From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

The Importance of Lent

Do you celebrate or recognise Lent? Do you do anything special or significant to prepare your heart for Easter? Maybe you haven’t given it a lot of thought. So, what is Lent? The season of Lent is traditionally the 40 days leading up to Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. For many Christians, Lent is a time for self-examination and reflection, a time to prepare spiritually for Easter. Lent offers us an opportunity to again acknowledge our sinful nature and our need for a Saviour. It’s a time to repent of our own rebelliousness, and return to God. Lent is also an opportunity to contemplate and reflect upon what our Lord Jesus endured on the Cross to achieve our redemption. I must admit that some years Easter sneaks up on me and I find...
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The Finish Line

Recently I’ve been dwelling on the words of one of my favourite passages in the Bible: Revelation 21:1-5. These verses have always been a great encouragement to me, and I am looking forward to preaching on them in a few weeks. This passage stands out from the surrounding chapters of Revelation because it is one of the few parts of this enigmatic book that is comparatively clear and easy to understand. There are no dragons, cups of wrath, or symbolic gems to try and interpret. I mentioned these verses in a recent message I gave at the Genesis Christian College Middle School Chapel. In the message I spoke on perseverance—and these verses are what my mind turns to when I think of the end point of the race we are running, the finish line. Because as broken and challenging as this world is, our existence will not always be like this—we...
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What a Watchmaker Can Teach Us About Work

What did you want to ‘be’ when you grew up? I love asking my children what they want to be. Over the years they’ve wanted to be superheroes, postmen, policemen, and more. Once my youngest son told me he wanted to be a car-robber, so he could drive really fast – that was an interesting teaching moment about stealing and making right choices! When we become adults and actually start working, the anticipated joy and fun of working we had as children quickly fades! But of course, work is a blessing, isn’t it? In his book ‘Called to Create’, author Jordan Raynor talks about work being used in powerful ways to glorify God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus Christ. He uses Casper ten Boom as an excellent example of how everyday work can be used to accomplish God’s will. He writes: In a fallen world, it can be difficult...
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This Little Light of Mine

We remember singing a song as children titled "This Little Light of Mine." As we sang we held up our index fingers and twirled them around. The second verse is "Hide it under a bushel, No! I'm gonna let it shine." The next verse is titled "Don't let Satan blow it out" and the last verse is "Shine my light 'til Jesus comes!" We are sure you can imagine the hand motions for each verse. (I just looked it up; you can find a Veggie Tales version of the song on YouTube) It was a fun song to sing, but neither of us remember any Sunday school teacher of ours stopping to talk to us about what the song actually means.  We encourage you to go on YouTube and play the song for your kids if you don't already know it. What do your kids think their "light" is?  If you...
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Personal message to my church family…

Last Sunday I announced to the church that at the end of March 2018, I will retire as Snr Pastor. 31 March 2018 will be my last official day in the office as I will be taking some leave. My decision to do this comes about because of continuing health challenges which prevent me from functioning as effectively as I need to in this role. I assure you, my decision has involved much prayer, medical advice, and wise counsel. Carla and I are not leaving – we will continue to worship and serve here in our church family. We love BPCC! Church Council have been very supportive as I’ve wrestled with this decision. We have also been working for many months on the succession plan of my replacement, which is the recommendation that Adam Schoenmaker become Snr Pastor to continue leading our church and wonderfully gifted ministry leadership team. We have...
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Committed to Growth

Growth doesn’t happen automatically. Ask anyone or anything. To grow tall and strong, trees need sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and nutrients from the soil. A baby needs love, sleep, and lots and lots of milk. There are certain elements required for all organisms to grow. It is the same when it comes to our relationship with God. Our growth in Christ-likeness doesn’t happen automatically with the passing of time. The writer of Hebrews once said to a group of Christians: “...though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.” (Heb. 5:12). These Christians grew older, but they did not grow up. The truth is that spiritual growth requires a commitment to grow. The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:12-13: “12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence...
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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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A Different Kind of Year-End List

One of my favourite things about this time of year—apart from Christmas, cricket season, and more time with family—are the end-of-year lists. Everything released during the year, from albums to movies to books, are reviewed and ranked. I enjoy looking back on the year that was and discovering what other people enjoyed and what I might have missed. However, on this, the last day of 2017, I’d like to offer a different kind of year-end list; one that does not look backwards but forward. One that takes into account our rapidly changing cultural landscape and casts an eye towards the type of church required in our volatile times. This list offers four realities that, I believe, must mark the church in our day, and it is offered in the hope that it might give us a pathway toward health, vitality, and influence in the days ahead. The four realities are: Clear...
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The Greatest Gift

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received? I have been given lots of beautiful gifts at Christmas time and for my birthday. Two particular gifts, however, stand out in my memory. The first was when I was a teenager, my parents gifted me a ‘debt paid in full’ certificate. I had a credit card loan to pay for a car accident which I shouldn’t have caused because I didn’t even have my licence. Talk about a gift undeserved! The other was receiving my engagement ring from Troy early one Christmas morning 16 years ago. Such a special memory! There are of course gifts in life that come from our experiences. Travelling overseas and seeing remarkable sights, holding your newborn child for the first time, overcoming sickness, I could go on. My children are very excited about receiving their Christmas gifts in a few days time. I find their excitement infectious; it...
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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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Christmas Trees

Is your Christmas tree up yet? If it was up to our youngest daughter, our tree would have gone up weeks ago, but others in our family are adamant you aren’t even allowed to mention Christmas until December. Our neighbours spend a lot of time and energy (and money) putting up amazing lights and decorations at Christmas time, and of course, they started back in October! One house in particular has a really big Christmas tree made entirely of lights. It’s so bright and tall that we can see it from our back veranda, even though it’s quite a distance away. It’s beautiful. We’ve spent the last few weeks of Kidz Church talking about Christmas trees. We’ve talked about the lights, the ornaments, the tinsel, and of course, the star. Each element teaches us something about Jesus and His love for us. When a bulb burns out on a string of...
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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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Reflections on my first year at BPCC

Exactly one year ago today was my first day at BPCC—wow, it has gone fast! Reflecting on the year that has been, I have learnt a lot, been challenged a lot, laughed a lot, grown a lot, and enjoyed it a lot! There are a couple of things, though, that have really stood out to me about BPCC as I reflect on the year. We have an awesome community. From the first time that I visited BPCC, I’ve been struck by the strong sense of family and unity that we have in our church, and when I moved up I was immediately welcomed and accepted—which was a huge blessing, having moved away from all my family and friends! And throughout this past year the community has been a great encouragement and help to myself personally and to our Youth Ministry. There are so many people who have cheerfully helped me out...
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Our Children and Lord’s Supper

Whenever we partake in the Lord’s Supper, it is a special moment. The Lord’s Supper is one of only two sacraments (means of grace) given to us by Jesus (the other being baptism). It is momentous because the Lord Jesus meets us visibly and vitally at His Table. But perhaps you’ve wondered: Should our children come to the Table? Should they too receive the Lord’s Supper? This is a good question. In order to clarify our position, we have prepared a positon statement on this very question, most of which can be found below. For the full paper, head over to the church website at: www.bpcc.com.au/grow/resources. What is the Lord’s Supper?Jesus Christ instituted what is known as the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26–30; Mark 14:22–26; Luke 22:19–20). He commanded that all Christians should eat bread and drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death, and all that it...
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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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New Life Sunday

Coming Sunday is New Life Sunday.  We will have the founder of New Life Orphanage in Myanmar, Bella and her son Israel with us. They now jointly lead the amazing ministry caring for 158 children. New Life Orphanage has just reached its 25-year anniversary, and our church’s involvement was initiated by Errit Petrusma following a trip he made to Myanmar with Bible League in 1998. Today a formal Board based here in Brisbane governs the sponsorship necessary to continue this vital ministry to so many children. I look forward to interviewing Bella and Israel during our AM service, as well as show a short video of the children’s daily routine. This Sunday is also our monthly Connect Sunday where we encourage everyone to stay to connect with each other. This will be done over a Pot-Luck meal following AM church, and Pot-Luck meal before PM church (from 5.00PM). Please join us....
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The Power of a Gift

This Sunday we intend to celebrate the 253 children who will be receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox this year. Through your amazing generosity, we have been able to fill 253 shoeboxes with gifts for children in countries around the world who are in desperate need. These children will be receiving practical things like clothing, school supplies, soap, a cuddly toy and something to play with. It is also our hope and prayer that they will receive much joy from that box and that they would know there is a God who loves them abundantly.    Many of the boxes have items in that our children have made at Kidz Church. The kids tie-dyed clothing, used beads to make jewellery, assembled Lego kits, decorated marble bags and covered exercise books. And I know that God is doing big things in the hearts of our children as they actively live out God’s...
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Bray Park Carols 2017

Carols is on Saturday the 2nd of December. As we’ve said before; the Carols event is an excellent opportunity for us to tangibly demonstrate God’s love to the local community and to share the life-changing message of the Gospel! We can all be involved in supporting Carols and it is our prayer that you all know there is a way you can be involved. From praying, serving on the day, to giving and financially supporting (see giving options below). We ALL can help! The theme of Carols this year is ‘Christmas Star’. Want to know why? In Matthew 2 we read about a star leading the magi (wise men) to Jesus. For those science loving friends there is a lot of interesting reading about the phenomenon of this star. But the long and short is that a star miraculously appeared and showed the wise men the way to Jesus. We pray...
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