Our Mission, Vision and General Goals

Our Mission: To live in Christ, and to grow as a Community of Faith, Hope, Love and Joy.

Our Vision: Growing God’s kingdom one life at a time.

Current (ratified August 2014) Goals: 

  • To develop new opportunities for people to know Christ and to worship.
  • To invite people of all ages to faith.
  • To strengthen the existing congregations that they may grow and offer space/protection to the newly formed groups till they are established and strong, and they in turn can nourish and encourage the older congregations.
  • To ensure that discipleship becomes a way of life (for all members) and not simply a programme.
  • To ensure the Church is involved in the community, where we are actively seeking ways to be a blessing to all peoples.
  • To strengthen and broaden our leadership to better reach our diverse and growing community.
  • To be a Church of positive influence in the community for this and coming generations.

What do you make of Easter?

What do you make of Easter?

A much needed long weekend in which you can relax, catch up with friends, gather with family. An excuse to indulge: chocoholics delight!

These are not bad things – enjoy and be thankful.

easter-lily-Christ-risen

But please reserve your greatest thanks for God. Remember again the promise of an empty tomb. Hear the words again: ‘He is not here, he has been raised.’ Why are we surprised by such words? This is what Jesus always said would happen? And now that it has we’re invited to live in his resurrection.

And here’s the tragedy – too many of us fail to live as Easter people; resurrection people. We shuffle around – timid, barely raising a smile at the greatest news ever heard. Christ is Alive!!! Death is defeated!!! Our sin forgiven!!! We live again!!!

Let us celebrate with thanksgiving: as the hymn ‘We are an Easter People’ by Bill Wallace puts it “… our fears have died, we rise to dream, to love, to dance, to live”.

 

to the Cross

A sermon for Palm/Passion Sunday 24th March. Luke 19:28-41, 22:39-48

Entry to JerusalemThis Sunday we enter what the church calls Holy Week, a week that traces the final days of Jesus’ earthly life and invites us to enter the journey for ourselves: some of us will attend to prayer and bible reading, and if that’s for you there are suggested readings that I sent out by email this week and on our web page and Facebook there’s a link to a book you can download there.

Sometimes this time in the church year can seem a little ho hum, been there done that. We know the details of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter. We are going through this again? Why? Continue reading

Evangelism

A sermon from Sunday 24th February 2013. Read Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; 1 Peter 3:15  with help from Bill Hybels

Preachers often report a familiar scene – whenever preaching on EVANGELISM the congregation looks like a possum caught in the headlights.

And Adrian Plass throws some light unto why this may be the case.

He writes “Personal evangelism, or rather my failure to do it, was one of the things that caused me quite a lot of guilt when I was a young Christian.”

I understand that – and in part that guilt and feelings of inadequacy explain the reaction whenever the preacher turns to Matthew 28:20.

We don’t like being reminded of our lack and we feel out of our depth when confronted with the super-stars of evangelism who make it all look so easy.

Well sorry possums but we are talking about evangelism.

But before we go on just what is evangelism?

Evangelism defined. The word ‘evangelism’ comes from the word euaggelion. This is a word composed to two other Greek words, eu which means ‘well’ or ‘good’, and aggelion, meaning ‘message’. The word ‘evangel’, therefore, means ‘good message’ or ‘good news’. To evangelize is to present good news.

Sometimes we think of evangelism as seeing men and women come to faith. But that is the result of evangelism and that part really is God’s work. Our part is to present the good news of Jesus the Christ.

Three quick points to keep in mind…

— Act of God... We acknowledge that salvation is of God. It is God who has taken the initiative, while we were yet sinners, to send Christ into the world. It is God who convicts people of their need and convinces them of the truth of Jesus Christ as the only way to live their lives now, and the only way to live the eternal life we were created for.

— Gospel of Christ… Salvation is due to Christ’s work on the cross. He was the sacrifice for sin and was the first fruit of the resurrection. Our salvation is due solely to the work of Jesus Christ and is not based on any form of human endeavour or merit.

— Come to Salvation… everyone is required to come to God in repentance and to place their life under the authority of Jesus. Jesus is the only path to God, the only path to salvation.

But even though the act of salvation is God’s work we must not forget that we are the means God often uses to bring someone to that point where they recognise their need of God.

It is the example we set, the words we speak, the love that we share that so often is critical in a persons faith journey.

Yet in general we find it difficult to share our faith.

No doubt there are many reasons for this: sadly some of us are luke-warm in our faith, it doesn’t excite us, it is not a priority to us, it just is something we do without really doing anything.

Hardly surprising then that we don’t talk about it, and if we did our lack of enthusiasm is hardly going to inspire.

Others however simply feel out of their depth, inadequate. We have not learnt to share our faith and we don’t believe we have the temperament or the knowledge to do so.

But look around – there are friends, family, colleagues and neighbours who are dead. For without Christ we are all dead.

Friends we have an urgent task to get out of our comfort and to share the good news with the walking dead of our community.

In Matthew 5 Jesus describes believers as Salt and Light.  But to be of any use the Light must be displayed and the Salt poured from the shaker.

As one of our Parish Councillors put it on Tuesday night the trouble with salt is it often clumps together, especially when in the shaker too long. And the longer left there the harder it is to get out.

Saltshaker Christians

Church and church structures and church people are a lot like a giant Salt Shaker.  It’s kind of comfortable in here – not too many hassles – all the other grains are similar to me – we fit together – we clump together.

But we are not much use in the shaker. We must be poured out on a lost and broken world.

In his book ‘Becoming a Contagious Christian’ Bill Hybels suggests some basic principles that we need as we are poured out

…and the first is the principle of HIGH POTENCY.

You see, the salt must have flavour – and that only comes from a deep and potent relationship with Christ.

In order to fulfil the Great Commission described in Matthew 28 we need a real and vibrant relationship with our Lord.

A relationship that becomes obvious to anyone who knows us.

I have been conducting a lot of weddings lately and one thing that is fairly consistent with the couples I marry is that they are consumed by each other.

love-pic

Their relationship is fresh, deep, vibrant and it quickly becomes obvious that they are ‘in love’.

Likewise we are highly potent and impact those around us when we have a relationship with Jesus that is deep and real; so much so that his love flows through us and beyond us. It is obvious when we are ‘in-love’ with Jesus.

This is not something we can learn, buy off the internet or fake – the love of God flows from our relationship with God and no other way.

To positively share our faith with others they must be convinced that our faith is for real.  We can’t put this on, and people will know when we are genuine.

People are watching us, more than you realise.  They are looking for something and they are watching you to see if what you say matches how you live. Shallow faith, lukewarm faith tends to result in lifestyles and attitudes that don’t reflect the love of God – and make no mistake people notice.

I was asking someone last year about their faith journey: they had recently become a follower of Jesus.

This person had been around the church for many years, involved in groups like Mainly Music, appreciating what was offered and quietly watching. In time they began to explore the gospel and in more time made a commitment to Christ.

There were many important steps in this persons journey but one stands out. It was the watching of people here at this church – people whose words and actions consistently reflected the love of God, that then lead to a desire to know this love personally.

And I bet none of those involved considered themselves to be an evangelist.

Yet they had a key quality of high potency because they themselves have a deep and real relationship with Christ.

 … the second principle is that of CLOSE PROXIMITY….

You see, it doesn’t matter how POTENT our relationship with Christ is if we never get close to people who don’t know Christ themselves.

Remember salt does no good if it is left in the shaker. So if we are going to impact our world for Christ, the most effective approach will be through relationships with those who need to be reached.

Statistics show that within 2 years of becoming a Christian most people have no significant relationship with non-Christians. They get so involved in the church that they centre nearly every free moment of their lives within the church and have no time left to develop relationships with lost people.

The salt stays in the shaker.

To really influence our community we must live our Christian lives openly – publically, we must connect with people that have yet to know God.

How do we do this – simply by being involved.

Get involved in the community, school groups are great for this, but so are garden clubs; drama groups, U3A, volleyball and lawn bowls … whatever … look for opportunities to go out there and introduce yourself to people who need to be introduced to Jesus Christ.

Follow Paul’s example in our text from 1 Corinthians and, …become all things to all people so that by all possible means you might save some.

Okay, that’s two steps.  In order to effectively do our bit to share the good news so that others can know Jesus we must have a HIGHLY POTENT walk ourselves and we must be in CLOSE PROXIMITY to others  A final consideration.

…the principle of…CLEAR COMMUNICATION.

Again remember Paul’s words about becoming all things to all people. One of the principles behind is knowing people and communicating to them in ways they understand.

Paul writes to the Colossians:

 … pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.   Colossians 4:3-4

Paul knew the importance of ensuring the message was understood, and I suspect he was equally aware that he had to be careful in this regard. He did not dumb down the message but he was careful to convey it in ways that would connect with his audience.

Likewise with us – don’t worry about not being educated, or about knowing all the answers to all the questions.  None of us do anyway.  Simply tell the story of the gospel that you have experienced – that’s what Paul did, tell it simply and clearly.

Adrian Plass is good at saying things simply and clearly.  Today gone is the guilt of his earlier days.

Today he has got his priorities in order and he writes this:

…commitment to God has become my priority, I shall pass on the message of salvation as well as it can be done, in the way and the place that is appointed and right, just as Jesus did …2000 years ago.

 

Friends may we be poured out.

Arohanui - Ian

The Wise seek Him

a sermon for January 6th 2013. Readings Matthew 2:1-12

The Journey of the Magi, by James Tissot (1894)

Matthew the gospel writer tells a story we know automatically as the Three Wise Men – mind you nowhere does Matthew actually tell us how many there were, we are simply told that Magi or Wise Men came from the east.

They came following a light to find the light.

And that’s what this story is about: it is the story of the light shining in the darkness.

As Matthew tells the story there is a foreboding in the air – the Magi sense it and don’t trust Herod, and as events would soon show they were right in their caution because it was not long before a furious Herod attempted to destroy Jesus, and he left little to chance – his orders were explicit and brutal, as he demanded the death of all little boys in and near Bethlehem two years old and younger. Continue reading

Transformational Disciplines: Fasting that pleases God

SERMON 3 OF 5 IN A SERIES EXPLORING SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE, PREACHED 04 November 2012.  READ Matthew 6:1-18

You don’t hear much about fasting these days, in fact in the worship surveys conducted at the start of the year some here noted that they knew little about fasting and that they have never heard teaching on it.

Well that is about to change!

I guess as we look around our culture we can understand why fasting may be out of favour.

It doesn’t fit!

Seemingly in NZ and much of the world we’ve become conditioned to comfort, excess and instant gratification and that direction is only increasing.

If we want fast food – we want it now, and if they can’t serve us in only a few minutes we complain. Following trends set overseas we increasingly upsize our orders, and at a eat all you can buffet we end up eating more than we need, even more than we should – just because it’s there.

This attitude of having what we want when we want it extends to most aspects of life: texting, FB, entertainment. There is little we have to wait for. And we believe it’s our right to satisfy our desires whenever we want. So excess marks our landscape: and in the busyness of satisfying ourselves where is God?

God of course is where God has always been. Continue reading