Over 100 people from Presbyterian Churches all over Victoria (Bendigo, South East Bendigo, Eaglehawk, Castlemaine, Camberwell, Ballarat, Rochester, Kerang and Broadford…did I miss anyone??) who gathered together in St John’s yesterday for our ‘Safe Church Training’ led by our Safe Church Unit’s Trainer, Mrs Fiona Bligh. (See their website here). What a morning it was! It is a sad fact of life that we need to be taught how we must work together to eliminate abuse of every kind, but that is the way things are. We learned so much (not all of it was good!) and we are all now better equipped to help make each our churches ‘safer’ by ensuring that we truly care about one another and look out for the vulnerable among us as we ought! Thank you Fiona for your time and expertise and wisdom. We praise God for your appointment to such a vital role.
After speaking in the first of the Beatitudes concerning the attitude of being ‘poor in spirit’, in Matthew 5:4, Jesus then spoke about the blessing that belongs to those who ‘mourn’. Rather than understand Jesus’ words to refer to people who are suffering from grief because of some sense of loss, he was instead speaking of those who mourn and sorrow over their sinful condition. Jesus even gave a parable on this very thing in Luke 18:9-14. There, the tax collector typified the kind of attitude Jesus spoke of. Why is this a blessing? Because as we mourn over sin and confess it, by grace and because of Jesus’ death for our sins, God freely grants forgiveness to the repentant
The first of the Beatitudes that Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:3 concerned the attitude of being ‘poor in spirit’. While the world knows those who are ‘poor’ in another sense, Jesus spoke of those who are ‘poor in spirit’, that is, they have no tickets on themselves, They know their own sinfulness and are prepared to come before God honestly and with empty hands. In fact, there is no other way in which we can come before God and this is the entry point to His Kingdom, for ‘He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.’
After lunch together on Sunday July 26th, we’re going to share life together for a while in the second part of our ‘Sharing life, sharing the gospel’ workshop. The aim of the workshop is to help us understand how we may best share the gospel (the good news about the Lord Jesus) with those we meet and mix with in an ‘everyday’ kind of way.
Can’t make it? The workshop will be repeated after our August 23rd lunch.
This will be the second of three workshops along this theme during 2015. Come and join us!
When Jesus spoke to the crowds who came to hear him in what is called the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 5:1-2, he began by detailing the characteristics of those who belong to His Kingdom. This part of the Bible is called the ‘Beatitudes’ and as someone has wisely said, it contains the ‘be-attitudes’ that disciples of Jesus must adopt. But before Jesus outlined these characteristics, he pointed out that those who belong to his kingdom are truly ‘blessed’. While the world vainly searches for happiness in so many things, Jesus wants us to know that as His people we are already blessed beyond what the world could ever imagine. To know more of this blessing is a better goal than all that the vain pursuits that the world may offer.
Psalm 19 begins by telling us that all around us is evidence for the reality of God. The stars and the skies daily proclaim His handiwork and his glory. These created things ‘speak’ to us of His presence and greatness, but they do not tell us of who he is or how we can find him. These truths about God are found in the rest of the Psalm. God speaks through His written word and this completes the puzzle. What the skies and stars do not tell us, His Word does! Sadly, many remain deaf and blind to the voice and the glory of God which has reached its greatest expression in the ministry and person of Jesus His Son.