Love Like Jesus – Combined Churches Worship Night

Worship team from multiple churches bringing an amazing experience of praise and worship

The Thursday before Easter saw the first combined churches worship night. Six different churches from various denominations joined together to celebrate the great love of Jesus. Often the Thursday night before Easter is called Maundy Thursday by mainline protestant churches (The word “Maundy” comes to us as an Anglo-French word derived from the Latin “mandatum,” which means “commandment.” It refers to when Jesus, in the Upper Room during the Last Supper, said to the disciples: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34, Revised Standard Version)1). This reference to the new commandment of love which is at the heart of the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples’ feet as a demonstration of love was the focus for the Thursday night before Good Friday. Rather than following the ancient traditions of candles and darkness (Tenebrae), with the events of the last supper being told through readings and prayers, the Love like Jesus combined churches worship night shared the events and challenge to love like Jesus through worship, praise and reflections geared towards young adults.

It is amazing to see churches from different denominations working together. The spirit of God was moving powerfully during this time.

Love Like Jesus – Combined Worship Night
The worship team
The worship team

Keep an eye out for the next combined churches worship night, as it will be a time of amazing worship and praise that will leave you full of hope and joy, praising our amazing God.

My God Who Can

My God Who Can

“My God who can” began with the idea of writing a song that would unite us as a community of God.  It was when we had decided to combine our “traditional” and “contemporary” services into one combined service.   One of the main differences between the two services was the music (hymns and worship songs), and Caleb and I thought how good it would be to write a new song for the first service together as an expression of this new beginning for all of us.  “NEW Beginnings” is the name of our church (it expresses the new life we have in Jesus when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour) and the combined service would also be a new beginning for all of us, a challenge to accept a mix of music and an opportunity to move forward in God together.

The chorus began with the idea of not looking back to what we had before but looking forward to what God would do in our midst, looking to all of God’s goodness before us.  Our response is to lift our hands to Him, reaching out in faith and being completely absorbed in praising Him, God, the great “I am” (referring to the name God gave Moses at the burning bush and the way Jesus referred to Himself in the Gospels).

The nature of God then became the focus of the verses.  After exploring lots of ideas, we settled on beginning with how fierce God is in pursuing us.  “Fierce” is not a word that is often used about God, but it captures His intense desire for us to know Him. God is not casually looking around the world to see who might become a believer; He intentionally sent Jesus to die for us, so that we could enter an intimate relationship with Him.  God seeks us fiercely.  We think that we can hide from Him, but His light shines everywhere and reveals us.

Our God is full of grace and truth and He is the only one who is free to judge anyone else.  We can fall into judging each other and judging those around us but only God has the ability, capacity and wisdom to know how to judge any situation.  And yet, even though He can judge, it is His mercy that flows so freely through Jesus to forgives us all our sins.

God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us and His word, the Bible, to show us the way to walk and it is through Him alone that our new beginning is complete.

The bridge of the song is our response to God’s grace; it is a purposeful, resolute statement of faith, offering our lives to Jesus as a living sacrifice (as in Romans 12:1) not for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of the world; that all may know the grace of God.  We declare that we will not run away or hide, we will not turn our eyes away from Jesus, but we will keep our stride in the race that God has set before us.  One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, no matter what events occur; we will keep our eyes on Jesus.

Our God is an amazing God and this song attempts to reflect some of the greatness of God when we join together in song as His people.

 

My God Who Can

The first song released by NBU Worship

Available Now

Message Series for July – Together in Song :)

Singing is an important part of worship. In fact, we spend one third to over half our time singing when we are in church. More people remember the lyrics in songs than any point from a message/sermon. So in our new message series, we are going to explore some of the theology behind the songs we sing, both old and new.

Series starts July 1, 2018

Each week we will explore a different theology or theme within the songs we sing.

Week 1 – Singing the Creeds

Week 2 – Salvation Theology

Week 3 – Being at Mission

Week 4 – Our Personal Faith

Week 5 – Who We Are! – The Church

Stay tuned for a special announcement in the next week, regarding exciting news for NEW Beginnings!!!!

Establishing a Community of Believers

June is the last month of our 3-month preaching series called “Establishing a Community of Believers”. Each month we are focusing on a different aspect of this theme.

In April we focused upon how Jesus revealed himself following his resurrection to the Believers. Over the 4 weeks we focused upon 4 resurrection appearances:

Firstly to Mary

Then to the disciples on the Emmaus road

To Thomas in the locked room

Finally to Paul on the road to demascus.

In May we focused upon how Jesus establishes the Church. Looking at these 4 areas – Being Sent, Being Filled, Being Courageous & Being Loved.

During June our focus will be upon the community of the church, looking at a different aspect important to the Corinthian Church – Holiness, Freedom & Unity. In the Last week of June our focus will be upon “Our own Christian Community”

I would like to encourage you to be a part of these messages each week so that we may deeply understand what it means for us to be a Community of Believers.

Blessings

Simon Lee

Lead Minister

The Sacrifice of Worship

Worship, Our expression to God of how much we love, adore, admire and wonder Him. Paul writes about worship in Romans 12:1 saying “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers (and sisters), by the mercies of God, present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” I don’t think it is unfair to say that Christians have adapted an understanding of worship to be what we encounter in our services, given in the form of music. Whether a traditional format of organ and hymns, or contemporary with a full band. Paul, however, presents a different way to engage in worship. He is not encouraging us to sing out our lungs. Paul urges us to live our lives as an act of worship. This is our words, what we say to one another and it is also our deeds, the things that we do for others, ourselves, but above all else, it is our words and deeds for God.

We choose to worship. Worship is a choice; you and I are people of free will. This means that God will never force us into an action or decision. The same is true with worship. When we approach worship, whether at a service or in everyday activity, we have the decision to bring our hearts, soul, mind and strength to a place where we bring glory and honor to God. Maybe the reason you do not experience God in worship is that you don’t choose to engage in worship? Let me encourage you, Each time you have an opportunity to worship, proclaim these words out loud, “God right now I come and seek to experience you in this moment.”

Graham Kendrick says it like this:

“worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which ‘comes upon you,’ but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus did not go to the cross on a whim, an emotion or impulse. It was an intentional decision; similarly, our worship needs to be intentional.
Your value on worship can be measured. Remembering that worship is an intentional choice we make, then the measurement of the value you place on worship would be measured by what you are willing to sacrifice. In the same passage (Romans 12:1) Paul calls us to be living sacrifices. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to sacrifice 10 mins to listen to someone? Are you able to buy a loaf of bread for the homeless person outside the shop? Are you willing to sacrifice the image you have established for yourself to share the good news of Jesus? When you choose the instruction and obedience to Jesus’ words, you, in turn, show the value that you place on worship.

Therefore let me encourage you to live a life of intentional, worship-driven sacrifice, so you may know the smile that God smiles on you as he proudly calls you one of his children.

We are creatures of Habit

All of us are creatures of Habit!

I pride myself on being willing to change and accepting of change. Having said that, I find myself realising that I am still a creature of habit. I realised this morning that there are certain activities that we do that make us feel comfortable and secure. These can be anything, something as simple as which car parking space we choose. I was arriving at the gym this morning and driving into the car park there was a car space that was free and closer to the entrance, but instead of taking it I turn the corner and looked to see if the car parking space that I have been using for the last couple of weeks was free.

Finding your personal vision

A man without a vision is a man without a future. A man without a future will always return to his past. (P.K. Bernard)

We are all busy people, with much happening in our lives. More often than not we go from day to day just trying to get through the day without much thought as to how you want your life to be in the future. At times all I have wanted to do at the end of a busy day is not think about anything, watch a bit of TV and go to bed so that I can do it all again. I feel that what is missing in my life and in many peoples lives is that have a lack of vision for the future of their life. You see, vision is important, it gives us the direction and the drive to push through the obstacles that stand in our way. Vision gives the temporary pain, the temporary hardship that we might be facing a purpose.

If you do not have a vision for your life, then what will happen is that you take the path of least resistance so that you can avoid as much discomfort in your life as possible. The level of sacrifice that a vision requires of you will determine what kind of person you are now and will become. One of the sacrifices that we make for our vision, is the use of our time. We live in a world of instant gratification, where things are done immediately, our modern technology has dulled us to the fact that giving our time and attention is an important sacrifice that we need to make for our own personal vision.

If we do not have a vision for our future then we will always go back to our past. Our vision bridges the present and the future. Our vision directs our attention and our decisions, and these choices, in turn, create our future that unfolds. As one of the proverbs says:

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained but happy is he who keeps the law – Proverbs 29:18

If we don’t have our vision for the future then we really are unstrained and subject to the ebb and flow of the outside world. Our future becomes not what we make it but rather coincidental influences of the world and people around us. To use an illustration: if we have a vision for our future we are like a boat with an engine and navigation system, and we can head in any direction no matter the prevailing current. But, without a vision, we are like a small boat with only one oar. We can hold our position and at times move forward but if the current becomes too strong we are just swept along with it.

In our message last week, I explored “Your Personal Vision For The Future” and how it was important that our vision and God’s vision for our future are connected. Because God has plans to do something big in your life!

LISTEN TO THE FULL MESSAGE

Practical steps to making certain that your vision for the future and God’s line up.

1. Spend time and focus your vision. Seek God’s leading in prayer. Enquire as to what God’s plan for your life is.

2. Integrate God’s vision for your life into your own vision. God has a plan for you and becoming a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ is to live out God’s plan for your life.

3. Share your Vision. Don’t just hold this vision to yourself, but share it with a few trusted people who can help you discern God’s call on your life. Also, these people will be able to celebrate your vision and encourage you in fulfilling your vision.

4. Work on your Vision. Don’t just create the vision but do something toward fulfilling your vision. This is the hard part, this is the part that requires sacrifice, energy, and passion. But this is the part that changes your life, especially, when your vision is truly connected with God’s plan for your life.

5. Renew Your Vision. Over time it is important to review and renew your vision. Don’t let your vision for the future become stale. Cycle back to step one and focus your vision. The thing is that you might have achieved what your initial vision was and it is time to seek a new one. Or, you have been hitting roadblocks with fulfilling your vision, and this might be God saying to make a change to the vision or it might be that God wants you to keep going but it is important to refocus your vision of time.

Compassion Insights Trip -Haiti Day 7

Today is another day of travel. We are travelling from Cap-Haitien in the northern part of Haiti to Port-a-Prince, the Capital of Haiti. It is the shortest of our plane trips, only half an hour. However, it will take us most of the day. We have to get to the airport in Cap-Haitien then organise our boarding passes and pass through security (with is only an x-ray and metal detector). Then a wait for an hour and a half.  Part way through our wait the power cuts out and the aircon stops working making the waiting room stuffy and hot. Life in Haiti!

After landing in Port-a-Prince we meet our local Compassion specialist and travel to our hotel we finally get to have lunch and organise ourselves for the next few days.

Our hotel in Port a Prince is in a very wealthy area. The community has a security guard at the entrance into the suburb.  And when we arrive at the hotel we are amazed at the quality of the hotel. We feel very privileged to be staying in such a good hotel in Port a Prince. Where we are staying is so different to the children we will be seeing in the next couple of days.

The picture below: Houses just across the valley from our hotel.