I am “Down Under” once again. What a feeling! Some of you may be aware that I spent five years in New Zealand (from 1965-1970) and, as a result, feel very comfortable with this region of the world and with these people. I arrived to blazing summer (their seasons are reversed from ours). It’s 5:45 am as I write this and, already, the sweat is dripping. I love it! They’ve just had recent and copious rains around Brisbane, so all is green and lush and bloomin–a feast for the eyes and nostrils.

This afternoon, we head to Camp Gidawarra to meet about 200 brothers and sisters from all around Australia. This morning, however, I’m teaching and preaching at the Holland Park Church of Christ here in Brisbane. This is a wonderful fellowship of believers–young, growing, loving. I really enjoy my time with them. They, like every church I know, have their peculiarities and struggles. But they are trying to find a way to live out the Gospel in a culture that doesn’t always understand or appreciate the lifestyle they’ve chosen.

During the class period, I intend to ask the question: “Why Bother with the Holy Spirit? Some things are just not worth the hassle and the problems they cause. (I sometimes feel that way about computers!) So, is a pursuit of the Spirit worth the cans of worms we must open to get at him? I believe so. For it turns out that the very struggles and fears of the Apostles which prompted Jesus to talk about the Spirit with them are the same struggles and fears you and I have in common with them. Common struggle … common solution: the Holy Spirit of God. 

During worship, I will preach about the first Paraclete Passage: Jn 14:16-23 and the promise of Presence. About to be “abandoned” by Jesus as he leaves to return to the Father, he is able to assure his Apostles that he is not, in fact, abandoning them. The Spirit is coming in his place, “another” Paraclete who will be with them forever. It is clear from these verses that Jesus intends his disciples to understand that this Spirit isn’t just like Jesus, he is Jesus come to live with the disciples in indwelling and eternal form. A great promise for the Twelve. And a great promise for us if Jesus intended to speak these words over the heads of the Twelve to all those who would follow him in times to come.

Here are some pictures of the Holland Park church:

Holland park sign

Sign fronting the Holland Park Church

Holland Park group

Christians visiting after services

Tim Teaching

Tim teaching on the Holy Spirit at Holland Park

Holland Park group03

More people visiting at Holland Park