I’ve mentioned friends and wonderful tour guides John & Chris a few times during my Brisbane posts, but I haven’t told you how we met. Years ago, they came to Florida and served at my home church as the worship leaders and general go-to couple. During that time, they moved into the in-law suite at my parents’ house – formerly my room & my brother’s room. I was in college at the time so I didn’t get to hang out much, but when they offered to host me if I ever made it to Oz, I knew I’d eventually take them up on their offer.
Fast forward several years and I found myself with my own bedroom and bathroom at their place on the outskirts of Brissie. What a treat it was to just hang out and do life with them for about 10 days. They’re now attending Riverside Christian Church, so one Sunday I tagged along.
I felt so at home in Australia in general, and the same was true at Riverside Christian Church. John & Chris introduced me to dozens of their friends, and of course they were all lovely and interested in how we were connected. It may be cliche to remark on what a small world it is, but I’ve found it to be true so far during my travels and most especially in the community of Christians I’ve encountered.
I am always careful when visiting a new church to note whether or not the congregation uses technology during the service. I have the Bible downloaded on my iPhone, but only use it if others are, too. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was texting instead of paying attention! Anyhow, just like back home, lots of folks at Riverside were iPhone Bible users, so I really did feel like I was chilling in my own church even though I was half a world away.
This morning’s message touched on quite a few subjects, but my favorite illustration was about Peter. Peter was a fisherman, but he dropped everything he knew to follow Jesus. He became one of Jesus’ best friends. He was the one Jesus chose to walk on water with. He was in the “miracle inner circle” with James & John. After all that, you’d think Peter would be the poster child perfect Christian. But Peter denied that he even knew Jesus when it was really important. Where was his faith?
Even though Peter messed up really bad, Jesus forgave him and he went on to become the cornerstone who helped to grow the church after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I love that even if you stumble, there’s always a way back. I also love that Peter, one of the Bible’s superstars, wasn’t always perfect, yet he was still able to be used by God in the master plan. That gives me a whole lot of hope as I grow!
Up next… The Whitsundays!