John joined BPCC in 1996 as Senior Pastor. Originally from Tasmania, John came into ministry from a career in small business and studied at the Reformed Theological College of Geelong. John is the primary preaching pastor at BPCC and is a gifted communicator with a passion for the Word of God. John is responsible for leading BPCC and has a deep desire to see the kingdom of God advance in the Pine Rivers community and beyond. John and his wife Carla have 4 adult children and 5 grandchildren. In his spare time John enjoys wood turning and travelling in his caravan.
This coming weekend sees us hit the mid-year mark! Can you believe half of 2013 will be behind us? I’m hoping you are all keeping well physically and spiritually as we balance the many responsibilities we face in this hurry-up world we’re living in. I’ve been thinking about our Sunday Worship Services and the sermons our preaching team preach: Are they helping us in our busy lives to stay focused on what’s important and close to our Lord and Leader Jesus Christ? In other words: Are our services and sermons helpful?
Our current sermon series in AM Church is focusing on the life and ministry of the Old Testament character Elijah – the no-nonsense, uncultured, unsophisticated prophet of God who has the bedside manner of John Wayne! I like the man! So far we’ve been reminded through studying his life: (1) to stand up for right; (2) to stay the course – choose to ‘turn right’ when life’s challenges take you into a ‘T-intersection.’ Coming Sunday we see how absolutely true this fact is: God is boss! He is in charge and He is in control. My prayer is that from knowing more about Elijah, you and I will make the latter half of 2013 go better!
How do you keep air in your spiritual tyres? I quite often ask people that, especially people in ministry leadership. How do you keep your spiritual batteries charged so that your light shines brightly?
As we enter a new month, let me ask you this same question: What do you do to stay close to the truth that you are a forgiven, heaven bound son or daughter of the Living God? If you answer: “I attend church on Sunday (or most Sundays),” I’m thinking you’re not as pumped up or shining as brightly as you could be. I know that from personal experiences. I know that because the time-starved pressured lives most of us live, causes us to move through life far too fast!
Here’s a question for you Dads: Do you attend your kids’ sports events and school plays?
Mums: Are the challenges of motherhood, work and home-duties keeping you from loving your husband and kids like you really want to?
Did you know BPCC sermons are being viewed all over the world? I’ve just received some statistics of where and how often BPCC sermons are viewed via our website. Over the last 12 months, there have been 6,661 sermon views… last month alone, 679 views. As well as that, a sister church in our denomination is now showing our sermons to their congregation. I mention this because sermon recording is the reason why we have needed to put up window blinds in our auditorium – it helps with the video quality. As you know, Café Church show our sermons via video, and because their room is bright, video replay quality is very important. Upgrading of stage lighting is also in process and once this is completed, our video quality will be vastly improved. Isn’t it humbling how BPCC is impacting way past our four walls?
I hope you have been able to reflect on what Easter is all about this past weekend? The fulfilment of God’s plan to save humanity from sin came about – personal sin has been atoned for through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! Do you realise, you are saved from eternal punishment because Jesus took the punishment for your personal sin? Amazing! Every person who repents of their sin and submits their lives to the Lordship and Leadership of Jesus Christ, is forgiven, made holy, and is heaven bound. That’s what Easter celebrates!
For the next week or so, many of our church family are on school holidays. Our Children’s Ministry programs are taking a well earned break as they get ready for term 2. In our AM Church service this weekend we will include the children as we’re all reminded of Jesus’ words to the leaders and officials of his day:
In preparation for an upcoming sermon series on PRAYER, I’m reading a number of books – one in particular summarises so well WHY we will benefit from a series on prayer: We are uncomfortable with silence… In the broader culture and in our churches, we prize intellect, competency, and wealth. Because we can do life without God, praying seems nice but unnecessary. Money can do what prayer does, and it is quicker and less time consuming. Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God. As a result, exhortations to pray don’t stick. (Paul Miller, A Praying Life, Navpress 2009, p.16)
It is true, many of us pray when trouble looms and we can’t fix the problem any other way. This is true for me too. That’s the main reason we’re going to open God’s Word and learn about the power and blessing of prayer. So let me ask that you will pray for those of us who will teach & preach on prayer in the ensuing weeks.
If I could show you how to share your faith with no fear of being laughed at or mocked, would you be interested in listening to me? I’m convinced there are keys to sharing your story of faith in normal ways that people respect and accept. Coming Sunday in AM Church we’re starting a four week sermon series based on the Bible Study: Just Walk Across the Room. We Christ-followers know that Jesus tells us we’re to be witnesses for him… our challenge is ‘how?’ The short answer is: Just walk across the room and be friendly. I hope you’ll join me on Sunday for the first instalment in this practical series.
Yay… Kidz Church starts again this Sunday morning.
Welcome to our Sunday Services… our aim this week will be to clarify our church’s ministry goals for this New Year. Jesus makes it clear what they are, and he gives us his Holy Spirit to lead us in the tasks. At the start of each New Year, we remind ourselves of Jesus’ instruction to the church.
Imagine you and I received a questionnaire in the mail from Jesus, asking three questions? The questions were: (1) Why did I come to earth and why did I have to die? (2) What is the church? (3) Why does the church exist? How would you answer these questions? Seriously. What would your answers be? We will be answering these questions in our AM Church, Café Church and PM Church services this week.
In just a few days it will be Christmas Day, 2012. Much of the world will stop to reflect on Jesus Christ, the Son of God coming from heaven in the form of a baby… and grew… and taught… and called a people together to change the world… and went to the cross where he sacrificed his life to pay for our sin… and then rose from the dead… and appeared to over 500 witnesses… and ascended into heaven! Those witnesses couldn’t stop talking about the Son of God who did these things. Their message spread over the world. Countless, countless people believed this good news and the Church has been celebrating this person Jesus Christ’s birth for close on 2000 years!
We’re to do more than just celebrate it. We’re to keep telling it – like those original witnesses and disciples. As you consider your new year’s resolutions, why not add intentional witnessing in word & deed. Let those you do life with see Jesus’ love in you.
In November, you’ll see there are stacks of things happening in our church and broader community. Please take the time to read this, and note the dates and times of activities that will help you in your journey with Jesus. Consider also –
(1) who could you invite to join you in attending? and
(2) where could you offer your help in making BPCC shine for Jesus?
It was good to read Pastor Jim’s report last week on our church’s care ministry involvement within the Pine Rivers community, as well as our church community. There is so much that happens behind the scenes.
Let me mention just a few more:
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.
We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ.
If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”
“how shall we do this?”, shouted his angels.
“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds, “he answered.
“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 – 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”
I remember reading about a workshop leader who asked a business man if he would be willing to walk across a narrow beam hypothetically resting on the floor in exchange for $50. ‘Sure’ he said. ‘Would you walk across the same beam if it was suspended between two forty-story buildings?’ The man said, ‘Absolutely not!’ Having seemingly made his point, the workshop leader continued by posing another question. ‘Supposing I were standing on one of the same two buildings holding one of your children over the edge and told you I would drop your kid if you didn’t walk across the beam. Now what would you do?’ Pondering the question, the business mans asked, ‘Which kid do you have?’
I tell you this story to make the following point – there are times when we may have similar feelings about our family and friends. Most times it is easy to love family and friends… but those other times can be really, really hard! Yet, that is exactly what God calls us to do – to bring love, joy, and peace to our families and circles of influence, even our enemies!
School term four starts again next week. As we head into the last quarter of 2012 we have some exciting things happening at church during this time. Let me mention four:
Wednesday Ministry Nights
Starting this coming Wednesday 10 October, we’re offering four classes.
1. Divorce Recovery – facilitated by myself and Carla. This seven session course aims to give participants an understanding of the divorce experience, provide a safe place to process grief and loss and develop skills and courage to rebuild.
2. CAP Money – facilitated by Pastor Jim and his team, this three session course teaches skills to set up and stick to a workable budget.
3. Come Alive – taught by Alan Hermann, this five session study on Personal Spiritual Growth covers topics including spiritual dryness, personal devotion, silence and solitude, meditation and inner contentment.
4. Life Shapes – facilitated by Pastor Wayne for eight sessions where you gain understanding of yourself, your relationship to Christ and to one another.
Carla and I have just returned from our four-week caravan tour through part of Queensland. We sure do live in a beautiful State – we spent nearly three weeks in the bush (away from shopping centres & traffic lights – I loved that!), then the last week and a bit on the coast (right amongst shopping centres & traffic lights – Carla loved that!). We’ve come back refreshed and recharged!
It is good to be back with family and loved ones. I usually do a lot of reflecting when I’m away from the busyness of ministry, and that’s exactly what I did this time too. I really appreciate these times of quiet, as it has allowed me to reflect on the preciousness of a loving family and church community. I’ve been reminded of the gift we as Christ-followers have in our relationship with him – and I think that’s been heightened for me because I observed some very lonely people on our travels. I tried to converse with one such man who lived in a dilapidated old caravan covered in weeds and resting on bricks. The old man rebuffed my friendly approach which I took as an indication of his loneliness and probably some emotional baggage. This made me sad. There are a lot of lonely people in our communities… and I’ve been convicted to be more proactive in reaching out to folk with Christ-like love. I hope this conviction stays… because it’s all part of being salt and light for Jesus in our hurting world . Please, think about this – and join me in smiling more, helping more, and living life to the full more!