My Hero Football coaches

I guess we all need heroes. Well I do at least and at aged 65 years it seems I am still looking for people to inspire me. A lot of my heroes have been associated with sport especially AFL football which I have been following as long as I can remember. Up until just a few weeks ago I had a fairly new hero in Phillip Walsh. He was appointed Senior Coach of my beloved Adelaide Crows less than a year ago. Since the first time I saw him interviewed I was captivated by his passion for life and football. He just seemed different from your average football coach. He thought outside the box. He was always positive even though the Crows were not setting the world on fire this season. I eagerly went to the AFL app after each game to watch his post game press conference. Even when we lost I always had hope after watching him speak. And then just about 4 weeks ago Phil was tragically stabbed to death by his son, Cy. I haven’t gotten over this tragedy but cant imagine what its like for his wife Meredith and daughter Quinn. And his son Cy must be in living hell knowing the full extent of his actions. I miss my new hero. My first football coach hero was the 19 years old John Croft. He was a farmer who lived in Millewa, country Victoria, Australia. In 1959 the young Crofty led the Renmark Rovers Football Club to its first premiership since 1950. We defeated the Loxton Tigers at the Berri oval and at 9 years of age (just 10 years younger than Croft) I had a new hero. I still retain memories of that Grand Final and the euphoria that came with a fantastic win He left Renmark after a couple of years but returned to captain coach our side again some years later and I loved to watch him play. He was big and strong with the biceps and thighs that only a weather beaten farmer could have. During his second time round as coach of Renmark he often rucked against Malcolm Hill, captain coach of the Berri Football Club. Malcolm was also a big man with a successful football career behind him, having played with the Sturt Football Club in Adelaide. As a teenage batsmen with the Renmark Cricket Club I had to face his fast bowling a couple of times. We didn’t use helmets back then and it was a frightening experience to bat against him. In the 1960s, the Renmark Football Club appointed Jock French as the senior coach. He had played State Football for Tasmania. Jock was one of the scariest footballers I ever saw. He would remove his teeth for the game and he loved a fight, especially if Renmark was losing. He would taunt opposition players and draw them into a boxing match if he could. On refection probably not a great role model for us young guys who were playing in the Colts team. However I would love to get into the clubrooms for his prematch address which was full of fire and passion. He also took a lot of us young blokes under his wing and formed us into a basketball team in the off season and taught us how to play the game. I guess Jock was a kind of hero to me as well. A more recent hero football coach to me is Neil Craig. Craigy had a pretty successful time as coach of the Adelaide Crows for 7 years. With some luck he could have won a couple of premierships with the Crows. Some years ago I emailed Neil and made some observations about a particular match and to my surprise he replied to me. We had several follow up emails and I have been privileged to meet Craigy several times since. I count him as another of my football coach heroes. But I still miss Walshy!


We want to see people powerfully transformed to follow Jesus Christ, to live in loving obedience to God and to serve others in freedom and love
March 30, 2012
It’s been a special week for Agnes and me in that our daughter Fiona gave birth to our 5th grandchild! Mackenzie Grace Kean was born in Melbourne and we are delighted that she is doing well along with her mother. Agnes leaves for Melbourne on Monday to lend some support to the Kean family. We feel especially blessed and grateful to God for Mackenzies’s safe arrival into our world. The birth of a new baby is always a miracle and a reminder that God is the supreme author of life and that He is still in control.

India Mission Team
Our India Mission Team arrived safely home on Tuesday. It seems they had a truly amazing time and each member is full of stories and highlights from their Mission experience. I do hope that most of you can stay behind after Church on Sunday to listen to the team members speak of their experience and see some of the pictures they took. Please bring some food for a Potluck Lunch to be held in the Gym and followed by the Team’s presentation.

Pray Together
Our current prayer series continues on Monday evening at 6.30pm in the Sanctuary. Don’t forget that this will be HOLY WEEK and praying together ought to be priority. Jesus rebuked His disciples for not being to ‘watch and pray’ with him in Gethsemane. Let’s spend time with Jesus on Monday night, preparing our hearts to meditate on His sacrificial death on our behalf.

Children’s Ministries and Youth Leader
On Monday Melissa Thiessen will commence her ministry role with us to cover the Maternity leave currently had by Children’s Ministry Leader Heather Colbourne. She will also take responsibility for our High School Youth Ministries. Many of you will remember Melissa from last summer when she assisted with our youth ministries. Please make her feel welcome!

Easter Services!
Good Friday will be celebrated on April 6 with a service at 10am in our Sanctuary. This will be followed by our Easter Resurrection Day Service on Sunday 8 April, 10am and also at 6pm. The Centre of Hope will also hold a Good Friday Service at 10am.

On Sunday at 10am we will be holding a Family Service with special contributions from our church children.

Look forward to seeing you at worship on Sunday!


Society of Forgiven Sinners!

Tom Wright seems to get it right so often and I think he has with this statement about the Church: ” The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’ kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.” (Simply Jesus, p.219)

On My Mind This Week

I have been saddened this week to learn of the untimely death of Jim Stynes. Jim was an Irishman who moved to Melbourne, Australia as a teenager and became a very good footballer for the Melbourne Football Club and won the Brownlow Medal on one occasion for the best and fairest footballer in the Australian Football League. When I was President of the Melbourne North Rotary Club in the 90’s we hosted Jim as our speaker to talk about his work with troubled youth. He sat with Agnes and me I was impressed with him as a quality person. I have no doubt that his work with youth was motivated by his faith in God from his Catholic upbringing in Ireland. The video of Gary Lyon’s tribute is very moving and shows that AFL footballers don’t have to live up to the sterotyped image that is so often reported in the media.
This article on clergy killing congregations reminds us of a sad but true fact that is too prevalent in the Church. I thank God that Agnes and I pastor a congregation who affirm us in our ministry.
I own an Italian Greyhound called Bella and one of the pleasures I have in life is watching her run like the wind. This short video gives you some idea of what I mean!

If its not Boeing I’m not Going!

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to join an Aussie mate, who was en route from Melbourne to New York, on a tour of the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington. Even though we once lived with a half hour drive of this Factory, and often drove past it, I had never gone on the Factory tour. The 2 of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were very impressed with the size and complexity of the operation which produces several of Boeings fleet models, including the 747 series and the new Dreamliner. The building which houses the assembly plant is the largest building in the world. Quite an extraordinary size! The doors that let the planes out after production are almost as large as an American Football field! This factory is now producing 3 new Dreamliner aeroplanes a month as well as the 747 production line. When we consider that the first aeroplane flight undertaken by the Wright brothers was in 1903, almost 110 years ago, mankind has made enormous progress in developing aeroplane technology! The God who created our world and Universe and all life that exists in these realms has given humankind this same gift of creativity. Each of us has a creative gift of some kind. Maybe its obvious to you what your creative gift is, or maybe you need to stop and think about this, or ask your friends what they think your creative might be. Look around you today and consider the creativity of others who have manufactured everyday items that we take for granted, and thank God for His gift of creation, our amazing world that we are privileged to live in. And let’s find creative ways of caring for our wonderful earth!

Living Jesus in Public

Tom Wright, After You Believe, p. 327
“…because the greatest Christian virtue is love, modeled on that of the creating life-giving God, the individual Christian and the church as a whole must develop the settled habits of looking out for what’s going on in the surrounding world,rejoicing with its joy, weeping with it’s grief, and above all eager for opportunities to bring love, comfort , healing and hope wherever possible. And with all these it may bring faith, not necessarily by speaking about Jesus all the time (though there will be such opportunities), but by living Jesus in public.”

I think Tom Wright has given us a great picture of what “sincere” evangelism” (sharing Good News) looks like. What do you think?