365 days on…….

This night twelve months ago was our last night in Dubbo.  Through the day we’d packed all our belongings in the back of a big truck and it was already grinding its long way up the Newell Highway to our new Mapleton home.


The paddock next to our house in Dubbo.

Our little family, our dog and the guinea pigs spent our last night in Dubbo in the rudimentary cabins at Beth and Bevan’s B&B accommodation at Burrabadine, Cornerstone – the opposite end of the dry and dusty paddock that had been the view from our front porch during our eight years in Dubbo.

We’d moved to Dubbo just as the rains dried up at the end of 2001, the beginning of a one-in-one hundred year drought event.  For eight years we’d stared out at that flat, dun-coloured, treeless plain and for me it came to reflect a similar drought of the soul – those eight years in Dubbo being the hardest (but not goodest) of my life.

The joyous moment we crossed the border into Queensland, and it became "home" again after a 18 year absence.

Early in the morning on November 5 2009 we piled into the car and drove the 950km and 180 degree mindset shift to our new home and a new life.  And here we are twelve months on, in a house perched on a precarious plunge into emerald-green rain-forest and a permanent lagoon. Again, the scenery matches my head space.

Last night we went to a Vision dinner that set out the 2011 direction for Queensland Baptists, and therefore my outfit, QCCC.  It’s a future I look forward to expectantly.  The rest is how I communicated it to my staff:

Just reporting back to you all on the Vision Dinner from last night.  I took some notes during the presentation and thought I’d pass them on for a few reasons:

  • To let you know the journey our movement and churches within have been encouraged to embark on in 2011.
  • For our own ministry and relationships in QCCC to be reflective of the journey.

The theme for next year is “Going Deeper: Imitating Jesus”.  This is the 2nd year of a Higher (Encountering God in 2010), Deeper, Better, Wider 4 year cycle.

Dubbo in a dust storm, September 2009.

Some practical steps to participation for pastors and parishioners in QB:

  • Memorise Hebrews 1:3 “This Son, radiance of the glory of God, flawless expression of the nature of God, himself the upholding principle of all that is, effected in person the reconciliation between God and man and then took his seat at the right hand of the majesty on high.”
  • Be pro-active about obtaining a greater understanding of the person of Christ.
  • There is talk of guided readings to reflect on the life and ministry of Christ.
  • An emphasis placed on pro-active character development and transformed lives.
  • A call to biblical thinking in our decision-making.
  • Head Office hope to distribute a practical spiritual audit tool.
  • Churches are being called to not neglect the discipleship mandate of the Great Commission.
  • Head Office will conduct Area meetings to communicate the 2011 vision.

My thoughts on the above for QCCC:

  • It would be good to set some time aside at our meetings to share what we’re doing about, and what we’re reading, that is helpful in obtaining a greater understanding about Christ, and how we’re practically applying that into our conduct.
  • I suspect that a lot of groups and Christian schools who come to us use their time to focus on ideas and principles rather than biblical narrative.  Particularly with the “be the change” hand we might have an opportunity to de-mystify the life and earthly ministry of Christ, by communicating stories.
  • Keep in mind this Imitating Jesus theme when we’re hosting Baptist groups.  I wonder if there’s ways we can reference it in and around our sites for them (eg serving a meal that Jesus and his disciples would have eaten etc).

Moving into Mapleton. Green rainforest and ocean views.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit: God’s role in our journey in 2011 and what it requires from us:

  • Isaiah 30:15 – This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength”.
  • Get right with God (repentance).
  • Loving each other.
  • Relinquish your sacred cows.
  • Become people of prayer.
  • Remember “Unless the Lord …….” (Psalm 127).

For us (and our relationships):

  • Pray as Christ prayed (higher)
  • Think as Christ thought (deeper)
  • Love as Christ loved (better)
  • Go as Christ went (wider)

A concluding thought: A long-used power in camping is that of the “object lesson”.  Is there any more powerful object lesson than the one Jesus gave about leadership – in washing the feet of the disciples?

Random other quotes from the presentation:

“In some congregations morality has replaced transformation.

“Holiness, not morality is at the heart of the Christian life.”


8 Responses to 365 days on…….

  1. Stan says:

    Good summary of what was said. I’ll refrain from commenting except to say that I’m lying awake at night wondering what this could entail: “Head Office hope to distribute a practical spiritual audit tool.” Does such a thing exist that can accurately reflect your spiritual state? Is it a machine? Is it similar to what Ron Hubbard invented? Please reassure me!

    • mzilikazi says:

      A spiritual audit can’t be a bad thing can it? A financial audit prevents fraud and corruption. Surely you wouldn’t flirt with the same with your soul?

  2. Stan says:

    Measuring figures is but one thing, to measure the spirit is entirely another.

    • mzilikazi says:

      One’s called accountancy, the other accountability. I’m sure there’s no need to spell out the parallels? 😉

      • Stan says:

        I am a great fan of accountability, especially when others are being held to account….
        However, figures can me measured, but the inner life?
        We can create accountability structures, but even within those structures can we truly measure the spiritual life?
        Will the outcome simply reflect the construction of the instrument and the input of the user? Fudged figures can be uncovered through forensic audit – a fudged spirituality can be found out through bad fruit but it can also be covered up. I can write a long list of significant Christian men since me teen years who have fallen into moral and criminal ruin – they could all pass a spiritual audit with flying colours.

        I understand the general thrust – believe me. However, it can be a piece of gimmickry rather than something that produces a credible ‘measurement’.

  3. mzilikazi says:

    I didn’t think this instrument is for the rarefied airs of the pastoral ranks. I took it as being produced as a tool for the 25,000 or so parishioners who might welcome a pathway to intentional accountability and transparency.

  4. Siddharth Ranjan says:

    away from town cornerstone did not have the access to modernity …
    as there were more elderly people in the executive body you had to steer with single mindedness and you did.

    yet it feels go to listen that you’ve had your release and are enjoying your new job 🙂

    i am busy meeting certain academic deadlines and hence unable to send you those notes on The citizens forum and also the project report concerning joint celebration of Christmas, in Bhubaneswar, to reduce animosity between people of different faiths.

    i hope in the coming days i can make you agree to send a quarterly post to a the students of secondary school, in Bhubaneswar, where from we’d start our ministering – the gospel of love!

    and eventually we’d be able to see the Grant family in our company – in one of the future celebrations!

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