Suffering Church week
Suffering Church action week begins this Sunday.
As I think about the persecuted church all over the world, I am all the more grateful for the freedoms we have in Australia.
We are blessed to meet in beautiful church buildings and worship the God we can learn to know through the bible, and through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
This week we can rejoice that God’s spirit and the good news of the Gospel is never chained or contained even though Christian’s may be.
Jesus always warned his followers that they would face suffering and troubles in the world.
In chapter 21 of Luke’s Gospel we read of the Lord Jesus Christ warning His disciples of the events that will take place before the end comes: wars, famines, diseases and disasters (Luke 21:9-11). The Lord also warns of persecution, in which Christians will face imprisonment, betrayal and death (Luke 21:12,16-17).
These prophecies are being fulfilled today, as it has been in every age since they were given.
Therefore, Barnabas fund have highlighted five ways the worldwide Church is suffering – namely through war, disaster, famine, disease and persecution, and remind us that our brothers and sisters desperately need our continued, prayerful support. For more information click HERE. This coming Sunday Alison will briefly remind us of these things, and Geoff Bird will bring us a timely reminder to “Stand” for our faith.
You may like to prepare your hearts and minds for his message by pre-reading 2 Chronicles 20:1-17, and Ephesians 6:10-18.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,
I am told that many people, toward the end of their days, look back over their life and say they wish they had taken the time to ‘reflect’ more often.
This week as we take a look at Paul’s closing words in his 2nd letter to Timothy, we would do well to take time to reflect on the way we have lived our own lives thus far.
Paul, near the end of his days, looked back and said "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day" (v 6-8).
Can we say the same?
Paul also reflected on those times in his life when all others had deserted Him, the Lord stayed with him and gave him strength to persevere in preaching the gospel.
God’s faithfulness to him in the past meant that Paul was assured that God would continue to rescue him and will bring him safely to his heavenly home (V 16-18).
I trust we can say the same as we reflect on our own lives. Will you take the time to do that this week?
You may also like to take the time to watch this 7 minute video summarising the book of 2 Timothy as we finish this sermon series this week. Click HERE.
God defines you!
On Facebook we can follow one another’s travels when we go on luxurious holidays and read slogans like; “In a world where you can be whatever you want… be kind!” and "Follow your dreams." On other platforms we find Influencers launching pay-to-follow private accounts, and much more nudity and self-focus than warranted. These platforms encourage the thinking that beauty, success, power and possessions are ideals for which all people should aim, and that suffering ought to be avoided at all costs. Therefore, 2 Timothy chapter 3 seems as relevant today as it was when Paul wrote it.
He wrote “Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people”. This is good advice.
As Christians we are called to reject the world’s values. Instead we ought to live our lives in accordance with Christ’s teaching and love. Our identity is in him. We have “nothing” to prove to anyone. We are set free from a life dominated by self-focus. We are free to receive and be esteemed in the love of God!
As you look at Chapter 3 this week, may these scriptures make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. May they encourage you to live out your true identity in him and be equipped for every good work as a servant of God.
God be with you.
When you think of people to fill church leadership roles and responsibilities, who do you think of?
We don’t often consider the faint-hearted.
Looking at the letter of 2nd Timothy, and considering how timid, shy, and physically
unwell Timothy was, we might be surprised that God called him, and that Paul entrusted
the continuing spread of the Gospel to him.
This shows us that a church leader doesn’t need to be charismatic personality but
more-so needs to be a faithful, spirit-filled, servant/leader, willing to use the gifts one’s
been given to advance the cause of the gospel, both in the church and the wider community.
Our church leaders ought to be able to encourage people, furthering their faith and ensuring
that they have a positive church experience. As your Lead Pastor, this is my heart's desire. I
pray all who visit us and all who come regularly will experience the love of God and been
drawn closer to him through our ministry and services.
Would you continue praying for me and all your church leaders, for our church worship services, and that all newcomers find a warm welcome and sense of belonging among us. I believe God wants to grow our Church so we all need to get on board with making newcomers feel loved and valued. Perhaps you could try talking to someone you haven’t met before over morning tea this Sunday? I’m praying that those who are shy or timid (like Timothy) will get out of their comfort zones and get onboard with the cause of Christ. Remember God has not given you a spirit of timidity and fear, but one of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7), so get ready! He wants to use you for His purposes.
We continue to pray that God will fan into the flame the gifts he’s given each of us. We are praying that God will raise up new leaders to take on roles as Wardens, Parish Council Members, and may also find us a Bookkeeper with Xero experience/skills. If you sense God prompting you for any of these roles, please speak to me, or another one of our current church leaders. Nomination forms will soon be available and If God is calling you, I look forward to an awesome future, serving/leading together.
I am absolutely delighted to be Lead Pastor in this Parish Community. In an interview with the TMA this week, I was asked what my hopes for the future are? My reply was along these lines; “I haven’t got any plans beyond my current position at Mount Eliza. I’m really happy and settled here and would like to stay a long time. My hope and desire in this Parish is to see all the parishioners activated and operating in their gifting and developing more disciples who make more disciples” etc.
In addition to leading my Parish responsibilities, I am extra grateful for the privilege of speaking into people’s lives in the wider community. On October 18 we will hold a valedictory service for Peninsula Grammar students. And last Monday I got to speak into the lives of all the staff at the beginning of term Chapel service. I was able to encourage them in their work and ministry to young people, which is deeply on my heart and hopefully on yours.
Persisting in prayer for all young people is so important! The prayer I prayed last Sunday for young people in our congregation and local community can be found below. I encourage you to pray it often/daily. Please pray also for the upcoming confirmation classes, and also the Minecraft Club starting up on October 28.
This coming Sunday I’ll bring a kids' message on 'Persisting in prayer' using Luke 18:1-8.
Alicia will then bring us an awesome message from 2 Timothy Chapter 2:1-13.
We hope you can be there for that!