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.

Does God care about the starving?

In this week’s sermon, as we continue our series through the Gospel of Mark, we encounter one of the most important and well-known of Jesus’ miracles; the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44). In this story, we read how Jesus and the disciples, along with a crowd of around 15,000 people are in an isolated place, with no McDonalds nearby, and darkness quickly descending. The disciple’s panic, begging Jesus to dismiss the crowd, seemingly overcome by the thought of spending all their savings on a big seaside dinner party. Jesus, however, comes to the rescue, producing a plentiful feast from the leftovers of lunch, multiplying two fish and five loaves of bread into a banquet for thousands. Indeed, crisis averted, grumbling bellies quieted, and appetites satisfied. But maybe as you ponder this story and look around at the rampant starvation and malnutrition in our world, you wonder if God sees, or...
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Reflections on (almost) one year of marriage

On Sunday 30th of November, Molly and I will have been husband and wife for 1 year. That is 365 days since we stood on the platform at BPCC, held hands, exchanged vows, kissed one another, and entered into a binding covenant before God and our friends and family. And as I reflect on the days since that wonderful day, I feel incredibly grateful and incredibly determined.I feel incredibly grateful to God for the gift of marriage. The Bible says something very interesting about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honour by all” (Hebrews 13:4). Now, parenthood is a wonderful thing, and friendship is a wonderful thing, but the Bible does not say, “Let parenthood or friendship be held in honour by all.” This honourific position is reserved for marriage. Why? The end of the Bible answers our question. You see, the Bible begins with a wedding (Genesis 2); God gives...
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How Can I Grow?

If you have been around BPCC for even a short amount of time this year, chances are you have heard talk about ‘Growth Groups.’ Growth Groups are an integral part of what it means to belong to BPCC, because it is primarily in Growth Groups where we fulfil our calling to grow in Christ-likeness and in community. You see, as believers we both need and are commanded to have brothers and sisters in our lives who can speak God’s truth to us, exhort us, encourage us and spur us on towards love and good deeds (Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24; Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:13). Due to its size and nature, a weekend worship service can be a difficult setting to form deep friendships where you can be challenged or encouraged by others who know you well and want God’s best for you. So, we have found the best place to live out the...
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THE BLESSED LIFE

Our collective conscience has been viciously assaulted and violently awoken in the last couple of weeks as news of the atrocities committed in Iraq by IS (Islamic State) filters through our various screens. The devastation and suffering is, quite simply, unfathomable. I don’t know about you but I struggle to even imagine what it would be like to be exiled from my home and country under the threat of death, simply for following Jesus. However, this is now reality for thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters from Iraq. So, what can we do? No, what should we do? Of course, and this is far from trite Christian-speak, we must pray. I have heard and read pleas for God to pour out his wrath upon IS; and certainly one day God will pour out his justice upon sin and evil (2 Thess. 1:5-12), but in this time of God’s patience (2...
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Why Do We Sing?

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) First of all, let me begin by apologizing to anyone who has ever stood within a 1-metre radius of my exceptionally eager yet woefully out-of-tune singing voice. I take seriously God’s command to “make a joyful noise” (Psalm 98:4), yet I fear that I major on the “noise” side of things. All apologies aside, have you ever considered why we sing in church? There are not too many places or groups in the world where corporate singing is a regular exercise. So what is it with Christian’s and the weekly exercise regime for their vocal chords? In Colossians 3:16, Paul gives us a number of reasons why we sing. Firstly, we sing because that’s how the gospel is...
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Jesus, Porky Pig, and You

I recently watched a YouTube video of Bob Bergen, the voice behind the distinctive stutter of Looney Tunes’ character Porky Pig (Th-th-th-th-th-at’s all folks!). In the clip Mr Bergen explains the complicated process behind Porky’s famous stutter and how someone might go about replicating it. However, as he progresses through the explanation the impossibility of such a task becomes obvious. In fact, Mr Bergen finishes his explanation by saying: “And nobody can do that and that’s why I have job security!” In other words, Mr Bergen knows that no one else can reproduce the stutter like he can, and so he is, as the voice of Porky Pig, irreplaceable. As I thought about that line, it reminded me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything...
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Easter’s Forgotten Little Brother: Ascension Day

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:50-53 As followers of Jesus, we rightly celebrate, with great gusto, the Christian holy days of Easter (his death and resurrection) and Christmas (his incarnation). We sing (sometimes kitschy) songs (‘Aussie Jingle Bells’ anyone?), we exchange gifts, we go on holidays, and we trundle off to church. And the importance of these days is quite obvious to us. Without Christmas, God would remain distant, and without the Easter days, we would remain in our sin. But there is another holy day worthy of our celebration and reflection. It is a day we are not overly familiar with,...
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EASTER SUNDAY

The cross is not enough. Now before you reach for your torch and pitchfork, hear me out. On its own, without the resurrection, the cross would not just seem to be foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-26), it would be foolishness! The death of Jesus would not be salvation, it would be martyrdom. The Apostle Paul said it best: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:14 & 17). Indeed, if Jesus was not raised, then the events of Good Friday are simply one unmitigated and tragic disaster. However, if an empty cross led to a full tomb and three days later an empty tomb to a resurrected life then there is indeed reason for preaching, a basis for faith and freedom from sin! You see, the cross...
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CHRISTIANITY IS (MOST DEFINITELY) A CRUTCH

Maybe you’ve heard this criticism before. Maybe someone has aimed it at you. The accusation underlying this statement is that the Christian faith is for the weak-minded, the weak-willed, or the ill-informed. It is for those who aren’t strong enough to navigate the treacherous waters of life on their own. They are weak. They need help. They need someone to lean on.In our culture, to admit you are weak and in need, is perhaps one of the most awfully embarrassing admissions to make. Ours is a culture that values strength and independence. We recount stories of people who through their own will-power overcame great odds to achieve success. Disney movies teach us that if we just believe in ourselves enough we can do anything. In a cultural climate like this, the real sin is not pride, but weakness. So the gospel of a crucified Saviour dying for weak sinners is one...
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A Meaningful Life

I recently saw an interview with AFL Player of the Century and Brisbane Lions premiership coach, Leigh Matthews. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Leigh Matthews is AFL royalty. Not only was he crowned ‘Player of the Century’, but he also won 8 premierships (4 as a player, 4 as coach), 8 best & fairest medals, is a multiple All-Australian representative and won the Coleman medal for the most goals in a season in 1975. It’s fair to say Leigh has been very successful in the sport of AFL. During the interview Leigh was asked, “What is the most meaningful thing you have done in your life?” Leigh paused, smiled and then replied, “Well, I have spent most of my life involved in a game so I’m not sure... I guess we have entertained a lot of people so that is something.” I was struck by Leigh’s comments. This...
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I Forgot God

Well, not literally. I mean I didn’t leave Him behind anywhere or have a sudden onset of amnesia, forgetting His name. I mean that I forgot what He was like. I forgot His character. I forgot Him. In this past week, my Bible reading plan has led me into Deuteronomy. What struck me as I read through the first few chapters was the way in which Moses goes over, in great detail, the record of God’s interactions with Israel. He recounts God’s faithfulness to Israel, all the way through their journey in the wilderness and now in leading them to the edge of the Promised Land. As they stand on the cusp of the land flowing with milk and honey, God peculiarly and insistently commands Israel to “Remember and don’t forget!” (Deut. 5:15; 6:12; 8:2, 11; 9:7). You see, God knew the challenges that awaited His people in a land of...
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BPCC MEN: World War 2, High-School and Motorbikes

As I write this, it is the morning after our BPCC MEN gathering (which was on Wednesday night), and what a great night it was! We had amazing gourmet burgers and great coffee (thanks Phil, Geoff & Men & Mates guys), excellent live music (thanks Pieter, Dave and Craig) and we heard the stories of men from all different stages of life (thanks Ben, Troy, Gunther and Jack). As I listened to each of the guys share their story I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 145:4 where it says “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” This was really the heartbeat of the night as both young and old shared testimonies of the goodness of God, through all of the ups and downs of life. We heard stories about World War 2 resistance efforts, life-changing moments in high school, motorcycle accidents and the...
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I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?

Maybe someone has said that to you before: "I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?" Maybe you have thought that about someone else before. Either way, it is a very common accusation levelled at Christians; that their lives do not line up with their beliefs, or simply, that they are hypocrites. In fact, a recent Australian study (http://olivetreemedia.com.au/the-apologetics-series.aspx) revealed that the number 2 "blockage" for people to come to Church was because of alleged hypocrisy amongst church leaders and people in the pews. Hypocrisy is a legitimate concern for those outside the church and in our schools and workplaces. Luckily, it was also a legitimate concern for Jesus. Jesus had some harsh words for those who indulged in hypocrisy. In Matthew 6 Jesus condemns the way the Pharisees pray ostentatiously in public and make a big scene of their giving and fasting. Jesus calls them hypocrites, which actually means...
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Heaven or Earth?

As I was studying for our current PM sermon series through the book of Colossians recently (“Jesus + Nothing = Everything”), I re-discovered an earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting and life-changing truth. This little but powerful truth is so simple, yet it is also so easily forgotten. And because it is so easily forgotten I believe it is the reason that so many of us struggle to make sense of our walk with Jesus and the accompanying joys and responsibilities.

The truth I am talking about is simply this: as a redeemed Christ-follower you and I are no longer citizens of earth but we are right now citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20; Eph.2:9; Col. 3:3). Simple huh? But so profound and practical! Let me explain.

When you and I are born into this world we are naturally citizens of earth. We are born in sin as part of a race that has rebelled against its Creator (Psalm 51). Our sinful physical birth means that we are spiritually dead. This is why Jesus says to Nicodemus “you must be born again!” (John 3:3). Now I am quite certain that Jesus did not intend for Nicodemus to climb back into his mother but rather he meant ‘spiritual’ re-birth.

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Books, Nerds and Jesus.

I have a confession to make. This isn’t going to be easy, but here goes…

I love to read.

I love to buy books, collect books and I even like the smell of books.

In fact, one of my favourite things to do is wander through a bookstore, scoping out my next literary conquest. Then, when I have a bit of spare time, I love to find a quiet place to be on my own and read. That is my happy place.

There I said it. I have outed myself as a nerd and a bibliophile.

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Easter 2013: Swimming with Elephants

The Easter weekend is possibly the most important event on the Church calendar. The cross of Christ and his empty tomb stand at the very centre of the Christian faith. But many people ask the question; why? In fact, throughout history people have asked over and over again, why did Jesus Christ suffer and die? It is a question that on the surface appears simple to answer, and in fact it is. But it is also a question that we could spend the rest of our lives answering and reflecting upon. I like what Tim Keller says: “The gospel has been described as a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant can swim. It is both simple enough to tell to a child and profound enough for the greatest minds to explore.” So I would like to remind you of a few reasons why Jesus came to die and the ensuing results and in doing so I hope that you would take a swim with the elephants; plumbing the rich depths of the Easter message.

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Pine Rivers Care Network

On Wednesday morning I was fortunate to attend, along with Pastor Jim, an information session hosted by the Pine Rivers Care Network (PRCN). I was greatly encouraged to hear about all the good work that the PRCN is involved in and I must admit I was also a little proud to hear how BPCC is a vital cog in all of that. The PRCN is a network of churches and organizations that bring together shared ideas, resources and information to meet a wide range of needs in our community including financial support (CAP Money, NILS), housing needs (homeless support services), material resources (baby needs, furniture, school needs), legal and financial advocacy, as well as emotional and social support (counselling, medical, support groups).

It was so encouraging to be around people that genuinely love people and want to help them, even if they receive nothing in return (Luke 14:12-14). It was so encouraging to hear stories from people who are doing what Jesus’ commanded by feeding the hungry, by giving thirsty people a drink, by welcoming in strangers, by clothing the naked, and by visiting the sick and infirm (Matt. 25:41-46). It was so encouraging to hear how so many people from BPCC are intimately involved in these efforts as well. Whether that is in the Community Cupboard (food relief), CAP Money (budgeting), NILS (No Interest Loan Scheme) or the Simply Single ministry (which we found out is unique in our area and is meeting a great need). BPCC, be encouraged, you are making a difference!

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Prayer = Helplessness

I am not a very good ‘pray-er’. I’m not sure if that is too honest but it is true. Laying my heart bare before the Lord and seeking His will and intervention in every area of my life is not something that comes naturally to me. I have to work at it. And I don’t think I am alone. I get the impression from talking to a number of people that many followers of Jesus Christ find prayer just plain old difficult. We pray at life group or before meals or maybe when illness strikes but beyond that we are largely silent before the Lord.

And I think I might know why.

Beneath prayerlessness, beneath our lack of urgency and fervour to seek the Lord is the illusion that ultimately we are in control. We feel like we are in charge of how things work out in our lives. Our lack of prayer reveals that we are quietly confident that our intellect, our time, our money and our talent are all that we need to get by in life. That illusion remains firmly in place until something happens to completely shatter it; whether it be sickness, loss of work or a loved one, we suddenly realise our actual position before God; completely dependent and utterly helpless.

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The best is yet to come

A couple of weekends ago, Molly and I ventured south to Geelong where we attended the ‘Fan the Flame’ conference at the Reformed Theological College. ‘Fan the Flame’ is an annual conference held by the RTC aimed at encouraging and equipping anyone that feels they might be called to pastoral ministry in the CRCA. It was a rich and edifying couple of days for both Molly and I as we sat under some brilliant exposition of God’s Word and learnt what it means to be “called” to ministry and to fulfil the mission that Jesus has given the Church to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). It was a blessing to attend and Molly and I both thank you, our Church family, for sending us along.

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Big, bold and a little bit challenging.

I want to ask you a question.

Chances are it is going to be a convicting one. It was for me when I asked myself this same question earlier this year. It caused me to take stock and evaluate a number of things in my life. It caused me to change the way I pray and it created a big shift in the way that I relate to God.

The question arose when a few months ago I was listening to a sermon podcast on Acts 4 and the early church by Andy Stanley. Andy is a well known and well respected preacher and in this sermon he asks his listeners an incredibly insightful question. It is a question that I want to ask you today and it is this: If God answered all the prayers you have prayed this past week what difference would they have made in the world?

Very simple but very convicting. Let me ask that again: If God answered all the prayers you have prayed this past week what difference would they have made in the world?

For most of us, as a result of the prayers that we pray, our own lives and the lives of our families would probably be very different. We probably would have an abundance of safety and travelling mercies and maybe even more money. But beyond our own circle and our own lives would our prayers have made any impact? Could our prayers have been bigger? Bolder? Focused more on others? More fervent to see people far from God come to know and love Him?

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