The Inside Column 1/7

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jul 02, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

You may have noticed a couple of changes in the Church this week. The new carpet is all done! This is all a part of the Made New project that we have been working through over the last year (the church roof).

There is much to give thanks for with this work we are doing, we have been blessed with the finances to keep moving ahead and have not need to take a loan from the Diocese. There are some more things we are praying to be able to get done but so far things have gone very smoothly. A big thank you to everyone for making this this happen, and of course our prayer is that it is not just the Church that is been made new but that we are been made new in Christ.

Sometimes we need to stop and give thanks, for all that God is doing. We have at the moment:

  • Three new home groups
  • Alpha, Christianity Explored – outreach groups
  • Stillpoint Meditation Group
  • Helping breakfast club Birchwood School
  • Melody Makers growing
  • New chaplaincy at Summerset
  • New church roof and carpet
  • Partnering with 24/7 youth
  • Wicked Tooth Fairy support
  • Youth Band
  • Ukulele Band
  • Youth group growing
  • Out to Lunch
  • Weekly Wednesday morning tea
  • The Ambient worship nights

I don’t often stop and think about the good things that are happening, but these things are the things I have been praying for, they are the things we have been working for, and it is good to celebrate them. God has been doing stuff in peoples lives and this is what Church should be all about. Of course there is always more that God wants to do, there are issues that we have to deal with, but we need to celebrate the good things as well.

So we do give thanks that we worship the living God, a God that is touching people’s lives, a God that loves us, that longs to see all come to know him. We give thanks for all that God is doing through us. We are his people, his Church and we are called to shine our light in the dark places. And we ask for more, that God will continue to draw close, that his hand may draw near and we might see his kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.
Yours in Christ

Phil

The Ambient

Posted in: Events- Jun 26, 2018 No Comments

This Sunday St Barnabas we will be running another night of worship which we call ‘The Ambient’. What is it? It’s pretty simple really. It’s a night where we gather together to worship our God and encounter his presence, encouraging the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us and speak powerfully to us as we draw near in praise, in silence and in reverence. This night is a city wide event, open to anyone from any church, who is passionate about spending time with God and like minded people. What can you expect on the night? We usually start with a time of coming before God and lighting candles in expectation of what He will do, followed by worship in song (led by the Ambient band) which leads into times of silence and waiting and sharing what God is saying to us. We always read from the bible but there is no sermon as such, and then we give room for prayer, before wrapping up with an anthem of some sort. If this kind of night appeals to you, we welcome you to join us, 7.30pm in the church.

The Inside Column 24/6

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 25, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

From my reading this week…

The writer of Proverbs says, ‘To human beings belong the plans of the heart … Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed’  -Proverbs 16:1,3

Here, we see the key to success. Our plans should never be made independently of the Lord. We are called into relationship with him. Our plans need to be aligned to his plans. Our vision and our plans need to be led by the Spirit. As we sense God’s leading we need to commit our plans to the Lord. We bring them to him. We lay them before him. Then God promises ‘your plans will
succeed’ (Proverbs 16:3). What does it mean to commit our plans to the Lord?

  • Cooperate – One translation of the Hebrew word for commit is to ‘roll towards’ God has a good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:10). We need to cooperate humbly with him, being willing to give up everything that clashes with his plans.
  • Confide – To commit our plans to the Lord means to speak to him about his plans – to make them together with him.  At the start of each day we can commit our plans to him.
  • Consult – The Lord says, ‘Woe …to those who carry out plans that are not mine… Who go down to Egypt without consulting me (Isaiah 30:1–2a). To commit to the Lord means to consult him and discuss our plans with him and seek his wisdom and advice (Proverbs 15:33a). With major decisions a wise person will consult others to check that we have heard right (Proverbs 15:31–32).

Having committed our plans to the Lord we can trust his promise of success. In your heart you may plan your course, but the Lord determines your steps. God gives us the freedom and
responsibility to make plans. It is positively right for us to do this. And yet, God relates our decisions to our future destiny. This is not a reason to be passive, but rather it is an encouragement that we can rest assured that God is in ultimate control of our lives. We need not be frozen in a state of indecision.

Lord, thank you that you are the sovereign Lord and that you control the events of history. Thank you that you want us to be involved in your plans. You want us to make our plans in the right way. May our plans be your plans. Amen.

Yours in Christ

Phil

The Inside Column 17/6

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 18, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

Some words from my reading this week…

God bless you! What – did I sneeze? No, God bless you… Have you ever thought of what we really mean when we say these words? God uses us to bless.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life. - Philippians 2:14-16

The church should be a ‘blessing machine’. This is exactly what the church is called to be. That is what we are called to be as individuals as well. It is clear from this passage that there is great joy in being a ‘blessing machine’. We are ‘children of God’ (v.15). We are called to be like our Father in heaven, who loves to bless. It is He who ‘works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose’. We have the immense privilege of being able to give people not just money but ‘the word of life (v16). There is no greater joy than seeing people who are spiritually dead come to life through Jesus. This is the message we have been given to pass on. Paul is willing to give his life with joy for this privilege. ‘But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me’.

Paul then gives two examples of people who were ‘blessing machines’: Timothy, who took ‘a genuine interest’ in the welfare of God’s children ‘and served with me in the work of the gospel’ (20, 22), and Epaphroditus, who took care of Paul’s needs. He longed for the Philippians. He almost died for the work of Christ, ‘Risking his life’ (v.30).

Lord, help us today to be blessing machines. Help us to do everything without complaining or arguing. Help us to be like our Father in Heaven, children of God who shine like stars in the universe. Help us to hold out the word of life to this generation. Thank you that it is so much more blessed to give than to receive. Thank you for the joy of blessing.

Who are you going to be a blessing to this week?

Yours in Christ

Phil

The Inside Column 10/6

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jun 11, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

This week we continue our series hooking into 1 Corinthians. I don’t know about you but I find Paul’s letters to the early church deeply challenging. It’s incredible to think a letter written by a humble apostle well over a thousand years ago could still be so relevant for a new generation of audience today and have the impact that it does within the church as we meditate on its message.

One of the things I love about Paul is that although he has to deal with some pretty serious pastoral issues with a church that’s struggling to be holy – he refuses to give up on them and instead keeps encouraging them to be all that they can be in the Lord. He has such a heart for the church, which is Jesus’ church, and his desire to see the Corinthians functioning as the body of Christ shines through amidst the rebukes and at times stern ‘This is how it is’ moments.

This month I’m involved in leading a regional worship team conference called ‘Glorify’ with the Nelson Worship Collective. At its heart, this is an event aimed at gathering together the wider body of worshipping musos as one for a weekend of encouragement, excelling in our gifts and encountering God. It’s exciting to see how God is stirring the worship leaders in Nelson / Tasman to network more closely and collaborate more and a privilege for me to be a part of the collective. At this year’s conference one of our previous St Barnabas worship leaders Paul Devine will be speaking and leading ministry which will be great.

The Ambient, our bi-monthly night of worship, is happening on Sunday 1 July at 7.30pm which will cap off a great weekend after Glorify. If you’re hungry and thirsty for God’s presence, I encourage you to join us – we’ll make sure the church is warm!

In my role as Curate this month I’ve take the initiative to be involved more at Summerset and they have agreed for St Barnabas to provide pastoral care to the Care centre, residents and staff over the winter months. We have a number of St Barnabas people who call Summerset home so if this is you make sure you look out for me on Wednesday afternoons. If you’d like a visit yourself you’re most welcome to fill out a care card located in the reception and Care Centre foyers :)
Luke