arrowtown conversation

The Wakatipu Basin is where God did some of his finest work. To be in that setting last weekend for a wedding doubled the beauty to smorgasbord proportions.

But alongside the beauty on display, there was the conversation...

A winemaker from Waiheke
I choose not to drink alcohol and so my knowledge of wine is limited. This enables me to ask dumb questions. Did you know it can be up to five years before the fruit of the vine starts to flow fully? That is a long time. In some parts of the country winemakers are happy if one year in five is fantastic. It made me think again about preaching - and whether we match the winemaker for patience and perseverance. It is slow work.

Not just slow - but also seasonal. Being in Arrowtown is synonymous with autumn colours. Here is the view outside the lounge window in the home where we were staying. Late autumn. A river running through it. Seasons regulate God's creation - and his new creation too.

An engineer from Nelson
The engineer is an elder in his church. It is summertime in the church. Vibrant ministries. Packed numbers. Failing facilities. Limited resources. 'Why', I asked. His first response?! 'The preaching is transforming people.' WOW. I didn't expect that one. I don't remember all his exact words, but we talked about the faithful, applied, simple, urgent preaching of the Bible to listeners whose hearts are open and whose lives are ready to change. In (his) time the seasons do change when all are faithful to their call.

An intern from Cromwell
It is so easy not to go to church on weekends like this one. But up we got and off we went to the little Presbyterian church. Small (with an optimism inhabiting the many empty chairs). Elderly (with my presence bringing the average age down considerably). But then the Basin has never been overflowing with thriving churches. It is hard work. People are so mobile, so satisfied...

Sunday worship on this day was the responsibility of an intern. Newer to her call. Earlier in her training. I love these people. Her daughter was the sole musician. Her husband took the intercessory prayers. My heart glowed as I listened and engaged. She was so warm. She took the Scriptures so seriously. It was unspectacular stuff, but then I've always been a sucker for what unspectacular stuff can achieve in these settings if people hold their nerve.

If she stays on her current trajectory, she is going to be OK. I sought her out for a word of encouragement afterwards. But the people she really needs to speak with are the winemaker and the engineer.

nice chatting




Anonymous said…
Thanks Paul. Shared with our preaching team. We are in a different season than the engineer from Nelson and this is timely encouragement.
Paul RW said…
Have the right convictions. Work hard at character and skills ... and then be faithful in obedience and let God change the seasons :)

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