Parents, Buy yourself a present!

//This is an article I wrote for our church

Amidst all the selfless cooking, shopping, wrapping, carol singing, cleaning, entertaining – it’s ok Parents this Christmas to invest in yourselves. Actually it is really wise.

God calls us to Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6). This is no easy task. It requires skill, planning and lots of prayer.

imagesAre you feeling a little under skilled? DO you need some fresh ideas? If so then this Christmas buy yourself one of these books. Read them over the summer. Talk about them. Then use their ideas in 2013 as you discilpe your children to know and love Jesus.

1. Let’s Talk about Parenting ($12.95) Tony + Judy Willis

This is an easy to read Australian book capitalising on 35 years of wisdom from the authors. It offers good foundations for parenting. It also offers lots of helpful insights and tips for parents.

2. Gospel Centred Family ($9.95) Tim Chester + E Mollimages-1

This is a really interesting UK book written by guys who want to see families as the hub of mission. The chapter on Grace centred families was a highlight. The Workbook was fantastic in putting ideas into action.

3. Parenting beyond your capacity ($14.99) R Joiner

This US book has been revolutionary for me this year as I have thought and prayed over family ministry at the Point. This book outlines the potential when Parents and Church work together to disciple their children. It also gives clear tips on intentional parenting.images-2

Hope these are helpful. Ed

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Websites for next gen ministry

Below is a post that I wrote for our church on using the Internet with our families. It’s not exhaustive!!

 

We are a church passionate about the next generation of Christ followers. We partner with parents in seeing the children and youth of our church grow to love and treasure Christ.

The Internet is now part of our culture. It is a gift for discipleship (though there is much bad stuff on it). Our kids use the internet nearly every day. Here are some sites

Young Children

This was the hardest group to find good quality sites for. ABC for kids is so much better than anything Christian I have found. However, here are 4 worth exploring

Youth

There is lots of great resources for Youth on the Web. The best is http://fervr.net/. This is an Australian site for Australian youth. It is well made, well resourced.

If you would like to encourage your Youth to read the Bible in a different way then http://www.epicstory.net/ is a great resource. 16 videos on the 16 chapters of Mark’s gospel. They watch and read and pray. Quality stuff

Parents

Resourcing Christian parents is a growing area on the Web. There is lots of good sites worth utilising to equip yourself for the joy of parenting.

  • http://growingfaith.com.au/ – This is the best one. Australian. Great, relevant articles. If you only read one site to help you parent in a godly way then this is a great one.
  • http://www.orangeparents.org/ – This is an American site that connects parents trying to grow bold children for Christ. Really interesting stuff
  • http://www.pluggedin.com/ (H/T Michelle) – This is a site offering reviews of the latest music/games/movies that our kids may want to watch/listen or play. It’s worth knowing what our kids are filling their minds with.

 

The way we talk about church matters.

(this is my article for our church a few weeks back)

Positivity is infectious.

Our Annual Celebration last Sunday reminded me of the power of positivity. I went home immensely thankful that God has brought me to Port Macquarie to be part of The Point Community Church. Jesus is at work.  He is saving new believers. He is transforming adults into more radical disciples, loving husbands, trusting wives, bold proclaimers of him and his gospel. He is growing the next generation into radical disciples. Our Church is a gift from God. When we stop to see the good things God is doing in our brothers and sisters, it drives us to our knees in thankful joy. It moves our hearts to want our neighbours and friends to believe the Gospel and be part of our community. It helps us trust the Lord in all seasons as we have seen he has been faithful to our community. Positivity is infectious.

Negativity is infectious

Our Church is not immune from the critical spirit of our modern world. Many of us battle hard with James 1:19, instead finding ourselves quick to judge, quick to speak and slow to listen. We treat Church like a performance to appraise rather than a community we belong to. Little issues take up our passions. Our words become arrows of judgement and division.

Negativity is a lead balloon for the church. It stalls us. Rather than being a community on joyful mission, we become a community of critics. Of course there is a place for robust conversation, growth and improvement. However, unbridled negativity causes our focus to move from God to ourselves.

Grace is infectious

The cure to negativity is not naivety but grace. Only as we remind each other of the abundant grace Jesus gives us in the cross and as a church will we see negativity for what it is – small and insignificant. The God of the universe is at work in us. He is changing lives. He is reaching the lost through us. He is bringing himself glory in his people. Grace replaces negativity with thankfulness.

Jesus wants the way we speak about church to be shaped by grace not criticism. Paul says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

The way we speak about our church is infectious. How do your words infect our community?

Easter Sunday Sermon

I was given the privilege of preaching Easter Sunday at The Point. What an honour!! The best day of the year. The day of hope, victory, assurance. King Jesus is alive.

The passage I was given was Matthew 28:1-15.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

It is a very interesting passage with 2 main scenes. The first is the women at the empty tomb. The second is the Jewish leaders reaction to the empty tomb. I focused in on the first

As I prepared the structure that came out was a mixture of narrative and apologetics. I am constantly struck by the facts of the story – in one sense the plain fact that the tomb was empty, yet the supernatural element of an angel passing the message to the women and the appearance of Jesus is mind blowing.

The apologetic slant was borrowed from Tim Keller whose 3 Q reasonable people ask about the resurrection gave me some structure to the rest of the sermon.

If you are interested you can download it here.

1 month at The Point

Our commissioning

It has been an incredible month for our little family. We have moved home, changed churches, made new friends, started a new job, begun learning a new culture, tried to buy a house, been to Melbourne, had wonderful visitors and ….

We have so much to thank God for. We are being stretched. We are learning so much. We are learning so much as a married couple. Two things I have learnt.

(1) It is hard being a newcomer.

More than ever before I have understood how hard it is to join a church. The swathe of people is at times overwhelming. Learning the culture is intense. Feeling settled takes much longer than 2 weeks. As newcomers join our churches we need to empathise with how they are feeling. It’s new and daunting for most. The more time we give to befriending and loving them, the quicker they will conenct.

The welcome for us at the Point has been wonderful. I thank God for the people who have helped settle us new people into our new church

(2) When everything is thrown in the air, Jesus is steadfast.

We have not been displaced or undergone great suffering. But we have experienced major change for the first time in our marriage. When our wonderful home church and friends and family are 400km away, we are forced to rely on each other and our Lord Jesus. This has been refreshing. I am so thankful for my wonderful wife and the constant support she is to me and our little man. I am so thankful to Jesus for being constant and faithful. Change has grown me even though I deeply miss the people in my life from the south.

1 month down … many to go. Looking forward to it.

VCYC: Jesus is alive

It was a wonderful weekend with the saints in Melbourne last weekend. I was reminded again how wonderful our God is. He is doing his work, growing his kingdom, across the world. Men and women of faith are staking their life on Christ. I came home tired yet full of joy as I saw God’s powerful hand in this wonderful community.

The music team were a gift from God. They were passionate, prepared, authentic and utterly clear on their role in the conference. They supported the teaching. They modeled repentance, praise and the right attitude to God and his word. I thank Jesus for them.

The song list was beautifully created to support the teaching. All songs lifted our eyes to Jesus’ resurrection whilst reminding us of the cross and our place in God’s family

  • Tell the world (Hills)
  • Lord I lift
  • Jesus Lives (Sovereign Grace)
  • How Great is our God
  • Mighty to save (Hills)
  • Our God (Tomlin)
  • Happy Day
  • Christ is Risen (Maher)
  • In Christ alone
  • Let your Kingdom come
  • My redeemer lives
  • Jesus paid it all

It was a privalage to serve with the VCYC team. These guys do a wonderful job and my prayer is they will continue to serve Jesus and promote his Gospel for a long time.

The talks went well. I was so encouraged how the kids responded and their questions showed a deep passion to follow Jesus in real and practical ways. The most common Q from the weekend is how do I know if God is speaking to me? It reminded me of how important it is to reach kids how to read the word and pray. Simple things but they connect us in a reliable and powerful way with out saviour.

If you want to listen to the talks they will be up on the VCYC website soon

Grace

 

 

Jesus looks backstage

Last Sunday I preached my 2nd Sermon at The Point. It was on a very tough passage (Matthew 23). In this text Jesus teaches his disciples how to live authentic Christian lives. They way he teaches them is by showing them the life not to live. The Pharisees were the example of this. They were hypocrites. Their whole life was a performance for the praise of man. Jesus detests religious performers. Not only were the disciples not to live like the pharisees, they were to be servants like Jesus.

Matt 23:8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

If you would like to listen you can download the sermon here