This weekend nearly 30 of our teenagers head to Katoomba for KYCK Youth Camp. KYCK challenges and equips high schoolers to boldly live the Christian life. This year they’ll be exploring Mark’s gospel in the Bible.
Please join me in praying for safety for them all as they travel up, camp on site and interact with a thousand or so other teenagers also attending. Pray for our Youth Leaders: that they will have energy and enthusiasm for the weekend; that they would be strengthened to live a godly life; and that they would love and lead the teenagers well.
These weekend camps often have a formative place in our lives as we are challenged and encouraged to live for Jesus Christ. Pray that these teenagers be transformed more into the likeness of Christ, not just for a weekend, but for their lifetime and eternity.
Yours in Him,
Check out these photos from a few past years at KYCK. (see how they’ve grown)
Today* is the third day of the Sydney Anglican Synod – its the AGM meeting of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church. It’s a 5 day meeting of 800 or so people representing around 270 parishes, plus diocesan organisations, schools and boards. It’s a business meeting with motions, bills and complex rules of debate that take quite some getting used to. We hear the Bible taught, pray together and discuss and debate a wide range of matters from financial and governance, to theology and political issues. Highlights for me of the last few days include hearing from 3 indigenous brothers and sisters about their views on the upcoming referendum**; motions encouraging political engagement to curb the effects of poker machines and online sports betting; and many other important matters. Michael Duckett, pastor of the Macarthur Indigenous Church, described the referendum for the Voice to Parliament as a bus. He said our tendency is to inspect the bus to see how well its built, find out how many seats its got and to criticise all the details. But he said his indigenous brothers and sisters have been waiting at the bus stop for a long time, and never before has a bus come along. He said from their perspective, there is excitement that any old bus might be coming along to help them. It might not be the best bus, but at least its something. He also said that the most important reconciliation we can focus on is the reconciliation with God that can only come through Jesus Christ. Whatever your opinion on the voice to parliament, can I encourage you pray as you prepare to vote, and perhaps consider reading the arguments for and against linked to in the word from our Archbishop on this matter that appears at the bottom of this E-News. Yours in Him, Ben *I’m writing this on the morning on Wednesday 13th September. ** Read more about what they said here: https://sydneyanglicans.net/news/indigenous-anglicans-speak-about-true-reconciliation/53594
We are about to enter the evangelistic season of our Church life. Who are you praying for? Let me encourage you to spend some time identifying three non-Christian friends or family members that you can focus on praying for and seeking opportunities to invite to Church, or speak to about Jesus. Once you’ve done this, commit yourself to praying for them by name every day for the rest of this year and look for opportunities. I call this the 3,2,1 Challenge. On the bookmark you’ll receive at Church, write down three people you’re praying for, two people you’re going to invite to a Church event, and one person you’re going to attempt to speak to about Jesus. Put the bookmark in your Bible and then use it everyday to remind you to pray. Here’s an example prayer: “Dear Lord, I pray that you will reveal yourself to X, Y and Z, so that they find life in Christ. Give me courage and opportunity to tell them I go to Church, or explain to them why I’m a Christian or to invite them along to a Church event. Help them to see that they need to repent and trust in Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. Amen.” Yours in Him, Ben
After a lot of prayer, discussion and planning, its finally happening. We will grow from two into three congregations on Sunday the 8th October: Picton 9am; Wilton 10am; and Wilton 5pm.
It’s a simple and necessary change: we want more people to be able to fellowship with us and find life in Christ, so we need an additional congregation in order to fit them in.
The next step for us all is to nominate which of the three congregations we plan to be a part of – so we’re inviting you to complete our very short survey, below.
I expect the difficult thing about this process is that you want to know what your friends are doing, before you make a decision yourself. You might be wondering ‘what if all my friends choose to go in the morning, but I didn’t realise, and I said I was going in the evening’. Don’t worry, this is not a once and for all time decision, you can always change your mind.
I expect that most people will continue attending the congregation they are already a part of. Our Picton congregation will stay the same, with very few people considering making a change to join the Wilton morning congregation. I expect that most people currently attending the Wilton 5pm congregation will continue to attend that same congregation. There is a group of a dozen Wilton 5pm congregation members who are committed to starting the Wilton morning congregation, and there are a few others considering joining them. My advice and encouragement is that if you’re not sure what you’re doing, just stick with the current congregation you’re a part of, you can always decide to make a change later.
Another piece of advice and encouragement, use this moment to pray and consider how you might get involved in serving at Church in some way. There will be needs and opportunities for people to ‘step-up’ and serve, as some people move on to start new things.
My favourite moment in Church last week was at Wilton when Michael explained why he and Katrina wanted to have Jack baptised. They want to embrace their Christian beliefs in Jack as he grows up and for him to be baptised in the Wilton Church so they can get the congregations help and support in raising Jack. It was a beautiful moment in several ways: to see the chuffed look on this nearly 8 year old boys face as he declared his faith in Christ (supported by his parents); as he ran down the aisle high-fiving the congregation afterwards; and as it expressed something very important about our Church community. One of the important realities of the New Testament letters in the Bible is hidden from us by our English translations. In English, the word ‘you’ can be either referring to an individual or a group of people. We like to read it as individual because we tend to value our individuality rather than our place in the community – we like to think about our own relationship with God. But in fact, the original Greek of the New Testament has a separate word to address individuals and it is very clearly addressing the Church in community almost all of the time. God never intended the Christian life to be lived alone. The Christian community / Church family is God’s gift to each other for teaching, encouraging and life together. This embraces all kinds of people – as older Church members take a keen interest in the lives of young people, as single men and women participate in the family life of others, as deep friendships form and grief and joy are shared together. Our confirmation service on 13th August will be another opportunity to support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they publicly declare their faith in Christ. ‘Welcome to the family – everyone is welcome’. In Christ, Ben
I hate being sick*. It doesn’t feel good, and its frustrating having to cancel things and let people down. But it’s a good reminder of my limitations and it helps me to rely on others. I’m weak and I’m fragile and I need to rest. And then I discover that the world doesn’t stop turning when I’m unable to contribute to it, which is both humbling and a huge relief. It’s OK for me to rest and recuperate.
God never gets sick. He never has to cancel his plans or postpone his promises. And its a good thing too, because the world really would stop turning without his sustaining it in motion.
In Psalm 3, King David feels vulnerable and weak and is literally under attack from his son Absalom, but he can rest because he is confident of God’s care:
‘I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.’ – Psalm 3:5.
*I’ve just got some sort of cold – frustrating, but not life threatening.
We* spent most of this week down at Youthworks Shoalhaven Conference centre meeting with all the Anglican Church leaders of the Wollongong Region of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. It was such an encouraging time: hearing from 1 Kings about King Solomon’s successes and failures and God’s grace through it all; reflecting together on our constantly changing culture and the power and relevance of our unchanging gospel; and catching up with ministry colleagues from Churches around the region. It was incredible on Wednesday morning to hear story after story of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ through these Churches and its awesome to be able to return to our Church, where exactly the same thing is happening. Many are coming to our church services and are finding life in Christ with us! The only problem with a great conference, is that the normal things that have to be done each week get squeezed into just two days! In Christ, Ben
This term we’re focussing on equipping ourselves to serve – and we’ve organised three special training seminars for you to participate in.
The first seminar is focused on Welcoming and Integration on Sunday 21st May 2-4pm at Wilton, by guest trainer, Craig Glassock. Craig will help us understand best practice in this area and develop our welcoming and integration ministry.
This is especially important as we anticipate welcoming hundreds of new people into our Church over the next few years as they move into our suburb and the area grows exponentially.
Sadly, it’s in transitioning to a new area or a new phase of life that people often drop out of the habit of going to Church, and then fall away from faith in Christ altogether over time. We have the opportunity to make an eternal impact by helping these people integrate into a new Church well and continue to grow in Christ. We also have the positive opportunity of helping people who don’t know Jesus yet, find life in Christ and become part of our Church family.
To help entice you to come along, Scott will be bringing along our new Church Coffee machine for its maiden voyage. Come at 1:30pm for a coffee before the training starts at 2pm.
Join us for ‘Compassion Sunday’ this weekend as we hear from guest speaker, Spiro Cassis! For more info about compassion go here: https://www.compassion.com.au/
My own compassion story…
We started sponsoring Agbessi in June 2014 when he was 5 years old (he’s now 14). We picked him out from the Compassion ‘line-up’ because he was in the middle of the ages of our children and we did it with them to help them practice showing the love of Jesus through care and generosity.
Agbessi lives in Togo with his parents and with 5 other kids in the house. He’s part of the Compassion program and because of Compassion he is able to go to school, in the equivalent of Year 7.
Our letter writing habits haven’t been great – but we do pray for Agbessi regularly and its been really beneficial for the kids to understand a bit about life in Togo, to not take their own circumstances for granted and to practice generosity in the name of Christ.
Our sponsorship allows the staff of the local Compassion project team in CDE Salut et Joie to provide Agbessi with Bible teaching, choir, hygiene and nutrition education, health screenings, nutritious food, games, field trips, community service opportunities, tutoring and educational materials. The centre staff also provide training for his parents.
We’re really thankful for all the work Compassion does for more than 2 million children world-wide and the impact it has made over the past 60 years releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
This weekend we have the privilege of a visit from our new link missionaries, Craig and Lisse, along with their children. This is an important time, as we only get this opportunity once every three years.
I can’t wait to get to know them better and to learn more about their plans to serve in the international Church in the Middle East.
The nations are coming into the Middle East and going out again. And they’re taking the gospel with them! Please pray for God to make Jesus known across the world through the church and college.
Our focus as a Church should not just be on ourselves – the gospel compels us to lift our eyes to see the world around us that needs Jesus. That’s why we’re starting a Wilton Morning Congregation, so that more people in Wilton can find life in Christ. That’s why we’re concerned about people in the Middle East knowing Jesus. Because Jesus is Lord, we want more people to find life in him, the life that only he can bring!
Please join us this Sunday to meet Craig and Lisse. Some things are confidential, so not everything will go out on the YouTube livestream this week.