When you sin.

1 July, 2018 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

Joshua 7:1-8:2

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things[a]; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,[b] the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai,5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”

16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen.17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia,[c] two hundred shekels[d] of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels,[e] I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord.

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor[f] ever since.

8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


It's a well-known saying: 'To take one's foot off the pedal."  It means to not go as hard or put in as much effort, but to slow, down, relax, and cruise for a while. 

You see it with sporting teams that have strung together a lot of victories.  They became complacent and over-confident, take their foot off the pedal and suffer defeat in games they should have won.  The same thing can happen in our spiritual lives. When faced with large battles, it's easy trust in God and his strength but when it comes to the smaller battles, the temptation is to take the foot off the pedal, underestimate the enemy and think 'I've got this one in the bag.' So when you think you have got what it takes, look out. It can be a small little thing that will defeat you.  Today we look at Courageous faith when you sin; it's a faith that keeps the foot on the pedal - focused, prayerful and dependent on God in all things.


…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15


A sin problem is first and foremost a worship problem. 

You can't cling to God if you are holding on to something else.  The victory you have today is not enough for tomorrow.  So confess your sin, give it up each day and live with a courageous faith in Christ who alone will give you the victory over every obstacle you face, big or small


Know your Story

17 June, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz


READING: Joshua 4:1-24

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down.9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been[a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”


Souvenirs.  Momentos.  Keepsakes.  From that Opera House snow-globe to your kids’ baby teeth, footprints & haircut clippings…we all keep them. We fill albums and digital libraries with photos.  Clutter our shelves with knicknacks & trinkets, so that we can remember. So moments are firmly implanted in our memories. 

They connect us across generations, prompting us to share the story: ’Remember when…”.

God knows how quickly his people are prone to forget.  To forget his love, his mercy, his grace, and their place in his story.  So throughout history, he gave his people markers to jog their memory, to enable them to pass on the story of his faithfulness to the next generation so that they wouldn’t forget who God is, who they were, where they have come from and where they were going.  God has also given you visual reminders today so that you might know your story, pass on your story and never forget your place in his story.



Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:21-22, 24



Your life is worthy of a novel for you are a unique stone in the mosaic of God's story in this world. Share your story, listen to other's stories, for as you do God reveals his presence in the past and his power for the present. This gives certainty and hope for the future, no matter how many twists and turns the plot of your life takes. For God is faithful and he is able...always.


1 What story do you remember your mum or dad reading to you or telling you as a child?

2 What is a momument/symbol/memory/day in your faith journey that reminds you of what God has done for you and means the most to you? Why?


Move Forward

10 June, 2018

#2 in series:

Joshua 1:1-11; 16-18 3:5-17

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.


Liminality – the door between one season and the next, between a known past and an undefined future.  It’s the state of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs in transitory situations.  It is often a period of discomfort and of transformation; when you are on the threshold of great things but not quite there.  The people of God were in that liminal state.  Their great leader Moses has died and they are stalled, stuck on the wrong side of God’s promises.  It’s here that God tells them to arise, move forward, and crossover into new territory.  God is also calling us as a new generation of his people to crossover and inherit the future he has for us, the blessings he has prepared for us.  So are you willing to move forward and take that step? Yes it’s risky, yes it’s scary but move forward….just one step and see what only God can do.  For his call will only take us where his power and promises will sustain us


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9


Whatever is standing between you and the fullness of all God has for you is over. The journey of trying to please God is over forever.

The joy of living with God and in the fullness of his blessing has begun.

So arise, move forward and become a cross over people. 


Living from the Promise

3 June, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#1 in series 'Courageous Faith' in the book of Joshua


Numbers 13:16-14:9

16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)

17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anakthere. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”


What do you do when you face obstacles, or the uncertainty of tomorrow? Are you inclined to think only in terms of the worst-case scenario? Do you tend to exaggerate the obstacles, overstate the problems, and magnify the difficulties you expect to encounter?  Do you tend to overthink everything and then get paralysed into doing nothing!  The people of God faced that exact situation. 

They were literally knocking on the door of the Promised Land when their courage collapses.  Today we will discover that it’s when the pressure is on, that we have the greatest opportunity to trust God and receive a power that comes living from the Promise.  It will give you all the courage you need for every decision you face.



Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  Numbers 13:30



Fear nothing.  Trust God for everything.  When we trust the Lord and believe His promises, we have nothing to fear as we courageously live and move forward in obedience.  For God will always come through.


Church on the Run

27 May, 2018 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

READING: Acts 8:2-8

Sorry - no recording this week as technology failed. A printed copy of the sermon is attached


“On the run”.  That’s the situation for nearly 19 African athletes and officials who failed to return home after the recent Commonwealth Games in Qld. They are on the run and in hiding, living in fear of being caught and deported.  How different from the early Church.  They too were on the run, forced out by the persecution Jesus promised would happen and scattered to all parts of the globe.  They were under fire…under threat…living in a world that was against them.  But rather than go to ground and keep a low profile, the early church had another plan.  They carried with them an urgency to live out what Jesus had commanded with their first breath of the day and the last breath of the night knowing that somewhere in between might be their last moment on earth.  Today, Jesus wants the Church to have that same urgency; to be a Church on the run preaching the good news wherever we are scattered.



Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Acts 8:4



The church on the run is at its absolute best not because it runs fast but because it moves faithful to Christ’s call to share with every living soul the good news he brings. In a hostile world, Jesus is still with us, scattering us throughout the marketplace of the world to be witnesses of his love, grace, compassion, mercy and the joy of new life in him that no threat on earth can ever take away.



Church on Fire

20 May, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

Click on the Notes Tab below to make your own notes during the Sermon


Acts 2:1-21


“On Fire”----the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat

a. being consumed by fire; aflame, eager, burning

b. fervent or passionate emotion or enthusiasm

c. to excite or stimulate

It may be a dictionary definition but it is also a description of what happened that first Pentecost, when God set the disciples and the Church on fire. So does that sound like you? Are you on fire? Is the Church on fire today? Or has the fire been tamed? Placed under control? Reduced to embers? This Pentecost, God wants to fan into flame and fill his Church again with his earth-shaking and earth-shaping fire. For when the fire of the Holy Spirit is unleashed on your combustible heart, it will consume you - igniting your life and infusing you with a power and enthusiasm which is impossible to contain. Come, Holy Spirit and set your ‘Church on Fire’.


They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…

Acts 2:3-4a


The fire and glory of God’s presence now resides in you, the Church, whose hearts are burning with fire and lives moving boldly with his power and love. So burn with fire and see what only God can do!


Visible Faith

13 May, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#5 and final in series: Visible Church

BIBLE READING: 1 John 5:1-21


Congruence: from the Latin congruere – “to agree”. In geometry two shapes are congruent when you can turn, flip and/or slide one so it fits exactly on the other. Personal congruence is when a person's values and beliefs are consistent with the way he or she lives his or her life. There is an agreement, an equalness between what we do and the way that we do it, between what we believe and our everyday lifestyle choices, activities and conversation. Today in the final week of our series Visible Church, John shows us how to live a visible faith – a congruent Christ-life in the Christ-way. What he shares, will help you live with courage and hope in all situations.


And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12


Faith is full assurance in the heart; an awareness that we are brought by grace into a living and personal relationship with Jesus Christ forever. When we have that relationship, it changes everything for we already have all things – eternal love, abundant life, overwhelming victory. It leads to a visible faith that is congruent with the heart; a heart that believes we are more than conquerors in Christ.


Visible Love

6 May, 2018 Pastor Mark Schultz

#4 in series: Visible Church

BIBLE READING: 1 John 4:1-21


Insufficient funds…transaction declined.  Ever experienced that?  The embarrassment of seeing those words on the EFTPOS or ATM machine when making a purchase or withdrawal, when you were sure there was enough to cover what you needed.  It’s a sinking feeling when you have overdrawn on your account and you didn’t even realise.  But the same thing can happen in our relationships.  It’s impossible to give when the relationship is overdrawn, when there is insufficient love in the heart.  Today John reminds us of the one who makes an extravagant deposit in the account of our hearts that is more than sufficient and can never be overdrawn.  It’s a love that will change not only your life but transform every relationship and every encounter; enabling you to generously give away a love that is visible and unfailing.


We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19



The Bible’s message is clear. God loves us whether we reciprocate it or not.  He can’t but love us.  That’s who he is. Full stop.

No other love will come close to it. 

No other love can transform hearts like it. 

His love, his  perfect love creates our love.

So receive first a love worth living,

for it will fill you with a love worth giving.



Visible Sacrifice

29 April, 2018 Pastor Mark Simpfendorfer

#3 in series: Visible Church

READING: 1 John 3:1-24


He was known as 'Fighting Mac'. A Scotman who came to Australia in his teens and who gained a reputation as a good fighter while drinking and brawling in the pubs of Bundaberg, Queensland. But it was here his life changed. It was at a Salvation Army open-air meeting in Bundaberg that he saw the light” when he heard the testimony of two fellow Scotsmen who, like him, had been hardened drinkers, fighters and adept in the use of foul language. McKenzie became a Salvation Army officer who served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front as a chaplain. He worked in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace before the war and not only epitomizes the spirit of Anzac sacrifice but a visible sacrifice so much greater.  After seeing many of Australia's finest young men needlessly sacrificed at the Battle of Lone Pine, Chaplain William McKenzie could not sit back and watch any longer.  When the soldiers tried to convince him to stay in the trenches he responded:  'Boys, I have lived with you, I’ve preached to you and I’ve prayed with you.   Do you think I’m now afraid to die with you?'  What would motivate such a response?  The sacrifice of love that he had received through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  A sacrifice that had given him a new identity and an eternal purpose.  It's that same love that enables us as children of God to be visible sacrifices in this world today.



This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16



Through the power of God's vulnerable, sacrificial and tenacious love in Jesus Christ, we have been given an identity and relationship that we cannot stuff up. Ever.  It's a love that empowers us to act, without counting the cost, as we lay down our time, energy, talents and resources as a living sacrifice that makes visible his eternal purpose and presence.