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SEPTEMBER NEWS 2020

In chapel and staff devotions we have continued reading through the book of Hosea. As we moved through chapters 7–10, one of the themes we have discussed is feeling the weight of our sin. Hosea continues to paint a picture of how far Israel have strayed from God; adultery (7:4), establishing leadership not ordained by him (8:4a), no reverence in the sacrificial practices (8:13, 9:4), crafting idols and worshipping them (8:4b; 9:10) and misguided use of wealth (10:1).

The Lord also outlines the consequences of their sin. Their harvest will be unfruitful (7:14-16; 8:7), he will destroy the cities they have come to rely on (8:14), future generations will cease as there will be no pregnancies (8:11-14), and their land will be fallow and filled with thorns and thistles (10:4, 8, 12). Covenantal blessings promised to them in obedience for following the Lord were being affected.

Imagine the weight of these consequences. In a culture where women were valued by their children, now they are barren. Or where men had esteem in working the land, now they struggled with dry ground. Yet all the time, Israel was just one sincere prayer away from a return to blessing: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD that he may come and rain righteousness upon you (10:12).”

Feeling the weight of our sin can be difficult. It reveals just how hard our heart can be towards God and his righteousness, and how far we have turned from him. But it should also lead us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Like the people of Israel, we are never more than just one prayer away from restoration. We rejoice that we live in the grace of Christ today, and we remember the great cost it was to him. He gave all of himself so that we can live in right standing before God. At Bible College SA, we seek to be women and men of strong faith, who humbly recognise their sin with its weight and great cost, and daily walk in repentance and righteousness thanks only to Jesus.
Last week we held our annual Partnership Dinner in a somewhat different format. This event is one of the key ways that we raise up more financial and prayer supporters for the College, but with current coronavirus restrictions we were unable to host it as a single large function as we have in the past. So, we altered the format so that it could run as a series of smaller gatherings in people's homes. We provided the house hosts with prerecorded content to play during the evening, and also supplied food, drinks, and event packs with everything needed for a special night.

One unexpected blessing of this new format was that some of our regional supporters were able to participate this year. One of the twelve house events was held in Port Pirie, allowing believers hours north of the city to learn about our ministry.

Over one hundred people participated in this year’s Partnership Dinners, and while it will still be a few weeks before we know the full outcomes of these gatherings, we are so thankful that we have still been able to hold this important annual event. We pray that all who attended will be more connected to the work of Bible College SA, and that together we can continue in our long-range work of raising up more gospel workers for Adelaide, South Australia and beyond.  

The College’s driving purpose statement says that we want to do our ministry “at the highest standards”, and it seems to me that that would be impossible without the best people. Under God’s sovereign hand, and thanks to his incredible grace, we have a truly great team working together at the College.

Our faculty are truly world-class, not just in their academic capacities, but also in their godly characters. This gives us great confidence that our students will be well-guided in the formation of not only their heads and hands, but also their hearts — which is, of course, essential in gospel ministry.

Our office and library teams are so well across the huge amount of necessary administration, and they do it all with good cheer. Because of them, the College feels safe and stable in its day-to-day operations and functioning, and it is such a blessing not to have pressing concerns about the business and resource sides of the College and their management.

And our partnership and media staff are also excellent, giving us a great and positive interface to our supporters and stakeholders. It’s wonderful to see all that they produce in events, print and digital media, and more, and to see how they love and interact with our partners.

A good team is critical to a healthy ministry, and I am truly struck by what a fantastic staff we are blessed with at Bible College SA. It is both a great honour and a real pleasure to work among them for the cause of Christ.

 
 
Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Joshua Runnalls and this is my beautiful and courageous wife Emma, who left her UK homeland two years ago on a working holiday not expecting to meet me! Shortly after getting married we were surprised to realise the Lord was calling me to study at Bible College SA. We knew this wouldn’t be easy, but we owe our lives and every good thing to the Lord who loves us and gave himself for us. We trust in his goodness, knowing he is faithful and his ways are far higher than ours.

What are you currently studying?
I'm in the second semester of a four-year Master of Divinity course, studying at the recommended 75% full-time load. My first year of study involves an overview of every book of the Old and New Testaments, learning Koine Greek, and practical considerations for ministry.

What do you like most about studying at BCSA?
The staff are genuine in their desire to prepare gospel workers for the Kingdom. I love how they treat students as brothers and sisters in Christ: praying for us, encouraging us, eating with us, laughing with us. I value the college's recognition and teaching of the Old and New Testaments as inspired by God, trustworthy, authoritative and of life-transforming significance. I have found it healthy to be exposed to a variety of Christian perspectives and able to wrestle with these in the light of God's word, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, and in fellowship with believers from diverse backgrounds. I enjoy the weekly prayer time with two other students and praise the Lord for his clear answers.

In what ministry do you hope to work when you finish at BCSA?
The Lord has called me to serve as a shepherd in the body of Christ, feeding and caring for his lambs and sheep. I hope to minister in diverse contexts, including churches, schools, communities and prisons. I pray also that the Holy Spirit will minister through me in music to proclaim God’s word, cut through barriers and draw people into deep, personal and life-changing connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is one thing you are learning at the moment that is particularly insightful?
I’m learning to better appreciate the big picture message and context of the books of the Bible, and I’m growing in humility. May his Kingdom come!
 

PRAYER POINTS

• Please continue to pray for our students as they head into the second half of this semester; they have had a difficult year with all of the coronavirus restrictions. Pray that they will persevere well through lectures and completing assessments.

• Pray for our faculty that they will continue to teach with faithfulness and integrity, drawing the students to live lives of repentance and holiness that are of good service to Jesus.

• Give thanks for successful Partnership Dinners for 2020. Pray that all who attended will have their hearts stirred to support our ministry. Give thanks to God that our important partnership development work has not stalled during the pandemic.
 



Please also pray Christ College in Sydney, one of our sister colleges. Pray that Ian Smith and his team will continue to be effective in training gospel workers for the Presbyterian Church and other ministries throughout New South Wales and further afield.
 

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