What are you grateful for this week?
I’m especially grateful for having had a faith-filled queen for all these years. The funeral on Monday night was a beautiful tribute.
I’m grateful for my family, and for God’s protection over them.
I’m grateful for God’s provision, and His answers to my prayers. I wait expectantly to see His hand at work, and Praise Him for the ways I see Him working in me, through me, and around me. God is Good!
By Sunday, I wonder who among us will be grateful for their AFL team's win!?
This Sunday we will corporately give thanks to the Lord.
We will give thanks for His financial provision for this Parish (through you). We will give thanks for all God's faithful people. And thank God for all his goodness towards us.
Please come prepared to give thanks to God for His faithfulness and share your good news stories (testify of God’s goodness) to encourage others in their faith.
As we share our faith, it encourages others and leads them to blessing.
Come prepared to bless others and be blessed by one another’s stories. Come also prepared to share good food together after the service. Please bring a plate to share if you are able.
To prepare your hearts and minds for Sunday, you might like to meditate on Psalm 89:
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
And you may like to click HERE to listen to a song called “Forever” by Christ Tomlin which has been playing around in my head this week.
See you Sunday,
What do you give to your church? What does it cost you?
As we return our giving pledges this week and calculate the cost, you may respond saying “A LOT!”
Your financial sacrifice is truly appreciated! Thank you for praying and discerning God’s guidance for your level of commitment and giving. You are amazing and appreciated for who you are, all you do, and all you give!
We will give more thanksgiving next week on Sunday 25th and ask God’s blessing over our pledges and give thanks for His provision and faithfulness to each of us, our families, and our Church Family. There is much to give thanks for so please come prepared to share thanksgiving stories, food, and more of our lives with one another.
In the meantime, this coming Sunday (Sept 18) let us consider what else God has given us to be responsible for (In addition to money). I am of the true belief that everything I/we have comes from God, and I/we have a responsibility to be faithful with it – and to govern it well!
This week as we look at faithful “Governance” – which is our 6th and final pillar in the Mission Action Plan, (MAP). I have appreciated reflecting on the good and faithful governance of Queen Elizabeth. I agree with the words which Bishop Paul sent to Clergy this week “How good it has been to be encouraged by the Queen’s personal Christian faith. There is an account of her saying to a chaplain that she was so hoping the Lord will return in her lifetime. The chaplain asked why, and her reported reply was, ‘I would so love to lay my crown at His feet.’ I suspect the burden of office was a factor in her thinking, but even more that the true and great King is Jesus Christ. More and more we need to remember that he is our King, and we need to humbly submit to him, even now, and not feed the temptation to be king of our own realm, to draw attention to ourselves, to always insist on our own way, to feed a sense of self-importance. Thank you, Ma’am, for your example. Come Lord Jesus, come soon.”
These are timely words to reflect on. As are the readings for this Sunday: Matthew 24:42-51 and Matthew 25:13-30.
May these passages remind us that Jesus Christ is indeed coming at an hour we don’t know, and so we ought to live as if it might be today! With this mindset, let’s ask ourselves: “Am I being faithful in living out what God’s called me to do at this time with my skills, energy and talents (in addition to money)? When I meet my maker will he say “Well done good and faithful servant?”
Maybe keep this question in mind as we ask for more volunteers to serve on the committee of “Friends of St. James the Less Historic Church”?
If you have any interest in or knowledge of our beautiful Heritage building and would like to contribute to help maintain the property, write grant applications, fundraise, and find new ways to connect the local community to our Heritage Church then please consider joining our team.
If this responsibility isn’t for you, there are many other ways and opportunities to serve. Whatever we choose to put our hands to, and however we use our time, gifts and money, may each one of us someday hear our Lord say; “Well done good and faithful servant”.
I’ll be saying this to you on Sunday.
I hope to see you then.
Relationships matter! Take a moment to think about your relationships with others. Most of us are blessed by having family, friends, and acquaintances, and many of us have literally hundreds of other connections in the virtual world of social media.
This week we will focus on our relationships with others in the body of Christ, which are especially important. As Christians, our relationships go beyond mere friendship and association. We have become brothers and sisters in the family of God through the blood of Christ, and we are capable of developing a degree of spiritual closeness that far surpasses the limitations of natural human friendships. We can enjoy true biblical Christian fellowship.
The word “fellowship” comes from the Greek word koinonia and can be defined as “holding something in common”. It describes the unity of the Spirit that comes from Christians’ shared beliefs, convictions, and behaviours. When our shared values are in place, genuine biblical fellowship can occur. This fellowship in turn produces mutual cooperation in God’s worship, God’s work, and God’s will being done in the world (as we see in Acts 2:42-47).
This Sunday, Libby will bring us a message on our #5 Pillar: Fellowship.
You might like to pre-read these biblical passages and reflect on them in preparation: Acts 2:42-47, 1 John 1:1-7, John 17:20-25.
Blessings on your week,
What is Christian Service?
Answer: Any service that reflects Jesus’ love! From giving a cup of water (Mark 9:41) to dying for someone (John 15:13), there are as many types of Christian service as there are needs in the world. As Christ’s representatives, we are called to serve God and others by the power of the Holy Spirit who abides in us as believers. Jesus said “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
So, as Spirit-filled Christians, let’s consider ways we can serve…
The Bible gives some specific examples of Christian service. E.g. show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2), remember those in prison (Matthew 25:36), provide for the needy (Matthew 25:35), and mentor others (Titus 2:2-8). Other examples speak to our day-to-day living: care for children (Matthew 18:5), tend families (Titus 2:5), treat employees fairly (Colossians 4:1), deal honestly with customers (Leviticus 19:36), and be diligent with employers’ resources (Matthew 25:14-30). As long as these acts are done “in Jesus’ name” (motivated by the love of Jesus), they are considered to be Christian service.
The world is in desperate need of Christians willing to show the love of Christ through their actions. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love others—not sentimentally, but tangibly. So, this Sunday I will be encouraging us with scriptures, such as 1 Peter 4:7-11
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
And Mark 10:42-45“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
May these scriptures spur us on to love and good deeds, in Jesus' name.
God be with you,
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)
I wonder if you’ve had a chance to look over the draft Mission Action Plan yet?
If I could sum up the whole proposed plan with a few Bible readings – it would be those I’ve chosen for this Sunday.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
… and Colossians 4:2-6.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
In these brief passages we can see glimpses of our mission, vision, and the 6 pillars highlighted in our proposed “MAP”; Worship, Discipleship, Mission, Service, Fellowship, and I might be pushing it, but I’ll add in ‘Governance’.
It is my desire that we have Christ and His word at the centre of all we do and say.
I hope you will join us this Sunday at 9:30am for worship where I will bring a brief message on the above passages. Then, following our service… after a “wee-short-break!”, we will present the proposed MAP outline before enjoying a lovely time of fellowship and further sharing over morning tea.
I’m delighted to say our youngest member has offered to make our cake for morning tea this week! And I’ll be delighted to bring along some light savory snacks to sustain us over an extended morning together.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday,
God be with you,
How are you enjoying our Sermons in the book of Colossians?
This Sunday we welcome Jean Pilbrow to bring us a message on chapter 2. Please come to Church with a mask (not mandated, but highly recommended!), and with open hearts, ready to hear what God wants to say to us through this passage.
In Colossians 2:6-7 it says “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”
Here Paul reminds us that the Christian life continues the same way it begins, by faith in Jesus, and he gives us three practical ways to live continuously and successfully (faithfully) in Christ.
Firstly, we are to be rooted and built up in Christ. Picture, in your mind, a large tree that can withstand the wind, rain, and seasons of drought; it continues to flourish because of a strong root system which gives it stability and moisture from the ground.
In Psalm 1, David likens a person who delights in God, and flourishes in their relationship with Him and keeps his laws as a strong and prosperous tree. “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers”. So, let’s make sure our root system goes deep into his word each day so we can have strong deep roots.
Secondly, we are to be strengthened in faith. Think of faith like a muscle that needs to be constantly exercised so that it will be strong, in shape and ready to withstand anything and everything.
In continuing with our example of a tree; faith is like the trunk of the tree that grow tall and strong over the years. It is the part of the tree that is exposed to the elements so it needs to be strong and able to withstand outside forces. It is also the part of the tree that never stops growing which means the trunk is the visible results of the depth of the root system.
Thirdly, we are to abound and overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude. This ought to be the natural over flow of someone who is deeply rooted and strong in faith. To visualize in terms of our tree, gratitude is like the leaves, a sign of the health of the tree. Without leaves, the trees look bare and dead; however even dead branches when trimmed give life to the whole. In the same way, a Christian living without thanksgiving and gratitude can appear severely damaged, while a life that overflows with gratitude shows maturity and health. So, try giving thanks to God for 5 things every day. See what a difference it makes!
A healthy tree image is a beautiful picture of the redeemed life; rooted, secure, strong, able, mature, complete and continually bringing glory to God through a life of gratitude.
May we each be likened to strong healthy tree’s as we continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
God be with you,