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.

Prayer for the persecuted church

We set apart some time in our regular worship today to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted.

Using some materials (video, small booklets and power point slides) provided by Open Doors and some though-through prayers for governments, believers and their persecutors, we were able to bring their needs to our Lord. We did not pray that the persecution would end (Jesus promised that we would be persecuted because we belong to Him!) but that God would give them grace to maintain their trust in Him, their faithfulness to His word and the strength to continue to pray for their persecutors.

Our prayer is that our brothers and sisters may

Playgroups and Sunday School Celebration service

It’s getting close to be that time of the year again! No…not Christmas…(well not just yet anyway), but it’s almost time for our annual Playgroups and Sunday School celebration service on Sunday November 25th @10:30am with a shared lunch to follow… Word is out that ‘Hot Dog’ is planning to be there too! Come and join us!

Visit by Rhys & Rhondda Hall

Based in Uganda, Rhys & Rhondda Hall are long term Australian missionaries who serve with Pioneers and APWM providing a vital radio and literature ministry to the war-torn people of South Sudan.

We are looking forward to their visit to some of the St John’s ministries on Saturday November 17th in the following ways; Rhys will be speaking at the Men’s Fellowship at 8am. Breakfast will be served for $5 and an RSVP is required to bendigopc@gmail.com and Rhondda will be speaking to the Ladies’ Fellowship at 10:30am over morning tea. Ladies, a plate please.

Come and hear the latest! There will be an offering for the Hall’s support at both meetings. Contact us for further details.

Annual Naval Service

We held our Annual Naval Service at St John’s today (Trafalgar Day) with Captain Mike Oborn, Commanding Officer of HMAS Cerberus as our guest and guest preacher. (You can hear his message here!)

We are so grateful to Mike for generously giving up his time to make this return visit to St John’s, having preached at our Naval Services in 2013 and then again in 2014. Thank you Mike and may God bless you in your important leadership role in the RAN.

Pictured above (L-R) are Rev Philip Burns, Christine Clifford (Acting President of the Bendigo Ex-Navalmen’s Club) and Captain Mike Oborn.

Culture Connect training day Sept 22nd @ St John’s

People are on the move. They’re fleeing war, conflict and persecution. They’re looking for work. They’ve been trafficked, abused or cast out. For any number of reasons, they are in a new place. They’re seeking a new life and their needs are many.

Here in Australia, the church is on the move. As God brings new neighbours into our communities, we have the opportunity to become people of peace to them. CultureConnect is helping Australian Christians come alongside migrants to share journeys of joy and pain, faith and hope.

You’re invited to this special training event, where CultureConnect workers will be sharing how you can walk with those on the move in your community. So come, walk with us.

You’re invited!

When: Saturday, 22nd September 2018

Arrive from 9:30am, for a 10am sharp start. Concluding at 4pm

Where: St John’s Presbyterian Church Hall

Corner of MacKenzie Street and Forest Street, Bendigo

Cost: $20 per head / $10 concession

(Bring four people from your fellowship and fifth person comes FREE)

RSVP: interserve.org.au/go/equippinggodspeople-event

(this is essential)

Lunch and light refreshments provided.

More information: Ian and Nancy Cutlack niancycutlack@gmail.com

CultureConnect: A ministry of Interserve