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Weekly SNAC 16 December 2018: The best Christmas gift

There is a lot of pressure at Christmas time to come up with great gifts for people. The catalogues that come in my mail box only add to the pressure to find the right gift. One catalogue says “Give a little fun this Christmas”; another says “The more the merrier”; “Make this Christmas magic” and “Give the Christmas feeling” says a third and a fourth. Sometimes it seems to me that if I get the gift wrong then Christmas could be ruined for everyone (especially the retailers)!There is a lot of pressure at Christmas time to come up with great gifts for people. The catalogues that come in my mail box only add to the pressure to find the right gift. One catalogue says “Give a little fun this Christmas”; another says “The more the merrier”; “Make this Christmas magic” and “Give the Christmas feeling” says a third and a fourth. Sometimes it seems to me that if I get the gift wrong then Christmas could be ruined for everyone (especially the retailers)!

So what makes the best Christmas gift? Surely, it’s the kind of gift that just keeps on giving? Wouldn’t it be great to receive a gift that is not just perfect when you receive it but one that remains great every day from that moment on? There aren’t too many gifts that fit that bill! If someone gave me a Ferrari then I suspect it would give me pleasure for many days – but eventually I’d have to pay registration and insurance and one day the thing will simply rust away. The same is true for almost any gift we humans might give one another. No matter how wonderful a gift may seem at first, it will eventually rust or perish or lose its shine.

However, there is one Christmas gift that will never lose its shine. One way to explain it is to go back many years before the very first Christmas when the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament was written. It was a terrible time of suffering when God’s people had rebelled against him and abandoned His ways. In the midst of those troubles one person found a reason for daily hope – he wrote:

Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!  I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I  will put my hope in Him. (Lamentations 3:22-24)

The author of Lamentations understood that humanity regularly turns away from and abandons God. He knew the consequences of that rebellion were terrible and that the only place for hope was to throw yourself upon God’s mercy. This was an incredible insight – that despite our human rebellion against God - He can be trusted to show us mercy.

Fast forward several hundred years and that hope of mercy is what Christmas is really all about! At the first Christmas Jesus came into the world. Because of God’s mercy he sent his Son, born as a baby in this world for us. Thirty-three years later Jesus died on a lonely cross for us. The book of Romans in the New Testament describes how this showed God’s merciful love: 

God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!  (Romans 5:8)

This love of God for us sinners is why Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift of all time. In coming and dying for us Jesus dealt with the consequences of us rebelling against and ignoring God. Jesus is God’s mercy towards us – a gift of grace and an assurance of hope available not just on Christmas day, but it is a gift that keeps on giving every day.

The author of Lamentations was one of very few in his day that understood the Lord is who you turn to in your time of need. Today, we have the annual reminder of God’s mercy each time we celebrate Christmas. However, the offer of mercy from God is not only a Christmas-day offer – it is a free gift available every day to anyone who will put their trust in Jesus. Jesus is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving to humanity!

The question for you is: have you accepted God’s wonderful gift to you?       

Jason Veitch

Weekly SNAC 9 December 2018: Christmas Scripture Assemblies

This week the halls at Bexley North and Carlton Public Schools were packed for our annual Christmas Scripture Assemblies. This year, Big Red had come prepared with a game show that he made up all on his own called Game of Reds (you may notice some similarities to Channel 10’s new game show Game of Games). The point of the quiz was to test everyone’s knowledge of the Bible’s true Christmas story.This week the halls at Bexley North and Carlton Public Schools were packed for our annual Christmas Scripture Assemblies. This year, Big Red had come prepared with a game show that he made up all on his own called Game of Reds (you may notice some similarities to Channel 10’s new game show Game of Games). The point of the quiz was to test everyone’s knowledge of the Bible’s true Christmas story.

It was Kids vs. Red in 3 crazy games. Our scripture teachers participated in each game on behalf of kids and Red who were responsible for answering the questions. Dizzy Dash was our first game where two contestants were spun around on the dizzy chair until they were very dizzy. Then they had to run (without falling over) to be the first to grab a ball and answer a question. Then we moved on to Aw Snap where contestants were linked together by a giant elastic band. Working against each other’s pull they had to grab a Big Red Chocolate bar with their teeth and drop it into a bucket before answering a question. Our final game was Tuba Toothpaste. Red and the kids answered a question. If they got it right their contestant had to pull a stick out of a box. If it was green tipped they were safe. If it was red tipped then the tuba sprayed them. Poor Brendan and Jason got covered in toothpaste slime because Red was giving the wrong answer to questions on purpose! Our scripture teachers span, leapt, slid, stretched, slipped and pulled!

Our quiz let us take a closer look at the Bible’s Christmas story. We saw an angel deliver 3 messages. The first message was to Mary. She was going to have a baby who would be God’s King and rule over God’s people forever. The second message was to Joseph. He should name his baby Jesus because he was the Saviour come to save people from sin.  The third message was to the shepherds. They were to go and meet the baby who was Christ the Lord. Jesus humbled himself and came to earth. He was born as a baby, grew up and died on a cross in our place. Then God made him the Lord over everything, the number 1. Christmas is all about Jesus the King and the Saviour and the Lord. Kids and teachers alike had an absolute blast! 

The Christmas Assemblies are always fantastic opportunities to teach kids what the Bible says about the real meaning of Christmas. It’s a joy to partner with our SRE teachers who go into our local schools every week and faithfully teach kids from the Bible! Please pray that God would use all the scripture lessons taught this year to bring glory to him. And please pray that children would look forward to celebrating Jesus this Christmas, the King and the Saviour and the Lord of Lords!

Sarah Munns

Weekly SNAC 2 December 2018: Confirmation Services at SNAC

Next Sunday, December 9, fourteen of our brothers and sisters in Christ at SNAC will be Confirmed. Confirmation is an opportunity for those who have already been baptised (usually as infants), to reaffirm the promises that were made at their baptism, and to publically declare faith in Christ. Next Sunday, December 9, fourteen of our brothers and sisters in Christ at SNAC will be Confirmed. Confirmation is an opportunity for those who have already been baptised (usually as infants), to reaffirm the promises that were made at their baptism, and to publically declare faith in Christ. 

This year Bishop Peter Lin will be joining us at St James’ Carlton for Confirmation services at both 9am and 6:30pm. He will also be preaching at our Carlton 10:30am service.

As part of the Confirmation service, we—as their church family—publically pledge to support our Confirmees ‘in this high calling’ of following our Lord. You can also pledge your support through praying for them; giving thanks to God for his work in our Confirmees and asking that he will continue to renew them in the image of his Son, Jesus, our Lord.

Please pray for all our confirmees:

9am Confirmation Service
Sherwin Djamil (9am)

6:30am Confirmation Service
Oliver Benn (Youth and 6:30)

Sam Colgan (Youth and 6:30)

Tom Flavin (Youth and 6:30)

Alex Ho (Youth and 6:30)

Sam Hodgson (Youth and 6:30)

Joshua Lincoln (Youth and 6:30)

Spencer Llewellyn (Youth and 6:30)

Tim Semsarian (6:30)

Netane Siuhengalu (6:30)

Rick Vance (6:30)

Hannah Veitch (Youth and 6:30)

Sarah Veitch (Youth and 6:30)

Oliver Vincent (Youth and 6:30)

Weekly SNAC 25 November 2018: What’s happening for Christmas?

Christmas is only a few weeks away andChristmas is only a few weeks away and what better opportunity is there to invite friends and family to church and hearabout Jesus? So, in order that you can be prepared and plan ahead, here is what is happening. Prior to Christmas there will be different events happening attached to each of our congregations and ministries, so keep your ears pealed for those dates. However, the major Christmas services are outlined below.

Bexley North

Sunday 16 December 10:30am – Family Carols service

The Sunday before Christmas is always a good opportunity to invite friends and family to church before the silly season gets really silly. Our Bexley North  congregation will have a Christmas Carols service with an evangelistic Gospel  message. Afterwards will be lunch and other fun activities including a jumping castle and face painting for the Bexley North congregation and local visitors.

NB There will be a normal 4:30pm service on that day.

Sunday 23 December 4:30pm – Carols service

A Christmas carols service that is aimed more at adults. A great opportunity to invite friends along to hear about the true meaning of Christmas followed by a BBQ dinner (but without puppets, glow sticks and jumping castles).

NB There will be a normal 10:30am service on that day.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9:30am – Family service

 

Carlton

Sunday 23 December

10am Combined Family Carols at Carlton Public School

This will be our family Christmas carols celebration with lots of things  for kids, lots of singing and afterwards a BBQ lunch and jumping castle.

6:30pm Carols service at St James Carlton 

A Christmas carols service that is aimed more at adults. A great opportunity to invite friends along to hear about the true meaning of Christmas (but without puppets, glow sticks and jumping castles).

CHRISTMAS DAY 9:30am – Family service at Carlton Public School

 

Bexley

Sunday 23 December 8:30am – Christmas Carols with evangelistic message.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30am – Holy Communion service