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.

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Visible Truth

22 April, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

THEME

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.  It’s this visible truth we will explore today.

THEME VERSE

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7.

REMEMBER THIS WEEK  

Jesus is truth.  His resurrection makes it transparently clear that he has done all that is needed for us to live in the joy of his presence and the power of his love and life. Nothing will change this truth, but this truth will transform our life together, revealing an honesty, authenticity and transparency that is visible, real and life-giving

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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.

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The Sight of Easter

1 April, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

BIBLE READING:

Mark 16:1-8

The Images that were used at the start of the sermon can be found in the notes section below.

THEME

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.

THEME VERSE

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:7

REMEMBER THIS WEEK  

The story of what is doing in and through Jesus isn't over at the empty tomb. It's only beginning. It's only beginning and you have a part to play. Resurrection is not a conclusion, but an invitation; an invitation to meet up with Jesus and continue his work of redemption in the world, transforming what appears to look like endings into new beginnings by his grace.

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The Scent of Easter

25 March, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#1 in series: Making Sense of Easter

READING

John 12:1-8

THEME

More than any of our other senses—the sense of smell connects us to our deepest memories. Seventy five percent of emotions are triggered by smell. As we begin this Holy Week, with the smell of death in the air, Jesus wants your nostrils to be filled with the aroma of love. It is an aroma so strong and overwhelming, a fragrance so powerful and inviting. For the scent of his love is filled with promise and its aroma will transform every nasty odour in your life and the world, helping you make sense of Easter.

THEME VERSE

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

REMEMBER THIS WEEK 

Easter doesn't make sense until we fall at the feet of Jesus. For real life, real love and real worship is found at the feet of Jesus who poured out every last drop of the extravagant fragrance of his love and life on the cross so we could live in his presence eternally.  It's the scent of his love that will make all things new and all things beautiful.

FAITH TALK

1 What scent evokes the best/happiest  memory for you?

2 What smells do you associate with Easter?

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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.

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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?

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Heartbroken by Evil

4 March, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#4 in series: Create in me a clean heart

READINGS:

Isaiah 53:2-12

Mark 9:14-32

THEME

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 aganist evil in the sure knowledge that  "...the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." 1 Jn 4:4

  

THEME VERSE

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Mark 9:24

 

REMEMBER THIS WEEK 

There are problems in the world and our lives that are so impossible to control, manage or solve that only God can deal with them. When faith is fragile and desperate know this: you can have an imperfect faith, if you are dependent on a perfect Saviour.

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Heartbroken by Pride

25 February, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#3 in series: Create in me a clean heart.

BIBLE READINGS:

Isaiah 53:2-12

Mark 8:27-38

THEME

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.  It's something that we as Christians need to be particularly conscious of as it always leads to a broken heart and tears.  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).  Pride is a particularly dangerous sin - where other sins lead us further from God, pride attempts to elevate us above God.  So today we discover how pride is more strongly rooted in our lives than we ever care to admit.  We also discover how to find healing when we get ahead of ourselves and are heartbroken by pride.

 

THEME VERSE

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”  Mark 8:34-35

 

REMEMBER THIS WEEK 

Your worth and value will never be measured by what you do or achieve but by what Christ has done for you.

Jesus surrendered his life that you might have life

Jesus became a dis-grace that you may receive grace.

Jesus humbled himself that you might receive the greatest honour. 

Because Jesus gave himself wholeheartedly for you, how can you not give up your own agenda, and give yourself wholeheartedly to him?

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