From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

In the New Testament a man named Zacchaeus had a surprise dinner guest. One day, as Jesus was walking by and the crowds gathered around, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a better view. He presumed Jesus would just pass him by, but Jesus had so much more planned for Zacchaeus. Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly....
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'Pure Joy'

James 1:2-6 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faithproduces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be matureand complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. When we chase after God, expect Satan to try and get in our way. The harder we chase, the harder he’ll try to throw us off course, confuse us and distract us. Satan would love nothing more than to stop our pursuit of God. In James one, we’re told to consider these trials “pure joy.” They remind us that what we are doing with our lives–our pursuit–matters. It’s not just a hobby or a game. So, as...
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Give Thanks

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe” (Psalm 107:1-2)   How do we approach life, work, and family? Are we genuinely grateful for what we have? Or are we always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else?    In Psalm 107, the psalmist encourages us to be thankful; to come before God with a thankful heart for all we have and for all that God has done for us and is continuing to do.   In recent days I’m sure we have all heard about the effects of the heavy rainfall and flooding that has ravaged the east coast all the way down to Tasmania. But in the midst of the devastation there have also been encouraging reports of people’s generosity and willingness to help others.   The...
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Thank You to all who Serve

This past week was National Volunteer Week across Australia (May 9th – 15th). The theme for this year was ‘Give Happy, Live Happy.’ Obviously, the organisers mean to suggest that when people volunteer they live happier and healthier lives. Indeed, much research has been done regarding the benefits of volunteering, with the results showing that our wellbeing comes not from money or consumerism, but from having meaningful endeavours in our lives. Studies have even shown links between generosity and our immune system. Volunteering is not just good for our physical health, but for our psychological and emotional health too. Engaging in generous and altruistic behaviour makes you want to be even more generous and altruistic. Volunteering creates for us a healthy and positive loop: the more you volunteer, the healthier you become, and the more you want to volunteer and serve others. And, of course, giving of ourselves to help and...
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Real Connections

“It’s not wealth that has made me happy, it’s my family.” So said the popstar, Sting, in an interview. He comes from a poor working class background in the north of England, but now is wealthy. Do you agree that what’s most important in life is not our money or possessions or achievements, but our relationships? I believe that in life, relationships matter. Without close relationships in our lives, stress and anxiety levels are more likely to increase. Yet, in our technological society close relationships are becoming harder and harder to maintain. We smile when we see people sitting at the same table buried in their iPhones rather than talking. Then we realise we sometimes do the same thing. Meaningful and balanced relationships are essential to living a healthy life, and when these relationships are broken, the impact on everyone is enormous. While we all appreciate the tremendous advances in our...
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Read and Reflect

[Christianity] is not about simply obeying a set of rules; it’s about growing in a relationship with God. 1. We are all sinners, and we will struggle against sin until we die. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It doesn’t matter if we pray every 5 minutes or every month. We are all equally undeserving of the grace God has given us. It’s the best kind of gift — a gift that sets us free from our natural inclination to sin and resist God. And there’s nothing we can do to earn it. 2. We have the privilege of obeying God with our actions. We won’t do this perfectly, but we are commanded in the Bible to model ourselves after Jesus and try to be more like Him every day. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also...
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What does Easter mean for you?

EasteronthelawnWhy is it that the church tries so hard to get people to come along at Easter? And why is it that Easter is probably the one time of year when everyone—even those who really don't believe in God at all—might go to church? It is because what happened at Easter is the foundation of our faith. This is what a man named Paul said. Paul was a sceptic of Christianity until he met the Lord in a very dramatic way while traveling on a busy Roman highway. He became one of the most passionate evangelists in the history of the church. Paul said that if what happened on Easter—Jesus Christ rising from the dead is not real and true we have missed this powerful reality. And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. — 1 Corinthians 15:19...
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Foundations

Foundations Luke 6:47-48 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. If you grew up in the church, you have probably heard the parable of the man who built his house on the rock and the man who built his house on the sand. Maybe you can even recall the words to that catchy tune that is based upon this parable, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”? We can often focus on the foundation of the man whose house was built on the rock. He obeys the words of Jesus and his house stays up. We often...
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Are you living a passionate, hopeful life?

Are you living a passionate, hopeful life? Do you wonder how people live that way? Where do we find hope and passion in a hurting and at times dysfunctional world? After Jesus was crucified, the disciples were confused and devastated. They hoped He would be the one to redeem Israel, but their hope turned to despair as they watched Jesus bleed and die on a cross. They locked themselves in a room, fearing that they, too, would be captured and killed. Then in the book of Acts, the disciples boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus to government officials, angry stone-throwing crowds, and the Pharisees who had Jesus killed. What gave them their courage? What gave them their passion? The disciples encountered the resurrected Jesus in the midst of their pain, despair, and doubt. They heard Jesus was alive, “But they did not believe...because their words seemed to them like nonsense”...
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Draw Near….

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” Joshua 1:5-6 In the first chapter of Joshua, Moses has died and God tells Joshua that it’s time for him to cross over and lead God’s people into the promised land. Who knows what Joshua was feeling in that moment. Fearful? Alone? Scared of the unknown? Despite how he may have felt, God’s promise to Joshua was that He would never leave or forsake him. The word ‘forsaken’ literally means to be abandoned, deserted, or forgotten. For all my days  In Your shadow I will remain  Oh I could stay here forever  By Your side  I...
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Joy!

This Sunday is an important day in the life of our church… It’s our 2015 Community Carols! Each year we have a theme for our Carols event, and this year the theme and focus is ‘Joy’. This is a particularly appropriate theme because in the Gospel of Luke we are told that the coming of Jesus Christ to earth is all about joy!   Luke 2:8-12 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a...
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God is Always Faithful

In the middle of a problem, it is easy to lose sight of God’s faithfulness and His goodness. We often find ourselves focusing on our problems when we’re in them and forgetting everything else. But God has a purpose in the struggle and He is faithful, no matter what. The book of Joshua opens with its main character, Joshua, in a tough situation. After Moses’ death, God decided to put Joshua in charge of ALL of the Israelites that Moses had been leading on the journey to the Promised Land. To say that a huge role of leadership was suddenly given to Joshua would be an understatement! But Joshua was faithful throughout the rest of his journey leading God’s people to the Promised Land because He knew that, no matter what, God is faithful. Joshua was able to maintain his focus on God because he REMEMBERED that God is faithful. In...
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Words, Words

Words are powerful. Some linger in the back of our minds, others bring a smile to our face. Some words we wish we would have said, and others we wish we didn’t. A chat with a close friend warms our hearts, even though miles may separate us. Yet over the years, we have somehow grown to accept the current reality of friendship as it is expressed today—a reality that will likely remain for sometime. Texts, emails, Facebook messages, and the occasional phone calls are our primary modes of communication these days, and I've accepted that. I might even go so far to say that, most days, I am used to it. But while I may have accepted it, that doesn't mean at times I wish things were different; that we lived closer, that we saw each other more often, that we weren't so busy. Sometimes we only have a few words...
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