From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Ben is our Community Pastor at BPCC. He has worked with us previously as our Youth Worker before he and his wife Michanne moved overseas to London. Ben is passionate about seeing people of all ages discover the life that he has found in Jesus. He also has a slightly unhealthy obsession with coffee. Ben is currently studying towards his Masters of Divinity part-time.

Making the Best Use of Your Time

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt… (Colossians 4:5-6) Recently, these verses struck a chord in my heart in a fresh and profound way. I was reading Colossians chapter 4 and I was struck by Paul’s zeal for sharing the gospel with outsiders (especially in verses 3-6). I mean, here he is, in prison, and yet his prayer request was something quite different to what you or I might have asked. He said to the Colossians, “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison” (Colossians 4:3). This almost seems ridiculous to me. Paul is in prison and his request is not for deliverance or release; his request is for doors to be opened that he might...
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Regaining Simplicity

This week I was sitting and listening to a man who has lived over three times as long as me (he is 96-years-old). It was a joy to hear him describe times that I have only heard about in documentaries and books. I was especially fascinated when he recalled what it was like during World War II. But, there was one thing that he said that really stuck with me. He was reflecting on the difficulties we face today and he said, “Times were just so much more simple when I was young”, as if simplicity was the answer to our problems. I reflected on that thought while I was driving home. I think we have to admit that our world has grown more complex. Even my Dad can recall the time when people used to do one thing at a time, like sitting around the radio to listen to a...
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Jesus and the Outsider

You never know why someone walks through the door on a Sunday; some have reached a breaking point in their lives and want to ‘give this God thing a try’, others have been involved in church in the past and want to reconnect with God and his people. You just never know. One of the exciting things about this though is that every new person who connects with our community might just experience God for the first time. Don’t we all long for people to hear the gospel, respond to it and experience restoration and forgiveness? Isn’t this what we are about as God’s people? What excites me even more is that we actually have newcomers in our Sunday services every week! Every week there is someone who is looking for God, for care, and for friendship. I want you to be aware of this because we all have a part...
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Responding to the Gift of Scripture

“I have hidden your word in my heart…” (Psalm 119:11) We really are so fortunate to have access to the Bible. In India, just delivering Bibles can be seen as trying to convert people to Christianity, and in several Indian states this is against the law! Not only are we fortunate because we can buy and distribute Bibles freely in our country, we are fortunate because God has provided us with the Bible in the first place. Our God is so gracious, that he has revealed himself clearly and concretely through the Scriptures. Think about that for a moment. What would life be like if we had to guess about God? I feel sorry for the countless pagan cultures who attempted this. They would try their best to link different events together in order to understand their god/gods. In my Old Testament studies, I remember reading an example of a fox...
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A Lesson from World War II Christians

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil… Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer   I’ve been reading biographical books lately about Christians during World War II. The first one is about a man called Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an anti-Nazi pastor in Germany who witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. The other is about Corrie Ten Boom, a faithful woman of God who lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. Both of them lived extraordinary lives. The evils of war confronted them both at the deepest level and forced them to work out the implications of their faith in ways they had never imagined. Do I really love my neighbour enough to risk the concentration camps (Matthew 22:39)? Are God and his ways important enough for me to risk death and execution (Luke 14:27)? Dietrich and Corrie took risks such as these because...
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The Community-Creating Power of Mission

At BPCC, our mission is ‘to make growing disciples of Jesus Christ through gospel-centred and Spirit empowered worship, community, service and mission’. We therefore created a ‘discipleship pathway’ to help us achieve this disciple-making mission: Connect through Jesus, grow in Jesus, serve like Jesus and go with Jesus. This is a clear process for us to follow as we seek to make fully-formed followers of Christ. One of the mistakes we can make, however, is to make each step absolutely distinct and separate in someone’s discipleship journey. People are complex and won’t necessarily follow one step neatly before entering the next. Someone might encounter God (Connect) and immediately begin to tell others about Jesus in their workplace (Go), but aren’t yet part of a Growth Group (Grow), for example. People are complex, and our journeys are different. One of the things that I think go hand-in-hand is community (Connect) and mission...
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The Practice of Fasting

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison, but apple pie.” – John Piper This week, during the morning service we are talking about ‘Kingdom Spirituality’ or piety. In chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus points us God-ward. He shows us that the practices of giving, prayer and fasting are not about impressing others but about drawing near to our loving and compassionate Father. We go into far more detail in the sermon. However, I thought it would be beneficial to provide an excerpt from Richard Foster’s book, ‘Celebration of Discipline’. In his chapter on fasting, he talks about some of the practical aspects because it is so alien to our culture. If you have health issues, get medical advice before attempting a fast. Here is Richard’s advice: “As with all the Disciplines, a progression should be observed; it is wise to learn to walk well before we try...
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Living under God’s Rule in 2018

We are currently in a sermon series during the morning services called ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. We spoke last week about the concept of the kingdom. The ‘kingdom’ represents God’s rule or reign. Where the will of God is done, the kingdom of God is present. Jesus announced its arrival in Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, and brought the kingdom through his life, death and resurrection. The arrival of the kingdom of God was life-changing news! We discovered last week that the arrival of God’s kingdom is good news for everyone. Jesus’ announcement in Matthew 4:17 meant that the defeat of God’s enemies was imminent – Satan, sin and death would be conquered. It meant that God’s long-awaited restoration plan had begun (Isaiah 52:7; Ezekiel 11:19-20) – and that he was going to restore the broken image of God in us (Genesis 1:26-27). The restoration of...
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How much worth is in your worship?

I’ve been studying the book of Revelation this summer, and I’m currently spending time in chapters 4 and 5. These chapters contain an awesome heavenly scene. The scene is so breathtaking that it simply demands our worship. You get the privilege as a reader to see things from the perspective of heaven. In these chapters, you encounter angels and elders and heavenly creatures and extravagant worship. And yet, John hardly describes the God of heaven. He talks more about the throne of God than God himself: ‘one seated on the throne’ (Rev 4:2), ‘they cast their crowns before the throne’ (Rev 4:10), ‘he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.’ (Rev 5:7). It’s as if God is just too wonderful to describe. He is indescribably awesome! He is so much higher than us, so transcendent that John simply can’t explain Him....
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Man over Matter?

To me, our world sometimes seems like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the next. There was a time when the pendulum swung towards globalisation and free trade between countries (especially after WWII). In the last year or so, however, we have seen nationalist (more protective) movements gaining momentum, such as, the election of Trump and the decision for Brexit in Great Britain. It almost seems like our world is constantly reactive, rather than proactive. We throw the baby out with the bath-water when things don’t seem to be going well. Thankfully, as Christians, we have the Bible. The beauty of the Scriptures is that they contain timeless truth, and we can anchor our lives according to this truth in each and every season, fad and era of this world. Our world has not only swung to extremes in the arena of economics and politics, but also in the natural...
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What is the Church?

I have often asked myself this one question: ‘What is the Church’? In fact, I find myself thinking about this often. What really is the Church? What should we look like? Are we at BPCC a faithful expression of the Scripture’s teaching on the Church? One ingredient that I think is absolutely essential for us to be the Church is mission. We are to have a sense of mission as the people of God. We’re not meant to be static and inward, but an outward-oriented movement! A movement that is energetically and prayerfully seeking to tell others the good news about Jesus. In doing this, we are to welcome people into our community and teach them how to follow him faithfully. We are to model the Christian life for them, and point them to the Scriptures. We are to make disciples. And funnily enough, this is at the core of our...
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A Powerful Witness

Sometimes I wonder how I can possibly make known the love and reality of Jesus to others. I mean, what is the best way to share the good news of Jesus with those in our circles of influence? How can we show them that Jesus really is the Son of God and that he really does love them? How can we plug them into this reality? Because the truth is that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is not some fairy-tale, it is a real, historical event. It is an event that changed everything. And we at BPCC want people to know this and come to understand that they can be reconciled to their Creator and Heavenly Father.  One way that we can point others to this reality is actually by the way that we love one another in the church! Jesus taught this in the Gospel of John: ‘A...
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Luther and His Fight for Christian Liberty

We have been speaking a lot about the Reformation and people like Martin Luther over the last couple of weeks. And rightly so, because this year marks 500 years since that famous moment Luther nailed his 95 theses (the theses challenged the then catholic theology and set the reformation into motion). I have had the privilege of studying Reformation history at Bible College during this semester as well! And one of the beautiful things I’ve enjoyed about Martin Luther is his concern for Christian liberty or freedom. You see, the people in that day lived during a time of great anxiety. It was a time of crisis. There were agricultural failures and food shortages, the infamous ‘plague’ was spreading and people found themselves in very uncertain times. They became fearful and pessimistic! In fact, nearing the end of the 1400’s (Martin Luther nailed his theses in 1517) a poet named Jean...
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Twisted: ‘I can do all things’

‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13) Philippians 4:13 is a beautiful and a famous verse. I actually think it was one of the very first verses I could recall from memory. I think the reason it is so popular is because it just seems so empowering: ‘I can do ALL things.’  Now, I don’t doubt that Paul meant for it be an encouragement, but to what end is he encouraging the Philippian church? What are the ‘all things’ Paul is referring to? Should I use this verse to encourage myself when trying to lift a heavy weight at the gym? Is it right for someone to recite this verse before they make a bet at the horse races? What exactly are the ‘all things’, and how can we apply this wonderful verse to our lives? It gives me such joy when I hear of believers...
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Embracing Community

If Jesus came to earth to make things clean, simple and easy for his people, he certainly didn’t do a good job of it. I mean, we know from the Bible and from history that his followers in the early church faced some pretty significant challenges. Leaders had to be assigned to take care of some of the overwhelming needs of the early church (Acts 6:1-6), Paul had to talk to some believers through all hours of the night because of time constraints (Acts 20:7), and we know that one of his disciples was even boiled alive! In fact, Jesus made it clear that he didn’t come to make things easy for his people. He said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…” (Matthew 16:24). So why am I saying all of this? Well, I think self-denial in the Christian...
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Know God. Know Yourself

To know ourselves, we must know God. And to know God, we must know ourselves. The above statement is often attributed to John Calvin. But if I’m honest, I always found this profound saying a little hard to get my head around. I think I can appreciate that knowing God will help me to see myself more clearly. But, how is it that by knowing myself, I will gain a clearer picture of God? So what if I’m Caucasian and I eat my pizzas with anchovies? How does that help me know God better? Well, a few days ago whilst reading a book called Gospel Wakefulness (by Jared C. Wilson), I experienced a wave of clarity over this knowing self, knowing God business. I was reading the chapter called Nonnegotiable Brokenness, where Jared beautifully expounded how God actually needs a type of brokenness in order for us to experience him more...
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What is of first importance this Christmas season?

Holidays, Christmas trees and men in red suits with white beards. It’s Christmas time and we’re all full swing into this festive season with THE day fast approaching (as I write this it’s only 9 days away)! I love Christmas! But we have to admit that it can be a very demanding season. And if you’re anything like me, you need to set priorities quick-smart or you’ll leave the important things in life to chance. I need priorities if I am ever going to make time for the meaningful things in life. But what should we prioritise this Christmas...? What is of first importance during this festive season? There are certainly plenty of options to choose from, but I propose we look at what is of first importance to Jesus. In fact, Revelation 2:1-7 gives us an insight into what’s most important to him. In this passage, Jesus is addressing his...
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Christians Should Enjoy Life More Than Anyone Else!

What if I told you that you should be enjoying life more than at least 4.8 billion people in the world? Where did I get that number from? Well, a quick Google search showed me that there are at least 4.8 billion non-Christians alive today. So, basically, I’m saying that you should be enjoying life more than 4.8 billion non-Christians around the globe… Now, you might be thinking that I need a reality check, I mean, what about Brad Pitt? He’s got it all, hasn’t he? Wouldn’t all of that fame and wealth bring him more enjoyment than an average Joe attending a local church? Well, if we didn’t have the Bible, we might think that it does. But in God’s mind, the enjoyment of life is not found in anything that can be found ‘under the sun’:

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The Value of a Different Environment

Have you ever noticed how a dog’s behavior changes when you take them into a different environment? What happens? Well, they come alive! They explore, they get excited, and they sniff everything! It’s like you’ve offered them a new dog house with an all you can eat-buffet or something. They love it. Now, I would like to propose that essentially the same thing happens when students come to one of our annual youth camps… Before you pick up your phone to tell John and Adam that I’ve gone crazy, hear me out. I definitely don’t mean to say that your child starts to sniff trees and chase after cats. No, my point is that young people seem to come alive and open up when they get away from school and home for a few days. There’s nothing quite like it. Community is formed, friendships are strengthened and tears are always shed...
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What I learnt from my time at Tamworth

As part of my studies at Brisbane School of Theology (BST), I was recently involved in a ‘mission trip’ to Tamworth in regional NSW, where we supported one of the local Anglican churches for 9 days. It was an incredible experience and one that helped me to understand other church traditions, foster strong relationships with fellow students, and also to grow in my own experience of Christ. There is so much that I could share but one night in particular stands out to me. This particular morning I had shared my testimony at the Church we were supporting and one of the locals (his name was Mark) approached me afterwards and invited me over for dinner. What really struck me was Mark’s sincerity! He really meant what he said and also offered to help me out with food or anything I might need during the week. Later that day he texted...
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