Dear All Saints,
I hope and pray that you have all had a week full of opportunities for faith conversations with those around you. I continue to be so encouraged by the stories we are hearing of people who are expressing warmth and interested in understand who we are and more about the hope of the Gospel.
I was at a conference last week up in Auckland with many other church and academic leaders. It was a time full of learning and challenge and a strong theme present in all of the content and discussion was of how we present God to the world in a way that they are able to receive the healing and hope that comes from God. I had the joy of connecting with many friends in ministry throughout the country at this conference and in one of my conversations over lunch we were discussing how all of us are currently feeling that we are being offered a ministry of presence and being ‘normal’. We are all priests who often hear from people, “you’re not what I expected a priest to be”. But this concept of being present and ‘normal’ applies to all of us. The more I learn to be missional in our community the more I realise that it’s really just about showing up, loving well, and being able to sit with people in their questions of faith, allowing God to move in their hearts. Sometimes we might have some answers or being able to offer clear words of hope. Other times we won’t have any clue what to say or how to answer the hard questions but that doesn’t make us ill equipped for the role God has called us to. Being humble and loving in those moments is often just what people need.
As we continue in our sermon series about the Gospel let’s keep praying for opportunities to be present and normal with those God puts around us. And let’s keep sharing the stories with one another so we can all witness the way the Holy Spirit is moving around us.
Kia ora All Saints whānau
I hope you have had the chance to listen to Andy's message from Sunday, where he works through the Gospel and Idolatry. You can click here if you want to have a listen/watch.
What stood out to me was his comment about Jesus being out overmastering positive passion; this is a powerful thing to think about; willpower cannot remove every idol or item that controls our lives alone. We need to acknowledge and see Jesus as our overmastering positive passion, in which case we no longer put the things that cause us nightmares - if they were ever to be taken away - first.
As we walk together as a community in light of the Gospel (Good News), let us not exchange the truth for lies; let us remain with Jesus as our overmastering positive passion as we live our lives in this City.
This week we have Claire speaking to us about Community; she will use the scripture reference from Philippians 2:1-11. This Sunday, we are all in the room for two Central Gatherings. Head along and celebrate with the wider church family this Sunday.
I would love to draw your attention to some upcoming things.
First - Go Sunday is coming up on July 30th; this time, we will all head to Mt Victoria to plant trees alongside community groups as part of the Mt Vic Regeneration effort. This ticks a bunch of boxes all at the same time for us as a community, an opportunity to invite our friends to something, putting into action the Dioceses' call to care for creation by planting trees, and of course, continues to build relationship with those who are being missional regularly on Mt Vic with community groups.
We have set up a webpage for all the things you need to know about Go Sunday coming up. Where, when, what to bring, how to sign up, and what to expect on the day.
Second - July 14th, our annual Matariki Spring clean is happening here at All Saints. 3-5 pm followed by a shared dinner (likely fish and chips) and BYO beverages. This is an excellent opportunity to spend time with others as we look to spruce up the grounds and buildings.
Thirdly - We are in the middle of our Gospel in Life series. If you want to revisit any of the messages or catch up, please jump over to our YouTube page to access them all.
Continue to pray for your five as we go this week! God is moving in mighty ways amongst us here at All Saints. Spot where the spirit is moving and pray for boldness and courage to go where it is going.
Kia ora All Saints Whanau,
I am still reeling from the message that Summer gave us on Sunday. It was a powerful and challenging message and if you have not heard it then I suggest you go have a listen here.
This week we are going to be talking about love but in particular what we love and what we don't love. It is challenging and as I have been putting the sermon together I have been confronted by the message myself.
I have been moved particularly about the commandments. Jesus' interpretation of the commandments (Matthew 22:37-40):
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What has struck me is a sense that we need to love God again!
I think about our mission here at All Saints - Passionate disciples devoted to Christs kingdom transformation. Are we passionate disciples of Christ?
If I was, I would be overflowing Jesus everywhere in my life.
If I was, I would be sharing the good news with everyone because it is good news to me too.
If I was, I would not be a lost brother but one who cares for the Father, not just his things.
I am so thankful that God is gracious to me and to all of us - when I don't love him completely. When I love the things of this world more than him. This Gospel series we are doing has renewed my mind about his core truths of the gospel. I pray that it might also renew yours as we dive deeper into it.
In the past two weeks we have heard:
- The Gospel is about being distinctive in the city and seeking the best for the city.
- The Gospel is about loving God, and receiving the Grace given to us.
This week we are looking at the Gospel being about Loving God first!
A couple of reminders from me:
Have a blessed week
Kia ora All Saints Whanau.
I (Guy) have been catching up with many people from throughout the parish over the last wee while, and there is a real sense that there is an increase in the seeking of spirituality amongst people in the community. The way that people find faith coming up in conversations over and over again, the way that people are surprised by the way faith is coming up amongst their friend group, and the ease at which it is coming up is surprising and exciting for people.
1 Peter 3: 15 says this, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”
How powerful is this! Are we ready to talk about the hope in Christ that we have?
One of the reasons for us diving into a series around the Gospel in Life is that we are acutely aware that this can be a confronting situation for people when friends or family, workmates, or neighbors ask us about the thing we believe in. It's one thing for us to believe it and express it amongst others who believe similarly. But another thing altogether when asked to express it to someone who isn’t so convinced. Our hope and prayer is that Christ will renew our hearts for the gospel through this series. That as a congregation, we can search not only our own lives with how this news impacts us but how this impacts those around us.
Last week we discussed the Gospel and City, framing things up with the lens of the Israelites and Babylon. God called Israel to love the city and help it to prosper because when it prosers, they too will prosper, but to remain strong in the Lord and avoid succumbing to pagan values or closing their eyes to the wickedness around them. So to is said of the same, Let us seek the peace and prosperity of our city but remain in our distinct spiritual character, not succumbing to the wickedness and values of the secular society around us! Holding up Christ as the great satisfaction of the great game of spiritual seeking and finding people are doing.
This week, Summer will preach at both Central Gatherings, looking at the Gospel in Heart. If you missed week one click here to watch, I highly recommend you watch each week as they will build on each other.
We are excited about what is happening around us. One thing that is encouraging is when we read and hear testimonies of God moving amongst us. We would love to hear from you if you have had a faith conversation or seen God move around you.
Please email us by clicking here and let us know. No matter how big or small, successful or complete failure (in our own eyes) it all helps us walk this journey together.
I want to give you a word of encouragement from my experience over the last week. I have been trying to find places to lean into conversation where people are scratching at faith. Places where I might typically skim over it or say something like “Oh yea yeah I agree,” and just move on.
There have been a couple of times this week when I have surprised myself by finding these moments. But I am also aware of my feebleness once I'm in them. Unsure of the words to say, how to steer the conversation etc etc. But I walk away with a sense that God was present. Hopeful of more conversations to come, excited for relationship and trust built amongst those places of wondering.
I just want to acknowledge you all and the places you roam, and be another friend walking the road with you as we recognize our own feebleness and inability to have it all together. Keep walking it out, Look for God in small moments, and Keep praying and encouraging each other.
With so much love and aroha,
Kia ora All Saints,
I’m so sad that I couldn’t be with you last Sunday. I have heard that it was a beautiful time of worship and celebration together. I was away on a weekend for the Diocese where I celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit in a much quieter but still significant way. My job on this weekend was basically to use my gifts and to listen to the Holy Spirit. When I came back, I had a renewed freshness in the discipline of listening to God, both in times of intentional prayer, but also simply in the daily moments of life.
Having just participated in Thy Kingdom Come, I hope you all are also experiencing a renewed freshness in partnering with the Holy Spirit and God’s love for all his people. I have been in many conversations just in the past few days where it is so clear to see the power with which God is moving in our communities and relationships. Sometimes we take these things for granted; we get caught up in the busyness of life and that distracts us from our awareness of God in the smaller moments where the Holy Spirit may be working around us. But the more we talk about these things and share our God stories with those around us, the more in tune to the movements of God that we are.
This week marks the beginning of a very exciting sermon series on the Gospel. What is the Gospel, exactly? What makes it good news? What kind of impact does it have on our lives? And how is it relevant to those around us who do not yet know about it? As we go through this series, we are doing so, not just with our own growth in mind, but with our hearts for those God is seeking to reach front and centre. I think that many of us know why we love Jesus but might struggle to articulate that in a way that’s able to be understood by others. This is what we are seeking to tackle by spending the next 8 weeks on this topic.
So don’t put away your list of 5 from Thy Kingdom Come just yet. And if you didn’t make a list of 5, it’s not too late. Let’s commit as God’s family to continue to pray for those people in our lives. And let’s pray specifically. It might feel safer to pray a prayer like, “God I want to lift up all those around us who don’t know you” but it takes a different level of hope and faith to ask God to use you to share the good news with one particular person who the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart.
I want to encourage you all to step out on that journey. Continue to pray, share the stories of how God is moving with others, and be ready to take brave and practical steps in response to how the Holy Spirit may be leading.
I can’t wait to see what God does!