Happy Birthday

Each of us have a birthday, a day we celebrate the gift of life God has given us. It is a time to celebrate and enjoy, oftentimes in the presence of family and friends. Whatever day your birthday is, whether you are 9 or 90, it is somewhat of a sacred day to you - it is etched into your memory  like no other. It is your day.  

Today is a significant day in the life of the church, it is Pentecost Sunday, and if the New Testament church has a birthday, well this is it! Unlike our birthdays which are the same day every year, Pentecost Sunday is always 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, 10 days after his ascension. It marks the day the believers received the promised Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, and Peter delivering a power house sermon resulting in 3000 people receiving salvation and the church of Jesus Christ being born. It was an exciting time of growth, formation and new beginnings.

The life and ministry of Jesus from start to finish was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Mary conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), at his baptism the Spirit descended upon Him, strengthening Him for the road ahead (Mark 1:10). Upon foretelling His death, Jesus comforts his disciples by telling them that the Spirit of truth, another advocate will be given to them by the Father (John 14:16-17).  Following further instructions from Jesus after his resurrection, the disciples patiently waited for this monumental day we read all about in Acts 2. 

Amazingly, the very same Holy Spirit that inhabited Jesus during His birth, life, death, resurrection and filled His followers at Pentecost in Acts 2 is the same Holy Spirit that dwells in the lives and hearts of believers today - that includes you and I! What a profound and mysterious thought this is! This morning, in the context of our current series ‘The Message of Jesus’ I look forward to marking this special occasion by exploring what Jesus said about the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. 


Pastor Joel


Direct Access to God

The other day I walked past a particular bank with a ‘Free WiFi’ sticker on the front door. Now, I get Cafe’s and Hotel’s offering free WiFi, but a bank? Perhaps it’s one way to appease impatient customers waiting in line! 

WiFi is an interesting phenomenon.  I use it every single day, but really have no idea about how it works.  Whilst I am sure that there are plenty of smart and informed people who do understand the physics and science of how WiFi works, I would take a punt that an overwhelming majority of beneficiaries just like myself are in the same boat of not having a clue.  Without ever articulating it in these words, every time I log into my e-mail or search engine I place my faith in the available WiFi’s ability to connect my device or computer to the internet.  I can’t see it, but I experience its benefits daily. 

In a similar fashion, I have complete faith that because of what transpired on the very first Easter my sins are forgiven, may salvation is secure and my eternal destiny is sealed.  Whilst there is solid evidence to back up the belief that Jesus died and rose again, there is also an incredible sense of mystery that surrounds the incarnation, death, resurrection and accession of our Lord.  Christianity is first and foremost a faith, but it’s not a blind faith.  There is plenty of evidence for those who are prepared to search.  

One significant outcome of the events that transpired on the first Easter is direct access to God for all people. No longer is an intermediate priest required to make communal representation.  As good as free access to the internet may be - even at a bank, nothing comes close to the free access to God made available to all people through Jesus.

‘Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.’ Hebrews 4:14-16 (MSG)

God bless you this Easter as you experience the privilege of direct access to God through Christ. 

Pastor Joel


Numbered Days

 Like it or not, the end of January signals that the new year has begun in earnest! The Holidays are well and truly over, Christmas is a forgotten memory, School has resumed and the next public holiday is a while away! For some, this can be a hard reality pill to swallow. 

I’m not sure about you, but I certainly feel as through that last month just flew by! I’m scratching my head now wondering, did we even have a holiday? Conversations about time flying by seem to come thick and fast this time of year, especially when you have kids who are growing up and starting a new School year. It feels like the month has already finished before you’ve had a chance to turn the calendar page from the previous month!

Perhaps there are seasons of life, particularly more so, when you are very occupied with the demands of children that do just seem to fly by? Perhaps there are other seasons where time seems to slow down? I only commented to Bron last night about how I was reminiscing back to the days before we had kids and wondering in all honesty what we did with all our time!!! I’m sure its an age old question!

The good book has some great wisdom to offer when it comes to time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 90:12 ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom’

The days are precious. Every single day matters. Each day is another day we will never get back. Each day is filled with potential and opportunity. The question is, how will we utilise each day? How will we live into each day? Do we seize it or just let it slip by without thought or care? The Scriptures teach us that if we are wise we will learn to number our days; meaning we will value the opportunity that each day presents to live lives that are fully alive to the glory of God. 

To number our days, is to recognise that each day is a gift from God, to seek ways to be a blessing, just as we have been blessed. To number our days is to live life on purpose, representing the gospel as best we can through word and deed. That simply means we are ‘good news’ people! To number our days is to cherish the relationships we have and be truly grateful for them. To number our days is to make the very most of whatever season we find ourselves in. Wisdom teaches us that this current season (whatever it may be) will not last forever.  Wisdom says ‘engage’, if it’s hard then learn, if its rich and when you can, enjoy! To number our days means to chose life over death, joy over sorrow, hope over despair. To number our days means that we live our days in the humble awareness that the author of those days wrote them into being before one of them even came to be (Psalm 139:16). 

May you learn to number your days, in order that you may gain a heart of wisdom. 

Love and blessings,

Pastor Joel 


God With Us

As a lover of books, I’ve made a habit of reading to our boys before their bedtime from an early age. Brendan, our eldest is a seasoned recipient of reading with Dad. Over the years we have read lots of different books together, it’s special bonding time. It has even become a notable point of thanks on Fathers day, I now have a number of cards from Brendan specifically thanking me for reading to him. It will be a lasting memory for us both.

Thankfully, I’m generally not out more than two nights a week, three at most. On these nights, there is generally no story time with Dad. Due to this unpredictability, a daily reoccurring question is “Dad (insert the name of book we are currently reading) tonight?”

About 12 months or so ago, I recall an occasion where Brendan asked the same question multiple times in the one day, in fact I remember we were at the beach, in the water, when the question came yet again. At first I thought to myself “Are you kidding?!” But then, in a moment of clarity, I actually heard the question behind the question, which was “Dad, will you be with me? Will you spend time with me?” 

That moment of realisation completely changed the way I heard and hear the story question. It’s not really about the book, and in fact it probably wouldn’t matter what we were doing, so long as it involved being together. For a child there is nothing more reassuring when they have their parents with them, by their side, choosing to be present. It offers unparalleled security. 

At Christmas time, we celebrate the wonderful news of the incarnation. God becoming a man and choosing to make his dwelling among us (John 1:14). Matthew bookends his Gospel with this tremendous assurance:

1:23-23 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 28:20b “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

At Christmas, the message, loud and clear is this: ‘I am with you’. Of course, we know that the ‘I am with you’ of Christmas leads to the ‘I will save you’ of Easter. Jesus’ ‘being with’ carries immense power, purpose and personal sacrifice. God, in the person of Jesus came for us, to offer us comfort, reassurance and ultimately freedom, freedom from the bondage of our sin; offering us the truest form of life imagined. 

I invite you this Christmas to hear the words of Jesus “I am with you” in whatever season of life you find yourself in, and may you hear the statement behind the statement, “I am for you”. If we humble ourselves to a level of childlike dependence, there are no more powerful words of comfort, reassurance and hope we could ever hear. Christmas is indeed a time for great joy! 

Merry Christmas and may God’s rich blessing rest upon you.

Love, Pastor Joel 


Father's Day 2018

Fathers Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate, thank, acknowledge and honour our Dad’s.

Whilst shopping for my own Dad this week, I was struck by how all the marketing and gift paraphernalia for Fathers Day only speaks to the positive side of Fatherhood. It’s all a bit fake really, and I’m sure that deep down we all know it. Personally, I think I’d prefer a coffee mug or T-Shirt that said ‘Doing his best Dad’ or simply ‘Good Dad’. This would still be an honourable and more truthful compliment. Dad’s, just like all people are fallible and broken and as Christians we know that there is only one ‘World’s Best Dad’ and it’s certainly not a regular family guy. 

Of course it’s great to be upbeat and positive, but what does one do when they’ve grown up with an absent, uninvolved, or worse yet, abusive Father? Sadly, this is a reality for many. 

To those who find Fathers Day hard either because your Dad is no longer around or wasn’t a good father, may you especially know the peace and presence of the Lord today.  

There are no perfect parents. Raising children is a journey marked with plenty of mistakes and regrets. It is ‘towel’ work from start to finish. Servitude is the name of the game. It is indeed an awesome privilege and those of us who get to experience it, regardless of the challenges ought to remind ourselves frequently how fortunate and blessed we are. Another reality about Fathers Day (along with Mothers Day) is the ache some feel for never having had the opportunity to be called ‘Dad’ or ‘Mum’.  If this is your story, God be with you. 

There is only one perfect parent, God himself, who so graciously reveals himself to us as Father.  He is available and present to all who call on his name. He desires only good for His children and offers constant love, grace, wisdom, direction, comfort, care, compassion, rest, acceptance and a home like no other. No matter where you land on the father spectrum, I pray that today you might know the compassionate and grace filled Father of Luke 15 who runs to his children when they turn toward him, throws his arms around them, kisses them, dresses them in fine garments and throws a party in their honour.  Truly, this is the ‘Worlds Best Dad’. May you experience deep within your heart his sacrificial, limitless love for you. 

Love from your Pastor, Joel


After God's Own Heart

Today we commence a new series as we follow keystone moments in the life of David, the shepherd boy who became the greatest King of Israel. Personally, I love the story of David and am really looking forward to studying in great detail and sharing with you what I learn. 

Why are we considering David’s life? 

Well, there are a few reasons. The most immediate and practical one is I like to do an Old Testament series in Term 3 each year. This is just part of a practice I have adopted as a preacher. I think it’s important we always aim for a steady diet of both the New and Old Testament.  

Secondly, David in so many ways foreshadows Christ.  Take for example today’s text (1 Samuel 16) where the son from Bethlehem is anointed as God’s chosen king and the Spirit descends powerfully upon him for the ministry that is ahead.  As we examine David’s life, we will be drawn towards, in the words of Matthew ‘Jesus the Messiah the son of David’ (Matt. 1:1).  Whenever Christ is foreshadowed, his glory and perfection is heightened.  So yes, while we will study David, the end goal is not to learn more about David, but indeed to learn more about Christ. 

Thirdly, given the scriptures place so much importance on one’s heart, I feel it would be helpful for us to really explore what it means to have a heart after God’s. After all, when God looks at us, that is what He concentrates on. Consider this: we are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart (Dt. 10:12), serve the Lord with all our heart (Jos. 22:5), trust in the Lord with all our heart (Pr. 3:5) and seek the Lord with all our heart (Jer. 29:13).

Solomon must have learnt a thing or two from his old man, Proverbs 4:23 proves it: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’

Whether we know it or not, we live life from the heart.  It drives who we are (character) and what we do (behaviour). Therefore, for the sake of God’s glory and kingdom, may He grant each of us in increasing measure a heart after His own. 

Your loving pastor,



After God's Own Heart .jpg

Throwing in the Towel

Jesus was a surprising person. The crowds expected a conquering King. But Jesus wasn’t what they expected. He surprised even his own disciples.

Jesus and his friends gathered for a meal. Since the roads were plain dirt, in dry weather they were deep in dust and in wet weather they could become liquid mud. The shoes most people wore were simple: a flat sole, held to the feet by a few straps. So, every step soiled the feet.

Like the crowds, the disciples’ minds were fixed on ideas of the Kingdom of God - dreams of thrones and power and glory and influence. In fact, the disciples were conflicted about which of them would be the greatest in this Kingdom – while they still had dirty feet. Rather than rebuke them, Jesus grabbed a towel and began washing their feet. Here is a King whose symbol of authority is a towel. Jesus demonstrated and taught three lessons about leadership in his use of the towel that night.

Lesson 1: Jesus’ use of a towel represented his whole life and leadership. Washing his disciples’ feet was no isolated event. On the contrary, what Jesus did that night in the upper room vividly portrays the whole journey he made from the Father into the world and back to the Father. Jesus laid aside his garments just as he had laid aside his glory in heaven and his privileges as the Son of God. He engaged in a menial act of service – just as he died a degrading death. And when Jesus had finished washing their feet, he took up his garments and returned to his place of honour, just as he was taken up from the grave and was seated again with the Father.

Lesson 2: Jesus’ use of the towel revealed his perspective on positional power. From a human perspective, washing feet is beneath the dignity of a King. Peter was shocked and responded, “You shall never wash my feet”. Peter wanted Jesus to fit into human ideas of royalty and privilege. However, Jesus dismantled this concept of position and pecking order. He dismantles our concepts also. We live with the notion that to be leader is to be exalted. Jesus acts out the giving of himself to serve humanity. Just before coming into Jerusalem that week, Jesus told His disciples, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45). He turned everything upside-down!

Lesson 3: Jesus’ use of the towel teaches us that we serve God by serving others. After washing their feet, Jesus said to his disciples, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:12). This way of relating to people reverses the order. It is subversive. It destabilizes. The King who led with a towel inaugurated a kingdom of foot-washers. He deleted the infatuation with leaders clamouring for power, people climbing over each other to get to the top.

As liberating as this is, this way of life doesn’t just happen. Like Paul, we may say, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing…Who will rescue me…?” (Romans 7:19-24).

At those times when it’s difficult to “take up the towel” (to serve), rather than “throw in the towel” (give up) it’s time to once again be washed by Jesus. Because to the degree I allow him to love and serve me, that’s the degree to which I am able to serve others in the liberty of the Kingdom of God.

Pastor Terry 


Jesus the Game Changer

 Joining with many Churches right around the nation, we are soon to commence ‘Jesus the Game Changer’ series. Producer, Karl Faase writes: Jesus Christ has made an indelible mark on human history and he continues to do so through his followers. Yet many people do not realise that the values western democracies are built on originate in the life and teachings of Jesus -the equality of all, servant leadership, care for the poor and marginalised, to name just a few.

Jesus the Game Changer explores how the life and teaching of Jesus changed the world and why it matters.

To get the most out of this series, we invite you to join a growth group and attend our Sunday gatherings. Groups will commence the first study on Monday 19th February with the Sermon Series commencing on Sunday 25th.  The six topics covered on Sunday’s are as follows:

Sunday Feb 25th - The Historical Jesus (Pastor Joel)

Sunday March 4th - Equality (Pastor Terry)

Sunday March 11th - Women & Children (Sarah Alarcon)

Sunday March 18th - Care (Pastor Joel)

Sunday March 25th - Leadership (Pastor Joel)

Easter Sunday April 1 - Forgiveness (Pastor Joel)

The remaining four topics that groups will continue to study are: Democracy, Education & Health, Wealth, Reason & Science.

I warmly invite you to engage with this terrific series, consider who you might invite along, and pray for the work of the Spirit during this campaign that many people across our nation would be reached with the gospel.

Blessings, Pastor Joel