March IS Moving Month – Let’s Pre-Prayer Strategically

This Sunday the 25th will mark the final offering in the 4 part series of messages designed to encourage us as a whole church family to be involved in the process the current church leadership has initiated; to seek God and align with Jesus to discover an appropriate leadership development process that meets our needs now and can grow according to our needs as this new season continues to unfold. On Sunday, Graeme will present a vision for a functioning leadership development and reproduction process that we can use (or not) based upon what we’ve been learning and hearing from God together.

Let’s pre-prayer for Sunday and be encouraged to write down 5 names of people that you are praying that God would reveal Himself to and change from the inside out by His Holy Spirit’s touch.

Don’t forget that as a part of this prayer-peration, ‘The Prayer Group with Legs for HOPE’ continues EACH and EVERY TUESDAY evening from 5.30 – 6.30pm and is still tracking WITH the ‘National 40 Day Prayer Relay’. Julie and I believe that this group and time slot should continue after Easter so we can REMAIN INTENTIONALLY COMMITED to this call to strategic and corporate prayer.

REMEMBER, if you can’t get there (and there is no obligation to this effect), text Graeme or call him during the hour of prayer on Tuesdays, on 0418 297 504 and let him know you would like to be a part of our corporate effort from wherever you are and we’ll journey it together the best we can.  

Easter 2018 – Know Anyone You Could Invite?  

We will be advertising our Easter Services in the neighbourhood from this week.

9am     Good Friday (March 30th)

10am   Easter Sunday (April 1st)

Yoos Have Graduated – Congratulations!!!

We just wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Ruth and Betro on their graduation from Morling College. Last night their achievements, along with other students, were acknowledged publically at Morling’s Graduation Service. We join with family and friends seeking God’s continued blessing and equipping for Ruth, Betro and all graduands who continue in their journey of ministry development, perhaps also engaging a new chapter.

We particularly think of Grace at this time and continue to pray for complete healing and restoration for her. More details about this exciting development soon.

‘CitySERVE’ Shines

Over 70 volunteers from 29 churches across the Illawarra were involved on Saturday (17th) rejuvenating the old hall courtyard at Corrimal High School. CityServe seeks to help churches engage with the wider community through acts of service that are simply transforming acts of love with no obligations or ultimatums. This approach is very much a kingdom of heaven way of doing business; (i.e. heaven ON earth) and by the grace of God the sort of stats in the first sentence indicate a genuine kingdom response. We thank our lovely Christine for representing us during the day and we look forward to responding again when the Stage 2 date is announced soon.  

Scripture in High Schools Takes Commitment  

Whilst we are talking about our local High Schools, it should be noted that as a church playing our part in the kingdom for its advancement in our neighbourhoods, region and beyond, we have now been a member (affiliate) church on ‘The Northern Illawarra Combined Churches Christian Education Board’ for nearly 2 years. The responsibility of the Board is  “To provide joint-denominational Christian Scripture/Religious Education and ministry in State High Schools in the local Bulli, Woonona and Corrimal area, under the oversight of the ministers of the ‘Affiliate Churches’ belonging to the Northern Illawarra Ministers Fellowship [in line with the Statement of Faith].”

We thank the Lord Jesus for our THREE fantastic Scripture teaches, Clara (Bulli HS), Dal (Woonona HS) and Leanne (Corrimal HS) AND for the opportunity to play our part in this. Last year we hosted the annual commissioning and thanksgiving service for the teachers and as at last night, Graeme was appointed the new Chairperson for the Board. This opens many more doors for us to serve local churches and to further advance God’s kingdom ON earth. Please be in prayer for this important aspect of our mission as a church.

LAST REMINDER: The 2018 Good Egg Guide

A hard copy of this year’s Good Easter Egg purchase guide is available on the journal display tower in the info foyer.  We will post a copy online ASAP. This is a guide to purchasing Easter Eggs containing chocolate that has been produced by Farmers engaged in good farming practices, particularly with regard to stopping child slavery and trafficking in countries where most chocolate is produced. Thank you for purchasing Easter Eggs with this in mind.

A Summary of this week’s message for Prayer, Reflection, Response & Action

The Series is … ‘Cultivating the Culture of Heaven On Planet Earth’ Cultures 9 (Part 2)

 ‘CHURCH LEADERSHIP – The Divine Dance Expressed on Earth AS IT IS in Heaven’

Our FOCUS Scriptures for today are Matthew 16:5-15, John 17 and Acts 2 as ever (worth a PRE -read for this context).

A Synopsis of the Shape of Functioning Church Leadership in the Church JESUS BUILDS …

Let me remind you that we are talking about this because the current church leadership met and determined that we had to do some work before we could set aside a new diaconate or leadership team – work that should be able to be measured against Jesus’ life and ministry and what the word of God actually says so that … what we decide about church leadership as a church family represents and demonstrates heaven ON earth and as such meets our mission’s needs now, towards being sustainable and reproducible for the time to come.

Our Premise Based on Revelation to Date

  • The Body of Christ is made up of ALL the followers of Christ, not just 2 or 3 visible or prominent disciples.
  • A healthy body makes efficient use of ALL its parts.
  • We are the body and we believe that this next season of our mission effort needs to start with US being ALL we can be so that TOGETHER we look MORE LIKE JESUS ….

So, what does the shape of a functioning church leadership in the church that Jesus builds – look like???

If I was a betting person, I’d reckon that right at this moment there are a bunch of long held beliefs springing to our minds…

  • The challenge is to trust the Holy Spirit & not rely on what we think we know(Prov.3:3-5)
  • For much of church history, the “religious professionals” have been the ones to use the gifts while the rest of the body remained essentially inactive.
  • If we have learned anything from Jesus these last couple of weeks OR from Nehemiah previously, it’s that every believer is important & we are not alone or members of an exclusive club– we are missionaries playing our part as we pass through
  • We are to use the gifts apportioned to us in whatever ministry (service) God has assigned them to be used for

If WE build the church – it is founded on sand BUT                       

If Jesus builds the church it is founded on the rock!

(I.e. the revelation given to Peter that you and I need to receive for ourselves; about who Jesus is)

The Body of Christ is what God has chosen to fulfil His Primary Purpose to COMPLETION firstly by SENDING Jesus to show us what heaven looks like when it touches earth and then IN Christ represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven in and across our spheres of influence.

Matthew 16:13-28; Revelation 21:3

  1. The whole thing based upon ‘WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?” (Vs 13-17)
  2. Elijah & Jeremiah great tributes BUT …400yrs
  3. Revelation comes with intimacy, it was first hand to Peter and needs to be for us
  4. You can’t build the church on a human – Peter is NOT THE Rock (Vs 18)
  5. Petros NOT Petra – To call anyone a rock was a huge compliment (no Jew would                         use the term unless it    referred to or indicated something about God)                                            Peter’s name Kephas/Cephas means ‘a rock’ not ‘the rock’. Peter made the                                    great discovery and Jesus honoured him as the first to make the discovery for                                 himself (which each one of us need to do for ourselves)
  6. Privilege & Honour carries Shared Responsibility (Shared with Father/Son/Spirit)
  7. Actually – the NEW congregation of Israel (THIS IS BIG PICTURE)
  8. Jesus used ‘quahal’ NOT ‘ekklesia’ – It is the Hebrew word not the Greek and as such, Jesus is saying to Peter, “You are the beginning of the new Israel, the first of many in the new fellowship of followers of Christ who believe in my name” The connection with dwelling and residing with Christ (Rev 21:3) now clearer.
  9. The Gates of Hell powerless in the face of this church that embraces all who love                           the Lord, who hold the keys to opening up the kingdom of heaven.
  10. The Context for ‘Shared Responsibility’ is found in the REBUKE … (Vs 23)
  11. This is the reason the church is built by Jesus through / IN us because if we were THE rock ….. Peter’s humanity fails to see that our first human default is to protect our own comfort and desires – just as he does
  12. Jesus rebukes Peter for taking FULL responsibility rather than playing his part which Jesus recently honoured THEN he underlines the issue with the most                                                poignant teaching of all; Deny Self, Take up the Cross & Following Me (Jesus).                           This requires the complete infilling & control of the only one to do it successfully                        – The Christ is THE Rock the church is built on and by and we get to share in the                              responsibility i.e. 100% Divine AND 100% Human.

The Human / Divine Process that follows Christ’s victory over death is found if we track The Holy Spirit (The Power of ALL of Heaven)

Acts 1:1-8

  • Instructions come from Jesus through the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus said ‘WAIT FOR THE GIFT’ – we should do what He says (but we didn’t)
  • It’s the Father’s Call and His authority ALONE

Acts 2:1; 36-47

  • The GIFT CAME when the believers were In ONE Accord
  • The Foundation of the Church Revelation CUTS to the Heart
  • And causes an outworking of Devotion, passion, commitment, oneness, kingdom advance (not just a little filling but lavish portions. ARE WE THIS HUNGRY?)

Acts 5:29, 34, 38-42

  • The disciples began outing obedience to God above obedience to people
  • A teacher of the law argued – If it’s on a human foundation IT WILL FAIL
  • The standard of discipleship became foolishness for Jesus and what seemed to be civil disobedience or at least, not caring what was considered the RIGHT thing

Acts 6:2-7, 8 (cf. 2:43)

  • God assigns tasks NOT us – Stephen was a deacon (i.e. diakonos or servant/waiter/minister) BUT by Christ’s apportioning also an apostle

Acts 7:59-8:1

  • Stephen the second martyr… 1st (Jesus) led to Pentecost 1. (Jews/Hellenic Jews) The 2nd led to Pentecost 2. (Gentiles)
  • The dispersion (diaspora) was God’s work. We want measurable growth so we can celebrate and be celebrated
  • The Holy Spirit wants exponential growth so that no one but God can be celebrated

Acts 9:15

  • The Holy Spirit’s reminder what dying to self means (Peter NOW Paul)

Acts 11:15-26

  • Connecting the first wave to the second demands leaders who stay intimate with Jesus (Peter had to be deeper IN Christ to open this door)

Acts 13:1-4

  • The church started making leadership decisions good to them AND the Holy Spirit
  • They started SENDING and missionary leaders would ONLY GO when SENT

Acts 26:19f

  • Being and staying obedient to the vision from heaven is the only acceptable epitaph for the function of church leadership (cf. John 17:4)

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3 (Paul wrote from Ephesus about AD 57)

  • The Holy Spirit Manifests ONENESS (kingdom culture)
  • Paul starts writing about how THE GIFT (the Holy Spirit) manifests (gifts) for the mission to operate effectively… First apostles, then prophets, then teachers … we start getting a picture of how relationships that look more like Jesus (i.e. God’s LOVE), empower and release fellow workers .. g. Jesus equips and appoints missionary leaders (First Disciples) – Spirit outpoured and brings resourcing power for missionary leaders to be equipped and appointed – Devotion is the disciples’ response which leads to equipping and sending missionary leaders by the Holy Spirit – the LORD ADDS to their number daily

NB: The language that this passage in Paul’s letter uses indicates this gift list are manifestations or gifts released as and when they are needed.

Romans 12:3-8 (Paul wrote from Corinth about AD 58-9)

  • The Holy Spirit provides MOTIVATIONS for Believers towards Jesus’ Holiness
  • The context is in vs 1 & 2 (true spiritual worship (‘latria’ meaning service)
  • Paul explores 7 heart motivations that shape & serve the mission & help keep the body looking like Jesus – Prophesying, Teaching, Exhorting, Serving, Leading, Giving & Mercy
  • He undergirds it with love (just like in 1 Corinthians) so the apportioned gifts never get caught up in human values

Ephesians 2 – 4 (Paul wrote from Rome AD 62-3)

  • The Holy Spirit resources Ministries that Equip saints to serve to the FULLNESS of Christ
  • Paul finally paints a FULLNESS picture … he starts with the Cornerstone (Jesus) and the aligning foundations (apostolic & prophetic function) (Chapter 2) … heralds the purpose of the church to represent and demonstrate Christ (the whole of heaven) on earth until the final day (Chapter 3)…
  • In Chapter 4 he reminds us that God assigns gifts and tasks by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (vs1-10), indicates how the church is built by Jesus i.e. by the equipping ministries that represent the life and ministry of THE Christ (vs 11-12), outlines the focus and reason for equipping saints to sustain and reproduce mission and you guessed it (undergirds it with LOVE) (vs 13-16)

Christ IS the alpha AND the omega, He is the beginning AND the end

He is our foundation AND our destiny

As such, the harvest field is His and we need to ask Him to release workers to the harvest i.e. Our families, neighbourhoods, work & community connections etc.

This IS our shared (with Jesus) responsibility empowered by the Holy Spirit and this should be the facilitating focus of ANY church leadership framework and development process

Prayer, Reflection & Response

(Some guidelines to encourage the conversation about what an appropriate leadership development process should look like for us)

  1. Do you think you are attuned to the movement of the Spirit in your daily life? If not why? If so, how do you recognize this movement within you (whisper, feeling)?
  2. Can you remember a time when you listened and responded to that nudging?                       How about a time when you heard it, but chose not to respond?
  3. Do you know what gifts you have been given by the Spirit?
  4. If you have awareness, how might your gifts be used to serve the church in its efforts to advance God’s kingdom on earth? If no or little awareness, if you’d like to know, please contact Graeme for a chat.
  5. What do you think happens within a church when each individual does / does not seek to identify, accept, and use the gifts the Spirit has given to them?
  6. What ministry service have you been involved with before, either at CCC or somewhere else? Did your experience confirm skills and gifts you seem to express or was it sometimes ambiguous and you were simply ‘serving’ to help in any way you could?
  7. If you consider yourself a disciple, a follower of Jesus, do you consider yourself a leader in your life spheres of influence? Why or why not?
  8. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and prayer points with someone you trust and give a report of your shared responses to Graeme if that’s possible somehow.

Let’s Talk via email, phone OR for an hour before OR after Prayer Group on Tuesday evenings

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

Here’s the Link to HOPE College, Student information & Application Process

Here’s the Link to Graeme’s Available Weekly Calendar Times