The 2015 CoolyRocksOn Church Service was another blast with a wonderful crowd held in the big marquee on Coolangatta boardwalk adjacent to Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast last Sunday 7 June. CoolyRocksOn is Australia's largest nostalgic festival with rock'n'roll bands and 1400 vintage vehicles: 30 May–8 June.
The CoolyRocksOn organisers had the Church Service listed in both the web site and the booklet and like last year people kept coming in throughout the one hour service duration.
Those attending the CoolyRocksOn Church Service came from Adelaide, Hobart, Ballarat, Melbourne, Toowoomba, Gatton, Brisbane, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Tweed Heads and more besides.
Ken Harris and his rock'n'roll band The Son Chasers from Beachside Baptist in Palm Beach seven kilometres north of Coolangatta provided the music – Ken selected the four hymns and sang three items to much acclaim.
The four hymns printed on hymn sheets were (also printed on-line)
Blessed by Your Name
Days of Elijah
You are My Vision
The Son Chasers consisted of Ken on lead guitar, Brett Eddy on base guitar, Marcus Bancroft the drummer and two back singers, Kerry Davidson and 18 year old Kayleagh Harris. The song sheet was a single A4 with the words of the four hymns on one side and on the other an information sheet on Well-Being Australia, of which I am the chairman.
The bible reading from Matthew 5 was read by Mr Bill Parr one of CoolyRocksdOn Church Service support team members from last year and he showed the congregation his mobile phone with the Bible app. He also highlighted the Bible Society's donation of Bible Reading Guide pamphlets which were sent to us specifically for this CoolyRocksOn Church Service and handed to every person as they left after the service.
As has become my custom I explained a little about my ministry as the Australian Cricket Team chaplain 17 years (Ret), Life After Cricket, Press Service International and the young writer program. To create a little interest I had my preacher's gown and hood and illustrating it's weight to the congregation, I invited one of the people in the front row to lift it - its surprising weight was acknowledged.
The congregation responded to my question – they knew at once why many Australian preacher's don't wear such a gown as it is so hot in Australia.
Before the message I interviewed Ken Harris who spoke about the title he gave to his band The Son Chasers, either we chase the Lord or He chases us, and then Ken spoke about each member of the band – he is a carpenter, Brett an architect, Marcus a social worker, the singers Kayleagh a beautician and Kerry an artist.
My 2015 CoolyRocksOn message was Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5 verse 45 "..for He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" and how this is a key instructions I give in my ministry to Christian young writers and new converts in following Jesus.
In this my 38th year in Christian ministry I am more than ever convinced that good theology leads to a better understood life, that is an overall more balanced view of all that happens in the world around, our families, friends, sports, the workplace, in sickness and in health.
Sometimes sporting examples are good analogies. 2009 World Athletics Championships 100 metres sprint event in Berlin the first five broke the old record record. It was second place US Tyson Gay's time that interested me as it was a US 100 metre record. His time was better than Jesse Owens in the Berlin 1936 Olympics, Bob Morrow in the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, Bob Hayes in the Tokyo 1964 Olympics, Jim Hines in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Carl Lewis in the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics and even Maurice Greene in the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
As I considered this long list of champion 100 metre sprinters it became evident that some were committed born-again Christians and some were not. As strange as it might seem, it is Jesus Christ who has something very significant to say about 100 metre sprint world records. "..for He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust". In other words, it's a level playing field, taking into account natural talent, training methods, high tech sprint spikes and an insightful coach. It is God who gives to sprinters such ability, their training possibilities and their mentors.
The same applies to business, academia, the arts, entertainment, the trades - it's a level playing field, being a born-again Christian doesn't give anyone a magic wand. Those who think it does is completely wrong-headed. When you next fly, ask yourself do you want someone on the concourse to fly the plane who says they are a Christian or a fully qualified pilot with 5,000 hours of flying.
The meaning of following Jesus
I was able to explain that being born-again brings a person into a personal relationships with Jesus and allows the person to give thanks freely in all areas of life. The Salvation of Christ - brings with it a fresh paradigm, a new world view, with this world view comes a sense of relief that it's no longer your efforts that brings divine approval but what Christ has done for each person through the life, death and followed by the resurrection.
Whether a sprinter recognises it or not, sprinters are able to run fast because of God's Grace. Moreover whether we recognise it or not, all the blessings we experience are because of God's Grace. Becoming a Christian, a follower of Jesus is not a mechanism similar to an enhancing performance drug or a magic wand, such as finding a super market car park. Becoming a Christian is about a relationship between Jesus and you.
Out of that relationship sometimes the most amazing things happen - miracles of all sorts, big and small – moreover this new world view opens up so many fresh insights and directions, that one quickly recognises it has nothing to do with 'things' but rather 'a love that passeth understanding'. When you have many of this commitment you a community of faith. It doesn't necessarily need a building but in most instances it an enormous help in community ministry.
Finally I expressed a comment on heaven as heaven is a biblical announcement. After all my studies I was able to affirm there was no such place as a cricket heaven, a golfing heaven, a rugby heaven, a 72 virgin heaven, rather from the Scriptures, heaven solely relates to those with a repentant saving love relationship with Jesus Christ. Not things. Not kudos. Not credential.
After the CoolyRocksOn Church Service as people left, a hotrod enthusiast with a smile, said he still hoped there just might be hotrod heaven! And a big thankyou to CoolyRocksOn management, artist director and sound director.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html