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Shirelive ENews

Apr 27, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

Nehemiah is one of my favourite books in the Bible for so many reasons…here’s one…

Nehemiah 8:5-6 (selected)
Ezra opened the book…as he opened it all the people stood up ….and all the people lifted their hands and responded…” 

The Jews had been in Babylonian captivity. It wasn’t  like the slavery of being in Egypt but it meant a serious change in their freedom of worship, gathering together around the Word and the strength and purity of their devotion.

All around them in this foreign culture they are surrounded by something else…foreign gods, false worship, the taste of falsehoodand they were sick to the core, longing to return to the goodness of God and their land. In fact Psalm 137:1 records their longing:

“we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion”.

When they were brought back to Jerusalem in waves to rebuild the temple and the wall they thrilled to the sound of the Word read for the first time by Ezra.

They stood.

They lifted their hands in worship.

After decades away from worship they were overcome by the goodness of God & His Word. 

Without getting too dramatic, our world reminds me of Babylon (yes, even 21st Century Sutherland Shire!). We are immersed in images that we are being enticed to worship… consumption, image, self, accumulation, ‘security’….these are the gods that are enthroned in our society…and it’s soul destroying.

Your spirit is longing for the purity of the Word and to be fed on the finest that proceeds from the mouth of God.

SSOSM Term 2 beginning this Tuesday is an opportunity to immerse yourself in Word-based teaching and experiences. Each subject is skilfully taught and the Word is put to work in powerful practical ways. Every subject is brilliant – from “Fashioned to Reign” to “Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind”, every subject is crafted to allow you to digest the Word as it relates to the subject area. The testimonies from last term were incredible.

Shirelive, we are called to be a people that are hungry for the Word and under the influence of the Spirit and revelation. Let’s seize this opportunity to get into His Word this term!

COMING UP

Tuesday April 28th
S.S.O.S.M. Term 2 Commences

Sunday May 3rd 
9.30am The Secret in in the Seed -  Ps Brad Bonhomme
3.30pm Leaders & Volunteers Advance with Ps Andrew Gray
5.30pm Guest Speaker:  Ps Andrew Gray (Snr Pastor C3 Church              Mt Annan)

Sunday 10th May 
9.30am  Special Mothers Day Service with Ps. Alison Bonhomme

No PM Service

Shirelive ENews

Apr 9, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

Easter weekend was breathtaking. Literally hundreds of people streamed through our doors, many hearing the good news of Jesus Christ for the first time.

Friday evening was a feast for the eyes and ears – and something that is set to become as part of “Shirelive tradition” at Easter time!

THANK YOU to every wonderful volunteer across kids, creative, host teams, catering, Care team and all others that pitched in to make it an amazing weekend!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Christian life in its truest expression is dynamic, changing, forward moving and full of growth.

In my walk with Jesus, which has mapped through my childhood, teen years, university & early career years and now as a wife and pastor in my late 30’s I have discovered three key things that have caused me to grow in grace in every season; The Word of God and wise counsel, good godly friends to journey with and steps of obedience. 

If I could sum up the next two weeks in church life, they actually cover each of those three powerful keys to growing in grace!

  1. The Word and Wise Counsel

I can’t remember every word I’ve ever heard preached or every quiet time in the Word I’ve ever had BUT through these the Word of God has shaped me.

  1. Good Godly Friends to Journey With

Friends accelerate of hamper your journey of grace – I have seen it time after time! At every stage in my walk with God I had “travel companions” who had a similar desire to grow in grace. It made all the difference.

Parents, you can help your kids fall in love with Jesus AND support them in building the kind of friendships that will help them grow. Its ALL about positioning them and championing experiences that will set them up for life!

Heroes Academy (next Wednesday!) is one of THE BEST experiences that your kids will have of exciting, dynamic God-filled life full of fun adventure and good friends! AND parents, you get a day during the school holidays to recover while your kids are in safe hands!

Rego your kids at reception on 9521 2933 

  1. Steps of Obedience

Every stage of my Christian walk involved steps of obedience. I can remember when I first tithed (on my meager babysitting wage of $3.00 as a 9 year old!). I can remember when God said “no, trust me that I have something better” to a potential dating relationship in my teens. I can remember when I was baptized as a teenager, alongside a friend I led to the Lord. It was a turning point.

Baptism is a step of obedience – a confirmation of a decision to follow Jesus, identify with His death and resurrection and ultimately step into the life of victory that He bought back your life for.

Our next “I Have Decided” Baptism night is Sunday 19th April.If you have not been baptized or if you know someone in our church that needs to be baptized please contact Deb Lenzo on 9521 2933

Church, let me encourage you, you are invited to “grow in grace”! The next few weeks at Shirelive are going to help you as you, just like the pilgrims in Psalm 84, journey from “strength to strength.”

COMING UP:

15th April                                       Heroes Academy
(Rego today! P. 9521 2933)

19th April                                       I Have Decided (Water Baptism)
(Rego today! P. 9521 2933)

SSOSM Term 2 is fast approaching! You can Register this Sunday for one of our dynamic classes! They are just $50 each for 5 sessions over 10 weeks. See Aziza at the SSOSM desk this Sunday for more information!

With Love,
Pastor Kristy

Shirelive ENews

Mar 26, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

I trust you are having a great week!

Easter is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited!

As creative Pastors here at Shirelive, Jarrad and I get the absolute privilege of leading our team and dreaming up ways to bring expression about the person of Jesus through the creative arts.

At this time of the year it is even more significant!

Easter weekend is a time where family members who once walked with God or who are yet to meet Him, get a little braver and dare to step into this “building” that is our church. And we as the church get a little braver by daring to INVITE them.

Our HOW SWEET THE SOUND Good Friday night service is going to be an opportunity for us and for our loved ones to remember what Jesus did for us on the Cross, and to remember the resurrection power that we can carry into our everyday. It’s at 6pm and it is going to be an INCREDIBLE experience!

Recently, as I was scrolling through my network of friends near and far, (yes, it was Instagram) I came across a slogan that read “ring and bring.”
It was a friendly reminder to me personally, from God that while its good for me to invite someone to church this Easter, it’s even more powerful to BRING someone.

We have designed beautiful invites that are still available for you to take and give out to the people in your world.  Can I encourage you to let this invite be more than a piece of paper! Let it be the perfect “conversation starter” you needed that will result in you BRINGING someone.

As a Creative Team, we are praying for our church. We are praying for our guests who walk through these doors over the Easter weekend. We are praying that when they hear the SOUND of the Father calling them, they would RESPOND and we are praying that above all else, His name would be magnified through song, vision and worship.

THIS WEEK: 
Sutherland AM:  Ps. Brad Bonhomme  
It is the Living Word of God that transforms lives – and Ps. Brad has a powerful Word to bring that will bring transformation to your life and the lives of those around you in the lead up to Shirelive’s amazing Easter.

Sutherland PM: Ps Tim Biasetto  
Sunday nights are all about ministry and mobilizing people in the power of God! Come and be filled to overflowing!

COMING UP: 
3rd April                                           Good Friday 6pm service
5th April                                           Easter Sunday 9:30am service
15th April                                         Heroes Academy
19th April                                         I Have Decided (Water Baptism)

Love you church!
Sarah x

Shirelive ENews

Mar 11, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

Sunday’s a come’n and as usual I am excited for what is in store!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20 

“He is no fool that gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” Jim Elliot (Missionary to the Auca Indians, Martyred 1956, Curaray River, Ecuador) 

Early last year I was sitting in my office with Kelly Lauricella. She shared with me that she felt that God had given her a clear call to reach the people of Africa. In fact, He said to her:

“Go get My diamonds.” 

This imagery is hauntingly beautiful. Encapsulated in God’s call to Kelly was a statement of what God puts the most value on. People. The souls of people. People made in His image. People of every tribe and tongue. People in every land – both near and far-flung. They are His diamonds – the treasure of His heart that He is gathering home to Him.

In the getting of His diamonds, however, there is a values system that must be addressed in our own hearts. There must be a shift in our hearts that allows us to release our “treasure” in order to reach His true treasures.

In the 1950s a band of young couples headed to Ecuador on a call from God to reach His diamonds, the Auca Indians. Before subsequently being martyred on the banks of the Curaray River, Jim Elliot declared that giving your life for something of eternal value was the wisest thing a person could do (after Jim’s death, his wife Elisabeth and her friend Rachel went on to win  the ENTIRE Auca tribe to the Lord).

On 22nd March we will be receiving our annual one-off Missions offering. It is true that the money you give on 22nd March in obedience to the Lord could have been used for a chic new wardrobe, a family day out to Wet ‘n Wild or an upgrade to your kitchen. I know something about the families of Shirelive, however. I know that we are called to something greater. I know that we are called to “give what we cannot keep to gain that which we cannot lose”. I know that Shirelive people have a revelation of what it means to‘store up treasures in heaven’, to see the lost people of every place come home and to see His diamonds find salvation.

Please know that as you consider your one-off gift leading up to Sunday 22nd March you are engaging in an eternal pursuit. The offering you bring will be a significant part of reaching God’s “diamonds” throughout the earth. Each one of us is called to align the values of our heart the values of the Kingdom of God and cause our giving to reflect this. In doing so you, like Jim Elliot will “gain that which you cannot lose”!

THIS WEEK: 
Sutherland AM:  Warren Searles 
Missions Month continues and Warren will be preaching a faith filled word to grow your revelation of God’s first priority. Warren is passionate about mining the Word of God for truth and has a dynamically prophetic way of preaching it!

We will also be featuring some AMAZING stories of call and life-transformation

Sutherland PM: Ps Kristy Mills 

Have you found a cause to live and die for? Some died in the gladiators ring, some forsook riches to save souls, others counted it all loss except for this great Cause

Come and let God touch you to the depths of your soul as He calls you to a higher place.

ALSO…We are going to be connecting live with Kelly Lauricella all the way over in Cape Town Sth Africa!

COMING UP: 

22nd March                                     Missions One-off Offering (AM / PM)

24th March                                      SSOSM Session #4. 7.15pm

3rd April                                           Good Friday 6pm service

5th April                                           Easter Sunday 9:30am service

15th April                                         Heroes Academy

19th April                                         I Have Decided (Water Baptism)

With Love,

Ps. Kristy

Shirelive ENews

Mar 7, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

What an incredible Sunday in the house of God! We started our Missions Month hearing the stories of our local missions with our meals for mums program, Women’s Ministry events, Heroes Academy, Chaplaincy programs AND all our work in local high schools! I love hearing about all that God is doing in the sons and daughters of our house!

Thought for the Week…
Matthew 28:19-20
19 ”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  

If you had 40 days to share everything that you knew with those who you would entrust everything that you’ve spent your life invested into, what would you say? I’m not sure what I would say, but I do know that I would make every word count. Here we have some of the last words that Jesus gives us before He ascends to heaven – also known as the Great Commission. The advancement of God’s Kingdom is something that He values so much and is something that is every believers’ responsibility.
When it comes to Missions, it’s not something that is just Kelly Lauricella’s responsibility as she ministers in South Africa, or the Carabez’s responsibility as they give out hearing aids in Fiji or Dave Lovell’s responsibility as he connects with the surfing community – all of which are stories we will hear over this month. Missions is something that is every believer’s responsibility as we are part of serving our community both locally and globally.

On 22nd March every Shirelive family will have the opportunity to be a part of making history! On this day in our AM and PM services we will be receiving our ANNUAL ONE-OFF MISSIONS OFFERING for the work of Missions through Shirelive. Now is the time to pray and prepare! Together we are going to make a huge difference!

EASTER AT SHIRELIVE…. “How Sweet the Sound”

Easter at Shirelive is one of those things that you are not going to want to miss! We just want to give you a quick heads up as to what Easter will look like as it will be different to what we have done before.

Our theme for Easter is “How Sweet the Sound” and is set to be an incredible opportunity to invite friends and family to experience the grace of God in a fresh way. We will be having a 6pm Good Friday service, which will allow you to enjoy the morning with family. We will then be having a Guest Worship Leader – Jaye Liubinskas joining us for a powerful time in God’s house.

See you on Sunday,
Alex Johnson

COMING UP: 
March                                             Missions Month
10th March                                      SSOSM Session #3. 7.15pm
22nd March                                     Missions One-off Offering (AM / PM)
24th March                                      SSOSM Session #4. 7.15pm
3rd April                                           Good Friday 6pm service
5th April                                           Easter Sunday 9:30am service
15th April                                         Heroes Academy
19th April                                         I Have Decided (Water Baptism)

ACCOMODATION FOR THE POPE FAMILY
We have a family of missionaries who are in need of accommodation in the Shire for 12 months from June 1st 2015. The Pope family have served in Indonesia for a number of years now. It is a family of two parents and one son. If you have a suitable space, such as a granny flat, potential house sitting or two rooms within a large family home.

WORK OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG NRL PLAYERS 
The players from the Sharks U/20’s Squad and Senior players are currently seeking work opportunities. To quote the Welfare Manager “I have a ready-made labour force looking at earning extra money to assist in supporting themselves away from football and this can be at short notice if needed.”

If you believe you could assist with either of these opportunities, please contact Warren Searles at [email protected].

Shirelive ENews

Feb 20, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hi Church!

I trust this finds you well.

As a Church, we have had an amazing journey of faith together! I thank God for His faithfulness and blessing over the time that Ps Alison and I have been entrusted with the honour of serving you. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the good things that God has done. To Him be all of the glory!

There is one area of concern that we need to draw your attention to. If left unchecked and not spoken to with a spirit of faith, we could find ourselves in a place that I do not believe is the will of God for us.

Since the start of 2015 our Tithes and Offerings have not met budget. In fact, we have been under budget approximately $3500 per week. This trend is alarming and if it continues choices will need to be made that will undermine and destabilise our momentum.

I’m sure you will agree, that we as a body of believers have enjoyed a fantastic start to the year in so many areas. Let’s not allow a lack of finances to harm the good things that are taking place.

I am asking our Church to rise up in a spirit of faith and remain faithful to the Lord in the area of Tithes and Offerings.

2 Corinthians 8:10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago.

2 Corinthians 8:11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. 

Paul reminds the Corinthian Church of their initial desire to give in an offering and their subsequent commitment to do so. Sadly, their initial enthusiasm had faded and disintegrated.

Church, let’ not be like the Corinthian believers. Nothing is accomplished in the Kingdom if what is started is not finished. Initial enthusiasm is good, however the Lord is looking for us to finish His work!

Be aware that our Board are exercising their spiritual mandate by a determined & detailed effort to supervise our finances well. We have engaged in realistic planning, clear-cut guidelines, and determined execution.We are committed to administrating God’s resources well as we firmly believe this is foundational to the success of any Ministry.

There are a number of ways you can give;

DIRECT DEPOSIT
Westpac Corporation
BSB 032-059
Account Number: 201751
Account Name: Shirelive Direct Deposits
EFTPOS
Facilities available at the Reception desk in the foyer
DIRECT DEBIT
Please contact Steve Lam (accounts) for details on (02) 9521 2933
CREDIT CARD
Give cards are available at the Reception desk or in the auditorium during the service
BPAY
Please contact Steve Lam (accounts) for details on (02) 9521 2933
CASH
Payments can be made during the course of our Church services
CHEQUES
Cheques payable to Shirelive Limited

Shirelive, we are appealing to you in a spirit of love. We firmly believe that we are destined to impact our nation and many needy regions across the world will find hope in Jesus Christ because of your giving.

Faith is acting like it is so, even when it’s not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so.

We look forward to worshipping the Lord together with you this weekend!

With a great love,

Pastors Brad & Alison

Shirelive ENews

Feb 3, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hey Church! 

Last Sunday was defining. We are being called to a place of strength…God is building His church!

TONIGHT is our Term 1. Leaders & Volunteers Advance at 7pm. As well as some really exciting stuff from the heart of our Key Pastoral Team, we have MASSIVE cookies and coffee on for you!

See you tonight!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Hebrews 11:14-16a
Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.

We are not there yet.

We are becoming.

We are not what we were.

We are not yet what we are going to be.

This is the gist of these verses heralding heroes of the faith who moved onward toward a heavenly vision. They did not look back in longing. They did not stop looking toward the promise as they were en route.

As sons and daughters we are called to bring heaven to earth – to see His Kingdom advance. We as a church are destined by God to see His light and His salvation come to the darkest places. We are called to see lives healed and restored back to God, sons and daughters raised, orphans find home and people released into their God-given destiny.

Last Sunday (Vision Sunday #1.) we looked forward.

We saw a picture of the ‘next thing’ God is calling us to walk into. We were led to see the ‘strength’ that God is leading us into this year. We are being called to a “strength to strength” position… strong marriages that go to greater strength, rest-filled work that is achieved from an even stronger position of rest in the Lord, strength of worship that goes to an even deeper place of strength and intimacy.

A part of Shirelive becoming not only a healthy church but a strong one, is structural strength. Yesterday Ps. Brad announced our newly appointed Eldership who will lead our church spiritually as God directs. In addition to this, our newly composed Board was announced, a group that is graced by God to govern in areas of finance, compliance and business functions to ensure that we are strong as a church, and our operations glorify the Lord in every way.

By far the most exciting endeavor that will be starting this year is Shirelive School of Supernatural Ministry (SSOSM)! SSOSM is the central way that Shirelive people will be able to “digest” the Word of God and the principles of His Kingdom to become strong in the grace of God. Last Sunday an incredible array of courses with a strong Spirit dynamic was unveiled… and so many hungry Shirelive people responded at the Registration table! Make sure you don’t miss out! Our fortnightly Term 1 courses begin 10th Feb!  (check your mailbox this week…we think this is so important that we’ve mailed the course guide to you!)

In addition to SSOSM, we have a strong number of people who are engaging in our first ‘whole church’ Internship program! Over 20 people of all ages will be developing their call through midweek training and service in every department of our church!

Shirelive, we are becoming.

Health has filled our being and a natural byproduct of a healthy body is a hunger for nutritious food that will strengthen it.

God is calling us to strength that His Kingdom may come through us.

Ps. Vision Sunday #2 happens THIS SUNDAY! FebFast will be launched, some exciting media news will be announced and a few other surprises will be unveiled!

FEBFAST (9th – 15th
This year our annual FebFast will happen for 7 Days. Shirelive people will be praying, seeking God and fasting for our church and our families next week.

To help you with this, a FebFast 7 Day Devotional will be available atwww.shirelive.com.

A Prayer Room will be open at Shirelive between 9am and 3pm on Thurs 12th Feb and Friday 13th Feb. All Shirelive members are welcome to visit and spend some time praying for our church. The room will be a quiet, worshipful space with some prayer requests on the wall for you to pray through. For more information call Mel on 9521 2933.

THIS WEEK

Sutherland AM: “Vision Sunday #2.” With Ps. Brad & Ps. Alison Bonhomme :

Last week we were introduced to our call to STRENGTH…this week more will be revealed! You will be wowed with what’s happening in our midst.

Sutherland PM: Ps Brad Bonhomme “Shift Series #2.”

Hannah of 1 Samuel 1 fame was brokenhearted – but her honest, specific and God-glorifying prayer got answered and it gives insight into the kind of prayer God wants us to pray.

This week we go deeper as Pastor Brad teaches us how to get our pray on!

COMING UP: 
8th February                          Vision Sunday #2.
10th February                         SSOSM Launch
22nd February                       Life Group Expo (AM)
22nd Februray                       EP Launch (PM) with special guest Ps. Cameron Bennett

Love, Ps. Kristy

Shirelive ENews

Jan 22, 2015   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hey Church! 

When I first saw the Blockbuster January promotion in Live Update, I was filled with buzz and anticipation about what God would do. I personally really only knew Tim Hall, but… OMGOSH! Every week, just when I thought it could not get any better, God far exceeded any and every expectation!

Thought for the week
“Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 2 Kings 4:10

Last Sunday morning, God really challenged us about what happens when we make space for Him in our world. Ps Martin spoke on two significant points: that it matters the prominence of where the room is built and how the room is furnished. I won’t recap the whole message for you, but I encourage you to listen to the podcast if you missed it as it was truly great teaching!

Can I have a moment of honesty church – sometimes I can hear a message on a Sunday and love it, however if I’m not careful, sometimes I can find that by Monday, I’ve already forgotten what was preached and how the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Maybe you’re just like me and it’s Thursday and when I mention Sunday’s word, it seems like months ago to you and you’ve managed to get caught up in the busyness of the week and not allowed God the space that you promised you’d make for Him on Sunday.

My encouragement to you is that it isn’t too late to start. It takes 21 days to build a habit in your life and there’s no time like the present! Why not today give God a bit of time and see what He would do? You could be pleasantly surprised!

Coming up

1st Feb              Vision Sunday
3rd Feb             Leaders and Volunteers Launch
8th Feb            Vision Sunday
22nd Feb          LG Expo

See you Sunday!

Ps. Alex

Shirelive ENews

Dec 19, 2014   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hey Church!

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas countdown! Schools have finished, work’s wrapping up and who can forget the Christmas parties?! (I’ve already had four this week and yes it is only Wednesday)!! But I can’t lie…I love Christmas!!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father. (Matthew 4:21-22 MSG)

I’m always fascinated when I read about Jesus calling His disciples. I mean, there’s no job application process, no reference checks, just a simple, “Hey, come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men!” Then, these guys would leave their whole lives and just follow a stranger?
James and John are just doing their usual day job, mending their nets and a random guy comes up and tells them to follow Him. I wonder if they even had a clue about the adventure that they were being invited on and what God had in store for them?! Crazy to think that one day they were fisherman, then next they are a part of the key team that would revolutionise everything!

On Sunday morning Ps Kristy spoke about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 exploring the way the Holy Spirit is always working in the hearts of those that don’t yet know Him, without us knowing, and encouraging us about the adventures that God takes us on when we just say YES! (really was an incredible message – you should podcast it)!

I want to invite you on that same adventure today!

Let’s not be people who get so stuck mending our nets or whatever that may be in your world – paying the bills, writing a report, building a wall, cleaning the house – whatever – that we miss the adventure that God has in store for us!

Coming up:
25th December             9:30am Christmas Day 1hr Service – Sutherland Campus
28th December             AM Service only (an exciting “Thanksgiving” for the year that was!)
4th January                   Ps. Tim Hall…Holy Ghost Fire!
10th January                 Leaders Training Morning with Ps. David Storer
11th January                 Ps. David Storer…Powerful Prophecy
18th January                 Ps. Martin Steel….Dynamic Faith for the New Year
22nd – 24th January       Summer Days Camp

Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

Alex

Shirelive ENEWS

Dec 11, 2014   //   by Shirelive   //   News  //  No Comments

Hey Church!

Last Sunday was incredible! A heartwarming Gift Giving Service morning then 20 people being baptised at our “I Have Decided” night!
I love this time of year with such exciting things going on at church all the time! (On a side note…there is only 14 days left until Christmas…when did that happen?! better get started shopping!)

Thought for the week 
Matthew 1:18-21, 24
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”… 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.

The good old Christmas story! Everyone knows it – even kids. I was speaking to a work colleague last week who doesn’t yet know Jesus.  She recounted a story of her 5 year old daughter who told her that her Advent Calendar was counting down the days to Jesus’ birthday and that she didn’t need any presents for Christmas this year OR next year because Christmas was about Jesus’ birthday, not presents. (We then laughed about how she should have recorded this!)

We do have a tendency, however, to romanticise the first Christmas a little bit. I mean have you ever actually thought about what the Christmas story would have been like to live out?

Imagine being Joseph – You’re engaged to the love of your life. Planning the wedding that she has always dreamed of. Then …BOMBSHELL – she tells you she’s pregnant and you know that it’s not yours because that would be…well, a “miracle”! Your mind starts racing and go on an emotional whirlwind! You feel hurt, betrayed, angry, all alone and in a pit of despair. But, he acts nobly, deciding to “break the engagement quietly.” Then, as he is deciding this, the Holy Spirit interrupts him and lets him in on the story of the very first Christmas.

Your experience might not be as dramatic as Joseph’s but perhaps you are totally sucked into the chaos of this season!

Can I encourage you church – don’t let the chaos of the Christmas season, stop you from having time with God. The reality of the real Christmas story gives me a little bit of hope. God doesn’t need our lives to be peaceful and full of “silent” nights, He just needs us to invite Him into the chaos and give Him a little bit of space like Joseph did that very first Christmas.

PS. Here’s some invite ideas to get your friends and family along to Carols:

  • Cook up a batch of gingerbread cookies & take them to your neighbours with a Carols invite
  • Spend this Saturday arvo personally calling 5 people to invite them to the best event in town on the 21st Dec
  • Pop an invite in the mail with a handwritten letter to 10 friends
  • Facebook your friends and let them know you will save them a seat
  • Invite your friends and family and host a supper at your house after the Carols!

ALSO – if you still need a Christmas present for your young person – can I recommend a Shirelive Youth Golden Ticket! It will give entry into our 5 main events throughout this year – Summer Days Camp, Groundswell, Winter Camp, Synergy Big Night and Shirelive Youth Gala Night – for only $249!! It’s well worth the savings!! See our Summer Days Camp desk for more details!

Coming up:
21st December             5:30pm Carols in the Shire
25th December             9:30am Christmas Day 1hr Service – Sutherland Campus
28th December             AM Service only (an exciting “Thanksgiving” for the year that was!)
4th January                   Ps. Tim Hall…Holy Ghost Fire!
10th January                 Leaders Training Morning with Ps. David Storer
11th January                 Ps. David Storer…Powerful Prophecy
18th January                 Ps. Martin Steel….Dynamic Faith for the New Year
22nd – 24th                   January  Summer Days Camp

Pastor Alex Johnson

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