The City Of Man May Fall…

In his book, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life Richard Lovelace speaks a word for 2021 from over 40 years ago:

…America and the rest of Western culture now seem to be more on the edge of dissolution than on the point of renewal. A cloud of irony hangs over our festivities. The situation in this country seems to call for a jeremiad, not a celebration. The worst scandal in our government’s history still lingers in our memories. Race prejudice, latent under the surface of political campaigns, seems intensified by our very efforts to correct it. The crime rate is outstripping police restraint and turning private surveillance into a growth sector. Pornography and violence filled the media, and a host of other social problems run in counterpoint with an uncertain economy.

In the rest of Western culture the situation is no less grave. Economic problems which are only painful in America are critical elsewhere. The open market of ideas which has sometimes accompanied free enterprise is yielding to closed totalitarian systems of the right and left in country after country. The Western civilization rooted in Christianity is increasingly faced with Arnold Toynbee’s rephrasing of Nicodemus’s is question, “Can a man be born again when he is old?”

Of course, as Augustine pointed out, a civilization can decline and fall without implicating or affecting the Christian church. The City of Man cannot blame the City of God for its own decay, and the church may well prosper at the same time that other powers fail. But Toynbee and other historians have argued that the fate of civilizations reflects the strength of the religious ethos around which they are built, and observers during this century both within and outside the church have expressed doubts about the savor of its salt.

Richard Lovelace, Dymanics of Spiritual Life, p. 25-26.

New Sermon Series

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be studying the book of 1 Peter together. We’ll see how, as believers, we can be filled with hope, and experience God, despite facing difficult and trying circumstances. In fact, Peter communicates that in the face of opposition, Christians are provided a great opportunity to show the difference Jesus makes in our lives.

It’s worth the time to take a look…

Open House

Last year we launched a new ministry called “Open House”.

In February and March 2020, Rev. Dave gave a number of public lectures on Church History. The first weeks of “Open House” were well received and attended by a large cohort, but then came the pandemic..
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Join us in March as we recap the series so far and then catch up on the two missing lectures from our first Open House.

Open House | Public Lectures

We are a community with a cause: to love Jesus, to love Each Other and to love Norfolk Island.

The Open House ministry is designed to help us become wholehearted, fully engaged followers of Jesus Christ. We hope these series of public lectures will be suitable for longtime church goers, brand-new Christians, wounded-by-other-traditions Christians and people filled with spiritual questions.

There are three great reasons for studying church history:

Instruction – the difficulties we face today are not new and we can look to the past to learn from where believers have acted wisely in these situations and where believers have acted foolishly. “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.” (Deuteronomy 32:7).

Worship – when we see all God has done through His church it should lead us to praise Him for His faithfulness. “Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.” (Psalm 150:1-2).

Confidence – Jesus is keeping His promise to build His church. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)

3-Mar-21
The Early Church (AD70-312) “Growth and Persecution”

17-Mar-21
The Early Church (AD70-312) “False Teaching Part 1”

31-Mar-21
The Early Church (AD70-312) “False Teaching Part 2”

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
Communion and Commination Service
Wednesday February 17th 
12pm All Saints Kingston  
The Commination Service (from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer) begins with the cursing of all kinds of interesting sins!  

If that seems over the top these days, maybe that is good.

Perhaps we need a reminder that God’s concern is for our heart. In his worship song ‘Here I am to Worship’ Tim Hughes sings, “I’ll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross.” For me this is the essence of the teaching of the 1662 Ash Wednesday service – until we understand God’s hatred of sin, and all He had to overcome to restore us to a right relationship with Him, we will never know how much He loves us.

This is the goal of Lent.

Not for us to spend our lives in sack cloth and ashes but to acknowledge our own brokenness and to turn to the redeemer for grace.

This has a bit more gravitas than giving up Facebook or a biscuit with your coffee.

I hope to see you there.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…”

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us

One of the questions we struggle with is: Why? Why did this happen to me? There are many things in life that we don’t understand. But in Romans 8 we begin to see some of the outlines of our situation in a fallen world. We see that God is still in control, “working” events for the good of his children. And we see a future glory beyond our present struggles.

The Christian life is not easy. Fighting sin is not easy. Enduring persecution is not easy. Coping with day-to-day life in a fallen world, with corruptible bodies, has its difficulties. Nevertheless, just as there was for Jesus, there is joy set before us — a future so wonderful that our current trials will seem minor. Paul wrote about this 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 

But we are not the only ones who will benefit. Paul says that there is a cosmic significance to God’s plan being worked out in us: “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (verse 19). The creation not only wants to see us in glory — the creation itself will also be blessed with change when God’s plan is brought to completion, as Paul says in the next verses: “For the creation was subjected to frustration…in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (verses 20-21). 

Even despite our trials, our weakness and our sins, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (verse 28). God does not cause all things, but he allows them, and works with them for his purpose. He has a plan for us, and we can be confident that he will complete his work in us (Philippians 1:6).

God planned in advance that we should become like his Son, Jesus Christ. So he called us through the gospel, justified us through his Son, and united us with him in his glory: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

I Want To Grow But How? By Building Three Core Habits

I think it’s fair to say that most of us want to grow. A quick glance at popular podcasts, best-selling books, and websites will reveal a common theme: we want to become better versions of ourselves. If your goal is to grow in your Christian spirituality – if you want to love God and others more – you should focus on three core habits. I want to encourage you to do ordinary things that will make an extraordinary difference, not just in your life but in the lives of others. I don’t know anyone who’s grown spiritually who isn’t practising these three habits. Spiritual growth isn’t about reaching a new level spirituality or “levelling up” as they sometimes say. Spiritual growth means to constantly return to the ABC’s of the gospel and grow in them and their applications. 

  1. Prayer. Continually speaking to God about all that’s on our minds (Philippians 4:6-7)
  2. Reading Or Listening To The Bible. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts, and knowing God better through his revealed Word (Psalm 119:9-16)
  3. Pursuing Growth In Community. We were designed to grow in community. We need others to encourage us, admonish us, spur us on, and to practice all the one-another commands of Scripture.

Habits can be life-changing, either for good or for bad. When habits are formed that help you to grow spiritually, the results will pay off exponentially in every other area of your life, as well. Spiritual maturity isn’t about white-knuckling it to sainthood. It’s about becoming a person who is fully alive. It means enjoying God and life in deeper and more abundant ways even in the middle of difficulty. It transforms our desires rather than denying them. Spiritual growth is the pursuit of God, and the pursuit of joy. No matter what stage we’re at right now, God is at work. There’s hope at every stage. We just need to know where we are, and what we need to do to continue to progress. 

Spring Fair 2020

It’s been 100 years since the mission chapel was gifted to the Norfolk Island community. This years Spring Fair will celebrate this important island precinct and the many significant memories and ministries of the last hundred years. 

The 2020 spring fair has been modified in order to be “Covid Safe” but will still feature the Water Slide • Wettls • Organ Recitals • Picnic Lunch • White Elephant Stall • And More…

All are welcome to join us at our Spring Fair as we celebrate 100 years at the Chapel and then again on Sunday as we give thanks for the last 100 years enjoying the Willis Organ and a sing-along of island hymns.

We  also invite you to share your own photographs and memories of baptisms, weddings and church events over the weekend.    

Watch The Church Of England Sunday Service For Sunday March 22nd Here

This Sunday Morning On TVNI Channel 350 From 9am 

This week, in the space of only a few hours, everything has changed. Things will eventually return to normal, but life will look different for the next few months at the very least. I don’t know exactly how to respond when a pandemic hits. But I do know this:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90).

There’s never been a time that God has not been there for his people. He’s never taken a break. And now is not an exception. He is still our King and our shelter no matter what happens. God is on his throne, everything is going his way, and he loves me.

Join us on TNVI at 9am on Sunday morning as we look at Psalm 90,  a psalm of lament written by Moses in response to a huge national crisis. 

"Church @ Home" A Resource Prepared By Jono Thomas For The Church Of England On Norfolk Island

Jono writes: It’s sad that we’ve stopped meeting on Sundays as God’s people. But church doesn’t need to stop for any of us. Jesus said,

“For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them”

We know that church isn’t a building, it’s a people – God’s people who meet together. And when we meet together – even two or three of
us – we know that Jesus is with us through his Spirit.

Meeting together as church is important for so many reasons:

  • When we’re saved, we are adopted into God’s family, and not left as individuals
  • We’re told to love and encourage each other. We can’t do this alone!
  • We’re called the body of Christ. We need each other to function effectively
  • Our hearts are deceptive. We need others to keep us true in our spiritual walk

As you and your family can no longer come together as a bigger church, I would encourage you to spend time regularly with your family in God’s Word and in prayer. And in fact, your family functions as a little-church, doing everything that a bigger church does, but on a lower scale. Jonathan Edwards writes:

“Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules…”

And in fact, one thing that God might be wanting to remind us is that we can easily forget the parent’s role is to be the head-discipler of our children – not the Kids Church leaders, not even Jono! Paul writes:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right… Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6.1, 4)

This has been the case from the very beginning. Although there is definitely a place for a larger gathering of God’s people (Ezra 10.1), Moses writes:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7)

In the Bible, discipleship begins at home. With this in mind, this booklet has been written to give you some ideas about how you can use this time to help your young people to continue to flourish in the Lord. While the Church of England suspends its regular meetings, I would encourage you to set aside time to have your own “family church” – along with what you normally do. This booklet begins with ideas to disciple your children in normal life. Next, there is a basic plan for running a “family church” service.