This is the latest blurb that is published on the front of our weekly bulletin

Building The Future

The Anglican Church globally is at a crossroads. The church needs renewal and reformation, and we need to move beyond division and confusion. What should the future look like?

The Bible needs to be at the heart of every Anglican church. That’s why nine parishioners of our church are joining with almost 400 other like-minded Anglicans (including 60 children and youth) from across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific who understand the need to hold firm to the Bible as the heart of our faith.

In Sydney Diocese we are encouraged and supported to have the Bible at the centre of our church life and ministry, but there are many Anglicans around this global region who live and serve in places where the pressure to compromise is high, fellowship is hard to find, and speaking the truth is costly.

Under God, the Anglican Church has a bright future: God is doing great things among us!!

It’s time to pave the way for a new generation of leaders who are confident, passionate, and unwavering in their belief that God’s word is good, clear, and powerful.

This is why Gafcon has created a conference for all ages and stages, where children and youth can gather in specially-designed, intergenerational services, as well as participate in a unique, ‘Future Leaders’ program — and for all under-18’s, the registration is free!

Please pray for this conference, that it will be a source of encouragement and growth for all our church staff and members who are attending, and that we will, in turn, encourage those who live and minister in dioceses where it’s hard to keep the Bible at the heart of the church.

What a joy it is for our church members to serve through participating in the leadership of this conference! To God be the glory!


True Contentment

If you’ve ever thought about all the things you’d like to do before you ‘kick the bucket’ then like it or not, you’ve made a ‘bucket list.’

This expression might seem new, but the idea is old: trying to make the most of life before you no longer live.

For some people, it’s about visiting as many cities and countries as possible, putting pins on a giant world map.

For others, it’s about collecting certain items, learning particular skills, or even experiencing certain thrills.

The ironic thing about bucket lists is that we spend our time filling up our lives, only to die without bringing anything with us to the grave.

Or, as the Apostle Paul puts it, “…we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.” (1 Timothy 6:7)

So, what should be our aim in life? To keep filling the bucket with experiences and possessions that will only fade away?

It’s far better to pursue that which will bring true contentment in this life, and the next.

So where do we get this contentment? As the Apostle says in the verse before, it’s from godliness, which comes with contentment, which is itself great wealth.”

And a few verses before, he writes to say that “the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ… promote a godly life.” (1 Timothy 6:3)

So, the contentment we desire will not come by pursuing wealth but by pursuing Christ, as we encounter him in the healthy teachings of the Bible, which lead us to the godliness that brings contentment.

If you want to be content in life, look no further than Jesus… and pursue him and his godliness.

For this is something you can take with you as you leave this life for the next!


Ultimate Reconciliation

History is full of remarkable stories of reconciliation, where warring parties have made peace and become friends.

There are few sights more extraordinary than seeing two soldiers wearing different uniforms embracing across battle lines.

Some nations have never truly embraced peace with their enemy, and despite many long-term battles, there has never been a lasting cease fire, nor any real hope of ending conflict.

One of the most famous foes in history has been the Jews and the Gentiles, the chosen people of God and the foreigners who were outside the promise of God.

The thought that there would be the prospect of lasting reconciliation between Jew and Gentile was nothing more than an impossible dream.

This is what makes the impact of the cross of Christ so extraordinary.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he focuses on the reconciliation between Jew and Gentile that has been made by Jesus.

But the reconciliation does more than break down the barriers between these two ethnic groups: it creates one, new body in Jesus Christ, himself, for as we read:

“Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. […] Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” (Ephesians 2:14, 16)

This is the greatest reconciliation in the universe, as it brings together two enemies and makes them into one, new body.

This, then, is the basis for the radical reconciliation that Jesus calls us to as we now show love to those to whom we are not united, and peace to those with whom we have been in conflict.


Every Day With Jesus

When you pick up your device each morning, what’s the first thing that you read?

It’s tempting to immediately check the news headlines, or your emails and messages, or to catch up on the latest in social media.

But do you give time to reading God’s word?

I’ve got an app called YouVersion and it has some excellent reading plans that help me to read a small chunk of the Bible each day as I wake up.

It’s just one of many times when I come into contact with God in his word, but it’s a good routine, knowing that the first thing I usually read is something that God is saying to me in the Bible.

If you’re not already reading the Bible each day then it might seem like a difficult habit to begin, until you realise that all you need to do is just start reading something!

Even if you were to begin with one, single verse a day, then that would be a great place to begin.

Another way to read the Bible is to do it with a friend or two—like our daily Zoom prayer meeting at 7am each morning (except Sundays) which you can join by typing into your browser 

I’ve found this to be a wonderful blessing as I slow down and listen to a brother or sister in Christ read out God’s word in an authentic human voice, as they minister to me as Christ’s ambassador.

But no matter what you end up doing, just start something!

We get so much information each day, it makes complete sense to be hearing God’s word in the midst of the noise, for only his word is a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path.


Judge and Saviour

When John the Baptist told his followers about the coming of Jesus, he said something that was both unexpected and controversial.

He said of Jesus that:

He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” (Matthew 3:12)

In other words, Jesus was coming to judge.

Christians often make the tragic mistake of being embarrassed about the coming judgement that Jesus will bring, as they inadvertently paint a picture of Christ that is false and misleading.

For unless we see Jesus as our coming judge, we don’t understand how seriously he takes sin.

But more than that: it is only as we see Jesus as our coming judge that we can really, deeply understand what it means for him to be our saviour.

This week we’re learning a brand-new song that’s co-written by our friends at Sovereign Grace Music, as well as our local mate, Colin Buchanan.

It’s called, ‘Jesus, our Judge and our Saviour’ and you can read all the lyrics (and grab the sheet music) at 

The chorus beautifully sums up the truths of Jesus being both our judge and our saviour:

Call now, O sinner, on your coming Judge
To be here even now as your Saviour
Fall now, O sinner, on the mercy and grace
Of Jesus, our Judge and our Saviour

The glory of Jesus is seen in the fact that he, himself, is both the one who is coming to judge, and at the same time, the one who has come already to save.

It is as we see the seriousness of his judgement that we uphold the riches of his salvation, and gaze at the beauty of his love.


Special Visit from Archbishop Nathan

The most-senior Anglican in Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Nathan Ingen, chose to attend our church as part of his visit to churches in the Sydney region.

Archbishop Nathan is the Primate of all of Papua New Guinea, the leader and spokesperson for the three million Anglicans scattered over hundreds of remote communities.

During an interview at last week’s 4pm service, Archbishop Nathan identified three challenges of his role, namely, “finances, training pastors, and reaching remote communities.”

Although he was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend last week’s Primate’s Meeting in Rome, he chose instead to accept the invitation of the Archbishop of Sydney to nurture the partnership his Diocese shares with like-minded, gospel-centred Anglicans, in fellowship with Gafcon Global Anglicans.

Archbishop Nathan is a rural clergyman, serving as a bishop in the Diocese of Apro Rongo, in a place he describes as “on the top of a mountain” in the highlands of PNG.

In his country, the church provides 98% of health and education services, bringing practical care to a country that lacks many of the everyday necessities that are taken for granted in Australia.

Close to his heart is the recruitment and training of pastors, and Archbishop Nathan remains deeply thankful for the financial partnership provided by churches in the Sydney Diocese, such as Jamberoo Anglican.

At present they are building a theological college in the highlands of PNG, and they are seeking additional funds to set up another ministry training facility in Alotau, near Milne Bay, on the East Coast.

We are thankful for our partnership with Anglicans throughout the world through the Gafcon network, and pray that Archbishop Nathan might continue to lead his province and diocese in gospel ministry to the glory of God.

Are You Prepared?

You’re probably aware I’ve been battling cancer for five years. I’m sorry to say my treatment has had to come to an end, any further treatment won’t help, and might cause further problems.

My cancer appears to be growing slowly, but it has lodged in the lining of my lungs.

I became a Christian when I was 20. I didn’t ask God to set his love on me back then and choose me to be his in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), and so I can’t complain he has now asked me to walk this road. 

People often talk in terms of “living with cancer”, but the apostle Paul is more helpful when he says that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

What does the future hold? Well, there are many passages in the New Testament that focus on heaven and eternal life with God. Often people will think in terms of doing your favourite activity, like golf, or bingo, forever in a party-like atmosphere. 

But the New Testament focusses on God the Father and Jesus the sacrificial lamb at the centre of heaven, with a vast circle of saved sinners (and I’m not writing as anything other than as a sinner who has been forgiven by Jesus), focusing their shared delight upon the centre of heaven. Maybe this is what the old pictures of harps on the clouds were trying to convey.

The gospel clearly states that we cannot enter heaven by trying to be good. We all have sins in our lives. These sins need to be wiped away, forgiven, because nothing unclean can enter God’s heaven. This is why Jesus died as our substitute on the cross. 

I want ask you, are you prepared for heaven? Only by being forgiven is the door opened, and it’s open very wide indeed.


The Greatest Love

On the wall of Jamberoo Anglican Church there are two honour boards: one for World War One, and one for World War Two.

Every Sunday, I see these two lists of very people who offered themselves in service to their king and country.

Some names are extra special, for next to their name they have a small cross which shows us that they gave their life for their country.

When they left for war, I wonder if they expected to die?

Regardless, they still gave their lives for us. Some gave their bodies, but all gave their hearts and minds and souls. 

Nobody returned the same: everyone lost something, some lost everything. They sacrificed their lives for those they loved, and they did so willingly… but why?

These days we spend our time trying to live longer, and we fill our days pursuing health and wealth. So why would we risk our wellbeing for the sake of others?

I think it’s because of Jesus, who modelled sacrifice when he died for his friends.

Before his death he said: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Jesus modelled sacrifice when he died for his friends, and he cut his life short to offer eternal life. His attitude has inspired our servicemen and women.

Jesus showed that it’s better to give than receive, and that sacrificing one’s life is the greatest love of all. Jesus sacrificed his life to bring justice and mercy. He died to take our punishment, so his followers will be forgiven.

His sacrifice brings true forgiveness for his followers. It cost him everything, but he did it for love.

When I see the honour boards at my church, I see very important names: those who served showed there’s more to life than health and wealth.

For the greatest love lays down one’s life for one’s friends.


Bad Things Happening

“You might have seen bad things happening on the TV news… you might be worried ‘bout the world and wonder what will happen to you.”

That’s how Colin Buchanan started his famous song ‘The Lord is King’ more than 20 years ago… and nothing has really changed.

Even though we get less of our news from the TV, we still are bombarded through social media with things that make us sad and lead us to wonder why there’s so much pain.

The tragic events of Westfield Bondi Junction, and the church in Wakeley in Sydney’s West, both show us the chaos of this world in which we live, and prove it’s impossible to be truly safe, even in a sophisticated city like Sydney.

Acting Premier Penny Sharpe said of the first attack, “this is not who we are,” which although is generally true, ignores the reality that it was an everyday Australian who committed this evil act against other, everyday Australians.

The world in which we live is a tragic mess, and though there are many, beautiful acts of kindness and heroism, we know that evil always lurks, waiting to explode before our very eyes.

This is why we put our trust in the Lord Jesus, who is king… and who is going to look after everything in this world.

It doesn’t mean that when you put your trust in God that life will be easy and safe, but it does mean that you have a certainty for eternity, and that no matter what you go through in this life, there will be justice for those who do evil, and hope for those who trust in Christ.

Blessed are all who find their place in the shelter of his grace.


School’s Out, Kids In!

We love having an intergenerational church that welcomes and includes people of all ages within our everyday church, every week.

Normally, everyone begins in church together, and after around 45 minutes, the children from babies through to year six head out for their own, age-specific Bible teaching whilst the high school youths and older remain in church for the sermon.

However, during these school holidays we’re going to trial something new called ‘School’s Out, Kids In,’ where the kindergarten, infants and primary-aged school students will remain in church for the whole time, as we tweak our service to make it even more suitable to younger people.

This will mean that during these school holidays we’ll skip our normal Question Time, we’ll aim to have the sermon a little shorter, and we’ll make a number of minor tweaks that will help our younger people participate more with us all.

Our prayer is that this will help our kids feel that attending church is a normal experience for everyone, so that they will never know a time when they’re not welcomed and embraced fully during church.

The other benefit of this is that it means our children’s ministry team will have a break during the school holidays, allowing some holiday kids helpers to enjoy serving the younger kids in the creche program during the sermon.

We also will be blessed as our children’s minister Rach Bemmer is able to creatively shape church, as she leads the services, and works hard behind the scenes to help church be even better for kids as well as grown ups.

This holiday it’s just a trial, so we’d love your feedback as we seek to strengthen our ministry to younger people, as well as all of us as we enjoy life together, all ages and stages together in church.