From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

Wisdom for How to Vote

This blog post is written by Dr. John Dickson. John is the Senior Minister of St. Andrews Roseville, near Sydney. He is also a founding director of the Centre for Public Christianity and lectures at Macquarie and Sydney Universities. The post originally appeared on John’s blog (www.johndickson.org) and is used here with permission. - - - I am the true ‘swinging voter’. In the numerous elections of my life (beginning with the Federal election of July 1987), my personal votes have been fairly evenly split between Labor and The Liberal, or Coalition, parties. In what follows, then, I have no agenda. The last thing on my mind is to influence which party you vote for. I do, however, want to insist that people who identify themselves as Christian should vote in a way that is informed by their faith, whatever decision they finally make. While Christianity is not party political, it...
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Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.

This week, Carla and I became grandparents for the eighth time! Amazing. We are blessed – and so, so thankful! I’m reminded of two Scriptures concerning children. Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord. (Ps.127:3) Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. (Pr.17:6) As a grandfather, and father, I have been reflecting on the ‘position’ or ‘responsibility’ and ‘privilege’ of being a grandfather/father. It’s huge! It’s serious. And it’s awesome! So when the following 12 points came my way via a weekly blog I subscribe to focused on parenting, I took special notice… and I’d like to share this with especially Dads and Granddads. It is written specifically with daughters and granddaughters in mind. These points are written by a Dad on the birthday of his daughter – he penned 12 honours that God bestows on Dads. 1.The world is a dangerous place, and a daddy is commissioned...
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Wisdom for the Refugee Crisis

Wisdom for the Refugee Crisis

The plight of asylum seekers and refugees is one of the most polarising issues of our day. On the one hand, there are those who argue we should open wide our borders and our communities to the displaced and the fleeing. On the other hand, there are those who argue we must slam the borders shut in order to preserve our culture and our way of life. And there is seemingly very little middle ground. Media outlets portray the situation in a certain light depending on their political leanings, social media engagement is often little more than ideological propaganda, and organised rallies descend into violent shouting matches. Even the labels we use—asylum seekers or illegal immigrants—leave little room for nuance, and give a window into our feelings on the matter.

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Wisdom for Same-Sex Marriage

What is marriage? This is, perhaps, the million-dollar question in our modern, Western culture. The shape and form of marriage, more than any other issue, has dominated the metaphorical news-feed of popular conscience. At the heart of this fixation is the desire to redefine marriage as not simply a male-female union, but as a male-male, or female-female union. 

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God is Always Faithful

In the middle of a problem, it is easy to lose sight of God’s faithfulness and His goodness. We often find ourselves focusing on our problems when we’re in them and forgetting everything else. But God has a purpose in the struggle and He is faithful, no matter what. The book of Joshua opens with its main character, Joshua, in a tough situation. After Moses’ death, God decided to put Joshua in charge of ALL of the Israelites that Moses had been leading on the journey to the Promised Land. To say that a huge role of leadership was suddenly given to Joshua would be an understatement! But Joshua was faithful throughout the rest of his journey leading God’s people to the Promised Land because He knew that, no matter what, God is faithful. Joshua was able to maintain his focus on God because he REMEMBERED that God is faithful. In...
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Wisdom for Life

The conviction that lies at the heart of our current sermons series—Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World—is the simple fact that we all need wisdom. Wisdom, of course, is the right use of knowledge. It is the proper application of God’s truth to every area of our lives. And we need this. We need wisdom if we are to navigate the complexities of life in this broken world.  It is painfully obvious that this world is broken, and it is full of complex, broken situations. On a daily basis we are confronted with issues and problems where a wise and proper response is not always intuitive. For instance, what should we make of the push to redefine marriage? How should we respond to the pressing issue of the refugee crisis? How are we to engage in politics? What about issues surrounding gender? How can we be wise when it comes to...
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Operation Christmas Child

vietnamDear church familyIt is always such an honour to be part of the Operation Christmas Child ministry project. Every year, I am so encouraged by the generosity of our church family and the enthusiasm of our Kidz church kids and leaders. It is looking like this year BPCC will be sending close to 300 boxes! On behalf of everyone involved can I say THANKYOU! Most of the children receiving these shoeboxes will have never received a gift before and so the joy and hope and love it brings is like no other. Samaritan’s Purse recently published a story featuring a little girl in Vietnam and her experience of receiving her shoebox gift. When Ngo Thi Binh, a student in Year 4 at the Le Dinh Chinh School in Vietnam received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift she exclaimed, “Since I was a baby, I haven’t got gifts from anyone." "It is...
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Words, Words

Words are powerful. Some linger in the back of our minds, others bring a smile to our face. Some words we wish we would have said, and others we wish we didn’t. A chat with a close friend warms our hearts, even though miles may separate us. Yet over the years, we have somehow grown to accept the current reality of friendship as it is expressed today—a reality that will likely remain for sometime. Texts, emails, Facebook messages, and the occasional phone calls are our primary modes of communication these days, and I've accepted that. I might even go so far to say that, most days, I am used to it. But while I may have accepted it, that doesn't mean at times I wish things were different; that we lived closer, that we saw each other more often, that we weren't so busy. Sometimes we only have a few words...
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Well Done

It all started with a dream or vision that we could or should do something. This is what Ineke Beukema told me. She had seen the need for fresh water in a catalogue produced by the CRCA World Development and Relief. She shared the idea with her KYB group and the rest is history. To see the hall full of clothes and the Junior Kids Church room full of nick-knacks. What we needed now were the people who wanted a bargain. There were plenty of bargains and slowly but surely people started to arrive. Most of our members came for coffee and left with something they could not resist. The end result was that just over $2000.00 was raised from selling clothing and odds and ends. The left over clothing and goods were donated to Neighbours Aid OP shop at Lawnton. Bennie Prange who volunteers at the store collected the goods...
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Happy Fathers Day

This weekend we celebrate Dads. In our household that usually involves some sort of meal of pancakes and strawberries, and a lot of sweet cards and messages and things made at school or bought from the craft stall. All but one of our kids love strawberries, they get that from their Dad. In fact, when I look at my kids I can often see their Dad in them, especially as they are growing older. I can see my husband's kind heart, his sense of humour and fun, his gentleness, love of music, intelligence......and it makes me happy and proud. So I guess in many ways my children mirror their father. If you get to know my kids, then you also get to know a little of what their father is like. My husband however isn't perfect, neither is my Dad and neither is yours. In fact, maybe your Dad was or...
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Dear Church Family

It is good to have Adam back home from his Compassion Insight Trip to the US and Haiti. His trip was subsidised by Compassion Australia, a mission committed to ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.’ Adam’s travel itinerary included attending the Global Leadership Summit in Chicago, and then a week in Haiti. For those interested in knowing more of the experiences and places visited, you can read his report of the trip and his experiences on our web site, or collect a paper copy from the Connections Centre. Pastor Michael and Nola Thurlow, and their four children will be with us at the end of the month. I am so excited about this! Having Michael and his family join our church family will be such a blessing. Michael will bring a wealth of ministry experience as we continue to grow and expand our ministry influence in our church and community....
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3 Lessons Learned in Haiti

Last Saturday at 6am, after far too many hours crammed into a flying metal tube, I returned home from a 3-week ‘Compassion Insight Trip’ to the USA and Haiti. Compassion, as you I’m sure you know, is an organisation working to “release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” And so, the goal of the Insight Trip was for pastors and leaders to see first-hand the plight of children living in desperate poverty, but also to see the way in which Compassion partners with local churches to meet the needs of these children and release them from poverty. As I reflect on the experience, and the myriad people I met and the myriad things I saw, it is exceedingly difficult to distill the trip into just a few lessons. I have a sneaking suspicion that the full impact of the trip will continue to be felt in my life and ministry many...
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Creation Questions

Every now and then my kids ask me a question that I don't have an answer for... ok, so if I'm being honest it's probably more often than 'every now and then' A while back, one of my boys began asking me all sorts of questions like "Were dinosaurs real? Is the earth really billions of years old? Did the ice age really happen?" They were big questions, hard questions, and my son very much wanted to know the answers. He had been having discussions with his mates at school about God and evolution and the big bang and dinosaurs and my son was trying to work out where and how the Bible's account fitted in with it all. My boy loves science and facts and numbers, as do his friends, and so he needed intelligent answers, wise answers, answers that made sense to him and that he could tell his...
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PRACTICAL CHALLENGE to love one another…

I read the children’s book ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ to my kids recently. It is a simple story of a ‘plain but thoughtful sheep’ who figures out that the cranky bear, who features in the story, just wants to sleep. The sheep looks past herself and her partialities to recognize the needs of the bear. Why on earth am I sharing this with you? Like it did with my children, it provides an opportunity to talk about being humble and putting the needs of others before my own. We read about Christ’s example of humility in Philippians. ‘So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being in the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others...
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August 2015

creationministryHere we go into August already! 2015 is moving forward quickly… Let me bring to our attention a few things we’re working toward as a church family. First – Information Presentation with Creation Ministries International. CMI provide real-world answers to the most-asked questions in the area of Creation/evolution. CMI’s mission is to support the effective proclamation of the Gospel by providing credible answers that affirm the reliability of the Bible, in particular its Genesis history. There’s been growing interest within our community to hear more about creation vs evolution, and how our biblical world and life view can interact with the evolutionary presuppositions so readily accepted today. The date for this presentation is Wednesday 19 August, 7.00PM here in our church. Please invite your friends who have questions about creation vs evolution. For further information, please feel free to ask me personally. Second – Update of Attenders and Members contact details....
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Reasonable Faith and Unreasonable Grace

Currently, the Bible Reading Plan I am working my way through (www.bibleinoneyear.org) has me reading, among other things, the book of Acts. As I have read the story of how the early church spread throughout the world, one particular word has stood out to me. Perhaps it has something to do with my ‘Type A’personality (see logical and organised; or, according to my wife Molly: fussy), but it is the word “reasoned”. Over and over again, Luke (the author of Acts) tells us that the Apostle Paul, in his missionary endeavours, would “reason”with people regarding the faith. He “reasoned with them from the Scriptures”(Acts 17:17). He “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks”(18:4). He “entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God”(19:8). He “took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus”(19:9)....
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The Value of a Different Environment

Have you ever noticed how a dog’s behavior changes when you take them into a different environment? What happens? Well, they come alive! They explore, they get excited, and they sniff everything! It’s like you’ve offered them a new dog house with an all you can eat-buffet or something. They love it. Now, I would like to propose that essentially the same thing happens when students come to one of our annual youth camps… Before you pick up your phone to tell John and Adam that I’ve gone crazy, hear me out. I definitely don’t mean to say that your child starts to sniff trees and chase after cats. No, my point is that young people seem to come alive and open up when they get away from school and home for a few days. There’s nothing quite like it. Community is formed, friendships are strengthened and tears are always shed...
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Who is the captain of your soul?

Hello church family! I’ve recently been challenged between my will and God’s will. So I want to ask you as well… who is the captain of your soul? In life there are many decisions and sacrifices we have to make ranging from small daily things to life-changing choices. In the couple of seconds before you decide your answer, who’s interests influence you the most? I find that often times I am more concerned with how it will benefit me, or be advantageous for my life and sometimes those close to me. But how highly do I regard the whispers of the Holy Spirit? Even if it isn’t in line with my desires, do I still follow Jesus? Do I still submit to His plans and what will glorify Him the most even if it could mean hardships or difficulty? I visualize this as being on a boat, travelling along a river...
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Same-Sex Marriage: Astonishing Mercy and Shocking Normalisation

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to legalise same-sex marriage. A few days later on ABC radio, I listened to an 11 year old girl interviewed about ‘same-sex marriage,’ where she explained she had two Mums and she wanted them to be allowed to marry. What does Jesus say to us about this? Here’s how John Piper answers that question as he responds to the Supreme Court decision: Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy. His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation. For those who have forsaken God’s path...
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Who are you, and where do you belong?

Who are you, and where do you belong? Everyone has a name, and a place to belong. These answers aren’t always simple, and in some situations complicated. In general everyone can answer this. Everyone has a surname, a family name. Within a family, everyone has a role and place to belong. Each member has a title; mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, and the list can go on. Apart from a family, you could belong to an organisation, or a club. The Church (in a global sense) is also a family. We are all children of God. To define it even more, Bray Park Community Church is a family. Here at BPCC there are various places where you can belong. I may be biased, but the Creative Team is one great place to belong to. Here you will find like-minded people, who encourage and care for one-another. This is just one...
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  • Wisdom for Gender +

    It seems like an obvious truth: God made us male Read More
  • Hearing the Voice of God +

    I’m sometimes a little sceptical when I hear someone claim Read More
  • Talking With Kids +

    Have you organised times where you sit together as a Read More
  • Are we living in the last days? +

    Are we living in the last days? I have been Read More
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