Sharing Jesus in Our Turbulent Times “For the times they are a-changin’”. Bob Dylan famously wrote and sang these words in 1964. He could have written them in 2019. Today we live, work, and play in a culture and among people who believe very differently to us. Of course, this is not new and it should not be surprising; we have not been called by God to fit in but to stand out (Matt. 5:14). Neither should it scare us; God is on the throne and history is moving towards His glorious end (Rev. 21:1-4). But it does present us with particular opportunities and challenges as we seek to reach out and to share Jesus with others. So, let me suggest three simple ways we can be a faithful
Rearranged by the Resurrection “Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” — John 20:18 Welcome to Bray Park Community Church on this Easter Sunday! Whether you are part of the church family, whether you’ve been invited by someone, whether you’re just visiting, or however else you ended up with us today, we’re so glad to have you and to be together as we celebrate, give thanks for, and rejoice in the world-changing, calendar-splitting, death-defeating, hope-giving, and life-rearranging resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today we will explore the historical record of Jesus’ resurrection from the Gospel of John—an eyewitness account of the empty tomb and what happened next as the risen Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the disciples. Whatever you believe about Jesus,
Extravagant Praise The Sunday before Easter is traditionally known as ‘Palm Sunday’ as we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is a day of celebration and joy as Jesus receives extravagant praise. The four Gospels tell us that as Jesus rode into Jerusalem a large crowd had gathered to give him a triumphant welcome. They placed their garments and leafy branches on the road and shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (John 12:12-13). Matthew’s account adds that, “The whole city was stirred!” (Matt. 21:10) and that children praised Him in the temple shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matt. 21:15-16). As we reflect on this extravagant praise offered to Jesus on the very first Palm Sunday, I’m caused to wonder:
The Power of Love Recently I had the privilege to travel with seven others from BPCC to visit some of the churches and projects that are part of our Compassion Partnership in Thailand. When people first asked me how the trip went, I was lost for words—which is very unusual for me! But in the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to gather my thoughts and I would like to share with you one of the many things I took away from this amazing experience. At the first project we visited, we met a beautiful lady named Pae, who lives in the remote district of Mae Lanoi in Northen Thailand. When we visited Pae’s home we were confronted with extreme poverty. Her home had a roof, a small
Jesus’ Heart for Children If I asked you to use only one word to describe a child, I wonder what you’d say. Loud? Messy? Silly? Cute? Tiring? I wonder how Jesus would describe children. The truth is, we don’t have to wonder. Luke 18:15-17 tells us about the time when Jesus rebuked his disciples for sending children away from him. He said to them, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (v.16). Jesus has a heart for children, and at BPCC we do too. We’ve had a great start to the year across our Children’s ministries. At Kidz Church we are trying a few changes to our usual program – with more time for games and chatting at the
Biblical Doctrine and Beautiful Relationships In the life of a church, what is more important: right belief or right behaviour? Biblical doctrine or beautiful relationships? The answer of the Bible is yes; it’s both. And though you can ostensibly have one without the other, you cannot be a biblical church unless you have and cherish both of these things. In the words of Ray Ortlund: “…the test of a gospel-centred church is its doctrine on paper plus its culture in practice.” Indeed, the gospel—the good news about Jesus—is a message to be proclaimed and believed (Mark 1:14-15). It is the point of the whole Bible (Gal. 3:8). It comes from God above (Ga. 1:11-12). It is worthy of our utmost (Phil. 1:27-30). And this message can and must be
Praying Missional Prayers This Sunday we are launching a new series we’ve called ‘Lost and Found’. For the next few weeks we are going to explore God’s mission in the world. This is a big topic. In fact, the grand story of the Bible records God’s mission to restore a broken world and redeem a rebellious people. After Genesis 3 describes the fracturing of our relationship with God, we notice that God is on the move to restore not only humanity but the entire cosmos (Revelation 21:1). God’s mission is a big deal! And so, it begs the question, is God’s mission a big deal in our church? Is it a big deal in our lives as followers of Jesus? If we’re going to be all that God has
When Statues Start To Breathe In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote: “A man who changed from having [natural life] to having [spiritual life] would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man. And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumour going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.” With trademark creativity and insight, Lewis is saying that in Christ God has already made us spiritually alive, and one day he will do so finally and fully; we will become totally and forever the people God made us to be.