We are in such a special season:
'She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). '
Matthew 1:21-23 NIV
There is almost nothing “normal” about Jesus’ birth. With all of the political and economic pressure put upon Israel in the years around Jesus’ birth it must have been easy to mistake the Messiah’s purpose. The need for national identity, financial liberation and political freedom was most definitely at the forefront of Jewish expectations. However, in the midst of this account of the birth of The Way in the Manger
he is given a name…not just a title! Everyone has that…commoners, paupers, princes and kings. Everyone is given a name. It is that one piece of identity that sticks with you through the whole of life. It may be something you like…or dislike…but it will stick with you! So, in God’s providence He decided the Messiah’s name should be “Jesus, because…” He is given a name which reveals his purpose: he will save his people from their sins
. It seems the greatest tyranny to be liberated from is what can defile the inside – not the outside! We celebrate in this season the one who comes to save his people from their sins – an inner enemy far more dangerous than any political regime. The Apostle Paul attested to this:
'What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24 NIV
May you rediscover the liberation Jesus brings over this Christmas season!
A challenging time for Christ Followers in Victoria
This week Victorian parliament meets, and they will vote on a new bill put forward by the Labour party that has huge implications on Christians, parents, health professionals, and churches. The new legislation being proposed is “The change or suppression conversion practices prohibition bill 2020". It can be found here.
Besides the religious freedom issues, the Bill makes it illegal for Victorians to seek certain treatment, counselling and support, even if this is what they want.
The Bill bans treatment, counselling and support for
- people who wish to move away from an active same-sex sexual expression to either an exclusively heterosexual sexual expression or a same-sex attracted but sexually celibate life, and
- people who have transitioned to another gender but want to de-transition back to birth gender. This relates to all cases by non-health service providers, and by a health service provider only where the treatment is in the health service provider's reasonable professional judgement, necessary (which is a higher bar than desirable or potentially beneficial).
In addition, anyone found engaging in ‘change or suppression practices' may face 10 years imprisonment or massive financial fines. Those practices include giving support, instruction, making a referral, and offering prayer or deliverance. There is no deference even if the individual themselves asks for the help.
While there may, in the past, have been some unwise and insensitive practices in this area of ministry, this proposed law criminalises good practices that genuinely help people, and attacks freedom of religion, parental rights, and speech. It could make churches, and other Christian organisations the target of legal harassment and attack. You’ll be glad to know that the pastors in the city are prayerfully engaging in this regard with the Government. The Heads of Churches in Melbourne are also having a meeting with the Victorian Government on Wednesday, 9 December 2020. Please pray for this meeting.
How should we response to this process as Christ followers?
- Love all people by encouraging them to follow Christ
- Love the truth as represented in Scripture without getting drawn into quarrels
- Pray earnestly for God’s intervention
- Refer people who struggle with this to ministries who specialise in this area
Here is a link to a ministry that focus on this issue: www.freetochange.org
We also urge you to please contact your local MP to oppose this bill in its current form.
Onsite changes after the latest announcements
Our new Online Service expression
Restrictions has been lifted yet again and we are thankful that we can now receive many more of you. Would you please continue to book in the normal way (Trybookings) via our website calendar for attending Weekend Services? Should you decide to attend after booking has closed on a Saturday evening, we will have a QR code by which you can book on arrival. As a courtesy to first time visitors who are not aware of our booking procedure, we ask that you refrain from being a “no-show” (this means you book without attending). This has caused some guests to have been turned away while we actually could have accommodated them. In the future, whenever a Worship Service is fully booked, we will host walk-in guests until 5 minutes into the service and they will then be ushered to available seats.
If you are unsure as to how to use a QR code staff will be available to help you.
As from this weekend we will be “livestreaming” our Worship Services. Our wonderful Production Team under the leadership of Krishan Mahesan have made this possible. Should you still want to engage with a service on a Saturday please feel free to make use of our library of online content. These are available on our website
Kids Church Online
As most of our kids would be on holiday, our Online Kids programs have also concluded for the year. There is however online material available on all of our online platforms here.
A unique holiday season
Please be reminded of our holiday season services and times to make sure you are aware of when you can be involved. We have opened up more seats for the Christmas Day service. Please book in advance as seats are still limited due to density quotient guidelines. Book here.
Worship Pastor role
As we look forward towards 2021, we are expecting a great year of renewed impact. One of these areas of impact is our Worship
Services and we are in the process of receiving applications for the Worship Pastor role for 2021. Please pray for us, so we would find the right individual that would want to serve our church in this capacity. Should you know someone that would be a great candidate, please tap them on the shoulder and encourage them to apply!
50 Days of Transformation
As a church, it is our mission to “Raise and Equip Followers of Christ” and to “Love People”. To help us achieve these, we will be running the 50 Days of Transformation Campaign beginning the 7th February 2021 and it goes for 7 weeks. We invite the whole church to participate in this campaign to help transform us into who God wants us to be, as individuals and as a church. Click here
to participate in being transformed.