24/05/2020

Hi Church,

I’m not sure about you, but one thing I seem to have noticed more during these past few months is bird noise. I notice it on my morning and evening walks, and there was even a press event I was listening to on the ABC, where it was hard to hear the politician because of the bird’s chatter and song in the background.
After some actual research, apparently the birds are seeming to sing more loudly because the ambient noise of a normally busy population is currently lessened. Because we are quieter, we can more clearly hear God’s creation sing.

I think it is an important reminder for us, that as we face new situations each and every day, that we do so with an openness to listen. I remember growing up my mum always said that I have 2x ears and 1x mouth and I should use them in proportion. But how well do we listen to God speaking to us through His Word, through His Spirit and through others? Maybe it is helpful for us to be slowing down and spending time listening to God’s creation, and God himself.

The research also makes me think of the ‘noise’ that we might contribute to the world around us. Sometimes it might be the ‘good noise’ of the Gospel being spread to those around us, but so often we spread the bad noise of conflict, division, arrogance, hypocrisy or personal kingdom-building. But I think all that does it make it harder for the Gospel to be heard when we do speak it. 

Creation may be singing of God’s glory (through the birds), but our job is still to tell the story of Jesus and His life, death and resurrection to others, and in the days we are in, it is even more important that this is the message that we share. I believe that sharing the gospel (and much of our faith life) is easy when everything is going well, but when we are in the darker parts of our lives, that is when our trust and faith in God are all the more authentic and powerful, and when people will be more open to listen to the message we have, as we sing God’s praises.

Maybe you, like me, have been drawn to a number of ‘virtual choirs’ that have been formed and sung. My ongoing prayer is that those voices will continue to sing even more loudly into the future as we even out-sing the birds around us sharing the
Good News of Jesus!

Have a blessed week ahead, singing God’s praises!

Pastor Ben Hentschke

17/05/2020

Hi Church,

On Friday last week, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined a way forward for our country to begin easing restrictions following the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Premier reiterated this easing of restrictions, and the QLD Government have also produced a roadmap to easing restrictions as our strong health response so far to COVID-19 means that we are well positioned for recovery.

One of the things you may have noted in this roadmap is that in Stage 2 (proposed to begin from the 15th May) there could be gatherings of people in places of worship.

There is also planned continued easing of restrictions planned for after that also – with the potential of gatherings up to a maximum of 100 persons in early July!

But this easing comes with a few specific instructions. Physical distancing needs to be maintained (ie. We keep at least 1.5m apart from others, no handshakes/hugging etc.), we allow 4 square metres per person when indoors and ensure good hand & respiratory hygiene and cleaning practices are maintained.

As much as I would love to gather back in worship again with you, at this stage, we continue to stay patient and follow the instructions of our government to ensure that when we do gather, we do so safely and in a way that ensures the health and protection of our most vulnerable members.

We are in the process of establishing a team that will help lead us to transition back towards physical worship, and so please look out for further communication over the coming weeks.

I believe that our corporate worship life is going to continue to look different for some time yet to come, but I ask that you please keep myself and our Leadership Team in your prayers as we seek to show that we are a place, a people, ‘where love comes to life’ by keeping the whole health and safety of our community at the forefront of all that we do.

Pastor Ben Hentschke

10/05/2020

Hi Church,

This weekend is Mother’s Day and it is a special time to remember the women in our life who have blessed us!
I know that I have an amazing mum, through who her passing on of the faith to me has led me to where I am today, and for that I will always be truly thankful.
But maybe this is a time to question who it might be that you are passing your faith onto or sharing your faith with?
In a time in our world where people are searching and reaching and looking for hope more than ever before have you taken the opportunity and followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit to share about the life, forgiveness, salvation and HOPE that you have in Jesus with someone else?
Often the place that this is done is in the family unit, but depending on our relationships with those in our family, maybe this could be the hardest place to do it.
Does that mean we should stop, give up and not bother trying? I would suggest that maybe our eternity, and the eternity of those who we love matters more than that!
But always remember that people are not going to care about what you know, until they know how much you care. So following the example of Jesus, care for those people around you. Those in your family, those in your neighbourhood, your work colleagues, your friends and others. Care for them, but care for them so much that at some point you share with them the eternal hope that you have in Jesus so that they don’t have to live in a spirit of fear or timidity, and instead can know Christ and live as a son or daughter of the King.
This weekend I have asked Danielle Robinson to share with us again. Many of you might remember when she joined us last year to share, and it is great to have a mother sharing God’s Word with us on Mother’s Day.
So again, a happy and blessed Mother’s Day to all the mums, and I pray that you care enough to share the good news of Jesus with someone else this week.

Pastor Ben Hentschke

03/05/2020

Hi Church,

One of the many things that the COVID-19 Pandemic has taught us is that the church is not somewhere we go, but the church is who we are.

As a church, our call is to step up to serve our community during this fearful time of unprecedented disruptions and long-term lockdowns. We want to show the world what it means to BE the church, because the call to serve and love our neighbours remains amidst any and all chaos and crisis.

Jesus spent a good deal of his ministry reminding us of the importance of service, and he didn’t include many caveats. In fact, you could easily argue that the call to serve during a crisis carries even more weight, which just means we need to be a bit creative.

What might that look like? Supporting local businesses, continuing to give generously, checking-in on your community, celebrating those around you and making the most of your outings: See a need, meet a need. 

I am thankful to the amazing volunteers who have taken our Bargain Shop and Caring Corner ‘online’ as www.ipswichthrift.store so that even though the stores might be physically closed, we are still able to provide this service to our community via online order and socially distanced pickup facilities! WOW!

Thank you to the over 20 people that made this possible!

Everyone is coping with this crisis differently. Some are going crazy and trying not to over-function, while others are struggling to get out of bed. So let’s be gentle with each other, and remember there is no perfect way to survive a crisis, we are all walking through it together.

But staying safe during the pandemic doesn’t have to make us selfish. Let’s continue to be people (the church) who look for continued opportunities to serve. Let’s be the church to our community and show that we are a people ‘where love comes to life’.

Pastor Ben Hentschke