Communities of HOPE – It begins!
We were privileged to open our doors last Sunday evening for our Biker’s Chapel pilot event, one of the first cabs off the rank as our locally called missionaries start to intentionally create safe spaces within which people from a targeted culture can discover, examine and implement Christ’s claims on their lives….or choose not to J We call these ‘Communities of Heaven ON Planet Earth’ One of the key prophetic words that we’ve received in preparation for this new season has been … ‘never despise small beginnings’ and even though I have (and will never) justify ANYTHING we do based on whether there are large numbers of people present or not, what we encountered last Sunday night was a direct answer to prayer. The people who connected with us were representative of Jono’s immediate family, his longest-term friends, the new kingdom connections made across the culture of bike riders in our region as well as people representing the pilot missionary support team from our own church family. THIS WAS AN EXCITING REALITY AND CONFIRMATION!
After the BBQ, we commissioned this new work in prayer and we witnessed God speaking through a man’s restored, softened heart. This is the stuff of break throughs so let’s continue to pray into Jono’s life, pray for God’s team to emerge for the shape of things to come and for God’s clarity about what that shape is. Thanks to all who were involved but more importantly, thanks be to God! Much more soon ….
HOPE College Internship Campaign
We now have post cards which advertise our internship offer to a Year 12 student from one of our local High Schools. We are seeking out any potential missionary trainee who would like to receive a scholarship for their Year 13 or Gap Year, designed to open doors for future growth and mission involvement to them as well as doors to explore youth and young adult’s ministry in our focus communities also. PLEASE PRAY that our local High School Scripture Teachers will put these ad cards into the hands of ‘God’s anointed’ as Term 4 commences this week. Talk with Graeme if you’d like to know more or even help make a scholarship possible … thank you
It’s STILL a Season for Sowing Generously – in fact, it’s ALWAYS that season
The HOPE Project puts a helpful framework around the FOUR Key strategies that God gave us to pursue. Key Strategy #3 is … ‘Serve and Exceedingly Bless the Kingdom Mission Partners (Churches/Ministries) that God leads us into relationship with, in ways that assist THEM to achieve THEIR God Given Mission Vision’
TWO SIT-REPS that speak to this. Firstly, a couple of months ago, after conversation with Barry McMurtrie and the newly formed congregation known as Northern Beaches Church of Christ, we offered Karen as a music and worship resource in the aftermath of their loss of existing resources. This arrangement is until the end of 2017 and we continue to thank God for opening doors that we can walk through and between as we seek to serve His kingdom beyond ourselves. 2 locations – ONE church. PLEASE PRAY for God to bless and empower the work here and there.
Secondly, our brother and former ministry team member Gordon will likely be installed next month as the minister at our sister church in Port Kembla. His 12 month interim ministry will conclude in November and in partnership with the congregation there, we will seek God’s blessing on he and Helen as they move forward. THIS Sunday, Graeme along with Rob, Peter and Mark (Cornerstone) will present ministry in word and through a 5 or 6 song Keith Green tribute. Looking forward to that presentation here at CCC in the coming weeks. PRAY that this partnership build and bless the God given mission vision of both church families.
Mark Chapter SEVEN (What did Jesus actually DO?)
- Jesus challenged the ‘hard heartedness’ and the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and teachers of the law by pro-actively re-aligning their traditional observances (vs 6-13)
- Jesus was challenging a system of operation which consistently put rules and regulations before human need i.e. ‘nullifying the word of God’. The use of the word ‘Corban’ is an emphasis of this issue. Jesus uses this to demonstrate how the religious leaders looked for loop holes in the religious system of laws that continually made them comfortable and absolved them of responsibility when it came to being helpful, caring or generous. (vs 9-13)
- Jesus often followed up a re-aligning of traditional observances by turning His attention to the crowd and seeking to clarify the core values of the Kingdom of heaven to ensure the increase of conversations that could change hearts through revealed truth (vs14-16)
- On this occasion Jesus offered one of His most revolutionary doctrinal challenges. ‘Nothing outside a person can make them unclean by going into them. Rather it is what comes out of a person that makes them unclean’. Jews have died defending their traditional laws so this was a major shift and challenge to the religious leaders in particular. Jesus particularly focused on the various forms of evil that humans perpetrated which to Him was far graver than whether we eat according to traditionally approved regulations. (vs 14-23)
- Jesus also (as was often the case) then sought to equip the disciples further by intentionally debriefing with them so they too might express a ‘change of heart’. His emphasis of the evil that comes out of people’s hearts is further testimony to His passion that His disciples hear clearly from His father, undistracted by that which was considered as appropriate behaviour. Any focus on behaviour alone will NEVER transform individuals and communities. (vs 17-19)
- Jesus continued to place Himself where the Father had asked Him to go so the Kingdom could be declared. There were crowds everywhere but He never just stayed because there might be a crowd. (vs 24) Jesus chose to find some peace and withdrew from the Jews for what would seem to be about 8 months for intense equipping which I think things started to impact and re-shape the ‘hearts’ of the disciples. (More on this later)
- Was Jesus traveling back into ‘Gentile’ country to further emphasise His teaching about what was unclean and clean? It is interesting that Mark records what seems to be Jesus establishing foundations for the ‘kingdom come’ to gentiles right after the previous clash with religious leaders about the corrupt system of religion. More like Jesus entering into His inheritance than being among strangers (vs 24ff cf. Joshua 19:28-29)
- Jesus continues to equip by responding to the woman with the truth about the gospel and the covenant. She would understand seeing as she was Greek AND a genuine seeker. Jesus was referring to the fact that Israel had received the first gospel offering and all others would get the crumbs. In these days people ate with their hands, would wipe their soiled hands on bread and throw it to the dogs. The woman, recognizing the tone Jesus was using, asked if she could at least have the scraps the children threw away. Jesus seemed to enjoy her response and acted accordingly. (vs 23-30) The gentiles grabbed the bread of heaven left behind by the Jews.
- Further to 8. Jesus granted the miracle despite the woman being gentile. She didn’t need to be converted or even look like something she wasn’t in order to receive from Jesus.
- Jesus treated the deaf and mute man compassionately. Took aside from the noise and the expectations. Jesus continued to try and play down the adulation but the people noted ‘he has done everything well’. He restores the original beauty of heaven ON earth. (vs 31-37)
Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week
Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project