Living Courageously: Rehab

26 May, 2024 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

Flawed. Imperfect. A scandalous and inescapable past. A dubious present. An uncertain future. These are the people we are quick to distance ourselves from and disassociate with. These are the people that we find it easy to write off as being beyond redemption. But not God. No-one is beyond the reach of his grace and no-one is beyond the scope of his redemption. No-one is that far gone that God can't transform and use for his purposes. So if you have ever lived in fear because of your past, retreat into the shadows because of your present, or believe your future is shot, then hear again the story of Rahab, a prostitute that God writes into the story of redemption. A person that he uses to bring salvation to others. If God can do that for the harlot Rahab, he can do if for you. We'll explore what living courageously through the story of Rahab looks like today.

#1 in series: Living Courageously

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Living Exclusively by the Spirit

19 May, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

Formation is so important. It's crucial in the development of a child spiritually, emotionally, cognitively and relationally. It's also important educationally as they learn and are taught how to form letters of the alphabet correctly. It's important for sporting teams as part of their defensive and offensive strategy. It's important for ducks as they migrate long distances. It's essential for cyclists in team pursuits. It's beautiful to behold where marvelling at geological wonders. It's also a key part of the walk of a disciple in living exclusively in the Gospel. Living exclusively by the Spirit is God's organic formation process in our lives as we grow and align all of our lives with the character and heart of Jesus. It's the work of the Spirit in our lives as he fills, changes, molds and transforms our lives to produce fruit that looks less like the 'flesh' and more and more like Jesus! We will look at what it means to be a people who are living exclusively by the Spirit today.

#7 and final in series: Living exclusively

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Living Exclusively for Others

12 May, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

"Homo incurvatus in se."

Humanity curved in on itself. St. Augustine came up with that phrase back in the fourth century to describe a world that has removed its gaze from God and placed it firmly on itself. The headlines stories in the news these days are evidence of a world being curved in on itself. We've made life to be all about us - my hopes, my dreams, my desires, my happiness. But the curved in life does not bring fullness of life. Paul reminds the Galatians that the good news of the Gospel un-curves us. Jesus is like a spiritual chiropractor who straightens us out, restoring our posture and teaching us to focus our gaze on him as he helps us live an un-curved life for others. This straightening out, this uncurving occurs, is nurtured, strengthened, practiced, encouraged, and sustained exclusively in community. Christ desires to strengthen and straighten your posture today as his transforming grace in you gives you power for living exclusively for others.

#6 in series: 'Living Exclusively'

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Living Exclusively in Freedom

5 May, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

"They make take our lives...but they will never take our freedom!' Who can ever forget that quote from William Wallace in the movie 'Braveheart' Freedom is portrayed as worth fighting for, even dying for. So what is freedom? A capabilty to do whatever, whenever, wherever? Or is it a freedom to live without restrictions, without limits, without boundaries? Freedom by its very nature requires restriction, limitations and boundaries. For both indiviudal and societal freedoms are constantly in competition with one another and will eventually clash. We cry for freedom of expression but are close to shutting down free speech. We demand tolerance for all and yet have become one of the most intolerant generations in history. We may exercise the freedom to spend our money now, but then we will be limited in what we can spend later on in retirement and visa versa. So which freedom will we choose? We are never really free. But the Gospel gives real freedom; it's a grace to live exclusively in freedom without limits, without restrictions, without boundaries for the sake of others. We will explore this radical understanding of Gospel freedom and the purpose it gives to our lives today.

#5 in series: Living Exclusively

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Living Exclusively as God's children

28 April, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

See Hi-Vis gear on a person and you have a pretty good idea they are tradie. See a person wearing a clerical collar and you can be almost 100% certain they are a Minister of Religion. See the uniform of our Armed Forces or Emergency Services people and you have a good identification of who they are and what they do. The clothes we wear go a long way to revealing to others what we do, or what organisation we are a part of, which helps people understand who we are. In this next part of our series: Living Exclusively, Paul shows us the unmistakeable Gospel clothing we have been given that reveals our identity for all the world to see. Today we look at Living Exclusively as God’s children.

#4 in series: Living Exclusively

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Living Exclusively by Faith

21 April, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

'I just wasn't thinking!'

Have you ever uttered those words? Maybe to the Police Officer who pulled you over for speeding. Perhaps when you inadvertently backed into a stationary object in the car. When you spoke words in a situation that you immediately wish you could take back or clicked on a link that you instantly regret. We have all made stupid decisions, some that we can laugh at later, but some that we can never erase…when we have been foolish, acted foolishly or were just not thinking. Paul accuses the Galatians of foolishness, of not thinking when it comes to our relationship with God because they were shifting their eyes away from the perfect gift of Christ and thinking they had to prove themselves, their value and their perfection to God. The consequences of that are horrendous and so Paul encourages them and us to living exclusively by faith. We will explore that today

#3 in series: Living Exclusively

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Living Exclusively in Christ

14 April, 2024 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

Having you ever noticed your car pulling to the left or right when braking? Have you ever noticed a shudder in the steering wheel when applying the brake? Have you ever noticed uneven wear on your tyres? If so, you probably should get a wheel alignment. Hitting a pothole or kerb at force can cause your wheels to go out of alignment. The settings are so precise and sensitive and need to be done in parallel, that if one part is even 1/6 of a degree off, your wheels can be out of alignment, which can cause huge damage. That's why it is important to have a regular wheel realignment.

The same is true of the Gospel...it is so easy for the bumps forces and sudden jolts of life to cause a misalignment of our hearts, our minds and our behaviours. And when left unchecked it can do serious damage to our faith, our relationships and the fulfilment of God's purposes in the world. So today Paul pulls tells us to pull into Christ's workship and let him do a Gospel realignment of our hearts and lives so they run straight, true, and free and we can arrive safely at the destination God has prepared for us. So today we look at what it means to live exclusively in Christ.

#2 in series: Living Exclusively

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Living Exclusively...By the Gospel

7 April, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

Gin AND tonic. Scones, jam AND cream.

Some things are MEANT to be added together.

Some…are not. They are enough in and of themselves.

Jesus. To add anything is to lose him. Over the next 7 weeks we’ll be reminded of that fact by Paul as he speaks pointedly & sternly to the church in Galatia…and to us.

Add ____ lose your faith.

Add ____ squander your security.

Add ____ forfeit your identity.

Add ____ surrender your destiny.

(need to fill in the blanks…? Law, rules, rituals, human/cultural approval…status, power…?)

Only in Christ do we have full access to the freedom the Father desires us to enjoy as his children. Only by the Spirit do we receive the fullness of blessing the Father seeks to make flourish in our lives. Today we explore what it means to live exclusively by the Gospel.

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Jesus is Lord

31 March, 2024 Pastor Mark Schultz

The Truth…the whole Truth…and nothing but the Truth.

That's what the resurrection reveals. There is only One who can speak the Truth and reveal the Truth about the pain in our own lives, the suffering of all people, the brokenness of our world, the violence that destroys and the tragic reality of death. There is only One who embodies Truth, breathes the Truth and lives the Truth that brings hope to our souls, courage to our fears, strength in our weakness and life in the midst of death. The resurrection is the Father’s clear testimony that Jesus is the powerful Son of God who has conquered death and reigns as Lord of all. But even more...the resurrection is the unmistakable testimony that God is accessible to us, that God will not abandon us, that God desires more than anything to be in relationship with us, that God knows us, calls us by name and forever invites us into his presence. That's the whole truth that is life-transforming.

#4 and final in series: The Truth

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