The President of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand is formally an Officer of the Baptist Union and takes on the voluntary role for a year. Susan Osborne was elected in November 2023 and is a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Titahi Bay, Wellington. For more information about The President, click here.

I wonder how your first month of 2024 has gone?

I’ve mostly been enjoying the Wellington summer, although I haven’t quite managed a swim in the sea yet. It is much colder than what I am used to in the tropics. 

I did enjoy a few days in Hawkes Bay with my sister and her family, who were visiting from Australia. How good to catch up with family you don’t see very often and get to know them at other stages of their lives.

Then we braved the East Coast roads, which had been destroyed by weather events early last year, and drove through to Gisborne, my home town. So many memories of people and places. I had my first “presidential” speaking engagement with the group at the Baptist church there. It was not too daunting as some of the faces were familiar.  

Since then, I have been attempting to get my year into some order with Assembly & Mission Council meetings, visiting churches, and attending regional hui. My local church here in Titahi Bay will not see much of me on a Sunday this year. I hope to be spending time in your area sometime this year. It was good this past Sunday to have them pray for me - and John - and my responsibilities and travel for this year. I’m encouraged by their support and prayers.

One theme emerging for me this year is to keep my eyes and ears open for what God is doing. Too often, we have ideas of how God will act in us personally, in our churches and in our communities. But I have been reminded that God will not be boxed in by our expectations and ideas of who he is and how he will work.

Over Christmas time, this was reinforced as I thought of the Jews who missed recognising Christ, the Messiah when he came. They had their ideas of what this would look like and even had bible verses to support these ideas. How wrong they were, and how wrong we can be when we allow our own ideas to limit how God can work.

I have a short prayer I pray each day this month to help me open my mind, heart, and understanding of God and His activity in our world. I invite you to join me in this prayer:

Jesus, as I enter a new year, give me eyes to perceive, a heart to believe, and hands to receive the new thing You are doing. 

(Adapted from Lectio 365, January 2024)

 

 Photo by Kasey McDonnell on Unsplash.

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