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

A Kyck for Christ at Katoomba

Last weekend, 30 youth and leaders from Jamberoo Anglican headed up to the Blue Mountains to attend KYCK, a conference for high schoolers.

From Friday night until Sunday lunchtime, we gathered together with over 2000 other young Christians.

We ‘enjoyed’ the famous Blue Mountains cold and rain for the purpose of meeting together with youth from churches around the state, sitting under God’s word together and singing praises to him.

Over the 6 sessions of the weekend, we looked at the book of Philippians, and particularly thought about the theme of ‘Joy’.

We were encouraged by Paul’s words and example of joy, writing about being confident in the supremacy and love of Christ, even as he penned those words from a prison cell.

Philippians 3:6-7 reads ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

Joy according to Philippians looks like having confidence in Christ, and being ‘stoked on Jesus despite circumstances.’

For a Christian, we can always have joy in Christ whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Joy exists alongside day-to-day emotions like happiness or sadness.

Paul’s situation in a Roman prison was hardly a happy experience, but he was so joyful in Christ.

Paul knew his eternity was secure with Christ, so he could remain full of joy.

Nearly 2000 years later, that truth remains the same for us.

If we have a relationship with Jesus, Romans 8:31-39 reminds us that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of Christ.

My prayer for us is that we keep leaning into our relationship with Jesus, and keep discovering the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

That’s something to be joyful about.


Relentless Reminders

Have you ever come to church only to hear something you already knew? Do you often sit down at bible study or church and think to yourself “yep, I already know all this stuff”.

Are we doing something wrong? Should we spend less time reminding people of things they already know?

Well the Apostle Peter doesn’t have a problem saying the same things over and over, 2 Peter 1:12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.

What are ‘these things’ that Peter reminds them of? Maybe they are complicated issues of the faith that believers sometimes forget about?

He reminds believers that they should respond to God’s promises with godly living. 

More specifically, he gives them a list of qualities they should pursue; moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love (1:5-7)

These Christians are standing firm in the truth, so why does Peter need to remind them so often?

Did they completely forget to live godly lives just as we will forget a password, birthday or anniversary?

I don’t think so. Peter knows they didn’t intellectually forget but that they may practically forget.

Peter doesn’t just want believers to intellectually accept the truth, he wants them to live it out!

You are going to be reminded of things you already ‘know’ because the things in our heads don’t always carry across to our hands.

Which of those qualities do you know you should live out… but don’t?

Take heart friends, for “by his divine power God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (1:3). 

We can change because God lives in us!

Take every reminder from God as a blessing and keep pushing into godliness so “God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 11).


Facing the Future

How confident are you about the future?

There are so many unknowns right now, aren’t there?

At a time of escalating war in Europe, and an ongoing global pandemic, it’s harder and harder to make plans about anything.

Sometimes it’s hard to be confident in the future when there’s so much uncertainty, but there’s actually something in which we can have total confidence.

We can have total confidence in our eternal future, if we personally follow Jesus.

The Bible tells us that if we personally follow Jesus, then we can be totally confident about Judgement Day.

In Romans 8 we read that, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (verse 31 and 32)

We can have certainty for eternity because God gave up his Son Jesus for us.

But what’s more, we are spiritually bulletproof if we follow Jesus, verse 33:

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

That means that on Judgement Day there will be no condemnation for those who personally follow Jesus.

Furthermore, because Jesus rose from the dead, it means that we’ve got more than enough evidence for our confidence.

We can have “right standing” with God, because Jesus took our place.

If you personally follow Jesus as your loving ruler, then he will take care of you on Judgement Day, and you will have nothing to fear.

That’s a future we can have confidence in!


(photo credit: Dr. Matthias Ripp via

Spiritual Confidence

Often when I’m having a chat with someone and it seems right to talk to them about the good news of Jesus, I’ll ask them this question: “If you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, ‘why should I let you into My Heaven?’ What would you say?”

It’s a question that the ‘Evangelism Explosion’ organisation wrote to help people get talking about God… and to help ‘diagnose’ where people find their confidence in eternal things.

Just recently I asked someone this question, and I heard again the normal answer: “Well, I’d tell him that I’ve been a pretty good person and that I haven’t done anything really bad…”

This answer naturally leads me to say, “well, you know, that answer doesn’t actually work for anyone, because with God, even one rebellious act against him is enough to make us deserve Hell.”

And from there, I tell them that there’s only ever been one person in history who lived a life that pleased our Father in Heaven, and that’s Jesus.

And because Jesus lived a perfect life, he is the only person who could offer to swap his perfect performance for our imperfect performance… and that’s exactly what happened when he died on the cross for us.

So, if we follow Jesus, having asked for his forgiveness, then he will bring us that certainty for eternity because of his great kindness to us.

Then, I’ll often talk about the story of the salvation of the thief on the cross… which is such a great moment in history that shows the power of grace, not works.

This then leads to a stark reality: since this is true, we can have complete confidence in our eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.

That’s spiritual confidence… because all our confidence is on the performance of Jesus, not us… and his grace to us is not because of anything we’ve done.


(Photo credit: Chris & Karen Highland via

A Memorial To God

On Wednesday night I joined with millions around the world to watch the telecast from the MCG of the memorial service for Shane Warne.

It was a joyful occasion of thanksgiving for the life of a man who entertained people throughout the world with his antics on and off the cricket field.

As someone who has the privilege of conducting funeral services, I found it fascinating to watch what happens when unbelievers try to make sense of death and the afterlife.

We heard that Shane was “taken from us” too young… an acknowledgement that someone or something was in control of the universe.

Another person was certain that he would be together with Warnie again soon… which showed a confidence in life after death.

Others mentioned that they knew that Shane was watching down on them, as a star in the sky.

Furthermore, nearly all of those who reflected on his life did so by directly addressing Shane, even though they had already conducted a funeral to dispose reverently of his mortal body.

It seemed that there were very few, if any, materialistic atheists at that memorial service.

Almost everyone spoke as though there was immortality of the soul in some way, and that the death of a body does not signal the end of a person’s existence.

And yet there was almost no mention of God at all.

This is tragic, for we know that, “each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27).

So, no matter how positive a person might feel about their eternal future, there is judgement awaiting them.

And the only way to be rescued from that judgement is through Jesus, for “Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people” (Hebrews 9:28).


(Photo credit: Tomme G via

Jesus Will Forgive

“We. Will. Not. Forgive. Hundreds and hundreds of victims. Thousands and thousands of sufferings. And God will not forgive. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. And instead of Forgiveness, there will be a Day of Judgment.”

Last week the President of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, pronounced an emotional judgement on the Russian enemy that has caused such horror and destruction.

His words were confronting, but if it was the mothers and babies at Shellharbour Hospital that were bombed by a ruthless enemy, then we’d have more empathy with this response.

Around 3000 years ago, God’s people were attacked by a brutal enemy, and so they cried out, “O God, do not be silent… Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies?” (Psalm 83:1-2)

They call to God to act, asking him to “chase them with your fierce storm… terrify them with your tempest” (verse 15), and above all, for those enemies to be disgraced (verse 16-17).

We might feel a little embarrassed by this violence in the Bible, until we see another report from Ukraine… and then we empathise with their president’s lack of willingness to forgive.

When we or a family member is a victim of crime, we want justice, but the problem is that every human is naturally guilty of rejecting God.

And so whilst we seek justice, we also know our deep need for mercy.

Which is what makes Jesus’ words on the cross so remarkable: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Justice was satisfied on the cross of Good Friday, and all of us who deserve God’s anger can be forgiven if we ask Jesus for mercy.

God understands justice, and he also understands mercy.

For at the cross, justice and mercy embrace.

Jesus. Will. Forgive.


Eleventh-hour Conversion?

In last week’s questions I was asked what I would say to someone who wanted to wait till the ‘eleventh hour’ to follow Jesus.

This question follows up the story Jesus told about a landowner who recruited different people throughout the day to work on his farm, and then he decided to pay everyone a full-day’s pay, even those who only did an hour’s work at the end of the day… the ‘eleventh hour’

And this question asks why people wouldn’t want to wait until the last minute to follow Jesus, rather than having to do it all through your life.

Well, firstly, you don’t know when you’re going to die, do you?

Hearing the news about Shane Warne’s passing was a bit confronting for me.

After all, he was only a year older than me… and now he’s suddenly dead… well before anyone thought his life would come to a close.

If someone my age thought they could just wait till they’re 70 to become a Christian, then they might die when they’re 50… and then wouldn’t that be foolish for them?

So if you are planning on waiting till you’re older, how do you know you won’t die earlier?

Secondly, why wouldn’t you want to become friends with Jesus straight away?

Becoming a Christian will be tough at times, but being friends with Jesus is the best thing anyone can do.

Why wouldn’t you want to rush in right now and stop being enemies with God and enjoy the peace that passes all understanding?

Becoming friends with Jesus isn’t a chore… it’s a blessing… so don’t put it off… even if you could be sure you had time to wait.

And if you’re not sure if you’re truly saved and forgiven by Jesus, then what are you waiting for?


(photo credit: John Voo via

Troubling Reign/Rain

Over the last week we have seen our news sources cover a flood crisis in Australia and a war in Eastern Europe.

Just as we celebrated the removal of pandemic restrictions, we now watched our world become battered by battles and floodwaters.

This week our Archbishop wrote to our churches, as he reflected on these twin challenges to our world.

Reflecting on the invasion of the Ukraine, he reminded us of the words of Psalm 10:

“Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand O God. Do not forget the helpless. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. You, Lord hear the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”

Similarly, as he considered the destructive floods, he shared these words from the Lord to his scattered people in Isaiah:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ (Is 41:10)”

There is much for which we should be concerned, but this should naturally lead us to pray for the people of Russia who live under the oppression of an aggressive and unaccountable ruler, as well, of course, for the people of the Ukraine who face the the constant fear for their lives from the unfolding war.

We should pray, too, for those whose lives and livelihoods are in disarray from the flood waters, as they seek to rebuild their homes and businesses, and for some, to mourn the loss of life.

Let us remember the words of the apostle Peter who wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on God for he cares for you”, and the words of our Lord himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you 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.”


(Image credit: Sandra Strait via

Back to ‘Normal’?

I remember our AGM in 2020, which was only days before things changed forever in the life of our world and our church as the pandemic started to spread across the globe.

Within weeks we were watching church through livestream, and learning how to do ‘social distancing,’ wear a mask without fogging up glasses, and to scan in ‘QR’ codes… and suddenly toilet paper became worth its weight in gold!

Now it’s almost two years, and as the NSW Premier declares a change to an ‘endemic’, we’re finally allowed to come together with no, actual ‘restrictions’ on our gatherings.

This weekend, we can welcome an unlimited number of people into our church building, without masks, singing with joy and gusto.

As we reflect on the past two years, some will say that the hardest thing has been the prohibition of singing, or the capacity limits, or even the requirement of wearing masks.

But the hardest thing of all has been missing the physical attendance of our dear brothers and sisters who have continued to attend each week online, but not in person.

I know you have been with us week by week, but it will be so lovely when I, as your preacher and pastor, can see your face as you sit under the wonderful word of God.

Now that the booster shot has had time to do its work, I would love to see all our members return in person to church as soon as possible, when you can.

Nonetheless, we’re going to keep our livestream ministry going, and we look forward to welcoming people through screens into the future.

In fact, it’s turned out to be a great way of reaching out to our village, valley, region… and even to the world!

But as they say of footy, “it’s never the same unless you’re there at the game”… and that’s certainly true of the joyful times spent eating dinner or brunch together after church.

So, if you can make it along this weekend in person, then it would be such a great blessing to me and to us all.


(Photo credit: Prachatai via

Do you love the Bible?

I have recently been listening to the Bible talks given at CMS Summer School by Andrew Shead, and his talk on Psalm 1 got me thinking… 

Psalm 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.

2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.

As someone turns away from a life of wickedness and godlessness, they instead, head down the path of joy. This other way of life is different, and it is filled with a delight in the law of the Lord, which, for us is the Bible.

But this part right here, “delight in the law of the Lord” got me thinking: do I ‘delight’ in God’s law, his instruction, his word?

Do I love to spend time with God in his word?

“Yes, yes, yes!” is how I know I should answer the question, but sometimes my mornings sound like a bit more of a :“no, no, no, you are too busy!”

If I had two extra hours in my day, would I even consider spending them in God’s word or would I fill it with my other delights like sleep and YouTube?

I don’t know about you, but I have been through different seasons when it comes to delighting in God’s word. 

Sometimes it the favourite part of my day! But other times it can remain forgotten about, like an old zucchini in the fridge.

My point here is not to condemn us, but to help us realise that as sinful people we need help!

The path of joy is a path paved by God’s own word, because it is the means by which we can know him.

And, nobody wants us to delight in God’s word more than God himself!

So if you are reading this, and would love to delight in God’s word, spend more time the Bible, and know God more, then why don’t you ask him for help right now?

There is nobody else who can help you delight in the scriptures more than God himself! 

Thanks be to our self-revealing, heart-changing, joy-bringing God!

(Photo Credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash)