16 July, 2021

18 July Newsletter

Front and Centre

During Term 2 I had the opportunity to work with the Worship Leaders and discuss prayer. One of the exercises we worked through and shared together was the paraphrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. I find intentional paraphrasing to be a helpful and fruitful exercise of comprehension and, in the case of the Lord’s Prayer, an excellent opportunity to reflect and meditate on the words that Jesus gave his disciples in response to the request “Lord, Teach us how to pray” (Luke 11).

A quick deconstruction of the prayer (as found in Matthew 6: 9 - 13) shows that we begin with the glorification of the name of God (as Jesse highlighted to us the other week). This is followed by the verse which reflects the heart’s desire for God’s will to be done. This, to me, is an incredibly important distinction in the prayer as it shows that as Christians we should strive to be in alignment with God as opposed to the other way around. Verse 11 shows the trust we place in God to provide our earthly needs and Verse 12 connects with our relational needs (specifically the repairing of relationships through forgiveness). Finally, verse 13 contains our need for God to rescue us from spiritual harm.

As we shared and listened to one another’s paraphrase of the Lord’s prayer I was encouraged by the different expressions of the same prayer. Through this exercise I was reminded that God gifts us in different ways and I was thankful that the gift that is the Lord’s Prayer was a means through which this truth was highlighted. Over the next few weeks I intend to share the paraphrases with the congregation (whether in the services or in the newsletter). I would encourage anyone who would like to contribute their own paraphrase to email me a copy at dom@emmanueluca.org.au Below is my paraphrase

God, who is above all creation.

Whose name is holy and sacred.

May the earth reflect heaven in its serving of you.

We pray that today we would have all we need to live,

That the brokenness of our relationships would be repaired

Both with you and those in our lives.

May we be protected from evil, and be your disciples for all eternity.

All the heavens and the earth are yours.

The one whose power and glory are above all else.

From the very beginning and throughout the ages.

Amen

Grace and Peace

Dom Chan

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9 July, 2021

11 July Newsletter

Front and Centre

As we continue reflecting upon on relationships, we were reminded last week about the need to put our relationship with God first. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment he replied ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ So how central is your relationship with God?

Like any relationship the more quality time we give to it the better it will be. Quality time does not just happen it takes intentionality and purpose (and of course time). How committed are you to your relationship with God and how is that reflected in the way that you live your life? Is there time to read scripture, to pray, to listen to God?

It is not enough to say we love God we need to reflect it in what we do and in how we shape our life around our values and priorities. In a culture which encourages busyness we need to invest into the things that are important. If you truly believe that your relationship with God is important then you will invest into it. Some people carve out intentional time, an hour sometimes more once a week. Some spend 30 minutes each day. Some go on a day retreat or walk once a month. Different rhythms work for different people but it is really important to develop a rhythm into all of the relationships that are important to us, including with God. There is also an overflow. As you invest in your relationship with God, you will find it has a flow on effect in your relationship with others. I John chapter 4 reminds us that God is love and that all love comes from God and is centred in God. It concludes saying how can you love God whom you cannot see if you do not love your neighbour whom you can.

Our love of God overflows into our love for others. As we focus on relationships our love of God, our relationship with God gives us the bedrock from which our love for others flow, so please do not neglect your relationship with God but prioritise your time with God and this will help put the rest of your life in perspective and balance.

Blessings

Brian Hoole

Minister

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2 July, 2021

4th July Newsletter

Front and Centre

Last week we were talking about our need to focus on relationships. This week, as Brisbane moves into lockdown, with uncertainty about whether the lockdown will continue and therefore whether this weekend will be face to face or not, the issue of relationships remains front and center for us. COVID has dramatically reduced our face-to-face contact with people. Again, this week we need to work and operate from home. People are asked to stay at home to keep everyone safe. I know for me personally it has been a lot harder to get to know people because of COVID. Much of my time here has been in the COVID environment. I was only here a month before our first lockdown occurred. Our social gatherings have been greatly reduced. Many of our Engage groups have not re-started. Through technology we are providing better ways of connecting virtually. Each week we stream both services, there are daily devotions being provided, there are prayer sessions being streamed, Worship and dig in (Sunday school) material is provided each week. The Ministry team put a lot of time and energy into providing these online resources. However, the risk of people feeling disconnected is increasing.

Right across our society depression, anxiety and loneliness are on the increase. Those issues are also present in our Emmanuel community. We need your help and support. Please take the time and effort to stay connected. It would be great if people would take the time and effort to give a couple of people a phone call or video chat. If you can, try and connect with someone a little bit outside of your normal group. We talk about pastoral care at Emmanuel being for everyone by everyone. Now is a really good time to take that seriously and make a few phone calls and take the time to pray together. Now is the time to emphasise the importance of us all taking responsibility and playing our part.

Blessings

Brian Hoole

Minister

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25 June, 2021

27 June Newsletter

Front and Centre

As I have been reflecting myself, and with others, upon what should be our focus for the rest of 2021 there is one word that jumps out. Relationships. Relationships in many forms, but certainly relationships. Our relationship with God, our relationship with each other and our relationship with the society outside. Most of the research on discipleship and church health will talk about these three areas. Over the next few weeks I will spend some time reflecting upon each of these but today, as an overview, I want to challenge you to think about the balance you have in your relationships. Your relationship with God, your relationship with other members of your church family and your relationship with those who do not yet know Jesus. A healthy Christian disciple will ensure that they have strong connections in each of these kind of relationships. As a church we try and facilitate these relationships but ultimately the responsibility sits with each of us individually. One of the main reasons we run events is so that we can encourage relationships. Men’s breakfast is more than good food and a good speaker it is about trying to build a relationship with people who do not know Jesus. Boys and girls brigade foster relationships with young people and their families. With the change to Tiny Town we are being asked to invest strongly into strengthening relationships with the Tiny Town community. Similarly, Community Helping hand is not just about food but about building relationships with people in need. Our work with the church in Noro is not just about providing support but is about building relationships, and those who have made the effort realise what a blessing it is both ways. We are blessed just as the people of Noro are blessed.

So what about you? How are your relationships, with your family, with your friends, with God and with your brothers and sisters here at church? Are your relationships healthy? How willing are you to share your life with others and allow them in. Take the risk, invite someone over, share a meal with someone. Build healthier relationships.

Blessings

Brian Hoole

Minister

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18 June, 2021

20 June Newsletter

Front and Centre

Last week we began a new series looking at God’s commandments. They serve as a reminder to us that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. They are very much a part of the covenant that God made with the Israelites. And a part of the new covenant that we have in Jesus. Jesus did not make the 10 commandments obsolete but rather he enhanced and strengthened them. When asked what was the greatest commandment Jesus took it a step further and responded He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Notice that Jesus did not say they replace the law they but rather that they were the basis for the law.

Elsewhere Jesus says he came to fulfil the law. Unfortunately we have tended to see the commandments as a list of do not’s and therefore as a negative rather than giving us appropriate boundaries to allow us to fully express our freedom within.

I know that as our children were growing up they functioned best when they had suitable boundaries within which to be free. It is similar for us. We operate at our best, when we know what appropriate boundaries are. Revisiting the commandments for me has reminded me of God’s wisdom and care that he offers over all of his creation. I hope that you find it likewise.

Blessings

Brian Hoole

Minister

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11 June, 2021

13 June Newsletter

What a great celebration it was last week. For me one of the great things was to see the diversity of ages and generations that were present at the afternoon tea, and at worship. It reminded me of the passage from Hebrews 12:1 that speaks of the great cloud of witnesses. The strength of the Girl’s Brigade are the lives that it has shaped and transformed since its beginning 40 years ago. Similarly for the Boys Brigade, and to be honest similarly for Emmanuel. Our strength and our legacy are the hundreds and even thousands who have gone before us whose lives have been changed by meeting Jesus in the people and the activities and programs that we have hosted and provided. Girl’s Brigade, Boys Brigade, and Emmanuel have all made a difference and people’s lives have been transformed and changed. And as they have been drawn closer to Jesus it is not only, they that have been transformed but the world in which they live have been enriched. They have made a difference to their world. As I served and watched over the weekend, I saw the spark in people’s eyes reflecting a joy and a hope. For not only do we have a proud history we have an exciting future. We do not exist to remember a great past but rather to live an exciting future. As much as last weekend celebrates the past 40 years it encourages me with hope for the next 40 years and what God will do and achieve through you, and me and the other members of Emmanuel. God has a plan and a purpose my hope and prayer is that we can discern and listen to God and live into that future. What does God have in store for your future?

Blessings

Brian Hoole

Minister

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