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

Identifying our identity

One of the best ways to understand our Australian identity is to travel to another country.

During my recent trip to Canada, I discovered many ways in which Aussies differ.

Canadians love eating poutine (a fancy version of chips and gravy), but we love meat pies, and of course, Vegemite.

Canadians love ice hockey and curling, but Aussies follow rugby and AFL.

But beyond food and sport, there are other ways in which our identities different, even though we share so much with our Commonwealth cousins.

When it comes to our Christian identity, it’s sometimes difficult to see a difference between us and those in the world.

After all, we still battle with the same temptations that all humans face.

Yet, as those who have been given freedom by Jesus, we now have the Spirit of God in us, leading us to bear his fruit.

And that will lead us to show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23.)

This is our new identity, as we live the new life that God has given us.

And the result of this is a new community that enjoys this fruit through the special relationships that stand on the foundation of the love and mercy shown us in Christ.

Which means that the benefits of following Jesus don’t stop at our personal forgiveness and hope: they extend to the richness of life together, as we enjoy a taste of the perfect life in Heaven.

So, Christians, let’s pray that God would continue to bring forth in us the fruit of his Spirit.

And if you’re not yet a follower of Jesus, then there’s no better time to find forgiveness and hope in him, so that you might also feel the love of true community.


Can good come from evil?

Flower tributes to terror attack (CREDIT: Matt Brown via Flickr)

It’s hard to imagine the pain of the parents of those Australian girls killed in the attack in London, from the terrible silence when they no longer answered their phones till that final awful moment when the news is confirmed.

There was a father named Jacob who knew of this terrible moment when his children return home with a coat stained with blood belonging to one of their brothers. They told him the news that Joseph, their brother was dead.

However after 20 inconsolable years he discovers that this was a lie and that his son was alive.

As for Joseph the good news for him was that he wasn’t dead, but there were times over the next 20 years that he may have wished he was. He had been sold by his brothers into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into jail and without hope. And yet he trusts in God, and as the story unfolds he rises from a prisoner to a decorated governor leading Egypt though a terrible famine, securing an abundant food supply.

Reunited with his brothers he has this to say

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”

What does it mean that God can take evil and use it for good? It doesn’t mean that God simply re-labels something bad as good. It doesn’t mean that given enough time we can look back on a tragedy in a new light, as if all that is needed is time.

Evil remains evil.

But God’s goodness is so good that even through evil he can work. It’s terribly hard to see that in our experiences, and I can’t imagine the pain of a father losing a child. But God can because this is his story. What humanity meant as evil in the killing of his son, God planned for our good (Acts 2:23). 

The way through the evil in our lives, is not to minimise or redefine it away but to know the good which comes in Jesus – the good that came through evil to bring peace into our world and peace into our hearts.

Simon Chaplin

Mission to Fiji

After months and weeks of planning, preparation and nervous anticipation, this is my last week at church before I leave for Fiji. Earlier this week I received my needles, and whilst I really do not enjoy strangers stabbing me with medicine, I am so excited as I know this is one of the final things I need to do before I go! I leave in just a few days for my month long mission to Fiji, and everything is finally falling into place!

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your generosity, both in prayer and financial support. Your support has allowed me to successfully raise the money needed, and I am very excited for the mission to begin!

While I am overseas I will be travelling around the main Island of Fiji, serving the communities and preaching the gospel through word and song. In particular, we decided the focus of our mission will be on preaching from the gospel of Mark, chapters 4 to 6, and as we delved into these amazing passages, I was reminded again of the amazing power of God: that this is his mission, and that no obstacle is too great for the Lord of the Universe! I am so excited to see how I will grow whilst overseas, learning from the Fijian people and the Year 13 community.

If you wish to be updated about the mission whilst I am away, you are able to sign up for the Year 13 ‘Bula Blog’, where you can see the word being done, and the prayer points of our team whilst we are overseas. You can find this at:

So, thank you so so much for supporting me, and I ask that you would continue to pray for me in the next few days, and while I am away! Pray that the ministry would be fruitful, and that the children and adults would be able to grow in the knowledge and understanding of our great God.

Jemimah McNeill, Year 13 student

What’s our greatest blessing as Christians?

If I were asked that question my first answer would be this: justification by faith.

And in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation my answer would come all the more readily. But I’d be wrong.

I can still remember first reading Knowing God by the famous theologian J.I Packer where I discovered my mistake.

There he explains the greatest blessing we have as Christians is this: adoption as sons.

“Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers, even higher than justification. Justification is the primary blessing of the Gospel because it meets our primary spiritual need. We all stand condemned under God’s judgment. So we need forgiveness of sins and assurance of a restored relationship with God before we need anything else in the world.

But this is not to say that justification is the highest blessing of the Gospel. Adoption is higher, because of the closer relationship with God that it involves.

Justification is a forensic idea conceiving God as judge. Adoption is a family idea conceived in terms of love and viewing God as father. In adoption God takes us into his family and fellowship and establishes us as his children and heirs. 

To be right with God as judge is a great thing. But to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater.” (p187)

Packer immediately goes on to cite Galatians where justification leads to the greater blessing of adoption:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  Galatians 4:4-6.

And so next time you are thinking of what the greatest blessing we have as Christians is, remember that we are adopted as children of God and we are able to call him our Father.

Simon Chaplin

A budget response to disabilities

Scott Morrison’s budget has been praised (mostly by the more right wing) and rubbished (ditto left wing). One of the issues Mr Morrison has tried to address is paying for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Under this scheme Australians with a permanent and significant disability are to receive the financial support they need. The scheme was begun by the Gillard government in 2013, but we are now told it never had enough money set aside to fulfill its aims.

Should we all pay an increase in the Medicare levy so that the scheme can have sufficient money? Or should the higher income earners pay a higher percentage than others, or even contribute all of the funds needed?

Certainly I myself would be way out of my depth if I were to try to figure out a budget for all Australians. But Scripture teaches that the strong should take care of the weak.

In this debate it means that those who work for remuneration should see it as their responsibility to share with those who are limited in their income because of a disability.

In our sermon on Galatians 2:1-10 we saw that the Jerusalem apostles added nothing to Paul’s gospel, but they asked Paul to do one thing in addition to preaching this gospel …

all they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” vs 10.


Are our generations too divided?

It’s hard to imagine, but it’s only a relatively new concept to have a separate demographic called ‘youth.’

It started after the Industrial Revolution had driven young people from their rural villages to assemble in the urban factories.

No longer was the whole family living, working and worshipping together, as they had for thousands of years.

What’s more, the efficiency of the assembly line found its way into the church, with a series of different cradle-to-the-grave ministries that focus on age-specific groups.

This specialisation has many benefits, especially as a way of ensuring that children and youth are taught in a way that recognises that they learn and relate differently than adults do.

It has also been a good way to help reach people who are not yet part of the church, as our focused ministries to seniors, men, women, parents, singles, youth, and children, help ‘like attract like’ in our community.

Yet, maybe we will have a bigger impact on those inside and outside the church if we focus more on intergenerational ministry?

This is the message that Simon and I heard this week at Youthworks’ House Conference, where we heard visiting speaker Timothy Paul-Jones, Professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In his conference talk, he challenged us to keep developing a church culture, “in which segmentation and specialisation become exceptional instead of assumed,” and where these ministries and activities, “occur on particular occasions for clearly-defined purposes, but the typical pattern of ministry is multi-generational.”

For, he is convinced that “a generationally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse church will exemplify a more powerful witness, a more resilient faith, and a greater reliance on gifts that the Holy Spirit alone can give.”

Let’s keep working together to explore ways we can minister together across the ages, as we seek to build Christ’s church as we await his return.


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.


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 $6300.00 in order to meet our commitments. In the last calendar month, our average weekly giving was $5112.00, leaving a gap of $1188.00.

Olimometer 2.52

Up to the end of the last calendar month we needed to have received $163,800. Compared to that total we received $144,998, leaving a gap of $18,802.

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.


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.