Thankful Joy

1 October, 2023 Pastor Mark Schultz

I’ve got the Joy, joy joy down in my heart…Where? That’s the question isn’t it? Where? Where is the joy? When…life happens...temptations attack...sickness comes...needs overwhelm...loneliness suffocates...friends betray. Where's the joy when decisions paralyse...worries strangle...finances stall. We would choose joy if we could and hang on to it with all our might. But what if joy isn’t a choice you make, but one that already chose you? What if joy was already yours and you now were able to be contagious & infectious in spreading that joy whatever you encounter in life?

In the midst of life's difficulties, it's easy for us to develop a selective memory that causes us to forget the grace we've been given, the love we've been shown and the blessings we've received. Paul in his letter from a Roman jail cell to the Philippian church invites us to embrace the pandemic of joy that is highly contagious, deeply infectious and leads to a thankful joy that is down in our hearts to stay. We'll explore and experience that today.

#1 in series: A Pandemic of Joy


'Dys'functional - Functional Communities

24 September, 2023 Pastor Mark Schultz

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his classic book, ‘Life Together’ said the following,

“Every human wish and dream injected into the Christian Community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive.”

Mostly we want to clean up or fix our communities…church or otherwise. Get potholes filled & dangerous places made safe. Sing the right songs & get out in under an hour. We want to make right the wrongs our ancestors did…sometimes with the best intentions so that life today is fashioned into some sparkling clean perfect place for us to live. But how’s that working out?...All around us, in or outside the church, we see more discord & division than in most of our living memories.

In our reading today we hear that The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, & God’s great blessing was upon them all. Your life also has the ability to be a powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus. Just like Love is only love with Christ at its heart…Functional living in our communities only occurs when the church lives into the fullness we are promised in Jesus. That’s what we’ll explore this week as we talk about… functional communities.

#4 in the series: 'Dys'functional


'Dys'functional - Functional Relationships

17 September, 2023 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

Teachers often proclaim that teaching would be the best job in the world if it wasn’t for the students, or wasn’t for the parents. Nurses have been known to say something similar, ‘nursing is a great job if you just take away the doctors and/or the patients.” Anyone who has a job in a ‘people’ focussed industry probably appreciates the sentiment. There is both great joy in the privilege of having a job which is about supporting and helping others, but sometimes the ‘others’ you have to help make it extremely difficult.

Sometimes loving others is hard, especially when they have acted towards us in ways that have hurt us or those we love and care for. Sometimes it can feel as though no one really cares and that in this life we are on our own and have to look out for ourselves.

Thankfully we have a God who says to us, you are never alone, I will never leave or forsake you. We have a God who came to be with us and show his love and care for us and He gives us all the love we need to be able to love and serve those around us and show them the life transforming love of Jesus. And it’s that life and relationship transforming love that we’ll explore and encounter as we talk about functional relationships

#3 in the series: 'Dys'functional


'Dys'functional - Functional Marriages

10 September, 2023 Pastor Mat von Stanke

“Form follows function” – just like the adage ‘measure twice & cut once’, we all sort of get the wisdom that the purpose of something (its function) dictates the form the shape or arrangement of that “thing.”

A square wheel might look great…but it won’t carry out a wheel’s function at all…the form must be round/circular. Form follows function…

The same is true about something as familiar to us as marriage:

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord…husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her…” Whatever else marriage is or becomes over a lifetime together as husband & wife, it is first & foremost to function as a mirror of Christ’s love. God created marriage to be a source of blessing in this & every generation.

So how do we build resilience and persistent joy into our households? How do we create and sustain marriages that last, faith that endures, and love that triumphs over all things? In an era when relationships are entered into and dissolved because of how they meet “My needs, wants and expectations”, how do we live the self-giving, self-surrendering love we have received in Christ, in the most intimate of relationships?

The answer from generation to generation is that life in Christ heals hurts, brings hope, provides purpose, and ensures endurance that nothing in the world can destroy. That’s what we will encounter and experience as we explore… Functional marriages.

#2 in the series: 'Dys'functional


'Dys'functional - Functional Families

3 September, 2023 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

“Poet and author, Mary Karr, once wrote, “A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”

Most of us will smile at her wry humour & acknowledge the truth of that statement from our own experience. “Well I’m not perfect” is how we say it about ourselves… but about others we are often less than understanding….or kind.

Families, like any other group of people, function best when they live toward a common goal or purpose…making the family farm or business thrive…living up to a standard set by a previous generation. It might just be wanting to give your kids a less difficult life than you experienced. But every family has some kind of legacy or imprint it seeks to establish and pass on. Every. Family.

Today, Joshua calls the people of Israel, who are now one enormous extended family, to declare in their hearts, homes & lives that legacy…imprint…purpose. Who will they trust to establish them as a nation for generations to come? Who will they trust to build & secure their legacy into the future? Who will you serve?

#1 in the series: 'Dys'functional


Exodus - Living in the Promise

27 August, 2023 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

In Charles Dickens famous story, ‘A Christmas Carol’, Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by three ghostly visitors, one of them being the ghost of Christmas Past who takes Scrooge back to revisit his own past, some of it bitter, but much of it fondly remembered …

Arriving at the border if the promised land, Joshua and the younger generation of Israelites also had potential to be haunted by the Ghosts of the past. Would they continue in the ways of the generation who had gone before them, second guessing God and complaining about His ways, always looking back to Egypt, or would they stand with strength and confident trust in the Lord God who had brought them out of that place and was now about to lead them into the fulfilment of the next part of His promise?

We also can be haunted by the ghosts of “Christians past”. Sometimes we can be guilty of wanting to return to the ‘way things were’, when life was ‘simpler’ or ‘easier’. Sometimes we get too caught up trying to live the faith and life of our ancestors or forefathers in the faith, and we fail to see the new ways that God is still fulfilling his promises to his people, how he is still with us, even though here in Australia we are a long way from Israel, and here in the 21st Century, we are a long way from ancient Egypt. Our God is still the same, his promises are still the same, and He is calling us to live with strength and courage in light of those promises, even if we can’t always see what’s on the road ahead. That’s what we’ll explore today as we conclude this sermon series by living in the promise.

#13 in the series: The Journey of Promise


Exodus - Claiming the Promise

20 August, 2023 Pastor Mat von Stanke

Owner’s manuals. When is the last time you bought a new car, ‘smart’ device or electrical appliance and meticulously read through the accompanying owner’s manual? If you’ve made one of those purchases recently, you might have noticed many manufacturers no longer bother printing these user guides because hardly anybody reads them and those who really want to, are usually happy to go online and find the user guide on a website.

Most of us seem to be happy figuring it out on our own and only looking for the instructions when things don’t seem to be working properly. It’s not unlike the way we relate to God. The God who created us – in His own image, and breathed his own life into us – the God who is the source of our life and the one who knows how it was meant to be lived. Yet most of us are happy to try and figure it out on our own, doing it our way – living our truth, living our best life and we only tend to think about God or ask him for help when things don’t go according to our plan.

But fulness of life is only found according to His plan. To strike out on my own way ends in death…but to live out of God’s gracious presence admitting my own self-inflicted brokenness is to experience life in its fullest & God’s delight & joy at every step. We’ll explore and experience that grace and life today as we discuss – Claiming the Promise

#12 in the series: The Journey of Promise


Exodus - Replacing the Promise

13 August, 2023 Pastor Mat von Stanke

Return for a full refund – “No fault” divorce – contractual “escape” clauses and loopholes – We regularly look for all sorts of ways to change our minds at no cost & move on to something we think is “better.” Whether it’s a better pair of shoes or a “better” spouse or a better deal we’ll trade what we have for what we think is better at the blink of an eye.

That’s the human story from the moment Adam and Eve traded the fullness of life in the garden for the knowledge that they were naked. We too are regularly presented with promises that seem more attractive, more immediate & more tangibly rewarding than the promises of God. But only God & His promises lead us on the journey to fullness of life with Him both now & for all eternity.

And in the midst of fickle human hearts God never relents on his promise to bless his people…The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you & the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’

It’s there, in God’s relentless move toward us in grace that we discover; to receive the promise of God, we must live with the God of the promise.

#10 in the series: The Journey of Promise


Exodus - The Promise Set in Stone

6 August, 2023 Errol Atkinson

It's the disclaimer at the end of every advert promise. T&C's may apply. It's the fine print that sets out the conditions under which you agree to provide goods or services; it details the contractual relationship, sets the rules and defines the conditions under which an agreement can be terminated. Many see the Ten Commandments that way too - as a list of terms and conditions for being a Christian. Still others, see them as an outdated set of rules that no longer apply in contemporary society. Separated from relationship, it's easy to see the Ten Commandments that way. But connected to God and the mutual relationship God desires with his people, the Ten Commandments are a gift of love that reveals our identity, protects the freedom we have been given, guides our relationship with God and others, creates community, and enables us to move forward and flourish in life. It's a promise that is unshakeable and unchangeable, a promise that is set in stone.

#10 in the series: The Journey of Promise