Thanks for Your Patience – Here’s our Bumper Two Week EOFY Edition
‘Think Tank’ Forum a Watershed Moment in the Life of our Church’s Mission
It’s a little too early to give a comprehensive report on outcomes from Saturday’s ‘Think Tank’ BUT we can testify to the fact that God is doing something intentional and wonderful. He has invited us to partner with Him in this NEW season of strengthening, deepening relationship with each other, sustainable and reproducible leadership development and the cultivation of the culture of heaven; for the sake of significant advancement of the kingdom rule of God in and through the hearts of people that Jesus has sent us to and given us favour enough to be responsible for.
The people present at the ‘Think Tank’ were those who have been responding to the Holy Spirit’s leading to make themselves available to ‘share more of the responsibility’ for the mission we’ve been called to and who were set apart by a meeting of the whole church family in May.
There will be other forums and workshops planned BUT we believed God was clearly showing us that we needed to take the momentum of the place we had reached with each other and turn it into action as soon as practically possible.
All who were present have given positive feedback through one medium or another as to how refreshing, stimulating and important the forum was and how palpable the empowering presence of Jesus was during the whole time of prayer and reflection.
Please PRAY with us as we collate responses and suggest ways forward over the next few weeks based upon what the Holy Spirit was clearly saying collectively to the ‘Think Tank’. We need to be as discerning as we have been so far about what’s priority and what’s not so that we can equip our people appropriately and fully with all of the resources of heaven entrusted to us.
My sincere thanks to everyone for pitching in to make the forum a logistical success so that God could show us a more excellent way to represent and demonstrate his kingdom rule to our families, friends, neighbours, work mates, community involvement or campaign partners and more.
Let’s continue to celebrate ‘for a time such as this’, what it could look like if Jesus was truly the head of this church body. Our primary desire is wrapped up in these scriptures that Julie has shared with us.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:10-12) More, very soon …
We Celebrate TWO Special PLUS ONE Wedding Anniversaries
What a blessing to have not one but two beyond words inspirational marriage relationships in our church family. In these days we can’t understate how challenging it is to reach milestones of intimate relationship journeying and so we want to celebrate SIXTY-ONE years of marriage for Doug and Marie MacFarlane and FIFTY-ONE years for John and Margaret Podmore. Congratulations from all of us. We thank God for you!
ONLY 3 WEEKS and a FEW DAYS UNTIL 24 HOURS OF DRUMMING UP SUPPORT
So …. I need your help to drum up support between now and then with heartfelt thanks for any effort you can add to the forming picture. Here’s what we know so far that you can use for sharing or thinking of other ways we can all play our part and make it easier overall:-
– Graeme will attempt to drum for 24 hours straight, from 5.30pm on Friday 27th July (like the Table Tennis Marathon, health regulations allow him a 3 to 5 minute break an hour)
– On our church family’s behalf, he is raising awareness and funds for THREE (3) beautiful kids who are in desperate need. Here’s some introductory info & context.
- Chloe Saxby – Graeme made a commitment a few years ago to regularly raise awareness and funding support for beautiful Chloe and her amazing family and has so far conducted a 24-Hour Table Tennis Marathon in 2016, a 6 Hour Backwards Walk in 2017 and has gifted 50% of his Anthology CD Album sales since Christmas 2016.
Chloe has an extremely rare condition called Vanishing White Matter Disease.
- Beau McClinton – suffers from Ohtahara Syndrome – a rare, drug resistant, uncontrolled form of epilepsy where Beau can experience up to 40 large seizures a day (i.e. 300 infantile spasms & about 7-10mins per seizure). Graeme describes his connection to Beau,
“I dedicated little Beau in a naming ceremony on his 1st birthday in February 2018. I feel very close to his extended family having facilitated seven life celebrations for them since 2009.” Recognising the little fella’s uncertain future and knowing something of his family’s daily struggle, particularly parents Erin and Gezza, Graeme decided to add support for Beau to this year’s campaign.
- Michael Bereznai suffers from a rare childhood lung deficiency known as Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy (NEHI). NEHI was only classified in 2005 and there is currently no cure and very little known about the disease. It is characterised by rapid and difficult breathing, low levels of oxygen in the blood, and a high susceptibility to lung infections. Graeme says, “My wife Karen is a long-time friend of Michael’s extended family, having played a Nanny type role in the lives of Michael’s mum, Alex, and her siblings.” Michael has a life challenging condition with an uncertain future and many health ramifications.
For Chloe, Beau and Michael, it has never been truer that even as AMAZING as their families are, it takes a village to raise them and we should be part of their village. This fund raiser is the very least we can do. Our hope is that, alongside greater awareness and much needed funds, the silliness of this event might also bring a smile to the families’ faces and some welcome relief.
– We are looking forward to a number of musicians playing for Graeme at variously advertised times through the event and half a dozen are already locked in, including Mark Matthews who will launch the event with Rob & Graeme from 5.30pm Friday.
– We are hoping to run some fun additional things to promote engagement, like special focuses and silent auctions (if you have any objects or services we could auction)
– We will also at some appropriate point during the event, air songs from Graeme new album project that will include the title track which is sub titled ‘For Chloe’ and which he will dedicate to the 3 kids in the hope that this will generate excitement and more platforms for raising awareness and developing funding mechanisms.
More soon but thank you in advance for your pro-active prayer and support as we count down to July 27th and as our small, hands on team starts getting the support partnership that’s needed.
For more information and to stay up to date you can login to Facebook, type @24HrDrumMadness into the search line and like the page or click on ‘Going’ or ‘Interested’ on the associated event page and you will be notified of updates.
If you are asking family, friends and contacts to DONATE, and you can’t work out how to get them to the online options, simply give them the following Bank Details – THANKS!
Westpac Account Named – Heartland Ministries
BSB 032727 Account Number 203307 and we’d ask people to identify their deposit with their Name or Initials (or not if they’d like to be anonymous) and the word DRUM.
A Change is in the AIR
Due to our strengthening relationship with Illawarra Quilters Inc. and their current regular hire of our facilities (equating to about 25 hours a month for a minimum of 12mths), we were able to supplement our income enough to install a reverse cycle, eco-friendly, thermostat-controlled air conditioner in the back hall. It ended up being a really decent deal and one of the advantages gained is the ease at which we’ll now be able to update our hall and auditorium lighting over the next couple of weeks. We are constantly working at cost effectively upgrading our facilities to align with our ministry needs and due to the generosity of a bunch of people devoted to a core belief in God’s provision as well as being committed to what we are trying to do, we’ve actually increased our average weekly income since we started maintenance and upgrades about mid-2016. Sincere gratitude as ever to John Podmore and his family for coordinating this journey on our behalf.
Local Scripture Board Fund Raiser Success – Thanks to All who Participated
Those of us who braved the arctic front that was passing through the region a weekend or so ago, to engage in the Trivia Night Fund Raiser for our scripture teachers in the THREE Northern Illawarra High Schools, were treated to a terrific night of fun which also netted a record $4500 for the cause. Sincere thanks to all who joined in; for parting with hard earned dosh and even providing some of the raw materials that lifted the funds raised to new heights. Scripture teaching in High Schools is a front-line ministry of the Combined Churches. If you weren’t aware, we do NOT receive government or even corporate funding for the provision of suitably qualified and compliance ready teachers. Corrimal Community Church is ONE member of the 11 Church member Board which is charged with the responsibility for authorising teachers and volunteers to be allowed by the education department to work in schools and for raising the funds needed to completely support the teachers (and all that means in today’s employment atmosphere) which amounts to an annual bill of approximately $100K. We trust God together to help us achieve the required support through church and individual donations and these fund raisers. So, you can see it’s a BIG task. We want to play our unique part in God’s solution to this discipleship and equipping leadership issue for the church as a whole. So, thank you!
A Summary of last TWO Sunday messages for Prayer, Reflection & Response.
Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest
Series: ‘The HOPE Project Trek from Base Camp to Camp One’
Theme: ‘Tools for the Climb: Advancing the Kingdom of Heaven (The Essential Function of Church)’ AND ‘Church Planting IS the proper Theology of Evangelism in the NT Part 1 – (studies in ‘the Church that Jesus builds’ by Brian Medway & Graeme Hush) Reference Scriptures = Matthew 16: 13ff, Matthew 13, Matthew 18, Luke 10; Ephesians 3 & 4
Tools for Climbing the Unclimbed Peaks of Holiness, Oneness & Fullness TOGETHER towards Completion
- The ESSENTIAL nature of the church is … A Body … NOT a Temple
- The ESSENTIAL function of the church is … To Withstand & Conquer the Gates of Hell
- The ESSENTIAL purpose of the church is … To advance God’s KINGDOM (Rule) on earth as it IS in heaven Have you ever wondered why the “good news” doesn’t come across as good news when you speak about it sometimes?
Have you ever thought why the people of our neighbourhoods are so seemingly reluctant to embrace the love of God?
It’s not just that the church isn’t seen as representative of this love & it’s not just the fact that some people have had a bad experience with a church at some time in their life.
What if it has to do with the fact that they are under the rule of ideas & views that represent the prince of this world, the devil.
What if it’s because people choose every day to live in a different kingdom. (world)
It’s a ludicrous suggestion BUT …
The proclamation of the good news of the kingdom might well be like the allied forces landing on the beaches of Normandy and rather than just spraying munitions at each other without any thought of what might be behind the war … saying to the armies of the Third Reich, “We want you to let us come and remove the right of Adolf Hitler (or the source of the ideas that represent that ideology) to remain in power.”
- The church that Jesus builds, has been given custody of a message & the message is about the re-establishing of God’s rule in the lives of the people he created, sustains, loves & redeemed.
- To achieve that, the incumbent ruler, WHO IS ALREADY DEFEATED – NOT BY US BUT BY JESUS THE BUILDER needs to be removed or unseated, BECAUSE …
- The Bible says that Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to the reality of the Truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). And as the church, flashing a club membership won’t do it, we need to ‘covenant’ with God & with each other to ‘submit to the commander’ & resist the ‘adversary’. It’s a battle already won BUT deceived hearts are at stake
- The tools I am trying to provide us with in this study are found in the consistency that we’ve established together BY
Taking these things and ALIGNING them with the ministry of Jesus as a sample of how two kingdoms are at war in order to understand how the battle for the hearts and minds of people and the battle for the destiny of God could be fought in our own neighbourhood and community involvement spheres – DAILY.
And on Sundays we could do more celebrating of the journey. So, let’s have a go at that now …
The Kingdom of God IS NOT A Salvation Formulae; We have the Strategy:
To understand what the kingdom of God should look like where you are, is the KEY to kingdom advance
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)
- The ONLY passage in the bible that talks about the nature, function and primary purpose of the church
- It is the church that Jesus builds on the revelation He brought
- It includes a strategy that the church needs to adopt – primarily!
FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TEXT
- ‘I’ = Jesus is the giver; we DON’T work it out for ourselves
- ‘GIVE’ = It is a gift that has to come by faith through our relationship with Jesus, just like the gift of our salvation or gift of the Spirit or the gifts the Spirit apportions
- ‘KEYS’ = What Jesus is going to give are strategic ideas. i.e. How to go about the ministry. If we put these ideas into practice, the kingdom of God (representing His will) will come
- ‘KINGDOM’ = We need to make it very clear as a ‘church’ in a community sphere that our primary purpose is advancing the kingdom; everything else submits to that (cf. Matthew 11:12). The message of the kingdom of God is that God wants to do what HE wants as opposed to what the prince of darkness wants, or what anyone else wants. (cf. Matthew 6:10)
NB: This happened in the ministry of Jesus when people were healed, delivered, made to feel worthy etc. IT is also what Jesus meant when he quoted Isaiah 61 as the ‘calling’ for his ministry on earth (quoted in Luke 4: 18-21)
NOT ABOUT US BEING SMART ENOUGH TO IMPLEMENT ACTIVITIES THAT LOOK LIKE JESUS’MINISTRY CALLING; RATHER BEING FULL ENOUGH OF JESUS TO BE LED BY HIS SPIRIT TO WHERE HE IS WORKING, SO HE CAN USE/SEND US TO REPRESENT HIM & DEMONSTRATE HIS KINGDOM MINISTRY.
- ‘BIND & LOOSE’ = Here is a very big deal. These words have been misrepresented by prayer movements to refer to something that goes on in a prayer meeting. It may broadly apply to something that goes on in a prayer meeting, but it was almost certainly not what Jesus was talking about when he said it. The problem about the prayer application is that Jesus never once did that. Not even once. It’s going to be a brave call to regard that as the core application.
We need to ALIGN this strategic truth with the ministry of Jesus and see what he DID DO that might be an example of what he is speaking about.
- ‘BIND & LOOSE’ (continued) = There are two connected realms of reality – a heavenly & dark (eternal) spiritual realm and a material earthly (temporal) realm.
The spiritual realm controls the material or temporal realm Jesus gives us keys and when we use these keys ON EARTH we will impact what happens in the spiritual realm AS WAS TRUE FOR JESUS … that action in turn will have an outflow impact in the earthly realm.
Some things on earth currently on the loose need to be locked up
Some things on earth currently locked up need to be released BOTH by the Christ IN us
So, finally, in the context of this study, let’s very briefly re-visit Matthew 13, remembering that we’ve already reflected on the ‘Hidden, becoming revealed – with a surprise or two’ way Jesus used parables to describe what the kingdom of heaven IS like.
Now, we get some more revelation about the strategic ministry of binding and loosing … (I’ll summarize & you can go foraging)
In Matt. 13, Jesus describes the kingdom of God in four allegories:
- seed sown in four different types of soil (vs.1-23)
- two harvests – wheat and fish (vs.24-30; 36-43) (vs.47-52)
- two irresistible forces – mustard seed and yeast (vs.31-35)
- two priceless but hidden treasures – treasure & a pearl (vs.44-46)
- What we are suggesting is, the church that Jesus builds has the power to pull down the strongholds that lock people out of the kingdom of God. Let’s consider what “keys of the kingdom” are represented in each of the 4 cases. Keys that Jesus didn’t just DESCRIBE but USED …
The Parable of the Seed and the Four Different Soils (Matt. 13:1-23)
The ministry of the kingdom must be offered to all, regardless of the response. People will respond in one of four ways; some will produce fruit exponentially
The Two Harvests (Matt. 13: 24-30; 36-43; 47-52)
We and the people who respond to the kingdom message are designed to grow and develop our faith in the environment that is made up of believers and unbelievers. We are not meant to form a separate sub-culture.
In this world, the people who respond to the ministry will always need to live and grow alongside people who don’t.
We must enable the good seed and the good fish to prosper without creating a separate world for them. I.e. their Christian faith should be developed in the circumstances where they are, not have them withdraw from the people who don’t believe.
The Two Irresistible Forces (Matt. 13:31-35)
When you begin to exercise a kingdom ministry in your designated sphere of influence your venture will never fail. It will have impact on the whole sphere because a kingdom ministry is ‘church’ (more in next message)
Once the mustard seed or the yeast is joined to soil and flour it will have an increasing and irresistible influence on the whole. The ministry of the kingdom will prevail and continue to spread no matter what.
The Two Priceless Treasures (Matt.13:44-46)
What you are doing is more valuable than anything else and is worth sacrificing anything you have in order to gain it
When you discover how wonderful the kingdom of God is, you will be prepared to yield everything you have in order to see it advance. It will be a treasure worth making sacrifices for and a cause worth living AND dying for.
These keys operate in the ministry of Jesus
In our primary reference from Matthew 16, Jesus says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The ministry of Jesus is the ONLY plumbline, (aligning measure) to understand how to interpret this truth. If Jesus did this, then this is our starting point
The church’s primary nature is to BE the body that Christ BUILDS to Represent and Demonstrate the kingdom rule of God ON earth
The church’s primary function is to be the resisting and gates of hell crashing weapon
The church’s primary purpose is to advance the kingdom of heaven ON earth SO that the groom will recognise His bride when He comes … ‘not by human might, nor by the power OVER value of the world BUT by my Holy Spirit leading you to look more and more like the Jesus I sent to earth’, says the Lord God. i.e. climbing the unclimbed peaks of Holiness, Oneness & Fullness TOGETHER (can’t be done w/o Jesus) = Completion
Plant Churches NOT Ministries (Part 1) – Sunday 1st July 2018
IF church planting IS the proper theology of evangelism in the NT, THEN something I proposed in the future development session at the ‘Think Tank’ is a way for US to pursue this truth …
Appointing some called (anointed) commandos to be equipped in specialist operations so we can PLANT a few “Communities of HOPE” in some of our ‘targeted spheres of involvement or influence’ and equip more disciples for this effort; is our best evangelistic tool because disciples / missionaries who represent and demonstrate the kingdom of God will look on the harvest field with compassion, and humbly and indiscriminately serve the community or sphere they live in , work in or just play in which will create a fertile context for the seed of the gospel to grow into groups of believers with the DNA of heaven.
Matthew 18:20 …… the context of this much misquoted scripture is crucial for us to consider Check out verse 18 which repeats Jesus words He used when describing the keys to the kingdom as His ministry BUILDING His church and then reflect on this with a reminder from the previous message in the OBSERVATION # 5 paragraph about ‘BINDING & LOOSING’
We need to ALIGN this strategic truth with the ministry of Jesus and see what he DID DO that might be an example of what he is speaking about.
My summary of the context using Jesus’ language is …
Where 2 or 3 come together in my name to use the keys to the kingdom, I will build my church and the gates of hell WILL NOT PREVAIL …
The Baptist Association NSW/ACT has a goal of 1000 healthy churches in a generation (Gen 1K)
At the recent Baptist regional fraternal forum with the Ministry Coordinator, I said in my group discussion time …. ‘Only if we start to understand and represent in our daily lives that the church is a body not a temple, a strike weapon that needs to be parked next to gates of hell to crash them down so that God’s rule can be established on earth as it is in heaven .. will we see 1K healthy churches in a generation. It’s Jesus’ DEFINITION OF THE CHURCH HE BUILDS (we need to MOVE ON from the defaults about ‘church’ and wander into the Holy Spirit parted RED SEA)
Where 2 or 3 are gathered ….. Is Jesus strategy (Luke 10)
When the early church was struggling with institutionalization, the dispersion that came with Saul in the aftermath of Stephen in early ACTS was FULL ON but meant that churches were planted all over the known world (more on this soon …) meanwhile IN Luke 10
FOUR PRINCIPLES THAT JESUS REPRESENTED IN HIS SPHERES AND SENT HIS APPRENTICES TO REPRESENT IN THEIR SPHERES
- Vs 5-6 = declare peace to find peace … search for ONE other receptive person
- Vs 7-8 = respect, honour & love them where THEY are and for who THEY are (Jesus didn’t ask the SENT commandos to bring them back to meet separately from their spheres) 3. Vs 9 = meet THEIR needs, right where they are and in Jesus’ name (who’s authority is IN you)
- Vs 9 = when their hearts are soft and open to receive something from heaven, FREELY IMPART the kingdom gospel i.e. testify to the what and why of who you are
Vs 10ff = responsibility is on the other side of the door of privilege i.e. there ARE consequences for kingdom rejection but that’s God’s task too NOT ours … more soon in Part 2
Some review questions you can use to equip or sharpen each other as you learn how to engage these tools in kingdom conversations in YOUR spheres of involvement OR patches; ON earth as in heaven.
- In your time of prayer, begin to pray for your own spheres of influence. Pray that the kingdom will come & that the will of God will be done on earth as it is being done in heaven. Begin to ask Jesus to give you the keys (strategy & tactics) that will direct you & enable the kingdom to come.
- Think of yourself and one or more other people (who could represent a church) in one or more of the community spheres where you spend time during the week. Assume that this group of people represent a church that has the power to pull down the strongholds that lock people out of the kingdom of God, then consider what “keys of the kingdom” are represented in your sphere(s) from the 4 examples from Matthew 13.
- Take the time to observe what goes on in your sphere from the point of view of whose “rule” is being expressed. If you recognize that there IS a battle going on, which ruling influence is active and how does that influence seem to express or have power?
Start to think of yourself as a “spy” for the kingdom of God and pray for God to give you insight as to what might need to be done to see the power and authority of Jesus and the kingdom of God challenge the powers of darkness.
- Ask the question again: “If the kingdom of God fully came to this community sphere, what would be different?” Then consider what the keys to seeing those things happening might be. In other words, what would have to have happened for that result to be produced?
Starting with the end in mind, write down the features of Jesus response to the ministry of the seventy “no name” apostles.
(Luke 10:1-12) Create a table like the following to note every principle involved in Jesus’ instruction to the seventy he sent out and see how they could apply to us and our spheres.
Review the four principles from verses 5-8 that Graeme referred to in his message about planting communities of HOPE that have to do with the way the seventy no-name apostles were to relate to the people in their sphere.
Using all you’ve considered and adding other reflections you’ve had/are having; write some thoughts about how you could develop strategies towards having a go at doing this in your own sphere(s). Maybe share with the people you identified in 2. Above.
Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening at the HUB https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog
NEXT WEEK – WE’LL SHARE EXCITING NEWS ABOUT OUR ‘COMPASSION’ SPONSOR CHILD