Bishop Jeremy Visits us at St John’s.


We were visited by bishop Jeremy today 17-2-2019 (right in the picture). He presided at the service and preached for us on Epiphany 6. (see the post for the weekly service).

After the service he intentionally wanted to hear our news.

Here he is talking to Keith (left) near the front door before he came into the hall to talk with the rest of us.

Weekly Church Service: Epiphany 6; 17 of February 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Blessed are you when people hate you on account of the son of man. Rejoice and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
Luke 6:23


Collect of the day

Righteous God,
you challenge the powers that rule this world and you show favour to the oppressed:
instil in us a true sense of justice,
that we may discern the signs of your kingdom
and strive for right to prevail;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


Today’s readings

  • Jeremiah 17:5 – 10
  • Psalm 1
  • 1 Corinthians 15:12 – 20
  • Luke 6:17 – 26

next week:

  • Genesis 45:3 – 11, 15
  • Psalm 37:1 – 11, 40 – 41
  • 1 Corinthians 15:35 – 50
  • Luke 6:27 – 38

A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 6 – Luke 6:17 – 26

In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of “Beatitudes” but in Luke’s sermon on the plain, Jesus drops a series of bombshells. He takes the accepted standards of the times and turns them upside down. To those who are considered to be the “haves” of society, Jesus warns “woe to you” – wealth and power are not the stuff of the kingdom of God, but to the “have nots” Jesus says, “happy and blessed are you” – love, humble selflessness, compassion and generosity are the treasures of God’s realm. Jesus promises his followers poverty, suffering, persecution and grief – but is there hope in God we will be rewarded with perfect and complete joy.

This will be a constant theme throughout Luke’s Gospel. Jesus teaches that wealth and power are not the stuff of the reign of God. But humility, selflessness and compassion are the treasures of God’s kingdom.

In the sermon on the plane, Jesus challenges us to put aside the “woe” of self-centredness and embrace the “blessedness” that can only be experienced by seeing ourselves not as the centre of the world but as a means for transforming the world for the “blessedness” of all.

Luke’s version of the Beatitudes challenges everything our consumer oriented society holds dear. While wealth, power and celebrity are the sought-after prizes of our world, the treasures of God reign are love, humble selflessness, compassion and generosity. In freeing ourselves from the pursuit of the things of this world, we liberate ourselves to seek the lasting things of God. © Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

Bishop Jeremy James preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

How many Gods do Christians worship?

Christians worship one God.

This one God has three distinct beings of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; or you prefer the newer language of Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.

Icon by Rublov 1411-1425

It is a bit like one person having different roles. Everyone has a name. My name is David, that is who I am; but to my wife I am her husband,  to my children I am Dad, to my brother’s children I am an Uncle, and so on. There is only one me, but I can be seen in different ways.

In a similar way, there is only one God, which we think of having three distinct persons. These distinct persons are all in a community together and make up the one God. In Christian theology these three persons are called the “holy trinity”.


Put simply, It was back in the year 325 that Constantine the roman emperor called together all the Christian bishops to attend a council in Nicea (modern Iznik in Turkey) to decide what was the true nature of God.

A statement known as the Nicene Creed was created. This was a written statement of what Christians believe. It is still being used in more traditional churches today. A more modern affirmation of faith using the newer language of Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier is used in many churches today.


There are often three key stages in Christian faith development. The first two stages are often mixed but to make it simpler to explain they are presented as being separate. At any stage be patient and kind to yourself.

New Christians just starting out on their journey of faith are in the first stage. They often confuse the worshipping of the one God with three persons, for worshipping three separate Gods and also the many gods they brought with them. They may add worshipping of family, partner, intellect, qualifications, job, money, bible, church, political party, etc. Worship of these extra gods may not be obvious, but it is there. New Christians need to learn to shed these extra gods. Sometimes we need professional help over many years to deal with them.

The second stage is where Christian people on a journey of faith have learned to get rid of the extra gods but still worship three separate Christian Gods. This is not usually a problem, providing they are growing in faith but can be confusing for those people wanting to understand what Christians believe.

The third stage takes time. It is only the most mature and reflective Christians who can worship God as having three persons without worshipping the other gods our society puts in our way.

How many Gods do you worship?


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

Brian writes another Sunday Journal

Brian and Kay Haig of the early congregation have written and edited the next Sunday Journal 129. It is hoped that this will be used in the various small groups that run during Lent leading up to Easter.

The studies are usually once per week for a few weeks commencing about 6th March and running up to Easter Sunday on the 21st of April .

Some groups may continue longer than Easter Sunday

If you want to be part of these studies contact Rev’d Josie for a study group near you.


Brian writes…
“This publication has been written and designed by a brief given to me from the Rev Josie Stytler the parish priest at St John’s the  Evangelist Church. Josie asked for a series of Lenten studies that enabled discussion group members to clarify what they believe and then be encouraged to be confident when talking to others about Jesus.”


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

Weekly Church Service: Epiphany 5; 10 February 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and was buried, and was raised on the 3rd day in accordance with the Scriptures, and appeared to many. 1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4


Collect of the day

Most holy God, in whose presence angels serve in all, and whose glory fills all heaven and earth; cleans our unclean lips and transform us by your grace so that your words spoken through us may bring many to your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever, Amen.


Today’s readings

Isaiah 6:1 – 8
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1 – 11
Luke 5:1 – 11

next week:

Jeremiah 17: 5 – 10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12 – 20
Luke 6:17 – 26


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 5 – Luke 5: 1 – 11

Commercial fishing has always been a hard way to make a living. It is hard work, sometimes with little or no reward; it requires a substantial investment of time and money for a boat in gear and their maintenance; it entails considerable risk in leaving the safety of home port for the open sea; it compels crews to work together to bring in the catch. The work of the disciples/prophet demands that same kind of hard work, risk, personal investment, patience, and sense of community.

The best fishing, Peter and his brothers knew, was done at night; little is caught during the heat of the day. So Peter’s agreeing to lower his nets at Jesus urging was, for a fisherman of Peter’s experience, an act of considerable faith. And as today’s gospel recounts, Peter’s faith is rewarded abundantly. If the first disciples of Jesus had any special grace at all, it was an openness to Jesus call and teaching.

In Luke’s account, Peter’s reaction is somewhat surprising, upon realising who Jesus is, he cowers away. In the light of Christ’s relevation, Peter recognised his own unworthiness and humbleness in the sight of God. But Jesus assures him that he has not come to drive sinners from his presence but to bring them back to God – to catch them in “net” of God’s love.

To be a “catcher of souls” demands possessing enough love to extend ourselves and reach out and “catch” and in and enough faith that God will give us the grace to make the “grab.”

Jesus challenges us to lower our nets in the “deepwater” – to risk our own security and comfort for the sake of the gospel values of compassion justice and reconciliation.

In the ordinary events of everyday we are presented with countless opportunities to uncover the extraordinary love God in our own times and places.

Many of suffer from an “inferiority complex” when it comes to God: we are neither saintly enough nor good enough nor wise enough in church protocols to consider ourselves “religious”. The reality, however, is that God works through men and women who are just like us, however imperfect.
© Connections/MediaWorks


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

Greenwood Street Pantry


St John’s is hosting the Greenwood Street Pantry on our church building. It is firmly fixed to our outside wall. We made available our building for this Greenwood community venture.

The idea is to take what you need or leave what you can. Everything in the pantry is freely available to everyone in Greenwood and surrounding areas, not just St John’s people. There is no charge. If you think you need something then take it. When you can, put something back.

Please remember that only items in good condition should be shared with others – whole packets and tins, no dents or tears thanks.

Only tins and jars remain on the shelves and packets or items that vermin or birds can get to, go in the cupboard below.

The street pantry has over 200 people in the Greenwood area and beyond interested.

For more details follow the conversation on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/351179199048237/

Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday is on 6th of March this year. The Lenten period is a wonderful time in the church year to be a little more reflective on our relationship with God.

Have a think about what resource you might like to use in your quiet time. One option is the book written by Brian. We have copies in the entry.

Please also join one of our many a bible study groups. Reverend Josie has all the details.

Weekly Church Service – Epiphany 4 – 3rd of February 2019 – includes sermon audio


 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Now we see in a mirror dimly; but then we will see face-to-face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:14


Collect of the day

Living God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Amen.


Today’s readings

Today’s readings:
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

Next week:
Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11


A student’s prayer for a new school year

Lord Jesus, I ask for your help as I begin this new school year.
Allow me to experience your presence in the many blessings you put before me.
Open my eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings.
Open my heart and mind to new friends and new teachers.
Give me a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with my studies, and courage to accept new opportunities.
Help me to be attentive to my teachers and let me experience your presence in my new friends.
Jesus, inspire me to do my best this year.
Amen.


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 4-Luke 4:21-30

There is a cost to being a prophet; to proclaim what is right, just and good can be a lonely, isolating experience.

Today’s gospel continues last Sundays account of Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth. After proclaiming the fulfilment of Isaiah’s vision of the Messiah (last Sundays gospel), Jesus sits down-the posture assumed by one who is about to teach-and begins by explaining in no uncertain terms that he cannot perform any healings or miracles there because of their lack of faith. He teaches that the Messiah does not come for Nazareth alone, but for every race, culture and nation of every place and age.

His explanation is met with indignation and anger. Many Jews of the time was so convinced that they were God’s own people that they despised everyone else. They could not accept Jesus idea that others-Gentiles!-were as loved by God as they were. Jesus is forced to leave his home town.

Standing up for what is right, speaking out for such things as ethics and justice, either call of the Prophet. To speak-and to listen-as prophets demands the courage and conviction to risk isolation, ridicule and persecution for the the sake of the justice and mercy of God.

God continues to raise up parents and teachers, preachers and ministers, friends and classmates to help us to realise our own call to be prophets of God’s word, to embrace God’s grace, enabling us to transform our own Nazareth into God’s dwelling place.

The core of the gospel is the revelation that God became what we are so that we can better understand what God is and grasp what God is about: love, forgiveness, compassion, justice, peace. © Connections/media works.


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service – Epiphany 3 – 27th of January 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah; “the spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives.”
Luke 4: 18


Collect of the day

life-giving God, who sent your son Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority; anoint us with your spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Today’s readings

Nehemiah 8:1 – 10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 31
Luke 4:14 – 21

Next week:
Jeremiah 1:4 – 10
Psalm 71:1 – 8
1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13
Luke 4:21 – 30



A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 3 – Luke 4:14 – 21

Luke, the author of this years cycle of gospel readings, is a “second-generation” Christian. Greek by birth and physician by profession, he was a traveling companion of Paul, through whom he met Mark and perhaps Peter himself. He writes his gospel mainly for gentiles like himself. For Luke, this Jesus fulfils not only Jewish dreams but every people’s hopes for wholeness and holiness.

Luke’s Gospel reflects the scientist precision in locating dates, places and people; but Luke’s Gospel also exhibits an interest in people rather than ideas. His account celebrates the compassion of Jesus for the outcast and “second-class citizens” of Jewish society, including and especially women.

Luke begins his gospel and the classic Greece historical style by personally (he is the only one of the four evangelists who ever refers to himself in the first person) assuring his readers (addressed in the singular “Theophilus” Greek for “friend of God”) of the historical accuracy and theological authenticity of the research he has gathered to assemble this story.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus begins his teaching ministry in Galilee. Galilee – a name which comes from the Hebrew word for circle – was a great agricultural region encircled by non-Jewish nations and cultures, thereby earning a reputation for being the most progressive and least conservative area of Palestine. A teacher with a “new” message such as the Rabbi Jesus would be expected to receive a favourable hearing in the openness of a Galilean society.

Jesus returns to his hometown, the Galilean city of Nazareth. Nazareth was a city of great importance in Israel’s history and economy, located on the major routes to Jerusalem, Alexandria and Damascus. In the Nazareth that synagogue (the place where local Jewish communities outside Jerusalem would gather for teaching and prayer) Jesus announces, using words of the prophet Isaiah, the fulfilment of God’s promise of the Messiah for Israel.

Today we hear in the opening words of Luke’s Gospel his reason for compiling his gospel. He writes for Theophilus “so that [you] may see how reliable the instruction you have received.” The story of Jesus who comes to “the crying glad tidings to the poor… To announce a year of favour from the Lord” should make a profound difference in the lives of all who hear it. In his humanity, Jesus reveals a God who is approachable and present to us in all that is good and right and loving around us.

While Israel longed for a Messiah who would lead them to victory in vindication, Jesus the Messiah comes with a much different message of humility, reconciliation compassion and forgiveness. The “good news” of the gospel calls to become rather than to shun, to lift out rather than condemn, to seek the humble way of servant hood rather than the satisfaction of self – righteousness.

In the father’s son, Isaiah’s vision of a world transformed and reconciled in God’s peace and justice is fulfilled, in God’s Christ, God recreates us and our world in the light of grace and the spirit of compassion. In baptism we take on the work of “fulfilling” Isaiah’s vision of healing, justice and reconciliation in our own “civilizations.”

We make Isaiah’s vision our reality in our own Nazareth’s in every act of hope we make happen, in every kindness prompted by God’s grace. As witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, as baptised disciples of his church, we inherit the spirit’s call to “bring glad tidings” and “proclaim the Lord’s favour” to the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the oppressed, and the helpless. © Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

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