Courageous Faith

Series: Courageous Faith

Date: 17 June 2018

Souvenirs. Momentos. Keepsakes. From that Opera House snow-globe to your kids’ baby teeth, footprints & haircut clippings…we all keep them. 

We fill albums and digital libraries with photos.  Clutter our shelves with knicknacks & trinkets, so that we can remember. So moments are firmly implanted in our memories. They connect us across generations, prompting us to share the story: ‘Remember when…’. God knows how quickly his people are prone to forget. To forget his love, his mercy, his grace, and their place in his story. So throughout history, he gave his people markers to jog their memory, to enable them to pass on the story of his faithfulness to the next generation so that they wouldn’t forget who God is, who they were, where they have come from and where they were going. God has also given you visual reminders today so that you might know your story, pass on your story and never forget your place in his story.

Series: Courageous Faith

Date: 10 June 2018

Liminality – the door between one season and the next, between a known past and an undefined future. 

It’s the state of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs in transitory situations.  It is often a period of discomfort and of transformation; when you are on the threshold of great things but not quite there.  The people of God were in that liminal state.  Their great leader Moses has died and they are stalled, stuck on the wrong side of God’s promises.  It’s here that God tells them to arise, move forward, and crossover into new territory.  God is also calling us as a new generation of his people to crossover and inherit the future he has for us, the blessings he has prepared for us.  So are you willing to move forward and take that step? Yes it’s risky, yes it’s scary but move forward….just one step and see what only God can do.  For his call will only take us where his power and promises will sustain us.

Series: Courageous Faith

Date: 3 June 2018

What do you do when you face obstacles, or the uncertainty of tomorrow?

Are you inclined to think only in terms of the worst-case scenario? Do you tend to exaggerate the obstacles, overstate the problems, and magnify the difficulties you expect to encounter?  Do you tend to overthink everything and then get paralysed into doing nothing!  The people of God faced that exact situation.  They were literally knocking on the door of the Promised Land when their courage collapses.  This week we will discover that it’s when the pressure is on, that we have the greatest opportunity to trust God and receive a power that comes living from the Promise.  It will give you all the courage you need for every decision you face.

Pentecost Mini Series

Series: Pentecost Mini Series

Date: 27 May 2018

“On the run”. That’s the situation for nearly 19 African athletes and officials who failed to return home after the recent Commonwealth Games in Qld.

They are on the run and in hiding, living in fear of being caught and deported. How different from the early Church. They too were on the run, forced out by the persecution Jesus promised would happen and scattered to all parts of the globe. They were under fire…under threat…living in a world that was against them. But rather than go to ground and keep a low profile, the early church had another plan. They carried with them an urgency to live out what Jesus had commanded with their first breath of the day and the last breath of the night knowing that somewhere in between might be their last moment on earth. Today, Jesus wants the Church to have that same urgency; to be a Church on the run preaching the good news wherever we are scattered.

Series: Pentecost Mini Series

Date: 20 May 2018

“On Fire”—-the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat

  1. being consumed by fire; aflame, eager, burning
  2. fervent or passionate emotion or enthusiasm
  3. to excite or stimulate

It may be a dictionary definition but it is also a description of what happened that first Pentecost, when God set the disciples and the Church on fire.  So does that sound like you? Are you on fire? Is the Church on fire today? Or has the fire been tamed? Placed under control? Reduced to embers?  This Pentecost, God wants to fan into flame and fill his Church again with his earth-shaking and earth-shaping fire.  For when the fire of the Holy Spirit is unleashed on your combustible heart, it will consume you –  igniting your life and  infusing you with a power and enthusiasm which is impossible to contain.  Come, Holy Spirit and set your ‘Church on Fire’.

Visible Church

Series: Visible Church

Date: 13 May 2018

Congruence: from the Latin congruere – “to agree”.

In geometry two shapes are congruent when you can turn, flip and/or slide one so it fits exactly on the other. Personal congruence is when a person’s values and beliefs are consistent with the way he or she lives his or her life. There is an agreement, an equalness between what we do and the way that we do it, between what we believe and our everyday lifestyle choices, activities and conversation. Today in the final week of our series Visible Church, John shows us how to live a visible faith – a congruent Christ-life in the Christ-way. What he shares, will help you live with courage and hope in all situations.

Series: Visible Church

Date: 6 May 2018

Insufficient funds…transaction declined. Ever experienced that?

The embarrassment of seeing those words on the EFTPOS or ATM machine when making a purchase or withdrawal, when you were sure there was enough to cover what you needed. It’s a sinking feeling when you have overdrawn on your account and you didn’t even realise. But the same thing can happen in our relationships. It’s impossible to give when the relationship is overdrawn, when there is insufficient love in the heart. Today John reminds us of the one who makes an extravagant deposit in the account of our hearts that is more than sufficient and can never be overdrawn. It’s a love that will change not only your life but transform every relationship and every encounter; enabling you to generously give away a love that is visible and unfailing.

Series: Visible Church

Date: 29 April 2018

He was known as ‘Fighting Mac’ – a 17 stone Army Chaplain who not only epitomized the spirit of Anzac sacrifice but was a visible sacrifice so much greater. 

After seeing many of Australia’s finest young men needlessly sacrificed at the Battle of Lone Pine, Chaplain William McKenzie could’t sit back and watch any longer.  When the soldiers tried to convince him to stay in the trenches he responded:  ‘Boys, I have lived with you, I’ve preached to you and I’ve prayed with you.   Do you think I’m now afraid to die with you?’  What would motivate such a response?  The sacrifice of love that he had received through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  A sacrifice that had given him a new identity and an eternal purpose.  It’s that same love that enables us as children of God to be visible sacrifices in this world today.

Series: Visible Church

Date: 22 April 2018

Make-believe. Pretend. Every child does it.

They dress up and role play – mums and dads, doctors and nurses, cops and robbers. But here’s the thing. Most children know the truth that pretend is make-believe; that it will all end when mum calls you in for dinner and you take the dress ups off! Today Grandpa John addresses those in the Church who are still playing make-believe or pretend; who have played a role for so long that they are actually living a lie dressed up as truth. But as John reminds us – the Church is not the supporting cast for a game of pretend, but the community where the visible truth of what Christ’s resurrection means for real living, is seen most clearly.

Series: Visible Church

Date: 15 April 2018

Fakeness.  It’s all around us. 

There’s fake news – misleading or deliberate misinformation that is designed to shift public opinion in a certain direction against a person or institution.  There’s fruit juice that’s not really made from fruit; burgers not really made of meat, pictures in magazines that are so airbrushed, they bear little resemblance to the real picture. Then there’s fake faith which has all the elements of the real deal but which falls woefully short of the life that Jesus gives us through his death and resurrection.  The beloved disciple, John, now an old man and grandfather of the early church takes us back to what’s real and genuine and can be trusted for life itself forever.  What is real is Jesus,  who stands triumphant over all the fake, pretend & dying things of this world to bring us life with the Father….a life that he calis us now to make visible through the Church.

Making Sense of Easter

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 8 April 2018

Once upon a time…it’s how every fairytale begins.

But Easter is no fairytale.  It’s real and it’s for you.  Join us in experiencing the touch of Easter that changes everything.  It’s a story that never ends and leads to a  beautiful transformation now and for eternity.

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 8 April 2018

Sometimes you just have to touch it to know…

Is that paint really wet? Is that pan hot enough to cook in? Does this person really care?  Hearing is the last sense we lose before we die…but touch is the next last. We touch to reassure. We hold to comfort. We embrace in love. Thomas was not the first and certainly not the last to want to touch Jesus. Even after the resurrection Jesus told Mary, “Do not hold on to me.” So Thomas’ request is not unusual…and his desire was not denied.  The only way to finally make sense of Easter is to experience the “touch of Easter” so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 1 April 2018

Think of a moment when someone that you least expected to see suddenly stands before you. 

A moment when something you had lost is found again and you can scarcely believe your eyes. Think of a moment when your fear was suddenly proved unfounded and you were surprised by joy. This morning is such a moment.  We resign ourselves to the worst, and suddenly life turns around. So come this Easter morning, to be shaken from your conviction that nothing can change your situation. Come if you look at the world and feel overwhelmed by its chaos, or disillusioned by its promises.  Come and be prepared to see your life and the world through new eyes, for nothing will ever make sense in your life without ‘The sight of Easter.’

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 30 March 2018

Are you hearing it?

The sounds leading up to Christ’s crucifixion are confronting and haunting. But in those sounds, we hear the Saviour’s love ring out so loudly for us and the world; a love that echoes down into all eternity. Come and hear for yourself as we tune in to ‘The Sounds of Easter’.

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 29 March 2018

It’s all a matter of taste!

Do you take milk or lemon in your tea? Or maybe a few teaspoons of sugar?  Or do you prefer to keep things plain – to savour the flavour as it is?   It’s all a question of taste – but what we can’t deny is that it’s often the taste of things which makes us love or loathe them.  Join us this Maundy Thursday as our tastebuds journey through the story of God’s people in the world.  There will be things that leave a bitter taste in your mouth, things that make you want to complain, but above all you will get a taste of love that lingers longest on the palate, for it’s this taste, the Taste of Easter that flavours all things in your life.

Series: Making Sense of Easter

Date: 25 March 2018

More than any of our other senses—the sense of smell connects us to our deepest memories.

One whiff of a certain scent can bring joy and comfort – the smell of a newborn baby, the aroma of mum’s lasagne as you walk through the door, the freshly sawn wood of Grandpa’s shed, the lingering scent of a loved one’s perfume or after shave. Seventy five percent of emotions are triggered by smell. But not all scents evoke good memories; the smell of death, the smell of fire, the smell of fear; the smell of decay. As we begin this Holy Week with the smell of death hanging in the air, Jesus wants your nostrils to be filled with the aroma of love; an aroma so strong and overwhelming, a fragrance so powerful and inviting. For it is this fragrance of love that will transform every nasty odour in your life and the world; an aroma to hold on in the days ahead, for it is filled with promise and will help you makes sense of Easter.

Create in me a clean heart

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 18 March 2018

Religion. It’s everywhere. And it’s deadly. 

The argument of some—that religion is a curse, the cause of wars and many other forms of suffering, and that humanity is best rid of it—is understandable.  Likewise, it’s no wonder that people are far happier to describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” than to align with any formal religion, let alone any one denomination. It’s appealing to mix and match: a tot of Buddhism and a shot of Reiki, over a bed of crushed Sunday school memories, shaken not stirred; what could possibly go wrong?  The problem is that humanity loves religion. Sin loves religion. Because religion is a fast track to power. Not only do you get to manipulate others, you can claim the authority of ‘god’ to do it! Humanity invented religion and feeds on it.  Jesus came to destroy it; indeed, that’s what Easter is all about. So today we hear God’s promise when you are heartbroken by religion.

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 11 March 2018

“Mine.” It’s one of the first words most of us learn to say…and some of the hardest to forget or at least use less.

Having a sense of entitlement can easily be mistaken as natural, and even healthy.  After all, aren’t we constantly told that “we’re unique”, “we’re special”, and “we’re number one”? This sense of entitlement is established and upheld by the belief that we are the centre of the universe but as we’ll discover today, that sense of entitlement will break your heart. For once you believe that all you have is a result of all you’ve done, there’s no room left in your heart for the Father who made you for himself, who created you to feel his delight and live from his pleasure at providing everything you need for life here and for eternity.

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 4 March 2018

A school shooting. Combatants hidden among civilians. A vehicle intentionally driven through a crowd of pedestrians. Ethnic cleansing. The killing of the unborn. Family members used, abused or neglected. Is this the face of evil in today’s world?  

The nightly news can break your heart, but so can the lives you see in the homes up and down your street or maybe what you experience in your own life.  Rather than explain evil away, excuse it, rationalize it or blame it on someone else, Jesus takes evil into himself and dies to it so that it can no longer claim this earth as its playground or you as its pawn or punching bag.  So today if you are heartbroken by evil, come and meet Jesus in whose presence we are given joy in its fullness, healing toward wholeness, faith that can do the impossible and the power to stand against evil in the sure knowledge that  “…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 25 February 2018

Pride.  It’s a disease of the heart that presents itself in different forms and to differing degrees and is obvious to everyone but the person who has it.  Yet the truth is, pride infects us all.  

The issue is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where it exists and how it is being expressed in your life.  Proverbs 16:18 tells us “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” James also reminds us: “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble” (James 4:6). So today we discover how pride is more strongly rooted in our lives than we ever care to admit and how to find healing when we get ahead of ourselves and are heartbroken by pride.

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 18 February 2018

Auctions – many perceive them as highly stressful events that lead to spur of the moment decisions based on emotions rather than sensibility.

As a Christian, every day of your life is spent in an auction yard, where there are constant, competing bids for your heart.  Even if you pass in all the bids because you don’t want to sell, there is always someone willing to negotiate and meet your price.   The only problem is, you are not the vendor of your heart.  So today in the second part of our series “Create in me a clean heart”, we discover God’s gracious gift of healing and strength when we are heartbroken by temptation.

Series: Create in me a clean heart

Date: 14 February 2018

It’s known as the domino effect. 

One event or one act sets off a chain of similar events where no domino is left standing at the end of the line. It’s the simple reality of cause leading to result.  The Bible tells us that when it comes to our hearts – hearts that were created to love God with everything that is in us – there has been a chain of reaction that has caused permanent damage to our hearts.  It’s called sin and the results of sin are always the same – a broken heart either burdened by guilt and filled with pain, or so hardened by the act so as to be resistant to feeling the pain.  The Bible tells us  “If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart” (1 John 3:20) so today God comes to create in you a new heart, a heart broken by sin.

Who is Jesus

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 11 February 2018

‘Global manufacturer welcomes Distributors and agents worldwide.’

It’s the headline of an advert that you could see posted in any newspaper or online space. Manufacturers use distributors to get their product out to a mass market and to expand their customer exposure utilising the distributors large network of relationships. Jesus uses the same approach. The good news of the kingdom is nothing that we can manufacture. It is the gift of God’s grace. But Jesus calls us, appoints us and sends us out as his distributors to take the good news of forgiveness and freedom to the large network of people that we know. No special training is required. Just a willingness to be with him, learn from him and live the message he gives you.

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 4 February 2018

Ned Kelly. He’s a cultural icon. An outlaw, homicidal rogue who regularly defied the colonial authorities.

For some he is the symbol of the Australian anti-authoritarian value that has become part of our national identity. Yet, that anti-authoritarian nature is mostly a myth. Australian people, for the greater part, are a law-abiding, obedient people who live under authority. We stop at stop signs. We slow down for speed cameras (even when they are on the other side of the road). We obey laws, even if we consider that they restrict our freedom because we are afraid of the law if we don’t. Jesus comes and speaks with a different authority, not one that controls by the law but an authority which brings true freedom, real healing, and restored relationships that enable us to live an abundant life together. Today we continue our series: Who is Jesus – the one with authority.

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 28 January 2018

It doesn’t take long into a new year for everything to get back into the normal swing of things – the day by day routines of work, home and school.

Nothing much changes. One day looks like another. It was like that for the fishermen on the Sea of Galiee too. Everyday the same. Casting and mending. If they weren’t casting for fish, they were mending their nets. That’s the reality of our lives too. We cast and mend to make a living, to feed our family, to pay the bills, to hold our familiy or marriages together, to raise our children. It is in these everyday circumstances that Jesus comes with his invitation, the context in which we hear the call to new life, and the place where our lives are transformed and the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. Come and meet again the One who invites you to follow him.

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 21 January 2018

So much of our identity today is tied to a number.  We have Customer Reference Numbers (CRN). Tax File Numbers (TFN). Customer Access Numbers (CAN).

Government agencies and banks won’t talk to us or recognise us without these numbers.  While they know a lot about us – what we earn, how many kids we have, maybe even what we spend our money on, they don’t really know us. They have no desire to get to know the struggles of our day to day, the personality that makes us who we are, the fears and hopes of our soul. Jesus does.  Not only does he know us intimately, he also desires for us to know him intimately.  So today we explore who Jesus is – the one who knows.

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 14 January 2018

Who are you?  What defines you? 

For most of us, the answer to that question is not given in words, but in our everyday lives which reflect the working definition of who we think we are.  It’s often a subconscious definition that reflects one of these beliefs: ‘I am what I do’ or ‘I am what others say about me’, or I am what I have.’  But what if who you are is not defined in one of those ways but by who Jesus is?  What if your pursuit of affirmation could be replaced by a love that accepts and values you as you are – no strings attached?  That’s a gift that is available to you again today as we ask, “Who is Jesus”.  He is the one who loves.

Series: Who is Jesus

Date: 7 January 2018

Believers revere him as the Son of God.  Skeptics dismiss him as legend.  Artists have cast him in images that reflect their own time and place.

But who is this mysterious Jesus that prophets foretold and magi would travel vast distances in search for?  That people still search for and are drawn to today?  In an age where many are walking away from the Church, Paul tells us that the answer to the mystery of who Jesus is, is found in the Church, among a people who are called by grace to be the sign, promise, and embodiment of God’s purpose and plan for the world.  Namely, that in Christ, there will no longer be insiders and outsiders, but rather all people shall be one in Christ Jesus, the light of the nations, the hope of the world, the Saviour who comes for all. 

The Waiting Room

Series: The Waiting Room

Date: 31 December 2017

If only life were a dot to dot picture! Just move from one number to the next and life will draw you a picture. Simple. Neat. Beautiful. But life is not like that.

It is dynamic and changing with twists and turns, highs and lows.There are times when life doesn’t make sense at all and experiences seem random and disconnected. But as Simeon discovered, the coming of the Christ-child changes all of that. He gives the gift of salvation which connects the past, present and future together into a living dynamic masterpiece that makes perfect sense.

Series: The Waiting Room

Date: 24 December 2017

People say “Yes” for lots of reasons.

We say ‘yes’ to something if we think we’ll get something in return.  We say “yes” if other people are saying “yes.” It’s easier to go along with the crowd. We say “yes” if that “yes” is in line with something we are already doing. I’ll water your flowers if I’m already collecting your mail while you’re on holidays. We sometimes say “yes” because we’re afraid to say “no.” Coercion makes us do all sorts of things we don’t want to. But to say “yes” to the unknown or the costly. To say “yes” to the risky or the out-of-the-ordinary.  To say “yes” to the unfolding plan of God is to say “yes” in faith; it is to say “yes” within a relationship where you are treasured and loved even if the risk, cost and uncertainty are high. Today, we step into the Waiting Room of Acceptance, trusting that God will move our hearts to say “yes” to him.  “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Series: The Waiting Room

Date: 17 December 2017

Do I…Don’t I. Should I…Shouldn’t I. Ever been there?

What do you do when facing a tough, life-altering decision where your heart is hurting and your mind is in a tangle? What do you do when you are torn between the facts as you know them and a resolution you cannot find? How do you respond when you are asked to do more than you understand in order to understand more than you do? That’s the waiting room of confusion that Joseph found himself in and we often find ourselves in too. As Joseph discovered, God comes into the confusion with a reassuring word that enables him to step out in trust and act with courage, even if he didn’t fully understand. That’s a gift you are invited to discover and receive again too, when you find yourself in the waiting room of confusion.

Series: The Waiting Room

Date: 10 December 2017

Waiting, waiting, waiting.
It’s hard to wait we know
When the lights go up and the carols play
Only a few short sleeps to go

Waiting, waiting, waiting.
It’s hard to wait you see
When bright wrapped presents lie in sight
Under the Christmas tree.

Waiting, waiting waiting
for peace in our world today.
The wait is over, for Jesus has come
To bring peace that lasts always.

Series: The Waiting Room

Date: 3 December 2017

“When the dog bites. When the bee stings. When I’m feeling sad.  I simply remember my favourite things  & then I don’t feel so bad.”

 A song lyric from an epic musical? Absolutely, but how many of us live by that approach to escape the harsh reality of daily life. We retreat into our favourite things. We focus on our favourite memories of a favourite time or place. But it’s those memories and those favourite things that can trap us in the past and prevent us from seeing and living into the future God has in mind for us.  Today we hear words of hope when we are stuck in the waiting room of the past.