Burnside City Uniting Church is an exciting place. We have so many people engaged in so many activities here and in the community – the website is an excellent place to catch a glimpse of what is going on here. Coming up on the 30th of March is our Ministry Expo where we are joining together as a community to celebrate what we do and encourage people to join us in our passions. In all this activity let me remind you that we are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and called to serve God with our gifts. At all times we give God the glory.
What sort of church do we want to be? My personal answer to this question is that we would be a church that is passionate for God, others and life. Passionate means that we have a strong feeling of enthusiasm (filled with God) and are compelled to action. Let’s create for each other a safe place where our love for Jesus drives us to action. Moses’ final words to the people of Israel were that they should choose life by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice and by holding fast to Him. Let’s do that.
During our time of BCUC Listens to God on 2nd February, we felt that God was speaking to us regarding prayer at BCUC. We believe God wants to enhance the prayer life of BCUC. We know there are many groups and faithful pray-errs who regularly pray outside the church in house-groups etc., however, Matthew 21:13 says…….It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer’. We believe God has led us into taking the step of faith to begin ‘open’ prayer Monday – Thursday, when the church is open, between 10am and 4pm in the Memorial Chapel. There will be chairs already set out and a diary, which we will call our ‘Prayer Journal’. We are hoping that members of our church family who have a yearning to pray, but have been are unable to attend BCUC Listens to God on Sunday afternoons, will come and pray in the chapel. No agenda is necessary other than an open heart to hear from the Lord, then to record in the journal what God is saying. There may be times when He is calling us into action, or there may be times when He is calling us to pray for a particular need for BCUC or something that is heavy on our hearts regarding the wider community or the world. It is our hope and prayer that by praying and journaling what the Lord says that we will be able to discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
What sort of church do we want to be? You would think that this question is well and truly answered after 2000 years of Christianity. We live in constantly changing times and it is clear that the church of 1950, 1980 or even 2010 is not who we are anymore. Now is the time for a health check, marriage counselling or trading in the old car on a new model. Whatever we call it let’s make sure that we consider what sort of church we want to be and together let us seek God’s guidance to answer the call.
Australia Day – Commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney. We also need to remember that for many Indigenous Australians, it is “Invasion Day” and we need to keep supporting, in whatever way we can, our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
During the horrendous bushfires across southern Australian earlier this month we witnessed the best of Australia’s characteristics; the fireries going the second (and third) mile to save properties, the instant support offered to victims, the unstinting efforts of all the Emergency Services as well as the “backroom” people who continually provide food and drink to those on the front-line. Thank you to each one.
“Australians, whatever your culture or race, come, lift up your hearts to the Giver of grace.” Elizabeth J Smith (TiS 188)
Welcome to the New Year, 2014. During Advent part of our focus was Peace. One of the Christmas Bowl projects is “Bringing peace and justice to the people of Afghanistan” – particularly increasing the enrolment of girls in primary school and educating communities on the importance of girls’ education and the rights of children. Thank you for your contributions to the Christmas Bowl.
The Moderator is encouraging us all to pray for peace in South Sudan—that the respective leaders and their fighters will lay down their arms and restore peace to the world’s newest nation.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased!”
This Advent season we have been looking at the idea of peace. The angels promised peace among people with whom God is pleased. This raises the question of “how do we please God?” Our human answer would be that we please God by being good enough. The radical message Jesus brought into the world is that no one is good enough. We can only please God when we humble ourselves and accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers. From that point we begin to live life in a way that pleases God because we no longer live for ourselves, but we put God first in our thoughts and actions. May you be blessed with peace this Christmas and make choices that please God.
The Christmas Bowl was born in 1949 when the Rev. Frank Byatt invited his family, and his congregation, to have an empty bowl at their Christmas meal. They were invited to place the value of their own meal in the bowl, and the money raised was used to support eastern European refugees.
Again this year the Christmas Bowl gives each of us the opportunity to express our thanks to God for the gift of His Son, Jesus. Projects this year include;
- Supporting refugee camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border
- Supporting programs helping overcome problems among the 70,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, South India
- Bringing peace and justice to the people of Afghanistan
I warmly comment the Christmas Bowl to you.
This Christmas as we remember that Jesus came into the world as a little baby, I remind you to think back on your first experience of Jesus coming into your life. Recognise the peace and hope that Jesus personally brings to you each day. We look to Jesus coming again, but we do not know what day our Lord will come. Jesus will come again, it is promised in God’s word. That truth enables us to look at our world with hope. The struggles and grief of this world will be transformed into peace when Jesus comes to us. A simple prayer to invite Jesus into your life today will be answered with peace and hope.
It’s important that as we look to share our faith we have the right attitude, as Jesus did, that we know the right people to share our faith story with, that we know our own story and we can find 20 seconds of courage to speak. The workshop today will help you do these things in four stages; firstly it’s about the group becoming comfortable with each other through interactive exercises that promote community. Secondly it’s about taking time to look at what God means to you and what He has done in your life. Thirdly it’s taking time to share this with a small group. Lastly it’s looking at ways you can communicate this understanding to people you share life with. There is no method to learn or specific scriptures. This is a reflective process that is not prescriptive and thus anyone can engage in it. This is not a lecture but an interactive time of listening, speaking, participating and reflecting.