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Gidday everyone,

I hope your week is going well. We just had the seniors morning tea this morning. It was a great time, Jan, Betty and the gang did a great job as always. I gave a little devotion and apart from being chatted up by a feisty 70 something while I spoke (It was very scary) it went really well.

This Sunday we have the reflectors celebration service. The other day I asked one of my boys what they were doing, I was very quickly told, “I can’t tell you, we made promises not to say anything.” Despite me pulling out my pastor hat he still wouldn’t tell me. So the kids are looking forward to it and what they are going to show us.

This service is the first of a Reflectors celebration service. Reflectors are doing a program called Oasis. It’s a great discipleship program that encourages christian kids to share their faith. As a part of the program they have “celebration” where parents of kids outside the church are invited.

So this Sunday can I encourage you on couple of levels. First can you bring some food to share at lunch after the service. Also can I encourage you to look out for new faces and say hello to someone new. Your greeting might just be part of someone take another step towards faith in Jesus.

Lastly would you pray about joining the Reflectors team. This ministry is a part the growing clarity about God’s Mission for us as a church; reaching Children and families. We have two reflectors teams, headed up by Bronwyn Wood-Burgess and Beth Rogers their teams take it in turns to run reflectors for three weeks at a time. We have some terrific young people involved but really need the input of some older adult leaders. As parents its easy at times for us to “Outsource” the discipleship of our kids. Can I really encourage everyone and especially our christian parents to pray and consider being involved in this ministry.

We often struggle to know God’s plan and call for our lives. But sometimes we need to get involved in something so the Holy Spirit can confirm, correct or change our course. But if we never move its a bit hard for God to bring any clarification or course correction to our journey.

See you Sunday,

Dave.

What does unity bring? in Psalm 133, David writes of the blessings that unity bring to a society. We want unity, but at what cost? To continue to move from agreements being what keeps us together, to the Spirit, there are some things that have to go.

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When God comes and shows us something its an opportunity to be renovated to carry more of him. Renovations though are messy, dusty and inconvenient. John the Baptist said that Jesus had something for us that he didn’t, the Spirit. When we take on that Revelation, there will be an invitation for a renovation. It might be messy and inconvenient but why wouldn’t you want it!

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Afternoon everyone,

Of the people you bump into, live with, walk past or work with, who of them has an unfulfilled dream? What about you?  What are the dreams you have that lie, perhaps untold and unfulfilled?

The other day I was down as the Port Bakehouse speaking to one of the new staff members.  The conversation went something like this.

“Hi, I don’t think I’ve meet you yet. You’re new to working here aren’t you?”

“Yes, I started 2 weeks ago.”

“That’s great, well my name’s David.”

“My name is Tanya[1].”

“We all call him Revie Dave!” Chimes in one of the other employees.

“Why do they call you that?”  Says Tanya.

“Because I am the pastor up at Church By The Bay.  The ‘Revie’ stands for reverend.   Perhaps you’ve noticed CBtB as you have driven in to Port.  It’s on the left hand side as you enter town.”

“Oh yeah, I know the place. The one with the lighted cross on top.”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Tanya, we are doing a survey as a church at the moment, asking our neighbors and people who live around the Bellarine a couple of questions.  It’s to help us think as a church about the ways we can benefit the community we are a part of.  Could I ask you our two question survey?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“Well, the first question is, ‘What do you think is unique about this area?’ Or, if it helps, ‘Why do you choose to live here?’ ”

“Well, I used to live in Geelong years ago but I moved down here from Echuca with my partner a few months ago.  I love how quiet it is.  It’s beautiful to be able to walk along the beach.”

“So the quiet and nature are important to you?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks for that. The second question is, ‘What do you think is a unique challenge facing this area?’ ”

“Oh that’s easy.  How hard it is getting from here through to anywhere else.  Drysdale is getting more crowded and if you need to get into Geelong you can get caught up in a bottle neck as you try and get through.”

“So, you think transport is an important issue for this area.”

“Yes and not only for people with their own cars but for those who need to get to Geelong. It would be great if there was a bypass or something.”

“Thanks Tanya,  I really appreciate your feedback.  I hope you enjoy working here.”

“Well it’s great so far!”

“Wonderful, I’ll look forward to seeing you about the place.”

………….

The conversation took a minute and yet for Tanya, as a young woman, her opinion mattered. It showed here a different side to church and Christians.   When it comes to God, our opinions matter to him.

You might think that God is the boss and our job is to learn to give up our dreams, and just do what he wants.  But God works through us.  He loves us so much he will never violate our will. He loves the unique dreams, hopes and desires that have been placed in us because he created us to have them!

Psalm 37:4 says,  “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” For many years I thought that if we only came close to God he would change my desires to be his desires.  But I don’t believe God works that way.  Jesus says he is our friend, we are not just his servants (John 15:15).  If I was just a servant, then sure, my dreams and desires should be his; my job being to purely serve his desires and their fulfillment.

But Jesus calls us friends.  He comes alongside and says, “What do you dream of? What are your desires?” The amazing thing is that as we move close to the Fathers love he takes our dreams and desires, and through them works to accomplish his good will for the world.

This Saturday morning we are spending a two hours asking people in the community around Port our two question survey.  I think it’s a great chance to get a glimpse of the heartbeat of this community, as we consider the dreams God has placed within it and within us.  Could you spare a couple of hours to help create a culture in us and in Port where we begin to consider the dreams we have. I am hoping it will be another step with our God, where we can begin to see ‘dreams’ become a reality.

If you can, we are going to meet at 10am at the church and then divide up into a number of teams.  We’ll be finished just after midday.

Blessings for a great rest of the week,

Dave.

[1] Not her real name.

Have you ever been at a concert, footy match, a theatre or just walking against the crowd on a busy footpath?  The guy in this photo has a big grin on his face, but if you have to walk against a crowd for a long time it can be wearisome.


Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14.

As followers of Jesus often we are walking against the crowd. Our values, language, sexuality, money and what we do with it, our priorities, the way we love and forgive, our willingness to be wronged rather than proven “right” – these situations and many others are times when we walk against the crowd.  Jesus said this is why the “way” is narrow; in other words to live and love like this is difficult and it’s easy to give up. If you are weary of standing against the flow, be encouraged!

As Christians in the 21st century we have a mass of humanity moving in the opposite direction, away from the foundational belief in God. This foundation gives us absolutes from which we can determine what is right and wrong, good and evil, how to live together as people and ultimately live in relationship with our loving Father.

C.S. Lewis put it beautifully when he wrote, “You can get the idea plain if you think of us as a fleet of ships sailing in formation. The voyage will be a success only, in the first place, if the ships do not collide and get in one another’s way; and, secondly, if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order. As a matter of fact, you cannot have either of these two things without the other…Or, if you like, think of humanity as a band playing a tune. To get a good result, you need two things. Each player’s individual instrument must be in tune and also each must come in at the right moment so as to combine with all the others. But there is one thing we have not yet taken into account. We have not asked where the fleet is trying to get to, or what piece of music the band is trying to play…. Mere Christianity, Pg 71.”

Without Christ, we enter the anarchy of relativism, where each plays their own tune. Where we sail in an unseaworthy manner, unable to stop colliding with each other, with no idea of where we are going or in fact of why we are “playing/sailing” in the first place.

In contrast to this, people will see the Christian who sails life with purpose, who plays in tune with the God of all Love, who stands in contrast to the crowd of relativism. When others bump into us as we live, worship and love against the flow some may ask, “What are you doing? Why do you live like that? Where do you get that purpose from?”  What do we say when they do?

This Sunday we begin a journey to better equip ourselves to answer some of the reasonable questions that people inevitably ask when considering God. We’ll also be taking time to consider our own stories of how we have come to know God and why we have chosen to follow Jesus.

Have a great week,

Dave.

Paul unpacks Hebrews 11:6 for us –
and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

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