Dead Men Don’t Rise … Do they?

Welcome to our church today

It’s great to share with you in the fellowship of Christ.  If you’re visiting us, please make yourself known to our staff and ushers so we can welcome you warmly.

Dead Men Don’t Rise … Do they?

Of all the major world religions only one claims that its founder returned alive from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. It can be tested and weighed in history.

But in our sophisticated scientific age, can such a belief be maintained?  Is it logical, rational, even provable? Many have claimed it can’t. But few have attempted to disprove it.  Some years ago, lawyer Frank Morrison, tried to and became a Christian as he faced the evidence. Dead men don’t rise … well not normally.  And that’s the point isn’t it?  What Jesus Christ claimed would happen to him – resurrection – was unique. God would do something wonderful, extraordinary, that would change the history of humanity and individuals forever.

But how can we believe it today and what’s the evidence? How do Christians answer our critics and sustain faith in a living breathing Jesus?  That’s the task that award winning, former atheist journalist, Lee Strobel set himself.  The result is a small but punchy book, “The Case for Easter”.

CaseForEasterOver the decades I’ve read many books on the death and resurrection of Jesus, many seeking to gather the evidence and defend the faith. I believe Strobel’s is one of the best. Why? It’s personal and passionate … this investigation was life changing for him. It’s also hard headed. He’s no slouch in the brain department, when it comes to weighing evidence and opinion. Strobel was educated at Yale Law school and worked on the Chicago Tribune as its legal reporter.

Strobel examines the evidence for the resurrection:

  • Medical – Was Jesus death a sham & his resurrection a hoax?
  • The Missing body – Was it gone? Was it stolen? Misplaced?
  • His Resurrection appearances – Was he really seen alive or was this illusion or false reporting?

Why not buy a copy today for your own reading – you’ll be enriched by it and also equipped to better answer others questions yourself.  So, buy a second or third copy to give to someone you love this Easter.

Gymea Anglican Gets Arty!

As part of the “Jesus brings” Sydney Mission, our local JB team is organising an Art Show. They’re looking for budding Picassos and Monets here in the Shire. It’s time to get in contact with your inner Rodin.  We’ll be featuring local artists and running a schools’ competition. So pencil into your diary Friday & Saturday 29th and 30th August.  See Art Show director Stephen Leitch for details.

Your brother in Christ and pastor, Graham Crew

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A Good Read, Get Arty, Gymea Festival

Welcome today to our church !

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us. I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

BookCoverJane Crew writes about her latest “good read”

I have been reading Tim Keller’s book on marriage this week and discovered  some wonderful insights to “face the complexities of  marriage commitment with the wisdom of God”.

Keller begins with some telling statistics showing how our society is becoming very “marriage averse”. Many young couples never plan to get married, and instead see co-habitation as a viable option. However, statistics show people who are married generally have much better satisfaction in life, and better outcomes in both physical and mental health. Keller sees the reason for this in the commitment we make to each other and to God in marriage. He explains this as a covenant relationship. Covenant relationships are far more intimate and personal than a legal one, and yet far more unconditional than one based on just feelings and affection. It is a stunning blend of law and love, he argues.

Another helpful insight for me in this book is Keller’s argument that your marriage partner should be your best friend. He says this is what God designed marriage to be. Keller points out that there are two features of true friendship – constancy and transparency. True friends always let you in, and they never let you down. For the Christian marriage partner we get the glimpse of what God is creating in each other and to say  “I see who God is making you and it excites me!  I want to be a part of that”.

I highly recommend this book as a valuable addition to the literature on this subject, and a great encouragement to be best friend to your husband or wife. Other helpful chapters include ones on singleness and gender issues in marriage.

Gymea Anglican Gets Arty!

As part of the “Jesus brings” Sydney Mission, our local JB team is organising an Art Show. They’re looking for budding Picassos and Monets here in the Shire. It’s time to get in contact with your inner Rodin.  We’ll be featuring local artists and running a schools’ competition. So pencil into your diary Friday & Saturday 29th and 30th August.  See Art Show director Stephen Leitch for details.

Gymea Festival  – we’re in

This will be held again in October and our church will be providing a stall with lots of giveaways and face painting, sharing the love of Jesus with the local community. So let us know if you are able to help for an hour or two.

GrahamCrew1-001Thank you very much and please keep praying

Our March giving was well up on January-February and just $29 short of our weekly budget. Please keep praying for this to continue and grow.

Your brother in Christ and pastor Graham Crew

 

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Gymea Anglican Gets Arty, Gymea Festival, Pupil Free Days/Date Nights

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today to our church !

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us. I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

Welcome today to all those men and women who serve our community so faithfully in emergency and caring services week in and week out. As the busy time of Easter approaches we want you all to know how much we appreciate you and pray for you and your safety and success.

We also welcome today, to our 930am Rescue Sunday service, our local State Member Barry Collier. Thanks to Barry for his tireless work over the years for our area,  for his support for this Church and in his many endeavours to make this area a better place to live and work.  Great to have you with us again today Barry and also your wife, Jeanette!

Gymea Anglican Gets Arty!

As part of the “Jesus brings” Sydney Mission our Jb team is organising an Art Show. They’re looking for budding Picassos and Monets here in the Shire. It’s time to get in contact with your inner Rodin.  We’ll be featuring local artists and running a schools’ competition. So pencil into your diary Friday & Saturday 29th and 30th August.

Gymea Festival  – we’re in

This will be held again in October and our church will be providing a stall with lots of giveaways and face painting, sharing the love of Jesus with the local community. So let us know if you are able to help for an hour or two.

Pupil Free Days/Date Nights

Because Jesus loved us, we want His love to show out through us to the Shire. We want to invest in the life of the Shire and support families that are everywhere under pressure. So this year we’re offering two new services to the Gymea Community.

Not only will we run day long events during the pupil free days in Terms 2 and 3 but we also want to run a Movie/Date night in the middle of term 2 where we look after the kids, give them a meal and watch a movie, while the parents go up the street to have dinner together!

The first Pupil free “Big Day In” will be Monday 28th April—we already have 5 volunteers so we need at least 5 more because we know this is going to be “big big big” for local families.

Great Numbers  Attend our “Jesus Brings Mission” Events

Heartfelt thanks to those who organised our two recent breakfast with between 80 and 100 at each event.  Please pray for those who were touched and challenged by the message of Jesus.

Can you help us get the word out this Easter?

We will be hand delivering more than 7,000 Easter invitations to the local area and we need everyone’s help just to do their little bit. If 140 deliver 50 leaflets this week then we’ve covered the area!  Leaflets are bundled into streets and labelled for your convenience and can be collected from the table outside the Church from this week.  Thankyou Kim Cooper and George Ward for this HUGE effort!

Your brother and pastor Graham Crew

 

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“Jesus brings” Mission Update,

Welcome today to our church !!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.  I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

“Jesus brings” Mission Update

The “Jesus brings” mission aims to provide a united gospel message across the Diocese. For the last 5 months, a Parish committee has been working together on our mission.

Goals

If our “Jesus brings” Mission is successful, what will have been achieved?

  • People coming to faith in Christ & evangelism becomes a higher priority for us.
  • Our events are run well, while people participate in and enjoy evangelism.
  • Our church is better known in the community.

One by one by one.

We also want to encourage people to get more involved in evangelism itself. However, the steering committee is well aware that many people are fearful of this. So we want to encourage people to try new things one by one by one.

  • Attempt one evangelistic conversation.
  • Invite someone to one evangelistic event.
  • Get trained in one evangelistic course.

Sharing resources

We have access to several exciting resources we can use, which you will find more information about at http://www.jesusbrings.info/resources. Two resources worth looking at include, The Search and “Jesus brings” Good Things to Kids. We are also keen to put on three types of events.

1)  Bridge Building – events that aim to improve our connection with the local community. This is the biggest of our new efforts. Many people in the community do not know who we are or what we are about, so we are planning a series of events aiming to address this. These include:

  • An Art Show  – Steve Leitch is putting together a team to organize this and we hope to hold the show on August 29-30. To join Steve’s team, please get in touch with him.
  • Spring Fair  – In addition to our usual events, Meredith Kirton from the ABC show Gardening Australia is willing to come and run a show that day.
  • Pupil Free Days/Date Nights. Not only will we run day long events during the pupil free days in Terms 2 and 3 but we also want to run a Movie/Date night in the middle of term 2 where we look after the kids, give them a meal and watch a movie, while the parents go up the street to have dinner together.

2)  Evangelistic Events

We already hold a number of these as part of existing ministries. These include Men’s and Women’s outreach events, an AFES mission and our usual youth and children’s ministries.

3)  Training Events

There are so many useful ways to do evangelism such as Two Ways to Live, Christianity Explained, Introducing God, Life of Jesus etc. We are keen to provide the opportunity for you to learn some of them.

Your brother in Christ, Paul Brigden

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Annual Parish Meeting, Church Finances, Rescue Sunday 6th April at 9.30 Church

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today to our church !!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.  I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

News from our Annual Parish Meeting (APM)

We thank God for such a great attendance of our members at Thursday’s APM. Please see the list below of those elected or appointed to serve us this year.  I’d especially like to thank all those willing to serve but who were not elected. I urge you to pray regularly for our leaders and communicate your hopes, joys and concerns to them.

Parish Council (11)

James Archer, Julia Harrison, George Ward,
Paul Archer, Paul Hoffmans, James Wallace,
Gavin Cooper, Chris Leong, Alan Webb,
Dean Eades & Claire Riley

Parish Nominator (5)

Barbara Archer, Laurie Archer, Gavin Cooper, Fay East & Luke Riley,

Synod Representatives

Barbara Archer & Alan Watson

Wardens

Sean Buckley & Stephen Leitch

The APM raised the issue of SRE in our three Primary Schools, Gymea Bay, Kirrawee & Grays Point. It was mentioned that our church has for years shouldered all the expense of co-ordinating, staffing and providing SRE booklets and manuals for these schools. 889 students hear the gospel each week through SRE. We have sought contributions from other local churches, but to date this hasn’t been available. Our church spends tens of thousands of dollars each year on this vital ministry.

Serious Church Giving Shortfall

Last year our Parish Council was forced to make some difficult budgeting decisions to reduce our expenditure in 2014, while maintaining our 5 paid staff and ministries. Our budget is $6,400 per week. Between January and February this year, our weekly giving was $914 per week below budget. So after 8 weeks we have had to spend $7,000 from our meagre reserves.  Clearly we cannot continue like this. To meet our budget this year, requires an increase in real giving of 6%.  Not every member can afford this. Some of our members are facing unemployment and redundancy this year. So realistically our Parish Council is asking those who can to increase their giving by 10%. I would ask all our members to pray about this personally and in our groups.

Rescue Sunday 6th April at 9.30 Church

We are working hard in preparation for this annual event. This will be an all in family service, with the emergency services (police, ambos, SES, Firies etc) with their gear and trucks, sausage sizzle etc.  Barry Collier will join us. This is a great chance to invite family and friends.

Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew

 

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Sydney wide “Jesus Brings” Mission, Wedding Prayer

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today to our church !!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.  I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

Sydney wide “Jesus Brings” Mission

This is gradually getting into full swing across our Diocese.  Expect to see ‘Jesus Brings” promotions around the Shire and CBD soon in the lead up to Easter.  We are having 7500 leaflets printed for our Easter promotions.  We will soon be asking for letter box volunteers  -  would you please pray about this, that God would give us good conversations and open hearts to our neighbours in the lead up to Easter.

Wedding Prayer

After last week’s sermon a number of people asked for a copy of the closing prayer.  As mentioned, it’s one that Jane and I discovered some years ago.  It has been adapted from one by the Puritans. May we pray this, not only for newly weds, but for all of us who are married.

“Heavenly Father, we ask for your blessing on this couple. As they begin married life together, may they not expect perfection of each other, other than that which belongs to you alone . May they minimise each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of beauty, and to see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Give them such assignments on the scroll of your will as will bless them and develop their characters, as they walk together. Give them a little something to forgive every day, that they may grow in the grace of patience. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in yours, and enough success to make them sure they walk with God. May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “out of all  this world, you have chosen me”. When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then, as now, hand in hand still thanking God for each other. May they serve you happily, faithfully together, until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of Jesus. This we ask through Jesus Christ, the great Lover of our souls.   Amen”

Annual Parish Meeting

Thank you to all who prayed and supported our APM.  Please continue to support with your prayers those who have been willing and elected to serve.  I’d especially like to thank our Parish Council Secretary, Matthew Robson and our Parish Secretary, Kim Cooper for all their work for this meeting, and our Treasurer, Paul Hoffmans and the Assistant Treasurer, Karen Leegwater for their tireless work throughout the year.

Need for Increased Giving at Church

To maintain our current ministries and staff we need to increase our giving this year by approx. 5%.  So far giving is up 1.5% on 2013.  Thank you to those who have responded to this need. Can our members prayerfully consider if they are able to increase their giving slightly or become regular, if giving is intermittent. Many of our members & staff are now using electronic banking for their giving.  Others give regularly using our weekly envelopes. Our bank details for electronic giving are:  “St Paul’s & St Barnabas Gymea Parish”  BSB 032-154 Account 870267

Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew

 

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Sydney wide “Jesus Brings” Mission, 49ers Bible Reading Challenge

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today to our church !!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.  I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

Sydney wide “Jesus Brings” Mission

This is gradually getting into full swing across our diocese.  Expect to see Jesus Brings promotions around the Shire and CBD soon in the lead up to Easter.  We are having 7500 leaflet printed for our Easter promotions.  We will soon be asking for letter box volunteers  -  would you please be prayerful about this that God would give us good conversations and open hearts to our neighbours in the lead up to Easter.

Great Men’s & Women’s Outreach Events

Tickets are available today for both these events.  See inside for details.  Don’t miss out.  Excellent speakers and great events are planned.

Need for Increased Giving at Church

To maintain our current ministries and staff we need to increase our giving this year by approx. 5%.  So far giving is up 1.5% on 2013.  Thank you to those who have responded to this need. Can our members prayerfully consider if they are able to increase their giving slightly or become regular, if giving is intermittent. Many of our members & staff are now using electronic banking for their giving.  Others give regularly using our weekly envelopes. Our bank details for electronic giving are:  “St Paul’s & St Barnabas Gymea Parish”  BSB 032-154 Account 870267

Supporting Evan Moses Training Scholarship  -  Progress report

So far approx. $7000 of the $16,500 required for Evan’s scholarship has been pledged.  If you are able to support him (donations are tax deductible), you can make your donations online at www.mts.com.au/donate-to-apprentice. Scroll down to find Evan’s name. You’ll need to register as a donor, but that is not difficult.  Alternatively, you can fill out one of the forms on the information table at church (send the large form to the MTS office at Hurstville & hand in the small pledge form at church.

49ers Bible Reading Challenge

If you’re joining me and many others in reading the New Testament  in 49 days then please add your name and email address to the list at the rear of church so you can receive email encouragements. There is also a Mychurch 49ers Challenge group where you can add your own encouraging comments and suggestions.

Annual Parish Meeting

I’d like to encourage all our members to attend this year’s APM and prayerfully take part.  Every 3 years we elect two people to represent the Parish at Synod.  This year we will do this again.  Please pray for God to raise up new leaders among us to take up the batten from those who have served so faithfully in the past.  I would especially like to thank Laurie Archer (Warden) and Philip Hamilton-Foster (Parish Councillor) who are retiring after decades of faithful service.

Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew

 

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Annual Parish Meeting (APM) Thursday night 13March

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today !!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.   I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

Annual Parish Meeting (APM) Thursday night 13March

We will be holding it as usual from 7.30pm to 9.15pm at the Church. All of our members are encouraged to attend. It is a good opportunity to come together and hear what God has been doing amongst us in the past year, along with what we plan to attempt in the year ahead under God’s good hand. It is also when we elect lay-people to positions of responsibility in our Parish.   I believe we have been very well served by this year’s team, but there is always a need for “new blood”.

The meeting this year will elect people to five different positions:

First, we need three Parish Wardens. Parish Wardens are responsible for management of the Parish’s money and properties. This is a very busy and responsible role, and I also rely on our Wardens for spiritual insight & advice.  Laurie Archer has indicated 2013 was his last year in this role, in which he has served so faithfully. Both the Parish and myself owe Laurie (and Barbara) a great deal of thanks.

Second, we need Parish Councillors (number to be determined by the APM). The Parish Council is responsible for deciding matters of policy in relation to finances budget and property, which includes making the big decisions on projects and other measures involving money and property. The Council also consults with the Senior Pastor on ministry matters. Parish Councillors ideally need to be able to see the bigger picture and consider the interests of the Parish as a whole, rather than merely representing the interests of the congregation they attend.

Third, we need an auditor for the accounts. This is a paid role and is usually a person recommended by the Wardens.

Fourth, we need five Parish Nominators, whose very demanding job it is to work with a committee from the Diocese to nominate a new Senior Minister for the Archbishop to invite, should the position become vacant.

Fifth, we need two Synod Representatives, who join me for the next three years in representing our Parish at the annual Diocesan Synod in October, where the policy and rules of our Diocese and its churches are formed.

I encourage all of our members to prayerfully consider who might best serve in these roles or to stand for the position themselves. To nominate someone, ask their permission and nominate them in writing on the forms provided in the church foyer and return the forms to our church office no later than Friday 7th March. Again, please come to the Annual Parish Meeting. It’s not just for the ‘players’ – it’s for everyone who cares about our church, which I hope means you!

Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew

 

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Latest SRE Apppointment for SBCE

Gymea Technology High School SRE

The Sutherland Board of Christian Education is pleased to announce that a new teacher, Mrs Jenn Phillips, has been appointed to teach SRE at Gymea Tech High, and will be employed for two days a week teaching timetabled SRE classes for Years 7 and 8 from the beginning of 2014.  We thank all those who have maintained support for the Board, and continue to ask you to pray for Jenn and her ministry in the school, as you pray for Jenny Redmond at Kirrawee High.

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Commissioning Sunday, Christianity Explained, 49er’s Club Challenge, Thank you, Parish Prayer Meeting

GrahamCrew1-001Welcome today to Commissioning Sunday!!

Welcome today if you’re visiting with us.   You’ve arrived on one of the extra special days in our church calendar when we commission our leaders, members and pastors the year ahead in mission together.  I pray that the Lord will bless you and refresh you. Please make yourself known to our staff and ushers, we would love to get to know you.

Christianity Explained

This 4 week course is recommended to Christians, young or old who want to explore their faith or who want to learn how to share their faith with others.  It’s also for those who haven’t yet committed themselves fully to Jesus.  Why not sign up for these 4 Wednesday nights 7.30 to 8.45pm at our home 3 Bonnie View Street, commencing on 26th Feb.  Invite a non-church friend to come with you!

Read the whole New Testament by Easter (almost) – take 49er’s Club Challenge

I’ve decided to read the NT in the lead up to Easter and would love you to join me in this challenge.  It will take us 10-20 minutes each day depending on how fast or slow you read.  This is a great way to read books you may have avoided and to get the grand sweep of God’s message in Jesus.  Sign on today and take one of the free Bible Reading gold cards.

Thank you so much for your generosity

General Church Giving for January is up $600 (1.3%) on last year because some members have increased their giving.  There’s still a way to go as we do need to increase it by 6% this year to continue our current ministries and employment.  Please pray about this.

This week another $1446 was sent to Bishop Isesomo for his work in the Congo.  I’m hoping for recent news from Graham  Toulmin and a small team from Springwood church who have just returned from the Congo.  The last update Isesomo sent us was that the walls were up on their precious guest house (remember the 1/4 million bricks they had made by hand)!

Picture3Picture2EQUIP Women’s Conference

Book on line at www.equip.org.au  Equip is held on Sat 24th May but the venue has changed to Rosehill Gardens Event Centre.  Speakers Anabel Nixey, Di Warren and Ainsley Poulos.  In view of this venue we have decided to go as a Gymea Anglican group to the twilight session, to allow us travel time.  We may book a bus.  See Jane Crew or Fay East for details.

Change of Loan Provider

The Parish is seeking to change our loan provider to the Church of England Finance and Loans Board. Such a change will slightly reduce our costs and would be required by April 2016 due to changed regulations.  See our wardens for details.

Don’t Miss Our Next Parish Prayer Meeting Monday 24th Feb

Parish Council has invited all our members to join them for prayer together 4 times per year.  Please support them and lift up the church, the Shire and the world.

Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew

 

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