Recently the NCTM team was reflecting on the first occasion that the LORD provided His people with water from the rock, in Exodus 17:1–7. We noted a number of things in this passage that encouraged us and warned us about where we are in the ministry at the moment.
The people had been travelling by stages (v. 1), each stage being given by commandment and leading of the Lord. This encouraged us: our transition to the new future that the Lord has for this ministry is certainly progressing by stages; it hasn’t all come to be at once! We believe that the Lord is faithfully leading us.
When the people got to Rephidim, there was no water to drink. That had been by the direction of the Lord (v. 2). It seems that He had led them there to test what was in their hearts. This encouraged us also. There have been points along this journey for us where we could have wondered if we had reached an impasse, a dead-end. We are sure that we will see the Lord lead us ahead.
The grumbling of the people against Moses was a testing of the Lord (v. 3). Essentially that testing required that the Lord prove that He really was among them (v. 7). This gave us warning. Testing the Lord is the opposite of trust. The Lord tests us to show how He has planted trust in us by His Spirit. When we test Him, we resist the Holy Spirit who assures us that God our Father is for us in Jesus Christ.
When Moses took the rod to strike the rock, the Lord was on the rock (v. 6). In some ways, Moses was called to enact how the people felt about the Lord—their desire to lash out and strike Him in anger. Finally, this deep anger in the human race reached its highest pitch at the cross of the Son of God. When the rock was struck, water flowed out and the people drank (v. 6). When the Son of God was crucified, rivers of living water were opened up so that all sinful humanity may drink. We are encouraged to worship and thank God for His triumphant mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, where He worked even the most evil act of human history into the salvation of the world.
Since we last wrote, the New Creation Council has made the decision to disband the library. Whilst this has been a wonderful resource, it has largely been very under-utilised. As we prepare to move and look for a property, and as we give expression to our desire to be out with the churches, it seemed to us that the library was not going to be a part of that future. We have been served very well by our librarians Sandra Scown and Suzanne Benham, and before them Beryl Skewes, and we give thanks to God for their faithful ministry over many years.
The dispersal of the library has begun, and is happening in stages. Various smaller groupings are being invited to look at the library in the next five or six weeks, and then we are going to open the library to the wider supporters and general public. Books will be available on a donation basis during the weeks of November 14 to December 2. If you are interested in coming in that time to look over the books, please contact Beryl Skewes about the dates and possible times to come up.
The move to a new property is progressing, but slowly. The process for the possible purchase of the Bingham property by the Coromandel Baptist Church is a slow one. Currently the application for the sale is in the hands of the local council. It seems very unlikely that a decision will be forthcoming before the end of the year. We continue to consider possible sites for a new base, but we are also still trying to come to clarity about exactly what kind of space we are going to need, and how it will best be used. Please pray for a positive outcome in the sale of the property, and for clarity and agreement about our future needs, as well as the provision of just the right place.
Ian and Zara Pennicook, Martin and Viv Bleby, and John and Beryl Skewes organised and taught at the two Spring Schools in New South Wales in early September. The first was at Mittagong and the second at Wamberal. Both schools covered the theme Secure In God’s Covenant, and were well attended, being an encouragement to those who came along.
Andrew Klynsmith, Derek Schiller, Jonathan Mitchell, Joanne Brown and Nate Lines all participated in the Share Hope week at Elizabeth Church of Christ at the end of August. This was a good first-up partnership with the congregation there, and there is the possibility of further ministry.
Most significant is the coming Summer School, January 8–13 at Victor Harbor. Speakers are working on their studies for the theme, Living By The Spirit. The leaders of the children and youth ministry are in place and have mostly gathered their teams of helpers. We are always keen for offers of help for various tasks in the school. If you would like to help, please contact John Skewes or Celia Carter. Please pray for those who are preparing to serve the school with the Word of God. Remember to register early.
Please continue to pray with us for a business manager and for a treasurer for the ministry. (Maybe these two roles could combine…) Please pray too for the work that is being done in investigating the possibilities of printing our books through an online book printer, and also the possibilities of producing our books for e-readers.
Above everything, we want God’s glorious gospel to sound through His church to the world in which we live. Ask God to attend us all with the Spirit’s power, confidence, boldness, and cheerfulness!
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March 28, 2011 Dear friends ‘You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matt. 5:14, 16). These words are the first recorded...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
14th January 2011 Dear friends It is less than a week since about 600 people gathered from many parts of Australia to Victor Harbor near Adelaide for the annual Summer School. What a great time the school was! For many it was the very thing for...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
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Geoffrey C BinghamGeoffrey Bingham has had a ministry throughout six States of Australia and in a number of countries overseas. An Anglican minister trained at Moore Theological...