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

Searching the Scriptures

Recently at Youth Group, we looked at Acts chapter 17:1-15, as part of our series on Paul’s missionary journey in the book of Acts.

In Acts 17, there are two, very different responses to the gospel.

When Paul preaches in Thessalonica, he gets run out of town by an angry mob, but when he then moves onto a town called Berea, he gets a much more positive reception towards the good news of Jesus.

Acts 17:11b says, “they searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth,” and as a result, they put their trust in Jesus.

As the Youth Minister of this church, it is a privilege to witness our young people exhibit the same attitude towards the gospel as the Bereans.

Each Friday night, we meet to hang out, play games and build relationships, but most importantly, we search the Scriptures week after week to find the truth that God has revealed in his word to us.

In this passage we were particularly challenged by the fact that the Bereans searched the Scriptures day after day, coming back to Scripture time and time again, soaking in it, reflecting on it.

Do you search the Scriptures day after day?

We have access to the Bible like never before, both hardcopy and online, yet how often do we fill our time with other things than reading God’s word?

The young people of our church have an enthusiasm for the gospel: day after day, week after week, time after time, they encourage those of us who are older to be as excited as they are to read God’s word.

This week, why not ask a young person at church what they’ve read in the Bible recently?

Hopefully that will encourage both you and them to follow the example of the Bereans, searching the Scriptures for truth day after day.


We Love Kids’ Ministry!

As our teachers take a break after a big Term Two, we’ve asked two of our kids’ church leaders to reflect on their ministry and share with us about how we can encourage and support them as they serve our children and our families.

One leader is Elise Baker, who serves as a leader in our morning kids’ program, as well as leading youth and also teaching Scripture at Jamberoo Public School.

She loves doing ministry because she believes that helping build a biblical and Christ-centred foundation for children is important: “Whether it’s through song, a Bible story, prayer, craft or activities, I find it super rewarding to see the children’s growth and curiosity as they continue learning from the Bible.”

For this term, a personal highlight has been going through the Old Testament in the Jesus Storybook Bible, “for I love how each story connects so clearly to Jesus.”

Liz Vidilini is another morning church leader, and she says that she loves leading in this way, “because it brings me joy to see little children understand how much Jesus loves them, and it reminds me that following Jesus is a childlike faith and he welcomes us with open arms.”

As she reflects on the ministry, she wants us to know that leading in this way, “is not scary or hard,” and that even if teaching kids isn’t a person’s normal skill set, that “it’s just about sharing Jesus with the children.”

She’d love more people to volunteer to spend time intentionally sharing Jesus with the great kids at our church, because she believes that, “intergenerational ministry is so valuable.”

Elise would love us to pray that God will continue to give the leaders, “wisdom, joy, and creativity as we prepare and lead,” and she ask that for the kids, they might, “remain curious and open-hearted, and that they grow in their understanding and relationship with Jesus.”

Finally, they’d love us to pray for all the families, that each parent or carer would disciple their children’s growth at home.

Praise God for our kids’ ministry!


Messiah of the Middle East

It’s hard to imagine somewhere in the world with greater conflict than the Middle East, where Islam, Judaism and Christianity all compete and clash with each other as they search for their roots in this distant, dusty land.

It is true that these three ‘Abrahamic faiths’ have a common ancestor, and for that reason, they bear many similarities to each other in their origins.

Yet, when Jesus was born, God showed himself in the clearest way ever, as the Word became flesh and lived among us, showing us the true glory of God.

Jesus showed that whilst sacrifice was essential in repairing our relationship with God, it was ultimately through the sacrifice of himself that we could have our broken status with God restored, and gain the only hope of dealing with the problem of our sin.

Yet, this idea of undeserved grace continues to be a sticking point between these three faiths, for only Christianity has all the heavy lifting done by God, not us, which grants us a confidence that we cannot have if we rely on our performance.

This is one of the many ways in which these three faiths differ, but ultimately we see how the love of Jesus shapes and impacts the everyday life of his believers, as we see the way that men and women are equally loved and valued by Jesus, who sets himself as the model for the love we are to show each other.

This is why we need to pray for the Christians in the Middle East, that they will be able to explain the heart of the love of Jesus, and how his death and resurrection changes everything for everyone who believes in him.

The one who was born in the Middle East is the one who came to change the world.


Generating Power

There’s been a lot of talk recently about generating power, with one side of politics promoting off-shore, wind-generated power, and the other side promoting nuclear power.

But as the politicians try to reduce emissions and bills, it’s worth noting that the Bible speaks about power, and often in the most unexpected places.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul prays for his readers in an intimate and glorious prayer, where he asks God to give them what is most needed.

Somewhat unexpectedly, he prays about power.

Firstly, he prays that the Ephesian Christians would be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit so that Christ would truly live within them (Ephesians 3:16-17.)

In other words, he prays that God would give them the power to truly be united with Christ in every way—something that needs divine power to really happen.

Secondly, he prays that they would have the power, “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (3:18.)

The only way that they’ll really get their head around the amazing love of Jesus is if God gives them the spiritual power they need to comprehend it.

Thirdly, as he prays for God’s glory, he recognises that with God’s power in us, he is able, “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (3:20.)

By the power of his Holy Spirit, God is able to do the greatest thing of all: lead us to truly know the love of Jesus.

This is the greatest thing that anyone can experience, and it’s only by the power of God that this remarkable truth can truly break through our thick minds and hard hearts.

That’s the power we need the most!


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.