Living with Joy

18 November, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#2 in series: The Presence of Joy

READING: Philippians 3:1-21

THEME

Everyone does it…accentuates their achievements, embellishes their accomplishments. It’s called a resume. After all what sounds better? A Vermiculturist or a worm farmer! A check out operator or a customer service representative. Resumes are nothing more than a document that shows off all the things you have learnt, all the experiences you have had, and all the abilities that you have mastered. It’s about finding that edge that makes you stand out above everyone else. So where will you be when you get where you are going? When you have ticked the box of accomplishments in your life? Will joy be yours? There is only one thing that will enable you to keep on going when your resume doesn’t cut it or real fulfilment is elusive. Today we’ll explore what living with joy is all about.

THEME VERSE

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:7-8

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

Every decision in life involves a cost-benefit analysis; weighing up the cost of investing in something verses the benefits you receive from that investment. There is only one thing that has ultimate value - it will cost all you are but you will gain everything you need - Jesus Christ. Go hard after him and living with joy will become a daily experience.

BLESSING

Name, may the joy of Jesus be with you. Amen.

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What if you worship like never before

4 November, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#8 and final in series: 'What if..."

READINGS:

1 Chronicles 16:23-29 Romans 12:1-2

THEME

Road testing - it's an important part of what car manufacturers do to ensure their cars live up to the consumers' standards and also to one up their competitors! Their aim is to flog their vehicles and push them to the limits to flush out problems and fix them. While a lot of testing is done on closed circuits, car makers know that real-world car testing needs to take place in real-world conditions. For that's when you see how the car really performs. Paul uses a similar illustration in Romans 12 today when it comes to our faith. What if we road-tested the Christian life like never before. What if, in response to the mercies of God, we worship like never before? For worship is what we were made for and when we depress the pedal of our lives in worship, offering everything we have in response to everything Christ offered for us, we experience a joy and love that lasts whatever real-life conditions or situations we encounter. You can't get better reassurance than that - for your family or loved ones! We'll explore and experience that today!

THEME VERSE

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

Worship locks us into a daily rhythm of harmonising, trusting, praising, breathing, loving, celebrating, and receiving from a God whose word is true in every condition of life. It protects in every crash, holds secure in ever changing situations and gives joy in every journey! The daily act of living is an act of worship that demonstrates to the world that there is nothing of greater worth in this world than Jesus Christ. That's what we were made for!

FAITH TALK

1. What’s the last thing that you truly gave everything you had to?

2. To what degree have you road-tested your faith?

3. How is your life, what you do in the body each day, an act of worship to God?

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What if you love your neighbour like never before

28 October, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#7 in series "What if"

READINGS:

Colossians 3:1-17; Luke 10:25-37THEME

THEME:

Limits. Life is full of limits. Speed Limits, alcohol in your blood while driving limits, weight you can tow limits, height on trucks using Sydney tunnels limits (which are often ignored), daily withdrawal limits on our bank accounts. But the limits in our life don’t stop there. There are internal limits to our patience, our charity, to how many times we will let others hurt us, use us, take advantage of us. We all have our limits. Today Jesus challenges us with a familiar parable that will confront and challenge us - “what if there were no limits to our love, to our mercy, to our compassion? What if we love our neighbour like never before? Is that possible? We’ll explore that question today as Jesus stretches us through a familiar story in a way that we don’t quite expect.

THEME VERSE

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

It is only when we recognise ourselves as the traveller left for dead in a ditch by the road, that we can arise to love and be a neighbour like never before, For when we have grasped and experienced the radical grace, mercy and love shown to us in Jesus Christ, then it’s hard to look at anything … or anyone … quite the same. That's where real love, mercy and compassion without limits, begins.

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

Heavenly Father, we know that you have made us for yourself, to love you and to love our neighbours. Yet still we cannot help but live for ourselves, and every day we justify ourselves by our own standards, not yours. But Lord, just as you have found us in the ditch and rescued us, fill us with compassion and mercy, that our eyes may be open to see the needy and hurting all around us, and our hearts enlarged to draw near and and practically help them in their time of need. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

FAITH TALK

1 What do you think it means to love your neighbour?

2. Why is it sometimes hard to be compassionate in the world today?

3. What is the greatest lengths you have gone to in order to help someone in need?

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What if you love your family like never before

21 October, 2018 Pastor Michael Rudolph

#6 in series: What If...

BIBLE READING:

Colossians 3:18-24; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

THEME

We’ve all seen them, maybe even have them. Those perfectly captured, staged managed family photos that hang on our loungeroom walls. Those nearly flawless family pics that Facebook and Instagram are flooded with that radiate happiness. Is that your family? A picture of grace and love and harmony? If it is not, take heart, there’s no such thing as a perfect family. But there is a perfect God whose love redeems and restores messy, dysfunctional families, who gives new opportunities to let his grace become visible in our lives. What if his love transformed our homes into a little heaven on earth? Today we explore that as we ask a kingdom question: what if you loved your family like never before?

THEME VERSE

Love… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

Families are a microcosm of our faith; they are conduits of God's grace to humanity. For it is in families that God's empowering love is seen on the front page of life. In the rough-and-tumble of living life together we learn how to give and receive unconditional love, forgiveness and grace and demonstrate to everyone how God works in this world.

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

Loving God, you have taught us that anything we do without love is worth nothing, so pour your love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit you have given to us, that we may love you and others like never before and receive you promises which far exceed all that we could ever hope for or desire. We ask this in the name of the one who is love, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

FAITH TALK

1 What do you love about your family?

2. What's the funniest thing that has ever happened to or in your family?

3. What would it look like if you love your family like never before?

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What if you give like never before

14 October, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#5 in series "What if..."

READINGS:

2 Corinthians 8:1-7; 9:6-15

Luke 21:1-4

THEME

Going…going…gone? Is Australia’s generosity disappearing? Australia’s giving to overseas aid is expected to slump to 0.2% of gross national income by 2021. The average per capita to charity is $200-300 per annum which works out to 0.25-0.3% of the median household income in Australia. Yet according to NCLS research over 66% of church goers give regularly and 20% of attenders tithe on top of whatever they give to tax deductible charities. So why the gap? Could it simply be that grace transforms people’s hearts; that the extraordinary gift of forgiveness found in Jesus not only frees people to give generously but instills a joy in giving like never before? We’ll explore and experience that today.

THEME VERSE

God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

God loves so much that he gives. Giving like never before flows from a heart that has been genuinely touched by the sacrificial and generous love of God in Jesus Christ. It's a grace that transforms our lives - reorienting our mind, opening our eyes, enlarging our heart, growing our compassion and increasing our trust in a God whose generosity and grace will never be exhausted.

FAITH TALK

1. What's the best gift you have ever been given by someone?

2. Would you say you are a generous giver, a reluctant giver or a stingy giver? Why?

3. What do you think God values in our giving?

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What if you share your faith like never before

7 October, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#4 in series: 'What if..."

BIBLE READINGS:

Romans 10:9-15; Luke 14:15-23

THEME

It's an iconic sound. The red Australia Post Honda motorbikes buzzing through suburban streets delivering mail to homes across this country. How many times did you hear that sound and race out to the letterbox to check the mail, hoping to find a personal letter addressed to you? All around our neighbourhoods and workplaces today, and sometimes in our very homes, are people longing to receive the offer of free grace, the personal invitation to fullness of life in Jesus. All around us are people ready to jump at the opportunity, just waiting to RSVP to Jesus but the invitation is never delivered. So what if we were to share our faith like never before? What if we were to personally hand deliver the good news invitation to those around us? God wants you for an immediate start. All that's required is a willing heart.

THEME VERSE

‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full'. Luke 14:23

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

You are the means by which God renews the world, one life at a time. You are called to personally hand deliver the good news to those in your circles of influence that they are invited to come to the party just as they are.

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

God of grace, as you have invited us and dressed us to feast at you table, give us such eagernes and courage to share that invitation with others, that they too may know the joy of being in your presence forever. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

FAITH TALK

1. What's the most memorable/best invitation you have ever received?

2. How is what Jesus has done for you, good news in your life?

3. Why do you struggle to share that good news with others?

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What if we used our gifts like never before?

30 September, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

SORRY THERE IS NO RECORDING OF THIS WEEK'S SERMON DUE TO TECHNICAL MALFUNCTION

BIBLE READINGS:

1 Corinthians 12:4-27; Matthew 25:14-30

THEME

A champion team will always beat a team of champions! If you’ve strapped on the boots, stepped onto the pitch, walked onto the court or slipped on a guernsey…it’s likely the coach, the captain or your parents…said something just like that. It’s true, a team can be led by, inspired by, or challenged by a champion player, but no champion player ever won a game much less a championship without their team. What’s true in every team sporting code is exponentially true in the church. God has assembled us as one and equipped up with gifts to be used for his glory, to strengthen and build up the body and to widen the reach of His Kingdom so that he can lead us to fullness & maturity in Christ. If the church seems stagnant or is just limping along, maybe a good question to ask is, “Am I using my gifts like never before?” Just imagine the impact the body of Christ can have if we used our gifts like never before. We'll explore that today.

THEME VERSE

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

God has given you your spiritual gifts for a reason – to use them…like never before.

When you play the special role God has called you to play, the effect is beautiful, stunning, & eye-opening to those who experience it, leaving people everywhere to declare, ‘How awesome is God.’

FAITH TALK

1 If the Church was like your favourite sporting team/band, what role would you play in the team (being a spectator/fan is not an option!)

2. What holds you back from using that gift like never before?

3. How might the body of Christ be strengthened by you using your gifts?

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What if...you prayed...like never before

16 September, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#1 in series: What if...

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 12:1-17; Matthew 7:7-11

THEME

Confidence is a trait that can make all the difference. You see it with a players across all sports. Middle the first shot, sink the first putt, nail the first goal and the confidence grows. Research has shown that success affects the level of confidence and confidence can affect success. Is that the reason that many people struggle with prayer? A lack of confidence that comes from a lack of success? That every tragedy, every hurt, every disappointment is a great marketing tool for unanswered prayer and causes us to question the limit of God's goodness? But what if confidence in prayer was not about results but about relationship? A coming home to the open heart of God where in his gracious presence we are invited and enabled to pray like never before with the utmost confidence. That's what we will explore and experience today.

THEME VERSE

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

REMEMBER THIS WEEK

Through Jesus Christ, God has provided a way into his heart. We are saved by grace. We live by grace. We pray by grace. Prayer is entering into an enduring, continuing, growing love relationship with a gracious heavenly Father, whereby we are changed and new trust, new joy, and new hope emerges in our lives. 

FAITH TALK

What things do you routinely pray for?

If someone heard you praying, what would they conclude about God from your prayers?

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