Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saigon River Reflections

"Good Morning Vietnam." I can't help mouthing the timeless Robin William's line from the movie of the same name this morning as I run along the Saigon River. The buzzing  swarm of a thousand scooters, the heady steam  from a hundred street pho stands. This place has got under my skin.

We've just flown in from Australia. We were with our friends from Coastlands Church in Adelaide, who have weathered some significant storms the last few years, navigating them with courage and composure, and are now sailing into friendlier seas. We loved the time with them and  God met with us together in remarkable ways.

We love being with churches in transition. We have faith for Jesus to renovate and redirect His church through transition, because we have seen Him do it so many times; with London Road Johannesburg,  Vintage Westside, Cornerstone Newcastle, City Gates Toronto, and of course, with Southlands itself. All these churches are at different stages in their transitions, but we have been witness to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who continues His covenant of faithfulness to His people. Of course, God is the God of change and transition always brings with it change. But He is also the God of continuity, showing steadfast love from generation to generation.

My limp is for the people in transition who fall or jump off the boat because of nostalgia or offense. God wants us to be like Joseph, 'whose bow remained steady and whose arms remained limber.' He calls us to be both steady and limber in transition. Nostalgic people aren't limber because they tend to be stuck in the past, placing a template on the present for how God must work. Offended people lack steadiness, because they find their position of favor or prominence from the previous season gone, and they struggle to be faithful in a new season.

Navigating transition requires both courage and finesse. When people remain steady and limber God does remarkable things. When we find ourselves sinking in the seas of nostalgia or offense, we can call to Jesus to rescue us, not only for our sake, but for the sake of His church. He is faithful and powerful.

The church here in Vietnam also finds itself sailing into the waters of transition. I suppose it's a little like moving from the slow and steady flow of the Saigon River to shooting the Colorado Rapids. Transition is swift, bumpy and dangerous but it can also propel us on in God's grand purposes if we read the season well.

We covet your prayers, for wisdom, grace and courage to be a help to the people of Thu Thiem Community at this time. We can be here with confidence because God has given us as a people a testimony of His faithfulness in transition.

To Him be glory in His Church both now and forevermore.


  1. Nostalgia or offense....gave me something to ponder tonight.

  2. Jeremy, love your sincere quest for truth and progress. Godspeed to you on the journey