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    Love and Marriage

    Thursday, June 20, 2013


    I would like to take the opportunity to discuss an issue which greatly affects the church in today’s world. I am speaking of the church in general but will address certain points about EBC specifically.

    It is not my intent to cause people distress, however I think it is important that we are prepared to openly discuss the issues of marriage and divorce.

    Here at EBC we have many great examples of long and healthy marriages, couples who have been together for 40, 50, 60 and even 70 years. Sadly, not all Christians have experienced such positivity in their marriages. I have to state here that I am a divorced person and it was a devastating experience. Statistically the divorce rate among Christians is virtually the same as the general community, which is slightly more than 50 percent. One only has to look at Christian dating sites on the internet to realise how many Christians are seeking new spouses after failed marriages. God created us to be in relationship with Him, and each other, so it is reasonable to expect that people will seek new relationships. I also understand and realise that not every person who has experienced a divorce has been a willing participant in the process and the final decision has been taken out of their hands. EBC runs the Divorce Care program for those who are experiencing difficulty after divorce or separation. The program addresses a whole range of issues including depression, finances, children and how to live as a single person again.  The leadership at EBC is committed to growing strong Godly marriages. In term three EBC will once again run the Harmony Seminar. This seminar is an opportunity for couples to come together and discuss the joys and the difficulties of marriage. There is an opportunity to learn ways to enhance your marriage from a Scriptural perspective. The conference also provides the opportunity for couples to become supportive and encouraging of each other. EBC also provides pre marriage counselling (Prepare/Enrich) so that people contemplating marriage may learn more about each other and be better prepared for what might lie ahead of them. We are currently training more people to be involved in process.

    It is important that we EQUIP people for marriage so that with God's guidance, they will have every chance of celebrating long and rewarding lives together.

    Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    This Sunday morning Pastor Joe will deliver the message. He will share with us about Mark 6.In the evening we will be joined by Noddy Sharma, National Director, Operation Mobilisation.

    We serve a wonderful Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has guaranteed us a place in Eternity with Him. His Holy Spirit walks with us every day.

    I look forward to seeing you in Church this Sunday.

    God bless.

    Barry

    Pastoral Assistant





    Desperately Dependent Discipleship

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013


    This past Sunday night Julio shared with us from Mark 5 on some of Jesus’ miracles of healing.  I really enjoy the incredible picture of desperate faith which is shown in the story of the woman with the issue of blood.  Her story is a parenthesis in the middle of another story of compassionate healing and both stories show Jesus’ concern with the needs of the hurting.  This woman had suffered for 12 years - not only physically and financially, but emotionally. She was considered unclean and avoided by religious people seeking to stay ceremonially clean.  She also suffered spiritually as, in her unclean condition, she was not able to worship God at the temple. Imagine - excluded from God’s presence for 12 years due to an illness beyond your control! Rejection and refusal were familiar experiences for her.

    In verse 28 she expresses her faith in Jesus ability to heal her. Think of the risk she took in being in that crowd as an unclean person. Consider the courage it took to touch a Rabbi – potentially making him ceremonially unclean.  But recognize that when she did, both she and Jesus knew immediately what had happened!  She knew her health had returned (v29). He knew healing power had left Him (v30).  When she courageously confesses to touching Him, Jesus’ response to her is affirmation of her faith and confirmation of her healing.  This is the only place in Scripture where Jesus calls a woman “daughter” – a term of endearment and encouragement. That term of tenderness is where this story ends –for us. What can we learn from this desperate, risk-taking woman? 

    She had nowhere else to turn –Jesus was her last hope. She was desperately dependent on him.  She had faith Jesus could heal her.  She risked all and then courageously confessed to touching Jesus, facing her fears of rebuke and rejection from the religious leaders and public.

    She is a role-model to us of devoted discipleship!  Are we desperately dependent on God to work in our lives – or do we think we can do this Christian walk on our own?  Are we able to believe and step out in faith or do we still try to fix things ourselves? Are we able to courageously confess our dependence on Him or are we afraid of rebuke and rejection from those around us?  We can never receive all God has for us until we are desperate for His working in our lives. A pauper begs only out of his poverty and hopelessness – not with a particular result in mind.  We need to come to Jesus in our helplessness and declare our desperate dependence on Him and believe in His healing of our souls and then courageously confess before all that we are His disciples! That is the cost of discipleship and this courageous woman set the example for us. Are you willing to pay that cost?  Next week we learn more about discipleship from Mark 6...Why not read ahead?

    Marti


    Marti Williams
    Women's Pastor






    The Power of Gods Kingdom

    Thursday, June 06, 2013


    As we go through Mark’s gospel, the Spirit of the Lord challenges me to do something about the things I hear about Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom of God. When Jesus said “Those who have ears, let them hear”, it comes to mind that God invites us to listen carefully and do what He says rather than analyse the text and do nothing about it.

    In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God like this, “A man scatters seed on the ground, he sleeps, and rises _night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how. “  The Kingdom of God contains in itself the power to grow. God is powerful and He rules in His Kingdom. But He invites us to join Him in this Kingdom building by planting the seed of the gospel. As Paul writes in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Gentile.” I believe that nothing can hinder the power of God’s Word and the growth of His Kingdom. I love to hear God’s Spirit say to me “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world”. This long weekend is great for us to have an extra day to ponder upon the power of God and His Kingdom. We can do simple things like sharing a good word to someone in need, a neighbour, a friend, a person we may be acquainted to, a waiter/waitress, or take someone for coffee and plant a seed of love. 

    Part of our Multicultural Ministry engagement is our desire to connect with other communities from another culture and this can be through sports. Every Saturday night at the EBC Youth and Sports Centre, from 6:30 pm, a group of men who likes Indoor Soccer are having fun playing together. They love this sport and are keen to meet others who are into this game.  Why not drop by the centre and see how you can engage with them and get to know others from another culture? Plant the seed of friendship and see it grow to become a ripe fruit ready for the gospel. 

    A Thank You Note….Here in South Australia, we celebrate Queen’s birthday as a holiday. We can say a thank you prayer for our Queen who governs our land. God ordained our authorities to rule in peace and we are to pray for them. On the 10th of June, Monday, Volunteers around South Australia will gather at the Adelaide Festival Centre to be given a special thank you celebration for their service to organisations, giving their time and skills to help others. And to all our Volunteers at EBC, A big thanks to all of you! You are a blessing!

    For prayer consideration:   Refugee Week Celebration …Theme: Restoring Hope (16 -22 June 2013)
    “The theme reminds us that, while a refugee’s journey begins with danger, it also begins with hope. Refugees flee their homelands not only because they fear persecution, but also because they have hope: they hope to find freedom from persecution, and safety and security for themselves and their families; they hope to be given a chance to start a new life and recover from past trauma.” Refugee Council of Australia


    Keep planting the seed……tis the season of Kingdom Growth.

    Edwin

    Edwin Del Pilar

    Pastor for Multicultural Ministries





    What shapes you?

    Friday, May 31, 2013


    We daily find ourselves in various communities and environments which can leave its impression on us. It can be the workplace, the schoolyard, the sports field or the arenas we socialise in.

    The story is told of Pietro Bandinelli who Leonardo DaVinci found in an Italian prison to be the model for Judas in his painting of the Last Supper.

    Pietro portrayed the characteristics that Leonardo imagined best reflected Judas’ character of bitterness, despair and hopelessness. During the assignment, Pietro came to understand Leonard’s project and was immediately overwhelmed to a dishevelled state of sobbing. Seeing the tension arise and the change in his subject’s attention, Leonardo asked, “My son, what troubles you so?” Pietro responded with bloodshot eyes and a quivering voice, “Do you not remember me? Years ago I was the model for the Saviour.”

    10 years earlier when searching for the model who would best portray the Lord Jesus for his painting, Leonardo settled with Pietro, who was at that time a member of the local cathedral. In that environment Pietro reflected love, compassion, kindness, innocence, and tenderness. Pietro’s story tells us humanity can, for many different reasons be like chameleons, changing to take on the shape with our environment.

    In looking at Mark’s concise gospel we see Jesus take interest in followers who begin in the shape of fishermen, tax collectors, lepers, and marginalised people in His community. Then through relationship with Him and the process of discipleship, these men & women turn about to become strong ‘lights’. History shows us that many Christians have stood against the voice of conforming to community, but through transformed lives, stand up for righteousness. The point being that many have even offered their life as a sacrifice rather than conform to ungodly persuasions. James Christensen said, “The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great for life.”

    Relationship with Christ Jesus and discipleship in His teachings make the difference. Our nature and characteristics become more like Him, which strengthens us to stand in our environment. As new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) our shape or identity is not the community we fit into, but who we are in that community.

    Joe Gray

    Lead Pastor





    Adventurous Seed

    Thursday, May 23, 2013


    Hello fellow pilgrims and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ!  How are we all in our journey in the faith? Growing stronger and getting better? Ah, that’s the great thing about living the crucified life in the Son. In one of our night services, Pastor Jarrod gave a message on Galatians 2:20 which Paul wrote saying, “I am crucified with Christ, It’s no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. I understood it to be a surrendered life to the Lordship of Christ Jesus and that He has authority over my whole life. And so in whatever I do, I must be aware that He is God and I bow in submission to Him. Sometimes I miss it, at other times I fail but God is forgiving to restore me back and put me on track again.  Thus, it makes life more exciting and joyful to live an adventurous abundant faith in Christ Jesus.

    Winter is around the corner and God is blessing us with rain for our gardens, plants, trees and sustenance for our food growers. Thanks to God for our farmers and crop producers. Also, thanks to all who helped lay the grass on the ground at the back of the Community Centre building. Your labor of love is known and seen by our Heavenly Father. You are blessed!

    Reading Mark chapter 4, I came across an article that John Maxwell wrote about the Principle of the Seed(Mark 4:2-20). This is what he said;

    “ Who is the sower in Jesus’ parable? The sower is a person of

    influence, a leader, anyone who declares God’s Word. The sower

    scatters a lot of seed, and only later determines the character of the

    soil. Note a few principles all leaders need to know about sowing

    seed:

    1. A lot of seed must be scattered to produce a crop
    2. Not all soils produce, but we cannot reap if we do not sow.
    3. We must continue sowing, because one day we will reap a harvest.
    4. The soil that produces will multiply; we will reap more than we sow.
    5. We will reap in proportion to what we have sown.
    6. We cannot do anything about last year’s harvest, but we can about this year’s.
    7. We must believe in the seed we sow, knowing that some will produce fruit.
    8. Once we see fruit, all our effort seems worthwhile.

    I hope you are all enjoying the studies in the book of Mark as well as the messages delivered to us every Sunday through various preachers and teachers of the Word of God. The more we spend time in knowing God and His Word, the more we become like His Son, Jesus Christ.

    Keep growing,

    Edwin Del Pilar

    Pastor for Multicultural Ministries






    GROWTH

    Thursday, May 16, 2013


    Difficulties + Moment-by-Moment Surrender = GROWTH!

    This past Sunday night, Pastor Jarrod preached from Galatians 2:20.  He challenged us to a moment-by-moment surrender to God’s will – to be “crucified with Christ”.  That is, I have chosen to deny my own will so God’s will can reign in my life.  I no longer live my own life – but Jesus Christ lives His life out IN me!  As Jarrod reminded us, this is not a onetime event – but a moment-by-moment surrender of my will to God’s. Sometimes it’s not hard to do because we agree with what God wants to do in our lives. However, sometimes it’s a bit harder as it’s NOT something we like or want to do - like showing love to that irritating person we work or live with! Or accepting difficult situations or circumstances in our lives. This is when the concept of moment-by-moment surrender kicks in. 

    I just returned from the States where I spent time with my Mom who, at 86 yrs of age, is facing a lot of those moment-by-moment surrenders in her life.  We had a precious time talking, laughing, and praying together. But we also spent time crying as we walked through the moment-by-moment surrender to her aging and decline in health.  In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul encourages us to not lose heart when we are wasting away outwardly, as we are being renewed day by day inwardly.  Our focus should be on how God is growing us in our relationship with Him – on the inside.  But our moment-by-moment surrender must be evidenced on the outside. 

    Mom is facing loss of independence, loss of memory, loss of health.  I am facing issues being so far away from her at this time.  We all have difficult things in our lives which stretch and challenge us – but this should bring growth in our dependence on God.  As we face challenges in life, whether they are health, financial, emotional or spiritual, we must practice Galatians 2:20 – crucify our own will and allow Christ to live HIS life out through us ...” God allows challenges in our lives so that Christ’s life can shine out through us. Can we embrace the difficulty and surrender to His working? To put it another way, can we “GROW UP into Christ...” (Eph 4:15)?

    As the Body of Christ we ALL need to be GROWING UP into Christ and as we do that individually, our church will grow in maturity and be able to have the impact on our neighbourhood and community which God intends us to have.  Are you growing on the inside?  Are you practising moment-by-moment surrender to God’s Will in your life?  Is Christ’s life shining through in your daily life?  




    Philippines and Pakistan

    Friday, May 10, 2013


    Pastor Joe Gray’s visit to the Philippines and Pakistan, April 2013

    “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of
     the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)

    On my recent trip to the Philippines and Pakistan I was encouraged to observe the application of this verse. By God’s grace and appointment we here at EBC are partnering with Church communities in those nations, who are empowered to share the Good News and to disciple those who have responded.

    Philippines

    In the city of Cebu we have connected with 3 ministry opportunities. 1) House of Hope a Men’s Drug Rehab Center; 2) Lily of the Valley Community church plant; 3) Kalanusan Foothills Community church plant. In each of these ministry opportunities the gospel is being shared, people are being saved, disciples are being baptised and communities are being blessed.

    1)     These are several of the men from House of Hope (Hof H) who attended the Children’s Evangelism Seminar run by Rob George. HofH men run regular children’s and family programs in their community to share the good news, which has impacted their lives personally.

    2)     This Community Centre was purchased by the local Christians for a church plant.  Many Children and several families have come to Christ. The local pastor lives in the community with his young family.

    3)     A Church from the city travel each week in to the Kalanusan foothills to feed and share the good news with the families there. Bible studies amongst the men and women now complement the Sunday School classes. There have been several recent baptisms in this church plant.

    Pakistan

    From the city of Hyderabad in Pakistan, the Masih family have established a foundational home church, which now reaches out to other towns and communities. There are two church plants operating with many other connections and opportunities in the surrounding communities. Victor has the respect of these communities and leads his church teams in bringing blessing to them. His heart for the local Pakistani people is obvious and those who minister alongside him have caught this vision to serve selflessly. By God’s grace and leading Victor has established the Pakistan Discipleship Ministry (PDM), which serves the community through evangelism, Leadership Seminars, Bible School studies and local church & outreach activities.

    The Masih family.

    After training at ACM, Victor & Zarina returned to Pakistan and established the Pakistani Discipleship Ministry. As they converted people to Christ, they have discipled them into Church leaders and congregations.

    The family comprises Victor, Zarina, Jonathon, Ian, Naomi and Rachel.

    During my visit they asked me to officially open their church building.  Through the support of EBC and other Australian churches the PDM church had built a facility, which they began using in 2008.

    About 1 hour’s drive east of Hyderabad a Christian Community has been established in a local village. Close to 200 people gathered to hear of God’s amazing grace and glory, this day. We spoke through 2 interpreters because of the various dialects in the community. The local pastor living there with his family is William.

    Driving further east from the village we arrive at the city of MirpurKhas. In this community a vibrant Church has been established with a Pastor, elders and servant leadership. They have purchased some land to plant another church close to where the pastor and his family live. As materials often get stolen they are struggling to proceed in building on the property.

    The people in these communities are hungry for the Word of God in their lives. Many came forward for prayer and blessing after each ministry meeting responding to the prompting of God’s Spirit. Many mothers brought their children forward, some of those with disabilities. Young women came for prayer in seeking Godly husbands and young men seeking to be Godly men and servants in the church.

    God is building His kingdom in the nations through the Church.

    “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
    (Matthew 16:18)





    Discipleship wk2

    Friday, May 03, 2013


    I have a belief that God is conveying a message to the Church in Australia, to “learn what discipleship is and practice it.” EBC is currently progressing through the gospel of Mark and the theme of discipleship gushes out of Mark’s narrative. Alongside answering the question of ‘Who Jesus is’ the important point Mark wants his readers to grasp is ‘What does it mean to follow him?’

    Many Christians understand discipleship is to follow the structures and functions of Church. It is safe being in community and because it is biblical, we feel safe because we must be on the correct path, “Right?” We travel this path with similarities to a worldly philosophy, “If everyone else is doing it, it must be ok."

    Others, including some who have been offended by Church Communities, understand discipleship as “doing my own thing.” In their thinking, Jesus was a radical. Because He confronted the cultural and religious norms of His day, it gives them permission to do so also.

    For the vast majority of Christians in our culture, discipleship is a decision we made for Jesus at some point when we were convicted to do so, and the rest of our earthly life is a meandering journey with no supernatural experience until Jesus comes again or calls us home.

    Last weekend two messages from different churches in different cities and states gave messages inspiring Christians to see discipleship as God sees it and Jesus portrayed it. Tom shared that disciples follow the lead of Jesus who reached out to touch and be touched by ‘untouchables’. That was the radical nature of His ministry, more so that the confrontation of the culture and religious norms of His day. The other message I heard inspired disciples to be distinct in their culture, not disconnected from it. This requires followers, like Jesus, going out and connecting in their society, not being lead by it. Disciples stepping outside safe environments to follow Jesus in risky ones.

     The Church relates to the verse, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:35) We say “Love? We have it” but the Church struggles to understand the discipleship Jesus was speaking of here is self-sacrificing. “Would you really lay down your life for me?” (John 13:38)

    I’m excited to know God is bringing the Church in Australia a message of discipleship. It’s not that we are all doing it wrong. It is that He wants to show transformation into the likeness of Jesus as a hallmark of discipleship for the Church.

    Joe Gray

    Lead Pastor





    Discipleship

    Friday, April 26, 2013


    We are in a new series walking through the book of Mark. One of the reoccurring themes is around the idea of discipleship and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Last Sunday evening I preached from Mark 1:29-38 and we discussed the concept of being in contested space and being influenced by the world.

    Then this week I was using www.sacredspace.ie for some mediation and reflection, I came upon this adaptation from Michael Gallagher:

    “Sixty years ago Henri de Lubac described Christ as ‘the great disturber’, but also as the new image of God and of humanity, who brings refreshing novelty into a tired world. He was asking how we had arrived at a situation where Christianity was seen either as the enemy of full humanity, or, worse still, as a boring and empty legend. These same accusations are alive today, though in a different cultural context.

    Our lived culture is nine-tenths invisible: it contains meanings and values that underlie a whole way of life. We live by unstated and unexamined perceptions. But this world of images and values has immense, if often unconscious impact on our capacity for life-decisions, including, of course, the decision about faith in God.

    For instance, when science claims a monopoly of truth, a whole wavelength of spiritual wisdom is ignored and even despised. It is liberating to realise, with Newman, that existential truth can only be found when the whole person is involved: some forms of knowledge are accessible only through love. Many are now seeking for a spiritual consciousness beyond the confusion and fragmentation of our day. There is a hunger, less shy or silent than a generation back, for something more, which Christians may identify as the ‘disturbing freshness of Christ’.

    As I sit and reflect on my own life and the hectic world buzzing around me, there are times when we feel tired, rushed and pushed on all sides. In those times, if we are honest, the disturbing freshness of Christ is the longing of our souls. Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t about inactivity or laziness. Mark 1 paints the picture of Jesus being very busy ministering to people, but in Mark 1:35 Jesus gets up early to pray. This idea of calling ‘time out’ amongst the intensity of our commitments to seek the presence of God is crucial in realigning our heart and mind with the heart and mind of God. In this we are shaped into the image of God and we push back against the pressures and influences of being shaped by the world.

    I trust you can join us this Sunday as we continue on our discovery of God and pilgrimage with Him - together.

    Jarrod Flack

    Youth Pastor





    Being a Light

    Thursday, April 18, 2013


    And if you give what you have to the hungry, and fill the need of those who suffer, then your light will rise in darkness, and your darkness will be like the brightest time of day.” Isaiah 58:10.

    Let me again take this time to thank God for using us at EBC to make a difference in the lives of people in our community and in other parts of the world. Because of your generosity and united effort during our Christmas appeal, we have provided a new roof to the House of Hope, a P/A system to Lily of the Valley; and we enabled Kalunasan (foothills) to hire a vehicle to transport parents and children to church on Sundays. We also held a Christmas party here for the disadvantaged children through Campus Life and gave out 80 hampers to those who are in need in our local community. This fundraising is a great example of shining God’s light into this dark world.

    The greatest thing about these projects is that we become part of a great work in evangelising the lost for God. House of Hope evangelises to those who are affected y drug addiction. Lily of the Valley and Kalunasan evangelise to the poorest of children and their parents in squatter areas, introducing them to Jesus. We at EBC feel the heart beat of Jesus for the lost and this is why we endeavour to play our role to be part of this mission through the projects we do. It is a privilege to be part of this kind of work.

    Another project we are currently undertaking as a church is to send some medical equipment to a small hospital in the Philippines. This project came about when 4 years ago we went to visit this hospital and saw nothing but a minimal structure and basic outdated equipment. Seeing the patients lying on wooden cut out timber beds, motivated us to see if we could do something about the situation. Thankfully, Rotary was kind enough to donate medical supplies and equipment for free and the cost of freight is being funded by a private foundation associated with EBC. It is anticipated in the future that we will report back to the congregation regarding the results of this project. We hope and pray that this medical equipment will help improve the circumstances of the patients and their recovery. As a church we pray that through this project and future projects, God will continue to use us to be a light to the lost.

    This morning we are again privileged to have Joe Gray back on deck after a two week visit with our overseas ministry partners. We are looking forward to hearing about his experiences and how God is moving amongst our partners.  We look forward to hearing from Joe on the word of God in the AM service. In the PM service, we will hear from our youth pastor, Jarrod, who will share God’s word with us.

    Have a great week and God bless!

     

    Julio

    Associate Pastor







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