Monthly Archives: June 2012

Church Sign of the Week 6

 

I hear this, or variations on this, quite a lot.

There is a very good point buried in here (well not buried, in fact there is a good point quite plainly put) – God is, as I have said before, a wonderful, loving God – those who claim to serve him, on the other hand, are a mixed bunch. Pick up your papers, turn on the news, listen to the radio. Almost every week there is a story about the Church or a priest or a T.V. Evangelist – we read of brainwashing the weak and needy, we hear of pedophile predators free to roam their parishes, we listen to stories of mega churches ripping off the public. We are told that the Church cannot agree on what to do about the 8% of the congregation that is gay, or the estimated 25% of the population not born in Australia. And that’s all we hear.

We don’t hear of the (literally 1000’s) of people who give up their times as volunteers in aged care facilities, to feed the homeless, to do any number of good things. We don’t read about the people helping to build schools and hospitals in places where they are needed. We don’t listen to stories of all the churches doing good great work in their local area. For every brainwashing church their is 10,000 churches supporting their community and the people, for every pedophile there are  100,000’s of priests quietly doing the good work, for every mega church and every corrupt T.V. evangelist there are millions of churches and evangelists who are not corrupt, who are striving to do God’s work with the people around them. Some churches care for 100% of their people and don’t care what colour their skin is, where they come from or who they choose to spend their life with.

I pray that is what we, at the Melbourne Welsh Church are. One of the churches that is not in the papers, or on the T.V. or radio. Just part of the fan club of God doing our little bit for ALL the people around us.

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Church sign of the week 5

Church….
Does it matter which one you stay away from?

One of the biggest excuses I, and I’m sure most ministers, hear is that, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.”

Well, technically that is true, in the same way you can be a footballer but never join a team. You can practise all the skills, kick the ball against a wall all day, learn the basics from a book or DVD but until you actually play with team mates then you’re not really a footballer.

Church is no different – there are a few, who by necessity, practise Christianity alone. Terry Waite jumps to mind during his long captivity as a hostage, but for most people Christianity is a shared act and part of that sharing means taking part in worship – and that usually happens in, that’s right, a church.

Just as in footy training you learn the skills and meet your team mates and build a bond, so church develops our skills, introduces us to our team mates and builds stronger bonds.

Now not every church suits everyone. Some people like loud drums and guitars, others like silence and contemplation. Some want tradition, others radical, modern worship. You only know when you try, until you find one that suits you.

But our sign is right – it doesn’t matter which church you stay away from. It’ll do you no good. If you claim to be a Christian then going to church should be a natural part of what you do.

So go to church, you might surprise yourself and like it!

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I want to be a clone – BANNERMAN

Deep in West Virginia

 

A cold night, illuminated by tall spotlights.

 

The crowds are hushed, all attention focused on one man.

 

The snap, the hold, the kick – a whole community holds it breath.

 

The ball travels end over end, it splits the uprights, the crowd erupts with cheers and from directly behind the goal, where everyone is looking, a small sign pops up….

 

“John 3:16”.

 

Bannerman has struck again!

 

Who is Bannerman?

No one knows. Like other superheroes, Batman, Spiderman and Superman for example, only his nearest and dearest know his name but his sign is as familiar as the Bat symbol, the Spider on Spidey’s chest and the famous ‘S’.

 

As do his caped and masked brethren, he roams likely areas, looking for people to save. His territory are sporting events and big gatherings and when he gets the chance he makes himself known to the helpless and needy. In front of a few hardy souls at a local game or before millions in a worldwide television audience he, bravely and without fear, displays his super sign.

 

And yet like his brothers and sisters in the hero fraternity he does not seek glory for himself. He seeks only the public good, wishing to remain quietly anonymous. Content to let the message speak for one who is greater than he.

 

Look out for him, he’s there and when you see him, say thank you – for many owe him their very souls.

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Church Sign of the Week 4

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Church Sign of the Week

God shows no favourites but this church does, c’mon Wales

One of the things we work hard to do in the Melbourne Welsh Church is to be inclusive. As we read it the Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that all are welcome in Christ’s Kingdom, everyone.

With that foremost in our minds we don’t care where you come from, what colour your skin is, how large or small your bank balance is, who you choose to date or marry. No one here minds if you are young or old, male or female, if you are a person with a disability – it honestly makes no difference to how God, or we, value you.

God shows no favourites – his love is all inclusive. We try, always, to remember that.

But you must remember we have Welsh roots. We grew from Welsh chapel stock – and rugby, as much as prayer, is important to us.

Hence our sign this week. For those of you who haven’t heard the Australian Wallabies are playing Wales this weekend. It’s a big game and important to those of us who come from “The land of our fathers.” So for this week we will wear our Red Jersey with pride and shout, “C’mon Cymru!”

But should you come to church in a gold jersey you will still be welcome!

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Church Sign of the Week 3

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Church Sign of the week 3

What if doing the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?

You know the song, left legs and right arms and lots of shaking, that’s what it’s all about.

The hokey pokey, or the hokey cokey if you grew up near me, is a dance phenomenon. We’ve all done at parties and weddings and usually regretted the pictures a few day later, big groups of people flailing around and us with our right arm in when everybody else has their left arm out! Social disaster.

But this week our sign asks one of the big eternal questions – what is it all about? If the hokey pokey is all we’ve got to look forward to (or back upon) then life has very little meaning and our existence is rather futile. If that is true than we are living in a very sad state of affairs. I pray with all my heart that there is more. If the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about and coke IS the real thing then why are we here? Not to dance and drink high sugar soft drinks surely?

So what is the meaning of it all? Does life have a point or is it just a finite number of days to be filled in the best way we can and then it’s lights out – nothing – oblivion?

I do not claim to have all the answers but I am convinced that life IS more real than coke and it IS about more than the hokey pokey and there is something to come after this life. I believe that God has created us and given us the unique gifts we have for a reason. What that is is between you and him, maybe you are here to do the hokey pokey, but I’m not. For me that’s not what it’s all about.

Now there are times when I have no idea why I’m here but I do have some faith. There is a great song called “Celebrate this heartbeat” by Randy Stonehill that has these words in it, words that have often given me comfort when I’m at a loss as to what I should be doing. I hope they can help you if you don’t yet know your reason.

Now I don’t understand
All the mysteries of the master plan
But I’m sure the Master does
So that’s okay.

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