Hello to everyone reading this in person and online. It’s great to have you with us whether you are a regular or a newcomer.
I hope and pray that you and your families have managed to have a time of rest over January. As staff, Ian, Dom, Helen and I have had time off which has refreshed and renewed us for the year ahead. It’s good to have and keep a rhythm of working from rest, rather than resting from work.
Unfortunately, Ian will be out of action for another few weeks as he follows doctors’ orders and continues to rest and recover after his heart attack. While he loves us, he’d appreciate not having visitors just yet, but would appreciate your prayers for; patience during slow recovery, determination for new diet and exercise regime and, to live in joy (and not let the thief steal it away). In his absence, Dom, Helen and I will try to keep things running as usual.
This week we are back to Emmanuel for regular Sunday programming after enjoying the last five weeks in the airconditioned comfort of the school. Again, we are so thankful to the school for their continued support and use of their facilities including the EPAC and pool. During January the office space was also renovated with new carpet, a coat of paint and a refurbished kitchen. Thank you for your patience during the process, and especially to everyone that helped move furniture out and back in. The space is looking and feeling great, but we still have a few things to rearrange and sort so we ask for your continued patience during this time.
After digging into the Life of Jesus last year, in 2019 we will continue in our mission to grow disciples and Dig into Discipleship. Again, the whole congregation will follow along across 8am, 9:30 am worship and Sunday school which helps to facilitate conversations and targeted learning during the week in explore groups and homes. We’ll continue to provide the Dig in at Home resource and follow up questions on the App and website.
As we Dig into Discipleship, we will explore the Heart of God/Jesus, and as we learn more about him, learn how to live more like him. I’ve been reading a book “Building a Discipling Culture” by Mike Breen, and have been reminded that disciples aren’t accidentally made, but that discipleship is an intentional pursuit (2016, 17). Breen also says (2016, 37) that “Success is obedience to what the Father asks” and so if by the end of this year we see and hear of more people listening and responding to God’s call then we will have succeeded. One way that we do this is by asking “What do I think God is saying to me?”, and “What am I going to do about it?”.
I’m excited that I’ve already seen people doing this, and seeking out trusted people that they can observe, reflect, discuss and then plan, account and act on this. I invite you on this journey to follow us as we follow God, and to keep asking yourself “What do I think God is saying to me?” and “What am I going to do about it?”
Welcome to everyone reading this Newsletter, whether in print or electronic version online, or in our church app. Whichever way you are connecting, we’re thrilled to count you as part of our community. If there’s ever anyway in which we can serve you, please don’t hesitate to ask!
As Christians, when we worship God, we are taking the time to acknowledge who God is and bring Him our praises. The way that we choose to express our worship varies. Within the Christian tradition, and within my own experience, worship has generally happened together as a congregation with prayer and song. However, worship isn’t limited to prayer and song. There are many ways through which we can bring our praises to God and we find ourselves using our creative gifts as we create dances, dramas and visual works of art. Moving a step further, if our actions are a means of praise, then our everyday lives can continue to be an act of worshiping God.
While coming together on a Sunday is a wonderful expression of worship, it would be helpful to remember that each day is an opportunity to worship God. As we experience the presence of God throughout our lives, the presence of the opportunity to worship is also evident. For some of us it’s little moments of thanksgiving as we go for walks. For others we might find a chance to spend time with God in the monotonous moments such as people learning to worship God as they do the dishes. In all of these expressions there is a freedom in how we worship. Freedom as we spend time with God in our everyday lives. Freedom as we recognise that God is worthy of all we have to bring to Him, we just need to be willing to offer what we have.
This brings us back to our Sunday services. If we recognise the importance of daily worship, and the freedom that we have in how we express our worship of God, we can come to the conclusion that freedom is also acceptable to God in our Sunday services. My encouragement is this: as we worship God in our day to day lives, and as we worship together as the body of Christ, we should remember that we have freedom in how our expression. So whether we want to dance, sing, draw, be loud, be soft, hands high, hands low, we know that the most central part of worship is that we are bringing God glory through what we do and who we are.
Grace and peace
Welcome to everyone reading this Newsletter, whether in print or electronic version online or in our church app. Whichever way you are connecting, we’re thrilled to count you as part of our community. If there’s ever anyway in which we can serve you, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Thank you to all those who’ve been complimentary about the current sermon series. The bible is such a good read! And these passages in particular are so key to our understanding of who God is and how He wants to relate to us humans. We’re learning about Kingship, about Prophecy, about providence, kindness and forgiveness – and all in the Old Testament. What is clear is that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament. What the nation of Israel got wrong, Jesus always gets right. What was promised in the Old Testament is delivered unequivocally in the New. If you’d like to explore this in more detail, do join an explore group for exactly that purpose. (There are details inside).
We also seemed to strike a particular chord with the services on Sunday, especially in the area of finding ways to physically and otherwise creatively express our thoughts, feelings and other responses during worship. I forgot to say that when I first started to want to raise my hands or move about a bit I was so self-conscious that I sat down the back of church with a trusted mate so that nobody else could see me! I was so suspicious of those “crack-pot charismatics” I didn’t want to be identified with them at all. Now, as you can usually see, nobody will sit next to me down the front in case they get knocked out by my over-exuberant arm-extensions. At my rehab exercise session recently my instructor said “oh, you’re reasonably strong in the shoulders” to which I replied, “yeah, it’s all the power praising to Jesus!” (She’s a Lutheran and not sure she really understood). But the point is simply this; move or don’t move - it’s what’s in your heart that counts. None the less, the staff and I are considering what else we can do to foster creative responses to what the Spirit is saying during worship – watch this space . . . .
After the Annual General Meeting today I will be on holidays for two weeks (although I’ll be back next Sunday for Communion. I’ll be down in Geelong for the first week helping Mum clean out the back garage and then off to Mooloolaba the following week with Julie which will be great! Jess, Dom & Helen will all be on hand during that time and as usual any pastoral care matters can dealt with in the first instance by Bronwyn Kelly.
Thank you again to everyone who gives of their time and energy helping to make our church what it is so that we really can sense that we are, “Emmanuel”, because God is clearly with us!
In His grip and grace,
Welcome to everyone reading this newsletter, whether online or in print. We’re glad you’re a part of us and we’re a part of you – which is what makes God’s family so special. If we can ever do anything to help you and improve your sense of belonging, please do let us know.
- Our Annual Meeting is coming up fast on 31st March. We aim to do at least three things at that meeting:
- Receive the annual reports
- Begin to cast Vision for the short to medium term future
- Elect elders to oversee and steward all this process.
There are information brochures about the Elders’ elections available in the foyer of the church, at the church office or indeed you can contact Helen during office hours and she will get one to you ASAP. (Unfortunately due to my recent illness we are a bit short of time on this but if we all act swiftly and with good grace we should get there!)
On the day we will have a special morning tea, which will be provided, after our usual combined service at 9:30am. We hope to commence the meeting at 11:15am and be done in time to be home for a reasonable lunch! Please do come if you can – it’s so important that we are all informed and take ownership of our future together. If you’re worried about the kids, we will have some activities for them to do so please don’t let that stop you!
It has been an excellent 12 months and we have much to be thankful for as you will read in the reports. God really does appear to be doing something special amongst us and its only just beginning! I wonder how you can be directly or indirectly involved? Do come, find out and get inspired!
News from next door at Enoggera State School is that they will be receiving a new Principal at the beginning of term 2. This feels hard – things were starting to settle down after so many changes over the last few years. And of course very tough for Angela the outgoing Principal having to find a new placement. But let us redouble our prayers for this next season for her and the school, especially for a smooth transition and continued good relationship between our two communities.
By the way, I don’t know if you’ve been to check out the newly refurbished office space – it’s wonderful and all those who use it are very grateful for a warmer, more welcoming feel and a far more efficient use of space. Thank you for allowing it to happen. Likewise the new playground work at Tiny Town looks stunning - the committee are to be congratulated.
I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting if not before.
In His grip and grace,