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

An important reminder as school returns

Back to school (CREDIT: Paradox 56 via

Whether it’s the school shoe sales or the return of 40kmh school zones, nearly all of us notice when it’s ‘back to school’ time.

And as schooling comes to our mind we should remember that education is a privilege we should never take for granted.

Many parents around the world would only dream of offering their kids the kind of education that is provided free to every child in Australia

Education empowers people to have a toolkit for life, whether it’s learning to read, write, add up or just relate to others .

The God who made all humans thinks that there is something that must be the foundation of all our knowledge and wisdom.

For, as we read in the Bible in the book of Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).

So, a person can seem very knowledgeable and wise, yet if they don’t fear God, their very foundation of life is unstable.

This is why a comprehensive education will include the study of God as much as the study of all the other subjects.

For the children enrolled at Christian schools, the study of God is not only taught as a subject, but it should form the very heart of the syllabus.

Yet, due to the provision of Scripture (SRE) classes, children in our state schools can also be taught from the Bible about the God who made them and loves them and sent his son to die for them.

This means that even secular schools can offer parents and carers the choice to have their children taught the true foundation of education and life.

As we begin another year, pray that the Bible will be taught in a clear and compelling way to children in all kinds of schools, so that our kids will have a sure foundation for learning and for life.

The lesson our leaders must learn

Mike Baird and Barack Obama (CREDITS: Kate Ausburn, Whitehouse via Flickr)

At this moment in time we are witnessing a change in the leadership of the Premier of NSW and the President of the USA.

Both offices are positions of power, and both roles provide a powerful influence.

This makes it a good time to reflect on what Jesus thinks about leaders and leadership.

When one of his disciples tried to climb up the leadership ladder to grasp authority, Jesus said:

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

This ‘servant leadership’ runs against the grain of the world, which encourages people to climb the ladder of power, even if it means treading on other people’s fingers.

Yet, in his most famous sermon, Jesus made it clear that this is not the way things should be.

Instead, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

Those who will inherit God’s blessing will be the ones who recognise that Jesus is king, and who follow Jesus’ leadership in serving others, as meek people, not as arrogant.

This is a very difficult thing to do in public office, and this is even more reason why we should be active in praying that our leaders recognise that the ultimate leader showed meekness and majesty as he willingly died for those he came to save.

After all, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Is Jesus Un-Australian?

Australia Grunge Flag

One of the core values of Australia is the right to a ‘fair go.’ When someone doesn’t get what they deserve, it often causes our blood to boil.

When one kid gets more lollies than another, then we hear the cry, “it’s just not fair!” And when one employee gets paid more than another person who does exactly the same job.

But imagine if everybody got paid the same, whether or not they worked a one-hour day, or an eight-hour day. How could that be fair?

Jesus tells the story of a landowner who hired workers for his field, and agreed to give them a set fee.

Later in the day, he recruited some more workers, and at the end of the day, he paid them the same amount, even though they’d worked far less than the others.

The workers who started in the morning were angry because they felt it wasn’t fair. They grumbled against the landowner and said, ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ (Matthew 20:12)

But Jesus said ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’  “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:13-16)

Jesus has chosen to give the full gift of eternal life to all who trust in him, whether that person followed Jesus from childhood or came to trust in him on their deathbed.

And given that none of us deserve any mercy, we should all be eternally grateful for the forgiveness God gives us when we trust in Jesus as our loving ruler and saviour.

Wise Men Indeed!

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? (Matt 2:1-2a)

Oh! We heard about that two weeks ago – it’s all part of the Christmas story, isn’t it? Well, actually, no, although it often gets confused with it. Those Christmas card pictures of Jesus in a manger with shepherds and wise men gathered around are a bit of poetic licence. In the gospels, Luke tells us all about the birth of Jesus, with stable, shepherds and angels and Matthew tells us only that Jesus was born and then writes of the Magi

The Magi probably came a year or more after Jesus’ birth, when he was described as a ‘child’ living in a ‘house’ (Matt 2:11). The Christmas card, with everyone gathered around the baby, obscures the point. Jesus’ birth is revealed to those who are not Jews! Gentiles – despised by most Jews! And whilst many Jews failed to recognise their Messiah, Gentiles worshipped him! 

Although God promised Abraham that “all the families on earth will be blessed through you”, Jews still thought of themselves as the only ones who could receive God’s blessing.

The earliest Christians were mostly Jews but, as more Gentiles became believers, Christian Jews struggled to know how to relate to them. Matthew probably wrote his gospel for these Jewish Christians and gives the Magi – the first Gentiles to acknowledge the Christ – a prominent place in his account. And from the fourth century, Christians have acknowledged God’s revelation to them by celebrating the feast of “Epiphany” on 6th January – last Friday.

Most of us are Gentiles who can be ever thankful that God sent his Son to bring us into a relationship with himself. To him be all glory and praise!

Trevor Lucas

Recognising the New Year

In Old Testament days the new year was recognised by a trumpet blast and a day of rest (modelled on Lev 23:23-25). Originally Ram’s horns were used, probably in time they were replaced by silver trumpets. The trumpet blast was a ‘memorial’ — a reminder of God’s goodness & faithfulness for the year past, also for the year to come. A holy assembly was called (a renewal of covenant obligations to God).

Of course, the modern way of ushering the new year is through parties and fireworks.

But the trumpet blast of Old Testament days has it counterpart in the trumpet call of New Testament days – but this trumpet announces the coming of the Lord, not for a new year, but for the beginning of a new age (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

And so a good new year’s resolution is to be ready for him. Christians now listen for the trumpet call which will announce the end of the age when the Messiah will come to judge the word and establish his reign.

And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame …… Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1 John 2:28 and 3:2-3.

Graham Errington

Truth overcomes in a post-truth world

The Oxford English Dictionary has named ‘post-truth’ the international word of the year.

This is not surprising given that the Brexit vote and US election were enmeshed in what is being called post-truth politics.

Let’s face it – there is so much ‘post-truth’ around.

The rise of social media has been fuelled by people who claim to write the truth – yet there are so many lies and untruths in social media.

In the Bible, God is called the God of truth. The apostle John describes Jesus as ‘the Word become flesh’ who came to earth and lived among us. He said, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

From politics to personal life, what more do we want for Christmas than people who will tell us the truth?

There is much in our world which is post-truth – but remember at Christmas time we celebrate the truth of Jesus – the God of truth, who declares ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’.

Happy Christmas!

Dr Glenn N Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney

That’s Retailtainment

If you’ve ever chosen to ‘go to the shops’ in order to occupy your time, then you will have experienced some ‘retailtainment.’

George Ritzer defines this as the “use of ambience, emotion, sound and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in a mood to buy.”

Retail has been mashed up with entertainment, and now it’s hard to separate the two activities.

In our hunger for more retailtainment, our shops are open for longer hours, which means that it’s harder than ever to synchronise the leisure time for our families and friends.

Yet, this has been a reality for many people involved in the ‘shift work’ that keeps our country running.

Whether it’s enforcing the law, nursing patients, or baking bread, many people work when the rest of us are sleeping.

This makes going to church as a family even harder.

The good news is that God never sleeps, and we can meet with him any time of the day.

That’s why it’s great to get into a rhythm of daily Bible reading and prayer, even if it’s just a short verse and a quick prayer.

Taking advantage of technological advancements like livestreaming church (like means those who work unusual hours can also still maintain some normality, even when they’re at work on weekends.

Yet, there’s no substitute for face-to-face ministry to each other, which is why it’s good for all of us to meet up one-to-one or in small groups to pray and read the Bible with each other.

But no matter if or when you work, let’s find our satisfaction in the joy of knowing God, rather than worshipping at the altar of retail.

“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.” (Daniel 6:26b)

Great growth through Year 13

Life changing. Boldness. Deep joy.

These are some of the concluding words that come into mind about my journey with Year 13.

This year has been the best year of my life. Who would have thought that in only nine months, I would have grown so much.

I am so thankful to God for his growth in me through Year 13: theological growth, relational growth of life-long friendships and personal growth of my own faith. He is so good.

It has been a real joy to serve in our Oak Flats and Jamberoo church family.

Watching my high school Scripture kids explore Christianity, asking deep questions and regularly attending youth group has been a real encouragement.

I have also loved mentoring my youth girls and delving into controversial topics such as same-sex attraction, dating and abortion.

Thank you for the ongoing support you have shown financially and in prayer, and your partnership in our weekly ministries.

Our mission to Fiji brought deep growth. Witnessing the local people’s contentment and unwavering trust in Jesus exposed my own selfishness and need to live for him at the cost of popularity, money and comfort.

However, my greatest highlight has been my growth in boldness and theological knowledge. 

Being equipped to defend the gospel through our apologetics studies, it has given me more confidence to answer my workmates’ questions about the Bible.

As I graduated three weeks ago, I felt both joy and grief, yet I am excited for God’s plans in the future.

Please pray that I will speak boldly about Jesus at university next year, seeking to evangelise at every opportunity.

Also, that for all graduates, that God would remain at the centre of our lives.

Ultimately, may all glory be to Christ!

Are you scared of death?


Last resting place.

It is quite unnerving to see a grown-man sobbing uncontrollably.

This is what I saw as I went to visit a gentleman in hospital who had been told that he had only days to live. He was in constant tears because he was scared about what would happen to him when he died.

Facing death without any assurance in salvation is dangerous and terrifying.

And yet so many people are in this very situation, numb to the reality of their coming judgement by Jesus as they will meet him at their death.

When I met with this man in hospital, I asked him if he believed that Jesus was the Lord of the universe, and if he had asked Jesus to forgive him. The man nodded his head and said, “yes.”

But he was crying because he didn’t think that believing this was enough to gain salvation from Jesus.

I then turned to one of my favourite parts of the Bible, where the two criminals being crucified with Jesus were in conversation with him, in Luke 23.

One of the criminals rejected Jesus, but the other simply asked Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus’ response was “truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

There was nothing that the criminal who followed Jesus could do except tell Jesus that he trusted in him as his Lord, and to simply surrender himself to Jesus’ rule.

And it brought an immediate and significant result: forgiveness, forever.

And with this, I told my friend on his deathbed that if he also had said these things to Jesus, then the assurance Jesus gave to that criminal was already his to enjoy.

And then the man stopped crying, and he never sobbed again. He enjoyed certainty for eternity.

What about you? Are you scared of dying? Why don’t you come to Jesus right now and enjoy true peace and comfort?

Should you be worried about things?

One of the outcomes of industrialisation and globalisation is that we tend to be sheltered from the impact of success and failure on the land.

Whether it’s a time of peak or trough, we don’t feel the full impact of the success and failure of our primary industries, because we buy most things through supermarkets with global supply chains.

Yet when we lived off the produce of the land on which we lived, we sharply felt the impact of times of abundance and of scarcity.

And this intimate connection with the land meant that we were forced to connect with nature, and behind nature, to God himself.

We were reminded of this in Elihu’s final speech to Job when he pointed to the powerful impact of the weather upon those who work the land.

For, through displays of extreme weather, God “stops all people from their labour”, “so that everyone he has made may know his work.” (Job 37:7)

Yet, even through drought and flooding rain, we know that God sustains the land. For as we read in Psalm 145:

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. (Psalm 145:14-15)

The Lord provides! He is reliable and he delivers as he’s promised.

So, whether we get our produce from the land or from the supermarket, we can be sure that God will provide our needs. For as Jesus said:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27)