Support to grow faith at home

With some churches and communities still affected by COVID-19 restrictions, we are sharing special devotional materials to help support the home faith-life of LCA/NZ members. Most of these are from the Church@Home resources collection on a special webpage at There is also other faith-building content available through this page, including family resources, encouraging messages and Bible studies, as well as family and child safety, and health and wellbeing resource links, information for church workers, and details on how to support your congregation and the wider church’s mission through Regular Electronic Giving. If you have internet access and a printer, why not print off some resources and mail or deliver them to those who may otherwise miss out?

          – Lisa

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.


These reflections are from a fresh set of devotions written for our LCA/NZ family and friends to help us to keep our eyes on Jesus as we face unsettling times. They can be used by families and individuals as part of the Church@Home resources during this season of uncertainty. You can find these and more on the LCA website at

God pays attention! by Pastor Peter Bean

‘My God, pay attention and hear me. Open your eyes and see all the terrible things that have happened to us’ (Daniel 9:18a).

Read Daniel 9:1–4,18,20–24.

These texts develop a theme along with readings from Jonah 3–4 and Isaiah 55. Pray what you like and as much as you like, but it’s not your prayer, nor your way of living that sways the Lord. It’s God’s mercy.

God knows, without a doubt, that many of us could pray this prayer.

Some of you will have prayed very similarly at some stage this year. What, with disastrous fires, then floods in some areas, then COVID-19 with its resulting lockdowns, church closures, death of loved ones, border closures, job losses, and so on. How many of us have possibly said or thought, ‘Our lives have been ruined’?

Which of us couldn’t speak of ‘the terrible things that have happened’? We want you, God, to pay attention!

And God has – not because of our entreaties, but because God is God. And because of mercy. We can’t always see it, and mercy can sometimes seem a long way off. But God’s mercy is present. In our lives, our prayers and the answers to our prayers. And, of course, the answers are not always what we want. But they are sufficient. Many years later, the author wrote: ‘I will not send more than you can handle. My grace is sufficient for you’.

So, rest in that grace. Pray your prayers, knowing God hears and answers because of the wonderful gift of mercy and grace.

Thank you, God, for the freedom to ask for your attention. Remind us that you always attend to us. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Amen.

God’s saving advice by Pastor Matthew Bishop

‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down’ (Luke 13:8,9).

Read Luke 13:6–9.

The terra rossa soils deposited over the beautiful Gilbert Valley of South Australia’s Mid North obviously need a helping hand every so often. I know this because my dad grew up just south of Riverton right in the middle of that sublime place. Dad tells the story of Kenny, his dad, occasionally offering his green-thumb of a mum, Alma, a bit of gratuitous gardening advice: ‘It all needs root’n out and load of dung putt’n in’. Kenny, a gentle, yet simple Englishman, was well-meaning, but it wasn’t necessarily received in the intended spirit by his ever industrious and extremely capable Deutsch wife!

It’s just as well that God is happy to keep hearing the pleas of his master gardener, Jesus, when it comes to us who reside in his fig orchard. Even before the master gardener intercedes, God has already given us ample time (three years in the parable), just as he did the children of Israel. Daily observation. Ever-looking for signs. And just when he has had enough, the son steps in, pleading, ‘Let me dig around and add manure. Don’t cut these unproductive souls out of our orchard. Remember that big Easter weekend, my Father! The nails that dug through my hands and feet. The spear that pierced my heart. Let me feed them with my body and blood. Let the Holy Spirit sow my word in their hearts – he’s great at doing that for us!’

And, yes! For those that have ears to hear and outstretched hands to receive, the Son certainly knows there will be an abundant harvest. For his word will not return to him empty (see Isaiah 55:9–11). Is it time for you to be fed and bear his fruit, then?

Thank you, Lord God, for planting me to serve you and bear your fruit. I would be lost without your patience. Yet, even as I know you are patient, I know your need for harvest is urgent. Draw me to take your feeding deep through my roots so that your fruit may abound in all I do. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 Healing words by Norma Koehne

‘But say the word and my servant will be healed’ (Luke 7:7).

Read Luke 7:1–10.

What an interesting man this Roman centurion is. It certainly would not seem to be normal for a Roman centurion to, first of all, be so close to the people he had authority over, and secondly, to hear about Jesus and have faith in him. We get a picture of a man of compassion, with concern for his servant, and a man of humility. He does not deserve to have Jesus come under his roof, and does not even consider himself worthy to come to Jesus himself, but sends his friends, the Jewish elders, to plead his case.

As well as his compassion and humility before Jesus, the centurion recognises the authority and power that Jesus has. As a commander of men, the centurion gives an order and others obey. It is interesting to consider what he believes Jesus has authority over. He believes that Jesus has the ability to heal sickness, perhaps even the power over life and death. And this power does not need any special act; it only requires the word of Jesus. No-one on earth can speak with such authority. Our rulers and politicians may think their words matter, and there is no doubt that what they say can cause both great distress and great good. But none of them can say the word and heal a person on the brink of death or from the sickness of sin.

As we consider our faith in Christ, we acknowledge, in humility, that it is created and sustained by God for our healing. It is formed through the words of baptism and maintained through holy communion and God’s word.

Lord, create in us such faith that we may believe that your word has a saving and healing power in our lives. Amen. 

A fitting response by Kathy Matuschka

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son’ (Matthew 22:2).

Read Matthew 22:1–14.

What is a fitting response to God’s generous invitation to join ‘the banquet’?

What sort of a person doesn’t accept an invitation to a royal wedding? Today one would assume that such a person was a republican; someone who does not accept the king’s authority and prefers to keep open his or her options for whom they will follow.

In today’s story the king starts by inviting the most obvious guests to his son’s wedding. But he’s not put off in his intention to hold a banquet when they decline his invitation and even kill his messengers.

The king is prepared to invite anyone and everyone. They needn’t worry that they don’t have something suitable to wear because the king will even supply their outfit.

As recipients of such generosity, what are the guests expected to do in response? Simply accept his generosity. One man prefers a little autonomy and wears his own clothes. The trouble is that what he chooses to wear will never get him into the great hall.

Of course, the king in this story represents God and the banquet is God’s kingdom, both here on earth and in heaven forever. Those who first heard this parable would have known that those invited first were the Jewish people and that the messengers represented their prophets, whose voices the people had rejected.

God invites us to the banquet and provides what we need to join the feast: we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. What is a fitting response to God’s generosity?

We simply turn up.

Dear loving God, I know that there is no way I can ever repay your invitation to ‘the banquet’. Nevertheless, I pray that you will help me to grow in my loving response to your kindness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Lord, we stand with our sisters and brothers who are suffering from weakness and illness.

We know that by your wounds they are healed.

We pray for the strength to overcome this hardship together as your body;

We pray for the protection of all people who are in the frontline against COVID-19;

We pray for the speedy recovery and healing of those who are fighting off the disease;

We pray for calm, comfort, and rational action in quelling panic and allaying fears;

We pray for solidarity within our global human family in this distressing situation.

Let your peace dwell in us.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

– From the Christian Conference of Asia resource ‘God heal us as we are vulnerable’, as part of a request to all the churches of Asia to join in praying for the victims of COVID-19. 

Romans 8:37

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

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