From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Talking With Kids

Little kids continually amaze me – and I mean in a good way! They seem to be like little sponges soaking up everything that is going on around them. They seem to be able to repeat things you’ve said, even after you’ve forgotten saying them. They echo things they’ve heard on tv and just seem to learn new things all the time. My almost 3yr old daughter has discovered the fun of counting and you can often hear her playing in her room or looking through a book saying “1, 2, 3, 4, 5….” and the last number comes out in a triumphant shout! My almost 2yr old niece has learnt that if you say ‘please’, wonderful things happen. Or in her case it comes out as ‘peas’!

I’ve often had conversations with other Mums who wrestle with how to talk to their little ones about the truths of God. “I mean, how much are they understanding anyway?” they say. “And the Easter story is kind of tricky to explain to a little one”. Well yes it is, but once again I think most of us have been amazed at how much little ones are capable of taking in. And not only taking in, but accepting and believing. Yes, we need to keep the message simple, but let’s be honest with our kids and tell it how it is. Jesus had to die on the cross, but he came alive again, so that we can be friends with God. And say it often!

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The Sacrifice

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.

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Palm Sunday

Every now and again I run out of any logic or wisdom, then I go and see MY counsellor. The last time I went I told her that I would love to increase the peace in our home. She asked me whether I’m talking about Peace or “Absence of War”, which made me realise that there is a difference. She told me that a “lack of War” is not going to happen while I have two teenage sons in the house. I wanted to say to her: “Thanks! I didn’t come here to hear that there is no hope!” - She explained to me that it is apparently quite normal for teenagers, who are growing towards independence, to declare war at times.

So, does that mean that there is no hope?! Can we have peace even though we may have differences of opinions with the ones we love? Can Peace and Joy exist in the presence of difficult circumstances?

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Today Jesus entered Jerusalem, not as a King on the back of a horse declaring War, but humbly on a donkey to bring peace, as foretold in Zechariah 9:

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Gems & Cadets

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what is happening at GEMS and Cadets here at BPCC.2012 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for these ministries, with many great activities planned. Each year GEMS and Cadets around Australia work through a theme, this year the theme is ‘Get Wisdom” and is based on the book of Proverbs, so this year we will study the book of Proverbs helping these kids to realise that God’s wisdom is so much better than the wisdom of the world. It has been really encouraging to see the kids really digging into the word of God.

GEMS and Cadets around the country also support a mission each year. This year we will be focusing on raising money for the Bethesda Disability Centre in the SolomonIslands. As part of the mission focus for 2011/12 the kids will learn more about people with disabilities andlife in the Solomon Islands. We plan to have fundraising events throughout the year and would love for youto support these events as our goal is to help the centre to set up their own egg farm so that they can become self funded.

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Why I Love the Church

There were times when I used to dread going to Church... My parents would wake me up early (okay it was usually around 8am which, in my defence, when you are a teenager feels more like 4am) and I would have to brush my hair (God forbid) and put on some ‘nice’ clothes (something with a collar) and then sit though the singing and the long prayers. Of course, I am being overly dramatic but there was a time for me when Church wasnot a chance to connect with God and His people but more of a weekly appointment that I had to keep.

Thankfully, God is gracious and over the years my view of Church changed dramatically! Instead of attending just to say that I had, I started to look forward to going to Church, I looked forward to hearing the Bible taught, I looked forward to seeing people prayed for and I looked forward to spending time with other believers. The gospel changed my heart and moved me towards seeing Church not as a service to attend but as a family to belong to and a place to serve God and others. My motivation for coming to Church changed from what I could get out of it, to what I could bring and give and contribute.

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Do you have faith?

Do you have faith?

Have you ever been out of your comfort zone? Last year I took one of the biggest ‘leaps’ of my life, twice in fact! I went on the Canyon Swing cliff jump. Imagine standing a ledge, 150m above a rocky shallow river… then you take a step. Your heart is racing, palms clammy, and the thought of death might have crossed your mind. When you take that step, you freefall then swing on one of the biggest swings you’ve ever been on. It is refreshing, all those fears are gone, and you wondered why you ever feared.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he [Jesus] said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt 14:28-30.

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Four Sunday Church Services

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.

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It’s how we regard Jesus

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.

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Care Network

Matthew 25: 40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

It is my privilege to represent you at the Care network meeting this week. Six churches are part of this network and our aim is minister to needy people in our community. Our major roll is to provide emergency food. Some of you bring food on a Sunday and leave in the foyer of the church and we give it out on a Wednesday. This year we have averaged five families each week looking for help.

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How are we doing as a church?

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.

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On a Quest

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.

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On the Jesus Mission Together

God didn't intend for us to do life alone. In fact, God himself experiences community in the Godhead. Community and togetherness are not only essential to a happy and whole life but they are essential to a vibrant and productive faith.

There are four social contexts in which humans have always operated; Intimate context (2’s & 3’s), Personal context (10-12), Social context (20-70) and Public context (70plus). We are hardwired to seek and desire community, an extended family. The BPCC family operates in all four of these social contexts. The public context happens on a Sunday, the social, personal and intimate context happens under the umbrella of Life Groups, our discipleship pathway.

Let me explain further.

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New Opportunities

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.

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Being Occupied with God

Only one week of school holidays left, so enjoy! As life begins to pick up speed again so many things will start to fill our days, our weeks, our calendar’s, our minds. It’s hard to decide what’s most crucial?

What are the most important?

During a visit to Brazil, the late US Senator Robert Kennedy was taken to the interior to observe some of the tribal life. Through an interpreter, he was introduced to a native Brazilian who had recent-ly been converted to Christ. Kennedy told the interpreter to ask him what he enjoys doing the most. The native Brazilian’s surprising reply was, ‘Being occupied with God.” The senator, expecting the man to say something like fishing or hunting, was convinced that something had been lost in the translation. So he repeated the question, only to hear the same reply: “Being occupied with God.”

What an interesting way to speak about our basic pursuit or purpose! How would you have answered Kennedy’s question?

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Prayer

This week I have been thinking a lot about PRAYER and doing some honest soul searching and looking at ways to be more disciplined. I have to admit that last year was a bit hit and miss and I know that is not what it should be.

It has been suggested that prayer prepares us for ministry but I’m starting to think that prayer is ministry. In prayer Jesus fought the battles. How many times do we read that he spent the night alone in prayer?

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Make Me Like Joe

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’

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So what can I do?

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.

 

Personal Ponderings…

 

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.

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Christmas

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!

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And the greatest of these is love…

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.

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Christmas - A Time To Slow Down

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.

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