26/04/20

This is our second week in this three-week series which focus’ on how God comes to us so that we are not alone, how God speaks messages of hope to others through us and how we can take the worries and fears of others and give it to God.

Last week we heard how the seemingly negative, shutting-God-out, self-isolation history of humanity is not the whole picture or story, but is set in a much bigger, a much more hope-filled and joy invoking story. A story of a good God, the God of the Bible, who created out of love for a relationship that produces joy. A joy we often miss now because of what went wrong, because of how humanity shut this good God out of our lives. 

But all is not lost nor hopeless, not even close, because even though we run from God…God runs after us…and we cannot outrun Him! 

Last week we heard that God is with us, so that we are not alone, and that God is for us, so that we are loved. 
This week we look how God works through us, so that we grow closer as family as we invite others into this family.

My hope is and prayers are that you will experience the love of God and be renewed in hope as you hear God’s word and share Him with others.

Pastor Roelof Buitendag

19/04/20

Hi Church,

This week, our first-week post a ‘COVID-19 Easter’ brings an onset of a new message series. We have Pastor Roelof sharing with us today on the theme ‘un-Isolation’. 

From the very onset of human life, humanity has shut God out. And we still shut God out of our lives and isolate ourselves from God.

In today’s climate of self-isolation the message of a God who comes into wherever we are to rescue us comes as a timely reminder that the God of love does not remain far off, but comes to us in our darkest times to be our light and to give us hope.

Also this week we see the beginnings of a new ministry: “Ipswich thrift.shop’ which is an opportunity for us to serve our community, and care for those in need by taking our parish’s ‘opportunity shops’ online. Please see if you might be able to help, there is more info on skills we are after below.

Have a blessed and great week ahead, and remember, that because of Jesus – we are not isolated. Ever.

In His Service
Pastor Ben

12/04/2020

Hi Church,

On Thursday, we reflected on the events that took place in the Upper Room on the night Jesus was betrayed as we were given the command from Him to ‘Love one another’.

Yesterday, we remembered and recalled the events of Good Friday. Our Lord beaten, bloodied, and bruised for us. Crucified on the cross crying out to His Father, our Father, the same words we at times call out to Him: “My God, my God, why?” As Jesus took on the sins of the world, our sin, and died so that we might live.

Tomorrow, on Easter Sunday we will celebrate again that three days later the stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty, he was not there for HE IS RISEN!

But that’s Sunday – today’s only Saturday and so we are waiting, many of us alone, isolated from each other, longing for, pining for a time when we can gather with others once again. It reminds me of the way after the death of Jesus the disciples locked themselves away in a room in fear. But the good news of Easter and of that story is that Jesus, risen from the dead, came to them where they were. In the middle of their fear, in the middle of all the emotions that they were going through, Jesus came to them in grace and said to them “Peace be with you”. 

And that’s what I love about Easter Sunday. Jesus rose to life again, and because of that, we don’t need to live in fear, we can be assured of his presence with us, as He comes to us in our time of need and in grace reminds us that because of what He did, we now have life, forgiveness and salvation. That, I believe is worth celebrating because it teaches us that it is nothing to do with us at all, and all to do with Him.

I look forward to an amazing celebration with you tomorrow, as we gather together as church (virtually, of course) and I encourage you to invite your family, your friends, and your neighbours to watch, experience or listen (phone-in available for all services) as we hear again the story of God’s Amazing Grace – when life begins again.

I would like to just acknowledge all those who have helped out in our worship services over the past month – from the wonderful staff team that I serve alongside, our online worship ‘leaders’, our hosts/pray-ers during service, and everyone else that has helped out in any and every way. It has been an interesting ride, but has allowed us to reach even more people than we have ever reached before with the Good News.

And thank you. Thank you for helping us as a church show we truly are a place “Where love comes to life” as we care for the most vulnerable in our society by responsibly practising ‘social distancing’, while seeking to serve and care for those in need in different and new ways. Change is never easy, and not always enjoyed when it is forced, but it has allowed us to show that church is not something we do, or go to, but the church is who we are.

I truly pray for each of you and that you and your family have a safe and blessed Easter as you celebrate that HE IS RISEN!!

…..

In Service to our Risen Lord,
Pastor Ben Hentschke

05/04/2020

Hi Church,

I almost struggle to believe that it is Palm Sunday. In some ways it doesn’t feel real, not being able to gather together and see the palms decorating our worship centres today.
But it is Palm Sunday – which marks the beginning of Holy Week, as we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem, beginning his journey towards the cross, and then his glorious resurrection.
Today, I am sharing with you from the Psalms, and giving you a tool to describe who God is, so that in these anxious and troubling times that you might be finding yourself in, and when you tell yourself and others to just ‘trust in God’, you have some substance to those words.
We also are focussing on the kingship of Jesus, and what that means for our lives right now, that He is still in control no matter what is going on around us. 

I encourage you – if you have them, to use palms to decorate your study, or lounge or bedroom, and send in a photo of how you are celebrating Palm Sunday while practising responsible social distancing – I look forward to some amazing pictures!

May God Bless each of you this week, and as we look to the cross, and the journey of Jesus which was far harder than any temporary hardships we are going through, be assured of His strength and comfort in your time of need.

In His Service, Pastor Ben Hentschke