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Weekly SNAC 14 October 2018: What's coming up in term 4?

In term 4 our sermon series will be on the book of 1 Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest letters written by Paul, and it’s addressed to the church in the city of Thessalonica in Macedonia.In term 4 our sermon series will be on the book of 1 Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest letters written by Paul, and it’s addressed to the church in the city of Thessalonica in Macedonia.

Paul himself planted the church during his second missionary journey, and so the letter is full of personal warmth, love and encouragement, as well as many instructions on how to walk worthy of the Lord

It seems from the letter that there were things that the Thessalonians still hadn’t been taught, or needed clarification on (for example, the return of Jesus in 4:13-5:11). This was probably because Paul’s ministry there was cut short by persecution from the Jews (2:17). Paul had to flee, but he later met up with Silvanus and Timothy in Corinth, and they brought the good news from Thessalonica that we read about in 3:6. Paul’s encouragement and joy was overflowing, and so Paul (along with Silvanus and Timothy) wrote the letter of 1 Thessalonians to encourage and teach the Thessalonians.

I always find the history of Paul’s journeys and letters interesting, and I hope you do too! Why not read more about Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica and what followed in Acts 17-18 this week, before we start the letter next Sunday?

The letter itself also has many interesting things to say! Paul starts by reminding the Thessalonians how God was at work when they received the message of the gospel from him (1:1-10), and how he and his co-workers conducted themselves with integrity among them (2:1-3:13), being faithful examples of godliness to them. 

At the heart of the letter is the message of the gospel, and the challenge to walk worthy of the Lord. In fact, Paul uses this image of walking (which represents living) three times:

As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own king- dom and glory. (2:11-12)

Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God—as you are doing— do so even more. (4:1)      

But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more,  to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be depe- ndent on anyone. (4:10-12)

Paul desires these new Christians and this young church to remember the gospel that saves, and then walk faithfully as they follow their Lord and Saviour. He urges the Thessalonians to sexual self-control (4:1-8), to brotherly love and daily work (4:9-12), to perseverance in grief (4:13-18), to righteousness as they wait for Jesus’ unexpected return (5:1-11), and to fellowship and gathering (5:12-28). 

Now we too have the great joy of digging into this letter together, seeking to heed Paul’s encouragements and challenges. Please join me in praying that we would respond to God’s word faithfully – that we remember the message of God, and walk worthy of him.

Troy Munns

Weekly SNAC 7 October 2018: Single-Minded Conference 2018

It may surprise you, but statistics show that one in three people in our churches are single. Our minds often jump to think of those who have never been married, but in reality, singleness comes in many shades. Even those of us who were once married can find ourselves single after the death of a spouse or after a divorce. With the number of single people in our churches growing, it’s important that we think hard about how we love and care for our brothers and sisters, and it was this need that gave birth to the first Single-Minded Conference. It may surprise you, but statistics show that one in three people in our churches are single. Our minds often jump to think of those who have never been married, but in reality, singleness comes in many shades. Even those of us who were once married can find ourselves single after the death of a spouse or after a divorce. With the number of single people in our churches growing, it’s important that we think hard about how we love and care for our brothers and sisters, and it was this need that gave birth to the first Single-Minded Conference. 

Marketed as a conference ‘about singleness but for everyone’, Single-Minded aimed to equip both single and married Christians to think Biblically about singleness and dispel common myths that our world (and churches) believe. The conference sold out in under a month, but for those who attended (including some of us from SNAC) it was a refreshing reminder of what God’s word has to say on the topic. 

1. If marriage shows us the shape of the Gospel, singleness shows us the sufficiency of the Gospel. 
We need to remind ourselves that our marriages, while a wonderful gift from God, are merely signs that point us to a deeper reality. They remind us of our union with Christ Jesus, who is the perfect husband to his bride, the church. Marriage itself is not meant to fulfil us and we are not to live as if it will (1 Cor 7:29), but rather, it points us all to the thing that does – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, in the new creation marriage will be no more because we will finally have the real thing – a perfect relationship with our Lord and Saviour (Matt 22:30). This means that a full and complete life is not dependant on marriage. Jesus himself was single and he experienced life to the full, demonstrating that a complete life is found in whole-heartedly serving God. We can experience everything that makes us human without being married – the gospel is sufficient. 

2. Take advantage of the blessings 
In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul explains the great advantage of being single – you are free from the anxieties that come from marriage (v. 32). In God’s kindness, He offers us a way to be spared the unique hardships that come from being married and this in turn leads to many freedoms and blessings. The way we can use our money and our time, the ministries we can be involved in and also our capacity to care for others (to name a few) are all impacted. Those of us who are single need to take hold of these blessings, rejoice in God’s provision of them and use them for His glory. 

3. Remember that grief and contentment are different  
True contentment is a trust in God and obedience to His word through the ups and downs of life (Philippians 4:12–13). It’s important to recognise though that singleness can be a hard thing, and that people will feel it differently. Contentment doesn’t always mean happiness. There is often grief surrounding what we no longer have or may never have. These emotions don’t mean we are discontent, they’re just an expression of our emotional reality. Contentment does mean however that we give these feelings to God and hold onto the hope of the Gospel, finding satisfaction in that alone, despite our circumstances.

Ultimately, all Christians are called to contentment in our circumstances and the conference reminded us to love each other deeply and spur one another on to fix our eyes on Jesus. Whether we are single or married we are to live single-minded lives for Jesus, finding fulfilment in him alone. 

Avril Lonsdale (with Esther Griffiths and Lucy Wu)

Weekly SNAC 30 September 2018: FIT Camp 2018

In just a few weeks now, the youth of SNAC will be enjoying our 10th Annual FIT Camp. We’ll be getting stuck into God’s word to us in Hebrews and seeing how Jesus is better than angels (as mediators of God’s saving word), Moses (the law and the old covenant) and our earthly possessions and hopes.In just a few weeks now, the youth of SNAC will be enjoying our 10th Annual FIT Camp. We’ll be getting stuck into God’s word to us in Hebrews and seeing how Jesus is better than angels (as mediators of God’s saving word), Moses (the law and the old covenant) and our earthly possessions and hopes.

At this point in the term, we need to start finalising our arrangements, so please be praying for the leaders as they bring all the various elements of camp together - talks, music, activities, Bible studies, sessions, seminars and a whole lot of logistics! Many of the youth themselves are preparing to serve in these elements of camp too, so keep them in your prayers as well. 

Please be praying for our youth too, that God will use this time to help them grow in their faith. Here are a couple of quotes from veteran youth and children’s workers that point out why camps are such great times for teenagers to develop ties to the faith community and mature in faith:

‘Camps are a great way for … groups in churches to get away from their normal routine and learn more about God and each other. They give children the opportunity to develop closer relationships with their peers and leaders in a fun and enjoyable environment. Even the act of making a bed, setting a table or cleaning is somehow more fun on a camp than it is at home.’
Dr. Kaye Chalwell, Former Director of Curriculum and Teacher Quality, Youthworks

‘Important things happen when you leave the routine of normal daily life. Time away just seems to lead to growth… camp provides the best opportunity to live as a community of wholehearted disciples, even if it’s only for a few days. Camps offer your group more time and space for reflection, more concentrated teaching, more experiences of life together and a great surge of momentum for the following few months of youth group.’
Scott Petty, ‘Tactics for Teen Ministry’         

If you are a teenager or have a teenager – make sure you register now (registration closes TODAY)! This is an opportunity for Christian growth that is too good to miss.

Brendan Moar

                FIT CAMP 2018
When: Thurs 11th - Sun 14th October 
Where: Youthworks, Deer Park 
Cost: $280
Register online at www.snac.org.au/fit

 

Weekly SNAC 23 September 2018: Happy 1st Birthday 4:30 Arvo Church!

In September 2017 SNAC’s newest church congregation opened the doors for the 4:30pm Arvo Church at Bexley North.  Last Sunday we celebrated our 1st Birthday and we wanted to invite everyone across SNAC to give thanks to God for the year we’ve had.In September 2017 SNAC’s newest church congregation opened the doors for the 4:30pm Arvo Church at Bexley North.  Last Sunday we celebrated our 1st Birthday and we wanted to invite everyone across SNAC to give thanks to God for the year we’ve had.

The 4:30 Church started small with a team of just under 20 people. Throughout Spring in 2017 and leading up to Christmas we advertised, door-knocked in the local area and made personal invites. As a result we have seen many visitors come through, we’ve had the joy of being involved in several people coming to know Jesus, we’ve connected some people to the Carlton ESL classes, we’ve helped encourage people who had stopped attending church to come back, we’ve found Christians in our local area looking for a local church and there has been much joy in serving and growing together in Christ. It has been a real joy to see close to 40 people join with us most weeks in the last month.

Our weekly meetings are not vastly different to any that you might attend at SNAC – we read the Bible, pray, sing and hear a sermon - but in the first 12 months we have tried a number of different ideas to create our own culture. We have been blessed with Barista quality coffee before our services each week. We have developed a culture of interacting during the service on a particular relevant topic each week. We’ve found ways to have excellent music and singing each week with a small but faithful group of musicians and we’ve seen lots of people join in and exercise their gifts for the sake of our small new church. We’ve also had the pleasure of enjoying meals together after church most weeks thanks to our excellent servant hearted cooks. We are very thankful to God for his work so far and we look forward to his continued work through us. At the moment we are running a Christianity Explained group for 4:30pm people and we are looking ahead to reaching out into our community this Spring and Summer.

Please join us in thanking God for his continued work. Pray for unity and endurance with joy for all of us. Pray that God would bring many more people to know Jesus and bless our efforts to reach the many new people in the Bexley North area for the Gospel.

Jason Veitch