Abiding Life Discoveries Australia - September 2014
Welcome to our Newsletter
One wonders as the disturbing and destructive trends in Australia continue to increase, whether Australians will one day get down on their knees and seek God's presence in their lives.
Many people refer to Australia as the lucky country and by comparison with many other countries, it is still a great country in which to live and raise a family. But what does lucky mean? If measured by worldly possessions, resources, opportunities and freedom alone, then we are lucky. But what if all that was lost tomorrow? Then it would be an unlucky country, because a rapidly diminishing percentage of Australians know Jesus Christ as their personal friend and Saviour. For He is everything, and without His indwelling presence in our lives, the man-made worldly possessions are simply a crutch that can artifically make us feel that we are doing just fine, content in ourselves; when they are lost, there remains a vacuum - a void, yearning to be filled.
Sadder still, is the reality that within Churches across Australia, there are many people who attend each Sunday but still have not grasped the freedom that is available to them as Chistians; resting and abiding in Him who has set them free.
We are confident that there is still more that Christ has planned for Abiding Life Discoveries Australia. As we wait on His perfect timing we rest and abide in Him who has provided everything we need.
Building The Church
It was a small country church, mid-winter, cold and dry. The people who came were country people, suffering the hardship of rural decline. Many families have had to move. In days gone by this little church was packed to the doors, and tens-of-thousands of dollars was given to support mission activities all over the country. Those days have gone. Now their part-time pastor was on holidays, and he had asked me to speak at the morning service.
I felt God was leading me to speak on the statement of Peter, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and Jesus's reply, "I will build My church.1"
But I really had nothing to say!!
Can even God build a church in a place where there are so few people! Most of them are struggling? Even their own kids have to move out! To build, there must be access to that from which something can be built. Here there seemed to be virtually nothing!
Then God moved into my thinking: "Building the church is far more than numerical growth ...... The church is the people, and the inner lives of the people desperately need to be built and strengthened."
Whatever the theological flavour, the church is being built when each individual responds to, and recognizes, that Jesus is the Son of the Living God ...... Messiah ...... Saviour ...... Christ ...... and Lord. But that is only the beginning. Conception gives way to birth, and birth must give way to growth. Jesus, living on the planet, was God's demonstration of perfect man as He intended man to be. People saw His love, His compassion, His sincerity. They saw His miracles, without flap or fanfare, in their everyday setting. He was ordinary man living an extraordinary life. He was Life, giving life to those around Him. He was man demonstrating God.
Immediately after the encounter with Peter, He strictly admonished the disciples not to tell anyone He was the Christ (Messiah) 2 . At that stage they could not handle it! Many would try to imitate Him. This is impossible. It was only after Pentecost that we could, through the Holy Spirit, participate in His life. The life Jesus lived foreshadowed the life of the believer. This would not be by attempted imitation, nor through false perceptions of the spirit-filled super-Christian. It is the birthright of the New Covenant, when the Holy Spirit would indwell every believer, manifesting Christ the source of this new life3 and bringing forth the lifestyle of Jesus that He displayed while living on our planet.
This is not a demonstration of the spectacular, it is a participation in His life, and involves commitment, obedience, and abiding. It is a life-long journey, essential to the building of the church. And only He can do it.
1 Matt 16:18 2 Matt 16:20 3 Col 1:27,28
What Man Dared Not Dream!
No one could ever dream a Person as incredible as He is. The idea that a virgin would be selected by God to bear Himself .... The notion that God would don a scalp and toes and two eyes ...... The thought that the King of the universe would sneeze and burp and get bit by mosquitoes ...... It's too incredible! Too revolutionary! We would never create such a Saviour. We aren't that daring.
When we create a redeemer, we keep him safely distant in his far away castle. We allow him only the briefest encounters with us. We permit him to swoop in and out before we can draw too near. We wouldn't ask him to take up residence in the midst of a contaminated people. In our wildest imaginings we wouldn't conjure a king who became one of us.
But God did. God did what we wouldn't dare to dream. He did what we couldn't imagine. He became a man so we could trust Him. He became a sacrifice so we could know Him. And He defeated death so we could follow Him.
It defies logic. It is a divine insanity. A holy incredibility. One God beyond systems and common sense could create a plan as absurd as this. Yet, it is the very impossibility of it all that makes it possible. The wildness of the story is its strongest witness.
For only God could create a plan this mad. Only a Creator beyond the fence of logic could offer such a gift of love.
What man can't do, God does.
When it comes to eternity, forgiveness, purpose and truth, go to the manger. Kneel with the shepherds and worship the God who dared to do what man dared not dream.
From: "And the Angels Were Silent" by Max Lucado
God's Word and Chicken Soup
The weather has just turned cold here, and today that led me to thinking about making a pot of chicken soup. I remembered I had chicken fillets in the freezer and so my mind began running through the recipe. But then I remembered how much better chicken soup tastes when it is made with chicken cutlets, or any piece with the bone still in. How it is so much better than using just the flesh.
Chicken soup, and then a fresh wave of thought. Over Easter we were blessed by attending a conference and a verse that our speaker used came to mind now. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.1" My chicken soup, and the joints and marrow. The deepest part, the part that when touched when penetrated - in the soup by the surrounding boiling water, and in myself, when touched by the living and active, the "making alive" and "activating" word of God - brings out the full flavour.
The deepest part. The thoughts and the attitudes of my heart come from here. Sometimes I cannot even explain the depth of where the thoughts and attitudes come from, but You know. You have searched me, and You know. Often, the sifting and dividing is painful. But you promise that I can come to You confidently, and will always find mercy and grace in my time of need. And the result is to be at rest, completely known, and at rest. You reach the deepest parts of me, and in the revealing, you offer healing. An exchange. Your flavour. Life to the full. Jesus, please reach to my deepest part and in your wonderful exchange, bring out the flavour of You.
1 Hebrews 4:12
Come and Join Us!
The final event for 2014 is fast approaching, so lock it in and come and join us. Better still, bring someone along who has not had the opportunity to experience one of these special weekends.
7 - 9 November 2014
Presenter: Geoff Hopson
Why is it that many things we pursue in life don't provide the anticipated fulfilment or outcome?
Something is missing!
Breaking Free examines the reality of this incompleteness - why it is and how we can break free to live a life that is complete and satisfying; far beyond the emptiness of the life into which we were born.
Breaking Free will bring God into your situation and you will discover what it is to Abide in Him (John 15). He alone is The Way to freedom. (Read More)
$175 per person twin share. Includes all meals from dinner on Friday to lunch on Sunday, all sessions with notes, plus accommodation in twin ensuited rooms (all linen etc provided).
Check-in from 2.00pm Friday
All Bookings and Inquiries:
Telephone 07 5463 0999 or
On The Home Front
Since our last Newsletter ...
The Hopsons: In June, Geoff spent eight days at the Capernwray Torchbearer Centre in Moss Vale NSW. His time there began with the long-weekend Bible Conference for both students and residential guests. This included six lectures with the theme "Living a Stress Free Life in a Stress Filled World". The remainder of the time was spent in the final week of lectures to the students, "Abiding in the Reality of God", and the Graduation Service for the end of the course.
Beryl has been able to spend a short time in Buderim catching up with friends of many years. These times, and the time we spend with our families, are very precious during our sojourn on the planet.
The Bells: Another busy term for the Bell Family. Karla enjoyed being part of "Creative Generation", a massive State Schools on Stage Music and Dance Spectacular. Performing at the Great Hall in Brisbane gave her first hand experience in being part of a big scale performance, the mechanics of organising a professional TV production and the chaos backstage! The parents are relieved the many trips to Brisbane for rehearsals are now a thing of the past! She has her L-plates driving licence - don't think it will take her long to gain her 100 hours driving time necessary to move onto P-plates. Along with vocal training, guitar lessons and a part-time job, her studies for year 11 are keeping her busy.
Mitch just brought home another trophy for tennis, recently winning the finals for the Winter comp. He plays in two competitions. Saturday morning in Boonah, Saturday afternoon in Ipswich and Sunday morning he does coaching in Ipswich. Monday night he plays social tennis in Boonah. He helps coach the junior kids in Boonah Tuesday afternoon, followed by cardio-tennis Tuesday night. Thursday afternoon it's back to Ipswich for coaching in the afternoon and fixtures Thursday night. It goes without saying - he doesn't have time for studies!!! But he did find time to compete in the State Titles for both squash and an Engineering Challenge.
With the above details in mind - it's fairly obvious Phil and Wendy don't have much spare time!! The flu hit us hard this winter but thankfully now that's just a bad memory. Grandchild number 5 is due next April. Phil's eldest son and his wife are expecting their 3rd child. Fifteen of us and still counting when they all visit. It's noisy but we give thanks for the joy and laughter they bring.
The Reas: Relaxed, lying back, taking in the views, with little to do by comparison (to all our friends above), but contributing in a practical way when and where we can.
The Parallel Universe
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to (His) purpose." Romans 8:28
Sometimes I think that God must have a parallel universe, because it is so beyond the comprehension of man to think that in everything taking place He is working, and not only working, but working things for good! Talk about a willpower of steel. He will not stop until all things have worked together for good for those who love Him. We can begin to see the world that way, and no matter what happens ask, "How will this be for good? How can this be for good? Can God do something good with this?" When we see God in all things, all things change.
I see so many little ministries; they are the ministries of the "lesser man" in this great time and have come into being because God is causing all things for good. We praise Him, we thank Him, and we rejoice in our God. "Thank You for a will that will not bend until everything around me is for good!"
from "My Weakness for His Strength"