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

Much more than groceries

The Mobile Community Pantry (MCP) began at Oak Flats Anglican in February this year. It is a collaboration with Anglicare to provide low-cost groceries to those who need it most. And judging by the response it is a service that is being well received by the community.

Every fortnight, on a Thursday, a van from the MCP arrives at the church loaded with top quality groceries, that for some reason the major supermarket chains want off their shelves. This food can be sold to those who come to the church. Each individual is able to choose how to fill up a bag or two from the van. The cost is $10 a bag but the value is well in excess of $60. This represents a massive saving for those who come, but also offers them the opportunity to pay for the goods – and people really seem to like the way this works.

An encouraging side to this is that local businesses have started to donate items that can be taken for free too. Also one of the church members is also cooking home-made meals to take away!

As a church which has experienced the love of Jesus for us, we are really interested in showing love to our community who need an extra hand to purchase food essentials. However we want to do much more than that. The strength of this program is not just the low cost groceries but the community that people are invited into on a Thursday morning. People are warmly invited in by a whole team of volunteers who offer tea, coffee, home made food, and best of all, a warm and friendly conversation.

The MCP is an easy way for our church to show the love of Jesus, in the same way Jesus did to those who were in need when he walked on Earth. And yet Jesus never left his actions of love alone.

They were always accompanied with an explanation of the thing that people needed most: it is the spiritual needs of Oak Flats we really want to help people with, and we pray that as we get to know those who come along, we will be able to hold out the Eternal food that God offers us in Jesus.

Simon Chaplin

What’s missing from the Opening Ceremony?

The opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was a spectacular piece of stadium art, filled with all the light, colour, sound and dance that you would expect.

Opening ceremonies have definitely carved out for themselves their own genre – it is a chance to tell the narrative of a nation and the distinctives of their city.

The opening scene was the dawn of time, where our world was united as one land. A traditional dance showed that from the birth of our continent, our land has been looked after by the indigenous people.

The shift was then made to the distinctives of the Gold Coast – the stadium was turned into a spectacular scene of our fun-filled beach culture.

It certainly captured aspects of out past and current culture. However, was it a true narrative of Australia?

Imagine if we put God in the picture, how would that change things? It’s hard to imagine that in secular Australia.

Romans 1:18-19 says “what can be known about God is plain to us” but “we suppress the truth.”

When we deny the truth of our maker for long enough we can then no longer even remember him at all.

Imagine an opening ceremony where God was on display – where it was his hand that formed our world, our continent, our beaches – where we remembered that God created us all in his own image, so that all people should be treated with care and dignity.

Indeed, it was these very Christian beliefs that helped form the social and justice systems of Australia that have allowed us the freedom to enjoy our beautiful country.

At the end of the opening ceremony, without God in the picture there’s not much response to make. But with God in the picture, as the creator of all those wonderful things the response is one of thankfulness to Him.

Why don’t you take a moment this week, to notice what God has given us and give thanks to him.

Simon Chaplin.

Jesus is not a cheat

CREDIT: Photo NAPARAZZI, via Flickr.

It must be very hard to be a professional sportsperson, with the constant pressure to perform for supporters and sponsors.

No doubt this contributed to the decision this week by disgraced Australian male cricketers to undertake a premeditated and coordinated act of ball tampering.

The level of public outcry has been extraordinary, and the call for punishment and justice has been deafening.

Yet no matter how tempted the players were to cheat, their temptation dwarfs that felt by Jesus in his life.

We read in the Bible in Luke chapter 4:1-13 that Jesus was tempted by the Devil after he spent forty days without food in the desert.

Jesus was tempted by the Devil to bow down to him, instead of trusting and worshiping his heavenly Father.

But Jesus knew that it was vital that he obey God’s word, and resist temptation.

For, if Jesus had cheated in his mission, he would have failed to have dealt with our sin on the first Good Friday.

For, it was only because Jesus was truly sinless that he could take our sin upon himself, and be punished for those sins in our place.

But more than that, by resisting the temptation to cheat in his mission to redeem his people, he also showed that he knows what it is like for us to be tempted, too.

As we read in Hebrews 2:18, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

As Smith, Warner and Bancroft make the long and lonely flight back to Australia, it is worth remembering that Jesus’ death brings forgiveness to everyone who asks him, no matter what the crime.

It is only by Jesus’ strong resolve not to cheat in his mission that sinners like you, me, and the Aussie cricketers can be saved from the punishment we deserve from God.

Jodie McNeill.

 

 

Jesus is the great exchange

There has been a lot happening this week as our church and the churches in our region have partnered with Moore College students to run many Jesus is___. events.

Hundreds of people have attended the public sessions at the Civic Centre, over 1000 students have been at special SRE assemblies, and 2000 high-schoolers were at the Free To Be event.

At the heart of all this flurry of activity is one simple message: Jesus is the great exchange.

There were lots of events this week, but there is only one event that really matters: it is the moment where this great exchange takes place in your life.

No-one else will see this moment, for it takes place in your heart, and yet at the same time it is a cosmic event.

1 Peter 3:18 says “For Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God”.

The great exchange is this: Jesus stands in our place; he swaps his life for ours and he does it so that he might brings us back home to God.

Ben Pfahlert, the speaker at the public sessions, put it like this: He took our place that we might reconnect with our spiritual old man.

This is the great exchange of love divine, as a recent song puts it:

Oh great exchange
Of love divine
My greatest gain
I leave behind

So turn my heart
And calm my fears
For you will bring
Me home again*

In this great exchange we are solely the receivers. We offer nothing as part of of the deal.

God himself, out of only love, offers us it all. Nothing can rival this offer, so we can leave all gain behind.

And nothing can take it away, so our heart is assured and our fears are calmed. His life for ours, that he might give take us home.

Simon Chaplin.

* Love Returns : Luke Woodhouse and Gav Perkins.  Voyagesongs.com

Jesus is Emotional

CREDIT: Photo Waiting for the Word, via Flickr.

Depending on the situation, it can be good or bad for a person to be emotional.

It’s obviously good and normal to cry when you meet your newborn child for the first time, or farewell a loved one for the last time.

But, we’d find it unsettling if a police officer, or a judge, or a surgeon was to cry or laugh out loud in the course of their solemn duties.

Interestingly, the Bible shows us several times when Jesus is emotional.

One time he was clearly upset at how he was rejected by his own, Israelite people, whom he came to save.

He was angry at those religious rulers in Jerusalem, and he expressed a heart-felt sadness about them:

Matt. 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Another time he was famously upset was when he uttered the words that make up the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35).

Jesus saw how Mary was upset at the death of their mutual friend, Lazarus, and Jesus himself was caught up in tears.

Because Jesus continues to live in human form as he rules with his heavenly father, we can be confident that Jesus continues to have emotions like this as he engages with those he loves and leads.

This doesn’t mean that Jesus’ judgement is somehow impaired by his emotions: he doesn’t stop being fair and wise.

Instead, it is a comforting reminder that Jesus’ love for his children is genuine and caring.

And it gives us a fresh reason that it’s so good to follow Jesus as our loving ruler and rescuer.

Jodie McNeill.

Jesus Is Rest

CREDIT: Photo anieto2k, via Flickr.

There are so many things that make us weary and burdened.

Maybe you’re weighed down by poor health, difficult relationships, or financial stress.

Maybe your biggest burden is spiritual?

Perhaps you’re worried that when God judges you after you die that you might not have done enough to please him.

The great news is that Jesus offers relief from that burden because Jesus is rest.

Before Jesus came, God promised his people rest from all their enemies so that they would live in safety.

Then, after Jesus came, God’s people realised that this ‘rest’ was actually talking about Heaven.

But many people thought it was only possible to gain this heavenly rest through hard work.

They were told that they needed to do all sorts of religious acts and good works in order to get into heaven and enjoy a hard-earned rest.

But Jesus turned that upside down when he told them that he is the only one who can give someone that rest.

He told them, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Then he told them how to take hold of that rest: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Jesus offers to swap his light and easy load for our heavy burden, and in turn, give us true rest.

It all is possible because when Jesus died, he swapped our sin for his perfection, and he became guilty so that we might become innocent in God’s sight.

Wouldn’t you love to have rest for your soul, now and in eternity?

Jodie McNeill.

Jesus is our certainty

This week there’s been more bad news in the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he has tested a new design of nuclear weapons that cannot be intercepted, and that have a practically unlimited range.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says the likelihood of another financial crash like the GFC is a certainty, with some economists saying that we are close to seeing another economic bubble burst.

On top of this, our Facebook feeds keep reminding us of cancer and funerals and grief and trials.

In many ways, this flow of bad news is really, very normal.

Every week we hear about threats of war, economic instability, and personal sickness and death.

And none of us know if more of our own, personal trials are just around the corner.

In the end, the only certainty we have is that life is full of uncertainty.

Except for one thing: we can be certain about eternity if we put our trust in Jesus.

Jesus make it clear that we can have certainty about life after death if we follow him as our loving ruler and rescuer.

He said that his followers are his sheep, and that he is our shepherd.

And he gave this assurance:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)

In a time of uncertainty, we can find certainty in Jesus.

No matter what happens in the world or in our household, we can have certainty if we choose to have Jesus as our shepherd.

Since Jesus is certainty, it seems crazy to put your hope in anyone or anything else.

Jodie McNeill 

Church news for the week beginning 24th February 2018

Today’s Bible talk

Today we we continue the series ‘Jesus is___’ as Jodie preaches on the topic ‘Jesus is… believable’ from John chapter 20 verses 24 to 31, and 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 12 to 19.

Mission of the month

Nungalinya College, Darwin is our mission of the month. Support this ministry through the ‘Mission Table’ in the Hall.

Parish Council

Our Parish Council meets this Monday, 26th February at 7pm at the church. Please remember them in your prayers.

Elvanto training night

On Tuesday, 6th March, 7.30pm to 9pm, we are holding a special training night for our Church management system, Elvanto. This will be held at Oak Flats Anglican. Please RSVP via comment card or email office@jamberooanglican.com.

Floral Display

We will be hosting a floral display at the church on 17th March, 9am to 3.30pm. $10 includes viewing of display and refreshments. For information call Helen 4236 0158.

New roster coming soon

If you’re unavailable to serve on a roster from 19th March through 1st July please let us know via comment card, email office@jamberooanglican.com or even better go to www.jamberooanglican.net

‘Jesus is___’ prayer night

Special prayer night at the Shellharbour Civic Centre at 7pm on 13th March. Plan to join people from all the churches to pray for the mission events.

‘Jesus is___’ public meetings

Public meetings at the Shellharbour Civic Centre at both 11am and 7pm on 20th, 21st and 22nd of March 2018. Plan to attend, and plan to invite someone!

 

Giving update

Each week we need to receive $6300.00 in order to meet our commitments. In the last calendar month, our average weekly giving was $5549.00, leaving a gap of $751.00.

Olimometer 2.52

Up to the end of the last calendar month we needed to have received $136,500. Compared to that total we received $122,847, leaving a gap of $13,653.

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 .

Billy Graham

We give thanks to God for the life of Billy Graham who died this Wednesday.

Many of you will know the impact of his ministry personally. It was through his preaching that God called you back. If not you personally, then you have seen his impact on your friends, on your spouse, indeed on a generation in Australia.

I am of a generation that came after his great crusades in Australia. And yet for us to understand the Australian Christian landscape we need to understand what God did through Billy Graham.

In any Christian gathering I have ever been in where the question is asked ‘who was converted at a Crusade?’, there has always been many hands that have gone up. And this legacy has had a multiplying effect on Christianity in Australia.

I’m sure each member of my generation has had at least one significant mentor or preacher who was converted through Billy Graham. For me it was one of my university leaders. He was the one who encouraged me into ministry through his passion for reaching the lost. And it was Billy Graham who spoke the Gospel to him. It wouldn’t take long for each one of us to find these connections with his ministry.

The clarity in which he preached was astounding – the way he could explain so clearly the tenets of the Gospel and call people to repentance. I was listening to the radio once where the presenter had one of his talks running in the background. He would fade him in and out at random.

The amazing thing is that each and every sentence of Billy Graham was a self contained piece of brilliance, it felt like the most compelling thing about Jesus you could hear.

While his preaching is what we remember him for, it was his personal integrity and godliness that has safeguarded his ministry.

He resisted the temptations of money and power that came with his position, and while the media made it a sport to uncover the scandals of American evangelists, there was never a hint of that in his ministry. His life and his words were all motivated by God’s love:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Simon Chaplin.

What makes a disciple a disciple?

(CREDIT: airpix via flickr.com)

Becoming a disciple of Christ is more than just being a follower or imitator of Jesus.

As my Serve Team has been looking at the ‘Jesus Is’ studies, we saw in John chapter one the calling of two disciples, one of whom is Andrew. Andrew immediately follows Jesus (John 1:37).

But it is what happens next that has enlarged my picture of discipleship.

What is the first thing Andrew does after finding Jesus? We read from verse 41:

“He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:41-42)

A disciple is someone who makes other disciples.

This of course is abundantly clear in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew, where the disciples are told to go and make other disciples (Matthew 28:18)

But sometimes we might think of that as a special case, a certain extra task for these first disciples. After all, the instruction even gets its own name – the Great Commission.

But the Bible passage in John is right at the very start of the Gospel. It’s before any special instruction was given, and we find the exact same principal at work.

The instinctive response of someone who has found Jesus, and has become a disciple, should be that they will immediately find someone else to share Jesus with.

This is because of who Jesus is, the Messiah, the Son of God!

The rest of the book goes on to show how great this Son is, whom God sent to us that through him the world may be saved.

Once you meet him, this desire to make other disciples should be who we are as his disciples too.

Are you ready to share who Jesus Is with your friends, family, and others in your world?

Simon Chaplin.