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is to worship God, and to glorify Him, through caring, equipping and mobilising people for mission.

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Living God's Story Together

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St.Marys SA 5042

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    Serving a Wonderful God

    Thursday, April 11, 2013


    It has been a busy couple of weeks for me lately so I thought I would share what has been happening.

    I spent the Easter weekend at iYouth Easter camp. Now I know you are going to say I am a little too old for youth camp, however, I was there to help with the cooking duties. Lea, Neil Berry and I were the designated camp cooks. Lea was the head chef and Neil and I followed instructions. We had the assistance of Joy Blesing all day Saturday. I have never been involved in a Youth camp before so this was a new experience for me. Neil and Lea have attended 20 plus of these events. The entire weekend was spent slicing, dicing and chopping fruit, meat and vegetables (and on more than one occasion, my fingers). It was a hectic weekend and we were ready for a good night's sleep at the end of each day. Probably the most exciting aspect of the weekend was knowing that several young people gave their lives to Christ, while many more decided to make a further commitment by being baptised. I am looking forward to those baptisms in the coming weeks.

    Last Saturday I was part of a team that travelled to Edinburgh, north of Adelaide, to pack a shipping container with medical supplies and equipment for a hospital in the Philippines. A group of EBC'ers had been there on a previous weekend to clean and prepare the equipment for shipment. About 15 people turned up to load a wide variety of items into a massive container. We were ably assisted by several folk from the Munno Para Rotary Club. It was hard yakka, but everyone put in their best efforts to get the job done. I was amazed by the range of things that were loaded. Hospital beds, a complete dental chair, operating theatre lights, wheelchairs, walkers and a host of medical supplies. I felt a real sense of joy knowing that all these items would make a huge difference in someone's life.

    After reflecting on my involvement in both of these activities, I realised how rewarding it is to serve a wonderful God and in turn, serve others. Matthew 25:40 says "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me". Please continue to pray for Pastor Joe. Pray for his protection as he travels in Pakistan and also as he flies back to us.

    This week we commence studies on the Gospel of Mark – Understanding Jesus, Understanding Discipleship. In the morning Timon Bengsten, Senior Pastor at Oakden Baptist, will be sharing with us. In the evening, Les Crawford from ACM will be presenting the message.

    Please remember that there is a working bee at EBC on Saturday 20th April, commencing at 9am. Come along irrespective of age or ability as there will be a huge variety of jobs to do.

    Look forward to seeing you in church

    Together in Christ

    Barry

    Barry Bennett

    Associate Pastor





    Faith Gardening

    Thursday, April 04, 2013


    Seeing the multitudes coming, King David the Psalmist exclaims “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! “  Psalm 133:1

    And the Apostle John at Patmos writes in Revelation 7:9-10, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying , “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! “

    What a lovely sight! I am excited to witness one day this event in God’s Heavenly realms.

    I am grateful that God is on our side and He allows us to grow in our relationship with Him and with others. After 20 years plus of being away from school or regular studies, I am now working together with eight students, at TAFE Regency campus from various cultural backgrounds and ages. We are a group of nine students doing a Diploma in Community Development and are working on a project for our course. We decided to celebrate Harmony Day on the Grass and our mission is to gather students from the TAFE campus for a day of celebration of our cultural diversity through music, arts and culture. Our group consists of two students from Burundi, an Afghani, a Filipino, a Lebanese, a Bosnian, a French Caribbean lady, one from the United Kingdom and an Australian and our lecturer is from Poland. I rejoice in the Lord that He puts His people in places where they can represent Him and be able to share His glory and grace. This privilege is given to us, all people of God and of the faith in Jesus Christ, to be His shining lights to the nations.

    Reflecting on the passage above, I envisage our Community Centre to be a place where the people in our local area and possibly the whole of Mitcham Council can be touched by the glory of God through His people from EBC and other churches in the Mitcham Council. How can we do it? Little by little and a step at a time. One way, is by establishing a Community Garden on our property and extending it to the community. We have the opportunity to be a channel of grace through the simple way of producing veggies for people in need of healthy food and building healthy relationships with our neighbours, providing a space to connect with the people whom God has created and loved. There may be differences in beliefs, but God can do the miracle of change, transformation and spiritual rebirth. Our part is to do the sharing of the love of Jesus in practical terms.

    Food Always In The Home – FAITH gardening?? Yes we can! Let’s put our hands together, build a community garden and connect with the people in our neighbourhood and be a Community of Faith!

    On Mission with God,

     

    Edwin Del Pilar

    Pastor for Multicultural Ministries





    He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed

    Thursday, March 28, 2013


    He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Such is the traditional Easter greeting with which the Body of Christ greets each other on Easter Sunday morning. It is a verbal acknowledgement and celebration of the very essence of our faith. At Christmas time we celebrate the significance of Jesus birth – but at Easter, we celebrate the POWER of His death and resurrection! It’s like getting a toy for Christmas, but no batteries. The one doesn’t work well without the other! We rejoice and celebrate the birth of our Saviour – but the POWER of our faith is found in the ugly reality of the cross on Good Friday and the glorious beauty of Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday! We must live in the power of that resurrection.

    When we look at Jesus’ Crucifixion, we see that He made several statements while on the cross – He called out to His Father - who had turned His back on His Son because of our sin which was placed on Him. (Matt 28:46 / Mark 15:34). He sought forgiveness on behalf of those who were treating Him in this way (Luke 23:24). He promised His presence to the thief who believed (Luke 23:42). He committed the care of his mother into the hands of his faithful disciple (John 19:26,27). He committed his spirit into the hands of His Father (John 10:28). As the Son of God, He had an understanding that He had accomplished what He had come to do, and then the Living Water said, “I am thirsty”. (John 19:28). But the words that strike home to my heart are found in John 19:30 when Jesus says, “It is finished.”

    Living in the Middle East we learned a smattering of Arabic. When a mother has had enough from her naughty children, she says one word, “Khalaas!” Loosely translated it means, “Enough!” The word which Arabic Christians use for Salvation is this same word – KHALAAS – ENOUGH! What a beautiful word picture this is! In Hebrews 10:10-12 we see that we have been made holy through Jesus death, once and for all. In contrast, under the Law, the priest had to continually offer sacrifices for sin.  But Jesus, our High Priest, offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, and sat down...Khalaas!  It is enough! 

    Good Friday we have a service at 9 am, following which the Youth will head off to camp. Let’s be in prayer for them as they go. Let’s be in prayer, as well, for Pastor Joe as he leads the services on Friday and Sunday mornings – and then as he flies out on April 2nd, on a ministry trip to the Philippines and Pakistan.

    As we share the Cup together on Friday and Celebrate the resurrection on Sunday, let’s prepare our hearts to contemplate our Saviour’s Sacrifice and our Father’s Victory over death as He raised Jesus from the dead. We serve a RISEN SAVIOUR!  Let’s rejoice in our precious, undeserved salvation... that is ENOUGH!   He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!

     

    Marti

     Marti Williams

    Women’s Pastor



    Sent to St Mary's

    Thursday, March 21, 2013


    “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6

    I had delayed the walk in St Marys, to capitalize on delivering the Easter notice, so this week I walked and prayed around the block we were allocated. The results of the walk may never become evident, but I was intent on making the most of the opportunity given.

    The Lord gave me 2 people to talk to and even though we no longer live in the area, I was able to listen and talk as a local, having lived here for over 9 years. The conversations were encouraging, especially with one gentleman who was reliant on folk to pick him up if he were to venture to church. I found the conversations eased up and the folk relaxed as we went past the “what are you trying to sell me” stage.

    In reflecting on the walk and prayer time several aspects of today’s culture challenged me. (1) Letterbox drops don’t reach people because of the number of “no junk mail” notices; (2) People live behind shuttered windows and closed gates; (3) People find it difficult to converse with strangers (it may be just me); (4) People are not relaxing outdoors like prior generations did; (5) People are defensive to strangers pausing to talk (again it could be me).

    Another reflection challenged me – Am I having these intentional conversations ‘full of grace, seasoned with salt’ with the people where I live now? Building conversations and relationships will invite me behind shut gates and shuttered windows. Building community with people around me will take me to where people are relaxing and by God’s grace & design, open opportunities to answer questions as they come up.

    This weekend Ken Golding, Tom’s brother, will be speaking to us on Psalm 24 and I will be speaking on Psalm 118 in the evening. The Lifegroups have begun again for 2013 and several groups are looking to invite new people to join them. If you are yet to connect with a group please let one of the Pastoral staff know. Also, on April 7th, we will be holding a Connect luncheon for new families and people who are looking to make EBC their local church. This is a great way to meet staff and get relevant questions answered.

     

    Joe

     Joe Gray

    Lead Pastor





    Relating to God

    Thursday, March 14, 2013


    This week’s psalms are loosely connected by the theme of our relationship with God. I will be looking at Psalm 23 in the morning service. This well-known psalm contemplates God through the image of a shepherd - not like an Aussie pastoralist who might see his sheep a couple times a year and chase them around the outback with a motorcycle and dogs! Shepherds in the ancient Near Eastern world would have gone before the sheep each day, personally leading them to good pastures and fresh water. They would have watched over them carefully and defended them when danger came.

    Andrew Downes, senior pastor of Aldinga Bay Baptist Church, will look at Psalm 15 in the evening. Psalm 15 answers the question “Who may approach the Lord (in worship)?” It refers to the tabernacle of the Lord as His “tent” (v. 1), the tent that the Lord had pitched in Jerusalem in the midst of Israel. According to Allen Ross, “Psalm 15 may be classified as a liturgy at the gate, because it asks the question of who may enter the sanctuary to commune with the Lord and then provides the response to the question. The question may have been posed by the worshiper who wanted to be with God in the sanctuary; and the answer may have come from a fellow pilgrim, or more likely from a Levitical gate-keeper, who had the task of reminding worshipers of the requirements for entering the holy place.”

    An interesting concept to consider! What if you were met at the church door each week and questioned about your life over the previous six days? Would it be threatening? What effects, positive and negative, might it have on us? Would you be welcomed into worship . . . or turned away?

    Prepare yourself to meet with God and His family on Sunday. It should be a good day.

    Tom

    Tom Golding





    Peace, Confirmation and Refreshment - Jarrod Flack

    Thursday, March 07, 2013


    This week my Grandfather, who was a missionary for many years to outback indigenous communities, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. It’s definitely been a shock, although at 86, he has struggled with health for a few years now. I was speaking to him on the phone one evening and he told me of the peace he had from God. Peace… such a familiar word but so hard to find for many in our world. As we continue our series in the book of Psalms and this week, I was reading Psalm 23 again and the imagery in verse 5 grabbed my imagination;

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”

    It’s easy to imagine a modern battlefield movie (because there are so many), but imagine in that battle or conflict sitting down peacefully at a table for nourishment and refreshment.

    There is no peace in conflict, that’s why they call it conflict, but the imagery David has of being surrounded by enemies in conflict and yet God has not war or conflict in mind, but peace, confirmation and refreshment.

    A similar imagery is used in Psalm 3. David comments on the huge number of adversaries and their mocking cries against his God. In verse 3 he writes,

    “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.”

    This week as we gather at EBC and some at camp, we take a collective ‘time out’ from a chaotic, hectic and overwhelming world. Peace is elusive and hard to find between nations, federal politics, in churches, in families and within our own souls.

    There is only one place you will find peace today. A peace that exists regardless of the scale of conflict that looms, health issues, the pressures that mount, or the mocking of onlookers. My encouragement to you is to follow David’s example and lean into God and find a shield that protects, a table that refreshes, sleep that sustains and a peace that the angst in your soul longs for.

    Just a reminder this weekend that Church Camp is on, so there will be no evening service this Sunday. We are having a free lunch on Sunday down at camp and we would love you to come down and join us, even if you haven’t registered.

    Sunday morning at EBC, Alan Bailey will be preaching from Psalm 139. Down at camp Pastor Joe will speak in the morning from Psalm 127 and Tom Golding will preach from Psalm 133 in the evening.

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
    As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

     

    God Bless

    Jarrod

    Jarrod Flack

    Youth Pastor






    Working in God's Kingdom

    Thursday, February 28, 2013


    When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep. The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”….. Then He said to him, “Follow me!”

    John 21: 15 - 19 brings me back to reflect in our series of messages on Caring, Equipping and Mobilising. These verses in John confirm in my heart that as a disciple/follower, Jesus is calling us to take part in the kingdom work where he has gifted us uniquely to benefit His cause.  In these verses we can clearly see that Jesus is encouraging Peter to engage with Him to make sure that he catches the point why he is a disciple and why he loves Him.

    I truly believe as a corporate body of believers of Jesus, that each one of us here at EBC is uniquely given a gift by God to serve Him. But our biggest challenge is that, are we using our God given gifts to glorify Him and help build His kingdom in where He called us to be?

    1 Peter 4:10 reminds us “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering  God’s grace in its various forms”. This morning we are especially excited to hear a presentation from Pastor Marti regarding our ladies ministries at EBC in line with our Vision month. In whatever capacity you serve, whether in caring, equipping or mobilising; whether big or small; whether seen or unseen, please remember that your service to God plays an important part in achieving the cause of Jesus here at EBC and beyond.

    I would like to thank the Elders for taking the time to share this series of messages to us as a congregation. My prayer is that through those messages, we are encouraged to respond and to engage in our own way and take part in serving God through caring, equipping and mobilising. Whatever it is, the most important thing is that we engage to serve our Great Lord Jesus Christ.

    Today we look forward to hearing the Word from Don Priest in the morning and Pastor Joe Gray in the evening, both preaching from the book of Psalms. May you have a blessed week ahead!

     Julio

    Julio Alejo

    Associate Pastor






    United in Service

    Thursday, February 21, 2013


    Recently I had the opportunity to attend the EBC pastors and staff retreat at Tailem Bend. We appreciate the generosity of Wayne and Jan Burgan in allowing us to use their holiday home. The first day of the retreat was specifically for the pastors to get together. This was a great time of prayer and sharing. Pastor Joe made a presentation to us and this encouraged us to think about what the year ahead may hold for us. The first evening saw the arrival of the administration staff. The suggestion was made that we might get involved in a games night. ‘Boring!’ – I thought. But, I can’t remember when I have had so much fun. I have to declare that there were unfounded accusations of cheating directed toward me. In my defence I must say that I did nothing more than explore the boundaries of the rules. Suffice to say I was part of the winning team on both evenings. There is much I could tell you all about the goings on during the games nights, but what goes on during the retreat stays on the retreat. I must say however someone who shall remain anonymous, has untapped talent when it comes to playing charades.

    The retreat was about more than fun and games. On Friday we were blessed by presentations from Travis Johnson. These were both challenging and encouraging. On the final day we were joined by two more of our elders – Simon George and Warren Hall. It was great to hear testimonies from both these men and I think the thing that stood out most for me is that God rewards faithfulness.

    I think the overwhelming aspect of the retreat for me was that the Elders, Pastors and Staff are a united body wanting to serve God and man, in that order. It is our absolute desire to see God’s kingdom grow and flourish at EBC. I believe each and every one of us, who has been given the amazing privilege of serving God in leadership, is totally committed to seeing this happen.

    This Sunday we are having our second International Flavour Day. We would love you to bring along some food from your own culture and if you feel particularly moved you might consider wearing your national costume.

    Travis Johnson will be preaching at both services on Sunday. His subject will be ‘Mobilisation” This is the final presentation for the Vision series that we have been exploring in February.

    We would love to see you in church.

    God bless you all.

    Barry

    Barry Bennett

    Pastoral Assistant







    Witnessing for God

    Thursday, February 14, 2013


    “Success in witnessing is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God”  Campus Crusade for Christ

    This is the phrase that has been helpful to me when I go out to share with someone about my faith in Jesus Christ. I do recall that when I learned how to use the 4 spiritual laws booklet from our training in commando evangelism with CCC Philippines, we were sent out to meet people in the park and along the streets and talk to them about Jesus. Some responded positively and others didn’t, but the joy of seeing someone come to Jesus is exciting and invigorating. I remember tears would flow because of joy in your heart and you feel your innermost being would burst with laughter because God is glorified and the angels

    in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents and is reconciled with God. It’s a glorious experience. It was like the experience of the seventy two that Jesus sent two by two, when they came back and reported to Him about what they had seen in Luke 10.

    Every week in our Vision Cast Series brings excitement to me as a member of the body of Christ here at EBC. Why? Because God is unfolding before us what is in His heart; the lost souls near you and those around the world. Missions and Evangelism are the heartbeat of God. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. He redeemed us whom He created, from the pit of destruction and death by giving His life and dying on the cross, that we might have eternal life. That’s the reason why He came.  And we, who experience His saving grace and forgiveness of sins, ought to share the love and salvation in Jesus Christ to all people and make disciples of all nations.

    We had the privilege of listening and learning how to share Jesus without fear from Jack Harradine and his team mates on Wednesday night at EBC. It was enjoyable telling our story to someone in the church and then hearing their story as well. The next part was learning to tell Jesus’ story. What a delight to see the thrills and hear the buzz of God’s miraculous work among His people. Now what’s next?  Well, it’s time to make a list of 10 people that you will pray for daily and tell them of your story and Jesus’ story. And you will discover what the woman at the well experienced in John 4, when she encountered Jesus and oh, the joy of sharing Jesus’ story to the whole town and their positive response to her story.

    God is truly in the business of transforming lives. And we are being equipped to do the ministry of evangelism. Do not let anything hinder you from sharing what you freely received from the Lord. As the scripture says “Freely you have received, freely give”. And as the song goes “ Go in my Name , because you believe , others will know that I live”. Jesus.

     

    Let’s do this together!

    Love in Jesus,

    Edwin del Pilar

    Associate Pastor






    Let's Be God's People

    Thursday, February 07, 2013


    Ray and I just completed a road trip north of Brisbane and back.  We followed the bush fires on our way up, driving cross-country, seeing some of the devastation from the out of control bush fires.  Coming home along the coast, we followed the floods seeing the damage large amounts of out of control water can cause.  Australia certainly is a country of tremendous extremes!

    Human nature is much like that as well.  We tend to go to tremendous extremes in our lives, rather than seeking the moderation that our Lord exemplified in his life and ministry.  We go on “crash diets” to rid ourselves of those extra pounds we gained through over-indulgence with food and under-indulgence with exercise.  We set New Year’s resolutions to try to balance out our lack of self-discipline in a certain area, but all too soon we break them.  It seems to be part of our human nature to be “all or nothing” - Tremendous extremes. 

    We can learn great lessons from fires and floods.  Fire is useful for providing heat and light and we need it.  But if it rages out of control, it causes great devastation.  Water is essential for human life and God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45b). However, out of control, water can do incredible damage to lives and property – as seen in the past few years in this country.

    The common denominator seems to be the concept of “out of control”.  As God’s people, our every attitude, thought or deed, should be “under the control” of the Holy Spirit.  Are we living our Christian life under the control of the Holy Spirit?  Or are we “raging” ahead (like a bush fire or a flood) in our own passionate efforts/strength to please God...resulting in burning out before we finish the race – or drowning in the details of life and ministry?

    During the month of February, the Elders will cast the vision for EBC for 2013. I am excited about their direction and their vision!  God is going to DO great things among us!  Let’s get involved where God is working!  But let’s not let impulsive, passionate fires within us blaze out of control so that we end up “burnt out” prematurely.  Let’s not let emotional enthusiasm control so that we get ‘flooded’ with doing ministry and life so that we get tired or discouraged and “rust out”.

    God doesn’t intend for us to do either. God wants us to BE His people to the world around us. HE does the Doing – We do the Being.  The author of Hebrews exhorts us to “run, with patience, the race set before us.” (Heb 12:1)  The word for patience here has the meaning of “persevering endurance” – No burn-out! No rust out! No “out of control” but Controlled, Empowered and Enabled by the Holy Spirit (being who He makes us).  I’m excited to see what the Holy Spirit wants to accomplish in you and me and EBC. 

    Anticipating “enduring” alongside you in 2013.

    Marti  Williams

    Women’s Pastor







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