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The Lamb of God

"I te aonga ake ka kite ia i a Ihu e haere ana mai ki a ia, ka mea, na, te Reme a te Atua, hei waha atu i te hara o te ao!"

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! "

“Silasila i le tama‘i mamoe a le Atua na te ‘ave‘esea le agasala a le lalolagi!"

—John 1:29

From the very centre of Jewish power in Jerusalem to the poorest town on the outskirts of the nation, the air was charged with expectations about the Messiah. After four hundred years of silence, and without any sign of the Messiah, the people of Israel looked forward eagerly to the day he would come.

They imagined what he might look like when he came: "Messiah will come and destroy the roman occupiers. He will topple King Herod.

"Messiah will return ownership of the land to Israel. He will restore the nation's power and prestige. Messiah will fulfil the nation's destiny and restore its dignity."

These expectations lie behind the priests' and Levites' questions to John.

The priests—and the people—wanted the Messiah to come like a lion. They wanted a lion of a man who would devour their Roman oppressors and crush their enemies. They wanted someone who would restore Israel to the height of its influence and wealth.

John the Baptist had said, "I am not the Messiah." The priests' questions then became even more pointed: "Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet?"

John's answers got shorter and sharper. "I am not. No." He was effectively saying: "I’m not the lion you're seeking. But look, there is the Lamb."

Their own expectations led them to look for a lion; John points them to the Lamb.

Their own expectations led them to look for the lion they wanted; John points them to the Lamb they needed.

A lion could have dealt with their temporary issues, but the Lamb would deal with the issue. A lion could have dealt with the sins of others, but the Lamb would deal with their own sin. All sin, in fact—theirs and ours.

I so often want a lion working in my life. I look for a lion who will provide an easy solution to the problems in my life. I look for my version of the Messiah.

But every day, I am grateful to God for his Messiah—the Lamb who came to take away the sin of the world. That Messiah provided the ultimate solution: forgiveness for sin. I will always be thankful for the daily impact of the once-and-for-all work of the Lamb of God.

Churches Supporting One Another

We love to see churches working together to support each other! Clark Road Chapel in Whangārei was supported at their church camp by Northcross Church in Auckland. Northcross sent their pastor Andrew Neville over to speak at Clark Road's church family camp, held at Marsden Bay Camp.

Churches and Campsites Working Together

The Coopers Beach Camp trustees meeting together. Above, from left: William Savill, Vince Mason, Lynley Fleming, and Reg Carr. Below, from left: Reg Carr, Craig Johnson, Mike Flay and Andy Fleming (standing in for John Aish)

We love hearing about churches and campsites within the movement working together to point people to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures.

CCCNZ Camping Enabler Richard Davis visited the Coopers Beach Camp Trust in the Far North.

Richard said, "It was wonderful to share a meal with Wayne & Lynley Fleming and their family, along with Wayne's brother Andy Fleming and his family. Their story of multigenerational involvement in camp is an awesome testimony.

Coopers Beach Youth Camp has a very strong relationship with churches within the movement in the Far North region. Representatives from Kaitaia Bible Chapel, Mangonui Bible Chapel and Totara North Bible Chapel make up the camp trust governance team.

It is clear that the camp is an extension of the church's vision and they work together and support each other through many children's camps, family camps and Easter camps.

They, like all camps, still face challenges such as societal cultural change, succession planning and the discipleship of youth. It was wonderful to share our CCCNZ commitment to support and serve them. We all appreciated the time together.

Coopers Beach Youth Camp is currently looking for new managers to take the camp forward. Please pray that they find the right couple who share their vision to proclaim the gospel to those that visit camp.

The cyclone—one month on in Hastings

Maria Henderson, from Riverbend Bible Churchwrites:

"One month on from the cyclone clean-up, much has been done, but there is still a lot to do.

"I am the sort of person who likes networking and connecting people. Early on I saw that there were plenty of places to serve, and many people wanting to serve, but they don't always know where to start.

"So, for the last four weeks I have been working with others to go for drives, following leads and knocking on doors, asking how we as a church could serve people in the clean-up. I've also been helping in the front line whenever I can.

"One day I was asked to help fill in on a food package delivery for a local community organisation. On the way we found the property of a man who had lost two businesses to the flood. While he was busy dealing with that, his house was still full of mud and damp walls.

"On the way back down the road we stopped in to see if we could meet him in person and offer help. He gratefully accepted. Within those same two hours, I had an email from one of our pastors about a man new to the church, Riverbend Bible Church, a project manager, who was looking to serve somewhere.

"I saw God’s timing in this and so later that day was able to introduce him to the man who needed help. They got on really well and he was grateful to be able to pray together before we left that day.

"A team came back and emptied his house, stripped the job, and cleaned things up as much as they could. We have ongoing contact with the man, seeking to serve him and ultimately share Christ with him. There are many other people like this. 

"Some of our church family have had to go back to work or school. But there are some who are still eagerly serving as much as they can—making meals, taking their kids out to clear debris, and connecting with people we can serve.

"Hastings Christian School has been sending out classes to serve for a couple of hours a day. That service has been a huge blessing at jobs where many hands make light work. Ponatahi Christian School in Carterton also brought their seniors up to help for a day.

"The work is changing but I see an ongoing need for practical help. For example, farmers will need help fixing fences and damage on their properties. Specific skills can come in handy (a diesel mechanic has a week of work lined up for him, fixing flooded machinery), but a general willingness to get out in the mud and help people is great.

"Some of those who help out come from the churches in our area, and some are found by word of mouth or knocking on doors.  We will intentionally be following up with these people, sharing the eternal hope of Christ.

"I am a point person at Riverbend Bible Church for the volunteer clean-up effort. Some accommodation is available on-site at our church. If people want to help in other ways, they can contact me and I can try to put them in touch with the right people."

Thank you, Maria, for all you and your church family are doing. You can contact Maria by email at m.henderson@oac.org.nz.



 

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