I read a book recently called ‘Shackelton’s Epic.’ It’s a story of how a group decided to emulate for many, what is considered the greatest sea voyage of all time. In 1916, 6 men set out from remote Elephant Island, Antarctica for South Georgia Island in a 23foot life boat. A journey of over 800 nautical miles (almost 1500Km’s) across the infamous Southern Ocean. Following the sea journey, their task was to replicate the crossing of South Georgia by foot. This involved climbing mountains, crossing glaciers, snow, arctic winds and deathly cold. It’s truly epic in all proportions. What stood in the balance for Ernest Shackleton and his crew in 1916 was the salvation of another 21 people stranded on Elephant Island. Life and death hung in the balance and it’s a story of courage, skill, determination and endurance. The thing about this story is you’re halfway through the book before the epic adventure begins. Halfway through before they actually begin the journey, and truth be known, I was a little tired of reading about the logistics, financial aspects, creating the replica boat, flights, food, period clothing and training etc. I want the adventure to begin. Give me these men challenging the elements, waves crashing over the boat, massive seas, and snow covered mountains to be traversed and eventual victory. Yet, much to my personal impatience, none of the ‘main event’ would have been possible without the preparation. There’s that old saying; ‘failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.’ It’s true with us and our walk through life. So many times we are expecting and looking toward the adventure while we’re still in the preparation stage. So here is my encouragement for us all today. Here’s what I know about us all. We have no idea of how our future can unfold or what can be achieved through us, do we? But this I know, God is always about His good work He’s doing within us. He’s always moulding, preparing, developing and transforming because he knows that when we’re on the open sea and waves are three stories high, that what He has developed and equipped us to do, we shall be ready for. Even if it takes halfway through our stories to be ready for the next big adventure. Even if we feel at times that the ordinary of life consumes the extraordinary, we must always remember that our lives are epic adventures and our extraordinary God has been, and continues, to prepare us for the way ahead. Philippians 1:6 ‘being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’
Whatever part we play, we must always remember that just like Shackelton’s journey, other lives depend on us. Therefore, let us hoist the sails, batten the hatches, man the tiller, put a huge adventurous smile on our faces and be ready for whatever’s ahead.

Darren Bonnell – Snr Ps Northwest Church

‘I have known Gary Blackford for over 10 years in the role of Christian Ministry Leadership, and have had the privilege of walking closely with him throughout that time.
Gary is a brilliant communicator with both Passion and Compassion for those who walk through emotionally dark times in their lives, and he brings a refreshing and powerful ministry to people’s lives that is rarely touched in the everyday church environment.
Both Gary and his wife Robyn are a real blessing to the body of Christ and we will be utilizing their ministry gifts on a regular basis here at Riverside.
Our leadership at Riverside fully support their ministry”

Pastor Greg Holder – Riverside Church Grafton


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