From Our Team

John Hoogenhout

Words of thought from our Church Team

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.

Simple, easy and accurate how to instructions...

I’m a sucker for easy to understand and easy to follow ‘how to’ instructions. For example: How to use a computer. How to build a bird house. How to cook shepherd’s pie. How to change lawn mower blades. I like these ‘how to’ instructions to be simple to follow and I want the process to not take too long! I want best results for minimum effort!

I also wish there was an easy to follow step by step ‘How to stay close to God’ instruction that fitted on one page too. Any of you reading this agree with me that it would a good idea? Well… that’s probably wishful thinking. It takes energy, effort and commitment to stay close to God—but there are tools and practices that can really help us stay close to God.

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Authentic Christianity

October is here! It’s full steam ahead as we speed into the last quarter of 2011. Let me tell you what’s ahead of us regarding Sunday sermons—I want you to know there’s much thought and prayer given to message themes and objectives. Let’s start with AM Church.

From next Sunday we journey for six weeks into discovering the joys of authentic Christianity. Key word—authentic (consistency between words & actions, between claimed values & actual priorities). God wants you to enjoy close relationships with other believers and with Himself. Relationships that are honest and open where you can share your successes and failures and remain confident of being loved. Deep, rich relationships based on an authentic Christian life. This series will help you apply God’s values into your everyday life. You will learn how to identify the inconsistent areas of your life, discover proven ways to align them with the teachings of the Bible, and find a new joy that comes from growing closer to God. This series is called Being Real—Authentic Christianity. Themes include: Clarity to Spirituality; Truth-telling; Honest emotions; Taking angst out of faith-sharing; Making work fulfilling; Seduction of money.

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How do you see Jesus?

When Jesus was teaching the truth about God and forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and when he was performing miracles and touching people’s lives with his love and care, people were faced with this same question: How do you see Jesus? In Mark 6 we read of one such time:

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sab-bath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been giv-en him, that he even does miracles! 3 Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.

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Hearing the Voice of God

Welcome one and all to our services today... It’s so good to be together as God’s family – I’ve been out of the pulpit for four straight Sundays and I’m hanging out to be teaching this AM because we’re starting a new sermon series called ‘Whisper – hearing the voice of God.’ Just like God spoke to Samuel in the Old Testament, God speaks to us too. Trouble is, we’re often too busy, hassled or self-focused to hear His whisper.

In this new series we’ll be learning how to hear God’s voice. We’ll clear up any confusion about whether God does speak to us personally today through the powerful testimony of a few people as their experience of hearing God’s whisper to them personally is shared ... be patient, all will be revealed during the service.

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Please & Thank You

Being a grandfather, I’m back in the challenges of teaching small children manners like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when they have requests. I love this stage of my life – grandchildren are the best… you can give them back!

In my quiet time with God this week, I came across an article by Pastor Steven Furtick, about God’s children (adults) learning to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ too. He writes: “It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you.’ It’s considered proper protocol. But with God, things are a little bit different.

God has a protocol for how He wants to be approached. And it starts with thanksgiving.”

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A Special Welcome

Welcome to all worshipping with us on Sunday – especially the Watoto Children’s Choir who will take part in our AM service. Special welcome to Pastor Joe and Cecile Vermeulen who ministered with us for six years (2002 to 2008) before moving to lead a church in Perth WA. Joe will be preaching this AM, and together with the Watoto Children’s Choir, we’re all in for a blessed time as we worship our Living God.

The 22 children who form the Watoto Children’s Choir come from Uganda and are aged from eight to thirteen. Their purpose is to raise awareness and enlist support for the plight of orphans in their home country. All of these children have been left parentless due to war, disease or abandonment. Today they are ambassadors for the Watoto Child Care Villages in Uganda, Africa. We have an opportunity to support them through our second offerings today. Their Concert of Hope has been travelling Australia since May.

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Devotion

At our Church Council meetings, one of the elders leads the opening devotion. We’ve been doing this for years and I’ve always appreciated the insights gained from this. Elders focus on issues of their concern or interest. At our CC meeting on Monday, the devotion focused on Eph.5:25-32 which speaks about husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church. Our elder focused on what it means to love the church as Christ loved the church? Think about that for a minute... Do we love the church fully? Really? Is the church our priority over self? The devotion was closed with a reference from a book by Joshua Harris; Stop Dating the Church:

Putting in their hour or two on the weekend, many Christians take the rest of the week off, neglecting the church and her needs. It’s not a serious relationship. Some shop around, looking for a church that suits their lifestyle. It’s dating, with no assurances, no obligations.

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The Story

In my personal quiet time with God, I’ve started reading a book called The Story. This book has 31 chapters that takes the reader through the story of the Bible and shows how Scripture interacts with the story of life (our personal lives). Let me quote from the book:

"The Story will open your eyes to The Lower Story, our story, which is actually many stories of men and women interacting with God in the daily course of life; and the Upper Story, God’s story, which is the tale of his great, overarching purpose that fits all the individual stories together like panels in one unified mural."

As I’m reading through this book, I’m discovering afresh the one story of Scripture – how the Old and New Testaments fit together as one story. I’m discovering how our lives (our stories) fit into The Story of God’s work in the world.

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Temptation

This morning’s sermon theme focuses on temptation. OT Joseph was faced with one of man’s greatest temptations, sex... and as the story unfolds, we see how Joseph was in a position of high authority and could easily have allowed himself to satisfy what must have been a powerful temptation (read Gen.39:6-19). However, for remaining faithful and firm to his convictions, Joseph was rewarded with prison! This seems so unfair to us doesn’t it? Most of us know the story... and most of us know the power of temptations. Who of us wouldn’t like to have more of the resolve Joseph had to remain strong and faithful to our convictions concerning temptations. I’m always reminded of several questions I need to answer and re-answer when the seduction of temptation confronts me: 1. When is the time to decide what to do when tempted? The time to decide is now... not when the...
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Life has ups and life has downs!

June/July takes us into the life of Old Testament Joseph where we will learn lessons applicable to you and me and our families. It never ceases to amaze me how relevant the historical stories of Bible characters are today. No doubt you will find this new sermon series helpful and edifying. I’m sure most of us remember Pastor Joe Vermeulen who left us to move to Perth WA where he and Cecile are pasturing a fast growing church in the northern suburbs. Joe and Cecile will be visiting us in mid July – an invite has been extended to Joe to preach here in the AM service on 17 July 2011. Life has ups and life has downs! We love the ups... we have to accept the downs. As you know, two weeks ago my Mum passed away – five months after my Dad passed away. Even though they were both...
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Hurt People, Free People

I had to drive to the South Side of Brisbane during the week and as I often do when driving, I use the time to listen to CD’s or podcasts relating to ministry. This time I listened to an Afro-American Pastor preach at a well know US church on Martin Luther King weekend. The preacher got right into it I’ll tell you! He hollered & yelled stressing his points as only Afro-American preachers can. I LOVED IT! His exposition of Joseph’s life (OT) was brought to life. Lessons we can learn from Bible characters like this preacher expounded never cease to amaze me. This yelling preacher kept saying: Hurt people, hurt people... Free people, free people. You may need to read that a few times to understand his point. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and had been incarcerated in prison for crimes he did not commit. This guys...
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Jesus’ life through the lens of Mark’s gospel

Welcome to a new month & new sermon series in both AM & PM services. Starting Sunday 1 May in our AM service, we take a look at Jesus’ life through the lens of Mark’s gospel. His account is the shortest of the four gospel writers and he opens with Jesus‘ baptism by John the Baptiser. Moving right into action, Mark quickly prepares us for Christ‘s ministry. The gospel of Mark is concise, straightforward, and chronological. Mark shows clearly that the New Testament is to be read and understood through the Old Testament. Tonight we go into Part 2 of Gospel in Life as we shine the spot light onto telling others about our faith in Jesus Christ. Note the following ways our faith is a witness: your life is under observation by those who don‘t believe your life is the attractor & evidence for the truth of the faith the...
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He is Risen

Welcome to our Easter Services today... if you are a visitor, please make yourself known to us – we have a free gift pack for you and information explaining a little about our church at the Connections Desk. What happened on Easter Sunday over two thousand years ago is a deal-breaker for the Christian faith. This is what the chief priests realised when the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb reported to them the events surrounding his resurrection. Here’s the biblical account of this: “Some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.  When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' “(Matthew 28:11-13)If it could be proven that Jesus didn’t...
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The Year of Living Like Jesus

A guy by the name of Ed Dobson, took up the challenge to live for a whole year according to the teachings of Jesus as best he could. His story is recorded in a book called; The Year of Living Like Jesus. Jesus had been accused of being a glutton and drunkard by the leaders of his day because he asso-ciated with people of non-religious backgrounds. Jesus spent much of his time with sinners and tax-collectors. So Ed would frequently enter bars and talk to patrons and bartenders. Ed, follower of Jesus that he was, had let his beard grow according to the ancient biblical custom, and one day a bartender said: “I like your beard – why are you growing it?” Ed’s response: “I made a commitment on January first to spend the whole year trying to live like Jesus. So the beard is part of the gig.” After some...
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The critical factor is what takes place in the home

One of our pastors sent the following reminder to the rest of our ministry team in a recent email – let me quote part: I have been convicted lately of not putting the big rocks [important things] in my life first (God, spiritual disciplines, family) and I would encourage all of us to be intentionally spending time with God and intentionally praying for our Church and services. If we don't have God's blessing and anointing on what we are doing, we are merely chasing the wind. How true! Quieting our heart before the Lord daily is as important as diet, exercise and rest. Ignore any of them, and life gets tough. Please, take a moment to do a self-check, do you sense the important things in your life have taken a back seat? The decision to bring it to the front is yours. I'm praying we will all feel convicted to...
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Old Mother Hubbard

Most of us can recall learning the poem about Old Mother Hubbard. Old Mother Hubbard, Went to the cupboard To get her poor doggie a bone, When she got there The cupboard was bare So the poor little doggie had none. I was reminded of this nursery rhyme during the week – and the message of this poem is not lost on me as I consider the reality that our church's cupboard is leading to a bare cupboard too... Please consider the implications of our ministry within our church and wider community. At present our church's income is close to $25k behind budget. I know that many godly committed church families are feeling the effect of the recent global financial crisis (GFC) and the result is less money to go around. That and the busyness of life causes us to overlook our responsibility in keeping the 'cupboard' at BPCC stocked. Consider...
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Are we living in the last days?

Are we living in the last days? I have been asked this question quite a lot lately. No wonder, when you consider events we've been either subjected to or witnessed on news broadcasts of late. These events cause us to wonder... are we living in the end times? I find great comfort in Jesus' words concerning our tendency to fear and worry about end times. Jesus said: ―You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At...
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The Payback of Patience...

How patient are you? How do you handle waiting in line? Traffic lights? Ads on TV? How do you act when things don't move fast enough for you? Graciously, or not so graciously? You never know who is watching when you are in one of those frustrating times of ‗having to wait.' Do you ever think about how your actions influence others? When your actions match what you say you believe, it's a powerful witness. When your actions don't match what you say, your witness can be destructive! You can imagine how this truth came home to me recently when I went to a local store to purchase something. I had waited a long time in a slow-moving line to pay for one little item. The people in front of me had stacks of items. Then I was overlooked while somebody else was served ahead of me. When it was finally...
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Prayer

My mother in law Carmel has been diagnosed with breast cancer, had surgery today. Please pray for a good outcome Stephanie Scouler, one of the yr. 12 girls on the Solomon’s trip has had bad news today, her grandmother in New Zealand died this morning, her family will be going to NZ for the funeral, when Steph comes back on Sunday her family will still be in NZ. Please pray for her as she deals with this loss being so far away and without her family around her. I had a text from Bruce tonight telling me that there is another team from doing some work in another part of the Solomon’s, one of their members has suffered an electrocution, he lent against some live wires, he is ok but has burns to his feet. He is recovering at the SWIM base, they are hoping he will recover quickly and...
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