All posts by Dr Tim

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Chain Reaction Outreach to the Gold Coast

Home2This year we have 56 people particpating in our January outreaches (43 young people – mostly teenage boys and young men). Unlike last year where we had 4 teams go off, this time we a taking a bus (and couple of cars) with 27 from Canberra and joining with 29 from churches on the Gold Coast, for a single focus on the Gold Coast region.

The Canberra contingent is leaving on the morning of New Years Eve and travelling to Port Macquarie where we will be staying in the Uniting Church. Then we will travel New Year’s Day to arrive in evening. We will be staying in classrooms at St Andrews Lutheran School (Tallebudgera Valley) where the training camp will run from 2nd Jan-5th Jan – after this we will be involved in various evangelistic activities (serving, sports, church services, performing on the street etc.), cooperating with several churches and Christian ministLeadership-trainingries between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast.

The outreach concludes on 16th Jan – when the Canberra contingent with make the two day trek back home, arriving on the evening of 17th Jan. Please pray for us as we travel and the success of the venture, as we establish a Chain Reaction ‘franchise’ north of the border.

If you want to track along with the Chain Reaction outreach updates, please go to the Chain Reaction website and check out the outreach page.

 

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A baby changes everything – A Message from Dr. Tim

Sandra and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this week ).

When we got married at St. Margaret’s Uniting Church at Hackett on 17th December 1988. It was our own personal bi-centennial celebration.

I was 26 years old when we got married and Sandra was 23. We were right on the national average at the time.

When I got married I had been living away from home for 9 years. I had lived in a wide variety of accommodation from boarding houses to share houses; from flats to Uni accommodation. I had learnt to be self-sufficient and could survive pretty well ‘baching it’! I had travelled across the country several times by myself…through heat waves, floods and cyclones.

I was independent – but at times missed the close family relationship that I had grown up with.

Then I came to Canberra to study at ANU in 1987– but ended up joining YWAM Canberra instead.

It was there on my first day at the YWAM base (at Watson) that I met Sandra. Little did on know that 19 months and 12 days later we would be married. It was not love at first site…but something that grew out of a shared friendship…and a sense of God’s calling.

It was only when we were engaged did my plans have to stop be so self-focused and start including someone else…this of course was only the beginning of the revelation…Sandra is a very different person, so many of the things I would do had to be compromised so that we could enjoy things together. Not that it was all bad – after being a single…being married had a lot of advantages – not the least having someone who would look after you and mother you…

But that was a short lived period of our lives because we decided to start a family shortly after we were married…

When it came to our first child we were novices…I would say that most parents would agree that its often easier with subsequent children – because you are more relaxed and know (mostly) what to expect. We asked a lot of questions and got advice from a lot of people…we went to the ante-natal classes at Royal Hobart and learnt to breathe…we were all geared up with music…packed bags…and then we waited…

When Jordan finally arrived was about 10 days overdue…things changed. Everything about what we considered normal was turned upside down. Sleep deprivation, once a choice, now was a normal part of life. Our conversation changed; our food choices changed; frankly the arrival of a baby into our family changed everything…and when each of our (5) children arrived it was the same to greater or lesser degrees.

Sandra had someone who was more reliant on her than I was…where I had been at the centre of the universe – now I was pushed out by our baby who required more attention – and was forced to fend for myself again and care for Sandra and Jordan… I learnt very quickly that a baby changes everything.0

This week I discovered a song by Faith Hill on YouTube called ‘A baby changes everything’. Follow the link and have a look.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y0_wNPSOaw

It’s a song that sets Mary’s predicament against film clips from the life of Jesus.

Today we focus in on Mary  – who is betrothed to Joseph…a teenage girl…set for a arranged marriage. We read her song of praise (Luke 1: 46-55) her ‘Magnificat’ – as she, under the power of the Spirit, gave her praise to God for the changes that were happening to her and the consequences of God intervention into human history.

This is pre-incarnation stuff…

Gabriel goes to Mary and breaks the news – but what was her response…?

  • Not – you ask too much – I can’t do it – it will cost too much – it doesn’t make sense…
  • In humility she accepts God’s will…she says…here I am Lord…let it be as you say…let it be according to you word…(1 v38)

In that moment she weighs up the consequences of saying ‘yes’ to God – the changes to her dreams, hopes and plans. She realises the stigma attached to being pregnant out of married…she knows the rejection…from her family, her community and most likely Joseph.

In saying yes to God’s will – her life would never be the same again. A baby changes everything!

But unlike our children who come into our world and force us to make sweeping changes…this baby was God incarnate (in-flesh). Can you imagine the responsibility of carrying the child who would be the saviour of the world?

In those first few months of her pregnancy Mary is sent away to assist her elderly relative Elizabeth who is going to have a miraculous baby too – (Jon the Baptist)…there she stays until John ‘s birth and returns home…

Whether it was widely known that she was pregnant before she went away – when she came back there was no denying it, it was obvious for all to see.  This baby was changing everything…but despite the rejection of her community, deep down she knew God’s purpose. She had heard and accepted God’s word for her and that was what she needed to sustain her through her difficulties.

How those 9 months must have dragged on…but her faith and trust God that God would keep his word…sustained her. Deep down she meditated on what the angel had said…she knew that this child would be the one through whom God’s mercy and salvation would be provided.

As we reflect on this well-known story, I am challenged by Mary’s humility and commitment. We are all called by God to accept the gift of the son of God…but with this gift comes consequences – changes, the stigma of be different to others, the possibility of rejection by family and friends. Saying yes to the love and mercy of God – has costs attached and some people are not willing to pay the price.

The arrival of the baby Jesus as God incarnate into our world changed everything for all time. No one can be a disciple without first having weighed up the life changing consequences. He is God’s saving gift…But many of us let this gift sit in the corner of the room without unwrapping it.

Marys’ response was YES to God…I am not worthy – but I am willing – her song of praise is a statement of faith that echoes the statement of the character of God and God’s plan of salvation from the Old Testament.  God calls us all to accept the gift of the Christ child, the baby who would change the world. In humility and faith, is your response an unequivocal ‘yes’… … something to ponder this Christmas!

God bless.

Dr. Tim.

Christmas Services and Special Events

At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Christ into our world. It is wonderful news because his life showed the way of salvation for all of humanity. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to all and so this Christmas we are going to celebrate all month long!

8th Dec – 9.30am The Ecumenical Choir presents, ‘The Wonder of Christmas”.
15th Dec – 9.30am We have a special Kid’s Church Christmas party.
Christmas Eve – 6.30pam Special Family Christmas Event.
9 am Christmas Day – Put Christ back into Christmas.

(Please note: From the 29th Dec until 2nd February there will be combined 9am services). Christmas_Services_Panel_585

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Church News for 17th Nov

Hello Church family,

Here is the link to our newsheet

 

There are a number of special items for your attention this week.

 

  • There will be a communion servers training session (45 mins) for those who would like to assist Tim serving communion at our services. This is a one off (compulsory) session to help servers understand the significance of communion and the words we use. Tim will run this session as needed – first session 11.15am-12.00 noon on 24th November at church.
  • Tim will be running a series of studies titled ‘The Purpose of Christmas’ on Tuesday night at 7.30pm starting this week, 19th November.
  • There will be a special welcome to anyone wanting to recognised as new members at WCUC at both morning services on 15th December. Please talk with Tim or  the Pastoral Care Task Group if you wish to be included.
  • Please continue to pray for Jim Winslade (and family) as Jim is still having tests prior to heart surgery.
  • Worship Task Group meeting will be held in the Chapel – Wed 27th November at 6.30pm.
  • Ecumenical Choir will perform ‘The wonder of Christmas’ at our 9.30am service on 8th December – and will be singing Christmas Carols in Coolemon Court on 7th December at 11am.
  • Finally, a reminder that there is a special meal organised by the Mission Task Group – called Mission Possible (informing us on the many mission activities that we are involved in and the potential for the future) –this Saturday 16th November at 6.30pm. Cost $4 plus bring a plate to share with coffee.

 

Hope to see you Sunday.

 

God bless,

 

Office Admin Team

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Mission Possible Dinner – Saturday 16th Nov 6.30pm

There will be a special dinner organised by our Mission Taks Group called ‘Mission Possible’ (Anything is possible) on Saturday night 16th Nov at 6.30pm in our Genesis Hall.

There will be short interviews covering several mission activities supported by our church both overseas and locally – to give us an overview of the wide range of things that we support.

The cost is $4 plus you are asked to bring a plate of fruit or slice to share with coffee after the meal. It is going to be a great night, so please make the effort to be there!

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A little bit goes a long way! (A message from Dr Tim)

It’s amazing how far a little bit of kindness will go – when God takes control of our lives. It’s amazing how people can set things into motion in our lives – and start a movement. Like Free hugs – (altho9ugh you’ve got to wonder about free hugs). Not being a very touchy feely person – free hugs mean little to me….but there are times when we just need a bit of support.

Then there are random acts of kindness…I remember when I got my Master’s degree,  I travelled to Sydney Uni – got caught in a traffic jam and then had to find parking – then did not have coins for a parking meter.

Seeing my frustration – a man came over and put money in the meter for me – so that I could race to pick up my gown…I never met that man before or later…it was totally random – but I appreciated it. I went away that day wanting to help someone else.

It’s amazing how small amounts of good can change a person’s whole perspective on life. But then I thought about it – random acts are good – but it shouldn’t just be the exception – it’s meant to be a lifestyle.

Now sometimes it is hard to see the needs of others because we are so caught up with our own struggles. When things are not going well – when you seem like you are locked in with no way out…there is always something that you can change. Yourself!  Your attitude – your outlook – your expectation – your approach.

We can get ourselves locked into ways of doing things where we think that there is no way out.Sometimes the mess we get ourselves in is of our own doing – but sometimes it is out of our hands…at times like that it is easy to begin to grumble about the ways things are – and say how unfair it is.

A bit like Habakkuk’s (Chapter 1:1-4) complaint…how long must I be stuck in this situation…how long do I have to live with the injustice…

This strikes a chord with me – Aussies are motivated by justice – we desire a fair go…that everyone should get an equal chance…and when things are not fair – especially when they affect us directly we can react. We often look to blame our problems on others or on circumstances – or even God…because God is in control – then why does he allow these things to happen to me.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do the innocent suffer – when those who are not doing the right thing seem to get away with it? It makes it tempting to step off the right track…

CS Lewis said the problem of pain was the atheists most potent weapon against Christianity – either God is powerless to do something about it or is not the God of love who is concerned about our pain. Many people think this is a philosophical question – but in reality it is a faith question.

If we accept by faith that there is a problem of sin in the world and that all of us come under the influence of sin (Rom 3:23)…then we understand why Jesus needed to come into the world to reconcile us to God and restore the order that had been lost.

Until the time when everything will be made good – we live in a world that suffers from the consequences of our fallen nature…

The second thing – is that no matter what we are experiencing, when we trust that God is in control we believe that God will bring about his ultimately good purposes and use the difficulties for good – maybe not my good in the short term – but for the good of promoting the good news and bringing others into a relationship with him.

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Habakkuk 2:4 says the righteous person will live by faith. Regardless of the situation they are experiencing, they will put their trust in God, even when things are looking bad (chapter 3), because they know that regardless of what they may be feeling at this time – God had proven himself to be trustworthy and faithful and can be relied on to fulfil is promises and purposes.

Some of us have experienced that. For others, we are in difficult positions and it is hard to see. But the encouragement for us is to remember that, no matter how painful the circumstances we are experiencing, God is loving; God is compassionate; God is kind; God is faithful and will carry you through. All we need to do is put your trust in his unfailing love.

That’s something we can do, pray and trust, and when we do we will begin to get a different perspective on the situations that we are going through.

God bless,

Dr. Tim

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Latin American Food Festival – 2nd Nov

Canberra Spanish Church – Iglesia Cristo Para Las Naciones  (who meet at WCUC on Sunday afternoons) are having their annual Latin American Food Festival at Weston Creek UC on Saturday 2 November, 2013 from 11.30am-3.30pm.

The hospitality is fabulous and the food AMAZING! So bring your friends – bring your money….all funds raised go towards their church food projects in Latin America and South East Asia!!Latin-America-food festival

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Operation Christmas Child

It’s that time! (Only 2 weeks left!!) The Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes are now being collected for distribution to underprivileged kids in nations in the South East Asia/Pacific Region.

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Each year we collect dozens of boxes and send them off through Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child program. They become a small part of million of similar gift boxes that make an incredible difference in lives of children across the world.

Check out this link to get the picture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH7_wlm-9nY&feature=player_embedded

We have only two weeks to get our boxes in. We will be dedicating them at church on 3rd November.

We still have boxes at the office for your use (50c donation).

If you have any questions about what goes in the box – just go to the Operation Christmas Child web site at www.operationchristmaschild.org.au  or ask Kimberly or Robert Francis at WCUC.

Please make the effort to fill a box and make a difference in the life of a child!

 

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God’s Foreign Policy (A message from Dr Tim)

From the very beginning of the Bible God’s people were blessed to be a blessing to others.  God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 12) clearly shows that the Israelites were to be a blessing to all nations as bearers of God’s saving message.

. The trouble was, the people wanted the blessing of being God’s chosen people without any of the responsibilities. So they constantly paid little more than lip service to their God. a regular cyclethat included invasion, defeat, exile and captivity before the people called out to God for help…and so it was in the time of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah lived about 600 years before the time of Christ and was commissioned as a prophet during the era of the godly King Josiah. Sadly, after Josiah’s death in battle against the Egyptians, what started out as a happy alliance quickly turned into imprisonment and doom under the rapid succession of Josiah’s successors – all vassal kings, firstly to the Egyptians and then to the Babylonians.

It was in this time of Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon ruled the region unchallenged for about 70 years. This was the period of Daniel and his friends who were taken as captives to Babylon.

Taken as captives to Babylon, the Israelites began to long for home and a better time. Their priests and prophets wanted to keep their hopes up, that they would be returning to the old ways soon – but God had other plans. Jeremiah writes them a letter and tells them to settle down and get used to their circumstances – to make friends with their neighbours – to seek the welfare of the city they are living in – to make it a better place – and by blessing it then they would be blessed. He said – stop thinking about yourself and remember the covenant.

Certainly a message that has relevance for the church in Australia in the 21st century.

Now, let’s fast forward about 600 years, to the time of Christ (Luke 17)  – and the remnant of Judah live in Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee and are known as the Jews. They are the pure bloods; the ones who can trace their ancestry back – who have stayed true to their understanding of the Hebrew texts

But just up the road are the non-pure bloods. The remnant of the other tribes of Israel that created their own religion when they moved away from God…they are mixed race group –the Samaritans.  The Jews despised the Samaritans almost more than the gentiles and to consider any of them good was beyond belief.  I wonder how many of Jesus followers really took his parable about the good Samaritan to heart…to many it would have been little more than a fairy tale. However, the story of the ten lepers highlights that a good Samaritan was myth…in fact this Samaritan easily showed up the Jews when it came to faith and gratitude towards God.

Luke’s gospel is one that highlights God’s foreign policy. Aimed at a Gentile audience, it highlights several key non-Jews as recognising Jesus as the Messiah and who Jesus recognises as having faith. So it is with the Samaritan, whose actions and sincerity are acknowledged as faith, while the nine Jewish companions are shown to be cleansed on the outside, but inside, their lack of thankfulness highlights their ingratitude, which in reality is a greater disease than leprosy – which is only a disease of the skin, not the heart!

When we compare the actions and reactions we find:10-lepers-slide2

•             The 9 Jews were clean on the outside, but had not received cleansing on the inside. They had missed the point.

•             The foreigner was included in God’s blessing and he understood. While they ran home, he stopped because he had no home…even healed he was still and outcast with nowhere to go and no one to celebrate with. So, in that moment of recognition, he does the right thing and returns to Jesus.

•             The 9 Jews saw Jesus as a healer who could help them with their immediate problem, while Samaritan saw Jesus as the answer to all of his problems.

•             The 9 Jews saw Jesus as useful for them to get back their old way of life, while the Samaritan saw Jesus as the ultimate answer to his life’s questions.

•             The 9 sought the blessing of a priest, while the Samaritan gave thanks to God and received God’s blessing.

 

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Like Jeremiah’s message to those in exile – the exiled Samaritan saw things differently. He saw things clearly. He saw Jesus for who he is. He had seen God’s perspective and had left a changed man… still a foreigner,, still alienated from the Jews…but now he was a citizen of God’s kingdom, with a story to tell. On the other hand, the Jews had returned to their lives, overjoyed that they were no longer outcasts – but missing the point.

Be careful not to miss the point!

We are blessed through our encounter with Jesus– but we are meant to pass on the blessing to others and not just those who look and sound like us.

Sadly, many people give lip service to God.

We may come to worship and pray each Sunday, but do not let that impact the rest of the week. We seek the blessing of God, but do not allow Jesus to change us inside. This is why many of us struggle with inconsistency between our walk and our talk.

How are we to make a difference in the community if we do not find ways to bless it? Where are the places in our community where we can make a difference? If our attitude is gratitude for God’s gift and generosity in passing it on, then there will be a consistency with our walk and our talk.

But what happens when God’s people are silent? God will not go without a witness. He will raise up others like the Samaritan who get it and gladly take the message where it belongs – away from the holy huddles and to all peoples, everywhere – that’s God’s foreign policy. We are blessed to be a blessing – we cannot keep it to ourselves, it goes against the purpose of the church.

 

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Fan the flame (a message from Dr Tim)

’I wish I had greater faith’.

Ever thought that – or uttered those words?

You are not the first person to say that – and that was something of the sentiment of the disciples when they were faced with problems (as we read about them in the bible, especially in Luke 17: 5-10). The trouble with a wish, is that it something we hope for, without any assurance that the hope will be realised. While a prayer, is something we ask God for with the assurance from Jesus that when we ask in Jesus name and in line with the will of God we will get what we ask for.

We believe that God answers prayer – just sometimes the answer is yes; sometimes no; and sometimes not now!

I have often heard people pray – God make me a better person – rather than – God I choose to be a better person but I need your help – please help me change my thoughts, my actions – my heart – so when I am tempted to do the wrong thing – I will choose to follow in your ways.

So what did the disciples ask for Luke 17?…’greater faith!’

How do you get greater faith? Like other character areas that need developing…faith comes through use. God pushes and stretches us so that our faith grows. Jesus wanted to stress how a little bit of faith goes a long way, when used properly. He said, if you have a tiny bit of faith you can say to a mulberry tree, be uprooted and thrown into the sea. To the disciples that sounded like an impossibility – and it was from a natural way of viewing it. But through the lens of faith – all things become possible.

However, such a small bit of faith emphasises that it is not the size of your faith that is the problem – it is our ability to recognise the size of our God. It’s a matter of perspective!!

Recently I was in Goulburn during the Lilac city festival. At the market day, I came across a stall selling coins. Some were packaged up with prices, and were quite valuable. However, the man also had a box full of loose coins. As I rummaged through the coins from various countries, I saw an old Australian 1912 penny.  It struck me because it was over 100 years old.

 

I asked the man, “how much for the coin?” His reply was “Is it significant to you?”  I thought this might put up the price, so I said, “Not really, I just think that it is amazing that it is over 100 years old!” To that, he said “You can have it then – take it, it free. “  I was amazed. But he said “I just like watching people go through the coins and discover something special”. I thanked him and walked away with a new precious possession – one that had cost me nothing – but something that was beginning to gain in value to me, the more I focused on the gift.

Now, if I would have just put it in my bag and then thrown it in a drawer when I got home, it would have not gained any value – it would have lost its significance and become devalued. However, I started to think about the monarch George V, and found out about his reign from 1910-1932. He was the second son of Edward VII, who was King during World War 1 and was one of few monarchs to survive the wars and revolutions of the turn of the 20th century.

I also remembered that 1912 was famous for the Titanic.

It was the year that the Australian coat of arms was given royal ascent and the wattle became our official flower. It was the year my great grandparents James and Florence were married and set out for Australia from England. The more I looked at the coin, the more significant it became. It was a matter of perspective.

It’s a plain coin – not worth anything anymore. No longer currency – but it is a gift that has now been invested in some significance and I intend to give it a new lease life.

It reminds me of the gift that God has given to us all. Like the coin, the gift that God gives us can become devalued due to non-use. When Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 1, he was concerned that Timothy was allowing his ‘gift’ to be devalued. He reminded Timothy of the resources that God gives us when we receive the gift, resources of God’s power, love and the ability to be disciplined to live out our faith in our daily lives.

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Like the disciples of Jesus – Timothy had a duty to perform – he knew that he needed to be obedient to his calling but his character flaws and his circumstances had gotten in the way.

How many times have you felt paralysed when you know you have a responsibility to share your testimony – your story of faith – through actions or words? Most of us find ourselves relating to Timothy on occasions.

At times like that we wish we had more faith!

But, how about exercising the little bit you have. It could do with a little more exercise. God never commissions a person to a task without imparting a special gift appropriate to that task. The trouble is the gift is given – but it needs developing – it needs to be exercise…we are told to fan the flame..if not, indifference or fear can cause it to burn low…and cause us to become overwhelmed by the size of the problems we face.

God’s Spirit gives us power and strength to deal with our fears each day, so that we can fulfil God’s purpose for our lives. But, we need to do something about it. We need to exercise our faith and fan the flame…