Southern Spirit Incorporated (SSI) is a registered, not-for-profit, benevolent association, formed by professional business people.

We exist to impact individuals and families in need/crisis in our Australian communities through direct relief of poverty, sickness, distress, helplessness, destitution, suffering and misfortune.

This is achieved through the generous tax-deductible donations by individuals and businesses since 1989.

Please Note: You will be sent to a Third-Party website, Give Now, to process your financial gift.

Southern Spirit Inc. encourages and inspires. Here are a few personal reflections:

Bringing out the best in us.

flood animals banded togetherIn recent news reports from the Queensland floods, it has been observed the number of animals clustered together on small islands of refuge.

At first we may think, “Fair enough”.

But when we look a little closer we realise that natural enemies, predators and prey alike, are abiding together. Normally, when a food source is in close proximity, it is pounced upon and consumed.

But on these little islands, the common enemy is not one another, it is the flood.

Kinda like all the animals held up in Noah’s Ark when all else perished in the flood.

At times we too will find ourselves on little islands of life… be it at a workplace, a family BBQ, at church, etc… each different in location, each a place we find ourselves in, and in the midst of the people there we find ones who are ready to devour us, or we them.

And yet when a crisis comes we find ourselves strangely banded together in a common cause to overcome an enemy that is more fearful than our petty differences.

And we get pretty chuffed and feel real good when we arrive at the conclusion of the crisis. We are quite surprised at what we were able to acheive together. And the bonds formed between ourselves lasts sometimes a lifetime. We realise this bond is indeed, love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 TNIV

Why do we wait for a crisis to unite us?

Maybe we need to seek the love that is demanded in a time of crisis, and pursue it prior to it being called upon.

Wouldn’t our world be better off? Imagine your ‘island’ and what it might be like.

Ask the question, “Who can I love better, today?”

Giving and Receiving …. Surprise!

I love to give…especially when I catch the person by surprise! That look of, “umm, me, for me?”

It can be a physical gift, or shouting someone lunch or buying the coffees. Giving doesn’t always have to be about money. It could cost you a smile, some time, or forgoing ‘your rights’ to give to another, a word of encouragement, or even acts of kindness like opening a door for a woman (yes, I still believe in chivalry), giving way or letting someone into the traffic stream. When you sit and think, the list is endless.

When I give I actually get back a whole lot more… joy for one. It always gives me some deep sense of satisfaction.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:38

Every so often someone catches me out and beats me to it. For years I struggled to be a recipient of lavished gifts or acts of love. I would feel a little awkward and uneasy when someone would, for no particular reason, give generously to me. But I realised that if I didn’t accept the gift it would deny them the joy gained through the act of giving. I’m still taken by surprise, and a little awkward, but I’m learning to say ‘thank you’ and appreciate the moment for us both.

The one that catches me the most is when someone gives of themselves… that act of love, a moment in time, when the hand of friendship is extended and you realise how delightful it is to be welcomed into their circle and considered a friend.

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes someone known to be a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes someone known to be righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is known to be my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly be rewarded.”
Matthew 10:40-42

Very recently I have been made welcomed, experienced unmerited acts of love, acceptance and the hand of friendship… and it was good.

Let us never give up the opportunity to lavish upon others random gifts of kindness and love.

You will be all the better for it.

The delight on his face said it all.

wrapped giftsIt was just prior to Christmas. The bus rolled into the grass field surrounded by the high rise commission flats in Melbourne. The bus stopped and the team transformed the area into a hot spot where children and parents began to flock. Face painting, ice cream, clowns, balloons and the bus.

As children filed onto the bus at one end they stepped off at the other end of the bus with a wrapped gift box. Christmas had arrived for these children… and they were loving it.

On the bus, one man holding the hand of his daughter, filed through the bus. His daughter was now juggling the box of goodies. One of the volunteers, with a smile, placed into the man’s hands a men’s gift package. He was taken back and in broken english, stuttered, “Oh no.. just for my girl… not for me?!”

But he was assured that the gift in his trembling hands was for him.

He burst into tears, overwhelmed with joy.

In all his life he had never been given a Christmas gift!

A businessman standing near by was struck by this scene. He was one of the many who had silently made the day possible. The delight on that one man’s face cemented his habit of generous giving.

As the wise saying goes:  It is indeed better to give than receive.

A secret of community?!

Community ServiceYesterday I attended a funeral for a young man tragically dead at aged 20.

It is always interesting to see a snapshot of a person’s life at funerals. Sometimes the person themselves never get to realise half the things that come out at such times.

This young man was raised well in a Christian home, went to school, Christian youth groups and was like any other kid growing up. In his uniqueness, his creativity, his artistic search for freedom and meaning in life, he pursued a life that most would describe counter-cultural.

He live in a world of drugs, art, music parties, and homeless people where he found love, acceptance and people of like mind.

The Salvation Army bused in 150 homeless people to attend the funeral. Each one dressed according to their cultural freedoms. And yet each one clothed in grief and respect for this young man.

What he had discovered, was community.

For me, I wouldn’t be comfortable or even like to live in such a community. It’s just not me. And the same for each of them; my community is counter-cultural to them.

But I did discover that the two cultures intersected at the point of tragedy.

My immediate thought was, “What a shame.” Why does it take an event like this for me to see through the haze of prejudice and uncomfortableness, and see each person for who they are – a creature of God, loved so dearly by Him.

I was overwhelmed with the sight of so many homeless people seated in our church. And I was reminded of the following:

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Matthew 25:44,45

Maybe, my community can find a way of blessing their community… we did for two hours yesterday. But what about tomorrow?

My immediate thoughts were for the SWAGS and the work of Southern Spirit Inc. At least I can give something towards the good works they are doing.

And then again, maybe there is more? The secret to community is love, acceptance and ‘doing’ for one another. I have realised, my community is too small… I need to expand; We need to expand. Any thoughts?