12 March, 2022 12 March, 2022

13 March 2022 Newsletter

Are you rich? You are rich. In a world that never feels as though it has enough, that is never satisfied, that always wants more, as Christians we believe that God will and does provide all of our needs. The start of good stewardship is recognising the blessings and provisions we have and being thankful. Do you recognise what you have and realise how blessed you are. Unfortunately many in our society today are not satisfied with what they have. 

A recent survey suggested that the average Australian needs $300,000 as an income to feel that they are rich. However the other interesting part of the survey was that the desire to be rich, and the resulting competition with family and friends over salary and possessions does not lead to happiness but leads to more and more stress, broken marriages, and depression. The survey suggested that the way to be happy is being content with what you have and living within your means. And though this makes sense, our materialistic society is always encouraging us to have more and more. It is a time to get off the treadmill. Instead of seeking more and more, instead of worrying about what everyone else has, focus on enjoying and making best use of what you have. This is what stewardship is all about. Making the best use of what you have. So what is it that you hope to achieve? As a church we talk about being a church that grows disciples who grow disciples. Aboui being a church that is intentional not just about looking after ourselves but about being a place that people can discover Jesus for the first time, and continue to grow in that space. We think this is worth investing in, and believe that is what we are called to do. Join us on this journey, not just for yourself, and your children, who are important to us but for those we have not yet connected to. We want to do better at helping people to know Jesus and need your help and support. We need you to invest in the work of Emmanuel, not just with money, though that is important, we need you to invest your time, energy and effort to be part of this journey. To be thankful for what you have, but to want to make a difference in other people’s lives. How much will you invest of yourself and join us.

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5 March, 2022 5 March, 2022

6 March 2022 Newsletter

As we enter Lent and turn our eyes towards Easter, Lent is a time of reflection and to review our commitment and giving towards the church. Stewardship is all about how we use the resources that God has given us. During this time we will be reflecting upon a few key words, grace, gratitude and generousity. Stewardship begins with God and God’s grace. It is about recognising how blessed we are by God and acknowledging that what we have is a gift from God. This is what grace means God’s gift or gifts. In a world that says that we make our own way and that we can earn what we want and do what we want, when we want and that we get what we deserve, the Christian view is that what we have is a gift from God. It is by God’s grace that we are born here in Australia at the beginning of the 21st century. And it is by God’s grace that we have the family we do and our health and other circumstances that surround us. The Christian life of discipleship begins with our recognition that what we have comes from God, and as we follow Jesus what we have we give to God. As followers of Jesus our life is shaped around seeking to grow closer to Jesus and more like Jesus. That is what we mean at Emmanuel when we say we want to grow disciples who grow disciples. It means that we want more people more like Jesus. It means that we want to be more like Jesus. And as a church we want to provide the encouragement and resources that help people grow to be more like Jesus. We want to resource you to be the best followers of Jesus that you can be. That involves reflecting how you use your resources to best follow Jesus, and to support Emmanuel as it seeks to be a place to support and resource and grow followers of Jesus. This has to start with recognising God’s grace and responding with gratitude to what God has done and is doing for you and in your life. So this week our emphasis is upon gratitude and recognising what we owe to God. And what it means for us to be followers of Jesus who have committed our lives to him.

God Bless, Brian

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19 February, 2022 19 February, 2022

20 February 2022 News

As followers of Jesus, we want to become like Jesus in our daily living. However sometimes, in fact often, following Jesus is a bit like trying to fly with only one wing. We get lots of support and teaching at church but not much outside. There is a gap between Sunday worship and church and daily living as a Christian. How do we live as a Christian at the local footy club, or tennis court, or in our community living. It can be scary to do these things on our own.

Over the next few weeks I am going to quote from and summarise a book by Michael Moynagh and Michael Beck called ‘The 21st century Christian’[1]. You are welcome to read the book if you want. It is a great book that gives a simple practical and relational approach to being a 21st Century Christian, to living like Jesus did today. I hope this series will encourage you to continue to live as a follower of Jesus today and to better equip you for that role. As a disciple, this is where the rubber hits the road. So let’s start. Like any journey we need a few things

1.    A compass to point us in the right direction

2.    A map to help us plan the route or way to go.

3.    Some food to sustain us on the way.

4.    The address of where we are going so we know what to look out for.


Each of these is important for our journey, and we will explore each of these over the coming weeks. Most of all I hope that opening this discussion will help encourage you to explore how you can better follow Jesus in your daily comings and goings. Its hard work, even soul-destroying to try and follow Jesus on your own, so do try and share your journey with a friend or friends. Friends from church and friends from work. This is about how we can encourage each other to live more fully and more authentically. Jesus promised us that he “ came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. Hopefully this will help you to do so. As we think about who to share with may I encourage you to gather with 1 or 2 others to pray together. To commit to a regular prayer-time with someone else. You will be amazed at what a difference it will make and how deep that relationship will grow. Even if you are in a small group may I encourage you to try a prayer triplet


[1] Moynagh, Michael and Beck, Michael, The 21st Century Christian (freshexpressionsus.com, U.S., 2020)

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11 February, 2022 11 February, 2022

13 February 2022 Newsletter

As we begin activities for the coming year, we are also beginning a new preaching series looking at the early church. It is positive to see the similarities between the two. Whether we like it or not COVID has affected us as a worshiping community and in many ways we are like the early church seeking to re-build. For the early church the key element was the Holy Spirit. They started with no buildings, very few followers, the loss of their leader and persecution. What they did have was the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that he had to go and one reason was that this would enable the Holy Spirit to come in a new and empowering way. As we explore the life of the early church over the coming weeks we will see how that is lived out. Similarly as a church we have been asking question ‘What is God calling us to. Our experience, and the experience of the church through history is that the first step must be to seek God and align ourselves with his will. As a result we are seeking to encourage a greater commitment to prayer. There are regular gatherings of people praying for ministries such as our brigades and for ministries at Enoggera State School. Our elders have been encouraged to form prayer triplets that meet weekly or fortnightly to pray and encourage each other. We have a prayer evening planned for Tuesday 8 March. We are serious about seeking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us as we look for the future direction of Emmanuel. To ensure that it is God’s church not our church. we need your help and support. Continue to uphold the church, and particularly its leadership in prayer. Form your own prayer triple. Get together with 2 friends and pray for the church. Make a plan to ring someone up on a weekly basis and pray together on the phone. The encouragement I want to give you is to just do it. Find the ways, the rhythms and the patterns that make prayer an integral part of your life and your relationship with God. God has great plans for this church, “'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. '” — Jeremiah 29:11That is plans for us as a church and for us as individuals. That doesn’t mean that bad things can’t happen. But it does mean that God has plans for us and in acknowledging his kingship over our lives it is about aligning ourselves with his will. Prayer is not a shopping list telling God what we want but rather about aligning ourselves with God’s will, whether we like it or not. The more time we commit to time with God, and prayer the better off we will be. As we look at Jesus life we are reminded about how often Jesus prayed. He prayed at his temptation, at his baptism, when he selected the 12, at his transfiguration, the garden of Gethsemane. Luke also records that Jesus went repeatedly to the wilderness to pray and He spent whole nights in prayer. Jesus modelled a life centred in prayer and so should we. Centred and focussed through prayer and relying upon the Holy Spirit. Please continue to pray for your church, for its leaders as we continue to seek God’s purpose and direction going forward.

 Blessings

Brian

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5 February, 2022 5 February, 2022

6 February Newsletter

Front and Centre 

As I’ve been writing my Annual Report this week, I have been reflecting on all the things that we achieved in 2021 despite the many challenges that we faced. I am proud of what we have achieved in Families Ministry and the lives that we have transformed, even in small ways, through the year. I thank you all for your continued ministry, support, prayer and encouragement to be and make disciples and be Real People with Relevant Faith for Our Community.

Throughout the year we managed to continue to serve, encourage and build relationship with 106 children from 66 families in our community through Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade, Playgroup, Sunday School and Youth Discipleship. If we add in the work in Tiny Town and Enoggera State School through RI, Kids Hope, Chaplaincy and, I believe that we have managed to serve hundreds of children and families in small and large ways. What we do is not about the numbers, but about the relationships that we build, and why we do what we do.

As we plan and prepare for children’s and families ministries 2022, we need to keep that why in mind. Our why is found in both of this week’s readings. Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” and Acts 1:8 “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are called to go, make disciples, and witness wherever we go, and that is what we have done for many years, and will continue to do for many more. This week in worship we take time to commission and dedicate those who faithfully serve in ministries in and through our church. And there are many who do faithfully serve, but unfortunately, it’s really not enough.

Across Sunday School, Playgroup, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade and Youth Discipleship, we have barely enough leaders to be able to properly build relationships and serve the families that walk through our doors each week, and we will likely have to cancel programs this year because of it. In serving Tiny Town and Enoggera State School through RI, Kids Hope and Chaplaincy, we often have to say no to ministry opportunities because we can’t find someone to help, or those that are serving are so stretched that they just can’t do anymore.

As I dwell on this, I am reminded of Matthew 9:35-38 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

This year my hope and prayer is that we would find workers for the harvest, and I invite you to consider today, and this what might God be calling you to this year? And what are you going to do about it?

God Bless,

Jess

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29 January, 2022 29 January, 2022

30 January Newsletter

New year is often a time when people make New Year’s resolutions. I wonder how many of you do that.  And how many already have broken the resolutions and put them off until next year. As we enter the start of 2022 its worth reflecting upon what your hopes and dreams are for this year. What is it that you want to achieve, and more importantly what do you think God wants you to achieve this year. As much as 2022 already looks as though it will be driven with uncertainty and apprehension driven by the COVID pandemic, as Christians we should be looking forward with a sense of hope and promise trusting in God and the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean we are not careful or prudent but it does mean we need to be intentional about our relationship with God so that we can hear and respond.   The only way to get clarity around what God desires of us is to spend time in prayer and in his word. As a church we have been listening tio God who is calling us to seek him more faithfully in prayer and to strengthen our relationships with each other. That God wants us to strengthen relationships with each other and that he calls us to share our faith through personal relationships. 

This is and always has been God’s master-plan. God’s plan lies in the gospel (the good news of God’s love made real and known in Jesus) transforming people as they are filled by the Holy Spirit. They then “infect” those around them through their friendships and relationships – at home, sport, work, school, interest group, family etc) with the love of God. They do this through how they live, what they say, do, how they serve and share with their family and friends. It is this life on life sharing of faith that transforms lives. And so as wqe share with people they too become infected by the ngospel and want to be part of God’s story. The problem for many of the mainline churches is that we have stopped doing that. We are almost scared of our faith ad what people will think of us. My hope for this year is that this will describe us here at Emmanuel. That we will be infectious (not with COVID but with the gospel.) That because it flavours who we are, and flavours our lives, it becomes a natural outpouring of what God is doing. And we are able to share with those we love and care about. But this doesn’t happen by accident, it is natural but it is also intentional and focussed. It is not hard but it needs to be deliberate. It begins with a focussing on our relationship with God, deepening our prayer relationship so that we spend time with God and better sense what he is calling us to. And then as we get a better sense of what God has in store for each of us it involves stepping into that space, grasping the opportunities that God provides. Despite COVID I am hopeful that we will support each other to take these opportunities this year. To share faith with people we love and care about, to meet and pray regularly with other brothers and sisters. I am excited about what can and will do through us this year.

Blessings

Brian

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22 January, 2022 22 January, 2022

23 January 2022

23 January 2022

A baby lying on a blanket

Description automatically generated with low confidenceWelcome to the New Year.

A person and person holding a baby

Description automatically generatedIt will be interesting to see what 2022 has in store for us.  I hope and pray that everyone has had a good Christmas and is looking forward to the coming Year.  Claire and I had the joy of meeting our new grand-child Elowen for the first time, and catching up with their parents Dan and Ginny.  They have safely returned to Moree, NSW.  As we look forward to the coming year, I am reminded of the hope and expectation that a new child brings.  We are so excited to be grand-parents and new life is a sign of hope and promise.  It is a belief in God, and a world that can be a better place.  As we look at our world it is easy to be overwhelmed by what is happening around us, the effects of the COVID pandemic, natural disasters, droughts, floods and famine.  But as Christians we believe that in God there is hope, there is peace, there is joy and there is love.  I have certainly experienced all of those things this Christmas as we have had the time to share with Elowen and her wider family on both her parent’s families.  And I carry that hope forward to looking at what lies before us as a church this year.  Christians are in the business of hope, peace, love and joy (yes they are the themes from advent).  We believe that God will prevail and that this is his hope for the world and all its people.  We are a people who know and experience God’s love and power in our daily lives.  And we do not do it alone.  Let’s remember God’s promises to us and live them.  To know that God does have control and that we can trust him.  That God is faithful to us.  People are right to be careful and we do make decisions that minimise risk.  More people are joining us online at the moment, we are following the government protocols, some of our activities are being postponed.  This is not about a lack of hope or faith.  We still hold the big picture that God is in control and God will prevail.  And so as we gather on Sunday in either format we celebrate and rejoice in God who is counter to the world and its values and calls us to continue to demonstrate God’s values of hope, peace, joy and love through our daily lives.

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24 December, 2021 24 December, 2021

25_26 December 2021

Front and Centre 


Well this brings us to the last newsletter for 2021. As I look back I want to thank you everyone for an amazing year. We have done well in challenging times and maintained a focus on growing disciples who exalt, explore, embody, and engage.  On being the church that we are called to be in this place. We have done this because of the amazing people and I want to acknowledge the amazing and talented people that are a part of this church family. In doing so I will apologize now because I will inevitably leave some people out. Not deliberately but because there are so many people who help make this church family what it is. First I would like to acknowledge the ministry team. You are so fortunate to have gifted and talented people like Jess and Dom who are passionate about their calling to serve God in this way. We must also acknowledge Helen’s work and service over the past 10 years and give thanks for the way she has served the church over that time. Thanks for the leadership that is offered by the Church Council Executive, by Nathan, Chris and Ross and the extra time and effort that they have put in is huge. We are so blessed to have them. The leadership offered by the rest of Church Council and the oversight, particularly Spiritual oversight they offer, thank you. Then we have the leaders and volunteers in the various ministries that we offer and come under the Emmanuel banner. They aer many and varied and come out of the passion and commitment of many of you. In no particular order we have those involved in Community Helping Hand, Boys and Girls Brigade, Play group, Sunday School, Youth discipleship, any of our schools ministry, teaching RI, Kids Hope, supporting chaplaincy, supporting our ministry in the Solomon Islands, those leading or supporting our worship each Sunday, our musicians, worship leaders, bible readers, prayers, Dennis our COVID expert, our cleaning volunteers, those in our explore Groups, those discipling others and providing pastoral care that encourages people to grow in their faith. Those helping with the ongoing maintenance of the property, volunteers offering support i the office, particularly since Helen finished. You see what a massive list this is, and I am sure there is more. The strength of this church is all of you, serving the church and seeking to be more like Jesus in our everyday lives. My hope and prayer is that we have helped and encouraged you on that journey. That we are helping people to be more like Jesus everyday. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to lead you and encourage you on that journey. As we look towards 2022 may we have more opportunities to develop as disciples who help others to become disciples as well. Thank you everyone and blessings over this Christmas and New Year period and into 2022.

Grace and peace

Brian

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17 December, 2021 17 December, 2021

19 December

It is a week before Christmas and the time of our Community Carols. Carol singing gives us such a wonderful opportunity. On a personal level singing has been proven to be good for our health, our mental well-being, even our immunity system.  To sing with joy and hope the message of Christmas is so healthy for each of us. But carol singing is also good for us as a community. It unites us as a Christian community and provides an opportunity to invite friends, neighbours, work colleagues. In essence who are the people of peace, the people who are open to you that you can invite and encourage to hear the Christian message. Make no mistake someone coming to carols (or to church) does not make them a Christian. However inviting someone to carols (or church) provides an opportunity for you to share your life and faith with them. At Emmanuel we are on about growing disciples who grow disciples. This is you. If you come to Emmanuel we hope you are with us on the journey with Jesus. How do we help and encourage you to be a disciple who shares your faith and helps other people to know Jesus and to grow Jesus in their own life. Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to understand the real reason about Christmas. The challenging part is to help people see past the decorations and distractions to the real meaning of Christmas. The message of God’s love and grace and forgiveness is hard to grasp when God is not a part of your normal everyday life. We have to get past the almost fairytale story of a baby in a manger with shepherds and wisemen to the truth behind the story. The truth of God’s love. And it becomes even more important for us who know the truth, to live it and celebrate it. Christmas is about celebrating God’s love. John 3:16 reminds us so powerfully of the true meaning of Christmas “16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Christmas is more than a baby born 2000 years ago its about Jesus and the Holy Spirit born in us each day. Let’s try and share the truth of Jesus with someone this Christmas.

Grace and Peace

Brian Hoole

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