Will 2017 be a ‘Happy New Year’? Because the world’s mood seems to be darkening! In late December, you might have noticed that in many year-in-review TV shows and newspaper articles and blog posts that people thought that 2016 was pretty tough. There were wars, terrorism, Brexit, Trump, the Australian Senate was clogged, the housing market and economy started to look wobbly, and 2017… looks uncertain.
But the book of First Peter, which our 8:30 and 10:15 congregations are exploring over January, reminds us of how we can indeed be full of joy, no matter what comes in 2017.
Like gold being refined in a smelter, Peter tells us that suffering and trials test and purify our Christian faith. This is because like fire in the smelter, suffering burns away the dross of our false hopes in this present world (1:6-7). And as our hope in our future salvation though Christ is purified, then our hearts are increasingly ‘filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1:8-9). And this joy of Christ is a resilient joy that will stand firm, no matter what the new year brings.
So rest your hopes more and more on the living hope of Christ’s salvation, and have a Happy New Year!
Do you have any new year’s resolutions this year? While on one hand new year’s resolutions are notorious for being broken, on the other if you never commit to trying to change something… nothing ever will!
As the writer G. K. Chesterton famously argued: ‘The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective’.
In terms of your spiritual life, what might be a good new year’s resolution? Perhaps the most beneficial single thing you can do for your Christian faith is to read the whole bible in a year. The bible is a big book (or 66 books to be exact), but when broken down into 365 daily portions reading it cover to cover becomes a manageable task.
So if you’ve never read the whole bible, or maybe have not done so for a long time, then 2017 is the year for you! If you are keen to take the on the challenge, there are many good bible reading plans available, or you could simply start reading the New Testament at the Gospel of Matthew, and keep going from there.
Welcome to Berwick Anglican Church as we celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world!
If you enjoy Christmas then you will love two of our our upcoming discussion series:
Life of Jesus: Summer Sunday Series as part of our 5pm Sunday Services during January 2017
It is without doubt that Jesus is one of history’s most influential figures. But what really happened back in the first century, in Jerusalem and around the Lake of Galilee, that changed the shape of world history? Who is this figure who emerges from history to have a profound impact on culture, ethics, politics and philosophy?
As part of our January 5pm Services, Berwick Anglican Church will be presenting the ‘Life of Jesus’ documentary series by Australian historian John Dickson. Join us as we explore the historical claims of the Christian faith about the life, birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Alpha: Tuesday Night Dinner and Discussion
A course exploring Christian faith, starting Tuesday 7 February 2017 Join us for a series of evenings exploring Christianity and the big issues of life, with food, a video presentation and good conversation. Sceptics, the curious and believers are all welcome! Dinner starts at 7pm.
We love celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at Berwick Anglican Church.
All are welcome to join us!
Carols on the Hill Outdoor Service – 5pm Sunday December 11th (BYO picnic rug and food/drinks)
Christmas Eve Carols – 6pm (includes puppets)
Christmas Eve Communion – 11pm
Christmas Day Services: 8:30am, 10:15am, 5:00pm
The Lord’s Prayer was given as a result of Jesus disciples asking him how to pray (Luke 11:1). It is a prayer for disciples of Jesus.
The fact that the prayer begins ‘Our Father in heaven”, indicates that it is a prayer for those who have already been reconciled to God the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ.
This means that the prayer is not related to our eternal acceptance before God, but it relates to our growth as already-forgiven disciples.. It is a prayer that relates to our progressive sanctification, it is not related to our once-off justification.
Therefore when we pray ‘forgive us our sins’, it is not because we doubt our standing in the grace of Jesus – it is because we want progress in our holiness, in our intimacy with God and in our glorifying of God through thankful obedience.
There is little value in praying the Lord’s Prayer as an unforgiven outsider to the kingdom. But to us who have accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord, the Lord’s Prayer determines our outlook, priorities and vision for life until our Saviour returns to take us to our eternal home.