From Our Team

Bray Park Community Church

Words of thought from our Church Team

The Importance of Gauges

We may take gauges for granted, but when they tell us something is wrong, we know it is important to take notice and address whatever we are being warned of. For example, if you ignore the message of an empty fuel tank in your car… you’ll end up walking! A number of years ago I was reminded how important ‘personal gauges’ are too. Gauges that reveal my heart for God, or my heart for my family, or my heart for people… The truth and importance of this was explained in a powerful book written by Kevin Harney. Kevin was a guest preacher here back in March, and led a seminar on sharing our Christian faith. Kevin’s book impacted me deeply on how valuable it is to regularly read my personal gauges on a whole raft of real-life areas: Faith; Prayer; Marriage; Family; Social/Fun; Sabbath; Work; Personal Development; Inner-Circle; Kingdom Passion; Time...
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Jesus, The Beatles, and Rest

In 1968 The Beatles released a self-titled album that eventually came to be known as ‘The White Album’. On this influential album is a song titled: “I’m So Tired.” Though it was recorded almost 50 years ago, it could easily have been written about us today: I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink; I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink; I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink. I'm so tired I don't know what to do; I'm so tired my mind is set on you; I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do. You'd say I'm putting you on; But it's no joke, it's doing me harm. You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain; You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane You know I'd give you everything I've got; For a little peace of mind...
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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

In the New Testament a man named Zacchaeus had a surprise dinner guest. One day, as Jesus was walking by and the crowds gathered around, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a better view. He presumed Jesus would just pass him by, but Jesus had so much more planned for Zacchaeus. Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly....
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Has God got your attention?

Last Sunday we explored the story of Moses’ life-changing encounter with God at the burning bush in the wilderness of Horeb (Exodus 3:1–10). After 40 years of exile in Midian, God captured Moses’ attention with a strange and inexplicable sight—a bush that burned but did not burn up. Perhaps this extremely significant encounter got you thinking: Does God still reveal Himself to us in this kind of eye-catching way today? Now, on one level the answer is obviously no, because “…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Heb. 1:2). Jesus Christ is God’s enfleshed, final Word to humanity. And what a Word He is; a Word full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And yet, at another level, there is little doubt that God still uses metaphorical ‘burning bushes’ to capture our attention and turn us aside. Think about what the burning bush actually was. It...
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Christ-likeness…

Christians are called to be witnesses of Christ. Our lives are to reflect his character. Reminds me of this story: A kindergarten teacher told everyone in her class to draw a picture of what was important to them. In the back of the room, Oscar began to labour over his drawing. Everybody else finished and handed in their picture but he didn’t. He was still drawing. The teacher graciously walked back and put her arm around Oscar’s shoulder and said: ‘Oscar, what are you drawing?’ He didn’t look up, he just kept on working feverishly at his picture. He said, ‘God.’ ‘But Oscar,’ she said gently, ‘no one knows what God looks like.’ He answered, ‘They will when I’m done.’ I love this story! ‘They will when I’m done!’ What is the picture of your life? Does it reflect Jesus? Are his characteristics reflected in your life? Do you – do...
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Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?

Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life? This is the question that Michael Wittmer asks and, I believe, persuasively answers in his excellent book, "Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?". If we're honest, this is probably a question that many of us have wondered privately, but never articulated publicly. Perhaps we think it's blasphemous to wonder if following Jesus will really lead us into the best that life has to offer? And yet if we don't really wrestle with this question we may go through life with the damaging, and often imperceptible, assumption that following Jesus means we miss out on the good things in life. For this reason and more, I believe "Becoming Worldly Saints" is worthy of your time and attention. So, in the hope that you may be sufficiently intrigued (or provoked) to go out & read it, let me...
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'Pure Joy'

James 1:2-6 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faithproduces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be matureand complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. When we chase after God, expect Satan to try and get in our way. The harder we chase, the harder he’ll try to throw us off course, confuse us and distract us. Satan would love nothing more than to stop our pursuit of God. In James one, we’re told to consider these trials “pure joy.” They remind us that what we are doing with our lives–our pursuit–matters. It’s not just a hobby or a game. So, as...
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The Bible's Guarantee

Did you know the Bible guarantees Christians everything necessary to meet all the battles of life? This is a huge claim! Let’s consider some battles you and I may (will) face in our lifetime: Cancer. Death of a loved one. Financial pressure. Divorce. Family breakdown. Retrenchment. Disability. Unrealised dreams. These are just a few of the challenges and battles ordinary people face in their ordinary day-to-day lives. Yet, the Bible guarantees those who place their faith, hope and trust in the work and person of Jesus Christ, they receive from God everything necessary to meet these trials. Let me say it again: This is a huge claim!  Our Sunday sermons during these school holidays are where we dig deep into this biblical claim. We are working through Pauls teaching to believers in Ephesians 6 where he encourages them to stand firm in the Lord:-  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty...
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Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

Any time the topic of spiritual warfare is raised—as it was last Sunday in the sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13—good and plentiful questions are sure to follow. One question that often comes up is: Can a Christian be demon-possessed?    Now, at one level, this question is relatively simple to answer. If by “demon-possessed” we mean that a Christian is so controlled by Satan they are unable to worship God, obey Him, or control their behaviour, then the answer is clearly ‘no’. Scripture is gloriously clear about the radical change that occurs when someone becomes a child of God. In short, believers are indwelt by God’s Spirit (John 14:17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), they are united with Christ (Eph. 1:3-10; 2 Cor. 5:17), all of which ultimately means they are “rescued… from the dominion of darkness and brought… into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13). Or, in the words of...
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Operation Christmas Child

 For a number of years now, BPCC has partaken in ‘Operation Christmas Child’; a project organised and run by Samaritan’s Purse. Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. And this year BPCC is very excited to be part of it again! At Kidz Church in Term 3 we will be busy sorting and making items for the boxes. We will be writing letters and taking photos to include in our boxes. And at the end of the term all of the items will be packed into shoeboxes to be sent overseas to children who may have never received a gift before. This project provides us with an amazing opportunity to not only promote mercy in our own families, but also to demonstrate God’s great love for all of His creation. There are lots of ways you can...
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Give Thanks

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe” (Psalm 107:1-2)   How do we approach life, work, and family? Are we genuinely grateful for what we have? Or are we always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else?    In Psalm 107, the psalmist encourages us to be thankful; to come before God with a thankful heart for all we have and for all that God has done for us and is continuing to do.   In recent days I’m sure we have all heard about the effects of the heavy rainfall and flooding that has ravaged the east coast all the way down to Tasmania. But in the midst of the devastation there have also been encouraging reports of people’s generosity and willingness to help others.   The...
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I have a question

I have a question: How confident are you in the Christian claim that salvation is assured when you place your faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ? The Bible tells us it is true – cf. John 1:12; 14:6; Romans 5:1; 6:23; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-0; Titus 3:5. But sometimes we doubt this biblical truth don’t we? Well, in my devotional reading this week, I read the following post from John Piper that helps convince me it is true. The Faith That Magnifies GraceI do not nullify the grace of God. (Galatians 2:21)When I lost my footing as a little boy in the undertow at the beach, I felt as if I were going to be dragged to the middle of the ocean in an instant. It was a terrifying thing. I tried to get my bearings and figure out which way was up. But I couldn’t get my feet...
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Serve like Jesus

“To make and grow disciples of Jesus Christ for the good of our community and the glory of God” At BPCC, I have the privilege of leading the Creative Team. As a Creative Team, we have the pleasure to be a part of using creative arts to make and grow disciples of Jesus Christ. It is always a wonderful blessing to see how God uses songs, video clips, dramatic readings, and a myriad of other creative means to edify His people and to glorify Himself. In our current sermon series through the book of Ephesians, we are being reminded that as the church of Jesus Christ we are not all the same – but we are united in Jesus! And because we are different, we each have different gifts that have been given to us for building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:16). So, I ask each of us: What are you good at? Where does a need exist? Are you serving His church in...
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What old buildings can teach us about the Church

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit—Ephesians 2:21-22   I don’t know about you, but I love old buildings. I love structures that have stood the test of time and remain for us as reminders of a bygone era. A couple of years ago, Molly and I went on a holiday to Tasmania where we took the opportunity to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site. Some of the sandstone buildings and old homes from the 18th and 19th century convict settlement were simply remarkable. Last year, when I was in the historic U.S. city of Boston, I visited King’s Chapel; a church building constructed in 1754. Considering the First Fleet did not arrive on Australian shores until 1788, that is...
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Thank You to all who Serve

This past week was National Volunteer Week across Australia (May 9th – 15th). The theme for this year was ‘Give Happy, Live Happy.’ Obviously, the organisers mean to suggest that when people volunteer they live happier and healthier lives. Indeed, much research has been done regarding the benefits of volunteering, with the results showing that our wellbeing comes not from money or consumerism, but from having meaningful endeavours in our lives. Studies have even shown links between generosity and our immune system. Volunteering is not just good for our physical health, but for our psychological and emotional health too. Engaging in generous and altruistic behaviour makes you want to be even more generous and altruistic. Volunteering creates for us a healthy and positive loop: the more you volunteer, the healthier you become, and the more you want to volunteer and serve others. And, of course, giving of ourselves to help and...
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Reflections on Motherhood

Ahhh, motherhood… This past week has seen my eldest turn 21, and throughout those 21 years of being a mum, there have been times it has felt like being on a roller-coaster. When I look back, I think of the many joy-filled, fun times I have shared with my kids. I remember the joy it gave me to see them master a new skill or develop a God-given gift and then use it for God’s glory. Or I remember with fondness when I witnessed them show kindness or encouragement to others. But I also remember the not-so-fun times. If you’re a mum, you know the times I’m referring to! I remember the endless questions, the sticky fingers, the sleepless nights, the constant interruptions, the overly dramatic tantrums, and the continual correction and teaching that was required. I remember never getting a minute to myself and I remember the sheer and utter exhaustion...
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Victory in Christ

This coming Monday is Anzac Day (25th April). This date marks the anniversary of the first military action fought by Australia and New Zealand in World War 1 on the shores of Gallipoli. Although the military objectives were catastrophic, it was during this campaign that the “spirit of Anzac”—with its qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice—was born. And it is precisely these qualities which continue to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.[1] Indeed, Anzac Day is an opportunity for us to remember all Australians killed in military operations, and to remember those men and women who helped shape Australia into the nation it is today. The word ‘citizen’ means; a native or naturalised member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection. As a citizen of Australia I am thankful for all those who fought in war to...
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Run to Win

The countdown is on! You might be wondering; ‘What countdown?’ Well, it’s only the biggest sporting event on the planet (according to the website J). In roughly 110 days, more than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries will come together in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. You can bet the athletes are counting down. I can only imagine the preparation that must go into training and being ready to compete at the international level. The level of self-discipline required by the athletes leading into such an event must be astounding. And how can you not admire their determination and focus? Everything they do is with the end goal in mind – winning. With their eyes firmly on their goal, athletes are prepared to work hard, to make many sacrifices, and to go without. But they must believe it is all worth it, otherwise surely they wouldn’t bother. Jesus and...
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The Priority of Church

Is it important to attend church on a weekly basis? Should believers make the weekly gathering a priority in their busy schedules? This is—in our day and age—a loaded question. And one in which there seems to be a variety of opinion. Perhaps part of the confusion stems from our understanding of the word church. Many people instinctively understand the church to be a building. The church is somewhere you go. But in Scripture the word ‘church’ comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which means “assembly” or “called out ones”. The church, then, is a people you belong to. This means, if you are a Christian, you don’t so much go to church, as you are the church. You don’t attend church; you gather with the church. The distinction is important because I believe it is the deficient understanding of the church as a building or a service that leads many...
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Real Connections

“It’s not wealth that has made me happy, it’s my family.” So said the popstar, Sting, in an interview. He comes from a poor working class background in the north of England, but now is wealthy. Do you agree that what’s most important in life is not our money or possessions or achievements, but our relationships? I believe that in life, relationships matter. Without close relationships in our lives, stress and anxiety levels are more likely to increase. Yet, in our technological society close relationships are becoming harder and harder to maintain. We smile when we see people sitting at the same table buried in their iPhones rather than talking. Then we realise we sometimes do the same thing. Meaningful and balanced relationships are essential to living a healthy life, and when these relationships are broken, the impact on everyone is enormous. While we all appreciate the tremendous advances in our...
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