches.
Now I realise that with any new work there will be the arrival of Christians and God does send faithful servants along to partner with the vision and serve in His work… However I reckon it’s good to regain a refreshed perspective of what Jesus was really on about in Acts 1:8. It’s quite clear that Jesus wants His church to go and reach out to the ends of the earth with the good news about Him. Why is it that when we plant new churches that we end up just catering for disgruntled Christians who really don’t want to follow Jesus and “go”?
With that in mind it would’ve been great to hear Perry Noble and Gary Lamb give their perspectives on the challenge that is planting new churches that reach the lost. But since I’m in Australia I reckon I’ll have to settle with the notes that Tony Morgan has here. By the way Perry’s blog on ‘Impotent Leaders’ hurts but it’s true. Perry you wrote that for me. I don’t know how often have I bent for people who aren’t with the vision. It’s hard to say ‘No,’ but the spiritual mavericks will never really be happy, they aren’t interested in partnering with the gospel vision. All they want to do is criticise. So for what it’s worth Perry, I take your challenge and I am going to say ‘No’ from now on.
Also for what it’s worth check out Tadd Grandstaff as he has some interesting notes from Shawn Lovejoy’s talk. Shawns the lead pastor of Mountain Lake Church and his blog is also an interesting read.
Blogging, it’s a good way to unwind late at night if you don’t have a rippin book.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Are you working out?

"Get fit. Work it out. Grow it. Stretch it. Use it. No pain... No Gain."
Yes it does sound a lot like something you’d hear in a dodgy Austrian accent from Big Arny Swartznegger… but in fact working out your faith is actually one of the things James is really passionate about in his open letter to the church.

For James (and Jesus for that matter) working our faith out is core. You can’t say you have a living faith if it’s not alive and active. Make sure you join us this Sunday at Newlife as we take the time to really chew over the relationship between faith and works.

If you’ve been thinking and praying for a friend or family member, why not invite them along. They’ll get a very real and balanced presentation of what it means to step out in repentance and faith and follow Jesus.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Nerida!

Well as I mentioned a few days ago Nerida had her birthday today. It was a busy day for me but it was great to actually have some time together tonight to celebrate with some of the family. We’ve been married seven years now and I reckon Nerida is even more captivating as the day I married her. Honey, you are the one for me and I pray that God will grant me the blessing of sharing the next thirty with you. Love you Ned, happy birthday… hope you liked the wheelbarrow and the other bits and pieces. ;)

Weekend Wrap Up

Phew what a weekend! Numbers wise it was by far the biggest weekend I’ve attended at Newlife with 129 adults and 19 kids over the two services… and it was a weekend when so many of our regulars were away. God certainly knows what’s going down cause we just wouldn’t have fitted everyone in for the first service if all the regulars were there.

Again God’s continuing to amaze us with what He’s doing at the preview services for the International Congregation. Momentum is really starting to kick in. It’s amazing to think that there were 55 adults there on the weekend. I really want to thank the international team. You ladies and gents who served on Sunday know who you are, and from the bottom of my heart I say “thankyou” for using your gifts, talents and abilities to build up Jesus’ Church.

It was great also to talk to the 8-10 unchurched people, they really liked the service. They ‘got’ what was going on and they really connected with the music style… to let’s keep it up team. LESS that THREE weeks to go till our fourth and final preview service on March the 18th. You’ve gotta be there. As I said before history is being made, be a part of it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Building Stuff with the Boys

One of the things I enjoy every now and again is building stuff (that is if you don't count church leadership building stuff... but then again I'm really passionate about building people up in the gospel... anyway where was I?) Oh yes, I like building things and one of the latest projects was to build Nerida's birthday present. She wanted a wheelbarrow. So on my day off I went to Bunnings got one and Archie and I spent about 3 hours putting it together.

Now all I can say is that little bloke is a born builder. He worked out how to put the wheel assembly together by himself... no kidding. Anyway one of the highlights was when I'd almost finished and the barrow was upside down and Archie was sitting on it spinning the wheel. I was watching him spin it when all of a sudden he had a brain implosion and decided to put his tounge on the spinning wheel. It wasn't pretty. He didn't cry but let's just say he won't try and lick a spinning tyre again. Reminds me of me... sometimes we just have to learn things the hard way.

P.S. By the way ladies, I am getting Nerida some other stuff so it will be a surprise.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hey Myspace here we come!

Well it's our day off but Ned and I couldn't help but share this with you all. Holly has launched us into our next assault on the e-world. Check us out at our new Myspace site here. If you know nothing about Myspace then you need to take classes like us. Even our boys little Will and Fergus know about 'Myspace' (Nerida and I are lucky to have boys who keep us up with these things.)
Anyway where were we… oh yes, one of our Newlife friends Holly has built us a spot on Myspace (yes) and we want to thank her for her excellent work.
Thanks Holly.
And it’s interesting that one of the first to post on our site outside of Newlife is United. Hey I was always sceptical about that 6 degrees of separation thing until today. But it's TRUE!
Anyway check out our new spot here on the web, looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What do Blogs, Churches, Blokes have in common?

Cory Miller of has recently released the results of the 2007 Christian Bloggers Survey. It was a joint partnership undertaken with Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox
I was interested to note that when it came to the list Newlifebrisbane MADE it!
Here are just some snapshots of the survey:
Total Number of Blogs In Survey: 367 blogs
Most Popular Blogging Platform: Blogger with 184; WordPress was next with 77
Length of Blogging Tenure: 122 blogging for one to six months; followed close by 121 who have been blogging one to two years
Frequency of Posting: 175 indicated “one to 10 times a month”
Gender: 309 were males
Age: 136 are between 31 to 40 years old
Ministry role: 128 respondents were “senior pastors”
Interested? Read Cory Miller’s full report on here.For a list of bloggers who participated in the survey, click here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You’re Invited!

Newlife International Preview 3

Join us this Sunday for our third preview service for our NEW city congregation!
Come along at 11.45 for a BBQ lunch.
Service begins at 1pm.

For directions click here.
PS Don’t forget to join us as we launch the new congregation on Easter Sunday, history will be made and we want you to be a part of it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Calvinism, Arminianism and Crazy T-shirts

I was checking out Ben Arment's blog and I couldn't stop laughing when I saw his post on this crazy crazy t-shirt that’s messin with people’s head.
But to be fair to John C it really should go something like this…
“Calvinism… I chose this shirt”
“Arminianism… this shirt thinks it chose me”
And if that’s all just gone over your head and you still love Jesus that’s OK, just stick with following Him. :)

My life’s ROCKS, what about you?

With key leadership meetings last night, tonight, and another scheduled for Saturday morning I’ve been rethinking through what we do and don’t do at Newlife (now for some of you the thought that I think might be a bit of a brain drain but let’s not go there).
On a more personal level I was recently challenged by another Church Leader to make sure that when it comes to me that I keep it simple. And by keeping it simple he said, “leadership at whatever level is simply knowing what to say ‘yes’ to SO you can say ‘NO’ to everything else that comes along. These things might be good things but you confidently say ‘no’ to them because you have already decided what you’ll say ‘yes’ too.”
Now stick with me. For instance if I’ve truly made the decision in my heart that Nerida is the girl I’ve said ‘yes’ to before God it then makes it heaps easier to say ‘no’ to everything else. A simple illustration but it can be applied to other areas of your life.
The Pastor went on to say that keeping it simple is something that Leaders at every level must do. He said it’s like you have an empty jar that represents your life. If you don’t fill up your jar intentionally life will fill it for you. And to fill your jar well you need to first fill it with the big rocks, the core things. For instance for me some of my rocks that have to go in first are:
Time to nurture and grow in my relationship with Christ.
Time to nurture and lead my family in their relationship with Christ.
Time in the Word and Prayer so I can equip and lead the members of Newlife forward in their relationship with Christ.
Time spent training faithful and teachable men who will then be equipped to do the same with others etc…

Then after the rocks have gone in, you might still have some time so you can fill you ‘jar’ up with other things… the gravel and sand etc. But because you’ve already decided what you’ll say ‘yes’ too, you can now freely say ‘no’ to a bunch of good things that just aren’t the BEST.
Just some random thoughts, bubbling away in my brain tonight cause I can’t sleep.
Trusting your life rocks too.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ipods, Internet & Church

Was reading an interesting article on the Sydney Anglican's website here and it's got a bunch of things for church leaders to consider about how we might keep up with things in taking the unchanging good news of Jesus to our generation. Here are just two examples of churches that are a bit ahead of the rest when it comes to this sort of communication; LifeChurch and Newspring.

Take a read, take look at the websites and let me know your thoughts on these issues facing the church today.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Henderson's rippin day off

A couple of Newlifer's have asked us what do we do on our day off...

Well it's been a huge day in every sense of the word.

It all started off with a hangover from LOST. What the heck happened last night? All I can remember is the bears were faster than Sawyer at figuring out how to get food. And Nerida was a little disturbed at the way Jack and Kate were handled, what's the go with those wrist burns? Overall it's got us sucked back in just like the new Mcleods Daughters. I have to let everyone know my Dad is even into McLeods and he's on record as saying Stevie should be careful about Alex... now that's saying something.

Back to our day off. It all started off with breaky, and I was delighted to hear my second boy child Fergus tell me that Vegemite on toast was "Yummy for the inside of my tummy." Don't kids have a way of saying things.

We then dropped Will off and fought the traffic in towards the city. It's a part of our ritual on our day off that we go and have a Coffee at Gloria Jeans. It's a great habit we learnt from Bob and Wendy at the Sunshine Coast. Bob you are awesom man. If you're ever on the Sunny Coast drop in to Grace Christian Church.

Well where were we... oh yes, the coffee was good but the breaky was bad 'cause the pancakes Nerida had were hit with mould. Yes that's what I said, 'Mould.' Anyway she was suitably freaked out and took it back and she was justifably given some fresh ones. It made even my junk food heart break.

After that we headed home to sort out a few household chores. And the afternoon has been finished off with listening to the United DVD and playing indoor Soccer with the Three Amigos (see photo above).

Trust you all are having a great day. Family rocks!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What I do to unwind…

Well I’ve just been reading an interesting article here about Pastors and stress, burnout and keeping fresh in frontline ministry. For me Friday is my “day off”. I’ve usually basically finished the bulk of my work before Sunday and I’m ready for a break before launching into the weekend. I love what I do and so I have a tendency not to stop working, in fact I have to work at having a rest. One of the things that has worked well for Nerida and I is having Thursday night as our “family night” a night when we all stay home and focus on encouraging the members within our Home Church. God’s word points out that leaders in the church must be dedicated and devoted to pastoring their family first and foremost (1 Timothy 3:4-5). And this truth coupled with my personality type means it is something I constantly have to watch and nurture.
Things I do to unwind…
1) Have a Gloria Jeans Coffee with my wife.
2) Watch LOST.
3) Play with the boys.
4) Sit and watch the cricket or footie.
5) Read a book.
6) Ride a horse/go hunting (not so often).
At the end of the day I find that it’s not so much what I do, but that I stop doing work that counts. I get refreshed and my tanks are refueled for the next week!
Here are some other ‘destress’ ideas… I haven’t been game to try them yet!
1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point A Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

7. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

8. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Wisdom of a Child

It’s funny isn’t it how little kids have a way of viewing life in a simple and yet profound way. Our youngest boy Archie is well and truly getting past the dummy stage but Nerida and I are really finding it hard to take it off him ‘cold-turkey.’ So we’ve just been giving it to him at night so he can get off to sleep (and so we get some sleep too).

Anyway as we were reading the bible with the boys before lights out the other night we were all talking about how Archie is going to soon have to do without the dummy. Archie’s also been cutting teeth and chewing the dummy, which has resulted in him popping the last one he had (before the one he has now). We were talking about this when little Will suddenly looked at Archie with a very serious look on his face and said, “Archie you pop that dummy, and there’s no more… you’ll have to be a boy.” A lump sort of lodged in my throat, I thought to myself “You’re right Will, it won’t be long before Archie pops that dummy and becomes a boy but till that dummy pops he’s my little baby.”

New Series – Travelling Light (James)

Well on Sunday we launched into our new series ‘Travelling Light.’ It’s a 6 week series from the book of James. The Sunday past (11 Feb) we just took some time to get the context right from the book of Acts. We especially looked at Acts 2, 4 & 5 to get a feel for what was happening in the early church and the issues that they were excelling at and wrestling with back then. Essentially the issues are still the same.

If you missed out on the talk from last Sunday why not download it from the Newlife website and catch up (it should be up by Wednesday). Also next Sunday we’re looking at James 1, the title of the Sermon is “Coping with Crisis.” Come along and better still bring a friend. Please also join with us in praying for the Sunday service, that it will be a time of growth, encouragement and new beginnings.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Newlife Legend(s) of the Week

Hey there, I want to take the time to honour a couple who actually keep setting the bar when it comes to being legends for Jesus... Elder Gil and His awesome wife Lyn.

Lex was right when he pointed out your service to Newlife Church today. You both Rock and that's a good thing. We need to realise that they don't even have a computer much less internet so let's keep encouraging them as they serve and love people at Newlife. But Gil and Lyn you are forever imortalised as the first Newlife Ledgends (my wife is pretty awesome too).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I EAT my hat...

Well I don't know how the English ended up winning the cricket last night but they did.

What can I say but "Well done Pommies, good to see you can play cricket."

Little Will's confidence in the Aussies side is seriously shattered, what went wrong? Read the Courier Mail... there's sure to be heaps of stuff flying around about that batting collapse.

All I can say is that there was even luck on both sides, all that it really came down to in the end was the Pom's outplayed us on the night. Enough said. Check out Cricket Australia here for more of the wrap up. See ya Sunday.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ray you're FIRST commentator!

Ray, I just want to say, thanks for being the first person to comment on the Newlife Blog. what can I say... but You Rock! Go the Korean Soccer Team!

Day Off Watching the Cricket... Matty Hayden Driving one!

Well Friday is my day off and it has been a pleasant delight to not only have a quiet cuppa with my beautiful wife at Gloria Jeans but I've also had the excitment of watching the first final of the one dayer series between Australia (of course) and a flat English side. Now this is not a shot at the many dedicated Pommie Church Planters... but what has happened to the side that beat us in that ashes series?

England you and I both know you shouldn't really be in the finals, but oh well.

Comiserations to all my New Zealand Church Planters and Pastors. You were well and truely ripped off. But let's look forward to a New Zealand - Australia Final at the Word Cup. Cricket is certainly going off this summer.

Anyway I'm glad Matty Hayden posted a good total today, it's good to see one of the nice guys make a dent every now and again. Go Matty, you're a ledgend (born 29 October 1971 in Kingaroy, Queensland)! Go Queenslanders GO.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Interesting Articles from Tim Keller

Here's a link to a couple of articles written by Rev Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian, New York).

Church Size Article

Emergence Theory - A Vision for Church Planting

I reckon they're worth a read for anyone involved in Church Leadership. You might have to got to the hassle of signing in, not sure, but there's other resources on Church Planting Resources worth checking out.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Small Group TONIGHT!

Hey it's small group night already. I'm getting excited about a new year of learning, growing and sharing life with a bunch of Jesus followers. If you're not in a small group and want to be email me, you'll have a ball.

This Sunday... Travelling Light - Don't be deceived

Don't miss out on the start of our new Series from James this Sunday 9am at USQ Springfield, it will be a time of encouragement, challenge and growth for us as a church family.

Planning to Plant

Just wanted to share with you all the upcoming conference being run by Gospel Outreach Ministries. The day conference is being held on Thursday the 15th of February.
The basics will be covered, the key steps in preparing to planting a new church or stating a new congregation. Should be good. Cost $85.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

International Music Crew YOU ROCKED!

Hey in case you weren't there on Sunday I just want to say to the crew of Muso's who served at Newlife International last Sunday, you guys were fantastic. Keep up the practice. I was blown away by the effort and quality of the music, and the way you worked hard to keep our eyes and hearts on Jesus and His gospel. I'm so looking forward to Sunday the 25th of February. By the way Seong I forgot your name on the post below, sorry and you sang great - keep it up.

Wanna Go Lion Hunting?

Hey I know in Australia we're a little laid back about things so when one of my Church Planter mates from the USA put me onto this book I thought I'd give it a read.

Now I haven't finished it yet, but so far it Mark has hit it out of the park.

Now this book is written for BLOKES. And for that alone it's worth a read. But if you're simply passionate about following Jesus this is simply a book aimed at encouraging the members of Christ's family to follow the King and be ruthless about living the gospel. I'll give you a taste of Mark's thoughts on the issue from his blog.

Yesterday I preached about Jonathan climbing a cliff while Saul sat under a pomegranate tree on the outskirts of Gibeah. I love Jonathan's modus operandi in I Samuel 14: Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. It took guts to climb that cliff. But a little bit of guts saved the nation of Israel.
It took guts for Benaiah to chase a lion. For the normal person, the gut reaction would be to run away. But Benaiah made a gutsy move--he chased the lion. And it changed the course of His life.

Great leaders are gutsy! It takes different shapes in different arenas. But gutsy leaders dare to be different. Gutsy leaders challenge the status quo. Gutsy leaders refuse to play it safe.

And no one was more gutsy than Jesus! He wasn't afraid of offending Pharisees; touching lepers; washing feet; defending prostitutes; or befriending tax collectors. In the words of Dorothy Sayers:

To do them justice, the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because he was a bore. Quite the contrary; he was too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have declawed the lion of Judah and made him a housecat for pale priests and pious old ladies.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Check out the Newlife Website

By the way if you haven't dropped by the Newlife Church Website, do so. It's a great way to connect friends you might be wanting to invite to Church one Sunday.

Administration Nightmare

Right now my desk is covered in the hair that I'm pulling out.

I really need someone who's willing to help with sorting out some of the basic day to day administration for Newlife Church.

All they need to be is teachable, faithful, literate and an eye for detail. Oh yeah and a heart that loves Jesus and longs to serve him and His church.

Please join with me in praying for this person, God knows them, I just haven't connected with them yet. I don't want to be bald by 34... not that being bald is a bad thing...

If you're it, please contact me on

Preview No 2 Went OFF!

Wow, what a weekend.

Man am I pumped, God is doing some awesome things!

Yesterday we had our second Preview Service for Newlife International Church and I was blown away. We had 41 adults and 2 kids. Sure there were some hicups with the tech stuff but OVERALL I was blown away by the roll up. We've deliberately just encouraged word of mouth invitations at this stage cause we're still sorting so much out as a team. I can't wait until we really jack things up for P4 and the Launch!

Nerida - you are the most awesome Pastors wife ever. Full stop. I love the way you love God and set the standard when it comes to loving, serving and caring for people. I'm still amazed you said "Yes," woohooo!

Tim - You are an awesome Pastor! You rock at caring and serving people.

Sam - hey Nerida and I don't know what we'd do without your partnership with the music and your leadership and encouraging people - you rock too, not just on guitar!

Jessica, John S, Hee Suk, Yvonne, Annie, Sonya, Sam J, Ray, Bill C, Zig, and the list goes on and on - I couldn't think of a better team to work with in reaching out to the people of Brisbane with the good news. Thanks for serving and inviting your friends. If I've not included your name, it's only because it's Monday and my brain is fried, completely.

I'm so tired, becasue I'm so excited I hardly slept a wink last night.

Thanks God for using us.