All Souls Anglican Church | 02 9569 2646
The Journal

Zacchaeus’ new priority

Dear Friends,
We have just finished our series on the book of Ephesians and next week we commence a new series on Genesis 12-25. However there will be an interlude of 6 sermons (while I am away) from Rev Hugh Isaacs (the Executive Assistant to the Bishop) on the parables of the Kingdom . I will also do a one off sermon on Christians and work as this wasn’t covered in our last series on Ephesians. Please be praying for these various series that the Lord will bless both the reading and preaching of His Word. The passage today is also a one off sermon from Daniel 9:1-19 looking at the prayer of Daniel. I have been very encouraged that people within our church have supported the monthly prayer meeting as well as the occasional prayer and fasting days we have held. People are also using the weekly prayer points on the back of the pastor’s blog. Our prayer ministry during our weekly services and at our monthly healing service has seen a growing commitment to prayer. Praying for our personal needs builds love and support across the church but today the prayer of Daniel puts our focus on praying for God’s big purposes. Daniel is in exile in Babylon and in response to His searching of the Scriptures He sees that God has promised that God’s people would be in exile for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-14) and then return. In Dan 9:1 the first year of the reign of Darius as ruler over Babylon is a marker that these 70 years of exile have been completed. Notice how the word of God leads Daniel to pray for God’s purposes. As we grow in our understanding and knowledge of God’s Word we will start to see God’s big plan and this will impact the content and focus of our prayer. In fact for Daniel the great priority for his prayers which is even greater than returning from exile is that God’s name will be honoured 9:19. Daniel’s prayer life is driven by a concern that the Lord will be honoured. How should that Biblical concern affect our prayers ? Accordingly we focus our prayers so that the Lord’s name is honoured within the community of Leichhardt and the way that will happen is as we live godly lives and people who don’t know Christ repent and stop ignoring God and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Pray for this and for people to share Christ. At the 5pm service we meet Zaccheaus in Luke 19:1-10. Jesus found him and this changed his life radically. God not money became Zacchaeus’ new priority ! Jesus desire to share a meal with Zacchaeus is also a picture of acceptance and Jesus is willing to have his name associated with sinners. That is why we honour Jesus’ name because He loves the unlikely and the unlovely ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara

 

Continue Reading..

True Satisfaction

Dear Friends,
Today as we celebrate Liam Evans baptism we are praying for the Lord’s blessing on his life. It is exciting to be young and at the start of your life but it is also daunting with many challenges ahead. Liam is in a favoured position to be baptised and to have Christian parents who will encourage him in the Lord and a church family who will pray for and support the whole family. It is God who made Liam and knows what is best for his life. The Word teaches us what is best for us. Today we are looking at Mark 6:30-44 which teaches about the provision of bread and fish for 5000 people in the wilderness. This story has echoes from God leading the people out of Egypt and into the wilderness and providing for their needs. This is intentional because just like God provided for the people in the desert in the time of Moses He does so again because Jesus is the true shepherd who cares for His sheep. Jesus lays down His life for his sheep and indeed there are overtones of this in the passage today because when Jesus takes the bread and fish and gives thanks and breaks them these 2 verbs are picked up in Mark 14:22 when Jesus celebrates the Passover and gives thanks and breaks the bread. There is a pathway from the Exodus and the provision of manna and quail in the desert with Mose and with the feeding of the 5000 miracle to the last supper to the death of Jesus. We know in John 6:35 that Jesus is the bread of life. That means that through His life He gives us life. It is Jesus who gives us eternal life which involves forgiveness of sin. But we also see that after this miracle of feeding 5000 men and most likely many women and children we learn that 12 basketfuls of bread and fish were left over. This shows God’s generous provision and the fact that the people were satisfied teaches us that it is Jesus alone who satisfies our deepest need for love and forgiveness. This takes us back to the reason why Jesus did this miracle. IN 6:34 we learn that he saw the people and had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd and so he taught them. Jesus is like God because He is God and He is the shepherd who cares for us and looks after our needs. At 5pm we are looking at the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. In particular Mary is commended because she chose to sit at Jesus feet and learn from Him. May the Lord help us to not waste opportunities to learn from Jesus and may we choose what is best. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara

 

Continue Reading..

Armed and ready for the Lord

Dear Friends,
Someone once said it is not hard to believe in the devil because he advertises. The person meant that it is easy to see the effects of evil at work in this world. We see lives destroyed by drugs and relationships broken by unforgiveness and people and governments abuse power and exploit vulnerable people. We can see the devil at work in individual relationships and across nations. To grow spiritually as a Christian we need to recognise the devil is real and we need to resist his schemes against us. The Bible doesn’t say a lot about the origin of the devil except that he was a fallen angel who is in rebellion to God - see Isaiah 14:12-15. Paul recognises in Ephesians 6:10-20 that we are engaged in a spiritual battle and that just as we cannot save ourselves by our own power we also need God’s power to resist the devil. Paul says that we are to be strong in the Lord 6:10. The greek means to be strengthened. The devil he tempts us to doubt God’s goodness and Word just as he did in the garden with Adam and Eve. Jesus faced the devil’s temptations and had to resist him and so do we. The devil is described as having schemes which can also mean strategies to discourage us in our faith. Paul was in chains for his faith and he uses the picture of a soldier who before he went into battle would put on his armour. Our armour is the Gospel of Jesus. The emphasis is to be so full of God’s Word and truth in our lives so that there is no room for the devil’s lies. Accordingly the first piece of armour described is the belt of truth which is of course God’s truth in His Word. Jesus himself declared that He is the truth John 14:6 and so we need to progressively grow in our understanding of God’s Word so we can spot the lies and deceptions of the devil. These pieces of armour progressively describe what the Gospel does for us. For example the breastplate of righteousness speaks of the fact that through faith in Christ we are declared righteous before God - see also Philippians 3:8-9. To compliment these pieces of armour we are to pray in the Spirit on all occasions for our fellow Christians. One of the great lies of the devil in our age is to discourage /tempt us to be regular in fellowship by distracting us with other activities and engagements. Regular Christian fellowship is vital for Christian growth in faith and helps in the process of being strong in the Lord. At our 5pm service we continue our series on people who met Jesus and in Luke 8:40-56 we meet Jairus and a woman suffering from bleeding. They were desperate and so were open to receive from Jesus. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara

 

Continue Reading..

Confidence about what is right and wrong.

Dear Friends,
The world we live in is morally confused and has lost confidence about what is right and wrong. This moral vacuum and confusion is a difficult environment not only for adults to navigate but also for our children. Today we look at Ephesians 6:1-9 and we see that God is concerned for every area of our life and has practical wisdom to help us in this task of parenting. In 6:1-3 Paul mentions children and in effect is addressing them within the life of the church. Children were considered a vital part of the church community. This teaching of Paul reflects what Jesus said - Let the little children come to me for to such as these belongs the kingdom of God. Paul is instructing children and helping parents to see that it is right and proper for children to obey and honour their parents. His first reason is that “for this is right”. By this he means that it is part of the natural order and expectation of society. We see in most societies that children are taught to respect and obey their parents. But notice that the obedience required is qualified by “in the Lord.” God doesn’t expect obedience from children which contradicts God’s Word. Paul also gives instructions to fathers in v4. We remember that in the Roman world fathers had absolute power in the family and could be a law unto themselves. Paul is warning fathers and by implication also mothers to not exasperate their children. To exasperate a child was to unfairly frustrate or cause anger with unnecessary or unreasonable instructions. That is why Paul teaches that training which is effectively discipline must be kept in balance with instruction which carries the idea of counsel and support. Our human nature has a tendency to go to extremes and so we can over discipline or under discipline or even over counsel or under counsel. Paul keeps these 2 directions in balance. The goal is to bring children up in the Lord. What is going to help your children most is to know the Lord and to be both corrected and encouraged in His teaching. One practical application is that a good place to do this is at the family meal table where families eat and then at the end of the meal the Bible is read and discussed and then family members pray together. May the Lord not only bless our marriages but also strengthen our parents ! At the evening service we are beginning a new series on people Jesus met. The first person we look at is Levi in Luke 5:27-32. Jesus called Levi who was a tax collector to follow Him and we read that he left everything. He must have been observing Jesus and made a decision that what Jesus offered was more attractive than his old life. It is still the same today. The truth is that what Jesus offers is more attractive than what others or the world offer ! This is the deal you have to take ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara

 

Continue Reading..