Beautiful moments from the SURRENDER:15 Conference, 20-22 March 2015 at Belgrave Heights Convention Centre. Click on the image above to view the slideshow.
Photos © Matthew Deutscher, Oak and Ink
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SURRENDER EXISTS TO RAISE UP CHRISTIANS TO LIVE THE RADICAL CALL OF JESUS AND FOLLOW HIM TO THE LEAST, THE LAST AND THE LOST.
Filtering by Tag: Making Things Right
Photos © Matthew Deutscher, Oak and Ink
What a fantastic time at SURRENDER 15 we had! The way different voices, songs, poems, dances, and conversations weaved together to share powerful and beautiful message of the kingdom was truly incredible! So many people shared stories with us about how impacting it was for them personally!
We are reminded that Jesus turned the world upside down with 12 disciples. Or maybe a few more than that, but really over His three years of ministry through a very small humble, grassroots approach!
He came as God incarnate, as the light of the world, the bread of life, and called people to follow. He called them to become like Him, fully human and children of God. He came as the shepherd of a broken, lost, wandering humanity and began to call His sheep by name and to lead them out – to go before them and have them follow Him as they hear His voice.
He leads them towards life, towards truth, towards a new kingdom with a message and practice of hope, freedom, justice, wholeness, and most of all love. We need to simply hear the voice of Jesus as our shepherd as He continues to call the lost sheep of humanity and begin to follow His new way.
SURRENDER simply exists as a collective to make spaces and gatherings where we can together hear Jesus voice and then be empowered, equipped and shepherded to follow and live a radical discipleship of justice, mission, and love. Our prayer is that you hear His voice and join with us all as we simply seek to follow!
As you go it can be helpful to remember as one of our friends Rowan Lewis shared:
"Last Saturday morning I found myself standing on the main street of my home town of Mornington - gazing along the line of shops and busy shoppers with the beach and bay in the distance. As I took it all in I was struck again by the prosperity and affluence around me - and the realisation that only a tiny percentage of people on earth live in this world, this alternate reality of comfort, consumption and extreme wealth. The vast majority of humanity live without this shiny veneer of a false Shalom - this hollow wealth and soulless prosperity. For that vast majority the only hope can be the coming of the freedom, grace, and justice of God’s kingdom and its true Shalom.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish. Psalm 107:35 -38
This passage is one of the biblical pictures of true Shalom. God as the redeemer, restorer, provider and Father of His people. Its a picture of wholeness, belonging, and things being made right as people live in the rule and reign of God. Our nation has created a false Shalom, a false hope, a society that has a thin veneer of prosperity and abundance that appears and promises to provide everything our hearts could need and desire. But in reality it is a mirage, an illusion. It is only a selfish consuming of materials, experiences, and pleasures that is disconnected from the true goodness and wholeness of God, and from the love and and belonging found in being part of His family in harmony with His creation.
How can we seek and discover true Shalom and hold it up like a lamp on a stand, like a city on a hill that lays bare the emptiness of this false prosperity and draws communities to the Shalom found in Jesus? How can we scratch the surface of the shiny veneer in places like my hometown and reveal to those within it just how empty and false it is? How do we reach a nation of rich young rulers?
Jesus simply said “Come follow Me”. His life, His message, and the message of Scripture are where hope lies and where the path to a true shalom for all of humanity can be found! Let’s dig deep and shine bright!"
Afternoons at SURRENDER:15 will be a little different this year. In workshops we will hear fresh perspectives and be equipped and empowered by practitioners who seek to combine knowledge and action. The Creative Spaces will allow us to get hands on and down to earth. They're open opportunities to reflect, create and tap in to the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of life. Or join a Crafted Conversation where those who've walked the journey create and stimulate an environment to dream, discuss, question and consider.
And the great thing about it is that there's something for all stages of the faith journey - from rookie to veteran! Check out page 4 & 5 of the program for a full list of workshops and their categories.
Weaving life together // Join keynote speaker Ruth Padilla De Borst in exploring how we as followers of Jesus are called to seek God's loving and just rule & serve as agents of reconciliation. With Ruth Padilla De Borst
Radical stories, ordinary people // Come and hear from a bunch of ordinary people who have joined God in His mission to make things right, and have had their lives upturned on the way! With Kim Hammond, Megan McGrath, Jake Doleschal & Candace Champion
Arts as a reflective tool // Learn how we can use art as a reflective tool with the people we share life with. No creative ability necessary! With Marita Hanscamp
Burnt Out? // Making things right means we confront plenty of things that are wrong. So how can we sustain the journey long term? With Mick Duncan
Out of the Ruins // Explore how the history and foundation of our country has shaped our present and how we become the generations that build God's Kingdom on Earth in Australia. With Brooke Prentis
Planet Right // Part of making things right is mending our fractured and destructive relationship with our Earth. How can we work to make things right in our environment and how is this actually part of our discipleship? With Dr Mick Pope
Bringing rightness into the struggles of young people // So many of the young people in our neighbourhoods are in desperate need of hope, belonging and love. Join a conversation exploring how we can invite them to enter into a different story! With Moriah Hurst, Gemma Bell, Garyth Hampson and Lucas First
Making the right connection between Jesus and Justice // Our justice is motivated by Jesus, but sometimes doesn't look much like him. In this session we explore why justice is a bad idea if it is detached from Jesus. What should it look like if it's centred on Him? With Matt Anslow
The Workshops and Yarning Circles will have opportunities to get painted up and learn about ancient wisdom and culture (from the bible!) with some Walpiri women, get a unique insight into life for Indigenous mob with disabilities, find out what is going on with the Indigenous church here in Melbourne, learn some Aboriginal kriol, ask questions that you've always wanted to around Aboriginal and Christian spirituality and participate in a powerful forgiveness art workshop with renowned contemporary artist, Bindi Cole. Read more in the S15 Program
There’s also the Welcome to Country on Friday afternoon with local traditional owner Murrindindi, where you get the chance to respond with thanks and respect in a way that culturally appropriate for you. A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people to welcome visitors to their traditional land. It can take many forms, depending on the particular culture of the traditional owners. It can include singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech in traditional language or English. This is such a special part of the SURRENDER conference, where people of all cultures come together in mutual respect and love for one another and our Lord.
Saturday night at SURRENDER:15 is always a great time to join with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, to listen to their visions and sit with the hurts and to hear the passion of their hearts for restoration. We're always seeking to listen and learn and our main aim is to be in unity and solidarity with Indigenous peoples in righteousness and justice. This year at Indigenous Night we’ll be hearing from performers such as Scott Darlow and band, artist Bindi Cole, young leader Brooke Prentis and Walpiri elder, Wanta Jampinjinpa.
Our friends from BUV shared this amazing story with us about Par Mawi Mum's Group, who are helping Burmese women out of the isolation they face when they first come to Australia. It's a story of reconciliation, inclusion and making things right in communities around Australia. Check it out!
When our Director Sam isn't in the office, you're likely to find him kicking a ball at a local park with the boys, having a cuppa with an elderly friend, or down at the beach having a surf with the locals. These are just some of the ways to be a neighbour to people on the margins who are unlikely to walk into a mainstream church. Recently Sam shared with Eternity his tips for doing exactly that. Read more
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.”
1 Chronicles 16:31-36
I love this picture, this recognition that everything God has created praises Him! All the things He has created are most completely right, whole and beautiful when they come together to contribute their unique offering to the united symphony of worship.
As seekers of the kingdom and agents of reconciliation we live and work for the dream of things being made right, of the coming of God’s kingdom and the realization of the justice and wholeness it brings. When this happens the Bible tells us that all creation and all mankind will be united in worshipful intimacy with God for all eternity.
Here and now we work in the midst of brokenness and injustice with the hope of what we will one day see. However, we are called to stop and worship God now, and this touching of eternity that occurs as we enter into a space of worship gives us a foretaste and connection to the kingdom that will one day fully come. It is crucial that as activists and followers of Christ we place spaces and places of worship at the core of our rhythm of life – for they are the places that remind us that rightness is found in Him, and they are the spaces that refresh us in the hope, faith and love we need to continue on the journey!
Webster Dictionary 1828
'Worship: To honour with extravagant love and extreme submission’.
- Sam Hearn, SURRENDER Director
"The highlight of our time in Rwanda was an evening with Antoine Rutayisire, the only commissioner who has served continuously on the nation's Reconciliation Commission since it began. Over dinner, he filled out our knowledge of the horrific 1994 genocide - where nearly a million Tutsis were slaughtered in one hundred days, mainly by machetes - with a summary of Rwandan history leading up to it.
I asked him if he could tell us some stories of reconciliation - he has an unpublished manuscript outlining many of them. 'They are all the same', Antoine admitted. 'A perpetrator is convicted by Jesus and can no longer live with his conscience and so decides to confess his crime to the remaining family members. On the other side, those family members have also been convicted by Jesus, in spite of the absolute evil done to them, in that they can't continue to live in bitterness any longer. They decide they have to forgive. Consequently, the parties come together and there is confession and forgiveness.'
To be playing such a role, I imagined that Antoine too must have a story of his own. He believes his town's mayor had his father murdered when Antoine was five years old (in an earlier persecution by Hutus) and has had to contend with serious bitterness and hatred himself.
As a young man, Antoine completed a Masters in Literary Criticism. He decided he would read the Bible three times and apply his knowledge of literary criticism to it. If it didn't measure up, he would ignore Christianity. If it did, he would give himself to God. The Bible did hold up to his scrutiny and Antoine went on to study to be a pastor.
After doing this he realised that his community needed to hear the Gospel, so he would preach to them - but he was determined to never let them into his heart. Jesus' teaching on forgiveness kept eating at him, until he finally preached a sermon where he admitted what he had been thinking, and publicly repented.
That evening was, for us, a great privilege - simply being able to listen, ask questions and spend the time with Antoine. I found myself thinking, I am looking up at a giant of a man. When we asked how many children he had, he couldn't answer - he and his wife had taken in so many orphans over the last few years. With the help of women and men like Antoine, and the grace and power of God, it is clear that Rwanda is a nation that is now literally rising from the ashes; it is like a resurrection."
Martin Watson is the Director of Cornerstone Community's Swan Hill Campus
Christmas is the time when we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, that the "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood”! In my time in church over the years I have heard a lot about things like crucifixion, resurrection, salvation, even sanctification – but I rarely heard the word incarnation mentioned, let alone had what it meant unpacked for me or been told why it was significant in my life as a Christian in the 21st Century.
However, recently it is a principle and practice that is coming into vogue again at the cutting edge of Western Christianity, as the Church grapples with the way it is losing touch and traction with the vast majority of the population, especially emerging generations. A lot of that has to do with the fact that, as we as Christians are struggling to engage with the world around us, we are finally coming to a place of rediscovering the way in which God Himself engaged with our world.
One of my personal experiences in this has been with a family that live on my street. The family is made up of three boys between the ages of 12 and 16 and their grandfather. Their grandfather has raised the three boys as their mother was a heroin addict and their father has an intellectual disability and is unable to care for them. Over a number of years I have built a friendship with them and spent time kicking the footy, chatting in the back shed, eating meals, helping with schoolwork, praying with them, advocating for them and just generally hanging out.
Late last year the significance and impact of being in their lives was brought home to me in an incredibly powerful way when my wife overheard the eldest boy having a conversation with a number of peers at a camp we had brought them along to. He responded to being asked how he knew us by simply saying, “Sam is like my dad, and Cherie (my wife) is like my mum!” These boys are more than just people who have been part of a church program or that I have ‘ministered to’, they have become my family and I have the privilege of being used to welcome them into God’s family! All because I was able to move into their neighbourhood and dwell with them.
We are called to become like Jesus, not just in what we do at certain times but who we being all the time. Incarnation is the blueprint of discipleship! Becoming like Jesus isn’t about attending church on a Sunday, surrounding ourselves with Christian friends and living a sanitized version of the lives of the people in the world around us! It is living in our community, in our world the way Jesus lived when He came into the world! It is in living lives compelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring outworkings of Gods purpose to redeem and restore back to His plan the neighbours, streets, schools, workplaces, and landscapes of our world.
If we understand Jesus became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood to redeem everything and restore everything back to God’s plan we can’t separate our lives from Sunday to Monday – must see all we are and everything around us transformed by His coming!
Director, SURRENDER Australia
This week we continue our Stories of Reconciliation series with a video from TJ and Cath from Mornington Park Community. Since moving to the neighbourhood, Cath and TJ have gained a more compassionate perspective about what their community needs - like dinners and downball! Watch and learn how they are seeking to make things right in their neighbourhood...
In the lead up to SURRENDER:15 we are excited to share with you Stories of Reconciliation. We'll be posting videos, articles and interviews on this blog about how people in the SURRENDER community are making things right in their churches, neighbourhoods and world.
In the first instalment of Stories of Reconcilation, we see how Cornerstone Community are following Jesus towards reconcilation in Bendigo. Click here, or on the video below, to see their story!
If you have a story that you would like to submit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Jesus comes to see us reconciled to God, reconciled within ourselves, reconciled to our human family and reconciled to the Earth he created.
// How are you seeing this happen in your fieldwork, church or community context?
// Who are the agents of reconciliation in your church, organisation or community?
// How are they taking steps towards making things right?
We would love to hear your stories.
In its deepest form poverty and sin comes from our broken relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the earth and is expressed spiritually, socially, mentally, emotionally, economically and in the earth itself. We desperately need to see things made right in all these relationships! Jesus comes to see us reconciled to God, reconciled within ourselves, reconciled to our human family and reconciled to the earth he created.
At SURRENDER:15 we’ll explore together God’s purpose for us as agents of reconciliation in a broken world. How do we as the church and as individuals find our identity as peacemakers and restorers of broken relationships?
Registrations are now open! Click here to get your tickets to SURRENDER:15. Early bird regos close on Sunday 30 November!