From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

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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Don’t Waste Your Life! Do The One Thing That Matters.

As most of you have heard our family is moving back to Tasmania to re-enter the funeral business. It has been and still is extremely hard to say goodbye to so many I have had the privilege of doing life with. I am going to miss everyone so much.

House of Mourning

That said, there is one element of the funeral business that I think is good for all of us to learn from. The writer of Ecclesiastes (7:2) states, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Psalms say it this way: “Teach us to num-ber our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12). This is what the house of mourning is for: Lessons in mortality and the learning of wisdom.

John Piper, an author and pastor says “Sometimes God makes us go to the house of mourning. He decrees cancer. We are forced to live in the shadow of our funeral—the school of wisdom.”

Steve Jobs (Apple founder) when he was diagnosed with cancer learned some wisdom and shared this advice: “Do a couple of things, and do them well. You don’t have time for much. And most of those things are not last-ing. So do two or three things, and do them amazingly.”

Jesus taught a similar lesson: “seek first the kingdom of God”, “Love God and love people”, “build heavenly treasure not earthly treasure.”

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The Key to Living A Blessed Life

Do you want to grow in God? Do you want to experience greater freedom?

Greater power to live in God’s will?

If you answered, yes, like I did hopefully the following will help you as it has helped me?

The key to living a blessed life is a continual rediscovery of the gospel. This is because it is so easy to lose focus of what the Gospel (Great News) is.

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The Blessing of Breaking Nets

Do you ever get to the end of a really hectic day (or week, or month) and complain to God and others about the pressures and challenges you’re required to endure? I’ve been in that place of late… and then I stumbled upon the following insightful blog titled The Blessing of Breaking Nets.

In Luke 5:1-5 we read that Jesus’ disciples had a problem. They had been fishing all night, but their nets were empty. Verses 6-11 tell us that after they followed Jesus’ instruction to put out their nets again, the disciples faced a different problem. Now their nets started to break. Imagine being in that boat and the nets begin to break – you’re required to act quickly and do something about it? What?

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News from the Church

Good morning everyone – again it is my prayer that we will all experience meaningful worship, fellowship and encouragement this Sunday. Each Sunday we have three church services—AM Church, Café Church and PM Church. I’ve been really encouraged to see more young families come to PM Church since we’ve been providing child-care during the sermon part of the service.

I want to mention two very special birthdays happing in the new week. Mrs J Mellema turns 96 next Thursday (10th) and Mrs L Beumer turns 95 next Friday (11th). Congratulations to both these dear ladies and long-time members of our church family. We praise God for both these ladies!

Seven families from the community were helped by our Compassion Cupboard ministry on Wednesday  – and the cupboard is now bare again! Could you please help us with non-perishable food donations? Maybe you’re able to help with a special financial contribution? Please speak to Pastor Jim or the person on our Connections Desk.

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Miracles or Magic

One thing I do most mornings as part of my ‘connect with God’ routine is read a daily blog a pastor of a very effective church writes. Let me share one I read on Thursday which I’m calling: Miracles or Magic

 

When you look at the miracles in the Bible, you see two themes consistently emerge when it comes to the person involved in the miracle.

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Be Authentic

Galatians 6:2-3, “…Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself…”

We are well into our series Authentic Christianity which for me and I believe others is stirring a desire for continued spiritual transformation. I was reading some material titled STIR which stands for Spiritual Transformation In Relationships and it showed an image of a paint tin with several colours being stirred together. It got me thinking what should happen when Christ followers mix with other Christ followers; should they remain the same or should change occur? How would spiritual transformation happen through these relationships?

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I want to be WEIRD

This weekend, a number of our church family are at Family Camp on the Sunshine Coast. No doubt they’ll be having a great time as they get to know one another better. To all those worshiping with us either in AM Church, Café Church or PM Church a huge WELCOME.

I’m reading the book called Weird! And it is – it is weird! The book is the basis of a 5 part sermon series we recently had in our PM Church in conjunction with LifeChurch.tv. Craig Groeschel is the author of the book and preacher of the sermons, and I confirm his conclusion: “Being weird is good, I don’t ever want to be normal again BECAUSE normal isn’t working!” Let me explain:

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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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