/* the loop */

Sunday 3rd September 2017

Please come and join us at 10am this Sunday as celebrate “Dads”. New Zealand has a record of ‘father-hunger’ and many children are growing up fatherless. At age 15, only about 1 in 4 teenagers live with both their biological parents. Most teenagers in New Zealand have experienced multiple changes in household composition. About 1 in 4 children in New Zealand are growing up in single parent families and the majority of those single parents are female. Males are the parent in only about 12% of single parent families. I myself was raised by my widowed mother in a one parent family. Scripture has much to teach us about fathers: there we find men who lived with the pain of childlessness, fathers who were blending multiple parent families, and adoptive fathers. We see warrior fathers who sacrificed their children for their mission, and Dad’s who sacrificed everything for their daughters. There are rule-book Dads like Manoah, delinquent Dads like Eli, wounded fathers like David, and waiting Fathers like the prodigal’s Dad. There are fathers in the faith as spiritual Dads. Above all, we see God, the perfect father, who defines his identity toward us as our Abba Father who is in heaven. Jesus himself was co-parented by a man who was not his biological father. Just as Mary was specially chosen, so was Joseph chosen. He was probably much older than his young wife, and it seems likely that Joseph died before Jesus began his ministry. Certainly Joseph was around when Jesus was missing aged 12 but he doesn’t appear later in the Gospel record. Joseph was a man...

Sunday 20th August 2017

This Sunday we look at forgiveness, 10am kick-off. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22b) which alerts us to its cost in terms of sacrifice – but also its importance. In Matthew 18, Peter was prepared to go to 7 times (cf. Luke 17:4). But in response Jesus said not 49 times which would be seven times seven, which is what I used to think he said. If you read this again you will see Jesus said 77 times – which is even more. What did the Lord mean and what was he emphasizing? And why 77 times? How many times have we been forgiven by the Lord? Are we already forgiven everything we will ever do? Where is the place then for confession of sin? I think you will see that the whole area of forgiveness is worth thinking into quite a lot. There is a saying, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine’. That’s not a Biblical reference. It comes from an essay on criticism by Alexander Pope. But Jesus did forgive sins and demonstrated that He had the authority to do so. He forgave a sinful woman and forgave the sins of a paralysed man who was lowered through the roof. But ultimately Jesus went to the Cross as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, grief and shame. Also, he forgave those who crucified him. We too are to forgive. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” (Eph...

Fish Breakfast with Jesus -Special Service on Sunday 13 August 2017

Come and join us for our Fish Breakfast with Jesus special service on Sunday 13 August 2017 as we eat fish and bread together starting at 8:30am. This will be a time of prayer, thanks and praise to God, of confession and repentance, and of restoration and discerning the Spirit’s Word to us. There will be a special programme for children but also a time when they will be included in the main service.  For more information click...

Sunday 13th August 2017

At the first Fish breakfast Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me”? That breakfast was Jesus seeking him out as He had promised, to eat with him, to confront him, to recommission him, and to release him from all his pain and guilt. This is the essential question and Peter was saying a huge ‘yes’ in answer to it. As a church, will we also have the courage for that to be our response as a church? Will you say, “Yes Jesus, we love you”? As a church we need to long for God to heal and restore us as a local church just as he did with Peter in John 21. Peter was incredibly discouraged, probably even disillusioned. He was very disappointed in himself because though he had been warned specifically by Jesus, he had still denied the LORD. Jesus had said to him that Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat, and Jesus had told him that he prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail. Jesus said, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” See Luke 22:31-32. Peter had been so confident in his reply that he was ready to go with Jesus to prison, or even death. His remorse was enormous after his denied the LORD three times that evening, even with an oath to a servant girl. Afterwards he went outside and wept bitterly. Peter would have struggled with grief through the remaining events of Jesus trial, the beatings, and the eventual crucifixion. Afterwards, Peter was the 4th person to the tomb and saw the grave-clothes left behind. He saw...

Sunday 2nd July 2017

God is good; all the time and all the time, God is good; right? Psalm 31:19 extols how great God’s goodness really is.  Psalm 34 invites us to, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”  In 1 Chron 16:34 David said, “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good.”  Everything about Him is good: even his judgment and discipline. So how do we answer the people who question whether God really is good, and if so, why does he not do something about all the suffering and evil in our world today?  For some, this kind of ethical question is a stumbling block to coming to faith in Christ.   Other people struggle with the Old Testament and cannot understand its context of war, destruction and judgment in contrast to the New Covenant. The Bible quite often calls God good.   In Psalm 86:5 the Psalmist called God ‘forgiving and good’ but in verse 17 asks for a sign of his goodness so that his enemies may see it.   Psalm 119 in the section labelled Teth says, “You are good, and you do what is good..”.   Jesus once said, “There is only One who is good” (eg. Matt 19:17).  In Mark’s and in Luke’s account, Jesus says, “No one is good – except God alone.”  He does not here deny that He Himself is good (as some Muslims suppose), but simply states that God alone is good.   He is about to indirectly assert that He is God – but we will continue with the question of God’s goodness.  God is uniquely good like no other...

Sunday 18th June 2017

Kia ora, this week we especially welcome Rob Lovatt, New Zealand Director for Wycliffe Bible Translators and International Pastor at Mt Albert Baptist in Auckland. With him are Peter and Angie Seow from Malaysia with their daughter Hannah. Tena koutou katoa. Peter and Angie will lead our sung worship this morning as special guests. The external leadership team (ELT) had its monthly meeting last Wednesday night and a summary of their decisions are in this week’s newsletter. See you all on...