Hi Friends, Happy New Year!!! Welcome to Journal BLOG Number 1 for 2018 and thanks for being part of the journey. Just letting you know that this season’s journal entries might be a little longer than last year’s due to added devotional resources. THIS WEEK we are playing catch up for 2 weeks of input. It’s such a privilege to have you on board … Grace & Peace to you and yours from the CCC (HOPE Project) Team
Prayer-peration – It always starts in Communion with God and with People
It has been wisely said that “If you don’t feel like praying … talk to God about it.” As we develop platforms for launching into 2018, we believe it is imperative for as much individual prayer cover from our pray-ers as is possible. We also believe in the value and power generated by a greater commitment to corporate prayer. We of course understand how difficult it is for people to always be available at times others are available (this is true also when it comes to one corporate meeting on a Sunday). So, we are committed to seeking God for strategies that will enable us to pray better and more corporately as a church family even in the midst of the challenges getting together frequently presents. We have agreed that THIS WILL BE A WORK IN PROGRESS, so we will experiment with ideas as we get them – keep developing any given idea if it is working or stop it and try something else if the idea doesn’t seem to be helping us reach our goal of more people praying and more praying together than we’ve had for a while.
For now, our first idea is for ANY PERSON who can to open up our Hub and the emerging Prayer Lounge at any time during the week that they can do this so we can advertise these opportunities and build some prayer momentum. We are keeping a prayer journal IN the Prayer Lounge so pray-ers who drop by can see what’s being prayed, what God is revealing and can add new prayer points. It’s fairly rudimentary but will hopefully develop into something monitorable and measurable in the time to come. Please contact Donna or Heather via firstname.lastname@example.org if you can open the Prayer Lounge for an hour at the same time every week for a while. It doesn’t matter if you can’t keep it up; we will advertise and update times as they need updating. Presently, the Prayer Lounge is open for prayer 5.30-6.30am Wednesdays and 8.45-9.45am Sundays.
HOPE College is HERE!
WE have begun the ‘Year of Equipping for Increase’ and soon the timetable for study will be available. At present we are having conversations with potential students to determine the most effective modes of study for each person. We are committed to addressing each student’s circumstances as flexibly as is possible so each one can gain the most out of the journey. HOPE College is a framework for equipping that is accredited to provide the Nationally Recognized Certificate IV and Diploma of Leadership & Management with a study focus on advancing the kingdom of God through practical engagement with the community as missionaries.
There will be full and part time ministry training options as well as workshops and modules.
If you would like to find out more and discover how you might benefit from engaging with the HOPE College discipleship and equipping framework, our first 2018 Information Session will be at 6.30pm THIS Wednesday 17th January and this session will be repeated for those who can’t make Wednesday on Saturday 20th from 9.30am.
Discipleship Jesus’ way needs to become an intentional priority of church life in Australia once again and this is how we are becoming committed to that and playing the role God has given us. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Corrimal Community Church has been in a time of affirming nominated deacons in accord with the processes outlined in its constitution since mid-December 2017.
Because we have been seeking to hear from God through His word, and intentionally launched the HOPE project as a handle to help us stay aligned with this pursuit, we also agreed that in light of what we’d discovered in this journey to date, we seek to re-align and develop the sort of leadership necessary for this new season.
At the last deacons meeting for 2017 we determined together that before we discuss and seek more understanding from the Holy Spirit as to what this sort of leadership might look like, we should start afresh with our current deacons and a couple of newly appointed ones. This is a statement by our leadership that we are committed to this HOPE Project journey TOGETHER, and will take responsibility on behalf of our church family to process the leader-shift as we progress in faith and hear more from God. .
Well, God has been speaking to our people and there has been a terrific amount of engagement in this process as together we are desperate to look more like Jesus even on the path way towards what leadership should look like in God’s kingdom.
Recently, we believed God was challenging us to completely refine our constitutional requirements so they all make more sense in light of us being ‘Heaven’s Embassy’, shining the light of Jesus that breaks through the cracks of ours and others brokenness.
I apologized this week to the church family for some of my shortcomings in terms of ensuring this process started from where we currently are as an affiliated Baptist congregation and as at the 14th January, we’ve agreed our deadline for completing the affirmation process needs to be extended so we can keep pursuing what is right in God’s eyes and not just in ours. We will bring you more updates as they come to hand but one of the things we will be re-discovering is the biblical place for believer’s baptism and how that impacts us as we continue to ‘Cultivate the Culture of Heaven’ right where we are planted.
Stay tuned for some more information about this in the short time to come. We are praying about holding a baptism celebration in a little while where our people will be encouraged to re-connect with their faith in Christ or connect for the first time meaningfully by utilizing baptism as Jesus did, a step of obedience and humble service to the Father God prior to the commencement of His earthly ministry. Please be assured that even though I encouraged people to use the opportunity to be baptized again, there is no pressure for anyone to do that if you believe in your heart that a previous baptism remains a meaningful watershed in your life choice to walk with Jesus. I was encouraging people who might want to re-engage a faith that has become dry and even to some degree not real or detached from everyday life, to pray about whether this could be a way to re-establish their first love IN Christ and maybe as a launching pad for a new season of mission effort.
Remember, there is nothing magic in the water; it is, like the elements of communion, a symbolic, prophetic action, representative of dying with and being raised to life with Christ; encouraging our hearts to stay connected to Jesus. So, Jesus exampled something for us that we should follow. It was more than a baptism of repentance (like John’s baptism was called), at Jesus’ baptism the Father and the Spirit joined in. It is probably worth reflecting on the idea that being baptized into Christ opens the doors to MORE of heaven.
Keep praying, keep sending your feedback to me and let’s keep trusting God with this journey. Like Jesus, we want ONLY what the Father wants.
The current deacons will continue to operate in their function as has been the case during the process thus far and we will keep seeking and dwelling in the revelation Christ brought.
A Summary of the first TWO message inputs for 2018 for your Prayer, Reflection, Response and Action
The Series is … ‘Cultivating the Culture of Heaven On Planet Earth’
So … in setting this up I’d like to FIRSTLY present the THREE scriptures that will be our reference points for this series
- Matthew 6: particularly* verses 5-15
- John 17: particularly* verses 13-26
- Acts 2: particularly* verses 42-47
* Context is everything so don’t just read the particularly referenced verses
One more thing before we start cultivating our first culture of HOPE, the word itself; ‘cultivating’
- to prepare & work on in order to raise something
- to promote growth through labour and attention
- to foster & refine
- to PRODUCE
- to DEVOTE oneself to … the culture of heaven on planet earth
Culture 1. ‘COMMUNION WITH GOD AND WITH PEOPLE’
- WHY Do we take part in what we call ‘communion’?
Focus Scriptures: Mark 14: 22-26 & Luke 22: 7-20 (Read these to give this summary context)
- Jesus once again used a religious tradition and re-addressed it dramatically /prophetically (E.g. Triumphant Entry to Jerusalem in our study of Mark’s gospel)
- Jesus was aligning the Passover with the kingdom and in so doing, transferring the meaning of common things into something more (this is the meaning of sacrament = prophetic symbol)
- There are about 17 steps in a Passover meal, Jesus made the 3 parts of the feast mentioned here His own –
- The remainder of the unleavened bread eaten
- The prayer of thanksgiving petitioning Elijah to herald the Messiah followed by the 3rd cup of thanksgiving which had a blessing attached “Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine.”
- The 4th Cup (probably used 2 cups) followed by the singing of Psalm 136 (the great Hallel)
- In aligning the Passover, Jesus was indicating that the Kingdom of God ushers in all understanding and His Kingdom comes through His life & death & resurrection alone
- Thus enabling His rule of OUR hearts BY LOVE resourced by His empowering presence/communion/relationship and NOT by law. (i.e. a NEW covenant – promise – agreement)
- The language indicates an ordinance of Jesus (He asked us to)
- Acts 2: 42-47 – the language = a meal (as per last supper)
- BUT there’s more to WHY than just a symbolic gesture
- Remember me’ means remember what I stood for, remember what I taught you, remember your first love and who now rules your heart, remember the challenge and be spurred on towards completion of God’s primary purpose (as Jesus was)
- Jesus shared the feast eagerly with OTHERS (22:15)
- It was a language of love (Jesus said “as I have loved you”)
I.E This WHOLE communion deal IS ‘the language of heaven’
- The Root Greek word ‘koine’ (forming koinonia & koinoneo) means …
‘what is shared in common – the basis of partnership’
and founds the 3 C’s of this culture of Heaven that Jesus GAVE us and indicates a lifestyle we are empowered to cultivate
- It indicates an INTIMATE relationship between God and us – Us and God (2 way = Communion)
- It indicates a language of love which grows us and helps us stay the course/cause
(2 way = Communication)
- It indicates a ONE-ness with His children that reflects the One-ness of heaven
(multi-way = Community)
- It IS therefore ‘Communionicationity’ and this unique made-up word describes the idea of 100% Divine AND 100% Human being crucial for heaven to exist on the earth
- Jesus was / had to be BOTH … so do we
- Confirmed as a key culture of heaven by scripture (I.e. John 17: 11ff; Acts 2: 1, 42-47 Ephesians 4: 4-7, 11-16), communion with God AND with (all) People is the framework for God’s mission purpose – for ‘knowing’ His will (as Jesus) and advancing His will via transformed hearts on the earth.
- Jesus’ prayers say so. We just read one in John, now compare Matt. 6:9-15
Culture 2. ‘ENTHUSIASM – IT GETS CAUGHT’
Enthusiasm = “En Theos” (what comes out of us from having God Within)
Reference Scripture Acts 2:42-47 Focus Scripture = Rom.12: 9-21
- The sort of consistent fervour that this scripture refers to is ONLY possible IN Christ
- A flow on from last week – Enthusiasm is the outworking of constant Communion with God and with People (both because enthusiasm can only be sustained IN the primary purpose of God and without the human part of the equation, the primary purpose has no meaning)
- To cultivate enthusiasm is to be enflamed by the Holy Spirit to represent and demonstrate Jesus on earth
- If communion (‘communionicationity’) is the language of heaven THEN Enthusiasm is the atmosphere or attitude (outworking of communion)
- There is a certain intensity in the life of a follower of Jesus – a cause demands passion and Commitment
- The true church – the body of Christ is the framework for that zeal, the expression of that passion BOTH in service to the body AND in representation to the lost (Jesus’ light shines through the cracks of our brokenness)
- Hearts on Fire OR Spirits at Boiling Point is hard to resist – it’s tasty and engaging
- But Christ isn’t as directed in His concern about the opposite of Fire and Boiling as He is about His greatest concern; apathy and indifference – the thing that kills enthusiasm the most.
Focus Scripture: Rev. 3:14-22
Let’s have a look briefly at WHY this was the only one of the 7 churches that the Risen Christ had nothing good to say about
So … how do we cultivate enthusiasm?
- GIVE UP … give your heart over to Jesus and stop trying to be good enough or strong enough OR … Start over ….
- Enthusiasm that transforms comes from being cut to the heart.
REMEMBER the context for Acts 2:42-47 is 2: 36-37 (I.e. People CUT to the HEART)
We can learn a lot about cultivating enthusiasm from the early followers of Jesus
Vs. 42 Devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching = i.e. all that Jesus did, taught & commanded (cf. Matt. 28: 20)
Vs. 42 Committed to communion with God & with People
Vs. 42-43 Practised the empowering presence (true worship) and demonstrated His power
Vs. 43 Filled with awe – fear & reverence – see all things with wonder (faith of a child)
Vs. 44 Oneness was practiced – not just with those they were comfortable with but ALL
Vs. 45 Others first generosity – no one in need
Vs. 46 Every day (as the church) they shone the light of Christ in the market place
Vs. 46 They hosted others in their homes
Vs. 47 Giving all the glory to God – Enthusiasm gets caught and new believers get added
REDEMPTIVE BEHAVIOUR (HOLINESS) + COMMUNIONICATIONITY (ONENESS) +
REPRESENTING & DEMONSTRATING CHRIST (FULLNESS) = COMPLETION OF GOD’S PURPOSE
ENTHUSIASM (THE EXPRESSION THAT COMES FROM GOD WITHIN US) IS THE ATTITUDE OF HOPE – let’s spur each other ON in it
Think & Prayer Reflection Point:
How can the culture of Communion with God and with People become more ‘present’ in and through our daily lives … journal any idea God reveals to you and pray – pray – pray
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