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I have been praying about us putting on an Alpha course in the second half of this year. This email is to Test the waters and see if the Holy Spirit is prompting anyone else regarding opportunities for people to discover more about Jesus.

What is Alpha? In short, Alpha is a 10 week course that provides an opportunity for those who are seeking answers some of the difficult questions of life from a Christian perspective. It gives people are chance to look closely at who Jesus is and what he said about himself.

Alpha has a few keys that create a positive atmosphere for people. Great food; you always start the night off with a meal together. A safe place to ask any question and a group of support and unthreatening Christians.

The London Guardian said, “What Alpha offers, and what is attracting thousands of people, is permission, rare in secular culture, to discuss the big questions – life and death and their meaning.”

Not a bad rap from a secular news paper. If you’d like to check Alpha out more throughly you can do so here.

Who is Alpha for?

  • Those who have heard about Christianity and would like to check it out more.
  • Those who are new to Christianity and want to explore the fundamental foundations of being a Christian.
  • Those who have grown up in the church or around it but have felt they have not really grasped it in a way that gives them confidence of God’s salvation and purpose for their life.
  • Those who have been sharing their faith with friends and who would like to attend Alpha with them as they consider Christianity.

I have been praying about Alpha for sometime now and am looking for a team of people to help run it. It needs people with a diverse group of skills and passions. My “test” is to put this out to the church and see if the Holy Spirit prompts any of you to consider being a part of the this team. Here is an outline of the different people needed, what they would be responsible for and the kinds of ability and passions required.

  1. Prayer coordinator. Responsibility; Recruit and Gather the people willing to pray for all those attending Alpha. Passion/Abilities; Prayer, coordination.
  2. Hospitality and Welcoming. Responsibility; Greeting people and creating a welcoming environment. Will work closely with those providing meals. Passion/Ability. Welcoming, organization, hospitality, connecting with people.
  3. Host; Welcoming people and guiding the flow of the night. Passion/Ability. Enjoy people, comfortable in front of a group of people.
  4. Facilitators. Responsibility; Talking with people attending. Seeking the creation of a “safe” environment for people to ask questions and discuss the topic for that evening. Passion/Ability. Enjoy people, listener, seeing people discover more of God.
  5. Meals. Responsible for; cooking and serving of meals to those attending. Passion/Ability. Cooking, food, servanthood, helping.

It would be great to have an Alpha Introduction night on the first Wednesday of term 3, July 14th. This would be to provide a chance to invite those who the can then consdier doing the whole Alpha. That gives people time to invite those they have been praying for to consider Alpha and a chance to put our team, prayer and planning together. Alpha would then run through the rest of term 3. However this depends on a Team to run it and those who would attend!

If you would like to be a part of the Alpha Team or attend could you let me know? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings for a great week,

Dave.

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After the passing of Julie’s Mum I spoke yesterday on defining moments. At the bottom of this email (in blue)is an excerpt I read out that came from “the word for today,” a few people have asked me for it.

Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

Defining moments. “Choose for yourselves this day.” Joshua 24:15.

It was a defining moment when Joshua said to Israel, .. choose for yourselves as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15 NKJV). First, in our life, defining moments show us who we really are. Our defining moments usually come as a surprise and happen during times of crisis, such as facing a personal failure, taking an unpopular stand, suffering without complaining, being asked to forgive or making a hard choice. Sometimes, defining moments occur when we dont see them for what they are. Its only afterwards, as we look back, that we understand their importance. Either way, they show us who we are. Secondly, defining moments show others who we are. Most days we can wear a mask, but during defining moments we cant. Our image means nothing. Neither does our resolve or connections. Weve no time to put a spin on our actions. Whatever is truly inside us is revealed to everyone. As a leader, defining moments tell the people following you who you really are, what you stand for, and why youre leading. Handled well, a defining moment can bond leaders and followers for life. Handled poorly, it can end your ability to lead. Thirdly, defining moments determine who we will become. You’ll never be the same person after a defining moment. Thats because defining moments are not normal, and what’s normal doesn’t work in these times. Defining moments are like intersections in our lives they give us an opportunity to turn, change direction, and seek a new destination. They present options and opportunities. In these moments, we must choose. And the choice we make will define us!

Good morning everyone,

Julie and I just got back from Warrnambool and her Mum’s funeral. We had a great time celebrating her faith and realizing how privileged we were to have her as a Mum and Nana. Thankyou for all your prayers and kindness to us through this time.

Last Sunday we were due to have Vincent and Grace Munyosi come and speak, a visiting Ugandan pastor from Mbale. They couldn’t come due to the numbers of people in their area becoming followers of Christ and leaving their Animist and Muslim backgrounds. The result has been that Vincent, Grace, their family and church have faced threats and intimidation. Last Sunday night we had our evening “Soaker service.” The Lord took us into praying for Vincent and Grace. On Monday I sent Vincent and email with some of the verses and prayers we had felt led to pray. I read a reply from him last night. I love how un-P.C. it is, his passion and commitment to Christ are inspiring, here is a part of it.

It is always so nice to hear that you are praying for us, and that you
dedicated some good time for just praying for us. God has been so faithful.
We live in such a place where you find a mixture of Islam and traditional
Animism. People live in both, and they both are enemies of Christianity.
Every time a Muslim receives Jesus as Lord and saviour in this place, the
cost is much bigger than in other places. It may mean losing life, family or
stay but everyone picks on you. I was a Muslim before, and it cost me the
family and so many other benefits. So I understand so well when people have
such problems. Unfortunately to our Muslim friends, I came back with the
light to serve back into the same community. And God is blessing His work
day and night. I have been in police several times, not only on this case,
and through it all I have learnt to trust God even the more. And every time
this happens, the church grows bigger, people pray more, and we see more
miracles, healings and so on. In this very case there have been over three
Muslims confessing Jesus as Lord and saviour. They see the injustice of
their leaders and end up not trusting the religion any more. So we don’t
count it all for bad, it has a lot of good about it.

Well brother, keep praying and never stop. Pray for the families as they
really are in need. Greet all the brethren in the church and thank them for
all their support and prayers.

God bless you so much.

Vincent.

Inspired? I was. Perhaps you could add them to your prayer list as they go through this persecution. Vincent and Grace will be (Hopefully) visiting us in August. This month we have been focusing on the “Missions” ( where we send support but don’t go). Some of these are local but most are overseas. At the beginning of this month we made available a missions booklet outlining the different groups CBtB supports and an envelope for you to consider who you might like to give something to. Both the envelopes and booklets are still available at church. Can I encourage you to pick one up if you haven’t as yet.

Look forward to seeing you Sunday,

Dave.

P.S. Congratulations to Ben Peck and Hanna (for one more day) Pentland who are getting married tomorrow.

We have this inherent tendency to drift, to allow ourselves to be guided by self. Pentecost Sunday is a reminder to us that just as Jesus was absolutely dependent on the Father, when we are dependent on the Holy Spirit we will live vital Spirit filled, led and empowered lives.

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Rob and his wife Margaret have only recently moved to the Bellerine Peninsula from Canberra where he pastored a number of churches serving Chinese and Filipino congregations. He now attends Clifton Springs Baptist church.

Rob spoke to us from Matthew 16:19 where Jesus talks to Peter and asks him “Who do you say I am?” and then says “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven…”

Rob’s seven keys to the kingdom are:
1. Total confidence and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
2. The Word of God
3. Praise and Worship
4. Faith
5. Love
6. Testimony
7. Prayer

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I am writing this to you from Warrnambool after arriving a couple of hours ago. Yesterday morning I felt that the boys and I should be back down here with Jules and her family. In the morning I asked the Lord, “Can you show me if I should go down to Warrnambool?” I decided to sit with it until lunch time talk to Jules and then make a decision. By mid afternoon I had received three phone calls. One from Queensland, another from Western Australia and lastly a Pastor friend in Melbourne, all felt led to ring and tell me, “I think you should be in Warrnambool”. What a blessing to have that kind of guidance!

Now that I am here (and recounting those phone calls) I am surprised I took so long. Comprehending what God’s leading is can be difficult, especially when it is issues close to the heart.

Last weekend Denis preached a message about worship; what it is, what occurs when we worship and why we should worship. By his own admission Denis said he was treading on some sacred cows and he was. For those there, we may have found some of what he said difficult. I have listened to his message, its is very meaty, full and I believe Spirit inspired. I’ll tell you why.

I have spoken a few times about the “container” that is going to hold the blessing that God has for us as a church. The scriptures are clear that God does not seek our agreement, but our unity with the Spirit. Denis’ message pointed us to what brings us into the place of Unity and that is worship. Worship is where I draw closer to God giving him my praise, adoration and acknowledging his greatness. As I Worship my will becomes secondary to God’s will. The result is that he is now allowed free access to share his heart and desires with me.

As a church we are seeking God’s Vision and Mission as a church. Is it any wonder then that God is speaking to us about worship? It appears to me that he is touching on worship so that as We draw closer to him laying down our will then the Spirit will have freedom to bless us with his leading, guidance and Unity.

If you weren’t there last weekend I’d strongly urge you to listen to it online. You can access the message here. If you were there can I encourage you to listen to it again? There was so much in it we need to listen to it more than once to gain what God is bringing to us through Denis. I have asked Rex to copy some C.D.’s which will be available on Sunday for those who struggle with listening to sermons online. When you listen to it can I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you anything you might need to see, understand and repent of.

I appreciate that this is a sensitive subject for us. Tackling this topic though is not about being critical of any group of people, especially those that lead us in worship and music each Sunday. We are blessed with a wonderful group of musicians and worship leaders. This is about us looking at our foundations; taking some deeper and being willing to see if there are any that need to be pulled up. This is because our God wants to move us into a deeper expression of our worship, the empowerment of the Spirit, the intimacy of the Father and the excitement of walking in his will.

Love and Blessings,

Dave.

P.S. Denis refers to a book, “Worship is like a bowl of Noodles.” We have bulk ordered some copies of this book that will be first made available to our worship leaders. If you’d like one let us know. Also if you would find it helpful to speak to myself or any of the elders about this, we’d love to hear from you.

Sunday we gathered around the Hospital Bed of Jules’ Mum.  It was a tough day watching her spend time with each of her grandchildren. Each one leaned into her as she cuddled them as best she could, whispering into their ears words of encouragement and blessing.

At all times we are encouraged to keep our eyes on Jesus, but in moments like these many of Jesus’ promises become brighter and more profound. I have so many of them rolling around in my heart and mind, where do I start…

As we spoke to the boys about Nana dying and going to heaven, one of the boys said he wasn’t sure if he would go to Heaven.  So we spent some time talking about why God accepts us.  Is it because of our righteousness, because we are ‘good’ people?  God is clear – none of us can approach him because of our ‘goodness’.  As David said, “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:3.  For us to be saved we need two things, God’s mercy and his grace. Mercy is when we don’t receive what we deserve.  St Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  Despite our failure, God doesn’t give us what we deserve but shows us mercy.

Elsewhere St Paul wrote,  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 6:23. We deserve death for our rebellion and yet he gives as an act of grace eternal life.  How do we receive it? “ If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11.

Paul says it’s through belief and confession that we receive eternal life.  This is not a ‘little thing’.  Belief in Christ is the understanding that he is everything he said and demonstrated to us.  The Son of God, the creator of the universe, the one in whom “All things are held together. (Colossians 1:20)”

Larry King, the American talk show host, was once asked if he could choose anyone from all of history to interview, who would it be. He said, ‘Jesus Christ.’ The questioner then asked, ‘And what would you like to ask Him?’ King replied, “I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”  Belief in Jesus is not a casual thing because of the nature of who Jesus claimed to be.  It would be so much easier if Jesus was just another ‘good teacher’, then we could dismiss or ignore him because he would just be ‘another’ guru.  But he didn’t claim to be another teacher or prophet. He said that he was God’s Son and not only the only means to be saved but the foundation stone from which everything good comes.

Saying goodbye to Dorothy was difficult but also joyous.  Dorothy trusts in Jesus.  Not as a good teacher, a prophet or another self-help guru.  She trusts him as Savior, Lord and Redeemer.  Soon she will see the home that Jesus says he has prepared for those who trust him.

As I drove down the Port Rd today the radio interviewer was speaking to someone about the AFL’s support of Australia’s World Cup bid. He said, “We realize it’s a very important event for Australia to secure.” Just as he said this I came over the hill and saw the cross over the church building.  I said out loud, “Jesus you are the only thing we need to secure.  Nothing else matters next to you.”

Have you secured Jesus? Have you received the mercy of his forgiveness and the grace of eternal life?  If you have doubts, talk to someone.  If you do have that security, is there anyone you should be talking to who doesn’t?

This morning I was reading David in the psalms, who reminded me, “As for mortals, their days are like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15&16.

Is there something God has been asking you to do; To be sure of your salvation, a letter to write, a relationship to mend a ministry to start or join?  Don’t put it off.  Life is to short and eternity to long to waste the opportunities we have.

Yesterday I got to see Greg and Hazel’s new little boy Johnathan who weighed a very healthy 10 lbs.  When I got to the hospital the nurses couldn’t find Greg and Hazel.  After sometime time they came back to me and said they are down in the cafeteria “entertaining”.  I thought, “that would be right!”

Bless you little Johnathan.

Dave.

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Good morning everyone,

I just thought I’d send you a quick email. Thanks for your prayers, texts and other messages of encouragement as we walk through this time with Jules’ family. Both us and Jules’ parents have experienced within our grief the peace that Jesus promised and that Paul speaks of.

Dorothy continues to deteriorate, the medical advice given is that she may have a week or two to live. Jules has been down there with her family this week and I’ll be taking the boys back down there tomorrow. I may not be at church on Sunday, much to my disappointment. I love meeting with God’s people and worshipping with you. I feel thoroughly spoilt by the Lord that has brought us to you, so if I am not there have a great day!

Last Sunday.

Despite what is happening in our world I am very much aware that life keeps moving on. I Loved last Sunday’s Reflectors celebration service. Thankyou to the Reflectors leaders for what you are doing with our kids, it was terrific. I have been living off the joy of last Sunday all week!

We’ll be having Reflectors celebration services several times through the year. These times are about creating a place where kids who attend Footprints and Reflectors can bring their parents who may not attend church. We already had that occur last Sunday, with the family really enjoying church.

We continue to need leaders for all areas relating to children and youth. Would you pray about being involved in Footprints (primary age youth group), Reflectors (primary age kids church) and Storm (High school age youth). We have the potential for huge growth in all of these areas, but the numbers of leaders we have is limiting our growth. If you would like to explore some more about this and would like to ask some questions about what commitment it would require then please drop me a line (Asking questions doesn’t mean saying “yes”, so don’t be afraid to ask).

Blessings for a great day.

Dave

This was a family service. Dave spoke on how special is this place in which we live and God’s love for us.

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