Joy…in these Last Days…
The globe has seemingly gone crazy, and there is an ever-increasing sense that darkness is soon to prevail—or may already be prevailing—in so many areas of society. I was struck by how we as humans are constantly awaiting word from our government this past week. There was a bill to be passed, restrictions to be adapted, economic feedback etc. Almost all of us were awaiting news that would alter our circumstances. The authority and responsibility of government is enormous, and we should never cease to pray for them. As a light in the darkness, we are aware of the increasing contrast between the lives of followers of Christ and an environment that does not worship Him. As Christ’s servants we have to cope with the changes in the world…without become like it. It sometimes feel we have little to offer the world, especially when it tells us we are on the wrong side of history. This is not a new experience:
'If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don't belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and therefore its people hate you. If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say. '
John 15:18:20 CEV
The political, cultural, and social noise around us will increase in this time. What and who do we listen to in this season as we approach the celebration of the birth of the Son of God in a culture that merely wants to refer to it as “The Holidays”?
'In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. '
Hebrews 1:1-4 NIV
What a glorious reality that we can find Christ as God’s utterance towards us as believers and find Him as our source of joy and inspiration! Over the next four weeks we are going to celebrate the Christ of Christmas in a new series starting this coming Sunday. May His joy be your Joy in this season!
Partnership Gathering | Update
The past weekend we had a Partners Gathering wherein we communicated how we will approach the next season in light of the ever-changing restrictions. As you would know, this is a very complex issue and one for which we have earnestly sought God’s guidance and will continue to do so. We seek your support for our decisions and pray that you will be in unity with us and with each other; by keeping our eyes on Jesus and bringing His love and His presence to the people in our lives, rather than focusing on the issues that divide. Our current position is that we will continue with:
- An online prayer strategy
- Small groups under 50
- Ministry Teams rebuild their capacity to be ready when things open up
- Online Sunday Services – we now are allowed to have our Worship Team as part of this
- Online Kids ministry
- Food Pantry continues as normal
- Living Springs function as normal
- Boys Brigade grouped under 50
- Youth grouped under 50
- Staff back at the office as normal
A message from Pastor Andrew Austin
“In Term 2 of this year I was in church doing my morning devotion when I heard a voice. I looked around but there was no-one there, so I asked God ‘Was that you Lord?’ Then I heard the voice again. God had arrested my attention. Both times I heard the same two words ‘MOVE ON’.
I gathered my pen, paper and my phone and went to the crèche to process what I had just heard. It was as I sat on the couch with some quiet music playing in the background that the Holy Spirit whispered to me ‘It’s time to dream again, write down your dreams with me’
I wrote down many dreams that morning with one of them being to live near the beach on the Gold Coast.
In the months following that encounter with God, I talked to my mentors and friends I trusted while continuing to process the word with the Lord. During this time, I became convinced we were being called to move to the Gold Coast.
What I wasn’t yet convinced of was whether Lisa would be as keen as I was. I remember saying to God ‘Lord you will need to speak to Lisa if this is going to happen’.
So, one night I casually mentioned to Lisa ‘why don’t we move to the Gold Coast?’ and to my surprise she said, ‘why didn’t we think of this earlier, we should have moved years ago, haven’t you always wanted to live by the beach?’
Lisa asked God to show her 2 signs and within 2 days we were planning to relocate to the Gold Coast.
We have bought a house which settles on December the 10th and we are flying to the Gold Coast on December 20th. It is a step of faith as I have no work lined up and Lisa has secured one day’s work, but we are convinced God will provide.
There were times in the process that I felt like staying in Melbourne and the reason for that was how much I enjoy pastoring at Berwick, and the feeling of letting my team down in a season when they need strong leadership, but I couldn’t shake the sense that the Gold Coast is where we need to be.
So, I will be finishing up here in mid-December and our new season as a family will begin. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Berwick, and working with such a supportive team, and I will miss investing in my kids ministry team and the children and families of our church, however, we hope to stay connected to Berwick moving forward.”
In the light of God’s call on Andrew we as leadership want to honour Andrew and his family for the amazing work they have done over the past four years. We are for the better due to their faithful and excellent service. We bless their next part of the journey in God’s purposes. Our Kids ministry is blessed with great leaders and we have a plan in place for 2022! We are finalizing detail and will communicate that shortly.
Worship Pastor role
As a church, we have now been without a Worship Pastor for a couple of years and we regard this as an important role in the life of our church. We have undertaken a considerable/lengthy search for a suitable Worship Pastor over the last 18 months. This vacancy was publicly advertised on several occasions and on various platforms. This resulted in a number of potential applicants, all of whom were found to be unsuitable.
The Board agreed to open this process to international applicants as no suitable domestic applicants had been found. Our wider search did attract a number of quality applicants from several countries. Eventually, two candidates were subjected to a robust process and selection panel including representatives from the Board and Worship Team, and Monya van Staden from Cape Town, South Africa was found to be successful. As a matter of interest: Pastor Braam excluded himself from the process in the light of a possible perception that there might be a conflict of interest. We are delighted that Monya and her family have accepted the call to serve at Berwick. Monya brings a wealth of relevant skills, qualifications, and experience to this role and a heart to serve God with us. We invite the church to pray for Monya, Johan, and the boys Ian and Eben and the journey ahead of them – visas, relocating from South Africa, moving away from family etc.
24 hour of Prayer | Saturday 20th November
We are opening up a zoom meeting for 24 hours of prayer, all of our Church family are invited to join us when you can to engage in prayer for our world, from Berwick, to Casey, Victoria, the nation and the globe!
We will provide a host who will support and guide you, together we can petition heaven for a mighty move of God, for His glory, for His purposes and for His church.
Time: Nov 20, 2021 10:00 AM Australia/Melbourne
Join Zoom Meeting: Here
Meeting ID: 231 649 2440
Bringing Christmas to life | Update
There are families in our community who are not able to celebrate Christmas the normal way that most of us are able to. As a church, we desire to bring Christmas to life in the lives of people who are struggling during the festive season. That is why we have a big event called Bringing Christmas to Life. However, because of different reasons including the implications of the pandemic, we are not having a big event this year. Rather we will privately bless our food pantry clients with gifts that would allow them to celebrate Christmas this year with their families. Please spare a thought and a prayer for our Food Pantry team as they Bring Christmas to Life in the lives of our Food Pantry clients.
Food Pantry | We need your help
Our Food Pantry is open on Tuesdays, from 10:30 am till 2pm serving those in our community who are going through a difficult time. Are you able to give a helping hand? In your next shop at Woolies, Coles or Aldi, would you be able to pick up one or several of these items?
2. Vegetable oil
3. Tinned spaghetti
4. Tuna (Big tin)
5. Tinned fruit
6. Cake mixes
8. Cling wrap
9. Sweet biscuits
10. Savoury biscuits
Please drop them off at the church during business hours. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and makes a big difference in the lives of many.
Robin Harrison | Will be missed
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Robin Harrison has gone to be with our Lord on Monday, 15 November. He was an active member of the church, more recently serving with the Welcome Team and is a beloved member of his lifegroup. He leaves behind his spouse Liz, children Elspeth and Richard and their spouses Chris and Sabine, grandchildren Brianna, Thomas, Sophie, Jasmine, Isabella and William and beloved dog Rex. The funeral service has been scheduled for 11 am Monday, 22 November at the church. The family has requested for a fully vaccinated service event and a livestream will be made available for those unable to attend. Livestream here.
Please pray for Liz and family as they navigate through this difficult season.
Fuse Youth | Friday 19th November
This week at Fuse Youth is Resilience #3 and we will be hanging out, hearing a message from Genny, having good chats and of course eating food!
Don’t forget that booking is essential! 5.30-7pm or 7.30-9pm, $5 & don’t forget a mask! Book here.
Kids Church | Sunday 21st November
This week at Kids Church Elfie, ran to the door, he was so excited! Gazza and his family were coming over for dinner. “Come in” he exclaimed and let Gazza’s parents into the kitchen where his parents were. Once they were comfortable, Elfie’s mum encouraged the boys to go and play in Elfie’s room. Excitedly they ran upstairs. Gazza was blown away by Elfie’s room. There were rock posters on the wall. It was way cooler than his room. Then Elfie started playing his guitar, Gazza had never heard anything like it! The rock music swirled around the room to Gazza’s amazement. Soon it was time for dinner. The boys were called downstairs to eat. Dinner smelled super tasty and Elfie was starving! After grace Elfie dove in, it tasted so good! But something even better than dinner was about to happen. His dad started speaking and Elfie couldn’t believe his ears. God was about to do something amazing!
Click here for links to Berwick Kids TV and Wonderkids to Grade 6 programs starting at 9am Sunday.
Sunday Service | Lasting Joy – Radiance
We are super excited about our new series, Lasting Joy. It starts this Sunday and runs for four weeks. The globe has seemingly gone crazy, and there is an ever-increasing sense that darkness is soon to prevail – or may already be prevailing – in so many areas of society. Like a light in the darkness, we are aware of the increasing contrast between the lives of followers of Christ and an environment that does not worship Him. The political, cultural, and social noise around us will increase in this time. What, and who, do we listen to in this season as we approach the celebration of the birth of the Son of God in a culture that merely wants to refer to it as “The Holidays"?
Boys Brigade | Monday 22nd November
Be part of the action. For over 20 years the Boys’ Brigade has advanced Christ’s Kingdom among boys.
ANCHORS | Grades 1 & 2: 6pm – 7.00pm
JUNIORS | Grades 3 – 6: 7pm – 8.30pm
SENIORS | Grades 7 to 18 years old: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
More details are on our calendar here.
Thank you for being His Presence in Every Place!