We welcome Rev Jim Barr as our new Pastor.

 

Box Hill Baptist is delighted to announce that the Rev Jim Barr will be joining us as our new Senior Pastor from the 24th of March, 2019.

After a long search, Jim will be bringing his wealth of experience, knowledge, skills (and stories!) to the rapidly changing community of Box Hill, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Jim has an amazing record of ministry and a reputation (positive of course!) that precedes him, including ministries at Collins St, Rosanna, & Canberra Baptist churches, and most recently the Welsh Church – amongst many other roles and activities.

We look forward to welcoming him and his wife Jane to our community, with the induction service planned for the 7th of April. All are invited to the induction service and you can register your attendance here.

Burned out on Religion?

ARE YOU BURNED OUT ON RELIGION?

Sermon based on:

Matthew 11: 28 -30 (The Message)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

JESUS OFFERS ANOTHER KIND OF LIFE

Jesus offers to all another kind of life, a life where God permeates every bit of it with His presence and goodness and frees us – liberates us from either falsely believing we have to work it all out ourselves and become self- sufficient, or that we need to have it all together and be some kind of good person.

MEDITATING ON MATTHEW 11:

I’ve been meditating on the Eugene Peterson version of Matthew 11: 28 – 30 for a few years now. Wondering what its all about, what was Jesus getting at? What is He inviting me into? What am I missing or have I often missed in all Jesus offers and how do I learn the unforced rhythms of grace?

I’ve titled this morning sermon Are you burned out on religion? Drawing inspiration from The Message version of Matthew 11: 28 – 30.

MY PRAYER

My prayer for us all this morning – especially you with the weary soul – tired – somewhat burned out on religion can find space to pause

To breath and find rest -rest for your weary and tired soul.

FAITH GROWN – SEASON LIFE – REST IN

Over the years my faith has grown and matured. – I am now in a season with Jesus where I find myself resting more fully in the strange dichotomy that while I know God knows all of me, all the good stuff and the broken stuff, yet He loves me deeply and fully.

Henri Nouwen wrote a beautiful book titled Life of the Beloved – I highly recommend reading it. On page 21 Nouwen writes:

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rest on you.” For many years I had read these words and even reflection upon them in sermons and lectures, but it is only since our talks in New York that they have taken on a meaning far beyond the boundaries of my own tradition. Our many conversations led me to the inner conviction that the words, “You are my Beloved” revealed the most intimate truth about all human beings, whether they belong to any particular tradition or not.

And I have come to the same kind of conclusion as Nouwen and others, that it is imperative this foundational truth about Gods love and acceptance of us as Gods beloved needs to be the foundation our lives are built upon.

WALK THROUGH MATTHEW 11

So, let’s take a walk through the Eugene Peterson – Message version of Matthew 11: verses 28 – 30 and see what God might want to say to us this morning.

Is there a deliberate way in which life with God works better – is freer and lighter if we take up this invitation.

I have broken these verses into 4 steps. Easy to follow and remember four steps:

STEP 1 – come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

What do we need to do most when we are weary, tired and burned out on religion? Jesus invites us to simply COME.

Stop – turn around – don’t keep pretending or work yourself into the ground.

Know how you really feel but know Jesus offers invitation. In other reading from Marks gospel Chapter 2: 15 – 17 is stating that people who know they are sick or struggling – weary – tired – will be the ones to seek out help. Admit how they are feeling and do something about it.

STEP 2 – Jesus says I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

We live in a society that seems to be addicted to GO GO GO and DO DO DO!

Yet there has never been so much anxiety, depression, mental health issues, stress, burn out and worry. To state a few modern epidemics.

Jesus invites us to come to him and in this coming and being – we will learn from Jesus how to take a real rest.

Do you know how to rest? Do you rest?

REST IN BELOVED-NESS

And this rest is deeply embedded in us resting in our beloved-ness before God. If you know – truly know you are loved and accepted you stop trying to earn love or work hard to somehow be a good person. Instead you simply accept you are Gods beloved, not because of what you do or have done but because of who you are – your identity.

In a book titled The good and beautiful God by James Bryan Smith (www.ivpress.com/the-good-and-beautiful-god) there is a chapter titled How to make a pickle. The chapter addresses societies hurry sickness – we seem to always be in a hurry – we have no time, I can’t stop, I’ve got so much to do. And if you’re not hurrying or busy doing something – well people don’t know how to relate to you.

I think Gods people have an incredible opportunity in this day and age to show others what work and rest in an ebb and flow rhythm are like so others can see we don’t need to be deceived into thinking life is all about productivity and doing.

So the remedy to weariness and tiredness – burn out – is simply to rest

STEP 3 – Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

One of my favourite theologians and writers is Dallas Willard. I love his reminder to Gods people that what we have neglected to understand is that we all are all Jesus’s apprentices – and we should view our inter- active life with Jesus from this kind of perspective. If Jesus is offering everyone a different kind of life, a life where we are being transformed into Christs image and likeness day by day then the best way to become more like Jesus is to look at what Jesus did, how Jesus went about doing things and being present towards others, and simply do likewise.

Here Jesus follows up the come to me and rest in me with – now we have things to do together. Not a sort of ‘you going off on your own – independent and autonomous’, but interdependent and collaborative working together.

UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE

Jesus wants to teach us how to live differently – how to live in the unforced rhythms of grace. This discovery as to what the unforced rhythms of grace might be about is a whole other sermon or sermons. But I encourage you to google search Dallas Willard’s definition of grace. It would appear that the biblical understanding of grace is so much more magnificent and dynamic than what many of our churches or traditions have defined it as. (https://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/153074-dallas-willard-difference-between-grace-and-effort.html)

Oh, Jesus teach me how to live in a kind of unforced -unhurried rhythm of grace. I really need this for my life.

STEP 4 – keep company with Jesus.

Finally step 4 and what is a never ending and ongoing need for all of us to do our whole lives. We all need to keep company with Jesus. All centred upon relationship – intimacy with God – time with God – being with God.

I visualise this coming, resting, walking, working, and being as deeply intimate and stunning to consider. That the God – the entity that made all things – creator – sustainer – wants to be with me. With you.

Really all four steps are cyclical because humanity has this default mode inbuilt to keep deluding ourselves that we can work it out all on our own – we don’t need God – we don’t want Gods help etc. Guess what happens then?

We start to travel down the road of weariness – tiredness and even being burnt out on religion again – and again.

And then guess what Jesus says to us – COME…

HOW ABOUT FOR YOU?

So, what about all of this for you?

What step resonates most with where you are at right now?

And what one practical thing can you do this week to live more fully into this kind of unforced rhythms of grace?

The Future Church

“It is imperative that we become a people who understand who we are, who God is, what God is about in the world and what God is calling us to be about in the world.”

Findley B. Edge, The Greening of the Church (Word Books, 1971) p.37.

What does this mean for us? I suggest it means that we need constantly to be asking these questions:

Where do we see Christ moving in our present situation?

What is God saying to us here and now?

What is the Spirit calling us to be and become, to discover, venture and do, in conformity with the way of Christ?

What then shall we do, individually, collectively and co-operatives?

These things form the basis of the life of a local church: a continuing conversation about and with God—a conversation on the way.

117 years of ministry in and to the Box Hill Community.

This Sunday we celebrate and reflect upon Box Hill Baptist’s 117th Anniversary.

The church has witnessed so much over that time, including two world wars, and countless new communities coming to join us and share their cultures with us.

And no doubt there will continue to be much change before us also – And we look forward to continuing to be a part of and serve our local community.

Who is Christ for Us Today?

In the wider Christian church, this Sunday is a celebration of Christ as the Lord of all the world. In some places it is called ‘the Feast of Christ the King’. For many people, however, this language does not exactly work. The challenge is to maintain our faith in Christian a way that is both meaningful in the contemporary world and retains the basis of hope that has sustained the church through all the centuries.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in prison during the last year of the Second World War, wrote about this struggle for modern day Christians: ‘What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today.’

Who is Christ for us today? This is the challenge for us, because it not only defines something about him, it also declares something about who we are, what we care about, and what we hope for.

Today, and in the weeks ahead, in the season of Advent, we enter into this wonderful and challenging time of reflection, a time of faith, and hope, and love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Models of the Church- Multicultural and inter-cultural

No doubt our society becomes more and more multi-cultural every day, month and year. It seems likely that there is no place in our society which is not multicultural. Our workplaces, our schools, our local communities, our sports and hobby clubs, and our homes are multicultural.

Hence, many people find it exciting to live in our multicultural and dynamic society, especially those who come originally from a mono-cultural and mono-ethnic society.


Our church is then called and committed to embracing and demonstrating these multicultural dynamics in our ministry, vision and future direction. Moreover, our church is called to be a model of an intercultural community in which active intercultural engagements and interactions take place among its members and between the English speaking congregation and the Cambodian speaking one. In order to so, we need a multicultural and multi-linguistic leadership team and pastoral team.


“…there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).

 

Models of the Church FUZZY LINES

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Matthew 11:18-19

 

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.”

Ephesians 2:17-20

 

Models of the Church COMMUNITY

The church as community is the people in community, with God.

The people are the church, together.

In this community, we can grow as persons, we are loved and we receive love; we have gifts to share and to receive. In this community, we are members: we belong, we each have a part and a place and a contribution to make.

But the church as community loses its way unless it knows that it is the community of God.

In short, it is the community of people living in and with God, and God living in and with us.

 

Models of the Church SERVANT

At the beginning of the twentieth century, French theologian Anton Loisy wrote: ‘Jesus announced the kingdom of God and what came was the Church.’

These words, often quoted out of context, serve to ask what is the relation between God’s promised reign and the Church. For many centuries, the Church imagined that God’s kingdom was limited to the Church. In earlier and more recent times, there has been much creative thinking about God’s purposes in the world at large: and how the Church should be part of that. This thinking lies behind the idea of the Church as servant.

What is God doing in the world around us—and how can we participate in that and work with God’s purposes in our lives, in God’s world?

That is the continuing challenge and invitation to us, the Church.

 

Models of the Church INSTITUTION

The Church—What is it about?

This week and for the next 4 Sundays we will be thinking about ‘models of the church’, some of which are well recognised ways of thinking about the nature and mission of the Church.

These sermons will provide us with some stimulus for our collective discernment of the challenges and opportunities facing us as Box Hill Baptist Church.

During this time there will also be some Forum opportunities, for community discussion of some of these challenges.