JOURNEYING THROUGH 2015 by Ps. Richard
2015 was a busy year - what's new? I think it was as fast as I can remember. Sign of ageing?
Anyway, amidst it all, there were some ups and downs, disappointments and highlights, but overall the latter exceeded the former. In fact, Pauline and I feel we are in our "Golden Years" when our sense of success, prosperity, well-being, etc. is at an all-time high! I am reminded that the 'old oak tree' not only has a lot of 'yellow ribbons' tied to it but bears more fruit than the young one!
Psalm 92:13-5 says, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."
I use this passage as a favourite for this year - because I turned 70! Unbelievable, I know, but I'm finally admitting it. It took a bit of doing - not chronologically, but emotionally and mentally. I had to sort out whether it was immaturity, carnality, or good godly thinking. It turned out to be a bit of all three!
Some highlights of the year include:
- Successfully helping our daughter church at Rosebud come through a tough time and painful attrition towards a 'new day', a sense of springtime, unity, and a good-spirited, healthy congregation - special thanks to John and Sandra Doubikin.
- Successful steering of another new school about to be birthed - this time in Skye, Victoria named Australis Christian School. It will be small beginnings with big endings. Very exciting! Thanks to Pastor Caleb and Southern Lights board plus our own Lighthouse School council.
- My wonderful 'Coming of Age' celebration back in July. I haven't had many birthday parties but this was a whopper. About 60 guests, happy occasion, lots of fun and memories. Special thanks to family members Pauline, Karen, Martin, Jensen and Brianna, Steve and Elise and Chloe and all the guests.
- My BIG RUN for Teen Challenge Victoria. I called it 70/2/10 = Age 70, 2 hours for the half marathon, and raising $10,000 for TC. I ended up just about achieving it all. My time was just outside 2 hours but I was stoked for a personal best for the last 3 years and coming 4th in my age category. I raised a total of $10,852 - an incredible amount - thanks to all my friends and supporters. It was a joy recently to visit TC and present them with the cheque - they were stoked too!
- Our overseas trip this year was a real highlight. We took 7 weeks to visit - Joe and Lisa at Iloilo in the Philippines, attend the Asia-Pacific conference in Phuket, visit UK - parents, family, some Aussie friends in UK (viz. Steve and Maylin, Wyndham, Ash and Angie Barker, Kirk and Tracy McAtear). I then did a few days ministry in Slovenia - I fell in love with the people - what a bash for Jesus!
- We then came back via Sri Lanka and surveyed some extra mission possibilities up north and south with our great friends Danny and Vasanthy Moses. A very fruitful trip. We followed that up with a great fundraiser at Lighthouse with nearly 250 people present, raising awareness for Sri Lankan Missions in general. A great success. Many thanks to so many. I was just a figurehead.
A huge highlight has been our school's progress - from good to great, from great to excellent, and now into our Golden era!
Lighthouse Christian College results are at or significantly higher than the State mean in every year level and in every assessment area for both literacy and numeracy. This is a wonderful achievement and indicates further progress and improvement.
Here is a summary of our VCE (Leaving certificate) scores:
- Top ATAR score 98.75 (record achievement)
- 13.6% of students achieved an ATAR at or above 96
- 32 % of students achieved an ATAR at or above 90 (top 10% of Australia)
- 10.7 (11%) of students achieved study scores of 40 and above
- One student has been awarded the VCE Baccalaureate (first ever)
- 100% VCE completion
- Median score: We are currently ranked equal 2nd place in our Christian schools network having achieved a median score of 32.
I put this in the 'supernatural' category as it truly is! 90% of our students are from overseas parent-origins with high ESL. Our prep classes are sometimes 50% ESL so to get a high NAPLAN score in English by Grade 3 is truly a miracle - Praise God!
Our ALPHA program this year has blossomed into being the most fruitful evangelistic program of the church. 80% of our intake (twice yearly) is from school enquiries. In 2015, I estimate we have put our 400th person through Alpha in the last 4 years! While attrition is unavoidable, our fruitfulness has been heart-warming. As Billy Graham once said, "The decision is 1% and follow-up is the 99." We are now engaging with the most serious of our discipleship ministries we have ever embarked on and we're believing for even greater results in 2016.
For the last quarter of 2015, I felt God urge me to make an evangelistic altar call at the end of every Sunday morning service. Out of the 13 Sundays we have had 11 altars calls for salvation and seen over 50 first-time decisions for Christ in this period - WOW - something's happening!
Pauline and I have began a discipleship home group too which has been very fruitful and a joy to meet new people, and become friends and disciples of Jesus.
Now I'm 70 and I'm amazed at the Grace of God upon me. I am relatively fit and in good health, have a burning passion to see a great work done in Lighthouse for Jesus - God has given 1000's in my heart to win for Jesus - and although we may seem a bit fragile in our leadership, I am believing for great provision for His vision in 2016. After 35 years at the same mission-base, it's a miracle we haven't declined or grown weary - we are hot to trot. On to another season of service, son, salvations successes for the Gospel, the Church and the Kingdom.
I am thankful to all God has given to us who will help with this great mission and vision. I will be sounding out the clarion call again for labourers, servants, and disciples who will join us to see the most unprecedented year ahead for His glory. To God be the Glory - now and forever!