Sunday, January 21, 2018

More than a “Smart Cookie”

Two weeks as chaplain aboard a recent New Zealand cruise was a great experience, for I was privileged to hear inspiring stories from people who have offered to share them through these columns. We were also treated to constantly stunning scenery.

Though the Tasman Sea is relatively small, spending whole days on it was significant for me; having only previously sailed overnight on Bass Strait ferries to Tasmania.

The cruise also exposed me to the legacy of explorer James Cook, after whom New Zealand’s highest mountain and the volatile strait between its North and South Islands, have been named.

A few years ago, I had visited a full-size replica of his Endeavour – a fraction of our cruise ship’s size. Yet without satnav, radar or radio, Cook made three round-the-world trips; and his surveying and navigation skills produced maps that were still being used almost two centuries later.

Cook’s captaincy was courageous, compassionate and creative.

He kept his whole crew alive on his first world-voyage by experimenting with their rations; defeating the debilitating disease of scurvy by regularly supplying them with fresh fruit. Until then, everyone expected death from scurvy as inevitable on all long voyages.

Cook gained such respect that even Britain’s enemies declared him immune from capture; but he was not just a “smart cookie” in navigation, surveying, or diet. His legacy shows that being motivated to seek others’ benefit inevitably increases our influence.

Or, as Jesus said: “The greatest among you should be servant of all.”

Noel Mitaxa

On behalf of a church near you

Inviting you to explore God’s love


Noel Mitaxa is from South Eastern Australia and has been in ministry since 1973, firstly with Churches of Christ – similar to the Disciples in the USA – until 1990, when he moved to a faith-based inter-based inter-church sports ministry of sports evangelism, sports chaplaincy and sports media, before returning to pastoral ministry with Baptist Churches in 1996.

Throughout his ministries, he has always aimed at building the kinds of churches that express God’s love practically, as much as verbally.  Most recently, this included a community centre for woodworking, a community garden and counseling and education programs.

He also enjoys the methanol fix of speedway chaplaincy, in which he has served nine seasons as the Head Rev of all those rev heads!

He and his wife Judy have been married for 35 years; their four kids have grown up and they have three grandchildren.

His writing began in 1982, with his first weekly Good News column, which has always focused on helping unchurched people to realize that God loves them and that He is already there for them.  The column has also been a tool for feeding and starting ‘water cooler’ conversations among Christians and non-Christians.  He also writes for Cypress Times in Houston TX.

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