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.
Coming Sunday is my first time back in the pulpit since my recent heart surgery… and I am so thankful to say I’m feeling great! God’s grace continues to extend His lend to me of life on earth. Have you ever thought of your life being lent to you for a time? In Job 8:9 we read: Our days on earth are but a shadow. And in James 4:14 You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Life is a gift lent to us by God for a time. The choices we make in life determine to a great extent how our life unfolds. I’m intending to speak about this in my message on Sunday AM – I’ve titled my sermon: Take Initiative. I’m really looking forward to worshipping God with you and sharing God’s Truth on how we can best do this life He lends us all!
This weekend we welcome into our AM Church pulpit, my long-time friend and colleague Rev. Barry Allen. Barry and his wife Sue have been part of our church family since Barry retired as the Snr Pastor of Pine Rivers Uniting Church. Barry also teaches Church History on our Wednesday Ministry Night. I’m sure you will be blessed as he explains God’s Word as he continues our current sermon series The Story.
Barry is also involved in Kairos—Prison Ministry, in Arthur Gorrie Prison. He told me a team of men will be going into Wolston Correctional Centre to lead a short Bible course each day from 2-6 July, to be followed up with fortnightly visits to support and encourage the 24 participants in their ongoing journey with the Lord. The main aim of Kairos is to introduce the person and work of Jesus Christ and encourage men to both accept God’s forgiveness and begin to forgive those who have hurt them by following the example of Christ. Please pray for these men and this ministry. At the Connection Centre, is a prayer list which I’d like you to place your first name on – this will be taken into the prison and hung around the prison conference room as a tangible expression of God’s love.
In our AM Church service we continue our overview of God’s involvement [The Story] with humankind from creation to the present day as we’re reminded of the purpose and relevance of the Ten Commandments. I know that many people struggle with the concept of a God who has rules and regulations which He says are to be obeyed. But rules are necessary! Think about it… every day we get in a car and drive to work or school, or wherever… we follow countless rules and we’re all very thankful other road users are too! No one says: “Surely, road rules are not necessary.” Following road rules is not a recipe for ruining our trips in a car, they’re given to us to ensure we get to our destination safely. Think of God’s Ten Command-ments as our road rules for life to ensure we get to our eternal destiny safely. The Story#5 – New Commandments and a New Covenant.
In our Kidz Church Service they too will focus on God’s Ten Commandments as their teaching program follows the same themes as AM Church. You are welcome to join them for worship – I assure you, you will be blessed as you see a packed Youth Shed of children bring worship to God.
Term 2 for 2012 starts! Isn’t it amazing how fast time goes? Let me remind you to register for our Wednesday Ministry Night classes starting 2 May. The five classes being offered include: Love & Respect (relationships); CAP Money (budgeting); Pro-Faith (for teens); Church History; & The Course of Your Life (Christian living).
As a church we have a number of ministries extending love and help to the less privileged living in under resourced places – Eg. Burma – New Life Orphanage; Solomon Islands – Bethesda Mission; India – our adopted village Perumalpatti. As well as those, we also support Compassion in their vision to release children from poverty. This Sunday morning in AM Church we have the opportunity to hear more about their ministry – we have the privilege of meeting Andrew Murray (Compassion’s relations manager) and Miss Michelle Tolentino from the Philippines who is a graduate of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. I know you will be blessed and encouraged in hearing Michelle’s story of God’s love and power. Today’s second offering will be for Compassion – please use this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those so desperately needing out help.
What is your favourite time of the year? Is it the season Spring? Or Autumn? Maybe Christmas when you take holidays? One of my favourite times of the year is right now – Easter. The time we remember the sacrifice Jesus made to pay for the sin that wrecks lives and breaks hearts. My sin has been atoned (paid) for by the only One who has ever lived a perfect life. Jesus’ death on the cross has paid for my sin.
I was in a very interesting discussion recently about including Kidz Church Services when we promote our weekly Sunday services. The rationale was that Kidz Church is a fully functioning worship service where the participants (children, leaders & parents who attend) are involved in corporate (ie: all together) worship, prayer, Bible reading, message, giving, and serving! So... I had a agree, our Kidz Church congregation is a worship service and we'll acknowledge it as such! And on their behalf, I invite you to join them one Sunday morning to experience the energy and excitement 60+ children worshipping God creates!
Talking about church services, our current AM Church and Café Church sermon series called God Quest, is being very well received – thank you for the positive feedback. Each week we upload the audio message, and Life Group questions pertaining to the sermon onto our web, and in a few weeks' time the video recording of the whole series will be uploaded for access too.
Today’s AM Church sermon theme tackles another area that our spiritual enemy uses to undermine our relationship with Jesus our Lord. Simply put – it’s how we regard Jesus; Is Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords of our life, or is he merely a positive influence and source of comfort and support when we need him? The bottom line of a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ is ongoing transformation of our lives. If Jesus is our Lord and Leader, then the fruit of our lives displays love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal.5).
The message theme in Café Church today is Creation or Evolution – instalment 2 of God Quest. Life Group questions are available for download – why not get together with some friends and dig a little deeper into the biblical account of creation. The message is also available online in audio.
My week has included an information session with Creation Ministries International, a Worship & Prayer evening as part of our 21 Day Prayer & Fasting discipline, another infor-mation session this time with Arrow Leadership and Olive Tree Media where current re-search data was explained regarding the Australian populace’s opinion on spiritual matter. More correctly: Research into Key Belief Blockers and Questions about Faith, Christianity and God held by Australians today. (McCrindle Research conducted the survey/report). The survey reveals some very helpful insights into today’s Australian culture.
Welcome to a new month and welcome to week two of our new series God Quest. Today we’re on a Quest to determine what validity evolution holds in our world & life view? Many people don’t believe in God and think instead that life came about through millions of years of random evolution.Has science debunked the Bible’s teaching about creation? We need to wrestle with these questions because what you believe about creation determines how you view yourself in life, how you view the sanctity of life, and how you allow the Bible to shape the way you live.
During this past week we started our Wednesday Ministry Night programs. Alpha, exploring the reason for life as taught in Scripture started last Wednesday, and this coming Wednesday we launch into Love & Respect , and Church History. Budgeting & Finance starts on 29th February. For further info contact the office. Please register at the Connection Centre if you would like to join in one of these groups.
As January comes to the end of the month, more and more of our church family are returning from leave. It’s now time for families with children to buy school uniforms, shoes and stationery! Life will speed up with the start of school and regular activities. The way to manage what’s ahead of us in 2012 is to plan and set priorities. I’ve said many, many times: I love new beginnings like new school terms, new sermon series and new year resolutions! The past is past, and the future is right in front of us!
So, for me, I’m looking forward to the opportunities that await us 2012. Here’s one opportunity I want to encourage all of you to consider: Life Group experience. We’re offering a number of Life Group options during Term 1 of this New Year for you to take advantage of.
The start of a new year is the time many of us tries to introduce a new discipline or good intention into our lives. BPCC wants to help you make this happen for you by offering four short Bible based Life Group experiences in term one 2012. Referred to as Wednesday Ministry Night, we’re planning to offer a Bible study on the basics of the Christian Faith [Alpha, 9 weeks]; Church History [6 weeks]; Marriage Enrichment [Love & Respect, 6 weeks]; Budgets & Finance [CAP, 3 weeks]. And of course, there’s Zumba with Alice on Monday and Wednesday evenings for those wanting to stay fit & trim! I love New Year starts! Experiences from the past allow us to reflect and realign for the New Year, so set your mind to fulfil those desire and goals that you have.
New Year resolutions can also aim us to be more effective difference-makers for Christ in our circles of influence. I have a favourite story that makes the powerful point of how you and I can do this better in 2012 too. It’s called ‘Make Me Like Joe’
Christmas Attendance & Christmas Giving…
Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services saw huge attendances and huge financial giving… thank you, thank you, thank you! Because of your generosity we have been able to give financial assistance to The New Life Orphanage in Burma, our CRCA World Diaconate Fund which assists people in developing countries. Your donations were able to - adopt a village in India, giving proper education for some 50 children in a village. There will be a positive Christian witness for the whole village! - buy goats, a little shop, a widow’s rehabilitation kit and a slum survivor kit, all which enable people who live in poverty to become more economically stable. These gifts will bring blessing to God’s name.
Language. Lusting. Laughing. Three words that have powerful meanings! And I intend to be more godly with all three in 2012. That’s what I prayed this morning after I read about Joshua encouraging his people to recommit to living their lives according to God’s plan and purpose. Here’s what he said: Fear God! Worship Him in total commitment (two key words = total commitment). Get rid of the gods you used to chase and stumble over! As for me and my household, we will serve and worship God. (Josh.24:15 JH paraphrase)
Let me explain what I mean by these three powerful words.
A HUGE thank you to ALL who make our Carols Services so meaningful! What a blessing to be able to meet and sing loved Carols telling of God’s gift of Jesus to the world. We are a blessed church! The talent, commitment & servant heart displayed by the whole Carols team is just great! I believe it pleases the heart of God when His people share the truth of His love to the community this way. Talking about community, on Wednesday & Thursday, a group of our muso’s & singers went to local Nursing Homed to sing Carols for the residents – who loved it!
And the greatest of these is love… This is what Jesus says to us in the last verse of 1Cor.13 – it’s one of my favourite chapters in Scripture because here we’re taught what love is. Love is clearly defined in 1Cor.13. And love is clearly modelled in the life of Jesus when he lived on earth. If you read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) you see how love is lived in Jesus. Why not read through one of these gospels during the coming holiday time?
Love is a doing word. It requires effort (a lot of effort) to show love consistently. Things happen in life that disappoint us, frustrate us, anger us… discourage us, and it’s so tempting to stop showing love at those times. But it is right at that time love is needed and we need extra grace to extend it.
What can help us love when we don’t want to love? Answer = look to Jesus. Understand 1Cor.13. Pray for God’s help as you choose to do love… that’s right – pray for God’s help as you choose to do love.
With Christmas coming into clearer focus, the challenge to get everything done gets a little pressured doesn’t it? End of school year concerts and graduations. Work functions. Ministry team breakups. And of course, Christmas shopping, planning & preparing!
It’s easy to overlook the spiritual and eternal significance of Christmas as we scramble to get everything done. Slow down friends… I say that to myself too. Slow down. The need to do this was impressed on me when our elders met for our monthly prayer meeting on Monday night. We prayed for many things – including giving God praise for His blessings, and intercession for those unwell.
The list of names we prayed for who were unwell hit me! So many people are wrestling with health issues – many are cancer related and many are age related. We prayed for friends and family members living in countries where the infrastructures are collapsing. We prayed for families and marriages. So, please slow down and reflect on what is really important? It’s not the colour of your Christmas wrapping or height of your Christmas tree. What is really important is realising the reason for Christmas: the Saviour of the World came into this broken world to fulfil the promise that a Healer would come. His name is Jesus Christ.
Do you ever get to the end of a really hectic day (or week, or month) and complain to God and others about the pressures and challenges you’re required to endure? I’ve been in that place of late… and then I stumbled upon the following insightful blog titled The Blessing of Breaking Nets.
In Luke 5:1-5 we read that Jesus’ disciples had a problem. They had been fishing all night, but their nets were empty. Verses 6-11 tell us that after they followed Jesus’ instruction to put out their nets again, the disciples faced a different problem. Now their nets started to break. Imagine being in that boat and the nets begin to break – you’re required to act quickly and do something about it? What?
Good morning everyone – again it is my prayer that we will all experience meaningful worship, fellowship and encouragement this Sunday. Each Sunday we have three church services—AM Church, Café Church and PM Church. I’ve been really encouraged to see more young families come to PM Church since we’ve been providing child-care during the sermon part of the service.
I want to mention two very special birthdays happing in the new week. Mrs J Mellema turns 96 next Thursday (10th) and Mrs L Beumer turns 95 next Friday (11th). Congratulations to both these dear ladies and long-time members of our church family. We praise God for both these ladies!
Seven families from the community were helped by our Compassion Cupboard ministry on Wednesday – and the cupboard is now bare again! Could you please help us with non-perishable food donations? Maybe you’re able to help with a special financial contribution? Please speak to Pastor Jim or the person on our Connections Desk.
One thing I do most mornings as part of my ‘connect with God’ routine is read a daily blog a pastor of a very effective church writes. Let me share one I read on Thursday which I’m calling: Miracles or Magic
When you look at the miracles in the Bible, you see two themes consistently emerge when it comes to the person involved in the miracle.
This weekend, a number of our church family are at Family Camp on the Sunshine Coast. No doubt they’ll be having a great time as they get to know one another better. To all those worshiping with us either in AM Church, Café Church or PM Church a huge WELCOME.
I’m reading the book called Weird! And it is – it is weird! The book is the basis of a 5 part sermon series we recently had in our PM Church in conjunction with LifeChurch.tv. Craig Groeschel is the author of the book and preacher of the sermons, and I confirm his conclusion: “Being weird is good, I don’t ever want to be normal again BECAUSE normal isn’t working!” Let me explain: