The Inside Column 22/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 22, 2012 No Comments

Good morning and a very warm welcome to all.

This week I attended the Diocese Leadership Conference at Lake Rotoiti and was struck again by the need for prayer in our lives and in the church.

The story of Jonah is a great example to us when it comes to looking at prayer.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ “And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Prayer plays a significant role in the story of Jonah. On three separate occasions people who are in trouble cry out to God—first the sailors on the ship, then Jonah in the belly of the fish, and finally in Chapter 3, the Ninevites cry out to God. In all three cases, God is quick to respond.

Most people would agree that prayer is a necessary part of a healthy life in God and a necessary part of the healthy life of a church.

I say that without prayer at the centre of our church life, we are wasting our time, each others time, and also God’s time. All prayer makes a difference, wherever you are. Prayer is the heart beat of the church, it simply has to be!

I encourage the church family to come to the Tuesday morning 7.00 am prayer meeting. If we long to see the people we love, our community and our nation transformed, it has to start with prayer.

“I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)

Yours in Christ
Phil

The Inside Column 15/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 15, 2012 No Comments

A very warm welcome to all this Sunday morning.

We recently looked at spiritual disciplines and how to live a deeper, more spiritual life right where we are.

John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted – Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, is a recommended read for those who wish to explore this topic more.

The heart of Christianity is transformation — a relationship with God that impacts not just our “spiritual lives,” but every aspect of living. John Ortberg calls readers back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity — God’s power to bring change and growth — and reveals both the how and why transformation.

The Life You’ve Always Wanted offers modern perspectives on the ancient path of the spiritual disciplines. But this is more than just a book about things to do to be a good Christian. It’s a road map toward true transformation that starts not with the individual but with the object of the journey — Jesus Christ.

As with a marathon runner, the secret to winning the race lies not in trying harder, but in training consistently — training with the spiritual disciplines.

The disciplines are neither taskmasters nor an end in themselves. Rather they are exercises that build strength and endurance for the road of growth. The fruit of the Spirit—joy, peace, kindness, etc.— are the signposts along the way.

Paved with humour and sparkling anecdotes, The Life You’ve Always Wanted is an encouraging and challenging approach to a Christian life that’s worth living — a life on the edge that fills an ordinary world with new meaning, hope, change, and joy.

Yours in Christ

Phil

Life you've always wanted

The Inside Column 8/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 08, 2012 No Comments
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

A very warm welcome to all this Easter Sunday.

We read in the Old Testament, the people of God were delivered from slavery in Egypt under Pharoah. Through Jesus’ life and death, deliverance from even deeper powers which enslave our lives is offered to all who will receive him.

We can only call Good Friday, Good Friday because we understand it in the light of Easter Sunday – the day of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus helps us understand what was truly happening at the cross. As a former Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, “The crucifixion is not a defeat needing the resurrection to reverse it. It’s a victory which the resurrection quickly follows and seals.”

Of course, the resurrection of Jesus isn’t something that is instinctively easy to believe. The author Lesslie Newbigin wrote, “It is not difficult to believe in a good man who was condemned and put to death. But that three days later he was alive and radiant and inspiring his disciples to a new worldwide mission? That runs against everything in our experience.”

The Christian Church has always maintained that what happened on that Easter day was a new kind of creation, the beginning of a new era for the world. The first fruit of God’s intention to recreate the whole cosmos according to his glorious purpose. The big question for you and me is “Will we let the risen king daily raise us to new life with him?”

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Yours in Christ

Phil

The Inside Column 1/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 01, 2012 No Comments

Good morning and a very warm welcome to all.

Today we look at the Spiritual Discipline of Celebration. This discipline is at the heart of the Christian faith. When Jesus was born the angels said “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people, today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Good news of great joy for all people.” Some of Jesus last words spoken to his disciples were “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete”.

How many of us live our lives in complete joy? Although this discipline might sound a bit strange, we can celebrate the goodness, love, truth and grace of the living God in our lives.

Speaking of celebration… today we celebrate with Edrick and his family and their eight years of ministry at St Barnabas. Many things have changed in Edrick’s time and although change is never easy, we are all called to be continually transformed into the image of Christ. I believe this is something that Edrick has challenged us all to do. It is through the many opportunities that he has freely given to me, that have enabled me to grow in ministry. Edrick has always been open to the many ideas and dreams that I have gone to him with, and has always encouraged me to ‘give it a go!’ Edrick has always believed in me, and I thank him for his support, and pray that whatever the future holds that God’s blessing will be with him, Clare and the family.

The annual Banquet in the Garden to raise funds for Bright Hope (donated to Rahab Ministries) raised an incredible $4600! What an amazing job the women of the 10.00am Monday House Group did, and we look forward to next year’s event.

Remember the Easter services as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ this week. Good Friday 10.00am combined service and the shared breakfast between Services on Easter Sunday.

May God bless you all as we come to the cross this Easter.

Yours in Christ Phil

St Barnabas Vicar Edrick Corban-Banks resigns

Posted in: General- Mar 29, 2012 No Comments
An open letter from Edrick Corban-Banks:

To the Vestry and parishioners,

Anglican Parish of Stoke, 21 February 2012

Over the past six years I have had the privilege of watching Phil Greenwood grow in stature as a leader. I feel that the time has come to step aside in order let Phil take up the reins for that which God has obviously been preparing him.

Recently Richard wrote a reference for me , and his words sum up the direction I could see we were heading 6 years ago, and to where we have arrived.

One incident might reflect Edrick better than my generalisations. Phil was a young married man with a passion for ministry. Two clergy he worked with could see no potential in Phil and basically washed their hands of him.

Edrick, however, saw the potential and took him under his wing and encouraged him and ‘gave him permission’ to learn and grow. Phil went on to complete his degree in ministry while working with Edrick and with the support of the parish. He would now be one of my brightest and talented young clergy in my Diocese.

And he wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Edrick!
I hope this reference reflects my deep respect for Edrick.

Clare and I have deeply loved our time here and believe that we have managed to achieve a major and significant spiritual transition in the worshipping life of this parish and to put in place a succession plan that will further develop the parish to the next stage of growth. My season is over and it is now Phil’s time. He has been prepared for this transition and will be able to build on that foundation. This is right and is scriptural and is a major transition for the parish into a church that is ready to embrace the challenges of today. We are grateful to the many folk who have stood alongside us through that transition. It has been a place where our family have been welcomed and have found an outlet for their ministries. We will always be very grateful to this parish. It is the passing of the mantle that I preached about a few weeks ago.

In order to enable this transition to happen smoothly in the light of the current financial difficulties I am making my resignation effective from Wednesday 29th February 2012. This is being done with the full support of the Bishop and the Diocese.

We are now taking time to seek God’s guidance as to what shape our ministry might take. This is both exciting and a little scary, so we ask for your prayers.

And I continue to offer to the Bishop all my loyalty and commitment.

With all our love

Edrick Signature

 

 

 

Your friend and Vicar