Hi Friends, this will be the second last journal for 2017 and I ask for your understanding and indulgence if these last two blogs are a little longer than the usual 2 page average. THANK YOU … My prayer is that there will be something helpful within these words that you can utilize in your weekly walk with Jesus and your continued practice – demonstrating His kingdom in your patch of the earth.

If a Can Opener No Longer Opens Cans – it’s Really NOT a Can Opener

It is ‘indefinite’ to say the least that the great Albert Einstein said the following which has been an introductory quote in the Narcotics Anonymous Red Book since the early 1980’s.  “Insanity is doing the same thing (that doesn’t exact sustainability and reproducibility), over and over again, expecting different results.”  (NA – emphasis in parentheses mine)

What is clear, is what Einstein DID actually say and I think it is probably even more useful coming from arguably the most renown scientist of modern times.

“I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.” (Albert Einstein) In this quote, the context is of course scientific experimentation which will change ONE variable or combination of variables at a time, simply to prove an hypothesis you are sure is correct. The sort of time, effort, patience and discipline this takes is almost immeasurable BUT, the greatest life changing breakthroughs and advances in our world (mostly for the better – some worse), are achieved this way.

These things are achieved without a map or instructions, hence the pain staking process of trial and error – add knowledge – more trial and error – add knowledge and so on.

You and I have a map BUT because we human beings are apt to mould what we are given to look and sound like something we are comfortable with, we often do things with RIGHT intent BUT when we find out that these things don’t have lasting impact due to one variable or another, we try do what we know and are comfortable with in a slightly different way INSTEAD of doing what every scientist knows is required and that is to NEVER keep building from where you get up to. Apply the knowledge learned and always start with a fresh canvas before adding the new or different set of variables. Every experiment NEEDS a ‘control’ or ‘base line’ group which establishes a foundation by which to compare and contrast results towards a solution. Our control or base line (plumbline) is Jesus and HE IS the living written map – guideline – instruction.

Here is something I’d like to emphasize so you can quote this with my encouragement.     “I’m not always right, in fact my mistakes are frequent, but I know who has THE ANSWER – Jesus; and I am desperate to help those around me work closer together to look more like Jesus. If a church has cycles of impact and influence in its location over some decades but those increases are not able to be sustained and definitely not able to be reproduced, then we must go BACK to the drawing board and discover what might be the limiting factor or factors. Jesus established something that has never been able to be extinguished. What he started has always been sustainable and reproducible simply because it DOESN’T DEPEND on a person or certain people, it depends solely on the mission being sent from the Father God, being led by the Holy Spirit and always looking like Jesus. We HAVE TO determine together, how we can represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven LIKE JESUS DID and not just accept an interpretation or a reflection of what Jesus did without being prepared to check and re-check that we can confirm that this IS something that Jesus would actually say or do. He is our filter, He should be our mind set and you and I should be in love with Jesus and each other enough for TWO things to occur as ‘the norm’. ONE, we should be able to be transparent and open enough with each other to lovingly check each other’s decisions founded and MEASURED ONLY upon the base line of Jesus life and ministry and TWO, we should do this openly enough that observers would KNOW that we are disciples of Jesus and not some OTHER human dependent thing. Like we have seen in our reflection on Mark’s gospel, even Jesus’ efforts to re-align people with the kingdom of heaven was fraught with human obstacles and opposition, mistruths, rumours and innuendos to the point of the Cross. Amid all of that we have seen, something victorious, that has compassion as its fuel and power to transform lives still. Leadership through the centuries has been a factor BUT mostly because we idolize and idealize individuals who express the gifts and the character necessary to facilitate such success. But from the evidence of history I can guarantee this. Whatever else is true, if the leadership is acknowledged as looking like Jesus and not just looking like a good leader, the outcomes will be sustainable and reproducible because the leader that looks like Jesus makes sure they replace themselves with leaders who look like Jesus, whether they look and sound like that initial leader or not. You can also be assured that in light of this inalienable truth, Karen and I have committed to this journey with Corrimal Community Church until at least the end of 2020 simply to ensure that whatever we plant, re-plant or develop is ABSOLUTELY sustainable and reproducible whether we are physically present or not. We WILL NOT MAKE THIS PROCESS about us or about being dependent upon us. This process of aligning and staying aligned to Jesus way of changing hearts and minds and transforming individual lives and communities is hard, takes time and plenty of ticker. I ask that you partner with us as you have to this point, even if you don’t agree with the method, towards something that Jesus wants to do, first in our hearts and in our neighbours’ hearts, and then to the rest of the region and beyond as people see the light of Jesus reflected off us. We need a fresh modus operandi and the freshest mode is one which is consistently renewed IN Christ and DWELLS in the revelation He brings.

Einstein also said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” The ability to change one variable or a set of variables to re-align us with the kingdom of heaven truth. After all, every scientist will tell you that they are actually not discovering something NEW, they are discovering a reality that already exists but hasn’t been seen or fully experienced YET. Are you ready for 2018? Here we go!!”

Fair Suck of the Sauce Bottle Harry!!

When Harry dropped by during the week, we were encouraged by a man who is still changing into the likeness of Christ. This wonderful bloke turned up holding a BIG sauce bottle and when I asked him what it was for, he said “You have the big BBQ this Sunday so I came to fill the sauce bottles in readiness.” So, I thought, here is a classic example of bringing what you have to Jesus, and not worrying about what you haven’t got. Thanks Harry and thanks Jesus for prompting this action. After the sauce bottle filling, Harry asked if I would take him out the front to see what we’ve been doing in the front rooms. I wish I had a video of his face new and important when he saw. I have to confess that I was feeling a little flat and tired at the beginning of this week but when I mentioned this to Harry and explained that we were slowly but steadily making stronger connections with all our neighbours, (IN FACT we had an amazing Wednesday full of connections), Harry’s considered response was simply, “It’s ok Graeme, it takes time. Be patient.” Thank you, Jesus, for your servant and partner in this mission, Harry.

As Requested – A Summary of the OPEN Day Presentation  

Considering the size of this journal so far, I will divide the summary into two parts over these final two editions of ‘Rising HOPE’ for 2017.

Part One – Context for the OPEN DAY, Our Mission Statement and Kingdom Aligning Values

Part Two – 4 Key Strategies and The Story So Far

Part One … Welcome & Thank you for Celebrating With Us – to God’s Glory (Jn.17:4-5)

I used John 17 because it clearly defines God’s glory as being engaged when we DO ALL that God asks us to do as Jesus did…. Some Context for Today

It has been 4 years since Gordon & I were invited to ‘help you see the Kingdom of God Advance in your/our neighbourhood – and from day one we made it clear that Kingdom Advance is not fulfilled if the advance is not sustainable & reproducible

We began reading the bible to hear from God & 3 years ago we spent 40 Days praying to see God’s heart for US as a church family and our neighbours – Jesus Way

During the 12 months that followed we were led by the Holy Spirit to ask ‘What would a church that Jesus ‘actually’ builds look like?  By October 2015 the church leaders had prayerfully determined what some of the things were that should become prophetic priorities for us as a body of Christ in this community & we presented a vision containing these priorities.

We have been desperate to hear from God all the while to ensure our strategy remained  simple and as such able to be engaged, helping us be good guardians of the vision we were given and keep working towards what THAT church (as defined by the vision) could look like; refining, practicing, & stepping out in faith AS GOD OPENED THE DOORS ….  As a further resource, God brought us back to spend a lot of time in Nehemiah … God had introduced Nehemiah into the prayerful conversation back in November 2014 but it became apparent that Nehemiah was going to be formative for us as we moved towards this new season.

A Summary of the Vision Priorities & Outcomes So Far … (Firstly the mission statement)

“That Corrimal Community Church will grow into faithfully and intentionally demonstrating Jesus Christ in all His fullness to the community of people that God divinely appoints us to have responsibility and favour for, so that God’s kingdom is realized on earth AS it is in heaven”

NB: Please be assured that people becoming followers of Jesus, being equipped to be His servants and reproducing disciples is INTRINSIC to any plan that REALIZES God’s kingdom ON Earth as it IS in Heaven … This vision simply emphasizes that if the decisions to follow Jesus DON’T represent and demonstrate God’s kingdom on Earth – then we are simply making the dead end and non-reproducible mistakes of the past and in THIS season, even though we are human and will miss the boat on occasions, we just aren’t interested in being distracted and tripped up by old defaults – (even if everyone’s doing it so we think they must be right) in the same way that Jesus challenged the default untruths that humans had fallen into when He started His earthly ministry.

(Now the anchoring kingdom value) – A Season for Sowing Generously’

So, we have sought to faithfully pursue the mission and this value – and in our search for refinement God showed us who our God Given Spheres of Involvement/ Influence are:-

a) The residents of the immediate neighbourhood

b) Our church community member’s identifiable relationships; both individual member connections and corporate spheres of influence OR involvement (mostly NOT in our neighbourhood)

NB: We acknowledged that the culture of Heaven does NOT discriminate based upon ethnicity, age, capacity, socio-economic demographic or sub-culture – so, neither will we.

Mark Chapter FIFTEEN (What did Jesus actually DO?)

  1. Jesus was bound before Pilate. He actually answers Pilate’s question even though Pilate knows there is so much more to be said. (Pilate seems to be trying in some way to run interference for Him). The Jewish leaders in the room Do understand Jesus’ answer because they have made up a political charge so they could keep audience with Pilate, the only authority that could help them achieve their ultimate aim. Jesus continues to stay fast towards the goal – to COMPLETE the task, even to Pilate’s amazement. Jesus’ silence is LOUD and clearly indicates that bridges have been irreparably broken. (vs 1-5)
  2. Jesus accepted the process as it unfolded. Never interfering, never complaining, humbled. (vs 6-22)
  3. Jesus finally doesn’t accept something, and it turns out it was anaesthesia. (vs 23)
  4. Jesus refuses to give in to the taunts and the jibes. He could respond to this unbearable torture as King of kings but responds only as advocate, as the replacement, the ransom for our sins, the substitution for us. (vs 24-32)
  5. Sometimes, the impact of a journey on others is just as important and in some cases more important than anything said or done. I encourage you to do some research about Simon who was pressed into service by the Roman guard to carry Jesus’ cross – there is a legacy here for sure. Jesus finally speaks but it is to cry out to his Father. People around the cross were thrust into a space where there were a lot of questions but the WAY He breathed His last made an onlooker, in this case a leader of people, recognise Jesus as the very one He’d said He was and proved by His actions. This recognition came BECAUSE Jesus had been obedient ALL the way to death – even on a Cross. The Centurion, Simon – who else? (vs 33-39)
  6. The immediate legacy of Jesus’ life and work was that people still wanted to minister to Him; still wanted to see where He was going. (vs 40-47)
  7. Jesus could have lived on, taught, spoke eloquently of the kingdom of heaven and healed. He might even have attracted. The Cross though, it is the Cross which ‘cuts us all to the heart’ and Mark’s gospel is clearer about this than most.

Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/7-click-here

Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/9-click-here

Here’s the Link to HOPE College, Student information & Application Process http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/10-click-here