From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Pentecost Sunday

Have you ever heard the song ‘There is a Redeemer’ by Keith Green? Being an 80’s child, I had the privilege of listening to Keith Green’s music as Mum used to play his songs (loudly) every Sunday morning! ‘There is a Redeemer’ was one that I would often hum during the day after hearing it in the morning. Today is a special day in the Christian calendar. It is Pentecost Sunday and as I began to reflect on the significance of this day I was reminded of this song. Part of the lyrics say “Thank you Oh my Father for giving us your Son, and leaving Your Spirit Here ‘til the work on Earth is done”.

Every year on Pentecost Sunday we remember God’s gift of the Holy Spirit given to us; His power available and living in us! We read in Acts 2:1-3 “When the day of the Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

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God is Good, God is Sovereign

It’s really easy sometimes to make ourselves the focus; to try and work harder to achieve our goals. Sometimes these goals are not bad, they may be Godly. For instance, at the moment one of our visions for the youth ministry is to see a passionate Christ-centred culture at youth. This is a great thing. It brings glory to Christ! But many times I’ve caught myself thinking that I need to do something to create this culture myself, as if I have the power to do it! It’s completely opposite to what God teaches us. The Bible shows that Jesus has always come first, not us. We have never been the centre of the story; Jesus came down to us, we didn’t go up to Him.

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Impacting past our four walls

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?

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….Your Word is Truth John 17:17b

This year at Gems and Cadets we are encouraging the boys and girls to ‘Search for the Truth’ throughout their lives.  This is a challenge I want to encourage us all to take up. In our culture today we are sold so many false messages that go against what the word of God says, it is important to remember that we are only temporary residents in our world, as it  says in 1 Peter 2:11-12

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when he judges the world.[a]

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Books, Nerds and Jesus.

I have a confession to make. This isn’t going to be easy, but here goes…

I love to read.

I love to buy books, collect books and I even like the smell of books.

In fact, one of my favourite things to do is wander through a bookstore, scoping out my next literary conquest. Then, when I have a bit of spare time, I love to find a quiet place to be on my own and read. That is my happy place.

There I said it. I have outed myself as a nerd and a bibliophile.

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Man has not made it, man cannot fix it

When I was a little girl, Dad was amazing! He knew everything and he could fix anything. When my toys broke, I didn’t break into tears like other kids. I just took it to Dad and he would fix it. Even if it meant putting a flame to the plastic and melting the parts together again. It may have only lasted for a day, but in my mind Dad fixed it for a day. Dad’s motto was: “If man has made it, then man can fix it.” Simple.

Dad was not pleased at all when I told him that I intended to go and study Social Work. He looked at me and all he said was: “My child, Man has not made it…”

I was 17. Need I say more? … After completing my studies, I started working as a Social Worker at a psychiatric hospital, in forensics. I quickly learned that man may not have made man but, boy, could we break it!!! After 10 years I walked away from Social Work, burned out and convinced that only God can help me and mankind.

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What Easter Celebrates!

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:

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Easter 2013: Swimming with Elephants

The Easter weekend is possibly the most important event on the Church calendar. The cross of Christ and his empty tomb stand at the very centre of the Christian faith. But many people ask the question; why? In fact, throughout history people have asked over and over again, why did Jesus Christ suffer and die? It is a question that on the surface appears simple to answer, and in fact it is. But it is also a question that we could spend the rest of our lives answering and reflecting upon. I like what Tim Keller says: “The gospel has been described as a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant can swim. It is both simple enough to tell to a child and profound enough for the greatest minds to explore.” So I would like to remind you of a few reasons why Jesus came to die and the ensuing results and in doing so I hope that you would take a swim with the elephants; plumbing the rich depths of the Easter message.

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New Life Orphanage

nlo1Many of you know that we as a church have been actively involved with New Life Orphanage in Burma for many years. Most years a team of folk from our church go to there on ministry trips. Teams have been involved in building projects, teaching the children life skills such as sewing, English, crafts etc… Next month another team will be going including our Youth Worker Nicole Cornes, Amelia Wooderson and Beverly Heazlewood (Beverley has been on many such trips – she is a wealth of knowledge about our work with the 165 children). I have just returned from a weeklong visit there where I was teaching pastors on the topic of Biblical Leadership for Pastoral Ministry. Ninety five pastors enrolled for the seminar – way more than had been expected. Forty five attended all the four days, thirty five attended three days, and the rest attended two or one day....
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Pine Rivers Care Network

On Wednesday morning I was fortunate to attend, along with Pastor Jim, an information session hosted by the Pine Rivers Care Network (PRCN). I was greatly encouraged to hear about all the good work that the PRCN is involved in and I must admit I was also a little proud to hear how BPCC is a vital cog in all of that. The PRCN is a network of churches and organizations that bring together shared ideas, resources and information to meet a wide range of needs in our community including financial support (CAP Money, NILS), housing needs (homeless support services), material resources (baby needs, furniture, school needs), legal and financial advocacy, as well as emotional and social support (counselling, medical, support groups).

It was so encouraging to be around people that genuinely love people and want to help them, even if they receive nothing in return (Luke 14:12-14). It was so encouraging to hear stories from people who are doing what Jesus’ commanded by feeding the hungry, by giving thirsty people a drink, by welcoming in strangers, by clothing the naked, and by visiting the sick and infirm (Matt. 25:41-46). It was so encouraging to hear how so many people from BPCC are intimately involved in these efforts as well. Whether that is in the Community Cupboard (food relief), CAP Money (budgeting), NILS (No Interest Loan Scheme) or the Simply Single ministry (which we found out is unique in our area and is meeting a great need). BPCC, be encouraged, you are making a difference!

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Prayer

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.

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Thank You

Tiiu, Kezia, Tiana and I want to say thank you to you, who have been our church family for the last 8 years and where I also have had the privilege and honour of being a pastor for almost 5 of those years. It is with some sadness that we will be leaving this loving and vibrant Christian community of which we have many fond memories and ongoing friendships, but as the old adage goes nothing stays the same forever and we can always be certain of change. I have taken a position in the Churches of Christ as a Chaplain in their aged care services, overseeing the pastoral care team for two campuses in Brisbane.

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Access Groups

Hebrews 10:24 – 25, 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If you are new to us or not in a Life Group then we want to help you take the next step and invite you to join an Access Group that will meet on Wednesday nights 7pm at the Church. In addition to a much shorter commitment 4 to 6 weeks, Access Groups will be sermon based and tie in with a Sunday sermon series each term. This term we have a 4 week Access Group that will run from 20 Feb to 13 March, childcare is available, start anytime by signing up at our connection center.

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COMMUNITY CARE

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the lord – and he will repay you.”
Proverbs 19: 17

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in.”
Matthew 25:35

I have just completed a review of 2012 and discovered that we handed out 214 food parcels in the year, an average of four a week. This year so far we have helped forty four people. That is an average of seven a week. By this you can see that the need has increased greatly. We have also assisted people with $20.00 fuel vouchers. A total of 80 of these were handed out last year. I attended the Pine Rivers Care Network meeting this week and all the churches are reporting the same increase in people asking for help.

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Sharing your faith without sweating

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.

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Clarifying our church’s ministry goals

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.

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Prayer = Helplessness

I am not a very good ‘pray-er’. I’m not sure if that is too honest but it is true. Laying my heart bare before the Lord and seeking His will and intervention in every area of my life is not something that comes naturally to me. I have to work at it. And I don’t think I am alone. I get the impression from talking to a number of people that many followers of Jesus Christ find prayer just plain old difficult. We pray at life group or before meals or maybe when illness strikes but beyond that we are largely silent before the Lord.

And I think I might know why.

Beneath prayerlessness, beneath our lack of urgency and fervour to seek the Lord is the illusion that ultimately we are in control. We feel like we are in charge of how things work out in our lives. Our lack of prayer reveals that we are quietly confident that our intellect, our time, our money and our talent are all that we need to get by in life. That illusion remains firmly in place until something happens to completely shatter it; whether it be sickness, loss of work or a loved one, we suddenly realise our actual position before God; completely dependent and utterly helpless.

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Christmas Day 2012

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.

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The best is yet to come

A couple of weekends ago, Molly and I ventured south to Geelong where we attended the ‘Fan the Flame’ conference at the Reformed Theological College. ‘Fan the Flame’ is an annual conference held by the RTC aimed at encouraging and equipping anyone that feels they might be called to pastoral ministry in the CRCA. It was a rich and edifying couple of days for both Molly and I as we sat under some brilliant exposition of God’s Word and learnt what it means to be “called” to ministry and to fulfil the mission that Jesus has given the Church to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). It was a blessing to attend and Molly and I both thank you, our Church family, for sending us along.

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Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings! Yes it is that time of the year again Christmas is almost upon us; have you sent your requests to Father Christmas yet (alias ……….. fill in the blank), have you sent out your Christmas cards, have you sent out presents that need to go to another state or overseas. Maybe I just sent your thoughts to a place of …..oh NO! only 3 weeks to go or are you thinking yum all that food. Jesus Christ the sent one We often see the nativity scene in certain stores or at our shopping centres with ba-by Jesus in the middle surrounded by farm animals, shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary. We know that nine months before this scene an angel of the Lord ap-peared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in...
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