Happy Thanksgiving

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(Psalm 100)

Have you ever had one of those ‘flat days’ – you know those days when you just feel blar? (a technical term!!). A day when the idea of ‘worship’ or ‘praise’ seems so removed from your mental space – I have them often.

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Lessons Learned

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Friends it has been a while since the last 5pm Update (a good indication that things have been a bit full on!) – in fact there has not been an update since I returned from Study Leave for Easter. Thanks for allowing me time to get away.

Study Leave meant that I could attend a series of Conferences, visit a series of Churches and check-out some theological colleges. Refreshing? – Yes! Challenging? – At times! Educational? – Mostly! Beneficial? – I hope so, but you will need to be the judge of that.

There were so many times that I just felt immensely thankful to God for Trinity City and for 5pm Church and for the leaders we have and for the ministry that we do – and thankful because I could see other examples in the States of similar ministries or conversely I could see examples of things that were not done half as well as how Trinity does it (under God of course).

Here are 5 reflections with 5 corresponding challenges which may be of benefit for us.

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Imagine a World Without Hope

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The good news about Jesus is often spoken of as the ‘hope’ of the gospel. It’s not a ‘hope-so’ or a ‘hope-ful’. Hope is the promise from God of eternal life gifted to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bible speaks of the hope ‘that God has called you to’ (Ephesians 1:18), and the hope ‘laid up for you in heaven’ (Colossians 1:5). This is the ‘assurance of hope until the end’ (Hebrews 6:11).

Imagine a world without the hope of the gospel!

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Movie Review: Risen

Risen

By Stephen George (Minister: Trinity North East)

Last week I saw the pre-release of the movie Risen, and as I walked out of the cinema I thought to myself, “I can’t believe we are about to let a massive evangelistic opportunity pass us by unnoticed”.

Let me give you the background story. I am a minister in the Trinity Network in Adelaide, Australia, and I had heard nothing of this movie until someone in my congregation sent me an email link to the trailer, along with an invitation to the pre-release. When I got that invite, I have to admit that my immediate thought was, “Oh great, another mediocre ‘Christian’ movie”. However, when I followed the link and saw the trailer I suddenly doubted everything I thought I knew about Christian movies. It was actually very good. So I went to the pre-release and, while I don’t think everyone is going to love everything about this movie, I think it provides a great opportunity for evangelism.

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What to expect of ‘Church’?

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The beginning of the year is often the time when people check out church (‘It is a new year, thought I would give it a go’), join church (‘I have moved and want to make this my church’) or leave church (‘I am making a life change’).

As such, it is reasonable that one consider ‘What should I expect of ‘Church’?’.

In the last update Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - handwe considered ‘What is Church?’ and suggested that church was a place for believers (whilst still open to not-yet believers) and a place where God’s people gathered as a family in Christ. Expectations of church then are important because they help a person decide whether this church is doing what it should be or not.

There are a couple of ways to arrive at an answer.

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What is ‘Church’?

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Christians do Church. Some more regularly than others!

Why on earth do we commit ourselves to regularly going to Church? To answer that, let’s first think theologically about ‘church’.

What is ‘Church’?Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - hand

Presumable if we are to be members of church, we need to understand what Church is!

Very simply, Church is an assembly of God’s people.

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Eternal New Year’s Resolutions

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  1. Clean my teeth twice daily
  2. Always stick to the speed limit
  3. No Chocolate
  4. Don’t lose my temper with the kids
  5. Always meet deadlines
  6. Weed each week

Are you a New Year’s resolution kind of person? If so, then today is a good day to be thinking about your new year’s resolutions! It is also a good time to review how you are going in faith. Would it not be a great thing if (by God’s Grace and with his help) in a years’ time you were even more godly than you might be today?

To start the year I thought I might offer some suggestions for resolutions which may have eternal benefits (rather than just annual benefit!)…

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