Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 3)

Perseverance

Sometimes I feel down about the lack of progress or impact we make as a Church. We believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important news our world needs to hear – but so often people don’t want to listen. We believe our lives should be transformed in every aspect by the gospel, and yet sometimes we struggle to make reading our Bibles a priority.

Remember Ezekiel. He toiled for years and years preaching to a people who wouldn’t listen. He sacrificed much in service to his Lord and yet was warned before-hand that he wouldn’t see any fruit in his lifetime. But Ezekiel had truth and the power of the Lord on his side and so he persevered. He was vindicated (33:33). He brought hope and promise that the LORD would come and rescue (34:11). He promised a new heart and the Spirit of the LORD (36:26)!

So be encouraged. In a world of loneliness and uncertainty let us shine forth the gospel of the glory of Christ! In a world void of hope – let us live and speak the story of Jesus Christ, which brings us purpose and meaning and hope. Let us speak of resurrection power as God’s Spirit brings life to dry bones – fills our lives with purpose and meaning and unites us with himself into the true and living family of God for eternity!

Yours in Him,

Ben

PS: Have a read of Ezekiel 37 (this Sundays passage) and then listen to Lauren Daigle’s song, letting the life giving power of God fill you with hope:

Church Reopening Plans

We’re so excited to finally be able to share news with you of our Church Reopening plans!  It is such a joy to gather as God’s people, to hear from his word, to sing and pray and love and encourage one another.  While many of these aspects (singing!) will only come back in a staged way, there is now a very bright light at the end of the COVID-tunnel. 

You might be excited too, you might also be feeling frustrated, or nervous and worried, or any number of other things.  That’s OK.  This time has not been easy.  It affects all of us differently, and we all have different circumstances and concerns to deal with.  I hope and pray we can support and love each other well in this staged re-opening process.  Consider checking in how others are going.  Perhaps give them a call and a gentle encouragement to join you in coming back to Church.

Please take time to read and reflect on these reopening plans and to pray and plan for when you will be able to re-join us for Church services.  If there is anything unclear or if you want to discuss anything with us, please don’t hesitate to call.

Join us in praying for our nation and our state as we step our way cautiously out of this COVID-19 pandemic.  Pray most especially that in a time where many of the things we’ve trusted and relied upon have been shaken, people will be drawn to the unshakeable truths and hopes of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28-29

We have so much to look forward to as a Church family!  Scott and Britt Williams will join us early next year; we continue our focus on training and developing leaders; and we encourage every single one of us to be growing in our faith in Christ and serving one another in love.

Yours sincerely,

Ben, along with Nick, Milton and Andrew (wardens).

Picton & Wilton Anglican Churches

See below both pdf and jpg versions of our Church reopening plans:

Jpg version of Church Reopening Plans.

Church Plans for 2021 Sydney Lockdown

Click here to view our reopening plans (back to Church 31 October 2021)

Greater Sydney (including Wollondilly) is under a ‘Stay at Home’ Orders.  I’m sure this has frustrated many of your plans (as it has ours) and is difficult news to hear.  We won’t allow these orders to stop us from fellowshipping together, although it will have to be online.

Here is the plan for this season:
1) We’ll have only ONE Church service, 9:30am livestreamed on our Youtube Channel: http://youtube.com/PWAChurches/.  You will be able to comment on the ‘live chat’ to interact with us and each other.  However, please be mindful that this ‘live chat’ is a public space and we have no control over who else might be watching or commenting.  If you can’t make the livestream at 9:30am you can always watch it later in the day.

2) After the service, we’ll have an informal Zoom gathering, with the opportunity to chat in small groups and for the kids to play some games together in a ‘kids room’.  Please click on this Zoom link to join this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84252476839

We’ll be sure to communicate our plans as things develop.  Thanks for your prayers and understanding.

Yours in Christ,
Ben

God Asks the Questions

Job is a book that raises more questions than answers.  God’s speeches in the final chapters of the book consist of a long series of questions.  I counted 72 question marks in my English Bible.  These questions range from ‘Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?’ to ‘Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?’ and ‘Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?’
One of the main purposes of the book of Job is to put us humans back in our place and to give us realistic expectations of life.  We cannot expect to understand everything about life or the mind and purposes of God in his dealings with us.
However, when Job is humbled and repents, we find his fortunes are restored.  This reinforces our understanding of God whom Mary describes as ‘lifting up the humble’ (Luke 1:52).  We can’t expect to receive this restoration of fortunes in this life, but we do know that God has promised us resurrection eternal life in Christ that will be more than we can ever dream of.
We will not always understand the mind and works of God, but we can trust that he is working of our good, and we can in patience wait upon his faithfulness.
If you’ve missed part of the Job preaching series, you can always catch up here: https://pwac.org.au/sermons/series/job/
Yours in Christ,
Ben

Life is Mission

I’m so excited to have Kevin and Karen Flanagan with us this weekend!  What a joy and privilege it has been to partner with them as they share the gospel and equip God’s leaders in Tanzania.
The most inspiring moment for me was when Kevin and Karen joined us for a Zoom prayer meeting in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.  When asked whether they were looking to come home to Australia they shrugged their shoulders and said no.  They were planning to stay in Tanzania, come what may.  If God were to give them an early mark to heaven then so be it.
However, we ought not idolise our link missionaries as if they had some additional calling or level of spirituality beyond ourselves.  We too are called to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.  We too are called to make the most of every opportunity and be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ!
Mission is not something exclusive to Africa, or some other exotic place.  Mission is our everyday life as Christians representing Christ in our families, workplaces, schools, soccer clubs, retirement homes etc…
Join me in this prayer:  ‘Lord, give me opportunities to share the hope I have in Christ, and give me the boldness and words to say.  Lord, may my life and words bring glory to my Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen’
Yours in Christ,
Ben

(Re)Introducing Scott Williams!

Recently, parish council voted unanimously to offer a full time assistant minister position to Scott Williams for next year! This is a very significant moment in the life of our Churches and I’m so excited about the opportunities for our Church and the gospel that this will bring!

Scott’s main roles will be to continue to develop our youth ministry and to gather a team to plant a new congregation in the mornings at Wilton.

Parish Council are so encouraged by the wonderfully generous financial response to our call to meet budget. We take that response as a pledge of confidence in our mission and plans to employ Scott, continue to grow God’s Church and our capability to proclaim his gospel!

In the midst of celebration, I must offer a word of caution. I have heard that over the past 15 years Sydney Anglican Churches have doubled the amount of staff they employ, but this increase has not necessarily corresponded with growth in those Churches. We are not paying Scott to do ministry for us, we are employing him to equip and inspire us all to minister the Word of God to each other, to serve our community in love and to proclaim the good news of Christ to a community in desperate need of hearing it. God gave pastors and teachers to his church to equip God’s people for works of service and God has gifted every one of us in unique ways as part of his body.

Would you join me in praising God for this great news, and praying that each one of us would steward our gifts and lives in service of our great King Jesus Christ!

Yours in Christ,
Ben

Playing Catch-up…

Did you know if you miss Church you can always watch along later on Youtube? https://pwac.org.au/PWAChurches/ The full service is available only for a limited time, and then it is edited down to only the sermon. You can also check out a fairly comprehensive catalogue of sermons here: https://pwac.org.au/sermons/. Neither of these are as good as ‘being there’, but it can help to keep up with the sermon series, or to check out church anonymously ?.

Resurrection Hope

Green shoots from blackened earth.  Easing restrictions from COVID pandemic.  Blue skies after flooding rains.  These are symbols of relief and hope. 

The green is greener after the fire.  The singing is more joyous after the silence.  The skies are clearer after the rain. 

Through suffering grows resilience and gratitude.  From endurance and perseverance springs hope.  Through judgement comes salvation.

“the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Jesus in Luke 24:46-47

It is only through the suffering and death of our Messiah, Jesus, that forgiveness of sins can be won for us.  His resurrection is the glorious moment of victory over death and certain promise of resurrection life to all who trust in him.

You may be spending your Easter long weekend playing video games, renovating the house, or camping down the coast.  But don’t miss the opportunity to reflect on the glorious hope of resurrection that can be yours in Christ Jesus.

At Easter we celebrate that ‘He is Risen’ – and he promises resurrection life to you too, if you will trust and follow him!

Yours in Christ,
Ben

Steven

“About two years ago, I went through a life changing trauma. At the time, it was the hardest thing that I have ever experienced. However, about 12 months ago, I began to reconnect with God and Christ. I recently undertook the Christianity Explored course with Ben. Through that course, I have been able to learn more about Christ and grow closer to him. To form a relationship with him, and to begin to know and understand his love. Ben and Kate have opened their arms to me, and you all know yourselves how amazing these two people are. Thank you Ben and Kate. Every time I read and learn the Good News, it just feels so right. I get that feeling inside, that feeling of Faith and I know that knowing Christ is the right thing for me.”

Steven Goodall.

Steven made a declaration of faith at Bargo River on 18th October 2020, along with several others. Join me in praying that many more might put their trust in Jesus and be saved!

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Wilton Carols 2022

Sundays 9:30am @ Picton and 5pm @ Wilton (with Kids Program). Also livestreamed on YouTube.