Blog Archive

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Puppet Shop at the Rocks,Sydney.

In 2004 we travelled to Sydney to visit our son and his wife.

We went for a walk through the famous "Rocks" of Sydney.

There were some quaint shops including this Puppet Shop which was just amazing.

I understand it closed some time ago now.

I found these pics in my archives and post them so  others who marveled at the shop and artistry there can relive their memories.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

"Together with one Voice" by Geoff Thompson

This is the message I brought to the Parkrose Village congregation on 9/12/19.
The final delivery was slightly different.

Romans 15:4-13 Living Bible (TLB)
These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death.
May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other. And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified. Remember that Jesus Christ came to show that God is true to his promises and to help the Jews. And remember that he came also that the Gentiles might be saved and give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing to your name.”
10 And in another place, “Be glad, O you Gentiles, along with his people the Jews.”
11 And yet again, “Praise the Lord, O you Gentiles; let everyone praise him.”
12 And the prophet Isaiah said, “There shall be an Heir in the house of Jesse, and he will be King over the Gentiles; they will pin their hopes on him alone.”
13 So I pray for you Gentiles that God who gives you hope will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. I pray that God will help you overflow with hope in him through the Holy Spirit’s power within you.
Living Bible (TLB)
The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Together with one Voice”
We had this from today’s reading.
May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other.
And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This might not sound like a very challenging sermon title but I can assure you it is.
I hope that today we realise and we see the need to be together in one voice and to have the attitude of Jesus towards each other.
Last Friday night there was a wonderful thing happened at the Parkrose Nursing home. The management had organised a Christmas Carol night for all the residents.
Some of us helped in the music department.
It was a wonderful evening of singing and praising God and a time of goodwill amongst all who were there.
Staff, residents and volunteers. Even the CEO.
Now not everyone there would have been Christians but the Holy Spirit was definitely there in creating a wonderful time of harmony and goodwill.
During the year amongst all those people , I can guarantee, not all has been a bed of roses.
But last Friday night there was a pause in any animosity with each other.
If you don’t take home anything else from today remember how at Christmas when Jesus is given the pre eminence, goodwill prevails. This means we let Jesus rule our hearts.
The secret is we need to do this  in our lives all day long.
Have you ever heard someone say to you “we need to be together on the same page”.
That’s probably a not so subtle suggestion that says, 
“you don’t agree with me but you should!”
 “and what’s more, you are wrong!”
That flies in the face of being together with one voice doesn’t it?
What about our politicians who can’t get on with each other even in the same party?
The backstabbing, the overthrow of one Prime Minister after another.
But really most of the time we are no better than them.
Not on the world stage but in the circles of our own lives.
The universal problem of mankind is that very quickly we can disagree with others,
we can dislike them,
 we can find fault,
we can get angry.
We can be so angry that we go to war with some other country.
At its worse level anger is behind murder and crime.
Of course there are lots of people we think are just marvellous.
But sometimes it’s funny that they too
 can fall out of our favour with us,
 when we find out they are not quite what we thought they were.
We change our minds about them.
Why does his happen so often?
Why do we form opinions about people?
Why do we think “they””they” should know better?
Do we have a right to judge others?
As Christians how should we conduct ourselves in our relationships?
To our fellow Christians,
 and to those who don’t share our beliefs?
Should we be different in this regard to those who aren’t Christians?
Or should we treat everybody the same regardless of their views?
If someone treats us very shabbily, how should we react to that?
Do we turn the other cheek?
Do we confront them?
Tell them off?
Do we even give it a second thought as to what we should do as Christians?
I am raising a lot of questions here aren’t I?
A great guide for us is that well known saying
“What would Jesus do?”
When we examine what He did as told to us in the NT, there were very few times where He said anything in anger.
On the few occasions He did some would call that righteous anger!
Do we have a right to righteous anger?
We read this earlier.
May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other.
Let’s look at some of those words. 4 of them.
1.  Patience. If we learn patience we can learn to be
 slow to speak,
slow to act.
Slow to react.
Patience allows time for us to think clearly what our response should be.
This surely is an antidote to a quick temper.
Sometimes of course we can have a simmering slow passive anger that can build up to make ourselves a mess.
2  Steadiness.
Here is a definition of steady.  

(of a person) sensible, reliable, and self-restrained: eg. a solid, steady young man.

 not faltering or wavering; controlled

If we are Christians we are to be filled with God’s Spirit.

To be filled with God’s Spirit really means to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

And if we are then we will exhibit the fruits of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

3     encouragement and  help

God encourages us through fellowship with other Christians, their wise counsel, and also by His Holy Spirit.

 The Helper is one of His names.

If we are Christians He will be living within our spirits and if we listen He will help and counsel us.

Of course if we have Christian friends who are letting God’s Holy Spirit control them from within they will be able to give us wise counsel.

4     the attitude of Christ toward the other

We should have the same attitude as Jesus would.

Isn’t that saying “What would Jesus do?”

Are you getting the drift of this?

Are we being drawn into answering these questions?

One of the things that has helped me the most is this simple but profound thought.

The need to give up my right to myself.

(Jesus could have struck down his tormentors but He chose to ignore the right or power to do that.)

The need to give up my right to myself.

You might say that I couldn’t do that.

I am not going to let someone walk all over me.

Actually when you do give up the right to yourself in God’s strength that won’t be your experience.

Paul says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

Let’s listen to some of Oswald Chambers from “My utmost for His Highest”

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. —Galatians 5:24
 “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh….” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it.

So if we do these things.

Realise we need to be looking at and willing to sacrifice our natural instincts and reactions,

our self righteousness,

that’s when we can learn to live in harmony as our passage suggests.

In harmony with those who are with us and with those who are against us.

“6 And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We need to live in harmony with our fellow Christians and also people who aren’t Christians.
The Bible teaches us they will know we are Christians by our Love.
What is the clue, the common denominator, to being together with one voice?
(The truce of Christmas in 1914 war)
I spoke briefly about this. 
How Jesus brought soldiers to a truce on Christmas day 1914.

Just one final word that I read some years ago that has stuck with me.

"If we see where some Christian brother or sister is failing it is not ours to criticise and condemn but to intercede on their behalf." 

So as we move through this Christmas season, let’s endeavour to bring the message of our Saviour, 
our living Saviour,
the reality of His presence
 in our daily living,
so that we can know peace and harmony with our fellow men and women.
And let’s continue to do this well beyond the Christmas season.

OOS Sunday 08/12/19  at Parkrose. 
Welcome: Geoff 
Call to Worship: Psalm 72:18-19 (KJV)
Hymn:  “O come all ye faithful”  89  4v
Hymn: “Never in all human story”  96  3v
Church Prayer
Bible Reading: Romans 15:4-13 Living Bible (TLB)
Hymn: “Kindred in Christ” 250  4v            
Sermon:  “together with one voice”
Hymn:  “Love came down at Christmas”  95  3v
Vesper:  Now unto Him
Cuppa time