Jesus on Jesus

We begin this term with a sermon series on the ‘I Am . . .’ statements of Jesus in John’s Gospel.  Verity has written accompanying study notes which can be used in our growth groups or by individuals.  Our reasons for doing this series are twofold.  Firstly, because we want to support the Diocesan Strategy called ‘Learn Christ’ (see the August and October editions of the Diocesan Vision and Strategy newsletters for more about this).  The other reason is in response to a prophetic word given to us by Margaret Thompson: “Build! Build! Build!  Build on the strong foundations of Jesus Christ”.  

Jesus is the foundation of our faith and all that we do at St Nics.  But how strong are our foundations in Christ?  How well do we know Him and how deeply rooted are we in Him?  We can read books about Jesus and learn what learned scholars think about Jesus – and we recommend that. But what did Jesus say about himself?  What did Jesus want us to know about him?  How did Jesus want us to relate to him?

The apostle John records in his gospel 7 bold statements which Jesus made when speaking publicly.  Each of these statements begin with the words ‘I am . . .’.  The words ‘I Am’ themselves are very significant – they resonate with the name God reveals to Moses: “God replied ‘I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3 v 13-14). He is the I AM, the eternal, unchanging, self-existent one, infinite and glorious in every way, and above and beyond all created things. He is God.

In each ‘I am’ statement Jesus not only reveals that he is God but also a different facet of his nature and purpose, explaining more about how he wants to relate to us, his followers.

So let’s continue to build together on our strong foundations in Jesus

Jesus, wisdom, the way, the truth and the life-forevermore

Last Tuesday we farewelled a godly man who walked in the ways of the Lord.

Proverbs 2 was the suggested reading.

My child, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understand;
3yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.

So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

I noted that if we humble ourselves in seeking wisdom, we will encounter the Lord, the source of all wisdom. Being in a relationship with God is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus fulfilled this. He embodies wisdom.

The blessing of walking with the Lord is more than simply a blessing in the land. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. If we walk with Him, following His ways we experience new birth and intimate fellowship with Father God in this life. And beyond death, life in a new creation, with Him forever.  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Alpha is a great way to explore this and we begin a new course on Zoom on October 12th. Contact us if you would like to join in.

Queen Elizabeth II

For the past 17 years, the Queen has been more forthcoming  in explaining her own personal faith – “the anchor in my life”, as she described it in 2014.

2002: I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God… I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.

2011: Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general…but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.

2012: This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son “to serve, not to be served”. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. The carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter” ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service:

What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part…

The carol gives the answer, ‘Yet what I can I give him – give my heart’.

2017: Jesus Christ lived obscurely most of his life and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love.

Queen Elizabeth II and her Christian faith.

As a Scot, I found it heartwarming to know that our former Queen chose Balmoral for the time of lockdown with Prince Philip and the place to be as she experienced compromised health and energy. Perhaps it was the place she wanted to be when she died. It was a safe place, a happy place for her, away from much of the constant public scrutiny. It was where she and Prince Phillip welcomed their children during many school holidays. However much more than this consoling thought is that she knew the Lord Jesus Christ and was inspired in her selfless duty by Him.

Ian Paul has written a much better piece on this. Please find it here Grief and hope in mourning Queen Elizabeth II | Psephizo

As we grieve her passing we give thanks for her magnificent example. As Christian brothers and sisters, the world over know we look forward with great hope. In the meantime, we commit to pray faithfully for King Charles III. Long live the King.

Sharing is caring.

In Colossians, Paul writes

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.  Colossians 1:19-23

We serve the gospel, not the reverse.

As Peter said in Acts 4: 12 in answer to the interrogation by the Sanhedrin ‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

This is the offence of the gospel; everyone is invited but there is no other way to that glorious reconciliation with God than through faith in Jesus.

As Paul says in Romans 1:16 ‘ I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew then for the Gentile. ‘

Are we ashamed or are we rejoicing? Will we prayerfully seek opportunities to share in God’s mission of reconciliation? Who will we invite to Alpha this year? Are we afraid to share? Take the opportunity to receive prayer ministry at our Sunday gatherings.

Divine Appointments as we listen to God.

Divine Appointments

This week Suzanne is speaking about divine appointments. This is not about a trip to a chocolate factory or the finals of the AFL!  Jesus teaches us that it’s God’s intention that we should hear His voice and follow His guidance and instruction. ( John 10: 27) We are invited to partner with God which may involve a specific appointment with someone else! Jesus first models this for us. The Apostles, deacons and others continue this in Acts. 

Paul notes in Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Is it possible to miss out on completing these assignments/ good works? Of course,  if we are not listening. On Wednesday   I was speaking about Evelyn Underhill, known for her insightful writing and spiritual direction  ( June 15th is a day when she is remembered by the church) She made this observation

“Many people feel unaware of any guidance, unable to discern or understand the signals of God; not because the signals are not given, but because the mind is too troubled, clouded, and hurried to receive them.”

This remains true, perhaps even more so today. We have digital distraction, 24/7 News, and there is even doom scrolling. We are inundated with information and must be intentional about reducing our exposure. It’s then we will be able to make time to listen to the scriptures and quieten our souls. It’s then we will find it easier to listen to the Lord. This then can be carried into the whole day.

That’s why we are continuing with our time of silence each Sunday as we wait on the Holy Spirit. We are intentionally saying ‘Lord we are here, and we are listening for You.’ I wonder what He will say to us as a church and as individuals? 

The Joy of the Gospel

Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus.’  (Evangelii Gaudium, 120)  Pope Francis

St Paul writes;

 ‘And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us’ Romans 5:5

The connection with missionary zeal and obedient discipleship we see in Acts comes from the Holy Spirit who is poured out into our hearts. And this is not a once only event we need to be filled again and again. Ephesians  5:18.  I want to encourage you to be open to being filled again by the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to turn away from anything that  may quench or grieve the Holy Spirit and receive the joy of knowing you are loved by the Lord.  

“Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you” (#164).

As we receive this truth , as we encounter the very presence of God through His Spirit as we enjoy intimacy with the Father through the Son made known through the Spirit we will become the Good News which is our 5th value here at St Nics.

Let’s celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church of which we are part and let’s be open to receive His love for us poured out through the Holy Spirit

Big Morning Tea

This morning under the oversight of Fran Craig we were able to host a Big Morning Tea to raising funds for the Cancer Council of Australia. Once again a team of volunteers from St Nics baked and prepared to welcome people. Fr Brian Newing came and spoke sharing his own personal experiences as well as an enduring trust in the Lord. Our barista Barbara Gore oversaw the coffees and plates of goodies were shared and enjoyed. Craft group provided lots of interesting gifts for purchase. Our thanks to Pam and Eve for this.

We ran a door raffle and a running raffle. Marian Andels beautiful wall hanging was won by Robyn Scutella. It was a lovely morning and once again we experienced what Jesus said- it is more blessed to give than receive. $600 was raised. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this lovely gift for the Cancer Council.

Gluten Free option, thanks to the thoughtfulness of our team.