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The Journal

Who is Jesus?

Dear Friends,

Our focus this Sunday is Who is Jesus ? This is the key question of life because Jesus says in John 17:3 :- “Now this is eternal life: that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” God’s Word teaches us that as when we come to know Jesus we have eternal life. This is because Jesus alone is the source of eternal life. This life with Jesus starts when we put our faith in Jesus and His work on the Cross and repent of sin. This eternal life which God gives us means that we are connected to Jesus who is the source of all love, joy and peace.  

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Is There More to Life Than This?

Dear Friends,

Over  the next 3 months with a break for Easter the sermon series is going to follow the Alpha Course. So for example the topic today is: Is there more to life than this? Which is the topic for week 1 in Alpha. Next week at Alpha the topic is Who is Jesus? And we will also cover that topic next Sunday. The Alpha Course teaches us about God’s grace revealed through Jesus. This is a central theme of the Bible that the God who made this world seeks us out despite our sinfulness because He is gracious. 

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Growing Through Faith

Dear Friends,

Recently some asked me about persevering or keeping going in the faith. The New Testament regularly speaks about endurance – see Romans 15:5, 2 Cor 1:6, Col 1:11, 1 Thess 1:3. In my personal experience as a minister I have met countless people who have dropped out of fellowship for one reason or another. Sometimes it has been the failure of the church and most often it has been the failure of the people themselves or a combination of both. The teaching of the Bible and the experience of people raises an important question – How do we keep going ?  

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Book of Ruth - Part 4 - New Beginnings

Dear Friends,

As we look back over the 4 chapters of Ruth we have seen the movement of the book from death to the birth of a new baby Obed, from hopelessness to great hope and from emptiness to fullness. In fact Naomi is given attention in chapter 4 when the women of the village say in 4:17 Naomi has a son. In chapter 1 she appeared as one who is empty and hopeless and has lost her husband and her husbands through death but now God has blessed her and filled her with great joy. 

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Book of Ruth - Part 3 - A Beautiful Love Story

Dear Friends,

In Ruth chapter 3 we see the unfolding of a beautiful love story. Naomi who had become very depressed because she had lost hope for the future 1:20-21 has become energized. She sees that God has provided for her 2:20 and this brings hope. This hope for Naomi is found in Boaz who is a kinsman redeemer. It was the responsibility of a kinsman redeemer to provide for families in Israel who had sold their land or had been sold into slavery or whose male relative had died – see Leviticus 25:25-28,47-49 and Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Of course the ultimate hope for Naomi is God because it is God who has provided the kinsman redeemer in the person of Boaz. 

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Book of Ruth - Part 2 - A Safe Place to Dwell

Dear Friends,

It is very human to want to be in a safe place where we are secure and feel secure. It is one of the goals of our church at Leichhardt to create a safe place. This idea of a safe place is what drives chapter 2 of Ruth. In 2:12 Boaz recognizes that Ruth has come to dwell under the shelter of God’s wings. This picture of God being our refuge and shelter is a very strong Biblical theme. Scripture continually speaks of this ie Psalm 57:1 because God knows that it is basic to our sense of well being to be secure.  

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Book of Ruth - Part 1 - God has a Plan

Dear Friends,

We are commencing a short series over 4 weeks on the book of Ruth. It is a great book of the Bible to study as we enter a new year not knowing what will occur because it reminds us that God is sovereign and that He rules the world and He is in control of the future. We hope and pray that there won’t be shootings like happened in Paris and we hope and pray that Isis will be stopped. But whatever happens we are confident that the providence of God means that God has a plan for this world and for our lives and He orders the world according to His big purposes. We are also confident that God’s purposes for His world and for us are good. 
 

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Jesus was a Refugee

Dear Friends,

 Christmas is over and the joy and excitement of the new baby Jesus gives way to the horror of Herod murdering all the children 2 years and under in Bethlehem – Matthew 2:13-23. Herod was King of Judea and Samaria at the time of Jesus’ birth. He ruled by force and got rid of any opposition. We learn from history that he murdered 2 of his sons and his wife and many others. 

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Simeon's Bucket List

Dear Friends,

 This Christmas as we listen to the stories of Christmas and worship our Lord Jesus Christ we are reminded that in the apparent weakness of the baby Jesus there is great power at work.Luke sets the story of Jesus’ birth within the context of history – the seemingly mighty and powerful Caesar Augustus issues a decree that a census should be taken of the whole Roman world – Luke 2:1. The passage teaches us that the powerful Augustus is fulfilling God’s plans that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem and fulfill prophecy – Micah 5:2.
 

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The story of Christmas is reliable

Dear Friends,

Christmas is a reminder that the essential reason we can know God is that He reveals Himself to us. We learn in the 1 Corinthians 1:21 that we cannot know God through our own wisdom or reasoning. In the story before us today God sends His angel to tell the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. This announcement is extraordinary because there is a great company of angels who give praise to God.  

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