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Weekly SNAC 21 October 2018: Postscripts from the book of Judges

I hope you enjoyed our series in the book of Judges starting back in July and finishing up last week. I know for some people the series turned out to be much more challenging than simple stories of Old Testament faithful heroes! As Judges progressed, we met increasingly flawed Judges and increasingly sinful people. This may have surprised some of us in this history of God’s chosen people. The epilogue to the Judges from chapter 17 to 21 painted a very dark picture of life without God as their true King. That’s not the greatest ending for a book!I hope you enjoyed our series in the book of Judges starting back in July and finishing up last week. I know for some people the series turned out to be much more challenging than simple stories of Old Testament faithful heroes! As Judges progressed, we met increasingly flawed Judges and increasingly sinful people. This may have surprised some of us in this history of God’s chosen people. The epilogue to the Judges from chapter 17 to 21 painted a very dark picture of life without God as their true King. That’s not the greatest ending for a book!

However, the book of Judges isn’t the final word in God’s plans to rescue humanity. The Israelites discovered in the very next part of the Bible (the Samuel narrative) that God had great plans for his people. In 2 Samuel 7, God promised to establish an eternal Kingdom through King David’s line. This was a promise looking forward to the coming of Jesus to bring the Kingdom of God near and also looking forward to Jesus’ final coming when he will fully establish his eternal reign. That promise, and their hope is our hope too as we await Jesus’ final return.

But what happens before that day arrives? 

It is worth returning to the book of Hebrews one more time in the wrap up of Judges. We have seen the Judges listed as Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11. However, what we may not have seen is how Hebrews 11’s list of faithful people isn’t provided simply for the sake of the record. 
Hebrews is all about the supremacy of Jesus. Jesus is greater than Moses and Angels and any High-priest who ever offered a sacrifice. You can ask some of our teens about what they learnt at FIT camp from the early chapters of Hebrews but the point is, Jesus is supreme, so:


therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus……let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…..let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering…..and let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day [of Jesus’ return] drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25) 

It is the supremacy of Jesus (in all his fullness, Prophet, Priest, King and more) and his love for us that emboldens us to come before God now and encourages us to hold on to our faith today and into eternal life. Indeed Hebrews 10:39 puts it this way:

we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

After these great reminders in Hebrews 10, chapter 11 presents many examples of people who acted by faith in the Old Testament, including some of our Judges. The point of the examples is not that they were great people in themselves but that they trusted a great and merciful God. That’s our challenge too – to live by faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 provides a great postscript to Judges and an encouragement to live by faith in the words of chapter 12:1-2:

Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.                

Jason Veitch

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