From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

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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Who is the Holy Spirit?

On Sunday we kick-off a new sermon series on the Holy Spirit: ‘Like a Rushing Wind: Knowing & Understanding the Holy Spirit’. As we started to plan and discuss this series in the office, my creative brain kicked into gear. I immediately started to think about what graphics we could use to accompany the series, and about the different imagery applied to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. I first thought about the imagery of wind, fire, and smoke as described in Acts 2:2-4a: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…”. I was also reminded of the dove imagery we read about in the story of Noah and...
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Twisted: ‘I can do all things’

‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13) Philippians 4:13 is a beautiful and a famous verse. I actually think it was one of the very first verses I could recall from memory. I think the reason it is so popular is because it just seems so empowering: ‘I can do ALL things.’  Now, I don’t doubt that Paul meant for it be an encouragement, but to what end is he encouraging the Philippian church? What are the ‘all things’ Paul is referring to? Should I use this verse to encourage myself when trying to lift a heavy weight at the gym? Is it right for someone to recite this verse before they make a bet at the horse races? What exactly are the ‘all things’, and how can we apply this wonderful verse to our lives? It gives me such joy when I hear of believers...
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Embracing Community

If Jesus came to earth to make things clean, simple and easy for his people, he certainly didn’t do a good job of it. I mean, we know from the Bible and from history that his followers in the early church faced some pretty significant challenges. Leaders had to be assigned to take care of some of the overwhelming needs of the early church (Acts 6:1-6), Paul had to talk to some believers through all hours of the night because of time constraints (Acts 20:7), and we know that one of his disciples was even boiled alive! In fact, Jesus made it clear that he didn’t come to make things easy for his people. He said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…” (Matthew 16:24). So why am I saying all of this? Well, I think self-denial in the Christian...
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The Christmas Star

Did you know that today marks 185 days until Christmas? It might seem a little premature, but I am going to ask you all to flip (or swipe) your diaries to December 2nd and mark: BPCC Carols! Again, we have the wonderful opportunity to bless the local community and share the gospel message. As we say each year, the Carols event is an effort of the whole Church. It is always encouraging to see how God uses the combined efforts of His people to make these things possible. We can all pray. Plus, we can serve in the area God has gifted us. We were so grateful for the generous donations and sponsorship towards Carols last year. Once again, we will have opportunities for you to sponsor and/or donate. If you would like to know more about this prior to our first appeal, don’t hesitate to contact me. The Carols theme...
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Our God Does Not Change

A few weeks ago, we had the annual GEMS and Cadets camp out at Samford. We had a great weekend with around 50 boys and girls enjoying the outdoors together. The Bible teaching over the weekend was focused on our awesome Creator God. We learnt about God’s awesome power, creativity and wisdom that He has displayed in creation for all to see (Rom. 1:20). In fact, we were extremely blessed to have one of the Dads bring along a powerful telescope through which we could observe more of God’s spectacular creation as displayed in the heavens. It was amazing to gaze upon the stars and planets like Jupiter and Saturn. The magnitude of the night sky and the reality that God created it was truly humbling. Whilst looking through the telescope, I was reminded of one of my favourite Bible verses, from James 1:17:Every good and perfect gift is from above,...
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Living a life of faith in the world

Living a life of faith in the world isn’t always easy.  The world is broken, in many forms. You only have to turn on the television, or listen to the radio news to get a picture of the world we live in. There are many reasons to lose hope and our faith. In the past few weeks, we have seen many heartbreaking situations unfold. All around the world, every day people are being caught up in situations that were out of their control. Not only have lives been lost, but many have been left with permanent scars, whether physical or emotional. In times of sadness and confusion, it’s easy to lose sight of Jesus. James 4:8 tells us to “come near to God and He will come near to you.” By submitting ourselves to God, we feel closer to Him. What a great comfort it is, to know that He is...
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How do you keep air in your spiritual tyres?

How do you keep air in your spiritual tyres? I quite often ask people that, especially people in ministry leadership. How do you keep your spiritual batteries charged so that your witness for Jesus shines brightly? As we enter a new month, let me ask you this same question: What do you do to stay close to the truth that you are a forgiven, heaven bound son or daughter of the Living God? If you answer: “I attend church on Sunday (or most Sundays),” I’m thinking you’re not as pumped up or shining as brightly as you could be. I know that from personal experiences. I know that because the time-starved pressured lives most of us live, causes us to move through life far too fast! Here’s a question for you Dads: Do you attend your kids’ sports events and school plays? And Mums: Are the challenges of motherhood, work and...
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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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What really matters this Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day… It’s all about flowers, breakfast in bed, sticky cuddles, and relaxing, right? Well, my Mother’s Day this year will see me getting up in the dark and taking part in a charity walk with my eldest daughter. The things we do for our kids, hey!   Let’s face it, parents do a lot for their children. And those things change over time. When my children were little I did a lot of practical things for them; I fed them, changed nappies, cleaned faces, wiped noses, carried them around, helped them sleep… I feel tired just remembering how long some of those days were when my children were babies and how physically tired I was.   Now that my children are a bit older what I do for them has changed quite a bit.  Now I go on crazy water slides with them (even though I really don’t want to!)....
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Have you heard about the Wise Convention?

It is the next national youth and young adults convention, which will be held in Victoria in January 2018. The national Conventions are held every two years, and are an awesome event. I know many people whose faith and lives have been changed through Conventions- including my own, I first decided to take responsibility for my faith and give my life to Christ at a convention in Tasmania. I’ve attended three Conventions so far, and each has been a very memorable and impacting experience. I am actually a part of the committee organising the 2018 Wise Convention, and can confirm that it is shaping up to be a particularly good one- we have been blessed with a great site, talented speakers, and our preparations have been running smoothly and ahead of schedule. What? The CRCA National Youth & Young Adults Convention is a bi-annual event held for young people aged 15-28...
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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 ( 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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Easter demonstrates God’s love for you personally.

The weeks leading into Easter are known as Lent, and many followers of Jesus use this time to intentionally self-examine their lives. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom.5:8) The following short meditation from Max Lucado helps us focus on ways Jesus’ death and resurrection has given us new life. Saturated in Love Where God’s love is there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. (1Jn.4:18) We fear rejection, so we follow the crowd.  We fear not fitting in, so we take the drugs.  For fear of standing out, we wear what everyone else wears.  For fear of blending in, we wear what no one else wears.  For fear of sleeping alone, we sleep with anyone.  For fear of not being loved, we search for love in all the wrong places.  But God flushes those...
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We Can make a Difference

I am sure that most of you heard about the atrocity that happened in Syria this week. In a chemical attack, more than 70 lives (including children and babies) have been lost and hundreds injured. Images of parents rushing their children into hospitals, a father holding his 21-month-old twin daughters, lifeless, in his arms; they are seared into my conscious. There is a part of me that is so devastated and overwhelmed that I think there is nothing I can do. But as I say a silent prayer for hope for these people, I am reminded that I can make a difference and that God has called me to be a part of His ‘making all things new’. (Rev 21:5a ‘And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new."’) Rather than thinking we can make little difference, know that God can use us (collectively) to make a...
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Looking Forward to Term Two

Welcome to the new month of April, in which we remember and celebrate Easter. Easter is the most significant event in the Christian faith! It is also the event Jesus told his followers to remember and celebrate (cf. Luke 22:14-20). Special services will be held Good Friday 9.00AM and Easter Sunday 9.00AM followed by our Easter on the Lawn celebration to which we invite our community. Invitation cards are available from the Connection Centre for you to share with friends and neighbours. Please take advantage of this opportunity to promote God’s love for His world this Easter.   We also come to the end of Term One for our schools. Can you believe how quickly time moves along? As we gear up for Term Two, a number of exciting Wednesday Night Growth Courses are planned. In this News Letter you will find further information. Please use the relevant courses to invite...
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When God paints outside the lines

I am a self-confessed planner; I like to know what is going to happen in the future. I can go with the flow, but I feel much better if I have a long-term plan. This can make being a parent of young adults difficult, at times. I certainly love this stage of parenting, but I don’t love all the unanswered questions: What will they study? Where will they work? Where will they live? And the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of these things happening, I just don’t like the feeling of uncertainty that comes along with it. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I want to share some truths with you that God has reminded me of lately and that have provided me with comfort in the uncertainty of life. Firstly, no matter how much I want to think differently, I...
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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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Ups and Downs

Life has its ‘ups’ & ‘downs’! We all know that because we all experience them. Many of you know I’ve just gone through a personal time of physical and health challenges that involved numerous medical appointments and procedures. Thankfully I’m now back at work and coping better. This period has reminded me of our complete dependence on God’s grace. This period also reminded me of knowing what to do with our grievances and challenges when we go through ‘down’ times? Answer: … pour out your hearts to God. (Ps.62:4). I love the honesty of this answer that we read in Scripture! God invites us to pour out our hearts to him when we experience difficult times.       5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;          my hope comes from him.       6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;          he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.       7 My...
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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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