10 REASONS TO GET MORE INVOLVED AT CHURCH

At the beginning of any year most people tend to evaluate their priorities. This is a good thing. In fact, one of our problems is that we do not assess ourselves enough. Let me encourage you to evaluate the level at which you are involved in serving the Lord at church. In no particular order, here are some important things to consider:

1. Serving is the purpose of our salvation.

Sometimes when we emphasise that salvation is not by works, we fail to fully appreciate that we have been saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). To be stationary or sedentary is to neglect God’s purpose for your life.

2. I have been gifted to serve.

Several Bible passages help us to understand the concept of spiritual gifts. Among them are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. In these chapters we learn how God graciously and supernaturally gives to each believer their own distinct ministry gift!

What a privilege!

3. Serving demonstrates the reality of my faith.

Nobody has said it better than James when he taught us that faith is not about what we know (or have heard), and it’s not about what we say. Faith without works is dead.

4. The workers are few.

Our Lord Jesus said: “Pray for more workers for the harvest!” If you are not already serving, somebody somewhere is praying for you to get involved. The need is greater than ever. The harvest is ready. The workers are few.

5. Do it for the kids (they’re watching).

When Jesus selected His apostles, He chose them to be “with Him.” Ministry is more often “caught” than “taught.” What is the next generation learning about positive, heart-motivated ministry by watching us?

6. The commission is great.

Our master and commander, the Lord Jesus Christ has given us our marching orders!

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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 surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18

7. Ministry involvement enhances biblical understanding.

As we put the Word of God to practice in our lives, the Lord brings His purposes and His will into focus. At the wedding in Cana, the servants understood Jesus and His ways better than anyone else in the room: “the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew (John 2:9).

Serving God enhances our knowledge of God.

8. Doing anonymous or little things for the Lord is like whispering, “I love You” in His ear.

We don’t do in order to measure up. We do because we measure up in Christ! God can’t love you any more than He already does! You are His treasure. He has redeemed you and called you by name. With this mindset, mundane duties became majestic acts of service. Serving becomes its own reward.

“Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart”. Ephesians 6:6

9. I will forge long-lasting and valuable friendships.

One of the major fringe benefits of serving the church is the building of genuine friendships. Those to whom we feel the closest in life are typically those with whom we work. Adam and Eve began their marriage side by side, working together – he the gardener and she his helper. Checkout Romans 16, where Paul takes time to assign value to his coworkers in ministry. Read it. Sense his heart. Ministry partners are the best lifetime friends and great sources of encouragement.

10. We will stand before the Lord.

He loves me. He died for me. He has given me purpose. Only what’s done for Him matters. I will meet Him face to face. Someday. Maybe today.

Involvement in ministry is living for Jesus, being like Jesus, and being with Jesus. If that doesn’t inceltivize us, I don’t know what will!

What would you add to this list?

Crucified By Email

Pastor@BelmontCommunityChurch.org wrote:

Dear Jesus,

I have been praying that you are sensing God’s presence during this difficult week for us all. Last night the Church board and I held an emergency meeting and I am writing to inform you that we have come to a difficult decision. Writing this email is one of the hardest things that I have had to do at my time here at Belmont Community Church. Before I tell you of our decision, I felt that it was only fair to explain how we as a Church leadership came to our decision and for me to share with you how I have been affected by your behaviour. In order to maintain clarity I will address the various issues regarding your employment as a pastor at our Church. Before I start I really want to say how difficult this has been for me and Alison, I am not above stating that I cried before I wrote this email. Things started so well when you came on staff, it was a joy to have you around the place and the congregation loved having you. I am still struggling to comprehend what went wrong. But here goes;

Behaviour During Church Services

I have communicated time and time again in our leadership meeting the idea that how we as leaders act, affects the whole congregation. Sundays are meant to be a fun, upbeat and inspiring time. We are trying to create an atmosphere that communicates the idea the gospel is good news and that those who put their faith in God will receive abundant life. Your constant habit of crying and weeping over the fate of our neighbourhood, completely works against this. I have been so confused by your mood swings, one minute you are full of joy – the next you will be weeping for the whole service. After talking to Dr Blackby I am more and more wondering if you suffering from a form of Bi Polar disorder or manic depression, I really encourage you to go and get this checked out. You can be so dark sometimes, which is not attractive to unchurched people and a totally different place to where we are going as a church.

Being a Good Example

I hear things about where and with whom you hang out. I really do hope that some of the stories that I am hearing are wrong and merely gossip. But I have to admit that some of the people who you bring to church do make me wonder what circles you are mixing in. I certainly hope the stories about the party at Matt’s place are not true. As a single guy it is never a good look to be hanging around with women who work in the adult industry. To turn up to leaders meets smelling of dope can only lead others into bad places. You need to get into an accountability group ASAP.

The Jewish Thing

I totally understand that you were raised in a Jewish home and in the Jewish faith. We loved the service that you put on during passover it was great to hear you sing the psalms so beautifully in Hebrew. The ladies at our Golden Gals ministry loved you teaching them Jewish Dancing. But I really do not understand why you continue to wear your prayer Shawl and yarmulke to church. At the interfaith city dinner Rabbi Rosen told me that you attend synagogue weekly??? He was under the impression that you were a practicing Jew and did not refer to yourself as Christian??? For goodness sake you need to work out where you stand, and who you identify with! Are you Jewish or are you Christian, what team are you playing on? Where do you loyalties lie??? Your behaviour just makes things confusing for people.

The Night at @tomic.

After ripping my hair out for months wondering where to place you, I finally thought that our emerging young adults congregation @tomic would be the best place for you. It is edgy, justice focused, andthey love conversation, it is in a bar, and filled with Christians who don’t like the vibe of our sunday services. But then the morning after you speak – I am inundated with emails from angry young adults telling me that you got all ‘hellfire and brimstone’ on them. They even started a facebook group to keep you away from the bar! Seriously what were you thinking telling them that ‘they will always have the poor with them’.??? Don’t you know that half that crew work for Christian aid organisations? I had to promise them that you would not come back! They said that you were too full on, too fundamentalist.

The Incident at Belmont Reformed Church

After the @tomic incident I was totally at my wits end of what to do with you. I mentioned the incident to my friend Rev Peterson and he said that he would love to have you come and spend a month preaching at his church and that he loved a young preacher who had the guts to talk directly about hell and eternal consequences. I thought all of my problems with you were solved. Then you go there and deliver a bunch of confusing stories that seem to skirt around the issues. Half the congregation walks out and you end up in the car park with the remainder explaining yourself. Rev Peterson is still rope-able, he not only thinks you are unable to preach the gospel he has serious concerns over your theology.

The Incident Last Sunday

And now to the straw that has broken the camel’s back. You know as well as I that it is so hard to get a Preacher like Pastor John Rosetti to speak at our church, he is world class. Ok even for me he can be a little ‘prosperity focused’ but he is such a gifted speaker and the Church was packed. When you overturned his merchandise tables I wanted the ground to eat me up. The damage that you caused to our ATM cash machine in the lobby will put the church back around $10,000. I can put up a with a lot, but vandalism I cannot. Your actions were a direct undermining of my leadership.

So I am writing to inform you that we will be making you redundant. I have with great difficulty convinced the Church board to not press charges and we will not be referring the matter to the police.

I am so heart broken, you are one of the most gifted young men I have met. I find you maddeningly frustrating. I have barely slept since last sunday, I keep wracking my brain trying to figure out why you are like this. I wonder if it is your age, 32 is pretty young for a pastor role at a church our size. I can’t help think that it must be mental health issues, probably the bi polar condition that Dr Blackby referred to.

We don’t want to turf you out on the street so we will be giving you a generous severance package, plus Jane has sent you a card that the staff has signed which includes a gift voucher to Brysons Christian Bookstore.

It will always perplex me why things did not work out. In your heart I know that you mean the best.

Sadly Jesus we must ask that you never come back to our Church.

Yours in him

Pastor Craig Clements

(A fictional email by Mark Sayers)

Thanksgiving 2018

A lot of people ask, “What is God’s will is for my life?” At out Thanksgiving Day service on Norfolk Island we read 1 Thessalonians! “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

What is God’s will for your life?

In everything give thanks!

Click here for the Chaplain’s sermon.

Praying For Norfolk Island

 

  • Sunday – That the Gospel would be boldly and unashamedly proclaimed in our churches today. That our churches would be places for the broken, unwanted and hurting. That Jesus will be offered as the only solution for the very thing we can’t do on our own –  make our selves better or save ourselves.
  • Monday – Pray that Romans 8:35-39 would become a reality. Pray for yourself, for your family, and for our church. Pray that our hope would be found in Christ alone.
  • Tuesday – Pray Matthew 6:10 over our island. Spend today replacing the word “earth” with Norfolk Island (“on Norfolk Island as it is in heaven”).
  • Wednesday – Pray that the Spirit would weed out the sin in your life that has kept you from living a life on mission. Ask that He would open up opportunities for you to be share your hope with your family and friends. Pray for them by name.
  • Thursday – Pray boldly Psalm 33:8 over Norfolk Island. The people would stand in awe before Him.
  • Friday – Pray Habakkuk 3:2 over Norfolk Island. That the Lord’s love, wrath, justice and mercy would be made known.
  • Saturday: Pray that the Lord would increase our love for Norfolk. That our love and growth in Jesus would produce a desire to see others saved, and grow in their love and understanding of who God is, what He has done and what He is doing.

New Sermon Series: Daniel

Every kingdom crumbles… except the kingdom of God.

The book of Daniel opens with King Nebuchadnezzar laying siege to Jerusalem and overpowering Israel. God’s people are defeated, humiliated, and taken away into exile. But the big message of Daniel is that how things seem is not how things are. God is still in control. God reigns over all cultures, all kingdoms, all peoples. Across all of history God has been working to set up his everlasting kingdom – the kingdom where King Jesus reigns forever. All kingdoms crumble, except the Kingdom of God.

I’m looking forward to working through the book of Daniel and learning more about the Most High God and His kingdom that lasts forever.

…for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

John Steinbeck – East of Eden

“I remember clearly the deaths of three men. One was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. I was on a ship when he died. The news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone recieved the news with pleasure. Several said, “Thank God that son of a bitch is dead.”

Then there was a man, smart as Satan, who, lacking some perception of human dignity and knowing all too well every aspect of human weakness and wickedness, used his special knowledge to warp men, to buy men, to bribe and threaten and seduce until he found himself in a position of great power. He clothed his motives in the names of virtue, and I have wondered whether he ever knew that no gift will ever buy back a man’s love when you have removed his self-love. A bribed man can only hate his briber. When this man died the nation rang with praise…

There was a third man, who perhaps made many errors in performance but whose effective life was devoted to making men brave and dignified and good in a time when they were poor and frightened and when ugly forces were loose in the world to utilize their fears. This man was hated by few. When he died the people burst into tears in the streets and their minds wailed, “What can we do now?” How can we go on without him?”

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, mo matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror….we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.”

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart”. Ecclesiastes 7:2

More Than Conquerors?

What does it mean in Romans 8:37 when Paul says that followers of Christ are “more than conquerors” (ESV)?

D. A. Carson gives some good answers to this question based on the context of Romans 8:

First, the “us” to whom the apostle refers includes all Christians. AllChristians are the ones whom God has foreknown, “predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,” called, justified, glorified (8:29–30). The people referred to are not the elite of the elect; they are ordinary Christians, all genuine Christians.

Second, the actual evidence that they are “more than conquerors” is that they persevere regardless of all opposition. That opposition may take the form of horrible persecution, of the kind that Scripture describes (8:35–38). It may be some other hardship, all the way to famine. The glories of life will not finally seduce them; the terrors of death will not finally sway them; neither the pressures of the present nor the frustrations of the future will destroy them (8:38). Neither human powers nor anything else in all creation, not even all the powers of hell unleashed, can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:39).

Third, as the last sentence already makes clear, that from which Christians cannot be finally separated is the “love of Christ” (8:35) or the love of God in Christ (8:39). At one level, of course, that is simply saying that no power can stop Christians from being Christians. That is why we are “more than conquerors.” But that point could have been made a lot of different ways. To make it this way, with an emphasis on the love of Christ as that from which we cannot be separated, reminds us of the sheer glory and pleasure that is ours, both now and in eternity, to be in such a relationship. We are not simply acquitted; we are loved. We are loved not simply by a peer, but by God himself. Nor is this a reference to the general love that God has for his entire creation. What is at stake here is that special love that attaches to “all who have been called according to his purpose” (8:28).

Fourth, the guarantee that we shall prevail and persevere, and prove to be “more than conquerors” in this sense, is nothing other than the sovereign purposes of God (8:29–30), manifest in the death of his Son on our behalf (8:31–35). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:32). No greater security is imaginable.

D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).

Big Questions

Everybody has questions. But not all questions are created equal. Some questions are really big… and they can become sticking points to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this series we will boldly tackle life’s Big Questions to help believers and unbelievers alike better understand the firm foundation of Christianity.

You can catch up on the first two sermons online:

05.08.18 Big Questions: Hasn’t Science Disproved Christianity? Listen online
12.08.18 Big Questions: How Could God Allow So Many People To Suffer? Listen online
19.08.18 Big Questions: You Can’t Take The Bible Literally Can You? Available soon
26.08.18 Big Questions: There Can’t Be Just One True Religion Can There?   Available soon
02.09.18  Big Questions: How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell? Available soon

Take Me To Church

This week, we’re looking at 1 Corinthians 6. The Corinthian church were suing each other in a court of law instead of keeping the matter “in the family” (6:1-8).

As strange as it sounds, this is the sort of thing happened all the time in the Roman world. Dio Chrysostom reports that the Roman word of the late first century was filled with “lawyers innumerable, twisting judgments.” (Winter, After Paul Left Corinth, 62). These lawsuits were politically motivated, between members of the rich and elite class (or want-to-be elite.) These lawsuits were opportunity for young orators to show off their rhetorical talents before the elite citizens (the judge, magistrate, jurors, etc.).

Paul’s solution to the problem is to “shame” them for suing their brothers. If the lawsuits were motivated by a perceived loss of honour in the first place, Paul turns a popular expectation upside down by saying that it is a loss of honour for a Christian to take his brother or sister to court. This is the “shame”: they are suing family members. The Church is a family not a social club. A person is not suing some stranger who has insulted them, they are suing family (and the Romans did not approve of intra-family lawsuits).

What does this mean for us? At the very least, we need to return to the truth than all the members of the Body of Christ are brothers and sisters and that it is dishonourable to treat a family member like a stranger.

See you in church 🙂


Where are we again?

Corinth was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire (maybe third after Rome and Alexandria).

It was situated west of Athens, on a narrow ithsmus between the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. Sailors preferred to have their ships dragged overland here rather than go around the more treacherous waters south of Greece, Corinth controlled the naval trade between Italy and Asia.

With all of the people and money flowing through Corinth, it became infamous for its intellectual debate (“They do nothing but speak and hear new ideas all day long”), religious observance, and moral debauchery “All of this evidence suggests that Corinth was the New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas of the ancient world” (Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 3).

Paul brought the message of Christ to this city in 51 AD, about three years earlier (Acts 18:1-17), and a large number of people came to Christ. Since then, things hadn’t gone so well in the Corinthian church. Some were involved in sexual immorality, some in religious prostitution (Cp. 6) and some even incest (Cp. 5), some had serious drinking problems (Cp. 11:21), some were falling into religious syncretism (Cp. 10:21,22), some were embarrassed about key elements of the gospel (the cross Cp. 1 and the resurrection Cp. 15), and they were racked by division (Cps. 1,3,6,11).

To put it mildly, the church was a mess! They weren’t transforming Corinthian culture; Corinthian culture was conforming them! Fortunately, God doesn’t give up on messy people or messy churches. God can take messy people with messy lives in a messy church and make a beautiful masterpiece of His grace.

 

Joyful Peace-filled News!

Radio Norfolk’s special Easter Broadcast titled “JOYFUL PEACE-FILLED NEWS” will go to air in both bands on Good Friday 30th March @ 8.30 a.m. It will be repeated on Easter Monday 2nd April @ 9.30 a.m.

Maundy Thursday Meal | 6pm | Parish Centre Prayer | Praise | Fellowship

Bring a plate to share. We’ll read through and meditate on the events of Holy Week, before sharing the Lord’s Supper together.

 

Palm Sunday | Sunday 25th March 

8.30am St. Barnabas Chapel (Holy Communion)

4.30pm All Saints Kingston (Evening Prayer)

 

Maundy Thursday | Thursday 29th March 

6.00pm Parish Centre (Passover Meal)

Good Friday | Friday 30th March 

10.00am All Saints Kingston (Combined Churches)

 

Easter Sunday | Sunday 1st April 

8.30am St. Barnabas Chapel (Holy Communion)

10.00am All Saints Kingston (Holy Communion)

4.30pm All Saints Kingston (Evening Prayer)

1. Pray for a Hunger for the Bible.

Imagine a church that longs to open the Bible each morning to discover afresh the truth of God’s character. Imagine hearts so overflowing with the Bible that our text messages, conversations, and prayers just drip with the Scriptures.

Our Father, give our church delight in your Word. Help us always to hunger for your truth. Lord, make our church a Bible-saturated church.

2. Pray for Thankfulness.

Being unthankful is not what God wants for us! The Apostle Paul identifies being unthankful as the beginning of unbelief (Romans 1:21). One way we can be praying for our church is to plead with God that we would be thankful.

God, make us to be a church that is thankful to you and for you!

3. Pray for Gospel Growth.

Jesus commissioned us as missionaries (Matthews 28:19) and churches have been preaching the gospel ever since. This cannot happen, however, with churches full of people unmoved by the gospel.

God, make us more and more impressed with Christ every day. Help us to grow in the gospel and walk in a manner worthy of it.

4. Pray for Holiness.

Peter calls us to be holy because God Himself is holy (1 Peter 1:15).

Our holy God, help us to want and to pursue Your holiness.

5. Pray for Unity.

The gospel brings people together. What’s more, it brings sinful people with various backgrounds together. The gospel takes selfish people and helps us to love one another. We are told to preserve unity (Ephesians 4:2) by walking in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.

Father, You are one in three persons. There is such a loving, happy unity in the Trinity. Make our church feel this happiness. Help us to be united together, as a church, and in love.

Every church is dying…

Every Church is Dying

Every church is a dying church in some sense:

• Some churches are literally dying. They are slowly losing people and will likely shut down.

• Some churches are glitzy and successful. They look vibrant and alive, but they’re really only alive to themselves and their institution. They look alive, but they’re dying and they don’t know it.

• Then there’s the church that could be big or small, glitzy or drab, that dies to itself daily – that has taken up the cross and is more concerned with following Christ, no matter what it costs, than its survival.

All churches are dying. Only one type of church will experience a resurrection.