At the very heart of the Christian faith is the message that God invites all people to be reconciled with Him through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At the cross Jesus took our sin and invites us to receive His righteousness. This is sometimes referred to as the great exchange:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. (2 Cor. 5:21)
When we put our faith in Jesus, God not only reconciles us to Himself, He also makes us into a new creation; He gives us new life, a new identity, new goals and priorities and aspirations.
Through the transforming work of His Holy Spirit, God even transforms our very thoughts, sanctifying us and making us into something new.
What’s more, when God reconciles us to Himself, He also invites us to join Him in this great work of reconciliation; encouraging, persuading, even begging others to also be reconciled with God.
We become God’s ambassadors, God’s human representatives in this world; speaking and acting on God’s behalf.
This is an awesome and exhilarating responsibility; not something to be afraid of but the opportunity to share with others the good news we have received ourselves.
Pastor Jono Smith
I’ve never met someone who didn’t want to be well thought of. As people, all of us want to be admired and respected and appreciated; if only by a small group of friends and family.
Taken too far, this desire can become an obsession with looking right, sounding right, and acting the right way in order to fit in and be “liked” by others.
For many, the rise of social media hasn’t helped. We post our best photos, our cleanest children, our most flattering angles, our sunniest holiday moments.
Facebook, twitter and snapchat are not the places for honestly telling it like it is.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul encourages us to think of ourselves as being like jars of clay; simple, ordinary vessels that contain a priceless treasure; the glory and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rather than boasting or exaggerating or obsessing with ourselves, we have the incredible privilege of carrying with us the good news of Jesus’ Lordship.
We carry with us the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the life and hope that is available in Jesus’ name.
We carry with us the truth that while our physical bodies are wasting away, we have an eternal body and an eternal home waiting for us when we go to be with the Lord.
This is good news that gives us hope and confidence for each new day.
Pastor Jono Smith
Letters are on the way out and emails have taken over. This fact is causing Australia Post to lose millions of dollars each year. $1 to post a standard letter is starting to get a bit steep. Most of us receive multiple emails each day and from a huge variety of sources. A lot of them we can simply discard. In 2 Corinthians chapter 3 Paul speaks about the church receiving letters of commendation carried by his opponents to justify their credentials as apostles. Paul refuses to give much weight to such letters and pleads with the Corinthians not to be swayed by any lofty well worded letters. His line of argument to them is not to look at a person’s qualifications but rather the spiritual results that flow from their ministry.
Paul uses this argument as a springboard to compare the old covenant of law to the new covenant of the Spirit. His arguments are compelling and are a very timely reminder to each of us how easy it is to slip back into the “letter of the law” when it comes to our walk with God. The last 3 verses of the chapter are a wonderful testimony of the work of the Spirit in a person’s life. They speak to us of freedom, contemplation and transformation, surely a much more expansive way to live our Christian lives that by the “letter of the law.” The way of the Spirit is the way that God wants us to live. A spiritual life cannot be lived through a legalistic framework. So as we this week examine this chapter let us be open to what God wants to say to all of us
Pastor Warren Griffin
In the early hours of last Sunday morning, the city of Orlando became the scene of America’s largest ever shooting massacre.
We read with great sadness the accounts of the madness and evil perpetrated by the gunman in the name of his religion.
In the face of tragedies such as this one, or countless other events going on around the world, what hope, what comfort is there to be found?
This Sunday we are commencing a new series in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians; a letter that is more pastoral than theological in its content.
It is a letter than the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians to reassure them of the good news of the gospel and to reassure them of his ongoing love and affection for them as a church.
In the midst of their personal situation, this letter offers us profound comfort and hope; a perspective that goes beyond our momentary afflictions. It speaks of the loving presence of God who comforts us in the middle of our suffering and points us towards our eternal hope.
If you are feeling downhearted and discouraged, come and hear the good news of the gospel afresh.
Come and be reminded that while people might fail us or do unspeakable things, we have a God who always keeps His promises.
We have a loving Father who will never let us down.
– Pastor Jono Smith
This week we conclude our series on World Religions and we are looking at Buddhism. Buddhism has almost become a fashion statement in the western world; so many celebrities have come out publically to say that they have embraced or are sympathetic to the teachings or the Buddha. Buddhism predates Christianity by about 500 years and offers its followers a pathway to life that many in the West find attractive. When the Dalai Lama come to Australia (he’s been 10 times) he pulls huge crowds. Why is this?
In many senses the Buddhist religion is a fairly closed shop to many in the west. What is at the very core of Buddhism is not well known by the average person. However parts of Buddhist teaching has seeped into our vocabulary. Words like “karma” and “mindfulness” are becoming more and more common in day to day language. At the recent Mind, Body and Spirit festival at Olympic Park, you could visit the Mindful Meditation Centre and where you were told that by doing so you could increase your positive thinking and feelings of joy. Buddhism has done a superb job in marketing itself to the western mindset. Today many now see the Christian religion as simply an institution that has been compromised by scandal and therefore people have abandoned the faith in droves, it appears that Buddhism has how rushed in and filled up the void. This is because Buddhism offers the very thing that the Christian faith offers. Peace, calm, tranquillity, happiness joy etc.
Yet is there more to this than meets the eye? If so we will attempt to unpack some of these things this Sunday.
Pastor Warren Griffin
Of all the world religions, Judaism is the one that Christians are most tempted to think they understand.
We worship the same God don’t we? We read the same Holy scriptures?
Surely it’s just a simple matter of explaining the good news of Jesus in order to help Jewish people understand.
While these two world religions come from the same source, appreciating modern Judaism is far more complicated than we might think.
Jewish people have endured unbelievable suffering and hardship for over three millennia. They have endured undoubtedly by the grace of God. They have endured also because of their incredible tenacity and sense of family loyalty to one another.
To be Jewish is more than ethnicity or belief. To be Jewish is to be a part of a worldwide family that traces its ancestry all the way back to Abraham.
This Sunday we are going to learn a little about how Judaism evolved into what it is today; focusing not on a history lesson but the development of ideas and practices following the destruction of the Jewish Temple c.70AD.
We will spend some time hearing from someone’s personal experience of Judaism.
All of this will serve as a foundation for exploring how Christian people can engage in respectful, meaningful dialogue with those of Jewish faith.
We’d love you to join us!
Pastor Jono Smith