Archive for December, 2017

2017 Church Matters

December 31st, 2017
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Church Matters Newsletter

The humanity of Jesus

December 24th, 2017
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It is interesting how the gospels of Matthew and Luke have genealogies leading to Jesus’ birth. Matthew begins with Abraham showing he is embedded in the story of Israel and Luke retraces it back to Adam, the son of God, showing he is one with all humanity.

To understand the Old Testament, we need to ask: What’s the role of Israel? Too many Christians fail to teach from the Old Testament because “it’s done away with”– we’re not under the law but under grace.

When we read the Old Testament, we see that it’s all figuring and types prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ.

Paul talks about the law as a wonderful schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. So in that sense, through Israel, God has formed a community. He has not taken a pre-existing one. He creates a community of people through individuals, starting with Abraham, gives them a blessing, enters into a covenant with them: “I’ll be your God, you’ll be my people; I’ll give you blessings if you do these things, curses if you do these things.”

He’s forming them through giving them the law, rules which cover every aspect of life.

God is forming a people to know what it means to come into the presence of someone who is not an idol – someone who is not human – someone who is holy. “I’m holy – take off your shoes. I’m holy – prepare yourself. I’m holy – think different ways, act differently.”

Paul describes it this way.

Romans 9:4-5

4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, for ever praised! Amen.

All of that is in preparation for Jesus Christ, so that when he comes, he is the fulfillment of Israel. He is all Israel. So he represents, he substitutes for all Israel. Time and time again, the Gospels are alluding to this, where Jesus re-enacts the story of Israel.

Then we get the climax – not only is this for Israel – Jesus now is the way through which all humanity will be saved. All humanity will have the Spirit, all humanity can have the promise, the ingrafting that Paul and others talk about.

So we read the Old Testament, particularly Israel, as this long preparation for the coming of Christ. That gives us a context in which to understand this rabbi , teacher or master.

And did you notice verse 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, for ever praised! Amen.

Human ancestry and who is God overall.

Now there are two perspectives we find in discussing Jesus.

One is from above -which we read in John1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John starts his gospel up in the heavenlies. Here’s the Logos who comes down and verse 14 – takes to himself human flesh. But the rest of that Gospel is here with us-below.

We can emphasise his divinity as a lot of Christians do. But in doing so we may downplay the importance of his on-going humanity.

Read more…

Message for the Day


December 21st, 2017
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From Al Kurawa:

SEP Prayer items

A big “Thank You” to everyone who has been praying for SEP 2018.  As I watched things fall into place with scheduling, housing, budget, and other logistics I could tell there were brothers and sisters all over Australia praying throughout camp preparation.  The start of SEP 2018 is almost here and we would appreciate your prayers during pre-camp (30-31 Dec) and camp (1-9 Jan).  Here are a few items for your prayer list:

We have a camper coming from the US and a couple from Fiji this year.  We are in a new location as well.  Your prayers for our developing relationship with the managers of PGL Campaspe Downs and that we are able to continue to establish a good rapport with them for future endeavours.  Prayers for first time staff.  Prayers for the weather as Campaspe Downs has no air conditioning in any rooms.  The location of Campaspe Downs is known for huge swings in temperature from day to night when we held SEP there in the 1990’s.  Last camp we were inundated with rain for three straight days to begin camp.  Being in a new location it would be really appreciated if we had nice, average weather the entire time we are at camp.  Please pray for the health and wellbeing of the campers and the staff.  Nobody wants to spend their time at SEP in bed sick.  Thanks again for praying for SEP as the staff share the gospel and their lives with campers over 9 days.