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Archive for January, 2014

Life Together -John McLean

January 31st, 2014
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SEP

 SEP was a great success again this year. It finished with a tremendous buzz of excitement and enthusiasm, with campers and staff enjoying the wonderful, inclusive atmosphere created in the camp. For many, SEP is a life changing experience; for all, it is life enhancing. It provides a secure environment to have fun, make friends, and learn more about the love of the Father for us in Christ Jesus.

 Special thanks to Camp Director Al Kurzawa and Liz, and to Carissa Warren who worked with Al in planning and running the camp so successfully. Matt Gudze was Co-director, along with Sandra who taught and contributed to the worship at the camp. The National Youth Ministry Team gave input into the preparation process, and most of them were present serving at camp too.

 Heather and I were able to spend several days at the camp, and really enjoyed the atmosphere and spirit that was in abundant evidence. It was great to begin to get to know another generation of young people, and to see firsthand the wonderful job Al and the staff were doing. Al has a real heart for SEP and youth ministry, and it is evident in his passion for the camp.

 Thank you all for your prayers for the camp. SEP is part of the ministry and “communion” of GCI. It is connected to the past (quite a few at this camp were also at the very first SEP held in Australia), and the future (many of those at this camp will be involved in delivering future camps). Even more fundamentally, SEP is part of the fellowship and spiritual community of our church family, not an entity separate to the life of the church. SEP is about connecting to Jesus Christ, to one another, to the broader church family, and to all our fellow humanity.

 In this context, we could simply not run SEP without the generous, faithful support of individuals and congregations around the country. A big THANK YOU to those who contributed to the Generations Fund, to the camp directly, and to the support and sponsorship of individual campers. Your financial help and prayerful support makes the wonderful experience that is SEP possible.

 Volunteers

 I can’t write about SEP without thanking those wonderful people who volunteered their time to serve at camp. Again, we simply could not do SEP without these amazing volunteers who give of their time, talents, resources and lives to be involved, and to contribute to the lives of the next generation of campers.

 All of them deserve our gratitude and appreciation. I would like to make special mention in this note about our wonderful kitchen crew. These kind souls give their time and effort to feed the campers day in day out – often long hours in a hot kitchen. Here’s a picture of the crew:

Darby Asmus, Kevin Brooks, Roylene Mills, Beverly McLean, Sheryl Richardson (Kitchen Coordinator), Margaret Fenwick (Assistant Coordinator), Dale Asmus, Peter Mills. (Not pictured: Brenda Nicholls, Keith McLean)

 And can I make special mention of Sheryl Richardson, who has run the kitchen for many years, organising the supplies, menus and so on. She overcame some big obstacles to again be at camp this year, such is her dedication to the event and her desire to help and serve the church.

 Thanks to the whole crew!

 Here’s a brief note from Camp Director, Al Kurzawa:

 SEP 2014 was the 29th national SEP camp in Australia and it was a great success. We had 96 campers, the most ever hosted at the Morriset, NSW camp site. This camp the campers were introduced to some new activities: mud pits, 9 square in the air, and water balloon battleship. The older campers and some staff were also privileged to have the opportunity to take the Myers Briggs Instrument and spend a two hour session with John McLean, an expert on personality types.

 Over half of the campers were first time campers and yet the culture of SEP was present from day one. The campers joined in with positive encouragement and 100% enthusiasm with all activities. During the middle Sunday of camp, we held an Open Day and had several visitors and families attend a day of camp. They were able to join in the celebration service held in the late morning, and after a light lunch the visitors were able to watch the campers go through normal classes as dorms participated in mud pits, dance class, and basketball class.

 The theme for camp this year was “Discovery” and was based on the Luke 24 passage when Jesus joins the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Just as the disciples discovered wonderful things on that journey, the campers were encouraged that Jesus is with them on their journey and will also help them discover truth about him along the way just as the two disciples did.

 A big thank you to all those members and congregations who supported SEP through prayer, donations, and supporting staff who served at camp. SEP is only able to achieve what it does through the community effort of GCI throughout all of Australia.

 More pictures and information about SEP are available online, and you can look forward to reading more about it in the next issue of GCIToday magazine.

News

The Day of Visitation

January 28th, 2014
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Jerusalem was at the centre of the Jewish world. Jesus’ disciples had enthusiastically welcomed the King. But the representatives of the temple rebuked Jesus. They would not give any praises and blessing to their King on the day of their visitation.

They were like the citizens of the parable “We will not have this man to rule over us.”

We all have our day of visitation. We want to be like the those who welcomed their King.

But there is an urgent warning in the account of Jesus entry in to Jerusalem. It is a life and death matter how we respond to the visitation of the King.

In Luke we are now beginning to see the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy

Luke 2: 28-35

28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

    and the glory of your people Israel.”

This is a powerful statement about the oneness of God. There is only one true God of the people of Israel and of all the nations. The time is coming when all nations will know this.

And the true knowledge of God and salvation is revealed in Jesus Christ who comes out of Israel.

And yet, there is a hostility from those in power to who he is.

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

This world’s system is built on a different foundation to the sacrificial service of Jesus’ Kingship. It seeks to exalt itself. Jesus was serving at the bottom, including the least in his ministry.

He was the foot washer.

People by nature look to rise up  – to be recognized. Jesus asks us to look to where we can contribute to others and do that well.

I read the other day: Never climb higher than you are willing to fall. The higher you climb the more of your rear end you expose.

In God’s Kingdom a lot of those who exalted themselves were to fall, to be exposed in the light of Christ crucified.

We will see shortly that Jesus gives a prophetic message which has three components: the address or summons, the indictment and the announcement of a verdict.

Luke19:41

 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

This utterance, full of sorrow as he mourns the fate of the city, will not be a happy one but nor will it be a vindictive one.

Jesus was not one who desires any to suffer. It is not his purpose that anyone perish,

Read more…

Message for the Day

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 244 | Wed 22 Jan 2014

January 23rd, 2014
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CHURCHES ATTACKED IN SRI LANKA’S SOUTH & WEST

Early on Sunday 12 January a church on the outskirts of Colombo in Sri Lanka’s west was set on fire. Whilst the blaze was extinguished before much damage was done, a threatening note was left on the gate. Later, two churches in the tourist town of Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka’s south coast were attacked by a mob of some 250 protesting Buddhist nationalists, including saffron-robed monks.

The protesters smashed doors, windows, furniture and equipment and burnt Bibles and other literature. Derana TV filmed the attacks (see Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog). The Galle magistrate has called for the attackers to be arrested and rebuked police for not arresting them sooner. The court hearing is scheduled for Monday 27 January. Please pray for Sri Lanka, its Church and an end to impunity.

For the full report click here

Prayers