From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

The Root of Ingratitude

Most days I read a short devotion from a very well respected theologian who doesn’t just know the Bible well, but loves Jesus and his church with all his heart. John Piper has stirred my heart and thoughts as I’ve anticipated this Christmas season with my loved ones.Let me share John Piper’s insights. The Root of Ingratitude By John Piper Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)When gratitude springs up in the human heart toward God, he is magnified as the wealthy source of our blessing. He is acknowledged as giver and benefactor and therefore as glorious.But when gratitude does not spring up in our hearts at God's great goodness to us, it probably means that we don't want to pay him a compliment; we don't want...
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The Destructive Force of Christmas

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 The word “destroy” is not one we usually associate with Christmas. Unless, of course, we are reading Dr. Seuss’ classic book, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, or we are once again faced with some sort of family meltdown. But generally it does not fit in our visions of the quaint nativity scene, or our mountains of presents stock-piled under the Christmas tree.However, in 1 John 3:8, the Apostle John says “destruction” is precisely the reason for Christmas! He tells us that the reason Jesus appeared, or came, or incarnated, was to destroy the works of the devil. Now, restrain your mind from running straight to visions of outlandish demonic possession. The “works of the devil” are far more subversive, and comprehensive than just overt supernatural phenomena (though they are not less than that)....
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The Gift

“Jesus is the greatest gift at Christmas. You won’t find Him underneath the Christmas tree. ‘Cause most of all us sinners need a saviour. Come see the greatest Christmas gift, look to Jesus Christ and live, Jesus is the greatest gift that there will ever be” (words our Kids Choir sang from the song “Greatest Christmas Gift” by Colin Buchanan). I can’t believe Carols 2014 is over! I am so thankful we shared the message that Jesus is the greatest gift and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who was involved! To put on an event like Carols takes a team of people, and many different tasks. So whether you were involved in decorating, baking, singing, setting-up, cooking, greeting, or in any other way, let me say, thank you! Every single person involved was important and made Carols 2014 the success it was. Most of...
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Phillip Hughes and the Enemy of Death

In this past week, death, like an unwelcome reptilian guest, once again reared its monstrous head, with the tragic passing of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes. In the wake of this horrific tragedy, the profound sadness that has invaded public consciousness has only been matched by a pervasive sense of disbelief. It shouldn’t happen like this. Cricket is a game. Phillip was only 25 years old, about to celebrate his 26th birthday. Young, healthy men don’t die playing a game. Yet it happened. And in disbelief, we mourn. And underneath our grief, we realise that death might not be as distant as we believe it to be. On Tuesday night I was asked to pray for my indoor cricket team. An occurrence as surprising as it was solemn (and a great privilege). Confronted with the unavoidable reality of death, we cannot help but be confronted by our weakness and limitation. We might...
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Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, it was announced by the OT prophet Isaiah. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Is.7:14) That’s an interesting name don’t you think? Immanuel is Jesus’ other name. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, he uses the name Jesus. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”… “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will...
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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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Live our faith actively

Let me share some snippets of advice that are impacting me at the moment. Crucial Conversations I attended a two day professional development leadership conference last week, and I was again reminded of how important communication is if you want to enjoy emotionally healthy families, friendships, workplaces and churches. Communication! Conversation. Many years ago the importance of this came home to me when a preacher said; “The hardest part about telling the truth in conversation is the last 10%.” You and I know this is so true don’t we? The hardest part of telling the truth, is the last 10%. It was this same point the seminar stressed about honest, healthy conversation. The speaker used an interesting phrase; “crucial conversations.” Let me encourage us all to reflect on this, and ask if there are “crucial conversations” we need to have in our circles to get things back on track and working...
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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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Is it beginning to look a lot like…

For me it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. O Holy Night, the night Jesus was born. It wasn’t a Silent Night for Mary with the animals in the manger and O Little Town of Bethlehem buzzing with activity. Just nine months prior Joseph had asked himself What Child is This Mary carries? But after he learned this baby would be “God with us” I think he would have looked upon baby Jesus Away in the Manger with a smile on his face. He probably wanted to Go Tell it on the Mountain of the birth of the boy. For the safety Mary’s Boy Child he kept silent. The angels however did not. Hark the Herald Angels sang “Glory to God in the Highest”! They spoke to humble shepherds about the great news, news that was Joy to the World; ‘unto you is born this day in the city of...
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Operation Christmas child

What fun I’ve had sorting through all the donations for our shoebox appeal for Operation Christmas child. It almost felt like Christmas for me as I opened up bags and saw balls, necklaces, colouring in things, stickers, dolls, cuddly toys, skipping ropes. I guess in some respect I was feeling a little of what a small child somewhere far off will feel when they open their shoebox in a few months’ time. How amazing to be part of something that makes such an impact in someone else’s life. At Kidz church each week this term we have been watching short DVD clips of children around the world opening their shoebox and the absolute joy and happiness it brings them. And I’m not talking about the ‘exciting’ things in the box, like the ball or the skipping rope. I’m talking about the everyday things like the soap, hairbrush, undies, toothbrush, pencils. We...
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Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday will be the first fathers day that I celebrate without my dad, who passed away in December. Although my dad did not live his life has a Christian man, he was a good man, always there to help anyone who needed help. My dad also taught me many things, but I think the most important lesson I ever learned from him was to always have a go, which is a good thing, as this year we have had to have a go at things that we had always relied on him to do. We have had to actually use the skills that he has spent his life trying to teach us, I must admit, I think should have paid more attention at times, however I have been surprised at what lessons actually did sink in. As I ponder the loss of my dad this week, I am challenged as I...
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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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Hey church family!These past few weeks I’ve just been celebrating! I’m blessed to have some of my closest friends all turn 21. Within 3 months of each other. And today (24th August) my family and I are celebrating my mother’s birthday. However, all of this ‘celebration’ has lead me to contemplate cycling to university and catching up for ‘water’ instead of coffee as my money is slowly running out. Nevertheless, this ‘celebration’ season has really made me think about our eternal celebration. It’s so exciting to go to birthday parties or weddings, enjoying everyone’s company, and just having a ball! Plus the great food! But this is just a glimpse of what it will be like when our days here on earth are done and we open our eyes, amazed and satisfied as we stare at the face of Jesus. It will be a continuous feast. A party that never ends....
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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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Middle East Reformed Fellowship UPDATE ABOUT IRAQ

This week I received the following email which is asking us to pray. Daily there is fresh Middle East news: from Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine and other Arab and Muslim lands – more violence and more deaths! Ramadan, the annual Muslim lunar month of fasting, was in July. Arab news reporters observed that it has been the worst Ramadan in centuries – calamities impacted more lives than ever. For the first time in centuries, an Islamic Caliphate was re-established by Sunni militants who seized parts of Iraq and Syria. They come from every continent and region of the world. A longstanding dream has dawned – an Islamic state, strictly run by Qur’anic teachings and religious edicts (Fatwas) patterned on their prophet Mohammed’s 14-century old Arabic desert words and deeds. Christians, other minorities and women have become the main victims. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian families of central and northern Iraq...
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Why We Don’t Lose Heart

By John Piper Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16) Paul can’t see the way he used to (and there were no glasses). He can’t hear the way he used to (and there were no hearing aids). He doesn’t recover from beatings the way he used to (and there were no antibiotics). His strength, walking from town to town, doesn’t hold up the way it used to. He sees the wrinkles in his face and neck. His memory is not as good. And he admits that this is a threat to his faith and joy and courage. But he doesn’t lose heart. Why? He doesn’t lose heart because his inner man is being renewed. How? The renewing of his heart comes from something very strange: it comes from looking at what he can’t see.We look not to the things...
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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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Growth Groups

connectAt BPCC we want to do our Christian walk together, we believe each one of us is on a journey, where we are being called to continually CONNECT with God and with people, TO GROW in our relationship with Christ, TO SERVE God with the gifts and abilities he has given us, and TO GO into our circles of influence and share the Gospel of Christ to those who don’t yet know him. Today I want to talk to you about Growth Groups, you will have heard a bit about them lately. We believe that Growth Groups are a great way to journey together, on our Christian walk. Growth Groups provide a place where you make real friendships with other believers, and grow in your relationship with Christ.   Growth Groups provide a place where you can study God’s word and be challenged to dig deeper and apply what you have...
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Stories of Grace

Have you heard the acronym based on the word GRACE, “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense”? Most of us have experienced God’s Grace as a result of someone sharing the Gospel message with us. For me it was my Sunday school teacher and the speaker at a youth camp. As I look back on my life many other people have guided me on my spiritual journey. Commencing Sunday 13the July Pastors John, Adam and Jack DeVries will be taking us through a new series titled “GENESIS, stories of GRACE”. The office has produced an attractive card which you can use to invite someone to join you in attending church (they are available from the Connections Centre) and listening to the GRACE stories in the series. Please remember that the same sermon is being preached at AM as well as PM services, so if you have a family or sporting commitment during the...
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