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

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

Alpha

We recently completed our second Alpha course of 2020 this term. 8 guests began the course and 6 completed it. Feedback from the guests was positive including comments like, “I feel more at peace”, “I made new friends”, “I feel more loved” and “it strengthened my faith”.

Three of the guests are considering the Discipleship Course as a follow up to Alpha and two are considering joining one of our small groups. Alpha continues to be a good starting point for those who are new to our church and/or want to explore the Christian faith in a friendly, non-threatening environment.

Thank you to those who have prayed for us. It was a joy to know that the Sunday evening prayer group and the Connect group were praying faithfully for us each week. We would also like to thank Katherine O’Neill and Kate Tremble for assisting us in leading the course and Rosemary Lindroth, Stephany Durack and Suzanne Saunders who served supper for us at our Holy Spirit afternoon. We thank God for his work among us and look forward to our next Alpha course in Term 2, 2021.

If you are interested in attending the next Alpha, please email the church office on stnicholasminster@gmail.com

Shalom Jamie and Verity

Concerning ‘last days’ what kind of people should we be?

This week Sunday, Dec 5th  at 8 am I will looking albeit briefly at 2 Peter, following our lectionary reading as we move from the end of the age we explored last Sunday in Mark 13 to ‘that day’ Mark 13:32. Here’s the link to last weeks sermon.

We will be exploring ‘ that day ‘ through Peter’s view in his second letter and the implications for Christians then and now. 

AD 70 marked the climax of the end of an age, that Jesus foretold, and embodied in a new creation with his resurrection and ascension. His sacrifice ended the old covenant.  The new covenant made possible for all people, Jew or gentile would no longer centre on temple worship.  With the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the destruction of the temple in AD 70 the ‘new age’ begins. Not a smorgasbord of ‘spirituality’ but an age of salvation through and in Christ alone. The age of the gospel. The age of Good News of which we Christians are messengers to all peoples to this very day.

However, Mark 13:32 speaks of another day and this is what Peter addresses in his letter.  The ‘day of the Lord’ when all things will be made new. When the new creation begun in Christ’s resurrection and exaltation is finally brought to fullness.

In scripture, the teachings on the last day are not supposed to incite dread rather it is a day of hope and joy for us as children of God because it is the great day when all things will be made new. As Peter says in 2 Peter 3: 11 he writes ‘ to stimulate you to wholesome thinking’. There is a considerable amount of false teaching on this and it links to fear and control. In my view, it does not reflect the Holy Spirit rather a spirit of divination. Peter warns us to be on our guard against all such falsehoods. The question he poses is ‘what kind of people ought we to be? See 2 Peter 3: 11.  Listen in to this weeks sermon if you miss it today. Contact me with your questions if these arise for you.

Shalom

Jamie