From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

In addition to preaching, Adam leads the Young Adults ministry as well as providing oversight for the Student and Children’s ministries. When not at church Adam can found enjoying a good book & a good coffee with his wife, working towards completing his Masters of Divinity or supporting any Queensland sporting team.

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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Who knows you—really?

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) “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 cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) At one level it seems like an easy question to answer: Who knows me? The answer is probably lots of people! Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances—even our hairdressers, mechanics, and baristas. But the question, and its answer, take on a new dimension of meaning and importance when we add one small word to the end: Who knows me—really? Who knows me warts and all? Who knows me inside and out? Who do I have no secrets from? Who am I totally open and honest with­? The passages from James and 1 John above challenge us to have people in our lives who really know...
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Are we a Spirit-filled Church?

  In the sermon last Sunday (‘The Spirit of God’), I asked the question: “How do you know if a church is Spirit-filled?” The answer provided was: Does that church glorify Jesus (John 16:14)? Does that church testify to Jesus (John 15:26)? This answer was given to reflect and summarise the essence and the heart of the Spirit’s work among us today. J.I. Packer describes the main work of the Spirit in this way: “The distinctive, constant, basic ministry of the Holy Spirit under the new covenant is… to mediate Christ’s presence to believers—that is, to give them such knowledge of his presence with them as their Saviour, Lord, and God...” (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, pp.47, 49) We must have this basic theological building block in place, otherwise we go awry. And with this basic building block in place, we are better positioned to expand the answer...
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What to Say When You Welcome Someone

Last month I wrote a blog post titled “Welcome One Another”. Reflecting on Romans 15:17, I encouraged us to step out on a Sunday and move beyond our usual social groups in order to welcome the guests and new people in our midst. And it is my hope and prayer that some of us have made a conscious effort in the last few weeks to do just that; to look out for new people among us and to make them feel welcome. I’d like to take it a step further this week and offer some practical help as to how we can actually do that. I believe that what stops many of us from walking across the room to greet or welcome someone is simply that we’re not sure know what to say or what to do (at least this is true in my experience). So, to that end, I’d like...
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The Blessing of Baptism

At our 6PM service this Sunday our dear brother Ric Cottrell will be baptised. Ric started coming to BPCC in 2013, and since then he has become a much-loved member of our community and, more importantly, a member of God’s forever family. So, let me encourage you to come along and join with the angels in heaven (Luke 15:10) as we celebrate God’s grace and mercy to Ric through the death & resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In light of Ric’s baptism, I thought it might be timely to remind ourselves exactly what baptism is and why it is a blessing from God. The website of the Christian Reformed Churches of North America (https://www.crcna.org) tells us: “…this sacrament (baptism) is much more than a mere symbol of being united with Christ, or a testimony of one’s personal faith, or the dedication of a child to God. The sacrament of baptism...
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Welcome One Another

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)   A couple of weeks ago Pastor John gave us all a gentle reminder about the importance of welcoming one another—especially on a Sunday, and especially those who are visiting or new among us. You might think the Bible has nothing to say about something so seemingly small as greeting people. But you’d be wrong. The Bible has lots to say about the importance of hospitality (love for strangers) and greeting one another with love and concern.    Romans 15:7 (above) is just one example (see also Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 8). What stands out to me in this verse is that when we welcome one another, we glorify God. Normally when I think about activities that glorify God, I think of singing, or preaching, or prayer. Those are the...
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How to pray with others

I’ve done it many times. More times than I’d care to remember if I’m being honest. Picture the scene: I’m talking with someone and in the course of our conversation they share with me a burden, a need, or a grievance they have. And before I’m fully aware of what I’m saying I hear the words, “I’ll pray for you”, escape from my lips. Now of course I mean what I say; I do intend to pray for that person. It’s just that sometimes my intentions have failed to match my actions. Maybe you can relate?   My failure in such instances has convinced me of the need to not just offer to pray for someone (as great as that is), but to pray with them. Right there and then. The process isn’t that much more complicated or difficult. It just means when I feel God leading me to pray for...
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How should a Christian use social media?

Somewhere in the last couple of decades this thing we call ‘social media’ crept into our homes, onto our screens, and took its place in our calendars, our conversations, and our consciences. Indeed, for most of us, social media is a regular part of our day-to-day lives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nor is it automatically a good thing. But because social media has taken such a dominant position in our lives and in our world, we would do well to think intentionally about how we should engage with it. There are obvious benefits—connection and creativity, information and inspiration—but there are also many potential pitfalls. In the article, A Social Media Heart Check, Kim Cash Tate proposes 4 questions that should guide the way we engage with social media. Let me offer them to you.   Am I Walking by the Spirit? In Galatians 5:22–23 we’re told the fruit of...
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Bible Reading Resources for 2017

In his classic book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney says: “No other spiritual discipline rivals the importance of the intake of God’s Word. No other spiritual discipline can compensate for the lack of it. Without feasting on the food of Scripture, no one will enjoy a growing, healthy Christlike life.” And of course, he’s right. If we want to hear from God we must read, mediate on, and feast upon His Word. Here are some resources to help you do that in 2017. Bible Reading Plans Bible Reading Plans for 2017 from Ligonier Ministries A variety of different Bible reading plans The 5-Day Bible Reading Program Through the Bible in one year with readings 5 days a week Read Scripture Plan Through the Bible in one year and praying through a psalm each day Three Year Bible Reading Plan by Tim Chester Through the Old Testament once...
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The Wonder of Christmas and the Humility of God

Now, before I say anything further, let me be clear; I’m no humbug. In fact, I love Christmas! I love buying (and receiving!) gifts, I love spending time with family and friends, I love singing Christmas carols, and I love eating Christmas food. But with that in mind, I’m also painfully aware of the potential for these activities to distract me from the wonder of what we truly celebrate at Christmas: the truth that God became man in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the midst of buying presents, attending parties, preparing food, writing cards, and visiting relatives it’s easy to forget the world-changing, life-altering truth that in Jesus Christ God has come to us.    In fact, this is part of the reason I love the opening verses in the Gospel of John (one of the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry). The Gospel of John does not begin with the...
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The ‘E’ Word: Reflections from Organic Outreach

Evangelism. That one simple word can send shivers down the spine of many Christian’s. That one simple word can conjure up memories of awkward conversations and angry interactions. And yet that one simple word also encapsulates the mission to which God has called us to be busy with in His world. Call it what you will—evangelism, outreach, mission, sharing the gospel—the goal is the same: to reach people far from God with the great news of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. Recently, as many of you would know, I attended the ‘Scatter: Organic Outreach Conference’ in Monterey, California. The 3-day conference was hosted by Shoreline Community Church, led by Kevin Harney, and included a great line-up of speakers and breakout sessions on a number of helpful topics. In addition, for the 2 days prior to the conference I attended Intensive Training around how to imbed outreach into the life of a...
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The most repeated command in the Bible

Last weekend we kicked off our Term 4 sermon series, ‘Faith in a Secular World: Daniel 1–6’. I hope and pray it was instructive and inspiring for you to learn from Daniel’s example about how we can live and thrive in a secular world like ours. I know personally it was good for my heart, soul and mind to be reminded of the truth that in spite of present appearances, God is in control. And, we see this reassuring truth not only in the book of Daniel but throughout the entire Bible. One example is in Isaiah 41:10 where God says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Or in Luke 12:32 where Jesus says: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's...
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Pondering the Plebiscite

It is an issue that has seemingly divided the nation—and one that is not going away any time soon. Should the Marriage Act (1961) be revised to include same-sex couples? In more recent times the debate has centred on whether a plebiscite (a national poll) should be held on the issue. Some are opposed to a plebiscite because they claim the debate will engender hatred and abuse towards gay and lesbian Australians. Others say it will cost too much. Some, like former High Court Justice Michael Kirby, oppose a plebiscite simply on the grounds that national polls rarely come back in the affirmative. On the other hand, advocates for a plebiscite argue that such a momentous change to the definition of marriage should be put to the people, rather than being decided within Parliament. In any case, whether the plebiscite goes ahead or not, one thing is for sure, the social,...
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Jesus, The Beatles, and Rest

In 1968 The Beatles released a self-titled album that eventually came to be known as ‘The White Album’. On this influential album is a song titled: “I’m So Tired.” Though it was recorded almost 50 years ago, it could easily have been written about us today: I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink; I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink; I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink. I'm so tired I don't know what to do; I'm so tired my mind is set on you; I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do. You'd say I'm putting you on; But it's no joke, it's doing me harm. You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain; You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane You know I'd give you everything I've got; For a little peace of mind...
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Has God got your attention?

Last Sunday we explored the story of Moses’ life-changing encounter with God at the burning bush in the wilderness of Horeb (Exodus 3:1–10). After 40 years of exile in Midian, God captured Moses’ attention with a strange and inexplicable sight—a bush that burned but did not burn up. Perhaps this extremely significant encounter got you thinking: Does God still reveal Himself to us in this kind of eye-catching way today? Now, on one level the answer is obviously no, because “…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Heb. 1:2). Jesus Christ is God’s enfleshed, final Word to humanity. And what a Word He is; a Word full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And yet, at another level, there is little doubt that God still uses metaphorical ‘burning bushes’ to capture our attention and turn us aside. Think about what the burning bush actually was. It...
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Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?

Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life? This is the question that Michael Wittmer asks and, I believe, persuasively answers in his excellent book, "Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?". If we're honest, this is probably a question that many of us have wondered privately, but never articulated publicly. Perhaps we think it's blasphemous to wonder if following Jesus will really lead us into the best that life has to offer? And yet if we don't really wrestle with this question we may go through life with the damaging, and often imperceptible, assumption that following Jesus means we miss out on the good things in life. For this reason and more, I believe "Becoming Worldly Saints" is worthy of your time and attention. So, in the hope that you may be sufficiently intrigued (or provoked) to go out & read it, let me...
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Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

Any time the topic of spiritual warfare is raised—as it was last Sunday in the sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13—good and plentiful questions are sure to follow. One question that often comes up is: Can a Christian be demon-possessed?    Now, at one level, this question is relatively simple to answer. If by “demon-possessed” we mean that a Christian is so controlled by Satan they are unable to worship God, obey Him, or control their behaviour, then the answer is clearly ‘no’. Scripture is gloriously clear about the radical change that occurs when someone becomes a child of God. In short, believers are indwelt by God’s Spirit (John 14:17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), they are united with Christ (Eph. 1:3-10; 2 Cor. 5:17), all of which ultimately means they are “rescued… from the dominion of darkness and brought… into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13). Or, in the words of...
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What old buildings can teach us about the Church

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit—Ephesians 2:21-22   I don’t know about you, but I love old buildings. I love structures that have stood the test of time and remain for us as reminders of a bygone era. A couple of years ago, Molly and I went on a holiday to Tasmania where we took the opportunity to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site. Some of the sandstone buildings and old homes from the 18th and 19th century convict settlement were simply remarkable. Last year, when I was in the historic U.S. city of Boston, I visited King’s Chapel; a church building constructed in 1754. Considering the First Fleet did not arrive on Australian shores until 1788, that is...
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The Priority of Church

Is it important to attend church on a weekly basis? Should believers make the weekly gathering a priority in their busy schedules? This is—in our day and age—a loaded question. And one in which there seems to be a variety of opinion. Perhaps part of the confusion stems from our understanding of the word church. Many people instinctively understand the church to be a building. The church is somewhere you go. But in Scripture the word ‘church’ comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which means “assembly” or “called out ones”. The church, then, is a people you belong to. This means, if you are a Christian, you don’t so much go to church, as you are the church. You don’t attend church; you gather with the church. The distinction is important because I believe it is the deficient understanding of the church as a building or a service that leads many...
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What is Organic Outreach?

On Monday the 14th of March, from 10am to 4pm, we are hosting—in conjunction with the Reformed Theological College—an ‘Organic Outreach’ seminar led by Kevin Harney. Kevin is the Lead Pastor at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California, and has written extensively in the area of evangelism and mobilizing churches for effective outreach—most notably in the book from which the seminar derives its title, ‘Organic Outreach for Churches’. But what is organic outreach? Well, as Kevin succinctly defines in his book; organic outreach is “…not simply about sending money and prayers to missionaries or having a committee that plans occasional events to reach out—although these things are good. Organic outreach happens when evangelistic vision and action become the domain of every ministry in a church and the commitment of every person in a congregation.” In other words, organic outreach is about building and fostering a culture of evangelism in a local...
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