From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Making the Best Use of Your Time

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt… (Colossians 4:5-6) Recently, these verses struck a chord in my heart in a fresh and profound way. I was reading Colossians chapter 4 and I was struck by Paul’s zeal for sharing the gospel with outsiders (especially in verses 3-6). I mean, here he is, in prison, and yet his prayer request was something quite different to what you or I might have asked. He said to the Colossians, “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison” (Colossians 4:3). This almost seems ridiculous to me. Paul is in prison and his request is not for deliverance or release; his request is for doors to be opened that he might...
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The Story Behind the Song: ‘It Is Well’

As we have just learnt in the book of Jonah, there is a ‘bit of Jonah’ in all of us. On Sunday I was really challenged when we were reminded that every good and perfect gift is from the Lord (James 1:17). And that God is faithful even when our circumstances don’t go ‘our way’. When God provided a shade in the form of a vine for Jonah (4:6), he was very happy about it. But when God appointed a worm to attack and kill the vine, Jonah was very angry (4:8). How often have you and I praised God when He has provided something good, only to sulk and complain when it has been taken away?This tension of joy and peace regardless of our circumstance is real for all of us. But when I think about praising God in the midst of difficult circumstances, I am reminded of the hymn...
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The Life-Giving Habit of Bible Reading

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:8) To develop and maintain a habit of spending intentional time in God’s Word, away from all distractions and tasks, can be very challenging. We probably all know how important it is to do, but it can be easily pushed out of our days by other things. We are busy, and it can seem impossible to find a spare minute to just be quiet when there is so much to do. When we do begin to set time aside, we are easily distracted by social media, a text, or a phone call. The classic saying is true; ‘Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with.’ And so, we...
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Can You Help?

I write with the hope that together we can raise the necessary funds to purchase an electric drum kit for the Youth Shed. Why? Well, each week Youth and Kids Church meet in the Youth Shed to run their weekly worship services. I am sure you would agree with me that it is wonderful our young people can corporately worship together each week. I also think you’d agree that we want to make sure the Youth Shed has adequate resources to make this possible. Over the last twelve months there have been a number of people working behind the scenes, investing their time, energy, and resources, to make some big improvements to the Youth Shed sound and audio-visual equipment. These changes have enabled Youth and Kids Church to do more in their weekly services. But there is further work to be done. One of the major areas that we still need...
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Regaining Simplicity

This week I was sitting and listening to a man who has lived over three times as long as me (he is 96-years-old). It was a joy to hear him describe times that I have only heard about in documentaries and books. I was especially fascinated when he recalled what it was like during World War II. But, there was one thing that he said that really stuck with me. He was reflecting on the difficulties we face today and he said, “Times were just so much more simple when I was young”, as if simplicity was the answer to our problems. I reflected on that thought while I was driving home. I think we have to admit that our world has grown more complex. Even my Dad can recall the time when people used to do one thing at a time, like sitting around the radio to listen to a...
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Hitching Ourselves to the Old Testament

Have you ever read the Old Testament? Are you currently reading it? Do you understand its general thrust and message? I know for many of us the answer is ‘no’. It could be that we’re simply daunted by its size. It could be that we’ve tried to read it before and came to a grinding halt somewhere near the beginning of Leviticus. It could be that we’re just put off by the title itself; the word ‘Old’ doesn’t seem to imply either importance or relevance. And it certainly doesn’t help when prominent church leaders suggest, as one did recently, that Christians ought to “unhitch” the Old Testament from their faith. So, what is the importance and relevance of the Old Testament? Why should you spend precious time poring over its pages and mining the depths of its riches? David Murray, author of Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and...
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Great is Thy Faithfulness

My grandfather-in-law passed away last week at the age of 95. He was much loved and will be very missed. He was a wonderful man, very caring and gentle. He was a man who showed great integrity and strength. And he was a faithful servant of God, and so it brings us comfort to know that he is now free of his earthly, broken body and with His Saviour. At the funeral we will be singing, Great is Thy Faithfulness. I just love this old hymn. The words are so rich and powerful, and they declare the very character of God. They speak of God’s unfailing faithfulness to us, His unending mercies, His provision in our lives daily and His unchanging nature. We live in a world of constant change, nothing stays the same for long. Things around us are always being upgraded or updated. There’s always something bigger and better...
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Nothing New Under the Sun

I’ve always loved history; I find it fascinating to learn about what has happened in the past and how our world got to where it is today. And I’m especially fascinated by how history keeps on repeating itself; every few generations people keep on making the same mistakes, trying the same things, and encountering the same problems. And each time, we act under the assumption that we are making our own unique advances, because we haven’t learned from the past.Studying early church history this semester has shown me the same thing. The modern New Age movements are expressing the same ideas that were evident in the Gnostic sects that plagued the early church (they believed human beings are divine souls trapped in the physical world). Or the hard-line Christians today who claim their denomination is the one true church are just echoing the Donatists of the early North African church (they...
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A Prayer for Pentecost Sunday

This Sunday is a significant day in the Christian calendar; it is Pentecost Sunday. Originally, Pentecost was an annual Jewish festival that occurred seven weeks after Passover. However, it became an important Christian celebration after God poured out the Holy Spirit upon the church in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection. We read about this momentous occasion in Acts 2: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4) To help us apply the truths of Pentecost Sunday to our lives...
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Honouring Mothers (Even When it’s Hard)

It is Mother’s Day this weekend, a day I always look forward to. My children are always so excited to give me their hand made crafts, sweet cards and personally chosen gifts. If you see me on Sunday I may be donning a pasta necklace or a pair of ‘very expensive ruby earrings’ (which probably cost them $3 at a Mother’s Day stall). Mother’s Day is very special for me, however I’m very aware that isn’t the case for everyone. As I have been preparing for Sunday’s family service, I came across the following article written by author and speaker Jen Wilkin. I think it beautifully captures that as Christians we are part of God’s family which means we all have an opportunity to show honour and love to others on this special day. Jen writes: Mother’s Day is once again upon us, sending children of all ages scurrying to the...
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Jesus and the Outsider

You never know why someone walks through the door on a Sunday; some have reached a breaking point in their lives and want to ‘give this God thing a try’, others have been involved in church in the past and want to reconnect with God and his people. You just never know. One of the exciting things about this though is that every new person who connects with our community might just experience God for the first time. Don’t we all long for people to hear the gospel, respond to it and experience restoration and forgiveness? Isn’t this what we are about as God’s people? What excites me even more is that we actually have newcomers in our Sunday services every week! Every week there is someone who is looking for God, for care, and for friendship. I want you to be aware of this because we all have a part...
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Five Things Every Child Needs

I’ve recently been re-reading a book by Reggie Joiner called ‘Think Orange: Imagine the impact when church and family collide’. In it, Reggie includes a list of five things every child needs. I found them quite thought-provoking and helpful in my role as a parent and a leader of children’s ministry. I’d like to share them with you, along with my own thoughts. It’s my hope and prayer that you, too, will be encouraged. 1.A really big God they can trust—no matter what We want our kids to grow up with a close-up view of God; a God who captures their imaginations. We as the church and their parents need to show them the wonder, mystery, and power of a God who is too big for them to define, yet who has proven through time that He loves them intimately. We want our kids to be captivated by God’s character and...
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Why You Shouldn’t Be Cynical

Cynical (adjective): distrustful of human sincerity or integrity; doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile; synonyms: sceptical, doubtful, distrustful, suspicious, disbelieving, scoffing, pessimistic, negative, hardened, world-weary, disillusioned, disenchanted, jaundiced, bleak.   Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical. An endless news cycle of disease, corruption, violence, and exploitation frustrate our enjoyment of life and wear away at our optimism. Sometimes it’s hard not to close our newspapers or shut down our social media apps in the morning without a resigned sigh.    But is this the way it should be? Should Christians walk through life with a permanent scoff and hardened scepticism? Dan DeWitt, author of Life in the Wild: Fighting for Faith in a Fallen World, suggests not. He provides 5 reasons why Christians shouldn’t be cynical. I’d like to share them with you:   1. We know how this story ends:...
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Responding to the Gift of Scripture

“I have hidden your word in my heart…” (Psalm 119:11) We really are so fortunate to have access to the Bible. In India, just delivering Bibles can be seen as trying to convert people to Christianity, and in several Indian states this is against the law! Not only are we fortunate because we can buy and distribute Bibles freely in our country, we are fortunate because God has provided us with the Bible in the first place. Our God is so gracious, that he has revealed himself clearly and concretely through the Scriptures. Think about that for a moment. What would life be like if we had to guess about God? I feel sorry for the countless pagan cultures who attempted this. They would try their best to link different events together in order to understand their god/gods. In my Old Testament studies, I remember reading an example of a fox...
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So Loved

One of the most quoted and well-known verses from the Bible is John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’. (NIV) I am certain that this verse was quoted, written, and spoken about last Easter weekend. In my reflection upon Easter, I have been reading a devotion plan called ‘The Reason for My Hope’, a devotion based on excerpts from Dr Billy Graham’s book ‘The Reason For My Hope: Salvation’. Dr Graham writes about a time in 1934, which was when he gave his life to Jesus at the age of 16. As I read what he wrote, about being loved by God and that, truly, all we need is in Christ, I was reminded again that God so loved the world he gave his only Son. God so loved the...
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Did Jesus really rise from death?

“If the resurrection of Christ is not reality, then we have no assurance that God is the living God, for death has the last word. Christian faith is incarcerated in the tomb… if Christ is indeed dead.” (George Ladd) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation on which the Christian faith either rises or falls. In fact, the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection is “of first importance” (v.3), and if it is not true then our faith is “useless” (v.14) and “we are of all people most to be pitied” (v.19). Strong words. But the reality is if Jesus has not been raised he was a fraud, our sins are not forgiven, justice is not coming, and our hope is baseless. So, the question we must answer is: Did Jesus really rise from death? Is there any evidence to suggest that he was indeed resurrected?...
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Hot Cross Buns and God’s Love

One of my favourite accompaniments of the Easter season is the hot-cross bun. Perhaps you didn’t know this, but there are actually a few theories about the origin of the humble hot-cross-bun. The most popular is that in the late 12th century a monk baked spiced current buns and marked them with a cross in honour of Good Friday. The monk, Brother Thomas Rocliffe, then distributed the hot-cross-buns to the local poor on Good Friday. I love this story! And even if it is not completely accurate, it’s a wonderful illustration of showing God’s love tangibly to those who don’t know Him and those who are in need. Easter on the Lawn is an opportunity like this; to tangibly show the love of Jesus to our local community. Easter on the Lawn gives each of us an opportunity to be involved in blessing others and showing God’s love to those you...
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A Lesson from World War II Christians

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil… Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer   I’ve been reading biographical books lately about Christians during World War II. The first one is about a man called Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an anti-Nazi pastor in Germany who witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. The other is about Corrie Ten Boom, a faithful woman of God who lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. Both of them lived extraordinary lives. The evils of war confronted them both at the deepest level and forced them to work out the implications of their faith in ways they had never imagined. Do I really love my neighbour enough to risk the concentration camps (Matthew 22:39)? Are God and his ways important enough for me to risk death and execution (Luke 14:27)? Dietrich and Corrie took risks such as these because...
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Selah: The Power of Pausing

Are you familiar with the word ‘selah’? Perhaps it reminds you of the popular Christian vocal group by the same name? Or maybe you recognize it from the Psalms? The most comprehensive way to define selah is to combine a few different meanings: ‘to hang’, ‘to praise’, ‘to lift up’, and ‘to pause’. The Amplified Bible help us understand how selah can be interpreted by adding “pause, and calmly think of that” to each verse where selah appears. Each of us can take heed of selah moments in our private worship and also in corporate worship during a Sunday service. During corporate worship on a Sunday we have selah opportunities at different times in the service. During prayer we might be given the opportunity to pause and reflect. When we worship in song we have selah opportunities during musical interludes. In fact, at BPCC we include musical interludes intentionally to give...
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The Importance of Lent

Do you celebrate or recognise Lent? Do you do anything special or significant to prepare your heart for Easter? Maybe you haven’t given it a lot of thought. So, what is Lent? The season of Lent is traditionally the 40 days leading up to Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. For many Christians, Lent is a time for self-examination and reflection, a time to prepare spiritually for Easter. Lent offers us an opportunity to again acknowledge our sinful nature and our need for a Saviour. It’s a time to repent of our own rebelliousness, and return to God. Lent is also an opportunity to contemplate and reflect upon what our Lord Jesus endured on the Cross to achieve our redemption. I must admit that some years Easter sneaks up on me and I find...
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