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

What’s better than winning?

What happens when God is removed from the centre of your life and replaced with achievement?

The ABC’s Four Corners recently ran a report on elite athletes who outlined their struggles once their career was over.

They struggled with depression, unemployment and emptiness.

Lauren Jackson, Australia’s most successful female basketballer, spoke of the end of her career like a second death and with no one there.

She also experienced the effects of withdrawal, both from the adrenaline highs of performance, but also from the mix of prescriptions drugs she took to help her body survive the wear and tear she endured.

Nathan Bracken, Australian test cricketer spoke of suffering from severe depression when he retired.

But what difference would Christ make to these athletes?

Eternity magazine asked a number of AFL players this question, including Gary Ablett Jnr., one of the greatest players to have ever played.

He has won AFL’s top award twice, and has two premierships, but he placed little importance on these achievements: “In my journey those things don’t bring fulfillment, my faith is everything.”

And because faith is everything, “it’s not about premierships, its about sharing Jesus.”

He shared his faith with a teammate who faced severe depression, injury, and addiction.

But when he heard about Jesus, he realised that, “football doesn’t define who I am, I get my identity from Jesus Christ.”

So when fame and fortune come to an end, when achievements fail, when they lose their spot in the team, when they are left with nothing, they’ll still have the number one thing, faith in Christ, and nothing can take that away.

And so next time you’re dreaming of what it would be like to be an elite athlete, remember, they are dreaming of something you already have: a rock-solid identity in Christ.

Simon Chaplin

Church news for the week beginning 29th April 2017

New Bible talk series begins this weekend

This weekend we begin our new series on the New Testament book of Galatians called ‘Free Indeed!’ as Jodie preaches from Chapter 1 verses 1 to 10 with the title, “Freedom Deserted” .

Mission of the month: KBECET

KBECET (Kiama Board for Employing Christian Education Teachers) is our mission of the month. Support this ministry through the ‘Mission Table’ in the Hall.

Men’s Dinner

You’re invited to join the men of Oak Flats and beyond on Tuesday 2nd May to hear Archie Poulos at the Central Hotel, Shellharbour. RSVP via the comment card or 0439 561 373.

Dinner at the Bowlo

Join us this Thursday at 6pm at the Jamberoo Bowling Club for a relaxed meal together at the ‘Wok and Grill’ restaurant, for great steaks, tasty Chinese, and lots of laughs.

Mini Markets

Join us on Saturday 20th May, 9am to 12pm as the Ladies’ Guild host the mini-markets. Plants, cakes, bric-a-brac, local produce, books, craft, jewellery, coffee, tea & pikelets all on offer. A great day for the Jamberoo community. Contact 4236 0158 or 0430 043 765 for further information.

Petition against Abortion

There is an extreme abortion Bill currently before the NSW Parliament. If passed, this legislation would be one of the worst abortion laws in the world. You are encouraged to sign a petition at our Welcome Desk to request that the Legislative Council oppose this bill.

ChurchBot

We now have a new integration with Elvanto called ChurchBot. ChurchBot provides a way to find out about what’s happening in our church using Facebook Messenger. You will be able to “chat” to ChurchBot to access the Elvanto system, and you can RECEIVE reminders of volunteering, TAP to easily find out about your upcoming rosters, and ASK questions like “When am I on roster next month”. How great is that? For more information see the Facebook group or Valerie.

 

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 $5560.00, leaving a gap of $340.00.

Olimometer 2.52

Up to the end of the last calendar month we needed to have received $25,567. Compared to that total we received $24,095, leaving a gap of $1,472.

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 .

Abortion’s hidden injustice

The greatest tragedy of the sexual revolution is the mass killing of unborn children through the decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion.

Whilst the decision to terminate a pregnancy should be a painful choice for the parents, the impact is undoubtedly greatest upon the human whose life comes to an end in order to benefit his or her mother and/or father.

The reason our society accepts the sacrifice of the life of an unborn child for the sake of his or her parents is because we have adopted an ethical framework that seeks the greatest pleasure or benefit for the individual.

But because the unborn child is not able to express feelings or claim rights, they are not able to defend themselves against their unwilling sacrifice for the sake of their parents.

Yet, those who advocate for abortion will often defend their practices by choosing not to define a foetus as human until the moment the child is born.

However, if we choose to listen to the word of God, then he makes it clear that embryos and foetuses are as human as a fully-grown adult.

There are many times when the Bible speaks of how God relates personally to unborn children.

Psalm 139 speaks of the personal relationship of God to the foetus, and in Jeremiah chapter 1 verse 5, God says to Jeremiah that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

In God’s sight, the life of a foetus is equal to the life of a grownup, and this is why abortion must be seen as the killing of a human.

There are plans next week to introduce a bill before the NSW Parliament that will make abortion legal right up to the moment of birth.

Let us pray that our politicians do not vote to permit doctors to kill the very babies they should be caring for.

Please also consider signing the petition at our church in order to add your name to the voices seeking to oppose this legislation.

Jodie

The cost of conflict

As we approach another Anzac Day, we are reminded again of the horrors of war.

The Australian War Memorial lists 102,825 people who have died as a result of service with Australian units.

It is sobering to consider the tragic, human cost of these conflicts.

Behind every name there is heartbreak, and behind every casualty there are tears.

Yet, despite this great cost, we know that the sacrifice of lives was not in vain: our nation is stronger for their courage and valour.

Yet, it is not only in the theatres of war that we witness conflict.

All relationships experience some form of conflict from time to time.

It is a normal part of life to disagree with others, but we must seek to show love in our conflicts by listening and loving others.

Sadly, even among Christians, we see conflicts that can often end up with painful outcomes.

As I have been preparing my Bible talks for our upcoming series on the Letter to the Galatians, I have been reminded of the conflict that Paul had with several of the core, Christian leaders:

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. (Galatians 2:11-13)

The conflict was necessary because the truth was at stake.

Yet, despite this painful disagreement, God used this incident to see the gospel spread throughout the nations.

Serious conflict is painful and heartbreaking, but even through such tragedy, God remains sovereign.

After all, the greatest tragedy of all was the death of Jesus, which led to the greatest triumph of history.

Jodie.

Christian persecution is growing

persecution

Last year was the worst year on record for persecution of Christians worldwide.

According to ‘Open Doors,’ each month 332 were killed for their faith, 772 suffered serious violence and 214 churches were destroyed.

Once there was a network of Christian churches spreading east from Jerusalem through “Mesopotamia” and on into India.

Though not recorded in the NT, this missionary spread eastwards from Jerusalem must have started very early. When Marco Polo reached the court of Kublai Khan in 1266 in nowadays “Peking,” he was surprised to meet Christians there.

We sometimes forget that Christianity is a Middle Eastern (i.e. Asian) religion, that Jesus was a Jew, and Paul a Syrian or maybe a Turk. Armenia was the first ever officially Christian nation.

The buildings of the Eastern Christians in those early days typically had gold-painted domes on the roof, and this is no doubt the origin of the domes on mosques, since the churches were simply converted into mosques as Islam displaced the Christians.

And this process is being implemented in a vicious manner today.

Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Ahok is on trial for blasphemy for “insulting” the Koran. There are few who cannot see this as an attempt to bring a Christian leader down by any method that might work.

Coptic Christian Bahgat Zakhar, 58, refused to deny Jesus before being gunned down in cold blood in the Sinai region.

We can recall that these following words of Jesus apply to us as well as our persecuted brothers and sisters, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44.)

Hard though it be to love organisations like ISIS, we should pray for their change of heart.

We should find ways to identify with persecuted Christians for as Jesus said, “I was in prison and you came to visit me… truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:36 & 40.)

Graham 

Are you responsible with your power?

The crown of the king (CREDIT: Jason Train via Flickr)

Did you know that God has made us responsible for ruling the world?

In the book of Psalms, God’s people say to him,

“…what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:” (Psalm 8:4-6)

The Lord is king over the universe, and he’s put humans in charge of Planet Earth and beyond.

This is why humans have the authority to make decisions about animals and the environment.

God has given us this charge to rule everything under his command, and this is why a Biblical worldview has humans at the focal point of all decisions.

Yet, with much power comes much responsibility!

It is within our divinely-delegated power to do anything we like to our environment and to treat animals in any way we wish, but, God will hold us accountable for the decisions we make, as we rule his world under his kingship.

And at the heart of our leadership must be servanthood.

For, if we want to see what perfect human rule looks like, we should consider how Jesus rules.

His greatest act of leadership was not to set himself up as a powerful and dominant ruler.

Instead, his ultimate act of kingship was giving his life for the humans under his rule, so that he might taste death for those of us who obey his call to repent and believe in him.

Jesus’ death is an example of how to rule and serve, but most importantly, his death brings his people renewal by the Holy Spirit, so that we might lead with love.

How will this change the way you rule the world?

Jodie

The best weekend ever?

Join us at Waterslea next weekend!

When I was nine years old I was invited to a Christian holiday camp by a friend from school.

It turned out that my friend, Julian, was a regular, churchgoing Christian, and he reached out to me to invite me to join him for a week of horse riding, canoeing and even air guns (back in the day!)

I still remember the campfire, the awesome leaders, and even the potatoes we peeled in the kitchen.

But what I’ll never forget was the message of the speaker about how to become friends with Jesus.

And at that camp I remember asking Jesus to forgive me and to let me follow him all my life.

Camps are a very special place to know Jesus and experience his love in a special community of believers.

Next weekend, our church is going away for a whole weekend together, to live, learn, love and laugh.

And we are set to be greatly blessed by the teaching of Peter Jensen, as he opens up God’s word to us in a practical and powerful way.

Peter’s four talks are, ‘The Birth of Culture,’ ‘The Gift of Community,’ ‘The Promise of Justice,’ and ‘The Power of Words.’

If you’ve never been on a church camp or weekendaway before, then there’s still time to join us.

And if you’ve been before, you’ll know that it’s an occasion not to be missed.

If you’re short of time, money, or transport, then there are ways to get you along.

But whatever you do, don’t pass up this opportunity to be with people of all ages and stages, from both Oak Flats and Jamberoo Anglican Churches, as together we meet Jesus, clothed in his word, present by his Holy Spirit, bringing glory to God.

See you there, God willing!

Jodie

What’s beer got to do with church?

The video at the centre of the Coopers and Bible Society controversy (CREDIT: The Bible Society)

This week there has been some controversy surrounding the production by Coopers Brewery of commemorative beer cans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bible Society.

As part of the celebrations, the Bible Society released a video in which they hosted a mini-debate between two people with different views on same-sex marriage.

The video showed a wonderful example of how two people can clearly differ, whilst maintaining respect.

Sadly, the response to this video was a call to boycott Coopers, which was then carried out by several pubs and beer drinkers.

After originally supporting the tone of the video debate, Coopers went on to strongly distance themselves from the video and eventually state their their strong support of same-sex marriage.

The pressure that Coopers felt is the same pressure that Christians regularly experience to be silent in this debate, even if we speak in a well-mannered way.

This is a sign of the kind of challenges that Christians will continue to experience, and are likely to see grow in frequency and intensity.

This is all the more reason why Christians need to stick together.

And the place to do that is by going to church.

We don’t go to church in order to please God, or to somehow work our way to Heaven.

We come to church to meet with Jesus as he speaks by his Holy Spirit through the words of the Bible, in a supportive and loving community of grace.

Because if you think you can stand up and say you’re a Christian but rarely, if ever, come to church to be supported by your Christian brothers and sisters, then you’re likely to fall away under the ever-mounting pressure of our increasingly-hostile world.

If you’ve not been to church for a while, please come back.

We need you, and you need us.

Jodie

What has ESP got to do with Christianity?

I was recently watching a program that was taking a light hearted look at the claims of ESP (extra-sensory perception).

The show didn’t hold my interest for long, but what was interesting was the way the host explained his scepticism.

He said “ I’m an atheist… I don’t believe in that kind of thing at all.”

Notice his reason for not believing: he said he was an atheist, as if that proved the point.

What lies behind this statement is the claim that atheists only believe in that which is provable by reason and science. 

To believe in God, so they say, is to believe in something without evidence and so is unprovable, and ultimately unknowable.

So you have to take a leap of faith, given that believing in God is on the same level as believing in ESP.

How do we respond to such a characterisation?

Christian apologist John Lennox gives us an example of why this thinking is both mistaken and inconsistent.

In a debate with the atheist Richard Dawkins, the following exchange occurred:

Dawkins: We only need to use the word ‘faith’ when there isn’t any evidence.
Lennox: No, not at all. I presume you’ve got faith in your wife — is there any evidence for that?
Dawkins: Yes. Yes, plenty of evidence.
Lennox: Hmmm.

Dawkins expresses the same view: belief in God is in the realm of blind faith.

But Lennox challenges that.

Faith is a word that expresses a relational trust based on evidence.

The next question then is this: are there reasons to place our faith in God in the same way we trust a faithful wife? And the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’

To be a Christian is not to take leave of one’s senses, but to respond in faith to God who has revealed himself.

God reveals himself in His word – where we find carefully written and researched accounts of Jesus.

He invites us to listen, reason, investigate and respond.

Simon Chaplin

Do you have trouble with trust?

Straight Road (CREDIT: hirotomo t via Flickr)

When I was a young boy, I remember receiving a Bible from my grandma as a gift.

In the front of the book she wrote in beautiful handwriting this verse from the book of Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It is only now, as a much-older adult, that these words seem to really make sense.

As a child, I was working hard to grow up into a man, and that meant that I needed to be able to develop skills and knowledge that I could depend upon.

But now that I’m older, I understand that no matter what I’m able to do as an adult, I need more than ever to trust in the Lord with all my heart.

It can be very hard to trust in others when you’ve been hurt or when you’ve become reliant on your own abilities.

But God makes it clear to all of us, young and old, that no matter how good our understanding of life, we still need to rest fully on God, to trust him in every single way.

And when we’re told to trust God, it means that we need to submit to him, following his loving rule over us.

We long to be the “self-made” person who can play “I did it my way” at our funeral, but God tells us that we need to throw ourselves on Jesus, to put our full faith in him.

And the great news is that when we do that, he will make our paths straight: he will smooth out the bends in life, even when it sometimes feels a bit bumpy on the road.

Because when we trust in Jesus as Lord, he will lead us in the road to Heaven, taking us safely home.

Jodie.