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The Good News of God's Wrath

Romans 1:18

"E whakakitea iho ana hoki i te rangi to te Atua riri ki nga karakiakoretanga katoa, ki nga he o nga tangata e pehi ana i te pono i runga i te he."

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness."

"Ua faaalia mai foi le toasa o le Atua mai le lagi i le amio faalematau ma le amio leaga uma lava a tagata, o e taofi i le upu moni ma le amioletonu."

Paul Windsor was teaching a group of students from very different backgrounds in the majority world.

After reading a Bible passage about God’s wrath and judgement, the class erupted in joy.

At first, Paul was puzzled. Why were his students reacting this way? But soon, it clicked.

If you have faced unjust labour practices your whole life, if corruption throughout society has kept your family impoverished, if you and your family have suffered through persecution for their faith, then God’s wrath is profoundly good news. His wrath and judgement on injustice, corruption and persecution are profoundly good news.

This story has always moved me greatly.

The wrath of God is, according to John Stott, “his steady, unrelenting, unremitting, uncompromising antagonism to evil in all its forms and manifestations.”

Put simply, “God’s wrath is his love in action against sin.”

Miroslav Volf writes, “My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come.

"According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced.

"My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry.

"Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days!

"How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandfatherly fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators’ basic goodness? Wasn’t God fiercely angry with them?

"Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil.

"God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”

The Apostle Paul wrote in the verse above: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people."

A commentator noted about the phrase 'godlessness and wickedness' that “one should be careful that these descriptions are always associated in this order and never mentioned apart.”

God is angry at all human self-centredness, injustice, greed and evil.

He has been angry at all human sin throughout all of human history, everywhere, because sin displaces the greatness and goodness of God in our lives. Sin destroys those made in his image.

Each and every element of this verse prompts me to give thanks for the cross. In the words of David Wells in John Stott's Cross of Christ:

"Prior to the cross, humanity is alienated from God by sin and God is alienated from humanity by wrath, but now, in the substitutionary death of Christ, that sin is overcome and wrath averted, so that God can look on you and me without displeasure, and we can look on God without fear.”

Father, thank you for the cross of Christ.

By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador

Easter Camps

It was a privilege to visit three Easter camps across the movement this Easter week.

Our heart as CCCNZ is to see churches, regional camps, and national support ministries working together to point people to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures.

It is a real joy seeing this happen through Easter camps and conferences.

Youth Groups from Riverbend Bible Church, Orewa Community Church, The Orchard Church Te Puke, Eden Community Church, Lifezone Church, Te Awamutu Bible Chapel, Manurewa Bible Church and Northcross Church participated in the CCCNZ Upper North Island Easter Camp at Totara Springs Christian Centre.

We are grateful for youth leaders such as Marina Shannon (Orewa Community Church), Lyndon Frost (Te Awamutu Bible Chapel), Christian Lilo (Manurewa Bible Church) and Billy Hanna (Hukanui Bible Church), all pictured above, for organising the Easter camp and running aspects of it.

We are also grateful for all the volunteers and parents who gave up their Easter break to help see teenagers be pointed to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures.

On Good Friday youth groups from Kingston Community Church, Church on Ingestre and Levin Baptist Church held their first session at the YMCA Kaitoke Outdoor Education Centre (formerly Kiwi Ranch) in the Remutaka Range outside Wellington for the first Lower North Island CCCNZ Easter Camp.

What a delight! I loved seeing young people to get to know each other from different youth groups.

We are also grateful for all the volunteers that make these camps possible. Thank you, Joy, Emily and Robin (pictured above), for the warmth of your welcome and the yummy food being served.

Churches Coming Together over Easter

It was a real privilege to visit the Easter conference where several local Māori assemblies in Waikato gathered for the weekend.

It was great to see young and old, men and women, Maori and Pākehā enjoying being together and hearing God's word.

I appreciated hearing Robert Siakimotu from Onehunga Bible Chapel speak from the book of Acts.

It was a privilege to meet Fred Haimona, a leader from Tauwhare Gospel Chapel.

Across the country, churches in the wider movement worked with campsites to host other Easter camps and conferences.

I am grateful for the Southland/Otago churches running the Queenstown Easter Camp with Miles Davison from Heretaunga Christian Centre speaking and the Northland Churches involved in the Easter Camp at Coopers Beach Christian Youth Camp.

A huge thank you to all the church volunteers, camp staff and volunteers and speakers involved in pointing people to Jesus over the weekend!

Mark Fryer from Hope Community Church in Nelson writes:

"The gathering of three sister churches—Grace Church, Tasman Church and Hope Community Church—for Resurrection Sunday was a beautiful display of unity in Jesus and a time to get to know and love one another.

"It is wonderful to have Teapot Valley Christian Camp on our doorstep and to be able to partner with them in events like this. They were superbly helpful and went out of their way to make the day a success.

"An estimated 500 people gathered from Grace Church, Tasman Church and Hope Community Church for a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, followed by a BBQ lunch and lots of fun activities for all the family."

News from the Churches

From left to right, being baptised: Katie, Craig, and Kaylin.

On Easter Sunday the church family at LifeSwitch in Upper Hutt, Wellington celebrated twelve baptisms—four teenagers, two young adults and six over the age of 25.

Clint Craig, the pastor at LifeSwitch, writes:

“It was such an incredible Sunday and a reminder that God is at work changing lives in our midst.”

I loved hearing that people from across the movement gathered for the fifth Prime Time Conference (for those aged 50+) at Lakeland Camp in Queenstown in March.

The conference was facilitated by Graham and Wanda Ashby. One of this year's speakers was Brian Goodwin from the Waikato speaking on Job.

Philippa Williamson from Crossroads Church in Palmerston North spoke about her involvement in the Door of Hope ministry in South Africa ministering to discarded babies.

Ross Pettigrew from Cornerstone International Bible Church in Dunedin was also interviewed about his career as a doctor and general surgeon.



 

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