From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

The Practice of Fasting

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison, but apple pie.” – John Piper This week, during the morning service we are talking about ‘Kingdom Spirituality’ or piety. In chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus points us God-ward. He shows us that the practices of giving, prayer and fasting are not about impressing others but about drawing near to our loving and compassionate Father. We go into far more detail in the sermon. However, I thought it would be beneficial to provide an excerpt from Richard Foster’s book, ‘Celebration of Discipline’. In his chapter on fasting, he talks about some of the practical aspects because it is so alien to our culture. If you have health issues, get medical advice before attempting a fast. Here is Richard’s advice: “As with all the Disciplines, a progression should be observed; it is wise to learn to walk well before we try...
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Living under God’s Rule in 2018

We are currently in a sermon series during the morning services called ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. We spoke last week about the concept of the kingdom. The ‘kingdom’ represents God’s rule or reign. Where the will of God is done, the kingdom of God is present. Jesus announced its arrival in Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, and brought the kingdom through his life, death and resurrection. The arrival of the kingdom of God was life-changing news! We discovered last week that the arrival of God’s kingdom is good news for everyone. Jesus’ announcement in Matthew 4:17 meant that the defeat of God’s enemies was imminent – Satan, sin and death would be conquered. It meant that God’s long-awaited restoration plan had begun (Isaiah 52:7; Ezekiel 11:19-20) – and that he was going to restore the broken image of God in us (Genesis 1:26-27). The restoration of...
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A Different Kind of Year-End List

One of my favourite things about this time of year—apart from Christmas, cricket season, and more time with family—are the end-of-year lists. Everything released during the year, from albums to movies to books, are reviewed and ranked. I enjoy looking back on the year that was and discovering what other people enjoyed and what I might have missed. However, on this, the last day of 2017, I’d like to offer a different kind of year-end list; one that does not look backwards but forward. One that takes into account our rapidly changing cultural landscape and casts an eye towards the type of church required in our volatile times. This list offers four realities that, I believe, must mark the church in our day, and it is offered in the hope that it might give us a pathway toward health, vitality, and influence in the days ahead. The four realities are: Clear...
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The Greatest Gift

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received? I have been given lots of beautiful gifts at Christmas time and for my birthday. Two particular gifts, however, stand out in my memory. The first was when I was a teenager, my parents gifted me a ‘debt paid in full’ certificate. I had a credit card loan to pay for a car accident which I shouldn’t have caused because I didn’t even have my licence. Talk about a gift undeserved! The other was receiving my engagement ring from Troy early one Christmas morning 16 years ago. Such a special memory! There are of course gifts in life that come from our experiences. Travelling overseas and seeing remarkable sights, holding your newborn child for the first time, overcoming sickness, I could go on. My children are very excited about receiving their Christmas gifts in a few days time. I find their excitement infectious; it...
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How much worth is in your worship?

I’ve been studying the book of Revelation this summer, and I’m currently spending time in chapters 4 and 5. These chapters contain an awesome heavenly scene. The scene is so breathtaking that it simply demands our worship. You get the privilege as a reader to see things from the perspective of heaven. In these chapters, you encounter angels and elders and heavenly creatures and extravagant worship. And yet, John hardly describes the God of heaven. He talks more about the throne of God than God himself: ‘one seated on the throne’ (Rev 4:2), ‘they cast their crowns before the throne’ (Rev 4:10), ‘he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.’ (Rev 5:7). It’s as if God is just too wonderful to describe. He is indescribably awesome! He is so much higher than us, so transcendent that John simply can’t explain Him....
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Christmas Trees

Is your Christmas tree up yet? If it was up to our youngest daughter, our tree would have gone up weeks ago, but others in our family are adamant you aren’t even allowed to mention Christmas until December. Our neighbours spend a lot of time and energy (and money) putting up amazing lights and decorations at Christmas time, and of course, they started back in October! One house in particular has a really big Christmas tree made entirely of lights. It’s so bright and tall that we can see it from our back veranda, even though it’s quite a distance away. It’s beautiful. We’ve spent the last few weeks of Kidz Church talking about Christmas trees. We’ve talked about the lights, the ornaments, the tinsel, and of course, the star. Each element teaches us something about Jesus and His love for us. When a bulb burns out on a string of...
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Man over Matter?

To me, our world sometimes seems like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the next. There was a time when the pendulum swung towards globalisation and free trade between countries (especially after WWII). In the last year or so, however, we have seen nationalist (more protective) movements gaining momentum, such as, the election of Trump and the decision for Brexit in Great Britain. It almost seems like our world is constantly reactive, rather than proactive. We throw the baby out with the bath-water when things don’t seem to be going well. Thankfully, as Christians, we have the Bible. The beauty of the Scriptures is that they contain timeless truth, and we can anchor our lives according to this truth in each and every season, fad and era of this world. Our world has not only swung to extremes in the arena of economics and politics, but also in the natural...
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Reflections on my first year at BPCC

Exactly one year ago today was my first day at BPCC—wow, it has gone fast! Reflecting on the year that has been, I have learnt a lot, been challenged a lot, laughed a lot, grown a lot, and enjoyed it a lot! There are a couple of things, though, that have really stood out to me about BPCC as I reflect on the year. We have an awesome community. From the first time that I visited BPCC, I’ve been struck by the strong sense of family and unity that we have in our church, and when I moved up I was immediately welcomed and accepted—which was a huge blessing, having moved away from all my family and friends! And throughout this past year the community has been a great encouragement and help to myself personally and to our Youth Ministry. There are so many people who have cheerfully helped me out...
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Our Children and Lord’s Supper

Whenever we partake in the Lord’s Supper, it is a special moment. The Lord’s Supper is one of only two sacraments (means of grace) given to us by Jesus (the other being baptism). It is momentous because the Lord Jesus meets us visibly and vitally at His Table. But perhaps you’ve wondered: Should our children come to the Table? Should they too receive the Lord’s Supper? This is a good question. In order to clarify our position, we have prepared a positon statement on this very question, most of which can be found below. For the full paper, head over to the church website at: What is the Lord’s Supper?Jesus Christ instituted what is known as the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26–30; Mark 14:22–26; Luke 22:19–20). He commanded that all Christians should eat bread and drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death, and all that it...
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What is the Church?

I have often asked myself this one question: ‘What is the Church’? In fact, I find myself thinking about this often. What really is the Church? What should we look like? Are we at BPCC a faithful expression of the Scripture’s teaching on the Church? One ingredient that I think is absolutely essential for us to be the Church is mission. We are to have a sense of mission as the people of God. We’re not meant to be static and inward, but an outward-oriented movement! A movement that is energetically and prayerfully seeking to tell others the good news about Jesus. In doing this, we are to welcome people into our community and teach them how to follow him faithfully. We are to model the Christian life for them, and point them to the Scriptures. We are to make disciples. And funnily enough, this is at the core of our...
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New Life Sunday

Coming Sunday is New Life Sunday.  We will have the founder of New Life Orphanage in Myanmar, Bella and her son Israel with us. They now jointly lead the amazing ministry caring for 158 children. New Life Orphanage has just reached its 25-year anniversary, and our church’s involvement was initiated by Errit Petrusma following a trip he made to Myanmar with Bible League in 1998. Today a formal Board based here in Brisbane governs the sponsorship necessary to continue this vital ministry to so many children. I look forward to interviewing Bella and Israel during our AM service, as well as show a short video of the children’s daily routine. This Sunday is also our monthly Connect Sunday where we encourage everyone to stay to connect with each other. This will be done over a Pot-Luck meal following AM church, and Pot-Luck meal before PM church (from 5.00PM). Please join us....
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The Power of a Gift

This Sunday we intend to celebrate the 253 children who will be receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox this year. Through your amazing generosity, we have been able to fill 253 shoeboxes with gifts for children in countries around the world who are in desperate need. These children will be receiving practical things like clothing, school supplies, soap, a cuddly toy and something to play with. It is also our hope and prayer that they will receive much joy from that box and that they would know there is a God who loves them abundantly.    Many of the boxes have items in that our children have made at Kidz Church. The kids tie-dyed clothing, used beads to make jewellery, assembled Lego kits, decorated marble bags and covered exercise books. And I know that God is doing big things in the hearts of our children as they actively live out God’s...
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Bray Park Carols 2017

Carols is on Saturday the 2nd of December. As we’ve said before; the Carols event is an excellent opportunity for us to tangibly demonstrate God’s love to the local community and to share the life-changing message of the Gospel! We can all be involved in supporting Carols and it is our prayer that you all know there is a way you can be involved. From praying, serving on the day, to giving and financially supporting (see giving options below). We ALL can help! The theme of Carols this year is ‘Christmas Star’. Want to know why? In Matthew 2 we read about a star leading the magi (wise men) to Jesus. For those science loving friends there is a lot of interesting reading about the phenomenon of this star. But the long and short is that a star miraculously appeared and showed the wise men the way to Jesus. We pray...
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The New City Catechism

Catechism. For some, the word probably brings back memories of long afternoons and laborious learning. For others, times of biblically rich instruction. For most, it probably only conjures up confusion. What is ‘catechism’? And why does it matter? The word ‘catechism’ comes from the Greek word katechein which means “to teach orally or to instruct by word of mouth”. In the past, documents were written to summarise Christian doctrine and to serve as a tool for Christian growth and instruction, particularly among young people. These documents were written in the form of questions and answers, and were called catechisms. For example, the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism, a wonderfully rich summary of the Christian faith and one of the doctrinal standards of BPCC, is: Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and death? Answer: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul,...
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Extraordinarily Ordinary

I’m fascinated by newspaper headlines. It’s odd, I know. But I actually think they provide insight into our culture and the times in which we live. In particular, I’m amazed at the proliferation of words like “shocking”, “scandalous”, “explosive” or “sensational”. Everything, it seems, is ‘breaking news’, which we must simply must read. And I get it; newspapers get paid when people read the news. But it speaks to something deeper that the tactics employed (and which presumably work) to make this happen are to titillate and sensationalise. The ordinary reporting of the facts is no longer enough (if it ever was); we need a side of scandal and sensationalism. The tragic result, however, of engorging ourselves on a diet of the extraordinary is that we no longer have an appetite for the ordinary. And Christians are certainly not immune. This is why I was so encouraged recently by an article...
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A Powerful Witness

Sometimes I wonder how I can possibly make known the love and reality of Jesus to others. I mean, what is the best way to share the good news of Jesus with those in our circles of influence? How can we show them that Jesus really is the Son of God and that he really does love them? How can we plug them into this reality? Because the truth is that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is not some fairy-tale, it is a real, historical event. It is an event that changed everything. And we at BPCC want people to know this and come to understand that they can be reconciled to their Creator and Heavenly Father.  One way that we can point others to this reality is actually by the way that we love one another in the church! Jesus taught this in the Gospel of John: ‘A...
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Reflections on Youth Camp

Last weekend was our annual Youth Camp- we were up at Caloundra with 70 youth and leaders from our church and other Reformed churches around SEQ. We had an awesome time, with heaps of fun, inspiring messages, and great worship. Our activities included Tribal games, a beach afternoon, glowstick night games, and plenty of time to connect and spend time together. There were a lot of highlights from camp (we’ll be sharing photos with you soon!), but what stood out to me the most was how naturally the youth from all the churches bonded together- for most of the weekend virtually every group of people I saw had youth from multiple churches! I’m sure that the friendships made here will remain and grow through the Assemblies we also run with those churches.  We had some great teaching on Psalm 19 over the weekend- KJ Tromp from Nerang church spoke on Friday...
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A note from Pastor John

In our Worship Service coming Sunday morning, a significant event will take place for both Pastor Adam, and our church family. Adam will be formally ordained into the ministry of Word and Sacrament. This formal classification is how our denomination describes ministers who have completed theological studies and passed relevant denominational exams. Having met all of these requirements, Adam will be ordained, and takes a major step into his forthcoming role as Senior Pastor once I retire from formal ministry in due course. This Sunday also brings us to the end of our current sermon series The Essentials—Getting to the Heart of Christianity. In this five-part series we studied the five slogans that defined the sixteenth century Reformation of the Christian Church. The Reformation impacted the whole of Christendom and this year marks the 500th year since a monk by the name of Martin Luther unintentionally, sparked this history making movement....
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Faith in Every Season

We will always have seasons in our lives. Whether it’s weather related, or life related, we all go through seasons. Throughout these seasons, we can experience many different situations and emotions. Sometimes these seasons require us to draw into our faith more deeply than at other times.  It is easy when life is going well to be unshaken in our faith. But when times are tough and hard to navigate, that is when our faith can be shaky. We can say that we have faith in Christ. But the question remains, what do you do with this faith? We need to put our faith into action. Hebrews 11:1 says, “now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  In the Bible, Peter’s faith was tested when he was walking on the water to Jesus. Matthew 14:29-31 says, “Then Peter got down out of...
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The Two Most Important Lessons for Dads

There are some experiences in life for which nothing can adequately prepare you. You think you are ready for it, you think you know what you are doing, then whatever it is actually happens and you realise, with disturbing clarity, you aren’t as prepared as you thought you were, and you know less than you thought you knew.    Surely near the top of the list for this kind of experience is becoming a parent. There is very little that can prepare you for the rush of emotions, the weight of responsibility, and the sheer thrill of having a precious child entrusted to you by God.   Earlier this year Molly and I had our first child, our son Knox. It has been an experience like no other. He has brought another dimension of love and joy to our family, and he has pushed me to ask questions of myself that...
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