From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

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

In preparation for an upcoming sermon series on PRAYER, I’m reading a number of books – one in particular summarises so well WHY we will benefit from a series on prayer: We are uncomfortable with silence… In the broader culture and in our churches, we prize intellect, competency, and wealth. Because we can do life without God, praying seems nice but unnecessary. Money can do what prayer does, and it is quicker and less time consuming. Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God. As a result, exhortations to pray don’t stick. (Paul Miller, A Praying Life, Navpress 2009, p.16)

It is true, many of us pray when trouble looms and we can’t fix the problem any other way. This is true for me too. That’s the main reason we’re going to open God’s Word and learn about the power and blessing of prayer. So let me ask that you will pray for those of us who will teach & preach on prayer in the ensuing weeks.

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Thank You

Tiiu, Kezia, Tiana and I want to say thank you to you, who have been our church family for the last 8 years and where I also have had the privilege and honour of being a pastor for almost 5 of those years. It is with some sadness that we will be leaving this loving and vibrant Christian community of which we have many fond memories and ongoing friendships, but as the old adage goes nothing stays the same forever and we can always be certain of change. I have taken a position in the Churches of Christ as a Chaplain in their aged care services, overseeing the pastoral care team for two campuses in Brisbane.

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Access Groups

Hebrews 10:24 – 25, 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If you are new to us or not in a Life Group then we want to help you take the next step and invite you to join an Access Group that will meet on Wednesday nights 7pm at the Church. In addition to a much shorter commitment 4 to 6 weeks, Access Groups will be sermon based and tie in with a Sunday sermon series each term. This term we have a 4 week Access Group that will run from 20 Feb to 13 March, childcare is available, start anytime by signing up at our connection center.

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COMMUNITY CARE

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the lord – and he will repay you.”
Proverbs 19: 17

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in.”
Matthew 25:35

I have just completed a review of 2012 and discovered that we handed out 214 food parcels in the year, an average of four a week. This year so far we have helped forty four people. That is an average of seven a week. By this you can see that the need has increased greatly. We have also assisted people with $20.00 fuel vouchers. A total of 80 of these were handed out last year. I attended the Pine Rivers Care Network meeting this week and all the churches are reporting the same increase in people asking for help.

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Sharing your faith without sweating

If I could show you how to share your faith with no fear of being laughed at or mocked, would you be interested in listening to me? I’m convinced there are keys to sharing your story of faith in normal ways that people respect and accept. Coming Sunday in AM Church we’re starting a four week sermon series based on the Bible Study: Just Walk Across the Room. We Christ-followers know that Jesus tells us we’re to be witnesses for him… our challenge is ‘how?’ The short answer is: Just walk across the room and be friendly. I hope you’ll join me on Sunday for the first instalment in this practical series.

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Clarifying our church’s ministry goals

Yay… Kidz Church starts again this Sunday morning.

 

Welcome to our Sunday Services… our aim this week will be to clarify our church’s ministry goals for this New Year. Jesus makes it clear what they are, and he gives us his Holy Spirit to lead us in the tasks. At the start of each New Year, we remind ourselves of Jesus’ instruction to the church.

Imagine you and I received a questionnaire in the mail from Jesus, asking three questions? The questions were: (1) Why did I come to earth and why did I have to die? (2) What is the church? (3) Why does the church exist? How would you answer these questions? Seriously. What would your answers be? We will be answering these questions in our AM Church, Café Church and PM Church services this week.

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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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Christmas Day 2012

In just a few days it will be Christmas Day, 2012. Much of the world will stop to reflect on Jesus Christ, the Son of God coming from heaven in the form of a baby… and grew… and taught… and called a people together to change the world… and went to the cross where he sacrificed his life to pay for our sin… and then rose from the dead… and appeared to over 500 witnesses… and ascended into heaven! Those witnesses couldn’t stop talking about the Son of God who did these things. Their message spread over the world. Countless, countless people believed this good news and the Church has been celebrating this person Jesus Christ’s birth for close on 2000 years!

We’re to do more than just celebrate it. We’re to keep telling it – like those original witnesses and disciples. As you consider your new year’s resolutions, why not add intentional witnessing in word & deed. Let those you do life with see Jesus’ love in you.

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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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Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings! Yes it is that time of the year again Christmas is almost upon us; have you sent your requests to Father Christmas yet (alias ……….. fill in the blank), have you sent out your Christmas cards, have you sent out presents that need to go to another state or overseas. Maybe I just sent your thoughts to a place of …..oh NO! only 3 weeks to go or are you thinking yum all that food. Jesus Christ the sent one We often see the nativity scene in certain stores or at our shopping centres with ba-by Jesus in the middle surrounded by farm animals, shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary. We know that nine months before this scene an angel of the Lord ap-peared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in...
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Carols

I think most of us are saying it: “I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas”! On Sunday, Christmas is only 31 sleeps away. This busy time of the year involves end of year celebrations, logistical challenges in arranging catch up’s with family and friends, present buying, school holidays, menu planning, and of course CAROLS!

Carols is only two weekends away, Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of December. The Carols service will celebrate that ‘Christmas is a Birthday party, a time for having fun’ and will hear and sing about Jesus’ birthday be reminded that He is the gift to us all.

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Forgive

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

“The Lord says to me, “Is it right for you to be angry about ……? And I said, “Yes, it is. I am so angry I wish I were dead.” Then the Lord said to me, “That person you are so angry with, is my son. I love him. I don’t like what he has done either, but I want you to forgive him. I don’t like what you are doing, but I will forgive you.

Seventy times seven. Forgive as you have been forgiven. I think most of us know these words. We believe them. It makes sense to us and we probably realise that harbouring unforgiveness can cause havoc in our minds and even affect our mental health negatively. We know that forgiveness and forgiving is something that we need, but yet it doesn’t happen spontaneously. Yet, it is something that we have to do almost daily. I suppose it is a bit like hard physical work. If we want a healthy body, we have to work hard every day to buy food to feed our body.

What is forgiveness? Well, everyone (also Wikipedia) knows what it is:

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GEMS & Cadets

2012 has been a great year for GEMS and Cadets, our primary school aged ministries for girls and boys at BPCC, we have had the privilege of leading more than 30 girls and 30 boys throughout the year. Our theme for this year has been ‘Get Wisdom: Go Beyond the Gold!’ which has involved a study of the book of Proverbs and the wisdom God imparted to King Solomon for us to learn from. It has been exciting to watch these boys and girls discovering many truths that can help them in their lives today through the book of proverbs.

Both GEMS and Cadets have learnt many new skills this year, during our Programs. The GEMS have tried their hand at baking, cross stitch and many other craft projects. They also had a fabulous time with their parents at our mother daughter night in May and our recent father daughter night in September. Cadets have also tried many new things, some of the boys have had a go at woodworking, cooking, metalworking and discovering their musical side. Not to mention all the activities the boys and their dads have been involved in during their camps.

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November

In November, you’ll see there are stacks of things happening in our church and broader community. Please take the time to read this, and note the dates and times of activities that will help you in your journey with Jesus. Consider also –

(1) who could you invite to join you in attending? and

(2) where could you offer your help in making BPCC shine for Jesus?

It was good to read Pastor Jim’s report last week on our church’s care ministry involvement within the Pine Rivers community, as well as our church community. There is so much that happens behind the scenes.

Let me mention just a few more:

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Give me the simple life

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.

We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ.

If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”

“how shall we do this?”, shouted his angels.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds, “he answered.

“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 – 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

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Helping the Needy

The other day I read this quote from Mother Teresa, “We, the willing, led by the unknown, are doing the im-possible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do any-thing with nothing”.

While this may have been true for Mother Teresa, I see our situation as very different. We have the willing, people like you and I, who led hopefully by the Holy Spirit, sometimes try to do the impossible, but most peo-ple we help are very grateful and we have a vast array of support.

There are so many opportunities for people who are willing to reach out and help the needy in our community. Let me list a few examples.

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It depends on my motivation…

I remember reading about a workshop leader who asked a business man if he would be willing to walk across a narrow beam hypothetically resting on the floor in exchange for $50. ‘Sure’ he said. ‘Would you walk across the same beam if it was suspended between two forty-story buildings?’ The man said, ‘Absolutely not!’ Having seemingly made his point, the workshop leader continued by posing another question. ‘Supposing I were standing on one of the same two buildings holding one of your children over the edge and told you I would drop your kid if you didn’t walk across the beam. Now what would you do?’ Pondering the question, the business mans asked, ‘Which kid do you have?’

I tell you this story to make the following point – there are times when we may have similar feelings about our family and friends. Most times it is easy to love family and friends… but those other times can be really, really hard! Yet, that is exactly what God calls us to do – to bring love, joy, and peace to our families and circles of influence, even our enemies!

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Is your Christ too small?

If you ever get to the place where Jesus Christ isn’t enough . . . if you ever get to the place where you think that you can advance beyond Christ . . . then you haven’t met the Christ of the Bible.

Jesus said that “all Scripture testifies of me.” Everything in the Old Testament points to Him. And it doesn’t make sense apart from Him. But that’s not all.

He came not only as the fullness of the Godhead, and not only as the new Adam, and not only as the new Israel. But He came to reconcile a fallen universe back to Himself.

And how did He do it?

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Term 4 2012

School term four starts again next week. As we head into the last quarter of 2012 we have some exciting things happening at church during this time. Let me mention four:

Wednesday Ministry Nights

Starting this coming Wednesday 10 October, we’re offering four classes.

1. Divorce Recovery – facilitated by myself and Carla. This seven session course aims to give participants an understanding of the divorce experience, provide a safe place to process grief and loss and develop skills and courage to rebuild.

2. CAP Money – facilitated by Pastor Jim and his team, this three session course teaches skills to set up and stick to a workable budget.

3. Come Alive – taught by Alan Hermann, this five session study on Personal Spiritual Growth covers topics including spiritual dryness, personal devotion, silence and solitude, meditation and inner contentment.

4. Life Shapes – facilitated by Pastor Wayne for eight sessions where you gain understanding of yourself, your relationship to Christ and to one another.

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