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

It’s too costly to lose free speech

(CREDIT: RebeccaBarray via

When our nation debated the redefinition of marriage, there were moments when things were said that were difficult to hear.

Yet, it was vital that we felt the liberty to openly and honestly share our convictions and beliefs.

The mark of a healthy democratic society is the ability to speak freely about what we hold dearly, and as we consider the nature of freedom of speech and religion, it is vital that Australia maintains the liberty to say what we think, so that our society can work out what is right.

Many religious and ethical views are controversial, and they will inevitably cause some strong emotions.

When people say things about Jesus that we know are untrue or unkind, we can feel upset and even angry.

Yet, it would be tragic if people felt gagged to talk about things that might clash with what others believe.

For the sake of the truth, all Australians need to feel free to say what they believe, so that each of us can engage with those views, and allow healthy debate about what is right in heaven and on earth.

If you believe in the value of freedom of speech and religion, then I’d like you to consider making a submission to the ‘Religious Freedom Review’.

I’m told that the most valuable thoughts would be real-world examples of concern you might know of in Australia or other parts of the world.

Please pray for this ‘Ruddock Review’, and please consider visiting this link to make a brief submission before the 14th February:

Jesus is controversial, and his words will challenge people to their very heart.

Let’s pray and act so that our nation might continue to be open to hear the radical words of Christ, who created us, rules us, and gave his life for us.


What a beautiful name!

I was buzzing after Tuesday night’s combined prayer and training night for the ‘Jesus Is___’ campaign.

180 local Anglicans joined together to pray and sing, and to be pumped up and trained to talk about Jesus.

On the way home from the meeting, I stopped at the petrol station, and I realised I was still wearing my ‘Jesus Is___’ t-shirt.

Even though I’d been encouraging others to be courageous in speaking about Jesus, I suddenly felt a bit self-conscious.

Would the cashier ask me what the t-shirt meant? Or would the guy at the petrol pump pay me out?

And then I remembered what Sandy Grant taught us about the 12 words that help start the conversation:

“We’re interested in people’s opinions. (point at the logo). Jesus is… What goes in the blank?”

And then I relaxed, knowing that I was ready to have a chat with whoever I might encounter.

When it comes to March, I’m looking forward to regularly wearing the t-shirt, badge, or wristband, and using the coffee cup.

I’m expecting that it’s possible that I’ll have some awkward moments, but I’m also sure that I’ll have some terrific opportunities to chat with people about Jesus.

There’s no name that is more beautiful than the name of Jesus, and it will be an honour to wear his name, even if it sometimes gets a bit uncomfortable.

And we all need to remember that… “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. …praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:14, 16b).

Will you join me in displaying Jesus’ name by purchasing some merchandise? Orders close this Sunday, so now’s your last chance to let us know what you need!



Bridging the gap in our youth

CREDIT: Photo Vanova, via Flickr.

One of the most significant bridges for our young people is the gap between youth group and church.

Research presented by the Moore College’s CMD reports that there is a significant drop off in church involvement in the later teen years.

We all know that this is a fragile time, with all kinds of pressures.

So what do we do? Firstly, we pray. For what appears fragile from our perspective is not at all from God’s. Those he has hold of are secure in his vice-like grip.

Secondly, we work hard to develop the faith of our young people in ways which will help them bridge the gap to adulthood.

This will only be done through his word in their hearts in the fellowship of Christian community.

The fellowship we have as Christians is crucial, and helping our youth thrive in community is vital. That’s why we make our youth group, ‘Alive’, as good as possible.

But there’s also another factor that can help our youth stay connected to church: the time of the group.

We run ‘Alive’ on Saturday nights at 7.30 to 9.30pm because we want the youth of our church to first attend an intergenerational church at 5pm and then have an all-age dinner at 6.30pm with people young and old.

It means that it’s a big night for our teenagers, but it also means that there is a healthy integration between the generations.

Plus, we’re strengthening the discipleship that happens at times other than Saturday night, so that the youth can be further strengthened to go the distance.

Being part of church is being part of God’s family, with everybody of all ages. We are looking forward to helping our young people experience that as they grow into a lifelong of faith in Christ.

Simon Chaplin and Jodie McNeill

Is it Christian to take holidays?

Since Jesus is returning soon to judge the world, is it right for us to just sit around and enjoy a holiday?

Well, when we hold to the truth that God is sovereign over everything, then it means that it’s OK to stop and enjoy a break.

This is why God originally created a Sabbath day, so that his people might recognise that he runs the world, not us.

Plus, it’s worth reflecting that God designed us to spend a third of our lifetime sleeping, so that whilst our eyes are closed, we can show that we know that God is still ruling from his throne.

God also instructed his people to enjoy special holidays, when they would remember God’s actions in history.

With this in mind, we should demonstrate our dependence on God’s loving rule by enjoying holidays, and by taking a day off each week to remember that he is god, not us!

Even as we rest, we should naturally make the most of every opportunity to talk about the most important person in the universe.

In fact, holidays can be wonderful times to enjoy chatting with friends and family about the joy of knowing Jesus.

Plus, it can also be a great time to spend sharing your faith with others on a ‘Beach Mission’ or holiday camp.

God created this world to enjoy, and because we believe in his loving rule over every, single aspect of his universe, we can rest and relax in peace.

And as we rest and relax in his creation, we should naturally express our gratitude to God with the people we’re around.

And, God willing, he will use our words of genuine thankfulness to show the beauty of knowing Jesus to those we are with, so that they might be saved when he returns.


Imagine a world that knows Jesus

For as long as I can remember I’ve known about Jesus.

My grandparents were followers of Jesus, and they brought me up knowing that it was really important to know him personally.

When I was ten I decided to follow Jesus myself, and I am now more convinced than ever that this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

That’s why I want every person in the world to also know Jesus.

Over this past week, I attended a week-long conference run by CMS, the Church Missionary Society.

CMS prays that we might have a world that knows Jesus, and it works to recruit, send, and support people throughout the world to do this.

This week I have heard many stories of people who have heard about Jesus and now follow him as loving ruler and saviour.

It is both humbling and exciting to hear about the fruit of their labours, and to know that we partner with them in prayer and giving.

As we pray for our own partner missionaries, it will naturally inspire us to think about our own opportunities to help the people in our own neighbourhood know Jesus.

This year, we have a special opportunity to help locals know Jesus as we begin a focused campaign leading up to Easter.

Our ‘Jesus Is___’ mission seeks to bring the knowledge of Jesus to our neighbourhood through personal chats and combined events.

As we pray for a world that knows Jesus, we’re also praying for an Illawarra that knows Jesus.

For God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6)

Will 2018 be a Groundhog Year?

This week my kids joined me in watching the 1993 movie, ‘Groundhog Day.’

It was released a year after Mandy and I were married, and it’s probably been decades since we saw it.

The premise of the movie is that Phil (played by Bill Murray) gets trapped in the 2nd of February, where he lives that same day over and over again.

After his initial shock, he starts to experiment with different outcomes, based on how he conducts his life.

Initially he spends his ‘days’ seeking pleasure, but eventually his frustration leads him to take his life, which only returns him to the start of the same day.

Finally, he devotes his energy to improving his skills, and showing acts of love and kindness.

Over the countless repeats of this day, Phil grows as a person, and he shows how in one day, he can make a significant impact on the lives of many people through his good works.

If it wasn’t for Phil’s bizarre time loop, he may have continued through life, racing from day to day and year to year, without any reflection.

This is the trap we can all fall into as we naturally surrender to the recurring cycle of days and weeks and months and years.

It reminds me of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which starkly recognises that “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;” (1:9)

Yet, its conclusion is that we should remember our creator (12:1), and that we should “fear God and keep his commandments,” (12:13.)

As 2018 has now dawned, “may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Jodie McNeill

Church news for the week beginning 30th December 2017

Holidays are here!

We’re delighted that you could join us today during this time of holidays. If you’re taking some time off with family and friends then be sure to give thanks to God for the joy (and sometimes challenges) of relationships, as we hope for Heaven!

This weekend’s Bible Talk

This weekend, Graham Errington will be preaching on the topic ‘Fear not, little flock’ from Luke chapter 12 verses 22 to 34.

Dinner at 5pm

There will be no dinner after the 5pm Saturday service, to allow people to head of to celebrate the New Year with family and friends.

Mission of the month: Special Religious Education (SRE)

SRE is our mission of the month. Support this ministry through the ‘Mission Table’ in the Hall.

McNeill’s away

Jodie and his family are now on leave until this Thursday 4th January, after which he will be up at CMS Summer School.

Summer Sermons

During the five weekends after Christmas, we will be hearing from a range of local and guest preachers on a variety of topics, before we commence a new sermon series in Term One. Next weekend, we welcome Mark Howard as our preacher.


Giving update

Each week we need to receive $5900.00 in order to meet our commitments. In the last calendar month, our average weekly giving was $5463.00, leaving a gap of $437.00.

Olimometer 2.52

Up to the end of the last calendar month we needed to have received $204,536. Compared to that total we received $198,351, leaving a gap of $6,185.

Olimometer 2.52

Electronic giving is a great way to give! It helps us prayerfully plan our giving, and then the bank will help us keep that commitment, even when we may be unable to attend. To give by direct transfer then these are the details. Account name: Church of England Jamberoo. Account number: 10081274. BSB: 062562 .

A resolution worth keeping

I’m not much one for new year’s resolutions. If I happen to find the bit of paper at the end of the year it reads more like a catalogue of things I haven’t done than a list of achievements with ticks next to it.

A chirpy radio announcer was broadcasting what a wonderful time it is to not just make a plan for 2018, but to get out those 10 year plans and visions we have and tweak and adjust them for the year ahead. I must have lost that bit of paper too!

Although ever an optimist, even I have learnt from the experience of un-met expectations that perhaps it’s better simply not to set yourself up for failure. Deep down we all know that come the 1st of January we don’t magically become new people – this year we will be pretty much the same people as last year.

But I have an exception. There is one goal it’s always good to have on a list somewhere. No matter how many times we might have failed. It’s good to keep plugging away at it. So here it is:

News Years Resolution 2018
# Read the Bible more

There are lots of reasons why this is a good goal, but one compelling reason is simply the thought of not having it as a goal. What happens if we just gave up on this one, if we gave in to those fears of failure, those “it’s better not to try” thoughts? We might say, “Well I tried that last year and my devotions with God didn’t get any better.” But here is the thing: imagine if we hadn’t tried at all. We might not have gotten any better, but if we don’t care anymore, we will definitely get a lot worse!

But I am sure you do care. So why don’t you ask God to help you this year get to know him better through the reading of his Word. And that’s a prayer God couldn’t be happier to answer for you!

Simon Chaplin

Good news from twitter

(CREDIT: Takashi Hososhima via

Twitter now seems to be the preferred method of communication for at least one of our world leaders.

With a limit of 280 characters – it is difficult to say much – let alone explain anything complex. Who knows what might happen if the leader of another country takes something the wrong way?

God’s communication with us – the Bible – stretches to more than three and a half million characters.

But what would that be if we tweeted it? Let me try:

God creates the world We rebel God sends his Son Jesus into our world to be born in a stable + grow up to die on a cross but that’s not the end He defeats death + is raised to life offering every1 freedom from death. In short – a baby born in a shed saves the world #canyoubelieveit

That’s the sweetest tweet you’ll ever hear – but this Christmas, why not get the full picture by reading the Gospel of Luke in a modern version of the Bible. It won’t take you long.

Happy Christmas!

Dr Glenn N Davies
Archbishop of Sydney

A time to ask who Jesus is___?

“Jesus is _____.”  What goes in the blank?

This is a really good question for any time of the year, but especially at Christmas.

Christmas is a time when Jesus is spoken of more than normal in our society, but the answers people give are often far from the truth.

That’s one of the reasons we’re running a special campaign next March when we’re teaming up with Anglican churches from Ulladulla up to Sutherland, and from the Southern Highlands and Campbelltown across to the Illawarra.

We’ll be helping people consider the most important question facing the world: who is Jesus?

The churches of our wider region will be joined by all the students of Moore College, as well as receiving support from Anglicare.

Jesus himself once asked those around, “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29), and so we want to help people with their answers to Jesus’ identity.

In our own, immediate area, we’re going to be running three days’ of public meetings at the new Shellharbour Civic Centre, at both 11am and 7pm on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of March 2018.

Our special speaker will be Ben Pfahlert, and over those three days he will be challenging the people from Dapto down to Gerringong and out to Albion Park and Jamberoo about who Jesus really is.

We’re also going to have three special training and prayer nights in the lead up, on Tuesday nights at 7pm in the Civic Centre, on the 30th January, the 13th of February and the 13th March, and we’d really love you be there to join with Anglicans from our region to pray that we’d be fired up to talk about Jesus.

So, put the dates in your diary, and start praying for great conversations with people who need to know Jesus.

And as we join together for this campaign, we pray that we’ll help many people know how to finish the sentence, “Jesus is _____.”

Jodie McNeill