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    Desperately Dependent Discipleship

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013


    This past Sunday night Julio shared with us from Mark 5 on some of Jesus’ miracles of healing.  I really enjoy the incredible picture of desperate faith which is shown in the story of the woman with the issue of blood.  Her story is a parenthesis in the middle of another story of compassionate healing and both stories show Jesus’ concern with the needs of the hurting.  This woman had suffered for 12 years - not only physically and financially, but emotionally. She was considered unclean and avoided by religious people seeking to stay ceremonially clean.  She also suffered spiritually as, in her unclean condition, she was not able to worship God at the temple. Imagine - excluded from God’s presence for 12 years due to an illness beyond your control! Rejection and refusal were familiar experiences for her.

    In verse 28 she expresses her faith in Jesus ability to heal her. Think of the risk she took in being in that crowd as an unclean person. Consider the courage it took to touch a Rabbi – potentially making him ceremonially unclean.  But recognize that when she did, both she and Jesus knew immediately what had happened!  She knew her health had returned (v29). He knew healing power had left Him (v30).  When she courageously confesses to touching Him, Jesus’ response to her is affirmation of her faith and confirmation of her healing.  This is the only place in Scripture where Jesus calls a woman “daughter” – a term of endearment and encouragement. That term of tenderness is where this story ends –for us. What can we learn from this desperate, risk-taking woman? 

    She had nowhere else to turn –Jesus was her last hope. She was desperately dependent on him.  She had faith Jesus could heal her.  She risked all and then courageously confessed to touching Jesus, facing her fears of rebuke and rejection from the religious leaders and public.

    She is a role-model to us of devoted discipleship!  Are we desperately dependent on God to work in our lives – or do we think we can do this Christian walk on our own?  Are we able to believe and step out in faith or do we still try to fix things ourselves? Are we able to courageously confess our dependence on Him or are we afraid of rebuke and rejection from those around us?  We can never receive all God has for us until we are desperate for His working in our lives. A pauper begs only out of his poverty and hopelessness – not with a particular result in mind.  We need to come to Jesus in our helplessness and declare our desperate dependence on Him and believe in His healing of our souls and then courageously confess before all that we are His disciples! That is the cost of discipleship and this courageous woman set the example for us. Are you willing to pay that cost?  Next week we learn more about discipleship from Mark 6...Why not read ahead?

    Marti


    Marti Williams
    Women's Pastor






    Discipleship

    Friday, April 26, 2013


    We are in a new series walking through the book of Mark. One of the reoccurring themes is around the idea of discipleship and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Last Sunday evening I preached from Mark 1:29-38 and we discussed the concept of being in contested space and being influenced by the world.

    Then this week I was using www.sacredspace.ie for some mediation and reflection, I came upon this adaptation from Michael Gallagher:

    “Sixty years ago Henri de Lubac described Christ as ‘the great disturber’, but also as the new image of God and of humanity, who brings refreshing novelty into a tired world. He was asking how we had arrived at a situation where Christianity was seen either as the enemy of full humanity, or, worse still, as a boring and empty legend. These same accusations are alive today, though in a different cultural context.

    Our lived culture is nine-tenths invisible: it contains meanings and values that underlie a whole way of life. We live by unstated and unexamined perceptions. But this world of images and values has immense, if often unconscious impact on our capacity for life-decisions, including, of course, the decision about faith in God.

    For instance, when science claims a monopoly of truth, a whole wavelength of spiritual wisdom is ignored and even despised. It is liberating to realise, with Newman, that existential truth can only be found when the whole person is involved: some forms of knowledge are accessible only through love. Many are now seeking for a spiritual consciousness beyond the confusion and fragmentation of our day. There is a hunger, less shy or silent than a generation back, for something more, which Christians may identify as the ‘disturbing freshness of Christ’.

    As I sit and reflect on my own life and the hectic world buzzing around me, there are times when we feel tired, rushed and pushed on all sides. In those times, if we are honest, the disturbing freshness of Christ is the longing of our souls. Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t about inactivity or laziness. Mark 1 paints the picture of Jesus being very busy ministering to people, but in Mark 1:35 Jesus gets up early to pray. This idea of calling ‘time out’ amongst the intensity of our commitments to seek the presence of God is crucial in realigning our heart and mind with the heart and mind of God. In this we are shaped into the image of God and we push back against the pressures and influences of being shaped by the world.

    I trust you can join us this Sunday as we continue on our discovery of God and pilgrimage with Him - together.

    Jarrod Flack

    Youth Pastor





    Enthusiasm for the Word

    Wednesday, February 08, 2012


    One of our church’s Core Values is ‘To enthusiastically investigate God’s Word and boldly teach His truth because God is our authority for life.” And this is what makes the E100 Challenge such a valuable resource to the Church. Whatever we call it; a challenge, a program, a plan or outline, it is a tool to enthuse and encourage us toward making God’s Word all that He designed it to be. His blueprint of relationship with me and how I can live a fruitful and fulfilling life.

    It’s interesting to know EBC is not alone in recognizing the need to encourage the reading and spiritual application of God’s Word. Pastor Rick Warren is currently leading all the churches under his influence in “40 Days in the Word”. He makes the observation that over 3 generations the understanding and application of God’s Word has diminished. He reflects, his father’s generation knew the Word really well, His generation knew it somewhat and today’s still less. I see and believe this to be generally correct here in Australia also.

    Pastor John Piper recently had a blog discussion “Read your Bible more and more” (Jan 30th) where he countered criticism with 3 reasons such a call was not legalistic. In it he reproduced a comment from J.C. Ryle - Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.

    Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading. (J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)

    This week in the E100 we have been reading about the Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We read of men and family leaders learning about what it is to a people of faith. God called a man (Abraham) to be the building block in showcasing faith and obedience. God is constantly looking and desires us to be people of faith.    

    A key theme that has registered with me this summer is, Wholeness in life is directly connected to wholeheartedness. Wholeness in life, my marriage, my children, in my ministry and social circle, is directly connected to how I give myself to it. Am I giving myself wholeheartedly to the life God had given me to live? Giving myself to God’s Word thereby submitting to its authority is important for me to have a fruitful and fulfilled life. 





    100 days...

    Thursday, January 19, 2012


    By now most families will be back from holiday, meaning back to work and asking the rhetorical question “Where did that holiday go?” Next week will see Ps’s Brian & Don return to the office and church life will resume its given intensity. During term 1 there will be two events we as a Church will be asked to support.

    E 100 CHALLENGE This initiative from Scripture Union is being offered to the body of EBC by leadership as a spiritual growth resource. And like other church-wide initiatives, which have reaped fruit in the life of the church (i.e. 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community, Peacemakers) it is designed to impact best by “multiple growth reinforcement.” Meaning growth takes place by hearing (Sunday preaching), doing (individual scripture investigating), reading (daily book journaling), and discussion (LIFEgroup interaction). 100 days over two terms immersed in an overview of the whole Bible.

    If you’re like me, I start well but fade easily. I know how difficult it is to stay committed no matter how good it is designed to be for me. But in this I want to succeed because the scriptures are the only true source of life, sustenance and hope. Join us as leaders with our families and groups as we commit to doing 100 days together.  The more of us doing this the greater incentive it is to complete what we start.

    FAMILY CAMP Is it time again for Family Camps to be a part of EBC church life?

    When we came to EBC in 2001 Family Camp was an influence in the families of EBC in a great way. Camps were spoken of, looked forward to and were part of the calendar every year. That season waned for the broader church although some families continued to fellowship this way privately. Ps Simon put it in our 2012 calendar for the Church to respond. Our response will show if we continue with the booking.

    AUSTRALIA DAY This week we will celebrate with other citizens Australia Day. There will be flag waving, Citizenship ceremonies, and multiple celebrations with mandatory barbeques. Great! Bring on a good snag, lamb chops and steak (medium rare please) with Lamingtons to follow. I have a sense that patriotism expressed by the average Australian is increasing. At least that’s what the shops would sell us. When we see the state of political and financial affairs off shore we have much to be proud of. Australia has held its head high financially through the recent GFC that continues to wreck havoc in many Western economies. Currently our dollar appears stronger than both the Euro and the US dollar for investment. Investments are up with mining resources solid. Politically, Australia is growing in global acceptance as our leaders take higher profiles in International gatherings. So?

    Biblically, inappropriate pride leads to destruction Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Solomon also warned national & international leaders that God hate[s] pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech. … By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just, by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. (Prov. 8:13-16) Is this judgment on Western society? Possibly. The sum of last century’s 2 World Wars bookending the Great Depression defined modern Western Society’s ability to ‘ride out’ political and financial turmoil. I believe this gave it the high impression of being right and even becoming the global policeman. 

    So? Many sportsmen have experienced the short step from pride to arrogance.  No need to name names here…  

    As we see the global demise of European and American respect and influence, let’s make sure Australia doesn’t travel down the same path. As a Church let us lead our community on a pathway by showing we have hope in Jesus Christ and humility to value His Word. 100 days could be all the difference it takes.

    Ps Joe





    Learning to Surf

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011


    Throughout the first term we here at EBC have been challenged to grow in our faith in Jesus. The illustrative analogy is “Getting out of the swimming pool and into the Ocean.” This Sunday morning we will be hearing from several EBCers who have been stretched by God to grow in trusting Jesus more each day.
    The following is another testimony of applying the truths of discipleship in Jesus.



    "Life’s definitely been no swimming pool lately - nothing comfortable and relaxing about it whatsoever! Funnily enough, I’m not necessarily doing anything new or different particularly – just being dramatically stretched and shaped in all my everyday commitments and relationships.

    Ironically, I’ve recently decided to try my hand at surfing in this “stepping out into the ocean” season. I’ve always wanted to learn to surf and watched it on TV for many years – in awe of all the pro surfers who know how to handle the waves and unpredictable conditions. But the ferocity, unknown dangers and a bad experience in the ocean at a younger age has had me a little scared off. Lately I’ve been a bit more adventurous. A friend said he’d give me a lesson, so I thought I’d give it a go.  He leant me his wetsuit and surfboard and was out in the water with me the whole time. I felt protected wearing the wetsuit, and it was assuring having him alongside me in the water to show me what to do. But it still took actually getting out in the ocean to overcome my fears.

    I found the hardest (and most tiring) part was paddling past the little waves, and overcoming the tow of the water back into the beach to be able to get out to the bigger waves that were better for surfing. While I was still getting the hang of it (and also later when I was getting tired), I needed my friend’s help to pull me out past the little waves and overcome the back-tow.
    By the end of the lesson, I’d been pounded by the waves, and my hair was a complete mess! But you know what? It was so much fun! And it was exhilarating when I actually caught a bigger wave in. I liked it so much I even signed up for a proper surfing lesson to get some more tips and pointers – cos now that I’ve had a go, I want to know how to improve my skills! But my friend helped me get past my initial fear.

    The obvious analogies that relate to my spiritual life, have made me think about who the people (like my Lifegroup and mentors) are that God has given me; to equip me, get me in the water, and get excited with me when I catch the big waves! And who has He given me to come alongside and do the same for?

    There are always so many little life “waves” that hinder me from getting the bigger ones, tiring me out & pulling me back in before I get to experience the best waves God has to offer. I know the constant busyness of life has thrown so many at me lately that if it weren’t for a few strong people and mentors in my life, I’d lose sight of those bigger waves God wants me to experience!"



    Remember this Sunday night is our special pre-Easter Service "BROKEN" at 6pm. Our creative ministries team has been working hard at putting together a fantastic production presenting the restoration Jesus offers all who come to Him in faith.


    Joe.






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