‘Fear not little flock’

‘Fear not little flock’

Tender words spoken to anxious disciples by the Lord Jesus Christ.  This was the theme of the Service of Commissioning for Chris and Rachel Humphries.  The Commission of Presbytery had the privilege of leading the service which saw many friends and family pack Tartaraghan PC hall last Sunday night.  After the Moderator of Presbytery, Michael McClenahan, read from Psalm 67 we praised God in song and prayer. The children’s choir sang ‘God so loved the world’ and Stafford Carson invited the congregation to join him as he read from Luke 12:22-34.  This was the passage that Lachlan Webster expounded in the sermon.

Fears and worries of various kinds are common to all, including bananas as Lachlan bravely shared.  Challenges and unknowns can bring on these fears and worries.  While Jesus warned the crowds of the dangers of wanting more (Luke 12:13-21) He directs, to His disciples, the challenges with wanting enough.  The disciples had left the big things in their life already; jobs, property, responsibilities.  It was the worries of poverty that concerned them, what they would eat and be clothed in.

What causes you worry?  Lachlan asked the congregation.  We can be stressed and feel alone.  But the Bible repeatedly tells us not to worry.  Jesus reassured His disciples through two means.  Firstly through the presentation of the facts.  God feeds the birds but the disciples are much more important to Him.  God clothes the grass in beauty how much more will he clothe His disciples.  Facts are firm footholds on which to stand and survey the situation you are in.  God’s evident care of lesser things shows us how much more he will care for His treasured things.  The second way Jesus gave His disciples reassurance was by painting the bigger picture for them.  “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:31 ESV.  If God is going to give you a new heart and an inheritance in His kingdom He’s not going to forget the little things.

With these words Jesus lovingly reassured His disciples finishing with the tender command – fear not little flock.

Following this encouraging sermon Uel Marrs, Secretary to the Council for Global Mission PCI, presented the candidates.  He informed the congregation of the thorough selection process and the plans for Chris and Rachel’s first year in Portugal.  Chris and Rachel will be joining James and Heather Cochrane in the PCI church plant in Porto called Comunidade Pedras Vivas (community of living stones). For the first year they will be taking intensive language classes to become fluent in Portuguese.  As this progresses they will be involved in various ministry roles.

The Moderator and Clerk read the declaration of Presbytery and the Rule of Faith respectively.  The Moderator then asked Chris and Rachel the prescribed questions regarding their motives, beliefs and commitment to serve in Jesus’ strength.  Chris and Rachel answered with the confidence that Jesus gives His servants and were commissioned in prayer. The Aaronic blessing was sung upon them.

After the offering and the Tartaraghan PC choir singing two anthems, the congregation rose to sing ‘Facing a task unfinished’.  The service was closed by the Moderator pronouncing the Benediction.

Philip McKelvey, minister of Tartaraghan PC, expressed the congregation’s gratitude for Chris and Rachel’s service in the church over the years and our willingness to be a support to them in their new mission field. A gift from the congregation was presented by retired missionary Ada Loney, along with some wise council.

Chris gave their farewell speech.  He spoke of how humbled he and Rachel were by the support and encouragement received.  He asked for prayer emphasising their need of prayer support and their dependence on God.

We then enjoyed a typically good Tartaraghan supper.