Good News Quarterly

Issue 113   August – October 2018

Our quarterly newsletter edited by Venessa Crane.
Contributions are welcome.
Click here to email a contribution to Venessa.

A Bumper (and Gracious) Issue of GNQ!

Our esteemed Editor Venessa has put together a bumper edition of our quarterly “Newspaper”. It’s packed with great articles and photos showcasing some examples of vibrant faith and life in our Congregation – not least Venessa’s own story of faith, resilience, and the amazing grace of God.

In fact, the story of our Congregation is the story of God’s grace. We are brought together as God’s people by God’s grace. We worship together by God’s grace. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit enabling us to serve together by God’s grace. It’s all about grace – that is – all about God’s gift to us of His Son, Jesus – through whom we have salvation, a new spiritual life, a passion for seeing others forgiven and reconciled, an eternal hope, and all the blessings of belonging to God’s great Kingdom. And we have a wonderful new banner reminding us of all these things: Saved By Grace!

I believe that when we grab hold of the meaning and enormity of God’s grace, we get a new and proper perspective on everything else. Understanding that our relationship with God, and as God’s people together, is the result of God’s gracious actions in Jesus and not our own, means that we acknowledge that we are no better or worse than anyone else, and we all come into God’s presence the same way – by repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Amazing grace indeed!

Through the lens of grace we shape our life together as a Congregation, and God’s grace drives our vision for ministry and mission in our community and beyond. This is why we are spending so much time and energy reflecting on and discussing our Values and Vision. How is God’s grace forming what we believe, what we value, and how we behave and serve as God’s people?

So thank you for participating in the Values and Vision Day in June. I hope that you will continue to be a part of the process over the next couple of months as we draw up our Vision and Mission Plan for living out and proclaiming God’s grace to the world around us.

I look forward to each Sunday celebrating God’s amazing grace with you, and every day seeking to live out God’s grace in Godly obedience to His Word, always being thankful for God’s generous gift of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ.

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

Ian Weeks

What is Kairos Outside for Women?

Kairos Outside for Women (KOW) is a prison ministry I have been involved in since 2008. Kairos means God’s special time. KOW is a Kairos weekend for women who have been impacted by the imprisonment of a family member or friend. The logo shows a woman looking in through the prison bars from outside and the prisoner looking out.

Many women feel isolated and ashamed when someone close to them goes to prison, and some think God doesn’t love them. We invite anyone regardless of the faith – or lack of – to participate in a weekend of God’s love in tangible ways. It’s a free weekend away for them and we give them little gifts and lovely surprises. Some members of the team (20+ women) give short talks and then we have discussions on the Christian faith and issues they may be facing, such as choices, anger and rejection.

My addiction to this ministry comes from seeing how marvellously God works in the lives of some guests, in just one weekend! Lapsed Christians renew their faith and others want to begin a relationship with Jesus. It is amazing! This year I have been asked to join the team for the 19th – 21st October weekend as the assistant leader. Then in May 2019 I am the leader – yikes! Please pray for me!

Prayer. We depend utterly on God’s help for the weekend to come together and impact lives for Him. Please pray as we train the team and gather in God’s invited guests. Please also consider putting your name down on the Prayer Vigil for each weekend. I will have details for October 2018 and May 2019.

Transport. We are always grateful to hear from people who might be available to drive one or more guests to and/or from the Retreat Centre at Mulgoa. Thank you! Ross & Tova have been drivers.

Kairos Outside always values the support of the wider Christian community for KO weekends, both in prayer and through attendance at ‘Lighting the Way’ (on Saturday night), and the closing on Sunday afternoon if you are able. The expression of God’s love and support through community will mean so much to the women who attend.

Anne Weeks

Is this a fishy story?

At the request of the Good News Editor, I am sharing a “Fishing Story” with you. Some fishing stories use imagination in the telling, others exaggeration, whilst a few are truthful! Apologies if you are already familiar with this event!

In early February this year, my two sons, Mike and Andy joined me at Lake Tabourie for the fishing mission weekend run by Heathcote Engadine Baptist Church. Manfred Yew and Craig Bullock also joined our group from Belrose Uniting Church.

Early on the Saturday morning we were fishing from a cliff face high above the ocean when Andy hooked into a large fish. After a time, he got the fish to the bottom of the cliff face but was unable to lift it to the rock ledge he was on. Whilst fishing beside Andy, my line had drifted across his line. I left it there so as not to obstruct his fishing.

Suddenly, Andy’s line snapped; the fish had broken off. Huge disappointment followed. I started winding in my line and found it had a large fish attached. WOW, the fishing is hotting up! I got this fish to the cliff face but like Andy, was unable to haul it up with my rod. Then one of our fishing mates jumped to the very edge of the rock ledge and commenced pulling up the fish by hand. In doing this, his hand was cut by the line but he was determined to see the fish caught. Finally, a large Australian Salmon appeared over the edge.

Realisation then struck as we examined the fish. Andy’s gang hooks were firmly embedded in the Salmon’s mouth, not mine! A length of Andy’s line was attach to the hooks. We discovered my line had tangled with Andy’s line, adequately enough to help land the fish. So it took three people to catch this one very nice fish which gave us all a great thrill. For me, I still get a thrill when the attached photo appears on the screen at church. Thank you Ian.

Our fish joined many others in providing lunch for around 33 men that day. Yes, God provided again! This is a true fishing story.

David Keiller.

Venessa’s Story

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:18

Sometimes it’s hard relating to people who might be a little more unique than you. Maybe you wonder things about people, but don’t like to ask. I am going to share a snap shot of my life. I never mind being open with people when they have any questions.

My life is a gift from God. I was born two weeks early and didn’t have oxygen being born at home. This resulted in a physical disability: Cerebral Palsy. I attended Allambie Special School from age 3 -21. I achieved my HSC, by myself, through Distance Education.

I started hearing about God in scripture classes, which I didn’t particular like and found boring. However, I was at a Christian camp for people with disabilities and after spending a week studying the bible I was inspired to stop being so anti-God and I gave my life to Him.

Life then hit hard. I hit a wall!! There were quite a few years when my faith was emptied. Twenty years ago I went on a Ski Camp where the person who cared for me was a Uni student volunteer, Michelle Browning. God gave me a blessed rescue. We shared a lot together. Michelle encouraged me to read the Bible and introduced me to this church.

I have been an active member here at Belrose Uniting Church since then. This could not have been possible without the willingness of many of our congregation to collect and take me to Church and care for me. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to get to know some of my extraordinary Christian family. A huge thank you to ALL OF YOU for all those early morning commitments, reliability and care. I can’t tell you what it has meant to me.

My life has now been incredibly blessed with a government NDIS support package. This has had an empowering impact on so many areas of life. I am amazed how Christ is working through these new opportunities as I watch my life expand. Thank you God!

Venessa.

Thank you to the team of Volunteer Drivers:
I give thanks to Jeanette Mortley, Helen Meillon, Carolyn Benisch, Jan & Gordon Allan, Mel & Charmaine Mottau, Ann & David Keiller, Anne Weeks, Keith Bridge, Michael & Julia Murphy. Also, not in the photo, Mike & Beck Keiller, Richard Benisch, Jan McGuire, Maureen Bridge, Don Black.

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time. People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairment.

Kidz Church – Christmas in July

Proclaiming Truth in an Age Where Preference Rules

I have often wondered why many people in our community do not understand the Gospel, and why people reject the notion of truth – especially the idea of a God who speaks absolute truth. Then I heard Sam Chan speak at Oxygen in June. He explained that in our post-modern world, truth has been eclipsed by preference.

That is, my preference, my feelings, my sense of reality, my desire to determine what is real and true trumps any idea that there can be a universal absolute truth that applies to all humanity. “What’s true for me is up to me, and my truth may not necessarily be true for you, and vice versa – so don’t impose your truth on me and I won’t impose my truth on you”.

This is relativism as its basest. When my preference for what I believe, how I behave and who I am (witness the sexual identity crisis that is enveloping our world at the moment!) rules, then no longer can we say that God’s Word is “true”. Well, that’s what the world would have us believe!

In this context of truth denial, two books have been written as invaluable guides and tools for helping us understand our culture and its impact on Christian denominations, and for reaching our confused and self-obsessed world with the truth of the Gospel:

Evangelism in a Skeptical World is a textbook on evangelism that is ideal for the church or the classroom to equip Christians with the principles and skills they need to tell the unbelievable news about Jesus to friends in a sceptical world.

Many of the older principles and methods of evangelism in the twentieth century no longer work effectively today. In a post-Christian, post-churched, post-reached world we need new methods to communicate the timeless message of the gospel in culturally relevant ways.

These are methods that really work – with university students, urban workers, and high school students – getting past the defensive posture that people have toward Christianity so they can seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Field-tested and filled with unique, fresh, and creative insights, this book will equip you to share the gospel in today’s world and help as many people as possible hear the good news about Jesus.

Sam Chan is a public evangelist with City Bible Forum in Sydney, where he regularly shares the gospel with high school students, city workers, doctors, and lawyers. He speaks at conferences around the world on the topics of ethics, story- telling, apologetics, and the practice of evangelism in a post- Christian culture.

Stemming from recent events in the worldwide fellowship of Anglican churches, this book unpacks the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality, at the same time showing how the gospel shapes our understanding of true love, true unity and true faith.

Throughout the history of the church, God’s people have regularly been forced to choose between following the beliefs and practices of the world, and fidelity to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the word of God. In our own time, issues around human sexuality have become the touchstone for the latest round of these controversies.

Nowhere have these issues been felt more keenly than in the global Anglican
denomination (and in the Uniting Church in Australia), where many evangelicals have faced the crisis of seeing people rejecting “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). They have been forced to wrestle with crucial questions: What does the Bible really say about human sexuality? How do we relate to those who claim to follow Jesus yet reject the plain teaching of Scripture? What does faithfulness to Christ and his gospel look like during such times?

In this invaluable book, Vaughan Roberts and Peter Jensen combine their decades of theological thinking and practical, pastoral wisdom to provide timeless answers to these questions. Without demonizing their opponents or resorting to simplistic solutions, together the authors paint a majestic picture of Christ and his gospel – a gospel that saves, changes our hearts, and creates true unity, true love and true faith among the people of God. Bold, winsome and biblical, Faith in a Time of Crisis is a much-needed call for faithfulness to the gospel of Christ and the word of God in a rapidly changing world.

Ian Weeks

Our Church & Vision Day
Held on Saturday, 16 June

Please join us for the next instalment
on Saturday, 25 August 1.00 pm at the church

Preaching Plan

Click here to see the current preaching plan