No Way to Pass the Biscuits.

We have been attending the St Nic’s On-Line Zoom Growth Group meetings on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm to 8.45 pm with Jamie and Verity and have found them very interesting and easy to do. We were both skeptical at first, thinking that the flow of delivery would be slow or glitchy. However, we found this was not the case. After a short time of getting used to the system it was just about the same as if we were all in the same room. Logging in was quite straightforward and didn’t require any special equipment, user-names, pass codes or programs.

We have noticed how helpful it is for parents with children—they can attend the meeting while their kids are playing in another room, so no need for a baby sitter.

Personally though we have found “Zooming In” to be very efficient on time, especially for us, as we have a 40 minute drive to Australind to join the Connect or the Men’s Groups on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.  We have enjoyed the unity of the Online Group, listened to music together and discussed questions arising from the bible readings. We often take it in turns to read out loud and to pray together.

There are often a few jokes shared and laughs as you would get in a “normal” meeting. The only thing I think we have not managed to sort out is how to make a coffee/tea for each other or pass around the biscuits!

Blessings,
David & Rachel Sydney-Smith

My Reflections on Combined Churches in Prayer

I attended the Combined Churches Prayer Meeting which was hosted at St Nic’s on Sunday 7th March.

During the service the previous week, Jamie had mentioned the meeting and how he was disappointed with the small number of parish members who had attended in the past. 

To be honest, I had made many excuses about why I couldn’t attend previous meetings:

  • it was the wrong time for me;
  • I didn’t want to pray in front of people I didn’t know;
  • my husband gets home from work at that time. 

But I was missing out on a fantastic experience.

Hosted here at St Nic’s there was the usual warm, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere but enhanced by other brothers and sisters from local churches in the area.   The evening began with introductions of the members of each Church, a prayer, singing and worship.

🙂  After about 25 minutes of worship and praise we were encouraged to choose from one of 4  prayer focus stations set up for us to go and pray for others.

Prompted by the Spirit, I chose the station dedicated to pray for our church leaders and the churches in our community. Debbie and I paired together to pray for Unity, Evangelism and Protection.

At the end of the prayer time, some people wrote down words or verses to be read out by Verity and other church leaders. 

I am so happy and pleased that I did not allow an excuse to keep me away from this meeting and I am grateful that Jamie encouraged me to attend.  I look forward to attending the next meeting at Eaton Baptist (on 16 May at 6 pm).

Shalom, Robyn Scutella

Connecting across the region in prayer and worship.

St Nicholas is a Minster Parish which means that we were established in 2015 to look not only within our parish boundaries but beyond, to seek to enable and support other Christians in living out our shared call to follow Jesus.

We have been part of a movement to reignite Combined Churches prayer gatherings, our next one is here at St Nicholas on March 7th, 6 pm. We worship together and then pray for all Christian churches in the region and for our wider community. We especially pray for God’s kingdom to come in and through us reaching out to those who are yet unaware of God’s love, grace, power and presence in their lives. We take time to listen for prophetic insight on how to pray and orientate ourselves in His mission.

This Saturday, Feb 27th some of us will join with other local Christian church members at the South Bunbury Church of Christ, taking a slot from 1 pm till 2 pm as part of our commitment to a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Australia. This is a National initiative in prayer for the renewal of this wonderful nation in Christ.

The following weekend we will be hosting our Combined Churches prayer gathering here at St Nicholas 6 pm.

On the 27th some of us will be going along to support our Baptist brothers and sisters as they welcome many to their Easter Fest in Dalyellup. I think this initiative from South West baptist is great.

See here for details of that

South West Baptist Church | EASTERfest (swbc.org.au)

Some people think the Jesus movement is in decline. Yet the facts speak otherwise across the world. We are glad to play our own small part in seeing people come to know the love and power of Jesus and rejoice in the effective Christian ministries already at work in our region.

If you are not yet a Christian and want to explore faith with us try Alpha. Alpha – St Nicholas Anglican (stnicholasaustralind.org.au)

If you want to know about wisdom for life in matters such as relationships or finances consider joining us on the Boundaries course or on our Money management course. All our courses are free to participants. Wherever you live know that there will be Christians you can reach out to who would be glad to welcome you in the exploration.

Isaiah stated clearly about the King that was to come

‘Of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end’ This is happening. It has been happening and will continue to happen. Heres and analysis of the stats in the 20th Century.

The Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population | Pew Research Center (pewforum.org)

Why don’t you get involved in the single greatest movement in history?

Shalom

Jamie

Love, Faith and Faithfulness: walking together into 2021

How are you feeling as we enter 2021 as a church family?  Full of hope or rather anxious?  However you feel, we know that the Lord is with us and He has gone ahead of us, showing us the way forward into the new year – a year which promises to be full of new learning and new growth.

Lent Programme – Faithful God, Faithful Church

The new school term coincides with the season of Lent, a time when we ask the Lord to reveal to us what is in our hearts and how He wants us to grow more like Him.  This Lent, Jamie and I have sensed that the Lord wants us to grow in two fruits of the Spirit in particular – the Fruits of Love and Faithfulness  – and growing in these areas will require us to step out in faith.

Have you ever had a Family Meeting? 

A time when you gathered as a family to discuss plans, make decisions or try to find solutions to problems?  This Lent is going to be a bit like doing St Nic’s Family Business as we ask the Lord to show us what’s really in our hearts – the good, the bad and the ugly – ask Him to pull out some weeds and co-operate with Him in growing more of the fruit of love and faithfulness in our lives.  We will be starting our  Lenten teaching  a little early this year as the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ programme lasts 8 weeks, rather than 6.

At times it will be challenging.  We may have to confront our own sin or disappointments – but thanks be to God, thorugh Jesus sacrifice on the cross He has provided free forgiveness and has promised to cleanse us from all sin.  At other times we will be challenged to step out in faith in ways we have not done before.  And at other times we will just need to keep on doing what we have been doing – what Eugene Peterson called ‘a long obedience in the same direction’.  That can be a challenge in itself.  Yet the Lord doesn’t ask us to do anything He isn’t already doing for us daily , over and over again – and Jesus is our model.  Learning to love and be faithful like Him is going to be a wonderful adventure!

Get Involved!

Church membership can be a little bit like a gym membership.  We join full of good intentions but we often do not make the most of the opportunities afforded. In order to grow together as a community, we need everyone to be involved wholeheartedly.  We recognise that in our framework for the community. We aspire to Bless abundantly, Belong wholeheartedly, Believe increasingly, Behave with integrity and Become Good News. We don’t want to be merely hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word too – and not just a few of us – but all of us!

We would like to encourage everyone who considers St Nic’s to be their spiritual home to do the following:

  • Attend a Sunday service every week of the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ teaching series, starting on Feb 7th and culminating in Easter Week. The family service will be following the same theme each week as the 8 am service.
  • If you are unable to attend a service each week, listen to the sermon that you have missed on line.
  • Do the Faithful God, Faitihful Church Study Notes each week either with a St Nic’s small group, a spouse or a friend.  These notes and exercises will be much more productive if done in conversation and prayer with others.
  • Take time to do the personal reflections and responses each week in order to effect genuine change and/or perseverance in your life.

Does that seem like a tall order?  Well the good news is, if you commit to each of these you will have your Lenten Disciplines all worked out for you!  And what’s more you will have a family of supporters walking the same path with you, praying and encouraging you along the way.  And, if you ‘drop the ball’ one week, just pick yourself up and get back on track, with no judgement or condemnation.  We’re in this together – all hopefully trying our best, but none of us yet perfect.

For Parents and Children

An information and activity pack will be available by February 7th so our younger members can put some of our learning into practice too.  These will be available on the table in the church building. Please ask Amelia if you would like it emailed to you.

I want to end with the famous words of the Three Musketeers – “All for One and One for All”!  Let’s aspire to love and faithfulness that brings that kind of unity among us at St Nic’s!

With love

Verity and Jamie

All God’s people walking together.

On Sunday 24th in our services, I made use of some of the resources offered by the organisation ‘Common Grace’. Common Grace is, to quote, an

online Australian Christian movement for justice. We exist to inspire and organise Australian Christians to think, speak and act like Jesus for a more just world.’

As part of this movement there is a desire to mobilise the wider Australian church in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Island peoples who themselves are following Jesus. Key Aboriginal Christian leaders, including Aunty Jean Phillips who we heard from through video in our services recognise that true reconciliation can only be found in Christ.

This message resonates with Verity and I as we have been facilitating prayer across the Greater Bunbury region over the past few years. When we unite before our Father in heaven, recognising one another as the body of Christ and pray in the Spirit we know that God will command His blessing. We have been very aware that there has been no representation to date of brothers or sisters from our Christian Aboriginal communities locally. We were finally able to meet with some of  our Aboriginal Christian sisters recently and hope that we can walk together and learn from one another as we all seek the Kingdom of God on earth, something we pray for in the Lord’s prayer.

Our first identity as Christians is just that , we are ‘in Christ’, we are His body. One of our roles may well be to prayerfully seek a greater reconciliation and peace among all the peoples of Australia, starting with local relationship building and prayer together.    

There is much to celebrate about Australia. We are blessed to reside here. We continue to pray for Australia that the kingdom Jesus announced would come increasingly here and that God’s will would come here as in heaven.

As we walk close to Jesus, we walk close to those who are walking with Jesus-.

Shalom

Jamie

Sharing the Joy

On Sunday the 20th of December we held our ‘Share the Joy’ musical evening. How wonderful it was to see the kids involved as well as the adults taking parts in acting, reading verses, or as a part of the musicians and singers.

Due to Covid, we had to plan and run things differently to our past Carols and Cappuccino nights as we were restricted in the number we could have in our main building. This meant we had to make it a ticketed event with allocated seats.

I would like to thank everyone who played a part in making the night the success it was, and also to those who came along. While it was a time-consuming task to make sure that we did everything according to government guidelines, we did manage to continue the wonderful feeling of joyous celebration, inclusion and warmth.

After the singing finished we also enjoyed the Vocal Fusion Youth Choir singing out the front of the Heritage Church, as well as the coffee machine up and running and a sausage sizzle.

Follow me.

In our gospel reading for today we see Jesus who ‘finds’ Philip and says to him ‘follow me.’ John 1:43.

In a profound sense, like Phillip , we who seek to live out our baptism vows have been found by the one who came into the world to reconcile us with God. Jesus then calls us to follow Him. 2021 is another year of opportunity to follow Jesus. Making that choice daily is probably the most important decision of each day. In the midst of all the uncertainty, He is faithful and I can rely on Him.

Our new parish council will be praying and looking for the Lord to lead us in our decision making. Our service and ministry leaders will be doing the same. The General Synod of the Anglican church and our own synod the same.

Are we going to follow Jesus or are we going to follow the world, our own ’flesh’ or the devil?

How do we know what following Jesus is?  We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us especially in our reading and application of scripture. Paul notes that ‘All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ‘ (2 Tim 3:16.)   We know that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path(Psalm 119:105) Those who build on Jesus words are building on a rock that cannot be shaken.

When following Jesus takes us out of step with the prevailing culture, are we going to be courageous and follow Him? When we are challenged by scripture and the Holy Spirit regarding our ‘flesh’, that is the tendencies and inclinations of our old fallen nature, are we going to rely on the Spirit to help us put it to death and then bear the good fruit promised. The fruit that comes from saying and living as we say ‘yes Lord. Your kingdom come Your will be done in my life and through St Nics?’

We framed our response to God’s grace here at St Nic’s with the following statement  5 B’s : to Bless abundantly, Belong wholeheartedly, Believe increasingly, Behave with integrity and Become Good News.  Join with me in praying we will be that church community this year and that we will follow Jesus.

Shalom

Jamie

Good News

I wrote this piece in 1988, recorded it professionally in 1991 and now seems a good time to place it online as I’ve finally made time to do it! A blessed Christmas everyone. Listen to at least 56 seconds 🙂

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.’ (Isaiah 9:2)

 So begins Isaiah’s foretelling of one who was to come. ‘Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . He will reign on David’s throne….from that time on and forever.’ Isaiah 9: 7.

And so approx. 700 years later we travel with Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem the city of David where (retrospectively)we recognise this child arrives. Jesus( God saves) is the  Christ (the anointed king)  who has been sent into the world (mas). Christmas.

This is the one who later declared ‘ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ John 8: 12 What a claim! Holman Hunt captured this with Jesus knocking on the door of someone’s heart..

When we open the door to Jesus, when we receive Jesus as Lord into our lives, we receive the light of life. We begin to see life differently. As we become a follower, of Jesus we no longer have to remain bound in spiritual or psychological darkness. We have a very real invitation to begin a journey into increasing light and holiness with Him. This is true personally, socially, and politically. It happens through the Holy Spirit. We explore that here at St Nics through Alpha, Being together and Living Free or on our 1:1 discipleship course. Have a look at our testimony tab.

When Isaiah gave this prophecy, things were about to get much worse politically for Israel. The Assyrians were about to sweep down into northern Israel and the diaspora of the 10 tribes happened.  Later the Babylonians came and destroyed the temple and removed the remaining leaders and hierarchy from Jerusalem. Later Cyrus and then Artaxerxes supported a rebuild. Later the Greeks came and then as Alexander’s empire split various factions and mini empires arose and fought over the land until finally the Romans came and made Palestine a province. Good grief. Where was the Messiah, the Christ?

And yet this promise began its literal fulfilment with Jesus arrival. Since his crucifixion, glorious resurrection, and ascension His kingdom has come and continues to come through the Holy Spirit’s life-transforming witness in individuals and communities.  Through the church.  Empires have come and gone and will continue to do so. However, of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end. This is happening. There are more Christians alive today than ever before.

If you are not experiencing His light in your life consider Alpha, consider Living Free. The best gift anyone can receive at Christmas is Christ Himself. If you want help in doing so, please speak to me or other Christians you know.

I am praying as I write this that that you  experience Immanuel, God with us, God with you, this Christmas.

Shalom

Jamie

Receiving Christ at Christmas?

It’s ironic isn’t it, that with all the challenges of school, work parties, family life, friends, gifts, meal planning and more we are so hard-pressed to welcome Christ Jesus. No room at the Inn takes on meaning for us. We think let me just get through Christmas day and Boxing day and then I’ll relax and maybe have time to reflect.

For others there is no Christ at Christmas, rather we have a season of enculturated festivities that have a loose link to baby Jesus. For others it’s just another holiday opportunity. BBQ’s and drink here we come.

So, Christ-Mas. Christ, that is the anointed one of God, the Messiah. Mas, from the Latin meaning sent. The King is sent fulfilling hundreds of years of expectation and prophetic foresight and the King taught, healed, loved, forgave and died a sacrificial death for us all so that we might receive the greatest gift. The gift, a restored, reconciled relationship with our maker and the privilege and joy of being in and under His Kingly rule and blessing.

We were privileged to welcome guests at our Carols on Sunday 20th evening. We prayed that this opportunity to reflect would nourish and sustain your faith in Jesus. If you were with us and not yet in a relationship with Him, thank you for coming. May God’s Spirit continue to speak to you and may you discover you are loved more deeply and gloriously than you can imagine. Follow up your moment of epiphany with a prayer and explore faith in Jesus through Alpha. Come and talk to me! Check out our website, talk to the Christians you know. May I encourage you to receive Christ into your life afresh or the first time? Receive the one who was sent for you.

Shalom Jamie