I don’t know about you, but I am loving the stories of Jesus’ interactions with all sorts of people, as the lectionary readings provide us with each week in lent. I’ve had opportunity to share last week’s story of the woman at the well with several people in the local community, & with a couple of seekers, plus about 100 year 7 students at Peninsula Grammar. Although the woman's interaction with Jesus happened many years ago, it still has much relevance & meaning for all of us today, making it so easy to share with anyone! I hope you also got to share the story and the good news about Jesus with others this past week.
This coming Sunday we take a closer look at Jesus interaction with the man born blind and the series of conversations & events that followed that healing. Again, we see that the interaction with Jesus was transformative, and the blind man then had a great testimony to share. If only the religious leaders of his day would open their eyes to the truth that Jesus is the Christ, rather than dismissing Him as such.
Spiritual blindness is still a problem in our day & age. Sometimes it takes years for the scales to fall from people's eyes. Regardless, we continue to pray and spread the good news so more and more people can begin to understand see more clearly that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all and the Saviour we all need. Some will come to see the truth & learn to sing with us: Amazing grace how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind but now I see.
This Sunday we will hear a wonderful testimony of a man who had his spiritual eyes opened in recent years. Come prepared to listen & be encouraged. I pray God continues to give us all clearer spiritual insights and a greater understanding of Himself and His ways. May He continue to remind us of the difference he makes in ours & other people's lives, and cause us to be His witnesses wherever we go.
The Lord be with you,
What are you thankful for this week?
I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference on
"Leading your Church into Growth - Growing the Church the Jesus Way. "
A small leadership team attended along with me. We discussed how we can create a prayerful culture of growth, and how we can Implement the 4 P’s (Prayer, Presence, Proclamation, Persuasion), and practice fruitful evangelism, develop more engaging worship, plus become an inviting and welcoming church, make pathways for seekers to become disciples, and we began to plan a journey of growth for our Parish. We came home inspired for Church growth and hope we can also inspire you for this journey. To begin with, we would like to adopt this prayer for Mount Eliza Anglican Church. We pray and work while trusting God for the increase. Will you pray with us?
"God of mission, Who alone brings growth to our church, Send your Holy Spirit to give:
Vision to our planning, Wisdom to our actions, Joy to our Worship, And Power to our witness.
Help our Church to grow in numbers, In spiritual commitment to you, And in service to our
local community, Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
This week, I’m also thankful for an awesome time of worship and fellowship with our Wednesday congregation. One lady expressed how helpful my ministry had been to her recently and I felt humbly grateful that God could use me to help her. The conversation left me feeling satisfied, and helped me to catch a small glimpse of what Jesus meant when he said to his disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (John 4:32) after his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. This Sunday we will explore that biblical story all the more and include an episode of "The Chosen" that depicts Jesus' interactions with this questionable woman. You can watch here: https://youtu.be/el7dzoNV3IY
At the end of the story, we can understand Jesus saying that "Doing God’s will and His work in the world is truly satisfying" (John 4:32-38) and we can also realise that Jesus himself is the perpetual spring that continually refreshes "us" for doing God's work. He is the life-giving water we can draw on and offer to others as the Samaritan woman did. Her interaction with Jesus was transformative, as are our own. When we have those awesome encounters with Jesus, we will want to share our experience with others and draw others to come to him as well.
May we do this increasingly.
March 04th, 2023
What a week it has been! We had our Mothers Union Church service on Monday with guest speaker “Karen Hayden”, President of MU, Diocese of Melbourne. Wednesday began with the Rotary International Woman’s Day Breakfast, followed by our church service, and ended with dinner at Steeples with approx. 45 of our wonderful congregation members. It was great to connect with one another socially. Thanks to Ross for organising. I’m encouraged by our times together.
This week I am reflecting on the way Jesus spent much time socialising with his disciples, as well as teaching them. He ate and drank with them, walked with them, travelled with them, and talked with them about the kingdom of God. He calls us into the same kind of “life on life” discipleship.
The book of Acts shows how early Christians met daily and ate together and shared all they had with one another. Though we live in a vastly different culture today, we would do well to stay connected, enjoying fellowship together like we have done this week, and sharing what we have to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need, in addition to worshipping together each week.
This Sunday, Alicia will bring a word on our 2nd Lenten study; being “Transformed”.
I encourage you to reflect on these two awesome bible readings before Sunday: Genesis 12:1-4a (The call of Abraham) & John 3:1-17 (Jesus teaches Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God).
Simon will be leading us in worship with some great old songs you will likely know; “Be thou my Vision” and “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”, and a new one “Holy Spirit Living Breath of God” which you may like to listen to before Sunday. Click HERE to listen
God's Great Gifts - His Blood
I don't have the stomach to be a nurse. I feel faint at the sight of blood. I literally fainted on to a hospital floor when I saw my nana having a blood transfusion. Regardless of how I feel about blood, I realize it is one of the great gifts God has given us and it is central to the biblical story. Jesus' blood is essential for our life, redemption, reconciliation to God, propitiation, Justification, sanctification, cleansing, and victory over the evil one (See 1 Peter 1:18-19, Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 2:13, Romans 3:25, Romans 5:9, cleansing 1 John 1:7).
The power and importance of Jesus shedding His blood is seen right through the bible; beginning with the killing of animals to cover Adam and Eves nakedness after they sinned, Abel’s blood crying out to God from the ground after Cain killed him, God’s covenants with Abraham and all of Israel, The Passover, animal sacrifices in Israel’s Temple Cult system, and in particular the Day of Atonement, which the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled once and for all. His sacrifice fulfilled all requirements of the Law and opened the way for all people to be reconciled to God through His blood. That’s what remember every time we receive Holy Communion; that his blood was shed for you and for me. It has bought our forgiveness, freedom, right standing with God, and eternal salvation. What a gift!
This Sunday, I will bring the third and final message in this mini-series of Gods Great Gifts; His Word, His name, His blood. Please come expectant of God doing amazing things in and among us by the power of His Holy Spirit like he did last Sunday. I praise God for what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and church. Thank you to those who shared powerful testimonies with me after hearing last week’s message.
May we all continue to move closer to him and allow His Holy Spirit to have Has way in us. This is my prayer for each one of us, in Jesus' name.
God's great gifts - His Name.
Last Sunday we heard about the great gift of God's Word and we were encouraged to live victorious Christian lives by reading the word, believing the word, living the word, and speaking the word. I hope you’ve been intentional in leaning into his word and had an awesome week because of that.
This Sunday, we will look at the great gift God has given us in his name. The name ‘Jesus' brings many beautiful thoughts of our saviour to mind. The mention of his name fills my heart with warmth and love, and a reverent holy fear. I marvel at him. I worship in his name. I pray in his name. I declare freedom in his name. I am healed in his name. I renounce evil and overcome the evil one in his name. When David went up against Goliath he went in the name of the God of Israel. He claimed the victory in God's name. There is power in his name. I encourage you to ponder a new, what his name means to you.
As I think about the meaningful and amazing gift that his name is... several songs come to mind. Here’s a lovely one by Hillsong “What a Beautiful name it is” to prepare your hearts and minds for worship on Sunday. https://youtu.be/90xM2WA3EGE
God's great gifts - His Word.
I’m delighted to say it’s been a whole year since I became Priest in Charge at Mount Eliza Anglican Church. And what a year it’s been! We have so much to celebrate and give thanks to God for!
I’ve spent much time this week reflecting on God’s gifts to us as we’ve just heard 2 sermons by John on the spiritual gifts God graciously gives us. I will now spend the next 3 weeks focussing on other amazing gifts from God, namely: His Word, His Name, and His Blood.
Each of these gifts hold great power for victorious Christian living and it’s my prayer that we will all realize this afresh. May each one of us receive a fresh revelation of God’s power in our own lives, for victory over evil, and for accomplishing God’s purposes in our world.
Each good gift God gives us comes with responsibility. For example, we aren’t just called to be hearers of the word, but, doers of the word. This week I’ll remind you that the power of the word is activated when the word is received and applied to our lives.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (paraphrase) says: “As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
May God’s word accomplish His will in our lives this week and always.
December 18th, 2022
I love being part of this Church community. It’s certainly been a week packed full of fun
On Tuesday we held a wonderful community lunch. We are truly thankful to Peninsula Grammar staff for their community service… cleaning, setting up, preparing food and serving plus pack up, choir and music performances (and a back yard blitz behind the scenes). They did a great job! We also give a "thumbs up" to Woolies for donating 7 roast chooks. And thank Brumby’s for spoiling us with some treats. The Lions Club donated cakes to be served as dessert puddings with all the trimmings. And Mornington Community Centre and Bakers Delight arranged for us to receive sliced and bagged bread and pastries. Our own John Welsh was a star, co-ordinating the kitchen duties, Wendy led a sing-along on the piano, and Alicia provided the most gorgeous decorations! What a day it was! Our stomachs were full and so are our hearts - with gratitude. Thanks to all who brought neighbours, friends, and colleagues along to be blessed. You made it all worth while!
On Wednesday, the fun and fellowship continued at the Dava Hotel for MEAC Munchies and a great time was had by all.
We are certainly well fed physically, and look forward to some spiritual food this Sunday as we look at the scriptures together and I bring a reflection on another old Christmas Carol “God rest ye Merry Gentlemen" which can be nowadays understood as "God make you Strong, people"
God bless you and make you strong,
December 11th, 2022
I've been reading about the origins of the Nine Lessons and Carols festival this week and I was delighted to learn that it was created to bring more imagination and creativity to worship.
The Nine Lessons and Carols service, which had its origin in 1880, was made famous through services held at King’s College, Cambridge beginning in 1918. The dean of the college became convinced that more imaginative worship was needed by the Church of England.
Nowadays we can find many variations of the Nine Lessons and Carols service. This reminds us that, though all traditions were once new, the church’s worship needs an injection of creativity every now and then. In my opinion we need this especially at Christmas to keep us from taking the nativity for granted.
It is my hope that you will enjoy the Lessons and Carols service we have put together for you this coming Sunday. I have sought to mix some of the old tradition with some fresher expressions of worship. In this service you can expect to sing some of the Carols you know and love, as well as some others which will encourage us go deeper in our time together with God.
That is my heart’s desire for all of us to draw closer to God this Christmas.
May we reflect deeply and consider afresh, the birth of Christ in all its fulness and meaning.
God bless you,
December 2nd, 2022
When did you first hear the story of Jesus’ birth? Do you remember? Maybe you feel like you’ve always known it.
Sometimes it can be hard for us to remember that God’s people waited many long years for Jesus to be born.
Advent is a season that helps us to remember this.
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God’s people had been expecting Jesus, even though they didn’t know exactly what it would be like when he came.
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus is a simple song that helps us to remember that Jesus’ birth is a part of the big story of the Gospel.
This Sunday, I will be bringing a message inspired by this song.
In preparation I encourage you to watch this video which literally paints the story of God’s people as they wait for a Saviour: Click HERE or go to https://youtu.be/VLcTLCCpI5A
I pray God meets the deep longing in each of us; to be set free, to experience a soul at rest, to feel a child’s joy this Christmas. That’s why Jesus came.
I pray the Holy Spirit, inhabits the deepest and darkest places within each of us. Sets us free. Helps us rest. Gives us joy.
In Jesus’ name,