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

Are you hungry for the Bible?


Do you hunger for God’s word like a big plate of bacon and eggs?

It might seem strange to compare the Bible to our breakfast, but this is how Job spoke of his hunger for God’s word:

I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. (Job 23:12b)

Can you say the same thing?

During the question time and my talk last week I spoke of how I try to read a bit of the Bible every day.

It’s not a ritual that I’ve kept every day of my Christian life, and in fact there have been many, long breaks from this daily habit.

Yet, every day is a new day, and I’m thankful to God that I’ve been able to be pretty regular in this routine this year… and I’m loving it!

I’m using an app on my iPhone called ‘YouVersion’ (also known as ‘Bible’). It enables me to select a daily Bible reading plan, and it helps remind me to read the next bit, each day, which I can read right on that app.

If you’ve never started a regular routine, then why not start tomorrow morning? Just read a few verses, and see how you go. It might turn into a habit really quickly.

Now, the reason I try and read the Bible each day is that it’s great to keep filling my heart and mind with the things of God, especially due to the barrage of information around me that keeps pushing God aside.

It’s a great joy to know God more and more, and to know who it is who loves me so much that he’d send his son to die for me.

And it’s a great way to prime my mind to pray to God, since it helps me know how God thinks and what he thinks of me.

So, what are you waiting for?

Showing love in the marriage debate


This week at the Synod meeting of the Sydney Anglican Church there was a lengthy discussion about the present debate on the redefinition of marriage.

During this discussion, we thanked the Archbishop’s Plebiscite Task Force for the work they had done in preparing a booklet to help educate people about the issue.

Whilst this booklet is still in draft format for review, it was reported on by the media, and its contents were quoted and discussed.

I am looking forward to distributing the final version of this booklet to you in the next few months.

But as a taste, here is a helpful section that tells us why that we are acting as good neighbours when we share the good and warn of the bad:

God’s plan for marriage brings positive things for children and society. Even for people who don’t believe marriage is a gift from God, the vast majority of Australians know that marriage brings good.

It’s not surprising that, if we abandon God’s good plan for marriage and define it another way, there will be consequences. And many of them may be negative. Christians have been way too silent on this. We can’t be good neighbours and stay silent on the damage that can be done if we change the meaning of marriage.

Because we’ve been largely silent until now, most Australians are simply unaware of the consequences of redefining marriage – the consequences for families and children, the consequences of removing gender difference from our societal structure and the consequences for freedom of speech.

Let’s look at those consequences and how we can talk about them with our neighbours – whether they’re believing people or not.

Let’s pray that this important discussion can be carried out with respect and love.

Let’s also pray that this discussion will glorify God and lead us to many gospel conversations.

Should you be a gospel worker?

Recruiting the next generation of gospel workers at this year's MTS Mission Minded Conference

Recruiting the next generation of gospel workers at this year’s MTS Mission Minded Conference

I’ve always found it hard to describe my job.

You’d think it would be easy enough to just say that I’m an ‘Anglican Minister’.

But the problem is that this creates the impression that only paid and ordained people ‘do’ the ministry in the church.

Yet, when we look in the Bible at Ephesians chapter 4, we see that all of Jesus’ people are servants (ministers) who work to build Christ’s church:

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…

So, if you’re a follower of Jesus, then you’re a minister!

There are so many ways to minister: you can do the Bible reading during a church service, or set up the chairs, or do a talk in the kids’ ministry, or provide morning tea to our seniors.

After all, we’re all in the ministry!

But as we also saw in Ephesians, God uses some particular ministers to speak the gospel in order to equip all Christians for ministry.

And that’s why we still need some specific leaders in the church… and some of them will do it as their ‘job.’

So what do we call this kind of work?

At last weekend’s ‘MTS Mission Minded’ conference, I became convinced that the best description is ‘gospel work.’

So, for people who have their ‘job’ as a ‘worker’ who speaks the gospel to believers and unbelievers, this describes the heart of the task.

Should you be considering gospel work?

PS – I’m still looking for an apprentice gospel worker to train in our church as an MTS Apprentice… let me know if you’re interested…!

Why God thinks cops are tops

Police Remembrance

On this National Police Remembrance Day, it’s worth knowing that God thinks that cops are tops.

In the book of Romans, chapter 13 verse 1, we read that everyone should “be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” 

God has given authority to the New South Wales Police Force, which means that when they carry out their duties, they are doing his work in his world.

Whether it’s cancelling a drunk driver’s licence, or protecting a vulnerable person from abuse, our police force are doing God’s work in his world.

Indeed, the next verse in the Bible shows just how much authority they have from God in their job.

The Bible says, “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

But as this verse reminds us, we live in a world that does not willingly accept authority, and so we should expect people to rebel against the authority that God has given the police.

And this comes from the fact that all humans are rebels against God, by nature.

But praise God that Jesus has sacrificed his life, taking the punishment we deserve, and giving us the forgiveness we don’t deserve.

And to take advantage of this, all a person needs to do is to say sorry for rebelling, and rely on God as loving ruler.

This is the greatest act of sacrifice, and also a great model for those who risk life and limb to protect and to serve.

And this day we honour the members of our police force, along with their family and friends, who together are involved in carrying out God’s authority in this world that he has created.

Making the most of our milestones


Jemimah’s first and last day of school

Throughout life we experience a range of milestones.

These are events that show the significant progress we have made along the path of life, and they give us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Milestones come in many shapes and forms, and sometimes they are the ‘firsts’.

So, there is the milestone of our first step, or our first tooth, or the first day of school, or the first day in the workforce, or the first day of marriage, or the first day of retirement.

Some milestones are the ‘lasts’.

It might be the last day in nappies, or the last day of an apprenticeship or degree, or the last day in the workforce.

This week my daughter Jemimah experienced her last day of school, and along with thousands of others, she has been able to stop and reflect on this milestone.

On Monday she was given the opportunity to address all of the students and teachers in her school at the final chapel service, and in this talk she made the most of this milestone.

She encouraged them all to make sure they were ready for the biggest thing that they should ever need to worry about: the return of Jesus.

After all, life is short, and nobody knows just how much longer they will be alive to make the choice to repent and rely on Jesus as our loving ruler.

You may be a long way away from your next milestone, but as you watch others experience their ‘firsts’ and ‘lasts’ it is a good opportunity for each of us to reflect about our life’s journey.

Are you ready for the return of Jesus? 

The death of death

We know that Jesus has dealt with death, and yet we still have loved ones who grieve at the passing away of family and friends.

This is painful for us today, but for the first Christians, it was also confusing.

They had seen Jesus’ power over death when he raised Lazarus to life, and his empty tomb was evidence that he’d cured death by his own resurrection.

So what was happening to the believers in Jesus who were still experiencing death?

In 1 Thessalonians, we read words of wisdom and comfort for those who were confused and saddened by death.

The words were written so that they would not be “uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)

And it turns out that whilst death is conquered, there is still a final chapter to be played out in the future:

According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

Death has been conquered by Jesus, but we still await the final day when the present age will come to a close and when eternity will begin and never end.

This is a great source of encouragement, and something we must continue to remind each other. Do not give up hope, but keep waiting!

There’s a problem with ‘RUOK?’

‘RUOK?’ is a brilliant idea to open up communication and give people permission to be honest with others about how they’re not coping at all with life.

It tries to get deep-down below the cool, calm exterior that many people can portray, even when they’re dying inside. It tries to throw a lifeline to a person who feels like they’re drowning, even though they look like they’re waving.

But the problem with ‘RUOK?’ is that it’s usually limited to how people are coping in this life, not in the next. 

It focuses on how people are surviving on Earth, and not whether they are prepared to meet Jesus, their maker and judge.

But if we don’t think about the life that is to come, then we’ll help people survive their days on Earth, but we won’t prepare them for the after-life of Heaven or Hell.

So, keep asking people ‘RUOK?’, but maybe you should also ask “RUOK with Jesus?”, as we should also ask ourselves.

For as Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew chapter 16 verse 26)

If you’re struggling with mental health issues then please tell others that you’re not OK, and let them help you to return to health.

But regardless of your mental health, take this moment to consider “RUOK with Jesus?” for he says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew chapter 11 verses 28 to 30)

Introducing the Chaplins!

Chaplins September 2016I am delighted to announce that Simon Chaplin has accepted my invitation to join our church as our new Assistant Minister at Oak Flats Anglican!

Simon is married to Amy, and they have three children: Liam (aged 8), Lily (aged 3), and Annabel (6 weeks). They will move into Oak Flats in the week before Christmas, and will begin with us two weeks after Christmas.

Simon has been serving at St Mark’s Malabar Anglican Church for nearly ten years, initially as a student minister, and then after that as the full-time assistant minister. During this time he’s done everything from youth and children’s ministry, occasional services, and ministry training, through to regular preaching.

After completing a science degree, Simon worked as an industrial chemist before doing a two-year MTS Ministry Training Apprenticeship at the University of New South Wales, prior to heading to Moore College for his four-year theology degree.

I first met Simon when he was a kid in the youth group I led in the 1990’s, and I hadn’t really caught up with him until the recent commissioning service of our CMS missionaries Adrian and Anita Lovell, who also happen to be their close friends.

Please pray for Simon, Amy, Liam, Lily and Annabel as they prepare for many farewells and changes in the coming months.

Particularly pray that as they move to our neighbourhood that they will have many opportunities to help us grow in our knowledge and love of God, and that Simon will help equip us for ministry with each other in our church and in our region.

It’s OK to talk about suicide

Even though suicide is the biggest, single cause of death amongst men under 45, it’s still a topic we don’t like to discuss.

What’s more, many men who have contemplated suicide felt they couldn’t talk about their feelings.

The Bible doesn’t speak a great deal about suicide, although it does say that it is wrong to murder anyone, and that includes a person taking their own life.

Yet, whilst homicide or suicide are acts that disobey God, they are not acts that are beyond forgiveness.

After all, God accepts anyone who repents and believes in Jesus as Lord.

Yet, when a person takes their own life, they show that they have found it too hard to trust in God’s sovereignty.

In other words, they think that their life is in too much of a mess for even God to fix.

Sometimes this is made worse when people are affected by a form of mental illness, or if the person has committed some sins that seem too great to be forgiven by God or others.

Yet, even though our deepest trials, we should remember that God is in control of everything, and that even our personal trials exist so that we might grow in character and godliness.

As we read in the opening chapter of the letter of James:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James chapter 1, verses 2 to 4)

No matter what your personal trial might be, it’s OK to talk about it.

Talk to God, talk to a friend, talk to a counsellor, talk to Lifeline on 131114… but don’t keep it to yourself.


The joy of life together



As I prepare to return to Canada after seven months as your Youth Ministry Intern, I recall one of my favourite parts of Scripture:

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:15-17

These verses simply and profoundly tell the Church how we are to be with one another.

As I read these words and reflect on my time with Oak Flats and Jamberoo Anglican Churches, I see this passage being lived out.

It is beyond encouraging to walk into church on a weekend and be greeted by a room full of people who clearly love the good Lord and his church deeply, are at peace with one another, and take such joy in worshipping God communally. 

In caring so deeply for the church family, even times of trials and admonishment seem to come and go with joy (James 1:2-3) and thankfulness in our churches, which further reflects the integrity of God being so clearly at the centre of everything.

Many churches do not reflect Colossians 3 as well as your two parishes do. Your witness as church congregations is profound.

I hope you are encouraged by this and continue to build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11) as the body of Christ, for I have been so encouraged by you. I will thank God for you always.

Blessings, Rayne Loehndorf