From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Adam is the Associate Pastor at BPCC. He has completed a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) and a Masters of Divinity from Brisbane School of Theology. Adam can usually be found spending time with his wife and son, reading a good book, or watching just about any sport. Adam is passionate about preaching that not only enflames the heart but informs the mind, and ultimately leads people to know Jesus and follow Him wholeheartedly.

Reasonable Faith and Unreasonable Grace

Currently, the Bible Reading Plan I am working my way through (www.bibleinoneyear.org) has me reading, among other things, the book of Acts. As I have read the story of how the early church spread throughout the world, one particular word has stood out to me. Perhaps it has something to do with my ‘Type A’personality (see logical and organised; or, according to my wife Molly: fussy), but it is the word “reasoned”. Over and over again, Luke (the author of Acts) tells us that the Apostle Paul, in his missionary endeavours, would “reason”with people regarding the faith. He “reasoned with them from the Scriptures”(Acts 17:17). He “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks”(18:4). He “entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God”(19:8). He “took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus”(19:9)....
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What about those who have never heard the gospel?

Perhaps one of the more difficult questions facing the Christian worldview is: “What if someone has never heard the good news about Jesus? Are they condemned to hell?” Usually in mind when someone asks this question is the remote villager, someone deep in the jungle completely isolated from modern civilisation, unaware of who Jesus is or why he matters. Or, perhaps in mind are the generations of indigenous peoples who lived in Australia and America prior to European settlement. Or, the great number of Chinese people who lived before the first missionaries arrived. Or, the countless civilisations of pre-Christian Africa and Europe. Are they all lost for eternity? Are they condemned to hell simply because they haven’t (or hadn’t) about Jesus? Obviously this is not just an academic or theological question. It is a question of compassion, because it concerns people. People like you and me. And, it is a question...
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What is the millennium?

I was only 13-years-old, but I can still vividly recall when the clock ticked over from 11:59pm to 12:00am, and the calendar ticked over from December 31st, 1999 to January 1st, 2000. Perhaps it was the backyard fireworks that have helped to aid my memory? Or, perhaps it was the chance to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; the dawning of a new millennium, a new thousand-year-period. If you can remember the weeks and months leading into this time, you will remember there was remarkable interest and intrigue in the beginning of the new millennium (Y2K anyone?). It was a significant event.  The idea of a millennium, however, is not simply a significant event on the calendar of human history, it is, for many Christians, a significant doctrine. Quite simply, the doctrine of the millennium is an event that is said to be related to the return of Christ. And for this reason,...
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What will happen before Jesus comes back?

The return of Jesus Christ is one of the most debated and controversial topics in Christian theology. Some people love to talk about it, others love to avoid it. Others have even tried to guess when it will happen, down to the day and the hour. But, as we know, they have all been incorrect. Jesus told us, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36).  Of course, that doesn’t mean we know nothing about the return of Christ. For instance, we know he will come suddenly, personally, visibly and bodily (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 9:28). We know we should eagerly long for his return (1 Corinthians 16:22; Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:12–13; Revelation 22:20). We know (or at least we should) that we cannot know for certain when Christ will return...
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Who or what is the antichrist?

What do Vladimir Putin, Adolf Hitler, Pope Francis I and Barack Obama have in common? Aside from the fact they are (or were) influential men, they also share the dubious honour of being labelled the ‘antichrist’. In fact, throughout history, various individuals have been suspected and accused of being the antichrist, including Nero, Charlemagne, and Napoleon. Though we might wish to place the notion of the antichrist in the ‘too weird’ or ‘too hard’ basket, the simple fact is the Bible speaks about it, and so should we. However, we must do so in such a way that is faithful to the intent and meaning of God’s Word, and not to our fanciful imaginations.  So, who or what is the antichrist? Most people, when they talk about the antichrist, mean that ultimate false Messiah who will oppose God and his people, and deceive them into following him. This is why prominent...
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Doesn’t the Bible suggest this world will be destroyed?

In the first week of our new sermon-series, ‘Surprised by Hope,’ we talked about, ‘Hope for the World’. Specifically, we asked the question: What does God intend to do with the world he made? What has God promised to do with the earth he created? The answer, we saw, was that God intends to renew this world. Heaven shall descend to earth and God will dwell with his people in a renewed creation forevermore (Revelation 21:1–5). Heaven shall become earthy, and earth shall become heavenly. This is certainly a stirring vision, and one that should infuse our lives with resplendent hope and resolute purpose. But, perhaps, as you thought about this future hope, that of “a new heaven and a new earth,” you wondered about those verses in the Bible that seem to suggest a violent and final destruction of this earth? How do they fit in? Indeed, in some parts...
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Come and Die

“Come and die.” Not exactly the most enticing words in any situation, let alone as an invitation to follow someone. We’d probably prefer, “Come and I will help you reach your potential,” or, “Come and I will make your wildest dreams come true”. Yet, when Jesus called the crowds to follow him he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). It is, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” As we have studied the second half of the Gospel of Mark together over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the prominence of this truth. Over and over again, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that to follow him means to follow him to the cross. It means to die to yourself, and come alive...
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‘God is love’ or ‘Love is god’?

At the moment I am reading a book called, “The Skeletons in God’s Closet” by Joshua Ryan Butler. In short, the book explores three tough topics raised by Scripture, namely, hell, judgment, and holy war. Butler contends that many people think of these issues as “skeletons in God’s closet,” issues that if looked at closely would reveal a cruel, vindictive tyrant rather than a good and loving God. It is an outstanding book that has once again solidified my faith in the beauty, and justice, and goodness of God, even as he is revealed in and through hell, judgment, and holy war. This week I came across a section called “A Love to Change the World” that I want to share with you. Butler writes about a friend of his named Ian, who had rejected Christianity because in his words, “I have come to believe not that God is love, but...
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What about tithing?

As we dig into 1 Timothy 6:17-19, and explore what it means to be generous in our current sermon series ‘Be Rich,’ maybe some of you are wondering about tithing? Maybe you are wondering how tithing fits in, or even whether tithing is expected of God’s people today? The word ‘tithe’ literally means a ‘tenth part.’ In the Old Testament, God required his people to give a tithe, that is, 10% of their grain (Lev. 27:30), and of their “herds and flocks, every tenth animal” (Lev. 27:32), to support the work of God’s institution, the Temple. As such, the tithe was an important feature in how the Israelites worshiped God, and, in fact, in Malachi 3:8-10, the Israelites are said to be robbing God for failing to tithe! But what about the New Testament? Is this still the case? Is 10% still required and expected? Or has Jesus clarified how we...
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Who We Are: Finding Your Place at BPCC

Do you believe it is your responsibility to help make BPCC a healthy church? Do you believe it is your responsibility to do more than just attend BPCC, but also to belong and to contribute? If you are a Christian, we believe that it is! Jesus commands all of us to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Peter says we are to use our gifts to serve others (1 Pet. 4:10). Paul tells us to speak the truth in love so that we will become mature (Eph. 4:13-15). Indeed, the consistent witness of the New Testament is that it is our collective responsibility to build BPCC into a fruitful, faithful, and loving church. What a joy! What a responsibility! And so, this Sunday we launch into a new 5-week sermon series titled ‘Who We Are: Finding Your Place at BPCC’. The heart behind this series is a desire to see everyone who calls...
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The Destructive Force of Christmas

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 The word “destroy” is not one we usually associate with Christmas. Unless, of course, we are reading Dr. Seuss’ classic book, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, or we are once again faced with some sort of family meltdown. But generally it does not fit in our visions of the quaint nativity scene, or our mountains of presents stock-piled under the Christmas tree.However, in 1 John 3:8, the Apostle John says “destruction” is precisely the reason for Christmas! He tells us that the reason Jesus appeared, or came, or incarnated, was to destroy the works of the devil. Now, restrain your mind from running straight to visions of outlandish demonic possession. The “works of the devil” are far more subversive, and comprehensive than just overt supernatural phenomena (though they are not less than that)....
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Phillip Hughes and the Enemy of Death

In this past week, death, like an unwelcome reptilian guest, once again reared its monstrous head, with the tragic passing of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes. In the wake of this horrific tragedy, the profound sadness that has invaded public consciousness has only been matched by a pervasive sense of disbelief. It shouldn’t happen like this. Cricket is a game. Phillip was only 25 years old, about to celebrate his 26th birthday. Young, healthy men don’t die playing a game. Yet it happened. And in disbelief, we mourn. And underneath our grief, we realise that death might not be as distant as we believe it to be. On Tuesday night I was asked to pray for my indoor cricket team. An occurrence as surprising as it was solemn (and a great privilege). Confronted with the unavoidable reality of death, we cannot help but be confronted by our weakness and limitation. We might...
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Does God care about the starving?

In this week’s sermon, as we continue our series through the Gospel of Mark, we encounter one of the most important and well-known of Jesus’ miracles; the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44). In this story, we read how Jesus and the disciples, along with a crowd of around 15,000 people are in an isolated place, with no McDonalds nearby, and darkness quickly descending. The disciple’s panic, begging Jesus to dismiss the crowd, seemingly overcome by the thought of spending all their savings on a big seaside dinner party. Jesus, however, comes to the rescue, producing a plentiful feast from the leftovers of lunch, multiplying two fish and five loaves of bread into a banquet for thousands. Indeed, crisis averted, grumbling bellies quieted, and appetites satisfied. But maybe as you ponder this story and look around at the rampant starvation and malnutrition in our world, you wonder if God sees, or...
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Reflections on (almost) one year of marriage

On Sunday 30th of November, Molly and I will have been husband and wife for 1 year. That is 365 days since we stood on the platform at BPCC, held hands, exchanged vows, kissed one another, and entered into a binding covenant before God and our friends and family. And as I reflect on the days since that wonderful day, I feel incredibly grateful and incredibly determined.I feel incredibly grateful to God for the gift of marriage. The Bible says something very interesting about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honour by all” (Hebrews 13:4). Now, parenthood is a wonderful thing, and friendship is a wonderful thing, but the Bible does not say, “Let parenthood or friendship be held in honour by all.” This honourific position is reserved for marriage. Why? The end of the Bible answers our question. You see, the Bible begins with a wedding (Genesis 2); God gives...
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How Can I Grow?

If you have been around BPCC for even a short amount of time this year, chances are you have heard talk about ‘Growth Groups.’ Growth Groups are an integral part of what it means to belong to BPCC, because it is primarily in Growth Groups where we fulfil our calling to grow in Christ-likeness and in community. You see, as believers we both need and are commanded to have brothers and sisters in our lives who can speak God’s truth to us, exhort us, encourage us and spur us on towards love and good deeds (Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24; Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:13). Due to its size and nature, a weekend worship service can be a difficult setting to form deep friendships where you can be challenged or encouraged by others who know you well and want God’s best for you. So, we have found the best place to live out the...
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THE BLESSED LIFE

Our collective conscience has been viciously assaulted and violently awoken in the last couple of weeks as news of the atrocities committed in Iraq by IS (Islamic State) filters through our various screens. The devastation and suffering is, quite simply, unfathomable. I don’t know about you but I struggle to even imagine what it would be like to be exiled from my home and country under the threat of death, simply for following Jesus. However, this is now reality for thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters from Iraq. So, what can we do? No, what should we do? Of course, and this is far from trite Christian-speak, we must pray. I have heard and read pleas for God to pour out his wrath upon IS; and certainly one day God will pour out his justice upon sin and evil (2 Thess. 1:5-12), but in this time of God’s patience (2...
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Why Do We Sing?

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) First of all, let me begin by apologizing to anyone who has ever stood within a 1-metre radius of my exceptionally eager yet woefully out-of-tune singing voice. I take seriously God’s command to “make a joyful noise” (Psalm 98:4), yet I fear that I major on the “noise” side of things. All apologies aside, have you ever considered why we sing in church? There are not too many places or groups in the world where corporate singing is a regular exercise. So what is it with Christian’s and the weekly exercise regime for their vocal chords? In Colossians 3:16, Paul gives us a number of reasons why we sing. Firstly, we sing because that’s how the gospel is...
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Jesus, Porky Pig, and You

I recently watched a YouTube video of Bob Bergen, the voice behind the distinctive stutter of Looney Tunes’ character Porky Pig (Th-th-th-th-th-at’s all folks!). In the clip Mr Bergen explains the complicated process behind Porky’s famous stutter and how someone might go about replicating it. However, as he progresses through the explanation the impossibility of such a task becomes obvious. In fact, Mr Bergen finishes his explanation by saying: “And nobody can do that and that’s why I have job security!” In other words, Mr Bergen knows that no one else can reproduce the stutter like he can, and so he is, as the voice of Porky Pig, irreplaceable. As I thought about that line, it reminded me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything...
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Easter’s Forgotten Little Brother: Ascension Day

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:50-53 As followers of Jesus, we rightly celebrate, with great gusto, the Christian holy days of Easter (his death and resurrection) and Christmas (his incarnation). We sing (sometimes kitschy) songs (‘Aussie Jingle Bells’ anyone?), we exchange gifts, we go on holidays, and we trundle off to church. And the importance of these days is quite obvious to us. Without Christmas, God would remain distant, and without the Easter days, we would remain in our sin. But there is another holy day worthy of our celebration and reflection. It is a day we are not overly familiar with,...
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EASTER SUNDAY

The cross is not enough. Now before you reach for your torch and pitchfork, hear me out. On its own, without the resurrection, the cross would not just seem to be foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-26), it would be foolishness! The death of Jesus would not be salvation, it would be martyrdom. The Apostle Paul said it best: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:14 & 17). Indeed, if Jesus was not raised, then the events of Good Friday are simply one unmitigated and tragic disaster. However, if an empty cross led to a full tomb and three days later an empty tomb to a resurrected life then there is indeed reason for preaching, a basis for faith and freedom from sin! You see, the cross...
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