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

Seeking a new Assistant Minister

Our partner church at Oak Flats Anglican is looking for a new Assistant Minister to join our churches to help equip us for ministry.

For as we see from Ephesians chapter 4, we know that Jesus has given speakers of God’s word to the church, so that every Christian will be equipped for ministry to everyone, so that the church will be built, and that we all reach true unity in our knowledge and life, in mutual maturity.

So, we’re looking for a man who is passionate about using God’s word to train everyday Christians to love, lead and learn together.

He’s going to be joining us at Jamberoo to preach occasionally, and he will also be helping the church at Oak Flats by providing a special focus on growing small groups, on helping newcomers feel at home, and on seeking to help reach the parents and carers who send their kids and youth to the midweek groups.

Plus, as he works with Jodie and Graham in the ministry he will generally assist our two churches in training and supporting us all as together we seek to grow.

Please pray that we get the best person possible, and that God continues to provide the necessary resources to support this ministry.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the ministry of our churches, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for the years ahead of ministry, together.

Jodie.

Reviewing ‘Failure’

failure-success

It would be easy for many to view my time at Oak Flats and Jamberoo Anglican Churches ultimately as a failure. As an energetic and enthusiastic College grad hopes were high that God would do great things. In less than two years those hopes came crashing down due to anxiety and depression that led to hospitalisation and 9 months of ‘stress leave’.

However in the midst of these incredibly hard 9 months, I can’t help but reflect on God’s goodness and my own ability to reassess ‘success’. In my time at Oak Flats and Jamberoo I have seen the way in which God has worked, in spite of my weakness, to make himself known. There is a reason Paul says, ‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Cor 12:9) 

It has been exciting to see people grow in relationship with Jesus through the teaching I have been a part of. It has been particularly amazing to see people come to know and put their trust in Christ for the very first time! It has also been great to see the development of ministry to youth in our churches and I am really thankful for the role I have been able to have in that regard.

It is sad for us as we say goodbye. We will miss the fellowship we have had with you all. My hope and prayer is that you continue to fix your eyes upon Jesus, trusting in him, through your own ‘failures’.

Adam

Living with Gratitude

Gratitude

Do you ever notice how much negativity is in the world today? These attitudes can seem warranted as looking on the bright side is difficult when we live in a world full of war, racism, persecution, and godlessness of all kinds.

Looking around it is clear that the world is unhappy and dissatisfied.  People are searching for happiness and satisfaction and so many are looking in the wrong places. This will always happen as unspiritual people cannot understand the spiritual (1 Cor 2:12-16) and much of our world does not understand the offer of salvation through Christ.

As Christians, living a life of gratitude and satisfaction in Jesus Christ will make us different. Scripture tells us that God is in control and we, as his people, need to be content in all situations as we rest in his strength and sovereignty (Phil 4:10-13). This means that as a body we have to “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts…and be thankful” (Col 3:15).

Are you living with gratitude? 

It is easy to be tempted to live with negativity and dissatisfaction but Christians are called to be different from the world and be grateful. So practice gratitude. Thank God for the abundant blessings he gives to you and the church. Be grateful when the world is in chaos. Be grateful for the things in life that challenge you.

And most of all, be grateful that God is in control. 

Rayne Loehndorf – Youth Intern

Promises and Lies

Promise

As of this day of writing, the undetermined/undecided election took many by surprise. It is now clear that very many Australians do not trust their political leaders. Many suspect hidden agendas. We don’t appear believe in either the promises or the denials.

How much different is Christian Faith! God is the God who never lies. Titus 1:2 makes the point that God promised eternal life before the beginning of time, and has brought the promise to reality through the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection. God never lies.

None of God’s promises fail. In the Old Testament, Joshua reminded Israel that as they now stood within the promised land, that not one of God’s promises (which must have seemed outlandish at first sight) had failed, all had in fact been accomplished

In Christ we have the fulfilment of the ages. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul contrasts the poor examples of many Old Testament believers with the privileged position of New Testament believers.

We live in the “culmination of the ages” (1 Corinthians 10:11), because Jesus has lived, died, risen and ascended. And he has promised to return.

Do you live the promises of God?

Graham Errington

Welcome to the new-look Anglicare!

new-anglicarelogoTwo months ago it was announced that Anglicare Sydney and Anglican Retirement Villages would become one, new, combined organisation.

This officially began this week, and the new organisation has decided to use the name ‘Anglicare’.

After lots of research, the organisation realised that the name ‘Anglicare’ has such widespread and positive recognition that this new name would be the best vehicle for promoting the ministry of the new, merged organisation.

The new logo was also unveiled this week, and it shows heritage, stability and growth as it combines the three aspects of Anglicare’s ministry: Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care; Home Care; and Community Services.

The new organisation will continue to provide for all of the current clients and residents, and the combined resources of the two, merged ministries will help grow its scale and capacity so that more, great ministry can roll out to the people in the Diocese of Sydney and beyond.

Let’s keep praying for Anglicare, especially for the 3,800 full and part-time staff as well as 2,900 volunteers who serve regularly.

Keep praying also for the 2,500 people in Anglicare Retirement Living Villages, the 2,180 people in Residential Aged Care Facilities, the 1,500 people who receive Home Care services, the 6,000 people who benefit from Commonwealth Home Support Programs, as well as the 20 day and respite centres.

Let’s pray also for this time of significant change as the two organisations combine, especially as this will inevitably affect many of the staff within the organisation.

Pray that Anglicare grows in its impact so that the gospel message of ‘Jesus is Lord’ will spread widely to all who receive the care from this organisation.

Be informed when you vote

Vote1On Saturday week, Australia goes to the polls.

Christians will come to different conclusions about how they should vote.

We attach different levels of importance to various issues.

One may feel that economic management is extremely important.

Another may prioritise the plight of refugees or climate change policy.

However there is one issue, unique to this election, which is very important from a biblical point of view.

This election may decide whether or not the definition of marriage will be changed to include same sex marriage.

This is a very significant departure from the Bible’s teaching, which will have profound long-term consequences for the fabric of our society as a whole, because it undermines the place of marriage and the family as the basic societal unit.

It is likely that legislation to implement same sex marriage will not contain sufficient protections for those who continue to believe and teach that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

As a result, our ability to exercise biblical, gospel ministry through our schools, caring organisations and even our local churches could be severely constrained.

It is important for Christians to know the position of the major political parties on this issue.

According to the ABC, the Coalition will “hold a plebiscite… at some point after the election”, Labor will “introduce a bill to Parliament within 100 days”, and the Greens will “legislate through Parliament immediately.”

This is not the only issue we should consider when deciding how to vote.

There are other issues that are also very significant.

But it is essential that we don’t underestimate the importance of this election for this particular issue. 

I invite you to prayerfully consider this when you come to vote on July 2.

Bishop Michael Stead, Chair of the Archbishop’s Plebiscite Task Force

Hope from the horror of Orlando

orlando-pulse-massacreThe shooting at Orlando reminds us of the evil of humanity and the fragility of human life.

It is a bitter tragedy to see 49 people shot dead and 53 others seriously injured from a civilian mass shooting with military-style weapons.

It is also very sad to see the LGBTQI community targeted by a man who claimed to be influenced by Islam.

Yet in the midst of the tragedy and the sadness there is hope.

People have gathered across the planet to pray for the victims and their loved-ones, regardless of whether they agree with the values and beliefs of those who were targeted in the attack.

It shows the best side of humanity as together we demonstrate love for individuals, even as people disagree about matters close to our heart.

It is good and right for us to be engaged in debate about things like the definition of marriage, but even as we disagree, we must do so in love.

Let us keep praying for peace in our world, especially as we witness the sin and hatred that is sadly part of broken humanity.

Let us pray for the leaders of our world, as they seek to work together to deal with extremist violence and the weapons that can cause such harm.

Let us pray for those who are injured, for those who are grieving, and for the communities shaken by this senseless violence.

And let us pray in this tragedy that people might “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” and “know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19)

All other ground is sinking sand

Erosion along Sydney beaches (CREDIT: David Morgan-Mar via Flickr)

Erosion along Sydney beaches (CREDIT: David Morgan-Mar via Flickr)

This week we’ve seen the powerful forces of wind and rain.

Whether it’s been the flooding of buildings around Picton, or the erosion of the beach at Collaroy, we’ve witnessed just how easily our homes can be damaged or destroyed by ‘natural’ forces.

As we saw these pictures in the media, many of us might have recalled the story Jesus told about two men who built homes on very different foundations:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew chapter 7 verses 24 to 27)

Jesus was speaking about the need to hear his words and put them into practice.

For if we don’t build our life on the solid foundation of Jesus, then we’ll be investing everything on something that is only a big storm away from being destroyed.

Let’s pray for those who have been affected by the storms that have lashed the East Coast over the past week, and ask God to help them rebuild their lives.

But more than that, let’s pray that this graphic illustration reminds everyone of the need to stand upon the solid ground of Jesus’ word, since all other ground is sinking sand.

God’s word is really powerful

(CREDIT: Matthew Keefe via Flickr)

(CREDIT: Matthew Keefe via Flickr)

We don’t really appreciate power until we lose it.

Some of us have felt the powerlessness in retirement, where one day we’ve got power over people and processes, and then the next day, this power is given over to someone younger.

Some of us have felt the powerlessness during poor health, where one day we’re running around a field, or carrying bags of groceries, or just tying your shoelaces, and then the next day we’re confined to crutches, or bedrest, or told about the medical condition that will now define our future.

Some of us have experienced powerlessness through abuse, where one day we’re young and free, able to make choices about life and actions, and then the next day your spouse takes away your power to contact friends, or spend money, or make simple choices.

So, we cry out to God to ask him to fix this world that suffers so much from the powerlessness of loss and sickness and abuse, and as we pray, God shows us the very thing that has the power to change everything.

It’s the power that is summed up in the simple phrase, “Jesus is Lord”, and it’s the power that transforms lives in this life, and in the life that is to come.

Romans chapter 1 verse 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

For, as people hear the gospel of Jesus, and believe in him as Lord and Saviour, then hope comes from the power of the gospel to bring true forgiveness and genuine reconciliation.

This side of Heaven we won’t enjoy the full peace that we await, but we will have real hope in the real Jesus as we await his return or our going to be with him.

Saying ‘sorry’ is just the first step

sorry in the sky

Sorry Day over Sydney Harbour (CREDIT: Butuba via flickr.com)

Thursday was National Sorry Day in Australia, a day to recognise all the damage done to Indigenous peoples of Australia since the arrival of the British in 1788.

I’ve witnessed people roll their eyes at this stuff before, and not only scoff but even protest against the welfare policies provided to Indigenous peoples today that give them assistance in housing and education, as if it’s somehow unfair.

They probably didn’t realise at the time that I am Indigenous myself.

Massacres of Indigenous peoples were still occurring well into the 20’s and 30’s of last century, often tacitly approved by–if not involving–law enforcement.

After being legally considered flora and fauna for over 100 years, they were only recognised as citizens in 1967.

Tens of thousands of children with mixed Indigenous/non-Indigenous descent were stolen from their families for ‘assimilation’, to absorb them into ‘white’ people while the rest were assumed to die out–and this was occurring until the 1970s, the decade before I was born.

This was not to be officially recognised by the Australian Government until the 1990’s, allowing for consequences to spiral further for another generation.

We are not talking about ancient history: we are talking about hundreds of people groups on this continent who have lost not only their land but their languages, culture, families, identity, and, for ninety percent of them, their lives.

This doesn’t just resolve the moment that the destruction stops, for there needs to be proactive help and reconciliation.

There are generations of Indigenous people today who have been severely disadvantaged from birth because their parents were severely disadvantaged and suffered greatly, and the problem has amplified.

Government assistance with things like housing and education is not only reasonable, but a minimum.

We are still a long way from an equal playing field. 

John Hanlen (one of the members of last week’s Moore College team, who spoke at our church last Saturday night).