Visible Sacrifice

29 April, 2018 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

#3 in series: Visible Church

READING: 1 John 3:1-24

THEME

He was known as 'Fighting Mac'. A Scotman who came to Australia in his teens and who gained a reputation as a good fighter while drinking and brawling in the pubs of Bundaberg, Queensland. But it was here his life changed. It was at a Salvation Army open-air meeting in Bundaberg that he saw the light” when he heard the testimony of two fellow Scotsmen who, like him, had been hardened drinkers, fighters and adept in the use of foul language. McKenzie became a Salvation Army officer who served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front as a chaplain. He worked in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace before the war and not only epitomizes the spirit of Anzac sacrifice but 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 not 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.

 

THEME VERSE

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

 

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

Through the power of God's vulnerable, sacrificial and tenacious love in Jesus Christ, we have been given an identity and relationship that we cannot stuff up. Ever.  It's a love that empowers us to act, without counting the cost, as we lay down our time, energy, talents and resources as a living sacrifice that makes visible his eternal purpose and presence.

View

Visible Life

15 April, 2018 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

#1 in series Visible Church

Reading: 1 John 1:1-4

THEME

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.

THEME VERSE

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:2

REMEMBER THIS WEEK  

Resurrection makes an eternal difference. It gives deep fellowship with the Father and the Son; access to everything God is and has. That fellowship leads to real and genuine love for others and community with others. It enables confident living that fills the heart with joy and overflows with infectious excitement that is plainly visible for the world to see.

View

Heartbroken by Religion

18 March, 2018 Rev Dr Noel Due

#5 and final in series: Create in me a clean heart.

READING:

Isaiah 53:2-12

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Mark 11:12-19

THEME

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. What the New Testament calls “the flesh” (as opposed to the Spirit) 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

THEME VERSE

No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord, ’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.  “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  Jeremiah 31:34

 

REMEMBER THIS WEEK 

Religion puts you and your efforts at the centre of your relationship with God; it’s you doing your best for God.  The gospel puts Jesus at the centre of your relationship with God; it’s God doing his best for you.

View

Heartbroken by Entitlement

11 March, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#5 in series: Create in Me a Clean Heart

BIBLE READING

Mark 10:17-34

THEME

“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”? And besides...you deserve it. 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. It’s a heart condition that only Jesus can fix and he comes to heal all those who are heartbroken by entitlement today.

THEME VERSE

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

 

REMEMBER THIS WEEK 

Jesus invites you to unburden yourself of whatever entitlements that you are clinging to that stop you from relying on and delighting in God. For when Jesus is your treasure, you will lack nothing.

FAITH TALK

1.   In what areas of your life are you discontent?

2. What do you think you need in order to live an abundant life?

View