Stewardship Sunday is coming up and it’s going to be great!
Stewardship as a noun means: “The job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property”.
As the Church which meets at Mount Eliza Anglican Church, each one of us shares this job/responsibility and I am so excited to be in this with you!
We have been having a wonderful and exciting time of late… presenting our draft Mission Action Plan (Parish Council continues to work through with your great feedback and ideas – thank you!), then beginning our preaching series through the 6 Pillars presented in the M.A.P.
So far, we have focussed on:
Pillar #1) Worship – which was my favourite! After this sermon, some of you keenly offered your time to help with Sunday services and on the welcoming projects! I was so encouraged! In addition to this, I’m delighted to have gathered with those wanting to be on our prayer/healing ministry team. Each of us has committed to a 5-week training/equipping program to learn to pray effectively for our congregation members after each Sunday service, and anytime with/in the wider community.
Pillar #2) Discipleship – which challenged some to really take following Jesus seriously! We are called to “Be” disciples (followers of Jesus), who will in turn… make more disciples! I’m super excited for this! And some of you have already chosen to start up new small groups, and some have newly joined groups – well done! We are becoming more Christ like by the day.
Pillar #3) Mission – Our Church’s mission statement is To Know Christ and To Make Christ Known. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ who makes disciples in obedience to Christ’s command in Matthew 28:18-20. We each need to do this in our respective lives, and be his witnesses in our families, workplaces, schools, communities etc. This is local mission. Some of you are already doing this. Praise God. Please keep sharing your stories with the rest of us for mutual encouragement … spurring one-another on for the cause of Christ!
Mission part B: This coming Sunday, our guest speaker Tina Currie will speak very briefly on international mission; specifically focussing on poverty-stricken communities in Africa where we have both done mission trips through an organisation called Hands at Work In Africa (For more information see: https://www.handsatwork.org ).
I can already see a list of names on the Missions Allocations Team signup sheet. Thank you! I am so encouraged by this.
This Sunday, Tina’s “main” message will focus on stewardship and the importance of finances as part of our responsibilities/stewardship as Christ’s followers. (Note: This is part of discipleship, worship, mission and all the other “Pillars”). It ought to be fun! I’m really looking forward to a guest speaker and a surprise guest musician among us – so let’s make sure they feel truly welcome!
The following Sundays we are back on to our pillars with #4) Service, #5) Fellowship, #6) Governance… then finishing off September with a special “Thanksgiving Day” when we will share a lunch together in celebration of all God has entrusted us with and how delighted we are to be on board with His Mission in the World.
I absolutely love being in this with you… Thank you for all you do and give!
This morning I had the privilege of meeting with approx. 30 local church and community leaders to discuss the “Mission of the Church” with Paul Sparks (Zooming in from America).
Paul sparks is co-author of the book “The New Parish: How Neighbourhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community.”
I confess I haven’t yet listened to the whole book (which I’ve bought on audible), but what I’ve heard so far makes me feel truly thankful for the place God has drawn me to minister, serve, and live for this time. Note: I already felt this way and this book has added extra meaning and focus!
With this introduction, here’s a timely quote from the book, since we are focusing on the third pillar in our action plan this coming Sunday (Pillar 3# “Mission”):
"When . . . faith communities begin connecting together, in and for the neighbourhood, they learn to depend on God for strength to love, forgive and show grace like never before . . . The gospel becomes so much more tangible and compelling when the local church is actually a part of the community, connected to the struggles of the people, and even the land itself."
This reminds me of Jesus’ words about himself recorded in Luke 4:17-19. He said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
This is what Jesus saw as his own mission on earth, while also training up his disciples (pillar 2 - which we heard about last week) and worshipping God his heavenly Father (pillar 1 - as we heard about the week before).
Jesus was always on about His father’s mission in the world and God has always been a missional (“sending”) God (The Missio Dei).
We too… are sent ones! We are disciples (followers of Jesus who make disciples- [followers of Jesus]). Which might cause us to wonder… if we let the Holy Spirit lead us out to be a relational presence and share the gospel in our local community… what would result?
I imagine we would positively affect Mount Eliza, which would be refreshing. In an age of dislocation and disengagement, the notion of a church that knows its place and gives itself to where it finds itself… is like a breath of fresh air, like a sign of new life.
I hope we can be intentional to show we care about the local community. May we find ways to connect, serve, heal and bless in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Together we are called to do this! So, lets pray God will help us to intentionally lean into this venture with Him.
As your Pastor, I want to say it’s a great privilege to serve along-side you, as well as serve you, pastorally care for you and it’s the greatest privilege to get to know you more and more.
Thanks to the many of you whom I’ve had opportunity to connect with so far, and big thanks also to those of you I’m yet to contact and visit… I appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you soon.
I am excited to be among you and count it the most enormous privilege to serve at this place for this time.
I’m an evangelist at heart, a teacher by natural gifting, an apostle by the Spirit’s enabling, a prophet by the Spirit’s gifting, and a pastor by God’s calling! … And I believe God is leading us into some more great things (By God’s standards, not worldly standards!).
I pray that we will all choose to get on board with God’s mission in the world (and more locally in Mount Eliza) as His called and chosen people here at this particular God-ordained time. Note: You are not here by accident!
We are called to be good news like Jesus was, and continue to make disciples as he told us to… this is our daily act of worship to live for him with our body, mind, heart, soul, and lives. This is worship. This is discipleship. This is mission.
I love being on this Journey with you!
It’s been said; “A church that does not make disciples has lost its identity.” I agree!
The Great Commission calls all Christians to make disciples. I’m sure you have heard Matthew 28:18-20 preached many times, and I’m glad that many have committed these verses to memory… but are we doing it? Or have we forgotten our calling?
I believe, if we are a church that is evangelising the lost, teaching the Scriptures, encouraging one another in prayer, and sharing the gospel with friends and family then the church will experience growth of some kind! Knowing this to be true… why would we not practise discipleship?
My hope and prayer this week is that we will become more aware of God’s calling on our lives and respond faithfully, by making more disciples (followers of Jesus) for His name’s sake.
In relation to this, here’s a few questions for you to ponder:
Join us this Sunday at 9:30am to worship God and encourage one another in our disciple making.
Blessings to you in the name of Jesus,
Thank you to all who joined us last Sunday to discuss our draft Mission Action Plan and strategic directions. The Parish Council and myself are greatly encouraged by your engagement, contributions and feedback. I am excited for what lay ahead!
Over the coming weeks, we will look at each of the 6 pillars and take a look at what the bible says in relation to each of these. This Sunday we begin with “Worship!”.
Worshipping God is the most wonderful thing in the world as far as I’m concerned! There’s nothing more beautiful, meaningful, intoxicating, enthralling… I could go on! Worship is a beautiful and powerful reality if we understand it from God’s perspective.
In the bible it means to bow down or lay one’s face to the ground in an acknowledgment of God’s glory. It’s an acknowledgement that there’s someone who is transcendent and glorious and He is worthy of our full allegiance and devotion! Bowing down or laying on our face before God is a physical act is worship when it reflects the heart’s posture to follow the King. It’s an outward expression of a heart attitude to God. The heart attitude matters! Worship can’t just be an outward show of religiosity or traditions, and it’s not just singing in church.
Jesus said “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”. John 4:24 (ESV)
To worship in spirit is to be led by the living God and to know the joy that comes from fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a refreshing drink of water, a cool breeze, the warmth of a fire. He can also be a torrent, a hurricane, and a wildfire. Our experience of worship can be alive when we worship in spirit. True worship must first be in spirit – led by the Spirit and involves our spirit, the in-most part of our being.
To worship in truth is to ground our life in God’s truth, in His eternal Word, the Bible. We cannot worship however we want and do whatever we feel like. To worship is to bow before God and to delightfully follow His orders. We get to do what God says and not follow after the sin that used to enslave us.
The tendency of worship in spirit without the Word is lawlessness. We might love Jesus, but if we don’t do what He commands, we don’t really love Him. It’s merely lip-service.
The tendency of worship in truth without the Spirit is legalism. We might be doing the right things, but if our hearts are not encountering the living God, then we miss the most important thing. Truth is a person named Jesus (john 14:6).
Jesus is building a church that worships in both spirit and in truth. Jesus is building a church that is neither motivated by legalism nor lawlessness. To truly worship in spirit and in truth is to love God and to keep His commandments (John 14:15). This can only happen when people truly know Jesus, who He is and what He has done. This draws love from the very core of our being and tells us that Jesus is worthy of our worship.
Worship is about loving Jesus so much as our King that our greatest joy would be to do what He wants us to do. This biblical worship doesn’t just happen during an event or a worship service, it is something that can only fully happen in everyday life as we say “yes” to Him.
Jesus’ main message in the Gospels was that the Kingdom of God is at hand. He taught about it, demonstrated it, and invited people to come into it. If we’re truly following His Holy Spirit, then the great commission of Jesus will be highlighted as the original mandate from heaven for us today, to observe all that He has commanded us.
Matthew 28:17-20 says - And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In these verses we read that Jesus’ disciples worshiped Him, that is, bowed down before Him. Then Jesus explains how all authority has been given to Him. Jesus then describes how we’re called to invite others into this beautiful Kingdom where Jesus is King. Every church, ministry of worship and worship team needs to keep this as the central order from Jesus if we’re going to fulfil our mission from Him.
To worship is the heartbeat of a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ. To be a disciple means to be identified with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. It also means to come under Jesus’ authority, to follow Him with all our hearts, to do His will joyfully because we know that’s where true joy and life are at.
We live in a world of brokenness but Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross, has made a way for us to enter into His glorious Kingdom. He invites us into God’s Kingdom through repentance and believing in Him. This is the Good News (Mark 1:15)! And it’s worth inviting others into.
So, this week afresh, let His presence fill your heart, let His glory transform your soul, and let His power be manifest in your life!
(note: some of these thoughts are borrowed from David Kim)