Growing Through Growth Groups

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” – Acts 2:42 (NIV)

I love reading about the early church in the book of Acts. Early Christians saw the need to meet together for mutual encouragement as they grew deeper in their faith. When they met they encouraged each other with four things: teaching, community, food and prayer. Likewise we at Berwick Anglican Church strive to encourage each other in the same ways.

Teaching:
With teaching we gather under God’s Word to build up one another in the faith of the Lord Jesus. We encourage each other to keep our relationships with Jesus strong and healthy. We interact with the Word of God and let the Scriptures convict, instruct and train our hearts.

Fellowship and food (community):
With fellowship we acknowledge that Christ’s family is one body with many parts. We see each others needs and grow strong under Christ. It’s safe to say then that food and fellowship go hand in hand. With food we grow the quality of our relationships in our groups. Sharing a meal signifies that we have a friendship and desire to continue growing together.

Prayer:
With prayer we take our praise and prayer points, encouragements, stresses, ups, downs, highs, lows, excitements, worries and cares to God. We do this together which encourages us that we are not alone in our walk with Jesus.

Are you involved in a growth group in our church? I urge you to join a growth group and find out for yourself how much of an encouragement this ministry is in your personal growth in Christ.

Reece Kelly
Assistant Minister

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Joy Flows From Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the great hallmarks of the Christian life. In particular we have the most amazing reason for gratitude – our sins have been forgiven through Jesus Christ.

This is the greatest thing that can happen to us – God has sent his Son to shed his blood to make full atonement for our wrongdoing. Our punishment is placed on Jesus and we are fully reconciled to God now and eternally.

Jesus once told a parable about two debtors (Luke 7:41-43 – NIV) – one has a small debt forgiven and one has a very large debt forgiven. Which one will be the most joyful? He said this to honour the joyful worship of a ‘sinful woman’ and to disrupt the proud grumbling of the Pharisees in Luke 7.

The best thing we can do to grow in joy is to grow in knowledge of our forgiveness through Jesus. The more we treasure the cross of Christ, the more we are thankful, and then the more our joy increases.

Have you thanked God today for forgiving your sins in Jesus? Do you thank him for the cross every day?

Your Pastor,
Wayne

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Growing in the Word

  1. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
  2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
  3. He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
  4. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind bows away.
  5. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
  6. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1 (NIV)

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How Are Your Quiet Times?

Last week we finished our sermon series in 1 John, where John encouraged us to have 100% confidence of our belief and trust in Jesus, and warned us to flee from anything that will turn our hearts away from Him. In response to this, I am convinced that daily time set aside with God to be nourished and spiritually fed is one of the most important things Christians can do.

In his book, ‘Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry’, Paul Tripp says:

“When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of his Word,I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Savior.”

How are your quiet times? Are they strong? Are they shaky? Are they non-existent? We ought to be striving to set aside time with God daily. If you do, I am convinced you will not help but notice the joy in your identity in Christ, causing you to want to spur others on to live in Christ too.

I use Rev. Michael Fry’s daily office lectionary for my personal quiet times, and it is an excellent bible reading plan. I encourage you to find something that works for you so we can grow in the Word through our quiet times together.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be leasing your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Reece Kelly
Assistant Minister

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The Lord’s Prayer

Bishop Paul Barker is visiting BAC soon… and traditionally young people have prepared to meet the Bishop in confirmation class where they memorise and learn to explain three key Christian documents; the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. We thought it would be good for all of us to have a refresh – continuing this week with the Lord’s Prayer.

Why should you pray the Lord’s Prayer?
When his disciples asked him how to pray Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). It is a pattern of prayer that trains us in how to have fellowship with God.

Why Pray ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’?
I begin praying by acknowledging who I am praying to, and remember that we are adopted as God’s children through faith in Christ. To ‘hallow’ God’s name is to honour him as holy, and desire that all people everywhere may truly revere and worship him.

Why pray ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven’?
I ask that the rightful reign of God would be restored over all the world and in the hearts of his people through the operation of his Holy Spirit. I also pray for God to extend his grace to others and society through me and through the church.

Why pray ‘Give us today our daily bread’?
I ask that God would supply everything that I need for my personal well-being, such as food and clothing, homes and families, work and health, friends and neighbours, and peace and godly governance. I also pray for the needs of others and the church.

Why pray ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’?
Here I examine my life, and ask God to forgive all my sins through Jesus Christ. And I forgive others, by choosing to extend to them the love of Christ, and by not to holding against them any hurts they have inflicted, whether they ask forgiveness or not.

Why pray ‘Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil’?
Here I ask that God would protect me against temptation, or the ‘trials’ of the world, our sinful hearts, and the Devil, all of which are enemies of God and of our spiritual well-being. I also ask God to protect and deliver me and others from all earthly dangers, sorrows and sicknesses.

Ben Soderlund – Assistant Minister

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