‘Death and the death of Jesus’ (An Easter reflection)

No matter how much we deny it, death is never pretty. Death by crucifixion was even less so. While Mel Gibson went to extreme lengths to show us just how much Jesus suffered in his 2 hour plus movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, the Bible doesn’t give us that much information on what was actually involved. Of course, it mentions the nails that were driven into his hands and feet and the crown of thorns that was placed upon his head, but the most somber moment is recorded with the greatest simplicity: ‘after he had scourged Him, Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified’ (Mark 15:15).

Yet, the message of the entire Bible centres on the cross of Jesus. It tells us that if we are to appreciate Jesus’ death and its implications for us, then we must understand that he was not just a man who suffered terrible things, but that he was God’s Son who took the place of sinners. It tells us that he was the Creator of the universe who willingly allowed himself to die as he did for those who rebelled against and hated him.

That’s what it’s about. Not about how much Jesus suffered, but about who it was that suffered and that he went to the most extreme lengths to purchase salvation for those who believe in him. Romans 5:8 says ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ And he did that, not to win your sympathy, but that you might believe in him and know the free gift of forgiveness to cover your sins. No, his death was anything but pretty, but to those who believe in him, it was the greatest gift from God.

This Easter, seek him.

Bendigo Winter Night Shelter is coming…!

Things are really coming together for this new venture of compassion towards the homeless in Bendigo by participating churches, service organisations and willing volunteers…and we are pleased to be a part of it.

You can read a newspaper article about it all here and have a look at the website here. Join us as we pray for God’s blessing upon it!

2019 ministries begin again…

It’s mid-February already and many of our regular ministries are already underway (or about to begin). SMILE Playgroup began on Monday Feb 4th, ‘Welcome Wednesdays’ on Feb 6th, Sunday School on Sunday Feb 10th, Home Groups began again during last week, Men’s and Ladies’ Fellowships met this morning, our newly formed Youth Group meets this afternoon, the Ladies’ Home Group meets this Wednesday at 1:30pm, Playgroup registration day is this Friday (Feb 22nd) at 10am and our first Quarterly Prayer Gathering for the year is next Saturday (Feb 23rd) at 10am. Contact us if you would like more information about any of these regular events.

Home Groups launch dinner, Wednesday Feb 6th, 6pm

To launch our Home Groups for the year, we’re getting together for our annual ‘Home Group Launch dinner’ on Wednesday night in the Hall. The dinner is open to all from the church family, but especially those who would like to be involved in a Home Group during 2019. (If you can’t make the dinner but would like to be involved in a Home Group, please let us know!’)

A Christmas reflection: ‘The sad truth about Christmas’

Christmas is not about reindeer, sleigh bells or Santa, turkey, stuffing, mince pies or fruitcake, Christmas trees or presents. It’s not even about shepherds and wise men, a bright star or a manger. These last mentioned things help to make up the Bible’s account of the first Christmas, but they are not what it’s about.

God began the gift-giving tradition at Christmas by giving us His Son, Jesus. Why did He do that? Because we cannot deal with our own sin. We can no more change our sinful condition as a leopard can his spots! God sent His Son into the world to save us. The Bible says that, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The sad truth about Christmas is that although we all desperately need the Saviour that God sent, most people will not receive Him. Even though God’s offer is open to ‘whoever believes’ and there is no barrier in His eyes created by your skin colour or socio economic standing or which football team you support…still most people don’t mind the trimmings that go with Christmas itself, but they don’t want the Saviour that God sent.

So what is Christmas about? It’s about Jesus. It is possible to have Christmas without Jesus, but it will not be complete. You may well have the presents and all the trimmings, but without Jesus you only have the outer shell not the inner core. Imagine making more fuss over the wrapping paper than the gift it contains!

Christmas is nearly here and it will soon be gone. Don’t let it be another one filled with only wrappings and trimmings. You may never have another opportunity like this one. Seek Him.

Christmas Day Service details

We meet together on Christmas Day at 9:30am. There will be Christmas Crols, the reading and preaching of God’s Word and a special offering for PresAID projects in Ethiopia and East Timor. Morning tea follows too!  All welcome.

 

 

 

What’s happening at St John’s this Christmas?

In a word… PLENTY!

On Friday night December 14th at our church property in Forest Street, we’re having a free BBQ dinner at 6pm with a Jumping Castle for the kids (also free!) followed by our annual ‘Carols by Torchlight’ at 8pm and supper.

Then on Saturday December 15th we’re having a Men’s Breakfast at 8am (combined with the men from Reforming and Eaglehawk Presbyterian churches) in the Church Hall in Forest Street.

Also on Saturday December 15th, a special event for Ladies (again combined with Eaglehawk and Reforming) with a ‘Women’s High Tea’ at 3pm in the Eaglehawk Presbyterian Church Hall.

Like to join us? Let us know! It would be helpful for catering purposes – especially for the High Tea!

On Christmas Day, December 25th, our service begins 9.30am with carols and a Christmas Bible message.