Ministry Internship Update

Hello and Happy New Year, Church!

 

We’re so excited about the year ahead and the many ways we’re going to pursue our mission of knowing Christ and making him known. In particular, it’s a great joy that in 2019 we’ll be employing two ministry interns: Chris Rothwell and Grace Jones. Chris enters his second year of the internship, while Grace is new to the program this year. Please see the video below for a brief introduction to Grace, and some information about how you can support her. And do look out for her in the coming weeks as she begins on January 21st!

 

To pledge your financial support for Grace Jones’ ministry internship, please follow this link and complete the form: https://wollongongbaptist.org/grace-j-support/

For a more detailed look at the role of a ministry intern, please view the ministry intern info pack here: https://wollongongbaptist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WBC-Ministry-Intern-20181121.pdf

If you have any further questions please contact our treasurer, Stephen Edgecombe, on [email protected]

Jairus’ Story

Jairus’ Story

She awoke something in me the day she was born. It wasn’t like having a son. I already had sons. But not a daughter. And the first time I saw her, something in me stirred. This primal protectiveness I’d never felt before swelled in me as I looked down at her sweet face. She was beautiful. The spitting image of her mother. A daughter. My one and only daughter.

At first we didn’t think all that much of it when she started to complain she felt unwell. Told her to rest. To drink some water. To keep quiet about it and stay out of the way. The last thing I needed was for people to start asking questions. Sickness in the family when you’re in my line of work definitely raises eyebrows. And provokes some pretty hefty questioning about your standing before God. We brushed it off for a bit.

But then she got worse. It was clear something was really wrong. How could this be? She was an angel, always had been. Was it my fault? Had I not been upholding the law? Had I offended the Lord? If so, how could I ever appease him?

Day after day after day, I prayed and fasted. We made offerings and wore sack cloth and sung psalms. We spent everything we could taking her to the very best doctors and giving her the most expensive medicine we could afford. Nothing worked. She continued to fade. How was this happening? And why her? Only 12 years old and already on her death bed. The thought of it broke me. What kind of a father can’t protect his own daughter? Can’t give her everything she needs?

I’d heard about Jesus of course. Everyone had. People were talking about him everywhere, especially in the synagogue. There were daily disputes about him. News had spread far and wide about his alleged miraculous healings. To be honest, I didn’t know exactly what to think about it all. I was still trying to piece it together. But the reality was, I was at the end of my rope. My daughter was dying, right there in front of my eyes. And I couldn’t save her. No one could.

I was a desperate man. My wife was hysterical with grief and could not be comforted. She seemed to wail day and night. Then it dawned on me. The only option we had left: Jesus. Without giving a moment’s thought to my job or to anyone, I ran through the streets and forced my way through the crowd and finally fell at his feet. Like a beggar, I pleaded with him to come and see her. And just like that, he agreed.

My heart was racing as I led him back through the town. Adrenaline had kicked into over drive. He’s coming. He’s actually coming! Then he stopped.

“Who touched me?” he said.

What did he mean? He was the centre of a mob, plenty of people must have touched him! A woman came forward, shy but full of joy. Said she’d been bleeding for a full 12 years, but now she was healed. What? The crowd cheered. Although annoyed at the interruption, it was hard not to get swept up in the commotion. It was amazing!
Just as I started to join in the round of applause, I saw one of my servants approaching. The look on his face stopped me in my tracks.

“Your daughter is dead”.

I couldn’t process what he said. All I could do was look around dazed at the roaring crowd who now seemed to move in slow motion. All I could hear was my heart beat thumping in my temples.

Before I could even register the man’s report, Jesus’ words interrupted me and pulled me back into reality.

“Don’t be afraid, just believe and she will be healed”.

What else could I do? The woman he’d healed was still standing in front of me. 12 years of bleeding, one for every year of my daughter’s life, now forgotten as she rejoiced in her new- found health. Of course I believed now. What other choice was there but to believe?

My throat tightened as we approached the house. Outside on the streets our family and friends cried and cried. I couldn’t let myself look at them, and quickly hurried into the house. There she was. Pale and still, her lips cracked and dry. I felt my heart sink to depths I never knew I had.

“She is not dead, but asleep” Jesus said.

Cruel. Clearly she was dead. Fool. Was he trying to rub it in? What was he thinking?

I moved closer to her still body and studied her features. Features just like her mother’s. With tears in my eyes, I held her hand and looked over to Jesus.

“My child, get up!” he declared.

Could he not sense the tone in the room? I was ready to ask him to leave, to let us grieve in peace, when suddenly her body moved and her eyes flickered opened. Could it be?!

COULD IT BE?!

I really have no words. I don’t know how he did it. All I know is that I’m glad he did.

After we fed her, he told us not to say anything to anyone.

But how in the world could we ever do that? Our lives would never be the same again.

 

By Grace Jones

7 ways you can #ownthemission

7 ways you can #ownthemission

On Sunday, we kicked off our new series “His Mission Our Mission”, and Rod’s first step for us to own the mission was to join a Home Group. My hope is that Sunday’s talk has whet your appetite and made you think about owning God’s mission for the church for yourself.

A few years ago I read a helpful and challenging article called “Ministry of the Pew” by Col Marshall. You can find this article here if you’re interested.

The point of this post is to pull out the gold from Col’s article and challenge us afresh at Wollongong Baptist Church. So, with that in mind, here are seven ways you can take ownership of our Sunday church services.

1. Pray, pray and pray

Pray on the way to church, pray as you enter church and pray while you are at church! On the way to church, pray for your own heart, intercede for the servants preparing at church, and plead with God that the service will be an encouragement to believers and be engaging for non-believers. As you enter church, pray about where you will sit and whom you will sit next to. While you sit in church, pray that God’s Spirit will be at work convicting sinners and saints to worship Jesus as their Lord.

2. Arrive early to church

For two reasons: to welcome visitors and warmly greet church family. If you invited friends to your house, you would make sure you were home when they arrived. It should be the same at church. In many ways church should be our second home, where we welcome the lost and love the found. Visitors will often arrive early to church, so when we arrive 15 minutes early rather than 15 minutes late it gives us a great opportunity to love them and show hospitality.

3. Welcome everyone

What I love about the gospel is that Jesus died on the cross to welcome everyone who believes in him into the family of God. Sometimes we can find welcoming awkward and exhausting, and yet it’s nothing compared to what Jesus did for us to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God! A smile, a handshake and a simple, “Hi, my name is… I don’t think we’ve met before?” is an easy way to demonstrate that the gospel is open for all people.

4. Sit close to the front with other people

One way you can love the servants who serve you faithfully on Sunday’s (musicians, service leaders, Bible readers, preachers etc.) is by showing your enthusiasm to be there. And nothing demonstrates this like sitting closer to the front. Furthermore, by sitting up the front, you allow for any latecomers to find a seat quickly up the back (not that I’m encouraging coming late – see point #2). Also, sit with other people, sit next to new people, sit next to people you know well, but sit next to someone! It’s hard to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25) when there’s no one in arms reach!

5. Sing with gusto

Church is not a concert. The musicians up the front are not there to sing on our behalf but to lead and encourage us in our praises to our glorious God. When it comes to singing at church, it’s everyone’s responsibility to sing. One sure fire way to discourage those around you is to sing softly, or not at all! But if you want to encourage the people around you then sing loudly, passionately, and like you mean the lyrics you are singing! It takes practice to train our hearts to do this, because it’s more natural for us to think about ourselves and how we look to others rather than how we look to our glorious God.

6. Be ready, be engaged and be attentive during the sermon

Just like in singing, your engagement during the sermon affects the quality of the sermon. If you walk into church tired, distracted and disinterested then within minutes you will be checking Facebook on your phone or taking a nap in the hands to face “prayer pose.” Be ready for the sermon, but also work at being engaged and attentive during the sermon. The preacher’s energy and ability to communicate is dependent on the congregation’s willingness to listen, learn and apply. So nod your head when you agree with a point, smile if you agree, laugh when there’s a joke (“ha!”), make eye contact with the preacher, have your Bible open and take notes. Model to the church and visitors that we love the Bible and want to be changed into the image of Jesus.

7. After the service: eat, talk and pray

Stay for morning tea, supper or dinner. Eat with people. Get to know people, make some small talk, ask about each other’s weeks and ask “what did you find encouraging about the service?” or “how can I pray for your this week”. And then pray! And model to everyone else the power of prayer and the care of the saints.

 

So there you go. Seven ways that owning the mission of God will transform your experience on Sundays at Wollongong Baptist Church.

Praying for God’s work,

Pastor Joel Deacon