A message from the Living Beyond Ourselves Team

One of our young people, Alexandra Bingham, has been commissioned by the Uniting Church to film a series of videos about the Church’s support for:

Christian leaders in South Sudan who are caring for people traumatized by war, teaching peace and forgiveness, and rebuilding livelihoods.

Community workers in PNG who are providing taps, tanks and education about sanitation, and saving lives.

New ministers in China nurturing Christians to share God’s love in the
fastest growing Church in the world.

Community development workers in India who are championing justice and supporting families to break the chains of poverty through education, employment and healthcare.

 

Alexandra has written an article about her project. 

You can read it on the back page of the New Times magazine for February and March.

 

You can also watch the videos by typing the following link into the web browser.

http://www.lentevent.com/stories

 

A message from Matthew 19th March 2017

We are loved

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one
another
. (1 John 4:11 NIV)

Any time you find yourself saying, “I just can’t love that person”, I
suggest you read this verse again to
remind yourself of the truth of God’s great love for you. If you have experienced this kind of love, if you have been to the cross and felt the overwhelming cleansing of God’s love for you, despite the antagonism and hatefulness you have shown Him and despite your loving your own way and
wanting to do what you like; if you have felt the cleansing grace of God wiping that all out without any recriminations or calling up of the past, forgetting and forgiving it all, then, as John says, you not only can love someone else but you won’t be able to do anything but love others. God’s love will automatically flow out of each of us.

John goes on to say, If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is made complete (1 John 4:12); that is, His love reaches its final end in us. That is where people see God’s love. The fact of an indwelling God becomes visible in us only when we manifest love one to another. As long as we are nice only to our friends or to those who are nice to us, no one has any idea that God is around. But when we start being nice to those who are nasty to us, when we start returning good for evil, when we start being patient, tender, thoughtful, and considerate of those who are stubborn, obstinate, and selfish, then people get the sense that God is close at hand, that He is in the situation. Then God’s dwelling in us becomes visible to them.

May God’s great love continue to bubble out of each one of us this week in ways that point people to Jesus our Saviour.

 

A message from Matthew 12th March 2017

On Sunday last week in our Creative/Kids Spot in the Contemporary Service I asked some families and other people there about the ways they like to refresh
themselves.

We heard about families going to the beach together for a swim or walking in the hills. The ideas were fun and inspiring. We have some creative people in our community.

Here are some more ideas to help us refresh; sing, dance, skip, run in circles, drink water, watch a funny movie, find some flowers, rub your ears,
embrace imperfection, take a deep breath, stretch, get a good night’s sleep, good posture, redecorate, good diet, silence, walk, 20 minutes of sunshine, smile or socialize.

This may refresh our bodies and our minds, as Christians we also know that it is Jesus who is able to refresh our souls.

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 (NIV)

The Refresh Studies are a season of reflection for our whole of our church to come to Jesus and find rest for our souls. I strongly encourage you to join a group or pick up the study with a friend and be part of this exciting season with others in our church family.

 

A message from Matthew 5th March 2017

Refresh: a season of reflection. Starting today, 5th of March, 2017 

Here is a short taste of our Refresh Studies. They have been written by members of our congregation and our consultants especially for our community at this time.

The supremacy of Jesus

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col. 1:15-17

We need to know who Jesus is, so we can know who we are in Him. It is a staggering thought that He who created the universe and holds everything together by His creative power, is the same One who lives within us if we belong to Him.

The Son is Life

What do you understand by ‘eternal life’?

Eternal life speaks of a quality of life, not just its length. It starts from the moment we receive Jesus as Saviour, and when we die it continues on forever. Those things that we know and experience partially now we will fully know (1 Corinthians 13:12). This is the life that God calls us into through His Son, involving a loving intimacy with Him; forgiveness, peace, purpose, and more blessings than we can imagine
(1 Cor. 2:9). And it starts now!

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life: whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:11-13

What does it mean to you to ‘have the Son’?

To ‘have the Son’ is sometimes expressed as making Jesus our Saviour and Lord. Jesus saves us from the consequences of our pride, rebellion and ignoring of God (Rom.6:23), and gives us instead the free gift of life forever with Him. To make
Jesus our Lord is to hand our life to Him: listening, obeying, seeking. Pleasing Him becomes our number one priority.

Accessing this new life

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

We cannot ‘have the Son’ through activity or good works. It is only by God’s love for us, through our faith. We access this salvation by believing and receiving what Jesus has done on the cross for us, and then living in it!

 

A message from Matthew 26 February 2017

Matthew PhotoRefresh

Take a moment to think about the relationships you have experienced through life.

One of the first would be your relationship with your Mum. The mother child
relationship is basic to our survival and is typically one of love and care.

Next you may think of your relationship with brothers and sisters. These can be challenging as we are all aware of sibling rivalry. I remember the ongoing races with my big brother trying to get home first from school over the 5 mile bicycle ride. Strangely, we both remember always winning?

Another important relationship is our first love. Your brain is put into neutral and there is nothing you wouldn’t do to be with that amazing person. Time with them is so precious and goes so quickly. Some of these first loves last a lifetime and others just a few days. But they are never forgotten. Some of the best celebrate 60, 70 or 75 years together. We hold them in great esteem.

Then there is our relationship with Jesus to which nothing can compare.

Who can compare to You, my King
Who can compare to You, my Lord
Who can compare to You, my Friend
I looked and I’ve found that there’s no one like You in all the earth

And You take my hand, and You call me Your own
You show me the way to life
And You lift my head, and You give me hope
You show me the way to life

No one compares to You, my King
No one compares to You, my Lord
No one compares to You, my Friend
I looked and I’ve found that You’re the One I needed all along

You are the way
You are the truth
You are the life

(Jesus Culture – “Who can compare”)

The “Refresh” study we are beginning at church next week is a wonderful time to grow your relationship with Jesus in the security of a small group of followers of Jesus who are also seeking to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus, our Lord, Saviour and friend. This is the most important relationship we will ever know.

 

A message from Matthew 19 February 2017

Matthew PhotoThis devotion from “With Love to the World” 7th of Feb, 2017 grabbed me when I first read it and I would like to share it here with the whole community.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NIV)

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I
command you today to love the
Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I was at a meal with a family the other day. We were talking about churches that would rather die than change. A 12-year-old said, “Who would choose to die?” A wise question that needed to be asked by a child; indeed, why would anyone choose death? Choosing life seems so obvious! But there are many ways in which we choose death. For the ancient Hebrews it was to break covenant with God,
extending their time in the Exodus and ultimately sending them into exile. For us as individuals, choosing death can be about holding onto addictions, habits and
dependencies. We know that such things will kill us, but we can’t break with them. The possibility of life and freedom can seem more painful than our familiar ailments and slavery. In the same way, many churches actually choose death through
preferring control and predictable decline to the risk of freedom and change.
Today’s passage sets the choice before us. God has sworn to be faithful to the promises made to our ancestors. God does not need to curse us; we do this
ourselves.

God of birth and resurrection, help me to choose life.

Please continue to choose life with me and everyone here at Burnside City Uniting Church as we follow Jesus together – Matthew.

 

from Rev Linda Driver – 12 February 2017

16174651_10209991562999596_1878715257807251810_nHave you ever had someone suggest that you could do something ..and thought, “Who me? They must be thinking of someone else – I can’t do that!”

As I began my Period of Discernment, that’s
exactly what I was thinking, “Who me?” “Who am I to think that I could be a minister of the Word, to be ordained, to be a leader serving in Christ’s church?”

As part of my Period of Discernment (or PoD) I went on a
discernment retreat up at Nunyara Conference Centre at Belair. At one point during the
retreat we were sent off to spend some time in silence and listen for the still small voice of God speaking to us.

I headed off by myself to sit quietly with my Bible. During that time I was led to one particular verse which stood out and has been significant for me ever since:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and
self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

 It was that word timid, that stood out for me.

Time after time I have felt called to take on challenging roles or tasks. Some have called me courageous or brave. But I don’t think that’s been the case. Under the surface I have often lacked self-confidence, wondering if God picked the right person!

Through this time of formation, first in my PoD and then as a Candidate, God has shown me over and over how much God loves me – with such a deep, abiding,
immeasurable love.

God has shown me that if I trust in God and step out in faith,  I can do what God calls me to do, through the strength and enabling power of the Holy Spirit – many times confirmed by the encouragement and prayers of others – often just at the right time! 

And God has shown me that if I call on God’s name and wait for God’s leading, God’s
promises will be fulfilled.

So, through the Holy Spirit, I have learned that God does give me the courage to do the things he calls me to do.

The power, love and self-discipline that come from the Holy Spirit far outweigh any fear or self-doubt or timidity – even when they do come creeping back in to my mind.

In this time of formation, through mentoring, study, prayer, ministry-practice,
vulnerability and reflection I have moved to a place where I can say, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

What is God asking you to do?

Each one of us is unique and brings particular gifts, skills and passions to contribute to the body of Christ and to this world we live in.

May you too, have the courage, power, love and self-discipline of the Holy Spirit to carry out your unique calling.

 

from Rev Matthew Bond – Sunday 5th February

On Wednesday morning as I walked to church I witnessed a traffic incident followed by an awful scene of road rage. A car and a cyclist tried to share the bike lane due to a brief moment of poor judgement. The two ladies stopped to sort things out and make sure that no-one was injured, when an aggressive man in the car behind them decided to throw his weight around with his version of the events. The two women were clearly shaken by the incident and didn’t need it to escalate, so I stepped in. I sent the man away, telling him that I saw the whole thing and we didn’t need his help. I am grateful that he agreed and went back to his car. As the cyclist and the motorist exchanged details they discovered that they were both cyclists and understood how vulnerable they are on bikes and the constant need for caution. The cyclist explained that the reason for her high level of concern is that she is 18 weeks pregnant. The angry male motorist drove away, still angry and the three of us left on the roadside breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Two hours later I got a text message from the cyclist thanking me for stopping and telling me that it really helped to have a quick chat.

Our Bible reading today, from Matthew chapter 5. Verse 14 tells us that Jesus wants us to be the light of the world. When you read the Bible, there are times when you may struggle to comprehend how it may relate to life. You may wonder, how can I be the light of the world?

My experience on the road is no big deal. Each of us show God’s love many times a day as we do the normal things of life. This is Jesus alive in our lives and his light shining through. My point is that we can often overlook what we are doing and not give Jesus the credit for making a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.

As followers of Jesus Christ, I encourage you to let the light of Jesus shine through you and to acknowledge in your own mind that Jesus does make a difference. When you start there you will want to tell others about Jesus too.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” – Jesus.

 

from Rev Matthew Bond – Sunday 18th December

Looking to the future    

Our Ministry Team met this week for breakfast on Monday to give thanks for the year that has almost come to an end. It has been a challenging year and we look forward to continuing our celebrations of the birth of our Saviour together in the coming weeks.

There are many people to thank for their amazing ministry during this year. Linda, Rob, Ben & Deb have each been amazing as they have used their God-given gifts. The Church Council have worked tirelessly to listen to God and fulfil God’s mission in this place along with the many other wonderful people who faithfully serve God here.

The coming year holds much excitement. Linda will be ordained at Adelaide West Uniting Church on Sunday the 5th of February at 1.30pm. Linda will continue her ministry here at BCUC as the Reverend Linda Driver from that day and will continue at 0.8. Linda will continue her studies at the Uniting College of Leadership and Theology. Her regular days with us are Monday to Wednesday and Sunday.

Rob Williams has been elected as President of the South Australian Council of Churches for 2017 and will continue to serve at Burnside City Uniting Church next year as our Minister-in-Association as he has done in recent years.

Ben has some exciting new ideas with Youth Ministry planned for 2017. Many of our youth have graduated year 12 this year and a new younger group are developing. Ben will be focusing his time on connecting with these younger people and reaching out to young people in the community.

Deb will continue in her role as Church Administrator, working here Monday to Thursday from 9am to 2.30pm. The Church Office is open from 9am-12noon these days. Deb is a valuable support to the Ministry Team and the Congregation here at BCUC.

My role as Ministry Team Leader continues in 2017 as we look with renewed vision to how we can effectively serve God together here. In this Advent Season we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking to Jesus returning as Lord of all. This will happen as one heart at a time is given to Jesus and we each seek to draw closer to our Lord & Saviour. This year I am challenged to listen, pray and preach. I continue to point people to Jesus with the same challenge that we listen to Jesus, remain faithful in our prayer-life and declare our love for Jesus at every opportunity.

Church Council appointments for 2017

Chairperson: Valerie Aloa;
Deputy Chairperson: Michael Dring;
Secretary: Gill Cibich;
Treasurer: Randolph Alwis;
Liaisons with Mission Action and Mission Support Areas:
Spirituality, Worship and Prayer: Thomas Pruszinski;
Ministry with Children, youth, young adults and their families: Sarah Randall;
Ministry with Adults: Keith Maynard; Living Beyond Ourselves: Julie-Anne Bingham;
Communication Support Area: Clare Bleakley;
Administration Support Area: Michael Dring;
Facilities Support Area: Chris Lake;
Finance Support Area: Gaynor Strapp

We thank all these people for their willingness to serve God at BCUC in these ways and ask that you support and cover them with prayer

from Rev Matthew Bond – Sunday 27th November

As we commission our Elders today, it may be helpful to have a fresh look at the role of Elders in the Church. This is what the Bible says about Elders.

An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the  charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:6-9 NIV)

This is what the Uniting Church says about Elders.

The Church Council shall give priority in its life to building up the congregation in faith and love, sustaining members in hope, and leading the congregation to fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world. This priority shall be reflected in the agenda of its ordinary meetings. The Uniting Church Regulation 3.1.13(a)

It is timely to appreciate that every aspect of the life and mission of a congregation has a spiritual dimension. The old divisions about “sacred” and “secular” dimensions of church life need to be discarded, and in particular there needs to be a reclaiming that decisions about the maintenance and use of property and financial resources are profoundly missional and spiritual.

It is appropriate to reaffirm that the role of Elders is one of spiritual oversight.

The context for Congregational life and mission in Australia in the 21st century requires that the Council within the congregation consists of those whom the congregation recognises as endowed by the Holy Spirit with gifts fitting them for rule and oversight.

Those whom the congregation recognises to have other gifts can be welcomed as members of sub-committees which provide advice to Church Council.

Please pray for the Elders of our church as they serve God here with the gifts God has given them. This is a challenging role which requires a high level of commitment, time and prayer.

Our Elders will be commissioned on Sunday 27 November 2016 at all three services.

(https://assembly.uca.org.au/resources/key-papers-reports/item/1552-a-fresh-look-at-elders-in-the-uniting-church)