- Who we are
- What we do
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
(Psalm 91:1-6 NIV)
Lord Most High, you are our refuge and fortress, our protector in times of trouble. You have healed us from sin and death through Jesus Christ, and now we trust you in a time of looming pestilence and plague. We pray that you would stop its spread, keep us safe and heal the sick. But whatever your will for us in this life may we always find refuge in your faithfulness.
We are sorry for the times when we fail to trust you and love you as we ought. We are sorry for our selfishness when others are in need. Please forgive our sins.
Increase our neighbourliness, so that we would uphold one another in practical service, prayer, friendship and with encouragement through the word.
We ask that you would strengthen us all; particularly the lonely, the sick, the bereaved, and the anxious.
We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
– SAM PURSELL
I’m sure that you have heard about restrictions on public gatherings for the time being.
Archbishop Glenn Davies has sent a letter today to every church in the Sydney Anglican Diocese to suspend all public church gatherings. This follows on from the Prime Minister and NSW Health Minister’s order to cancel all public gatherings of more than 100 people (which may be lowered further).
This means that Oak Flats Anglican will suspend Sunday services, Kid’s Club, Andy’s Club, Refuge Youth Group, and other gatherings in the church building.
In regards to Mobile Community Pantry, we will speak to Anglicare about whether certain changes may enable it to continue – e.g. pre-packing boxes.
Although we will not be meeting all together as a whole church family, we can still encourage one another regularly by meeting in small groups in our homes and online.
We will livestream the service on Sunday morning at 9:30am. Go to livestream.oakflatsanglican.com to view the service. It will be recorded, so you can watch it later if need be. A good idea would be to invite everyone in your house to watch it at the same time.
Bible study groups
If Bible study groups wish to meet, they may. Social distancing recommendations are to meet in a large space with 1.5m distance between people. Do not meet if you are sick or a person at risk.
Some Bible study groups already have Facebook groups where prayer points are shared, and readings and studies could be distributed. Groups may also like to read the Bible, discuss and pray using video conference software. Skype allows free group video chats for up to 50 people. Another group video chat option is the Zoom app.
If you are in a Bible study group, please be in contact with your leader and others in the group about how you are going and how to pray for one another during the week.
If you are not in a Bible study group, it would be good to choose a friend you can call and be in contact with during the week to chat about life, to read the Bible and pray together on the phone or via other means. Please let Val know if there is someone you have agreed to do this with.
If you are looking for someone who might be able to connect with you in this way, please let Val know.
Many expenses for the church continue, even though we will not be meeting in person as usual. If you haven’t yet moved to giving via direct debit, now could be a great time to set it up. See details here: oakflatsanglican.com/give
If you wish to continue giving via the ‘plate’, I recommend what Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians 16:2 to set aside a sum of money each week for later collection.
I want to finish with a simple encouragement from the Scriptures. Isaiah 40:28-31 reminds us that God is always with us, therefore we can have hope during this challenging time that he will give us strength. Through drought, bushfire, plague and whatever else we may see in our lives let us remember that our Lord is God: creator, sustainer and redeemer to the ends of the earth.
Pray that he would stop the spread of the virus, that we would display the love of Christ, and that somehow people would come to know Christ through this.
Constantly occupying some part of everyone’s brain at the moment is concern regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). Should I be afraid, should I stay calm, and more importantly can I get a refund on any of the 4-years’ worth of toilet paper I stocked up on?
As Christians who believe in the sovereignty of God, it can be easy to steamroll the situation and say “Be calm. God has everything in hand. To live is Christ, to die is gain.” Of course, those things are true. But I would like to add and reinforce another theme from Bible.
God knows that he will work all things for the good of those who love him. But he still also cares and comforts those who suffer in this age, before he brings about complete restoration in the next.
In this we think about Jesus in John 11, who promised and knew that Lazarus would rise from the dead (v. 23). He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (Luke 11:25-26). Jesus knew that Lazarus would be alive again in a matter of minutes. Standing at the entrance of the tomb, Jesus called Lazarus out. The dead man rose back to life and walked out of the tomb. Jesus’ glory was revealed.
Nevertheless, upon going to the tomb Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. When he saw the tomb we read, ‘Jesus wept.’ (Luke 11:35). Even the crowd could see that Jesus loved Lazarus (v. 36).
What is my point? Jesus was completely confident in his own sovereign power to raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet he still was grieved over the sickness and death of his beloved friend. He was not callous in his confidence, but caring.
Like Christ, let us be both confident and caring. God holds his people securely through life, sickness and even death; and at the same time, we are to love, care for, and support those who are afraid, lonely, sick and grieving.
– SAM PURSELL
This Sunday we continue our new series titled ‘Jesus Is’ as Sam preaches on the topic ‘Jesus is the Christ of God’ from Luke 9:10-27.
Our special segment ‘Kids’ Talk’ will return this week at our morning service to enable the active participation of the children in the service.
So, please come and join us at either 9.30am or 5pm. Or if you can’t make it in person, jump online to www.oakflats.tv and watch our live stream.
See you at 9.30am or 5pm this Sunday, God willing!
All Christian leaders are also followers – followers of Christ. This basic fact should not only mean that all Christian leaders operate in line with Christ’s teaching, but also that no church leader is the top of the tree and has absolute authority. Everything is done under Christ, the chief shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).
In the New Testament, we observe that elders are put in place to run local churches. In Titus we can see that this task was given by the Apostle Paul and implemented by Titus himself in many towns (Titus 1:5). So, we observe oversight of the overseers/elders!
The Apostle Peter, although clearly above local leaders, placed himself beside them. For he writes to local church elders as ‘a fellow elder’ (1 Peter 5:1). This indicates his humility, and he explicit a call for their humility too, ‘Be shepherds of God’s flock…being eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock’ (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Pulling these threads together, the Anglican church operates with a structure and spirit based on what we observe in the Bible. And in the promise below I pledge to be obedient to those ministers over me.
Will you reverently obey your ordinary and other chief ministers set over you in the church, gladly and willingly following their godly counsel? (AAPB)
This not only brings order and obedience to the structure of the church, but also has a balance. For if what a bishop requires is ungodly, which can be observed in the actions of some Anglican bishops around the world at present, their leadership should be resisted.
With space for discussion with a bishop as brother in Christ and fellow overseer, but overall my commitment as a minister is to humbly support and work with the bishop for the health of Christ’s church.
In the Anglican church bishops are set over ministers and local churches for the health of the church. As brothers in Christ and fellow overseers there is space for discussion and debate with them. But overall my commitment as a minister to humbly support and work with them for good order, good doctrine and to do everything that is good in Church of Christ.
– SAM PURSELL