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DESCRIPTIONTouchstone magazine - issue #31
touchstonekeeping in touch with the friends of cornerstone
2011 began with these dramatic images coming from Queensland (photo: Kingbob86 )
australias first whole of life discipleship training ministry www.cornerstone.edu.au
in this issue
a crisis story
passions for the kingdom
petes road trip
camp for amputees
a papuan wedding
autumn 2011 i s sue No 3 1
The Roman world was in trouble. The old cultural landmarks had been destroyed; tyrants and perils surrounded the nations and the prevailing philosophy aimed to build a ring-wall of defence against the advancing chaos of the world. one of the leading social observers of the age declared that everywhere people were becoming conscious of their inefficiency in the necessary things and looking for rescue. What was needed was a hand let down to lift us up. in that desperate world, another voice declared men were seeking a peace not of Caesars proclamation, but of Gods. Another voice, this time from the rim of the Roman empire, warned of calamitous times coming when mens hearts would fail them for fear.
Then a very different note was sounded - a crashing chord which demanded attention. i am proud of the good news, for it is the power of God which produces salvation for everyone who believes. For preaching this message the speaker, Paul of Tarsus, had recently been imprisoned and flogged in one major city, chased out of the next, smuggled from the following town, mocked in the cultural capital of Greece and declared to be a fool and a stumbling block in the city of Corinth where he was sitting writing these words. i am unashamed of declaring to the world something that can rescue from illness, sustain through dangers, heal deep wounds in the soul, put feet on a path to safety, deliver people from self-destructive pride and ignorance and cause them to live with hope, he explained. Queensland, Christchurch, the Middle east, Japan and now the us. its been said that in times like this, its good to remember there have always been times like this! What will we do? Build a defensive wall; or reach out a hand confident that the gospel is the instrument of Gods power, that plucks the perishing from the wreckage? t
australias first whole of life discipleship training ministry2
from lauries desk
A constant question asked of us who want to take our Christian faith seriously is, How much am i willing to risk in imitation of Jesus?
i have been challenged by a businessman from another country who gave over, without receiving any payment, a very successful business to a group of his workers. some very powerful people had conspired against him. There had been agitation, court action, lies and threats; it was an unpleasant experience. He had built the business with his own enterprise and hard work; reason and justice were on his side. But he chose to surrender the business rather than fight to keep what was rightfully his.
My instinct was to question the wisdom of his action. But he took his lead from the son of God who gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. That seemed to him the model he should follow, so he did. My scepticism was rebuked when i learned that Jesus had spoken to him, calling the businessmans name, and by so doing had confirmed the choice he had made.
some time later he came to Australia as a disciple at Cornerstone. i am humbled that we have such men as our students. His story is not yet complete, but who would doubt that the Lord Jesus has a call upon his life, and that this decision he made to imitate Jesus has qualified him for a greater business in the kingdom of God?
But the question still remains, How much am I willing to risk in imitation of Jesus?
A leader in the Medieval Church suggests that there are three levels of humiliation that Christians choose in response to the example set by Jesus who, although He was God became a human among us, then humbled Himself and - in obedience to the plan that had been made for the worlds salvation - accepted death on a cross. The first level ignatius called the essential level.
At this minimal level, we at least love God that much that we would not love anyone or anything else in such a way as to greatly offend Him. We are loyal. The second level is the logical level. it is only logical, when we realise more deeply who God is and how much He loves us, that we should do more than not offend Him. We love Him so much that we want to please Him in everything that we do. i am familiar with this level, for i realise that my freedom, my understanding, my memory, my will, and everything that i value has been given to me by the Father. it has been and is my delight to give them all back to Him to use in whatever way He wishes for his glory and in His plan to establish his Kingdom.
Then ignatius speaks about the folly level. Here we so love God that we want to go further than pleasing Him. We want to identify with Him like a little boy wants to be like his Dad and a little girl like her Mummy. or like older children imitate their heroes. We want to be like God in ways that others may think foolish.
For ignatius this meant not only being poor in spirit, but to accept personal poverty in order to be like Jesus. He was also prepared to be insulted and rejected by his countrymen in order to be more like Jesus. i think the international student who gave up his business reached this level of humility in his love of his Master.
Do we all need to reach this level of humility? Jesus said, The man who loves himself is lost, but he who hates himself in this world will be kept safe for eternal life. if anyone serves me he must follow me... i dont know what that means for you; but i do know that the message which invites people to add a little bit of religion to an unchanged life
of self-focus and self-achievement is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. t
Though closing their gallery in Broken Hill after moving to Dubbo, sue and Russ Hodge are still selling art through ochre sands Artworks. support the work of Cornerstone by checking whats availableFor originals: www.suehodge.com.au For Prints & Gift Cards: http://ochresands.redbubble.com
ochre sands artwork
autumn 2011 issue 31 touchstone
What do rare plants and folk music have to do with the Kingdom of God? Here in Canowindra, were discovering, a fair bit!For over two years now, a drought-tolerant and frost-resistant online nursery has been one of the means of financially supporting the Cuddy family and now the Canowindra Missional Community, made up of the Cuddy, etty and Read families. These families have spent several years working with the first years at the Cornerstone Canowindra centre; before joining forces to live in the town as part of a mission to express the life and love of Jesus to the wider community.
Chris passion for plants, his training in horticultural science, and his enjoyment of trying new things led him to set up a nursery, AND a website! opening their garden once a month, and also attracting some of the regions plant nerds to their place, has made the nursery a ministry tool, as well as a business.
Neridas passion for music, and desire to find the folkies in the area, has led her to set up folk@canowindra - a monthly gathering for
acoustic music and poetry at a local venue. There have been a number of Cornerstone participants. earlier in the year, Hannah sunderland and Gilbert Walker (Newcastle uni. Mission Community), Kate Bain (Burrabadine), Chris Phillips (Canowindra centre) and Nerida all performed at one of the folk club events - as well as local acts... What fun!! it was a great celebration of the creativity God has
passions... for the kingdom!
poured out on His kids!
This is a secret that Chris and Nerida have been discovering over the years that God makes us who we are for a purpose. Doing the things we love, with a readiness for the Holy spirit to direct, is a great opportunity to experience God. Not only in the relationships that can be built with like-minded people, and the opportunity to share Gods life and love that way. But also in the joy of living out what youve been created to do; celebrating all the fascinating aspects of life in Gods world in, and with Him! it brings to mind the passionate runner, eric Liddell, saying:
G o d h a s m a d e m e f a s t , a n d w h e n I r u n , I c a n f e e l h I s
p l e a s u r e !
Maybe when we do the things God made us to do, in the fullness of His spirit, the people around us also have a good, intriguing taste of His pleasure!
Chris website is www.perennialle.com.au and Neridas is www.nerida.info
Please pray for the whole missional community in Canowindra as they are also involved in ministry through the neighbourhood, scripture teaching, the church, and encouraging young people to grow in their faith through small groups.
A devotional for horse lovers
Judged as Stunning by Jerry B. Jenkins (Left Behind series)*
*when awarded a top three finalist position in Operation First Book
A Spirited Journey is Australias first daily devotional for horse lovers!
This charming collection of daily readings will be cherished by horse lovers nation wide. At last horse fans can have a devotional theyll find interesting and inspiring. Our journey with God is like an adventure on horse back - both should be exhilarating and Spirit filled. This delightful book will enthrall you with horse adventures while leading you