Jenny and Stephen’s 5-minute Reflections

Stephen and Jenny Baxter, 5-minute reflections

Jenny and I bring you short 5-minute reflections
to encourage you at this time.
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Our reflections are on the verse of the day from  bible.com‘s YouVersion App.

Friday June 5 Watch here >>>

Take a walk on the ‘light’ side! Today we reflect on the gift of confessing our sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

For more reflections…

Continue reading “Jenny and Stephen’s 5-minute Reflections”

Easter 2020

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

My wife and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary during the last days of our 14-day self-isolation. We not only survived 24-hours a day with just the two of us, but surprised ourselves with things we learnt about each other, even after so many years. I’m not unique in unconsciously presuming I know a person, only to be surprised by things I’ve never seen or known before.

Continue reading “Easter 2020”

Christmas 2019

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

There is much to like about Christmas —the office parties and gift giving; the decorations and carol singing; the good cheer and even the family gatherings if we are fortunate enough.

Some people today would be surprised to know that most of this comes from our Judeo-Christian past. Even though many have moved away from church and belief, and there are increasing numbers of people calling themselves non-religious, Christmas remains a deeply religious season. It seems that while our minds can’t make sense of it rationally, and we would be quick to deny it, there are times when we experience something resembling faith. It may not be belief, so much, but something deep and profound. Maybe there is something spiritual about Christmas after all? Continue reading “Christmas 2019”

With trust and cooperation, and lots of forgiveness, there is hope

Stephen Baxter, MC.

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I have the opportunity to provide a short introduction. In 2019 this is what I said…

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast  | October 30, 2019

“The future isn’t what it used to be,” wrote French poet Paul Valery 90 years ago. Our world is changing so rapidly it’s difficult to imagine the future. In fact, it can be quite frightening.

That’s nothing new. The ancient Greeks feared it. For them it was obvious ¾ the universe is eternal, complete9 and perfect. The senses are deceived, change was an illusion, and hope was found adjusting to the fate of a closed system. Continue reading “With trust and cooperation, and lots of forgiveness, there is hope”

Easter 2019

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

In a world fearing the future of planet earth, Easter has a profound message. That message is easily lost amid the bunnies and chocolate eggs. Just like Christmas, Easter has undergone a radical makeover. Both are now domestic, consumer driven celebrations.

But the meaning of Easter is not totally lost.

Continue reading “Easter 2019”

Jesus, the Christian and the Church in Australia

Jesus and the Australian Christian

In 1999, Australian psychologist, social researcher and writer Hugh Mackay suggested the time was right for a revival in Australia.  He promptly went on to predict it wouldn’t happen, and was right. There has been no revival of faith in Australia in the two decades since. In fact, McCrindle Research confirms the number who call themselves Christian has fallen to 52%.

Even though the number of Australians identifying with no religion or a spiritual belief has risen to 32% there is still more than two thirds (68%) who do. In fact, the majority of Australians (55%) still believe in God, when God is defined as the Creator of the universe or Supreme Being. Similarly, the majority (53%) believe Jesus is very important to the history and culture of the world. That’s about the same percentage as those who call themselves Christian.

Of all those who call themselves Christian, only 15% of Australians attend church regularly. Less than a third. The figures confirm there hasn’t been a revival. They also suggest Jesus is still attractive to many non-church goers.

One such person was R. M. Williams the Australian bushman and entrepreneur.

>>> read more

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

“The future isn’t what it used to be.” French poet Paul Valery wrote these words over 90 years ago. Its just as true today. In our rapidly changing world the future looks scary. As a society we have moved from optimism to pessimism. In Tasmania today, particularly among our young people, their a great fear and cynicism towards the future, not only for themselves but for all of humanity.

The Blue Marble

The first pictures of planet Earth from outer space taken over 50 years ago brought a profound scientific and philosophical shift for many people. For the first time we saw our world as a small and lonely. Although beautiful, it sat suspended amid a vast, infinite and silent universe.

No longer was earth a series of continents, islands, nations, and peoples living in a fixed and unalterable environment. >>> CONTINUE READING

Life’s Journey with the No Name God

The No Name God

Growing up in Australia, “god” was a word I heard often. At school it was commonly an expletive, at home it was never anything but revered. I’ve lived with God all my life and now into my seventh decade, God still comes easy to me. I can’t say the same for being a Christian though. That’s been tough. Most of my life I’ve been embarrassed to be a Christian, even though today I’m a pastor of a Baptist church.

I’ve always been tall and skinny. For most of my life I’ve worn clothes that haven’t fitted well. It the same with the word “Christian”. Christians come in all manner of shapes and sizes and so do people’s opinion of them. When I tell someone I’m a Christian I can almost feel the shape of their preconceptions redressing me. Suddenly, I’m no longer the person they first met, but an airbrushed caricature made in their image. 

I want to scream, continue reading The No Name God>>>

A better alternative

Stephen Baxter, MC

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I have the opportunity to provide a short introduction. In 2018 I began with the following…

2018 Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast | August 22, 2018

Each year, at the beginning of our program I take a moment to reflect why we are here. When 500 people gather so early, in the middle of winter, for a “prayer” breakfast, some explanation is appropriate.

We gather in the name and spirit of Jesus; not in the name of any religion, denomination or ideology. Yale historian Jeroslav Pelikan, wrote, “Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western Culture for almost 20 centuries.” Continue reading “A better alternative”

Christmas 2017

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

My earliest memories of Christmas are a jumble of excitement, carol singing, presents, meals with the extended family and trotting off to church. My grandfather led the choir there and his baritone solos had won him many a competition.

Aged about five, I was taken to hear Handel’s Messiah because Dad was singing in it. I remember going to sleep half way through only to be woken for the Hallelujah chorus. I promptly went back to sleep again! Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I’m deeply moved by the chorus and the carols.

Continue reading “Christmas 2017”