The Christian life is one of growing. Growth can be in spiritual knowledge, Biblical understanding, ministry experience and skills, commitment and obedience, love for God and his people, faithful endurance in painful experiences and much more.
Growth can happen slowly and require patience. It may be that the struggles we face in the coming year are ordained by God to grow us closer to Christ and in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Thank God now for the challenges he is sending you in the coming year.
A new year is a great time to set goals or some new commitments that will nurture our growth in Christ. Do we need to read the Bible more? Are there great Christian books we’ve always wanted to read? Are we praying with our spouse and children? Are you in a Growth Group (BAC small group)? Growth requires individual discipline as well as participation and fellowship with other Christians.
Without growth in the Christian life, we stagnate. We cannot remain still or rest on our past record. What has hindered your growth in 2011 that you need to cut off? What will most help you grow in your love and joy in Jesus Christ? Pursue it!
As a church we are working our way through the opening three chapters of Scripture. We live in a universe created by the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His stamp and signature is on everything.
The centre of reality is God. We are made in his image to worship him and take a central place in his creation. Although we have fallen into rebellion, God’s Son entered our world for our restoration through his dying and rising to new life.
There is an ordering to the universe which exists after the fall, which is being renewed through Jesus, and will be finished when Jesus returns.
Ultimate reality is not plastic or malleable such that individual people can self-determine what it means to be authentically human. Being created beings, we are not the determiners of right and wrong, good and evil, just and unjust. If we attempt to do this, we will end up in chaos as each individual sets themselves up as little gods.
To be authentically human means to rediscover relationship with God through Jesus – and to work out living according to the design and realities of his creation and the new creation that is to come. Our church is a rescue centre for all peoples to come and discover the majesty of Jesus and new birth that he offers us through repentance and trusting in him.
In 1977 BAC celebrated their centenary, but this was dated from the laying of the first building foundation stone in 1877. However the parish history booklet notes that the Melbourne Church News on October 1st 1866 reported Anglican services happening in Berwick in the Presbyterian church:
“We know that the first Anglican services held in Berwick took place in 1866 on the site of the present Presbyterian Church, and were conducted by Rev. J. B. Gason who came across from Cranbourne ” (Parish History p3 – also available on our website)
This means that in 2016 we will be celebrating 150 years of Anglican Christians gathering for public worship in Berwick. God has been so faithful in blessing us with previous generations of faithful Christians who have prepared the way for us. May we seek to preach the gospel and prepare the way for Christians gathering here for the next 150 years, or until Jesus Christ returns.
After discussion with Wardens and Vestry, I’m am setting the parish the goal of having our building consecrated by our Archbishop at our sesquicentenary in 2016. We are inviting every household in our church to give an extra donation to the parish to our “150th” appeal.
We have about $150,000 remaining on our building debt, and five years until our 150th celebration. This is a great chance to contribute to the the ongoing history of the parish. Later in October we will distribute envelopes and details on giving before our Annual Meeting on November 6th. Please feel to ask any questions in the meantime.
One of our “landmark” blessings at Berwick Anglican Church is our main meeting space which faces out onto such a beautiful garden and view. I personally love it and relish it.
Again and again visitors and regulars tell me how much they enjoy worshipping God in our church and how much the beautiful view contributes to the experience. If you enjoy it, feel free to contribute to the wonderful team of volunteers who help with maintaining our gardens and site!
As we spend the next few weeks looking at Genesis 1-3, the opening chapters of the Bible, we will meet the glorious God behind our glorious creation. This is the critical beginning to the four part story line of the whole Bible:
Creation → Fall → Redemption → Restoration
The universe did not begin fallen, but began as God’s good and perfect creation. The whole universe will be restored at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. By looking back to creation, we will get a taste of the goodness and glory of God’s world that will be restored in the new heavens and the new earth that Jesus will bring.
One of the greatest gifts ever offered to us by Jesus is the opportunity to call God “Father”. God the Father sent his Son, to die in our place so that we can be adopted into God’s forever family.
Adoption is one of the great themes of the Bible. We are adopted unconditionally. The sacrifice of Jesus reveals the depth of the Father’s love toward us.
A Christian is someone, having handed over their life to Jesus, now seeks to live in a forgiven relationship with God as loving Father. Faith and repentance are the gateway to receiving God’s adoption.
Today is a great day to honour and express affection to our human fathers and to thank God for the fathers we miss deeply.
Happy Father’s Day!
“For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God” J. I. Packer