Paul is keen to establish his credentials as an apostle and he describes his conversion in clear terms. As a hater of Christians and the Christian gospel, he encounters Christ, the one whose people he is chasing and persecuting, and this effects an amazing transformation. He is transformed from being a deeply religious person to someone who devotes his life to the spread of the gospel to all parts of the known world. This transformation is not unique to Paul, but is basis for true life and freedom for all humanity.
Paul’s letter to the churches in the region of Galatia (in modern day Turkey) opens with a grave concern that the believers are abandoning the true gospel to instead adopt a counterfeit. His language is strong and stark, showing us how serious an error this would be. Although we are thousands of miles away and live thousands of years later, the risk is real for us too. We must be sure that we embrace and hold the genuine message of Jesus in the face of so many alternatives that sound plausible.
Today we launch the vision of our church going into 2020 and beyond.
Far from just being a place of retreat, the grace of God gives the church power to truly make an eternal difference in the world. We pray that we may be a willing active part of this. We are a future oriented people looking towards the life that is to come when Jesus returns. Like God, we know this life is too good to keep to ourselves. Jesus is with us by his Spirit not only to secure us but to send us out as his community with transforming good news of the gospel.
You will have opportunity over the next few weeks to indicate how you might give of your time, talents and finances to this mission that belongs to Jesus. The best is yet to come.
Note: The intro video to [Building a Discipling Culture](https://www.bdc.org.au) that was shown during Simon's message can be viewed [here](https://vimeo.com/316471625).
Pete doesn't talk about guinea pigs, but about sporting grand finals and the race that God has already run for us.
Our society puts enormous pressure on us to have more and more possessions, consuming them in order to find contentment and security. Jesus - through Paul - invites us to beware the lure of worldly wealth and to take seriously his promise that we can have treasure in heaven, finding contentment and richness in lives of love and generosity.
Can these bones live? They were the words God asked Ezekiel the prophet when He looked on the corrupt state of Israel. Some may be asking the same of the church today. Yet God told Ezekiel to speak his Word over the dry bones and they miraculously came to life. Even today God is bringing new life to people through the words about Jesus risen from the dead. It is because of such a hope for the world that Jesus sends the church out to preach good news. There is much rejoicing to come.
On this Father’s Day you may be one of the fortunate who receive a hand-made card or gift from your child. Kids bring joy to us with their unself-conscious creativity and their earnest desire to give tokens of love.
When did the rest of us stop doing this? And why?
Could it be that in this area, too, we can learn from the children and experience God’s Kingdom in fresh ways?
Its is a joy for us to baptise Joshua Trainor this morning.
It’s not the first time people have brought children to Jesus asking them him to bless them. Indeed Jesus illustrates that is how we all must come to him. Not with our power, our goodness, or our credentials.
The kingdom of God belongs to the least, the lost and the little.
It’s for those who have nothing to give to it.
It’s what Jesus gives that matters.
Adi and Jim talk about how our words have the potential to bring life or to take life. God leads us to bless others with our words and thoughts. Jim talks about his journey and how God has washed away the effects that words and circumstances have had on his life.