Pastor’s Pen – November 2017

For some time we have been discussing what we will do in the future. Well it seems the future has arrived, and now is the time for the next step. We now have a contract on the Chapel, and all being well will soon have some funds available to do whatever it is we are going to do next.

God has promised to guide us, and we leant on that promise in our decision to sell the chapel and we still await sale of the tea rooms. He will continue to guide us in the next step.

We have been discussing the idea of building a “Children’s Wellbeing Centre” for some time, and we have now reached the point of deciding if that is something we will pursue.

On November 13th I will be meeting with the Department for Education and Child Development to discuss this prospect and flesh out exactly what would be involved, how we could contribute, and what other support would be available.

Please prayerfully consider this matter. It is a project that seems beyond what we are capable of, but remember that we have a great big God.

Pastor’s Pen June 2017

For some time, we have been looking to the future, and what God has in mind for our little group. What can such a little group possibly do? Well we may be a little group but we have a great big God. So let’s dream big!

What stops us from stepping out on faith to fulfill a dream or a goal. Usually it is fear, and that fear is all in our imagination. Fear is draining and unproductive. Draining because it causes anxiety, unproductive because it isn’t real. It’s imagination!

The biggest and most unfortunate failure is saying, “I wish we had____(fill in the blank).” Especially when the only thing that holds us back is our imagination.

Wouldn’t it be better if we used that energy to imagine in the opposite direction; to picture what God can do through us. Between us we probably already have all the ideas. It is time to pursue it. It is time go for it!

Don’t underestimate what God can do.  It is time to get clarity on our goal, map it out, and visualize it. We still have some research to do and people to talk to who are further down the path than us. But let’s make sure fear doesn’t block us from moving forward.

Let’s not put limits on our dreams, let’s not limit what God can do through us. No matter what the current situation is, with God’s help we can dream big!

Pastor’s Pen – May 2017

Throughout the Bible, God used angels to make special announcements to people. He used angels to announce the destruction of Sodom, announce the birth of Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus. When God has an important announcement to make He often sends that message through an angel.

On that first Easter morning, an angel delivered a special message that is still relevant today.

A band of woman made their way through the still dark streets of Jerusalem early Sunday morning with heavy hearts. They were going to the tomb of a man they had all believed was the Messiah; a man they had left all other things behind for. This was a man who had promised life to all who came unto Him, but who was now, Himself, dead.

Concerned about how would they could even gain access to the body (who could move that heavy stone), they proceeded with their tender mission to finishing preparing Jesus’ body for burial. What they found was an empty tomb, absent guards and a missing body. What fear must have gripped their hearts!

But then, an angel, with the message, “don’t be alarmed.” The opening words are those of peace. 2000 years later the message is still one of peace to all who believe in Jesus.

“Jesus who was crucified is now risen from the dead.” He had conquered death and all those who receive Him as their personal Savior become partakers in that same resurrection power.

We serve a risen Saviour.  Jesus has risen! Hallelujah.

Pastor’s Pen – April 2017

We are now coming to the conclusion of our study of the kings of Judah. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from their history.

Joash is listed as a good king, but he had some shortcomings. He leant on the faith of his advisors rather than having his own faith, so once Jehoiada died, Joash was easily led astray. We can’t borrow someone else’s faith, we need to develop our own.

Hezekiah was another good king. His father Ahaz was one of the all-time bad kings, yet Hezekiah chose to follow the Lord, and he did so tenaciously. This is a good example for us to follow.

Manasseh had plenty of potential, being the son of a good king like Hezekiah, yet he did everything wrong. He did not follow the God of his father, he defiled the Temple of the Lord, he led the people astray, and he ignored the word of the Lord. Warning sign – “Don’t do this.”

Josiah was the opposite of Manasseh. He was the son and grandson of some really evil kings, yet he sought the Lord even from his youth. This led to his clearing of idols from all of Judah and leading the people to revival.

What strikes me from all of this is that it doesn’t matter what upbringing the kings had, they made their own choice about how to live. A bad past doesn’t give us an excuse for not doing the right thing now. Joash escaped a murderous grandmother to be a good king. Josiah was raised by some of the worst kings Judah had, yet he too was a good king. Manasseh on the other hand had the best upbringing possible, yet he was evil.

We can’t blame other people when we do the wrong thing, it is our own choice. It is up to each of us to surrender to God and choose follow His will for our lives.

 

Mannum Baptist Church on the move again.

Mannum Baptist Church was founded in 1888 when Rev Silas Meed came to Mannum and formed the church with 17 members. The church quickly flourished, and in 1890 the first chapel was opened in Randell Street.

This building served the church well for over seven decades. But in the 1960’s the church building needed renovation, and it was considered more practical to move to a new location than to repair the building. Things fell into place for us to purchase the Zion Lutheran Church in William Street, next door to our Manse. On Sunday 12th March 1967, 120 people gathered to give thanks for the blessings received as we moved to our new home.

The building in Randell Street was demolished and the land excavated to street level. It is now the site of Male’s Butchers.

As Mannum Baptist Church continues to look forward into the future, we are keen to update our facilities and develop a worship centre more in line with modern expectations. After considering all the options available to us, we have decided it is again time to move.

To commence this process, we are seeking expressions of interest for our current Chapel in William street. The Chapel is being offered on its own or in conjunction with the Tea Rooms next door.

Rev Nieass said, “This is an initial step in a positive plan to move forward and grow God’s Kingdom through better connections with the community.

The next step in the process has not been determined. Should we sell the Chapel alone we can consider redeveloping on the Tea Room site. If both properties are sold there are many other options available to us within Mannum.

This is an exciting time to be part of Mannum Baptist Church as we look forward to what God has in mind for us.”

Prospective purchasers should contact Michael Nance at Mannum Estates.

Ph 85692635, Mob 0428 294 141

 

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One In Worship – 26th February 2017

OIW_1768

From the Pastor’s Lap-top – February 2016

If we look through history, we find the records of many Christian revivals. There was the Great Awakening that began in Germany in 1734.  During 1863 and 1864 the “Great Revival” occurred in America. Perhaps the greatest of the modern revivals began in Wales in 1904. Today we hear of God’s Spirit moving in revival power, in South America, in Cuba and even in China, literally millions of people are being won for Jesus every year.

We can look at these events and be excited by what is happening in other times and in other places. But isn’t there part of you saying “What about us?” “What about revival in the here and now?”

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to make revival happen, but there does seem some consistency of events preceding revival. Over the next two months we will look back to the history of Israel to look at the ups and downs of some of their kings. Some did well, leading the people closer to God. But unfortunately, most were judged by God as doing evil.

Pastor’s Pen – January 2017

Here we are at the start of another year. 2017! Who ever thought we would make it that far. I remember a school Head Master talking about the turn of the century. It was so far into the future we could hardly even imagine it. Now it is so far in the past we can hardly remember it. There are now people driving on the road who weren’t even born then.

So, what do we hope for in 2017. Whether the past year has been a good one or something not so good, we all hope the next year will be something better. What then will make the next year a better one? I came across a recipe for a Happy New Year written by that famous author called Anonymous. It went like this:

“Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancour and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past – have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavour of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing – don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaped cupful of good humour.”

Pastor’s Pen – December 2016

O Christmas Tree

Trees were used in various pagan religious celebrations throughout history, but contrary to popular belief, there does not appear to be any direct link between the pagan rituals and the Christmas tree. Rather, the Christmas tree almost certainly has its roots (no pun intended) in Christian practices.

The Christmas tree almost certainly originated in Germany. There are three stories of its origin spanning from the 8th to the 16th century.

(1) In the 8th century, St. Boniface was a missionary in Germany. He is best known for “Felling of Thor’s Oak.” It is said that upon entering a town in northern Hesse, Boniface learned that the people worshiped the god Thor. They believed that Thor resided in their great oak tree. Boniface announced that he was going to cut down the oak, and he openly challenged Thor to strike him down. Miraculously, as Boniface began to chop the oak, a mighty wind blew and hurled the tree to the ground. Tradition holds that a fir tree was growing in the roots of the oak, and Boniface claimed the tree as a symbol of Christ. The tree served as a reminder of the mighty God who was humbly born into the world as a man on Christmas day.

(2) Among popular medieval religious plays was the “Paradise” play. It started with the creation of man, acted out the first sin, and showed Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. It closed with the promise of a coming Savior, which made the play a favorite during the Christmas season. In the play, the Garden of Eden was most often represented by a fir tree hung with apples and surrounded by candles. By the 15th century, Christians started to decorate their trees not only with apples (the symbol of sin and the need for a Savior) but with small white wafers (the symbol of Christ’s body, the Savior). These wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut in the shape of stars, angels, bells, etc.

(3) A third tradition attributes the Christmas tree to Martin Luther. One Christmas Eve, Luther was walking through the woods near his home. He was struck by the beauty of how the snow shimmered in the moonlight on the branches of the trees. To re-create the magnificent sight for his family, he cut down the tree, placed it in his home, and decorated it with candles.

Interestingly, in the Bible, God compares himself to a tree. He says, “I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me” (Hosea 14:8b). This is a relevant analogy to consider during the Christmas season. The fruitful lives of Christians can serve as the “ornaments” that draw others to admire the “tree” – God himself!

Pastor’s Pen – November 2016

There are three words that changed the course of history. In the summer of 1940, Adolf Hitler was desperate to quickly subdue Britain and so be free to turn on his main goal – Russia. The British army had only just escaped at Dunkirk – and without its equipment. England was a sitting duck for invasion, and all Germany needed was control of the skies. Since the Luftwaffe greatly outnumbered the Royal Air Force in planes and especially in experienced pilots, this was not expected to take long.

Instead, it lasted nearly four months and was a decisive British victory. Germany invaded Russia anyhow, and in the end could not sustain the war on two fronts. History looks back on the Battle of Britain as a key turning point. So how was the battle won?

Britain had a secret weapon – radar. It showed them when, where, and in what force the Luftwaffe raids were coming, well before they arrived. Efficient communications systems enabled the RAF planes to be in place and ready for them.

But here’s the remarkable thing: German scientists had also developed radar. What’s more, theirs was more advanced than the rudimentary British system! But the critical difference is: The British system was in the field, and the German system was still being perfected in the lab. Sir Robert Watson-Watt, leader of the British research team, used “Second Best Tomorrow” as a motto against perfectionism. Better a basic system in the field tomorrow than the perfect system next year (or the year after).

I think this has application for us as a church. We could spend forever working out the perfect way to share God’s love with our community, and still have it not quite right. What we are currently doing may feel as if it is second best, but the important thing is that we can be out there tomorrow, before the war is lost.

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