I just want to let you all know that Mark Palalagi who has been our Worship Director for over 3 years is taking a 12 month break from his role. Mark has had a lot of health issues in the last year and a half and after seeking advice from his Doctor and in conversation with myself has decide a decent break is needed in order to get healthy. We have appointed Emma Crosby as Worship Director over the next 12 months. Emma has great experience in worship playing in churches such as Hillsong London and Holy Trinity Brompton. And is currently studying at Jazz School here in Christchurch. You will still be seeing Mark around at church and I will be meeting with him fortnightly over this period. I wish both Mark and Emma the very best and I know God will be with them both over this next season in their lives.
This weekend as we gather together we are taking a moment in our service to celebrate the significance of the communion meal. It’s a tradition that has endured for over 2000 years and is a significant part of the Christian faith.
Matthew 26:26-28 New International Version (NIV)
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins
This act of remembrance binds us together, reminds us of the great cost in Christ’s sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. The ultimate price was paid on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Let’s join together this Sunday and celebrate all that He was done for us and thank God for the freedom we have in Christ.
This past week I’ve been feeling as if God, in His wisdom, was reminding me again of what life is truly all about. As we look towards our future we are filled with ideas, hopes and desires of what it could be like. We all have a need to be needed, desire to be used in some way, a yearning to find fulfillment, to find success and happiness. I find that as we lift our eyes towards God we begin to discover what it is He had in mind for us.
Jesus was once asked which commandment was the greatest, to which he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” Then Jesus said, “the second is similar, love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth was a masterpiece in defining what it means to truly love someone and be loved by someone. If love were a building then Paul's list in 1 Corinthians 13 would be the blueprint, and one slight deviation from it could cause the whole structure of love to collapse.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
... 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Pray today, pray this week, that God, in His wisdom, would show you again what it means to truly love. When we build our lives on a foundation of love, we are building a strong and powerful structure that will not collapse. No matter what the challenges are we face, in Christ we find strength. My prayer is that our church would always be established on a foundation that would not be shaken and that’s Love.
Don’t forget this Sunday at our 10am service we have an amazing group of talented musicians and dancers from Excel Performing Arts School. They will be leading our service on Sunday so please come along and invite people to come with you. I would love to see you there.
Nu and Taua Telea
What an amazing weekend we had with Ps Steve and Rebecca Green from Elim Christian Centre North Campus. Ps Rebecca shared an amazing word on Saturday for around 30 woman from church at the Replenish refresher. Then Ps Steve spoke on Sunday about what it means to be "All in". In order for us to see the things we want to see here at church we've got to be all in, which means not being halfhearted but wholehearted in the life of the church.
In his message Steve defined the differences between halfhearted and wholehearted. He challenged the church to not look back at what was familiar, what was comfortable. Being comfortable was the greatest inhibitor to church growth. Secondly Steve talked about trusting God in both the good and bad times. God has a much bigger perspective on our lives than we do. Finally he encouraged the church to not just point out what is wrong in the church but to be a part of the solution to solving the problems. Those who are all in not only see the issues but come up with ways to solve it. This felt like a Rhema word from God for us as a church. If you missed Sundays message be sure to check it out on our website.
So with this message in mind. I want you to think about what you could do to go "All in" here at church. What is one thing you could do? Maybe its time for you to get into a small group, maybe its time for you to lead a group. Maybe its getting involved in our children's ministries such as JTeam and Powerzone or Music and Munchies, Maybe it's being a part of our serving ministry or music ministry on a Sunday? How about our Youth ministry attending this or supporting it as a leader/helper? Maybe it's starting a new ministry that meets a need that you see?
I want to encourage you to not let this moment pass you by. Don't let this be just another message you heard on Sunday. Let it be the catalyst that launches you into something new. Because just like Caleb, we have new land to possess, a land of possibilities, of blessing, of influence but it requires that we go "ALL IN".
On Monday I was invited to attend the opening of a new Barber shop called “My Father’s Barber” on Riccarton Road. The owner, Matt Brown, his partner Sarah and Sarah’s daughter Oceana have been a part of our church for a while now. It was an amazing night where we were treated to emotional stories from the staff of how they were impacted by Matt in some way. How he had helped them to turn their lives around or supported them through training and creating opportunities for them in the industry. Matt was able to combine his passion for God and people into the one profession.
Matthew 28:19-20 New Living Translation
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This passage was Jesus final command to every believer. The challenge that would echo throughout the centuries. It is more than just a memory verse to be quoted every now and then. This is our task as the Church. We are called to make disciples, to invest our life into the lives of others. To encourage and inspire them, to equip and teach, to love them as Christ would, so that they would become fully devoted followers of Christ.
I Pray that God will open doors for you to begin the journey of the discipleship of others and in doing so, like Matt, make a difference in this world one person at a time.