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Known Unto God

John 15:13

"Kahore he aroha o tetahi i rahi ake i tenei, ara kia tuku te tangata i a ia ano kia mate mo ona hoa."

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

"E le sili lava le alofa o se tasi i lenei alofa, ia tuuina atu e se tasi lona ola e sui a‘i ana uo."

The Unknown Warrior now interred at the National War Memorial in Wellington died fighting for New Zealand in France sometime between April 1916 and November 1918.

He was buried in one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries of northern France. His grave, like thousands of ANZAC headstones, carried the words: "A New Zealand soldier of the Great War, known unto God."

In the early hours on the 6th of November 2004, he was returned here—to this land and to us his people.

The good news at the heart of the gospel is: not only are we known by God, but God in his grace has sent his Son to die as our substitute, paying the penalty for our sin, so that we can know God.

Our young men willingly signed up for the Gallipoli campaign. They left their homes in Aotearoa New Zealand, ready to sacrifice their lives for others.

Another young man would also willingly sign himself up for what lay ahead. He left his home town and was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Our Anzac services commemorate an ignominious defeat. But New Zealanders understand that that defeat can symbolise something far greater.

At the end of his own life, the young man hung “defeated”. But we know that in his death, he was doing something far greater. Far from being defeated, he was himself defeating the powers of evil and reconciling us back to God. Through his death, we are able to know God.

This profound reality engraved in many cenotaphs throughout New Zealand.

Go to a cenotaph in rural, regional, or urban New Zealand, and you will often see John 15:13 engraved on it. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”

The engraver intended it to refer to the love of the men and women who died serving New Zealand; the actual reference points toward Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice for us, so that we too can know God.

By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador

ANZAC News

The Wellington ANZAC Service, with Defence Force Chaplain Roger Black from Feilding Bible Chapel fourth from the right.

I am grateful for the role our movement's military chaplains play in the Armed Services. I am grateful too for the contribution made by New Zealand Defence Force Chaplain Roger Black from Feilding Bible Chapel in the 2023 Anzac Dawn Service at the Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington on Tuesday morning.

How is your church family pointing people to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures through Anzac commemorations?

Over the last 10 years, the Feilding Bible Chapel church family has frequently provided a hearty breakfast for participants in the Dawn Service, since our church's buildings are within easy walking distance of the town's Anzac Dawn Service.

Another year we shaped the Sunday morning service after Anzac day in a way that respected the sacrifice of fallen soldiers—without glorifying war. We strived to point everyone simply and clearly to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Members of the church from various age groups contribute to dawn services, parades and commemorations by laying wreaths, speaking or leading the services.

Anzac Day prompted me to think further about the sacrifice made by so many young New Zealanders. I am deeply moved when I reflect on the young men and women who have served in the Lord's mission—globally and within New Zealand—from our movement; and particularly the men and women who attended what is now known as Laidlaw College from the early 1920s to the 1960s.

I stood in front of the board of acknowledgement at Laidlaw (see below) this week, and the words of Howard Guinness came to mind.

Guinness was an itinerant student evangelist who had a profound impact on the establishment of the global IFES student movement and the establishment of TSCF and Scripture Union in New Zealand. In 1939 he published a small book, Sacrifice, in which he wrote:

“Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap, and be faithful even unto death, who will lose their lives for Christ, flinging them away for love of him?

"Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in this service? Where are the men of prayer? Where are the men who count God’s Word of more importance to them than their daily food?

"Where are the men who, like Moses of old, commune with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend? Where are God’s men and women in this day of God’s power?"

That quote makes me thankful for the young men and women who are already living like this, but it also prompts us to pray for more people who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Christ.

Auckland Elder and Ministry Leader Dinners

Our heart as a movement is to see independent churches working together, pointing people to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures.

It was encouraging therefore to join elders, ministry leaders, and staff from churches in West and North Auckland at Lincoln Road Bible Chapel and South and East Auckland at Howick Community Church for a leaders' dinner.

Above left: Debra Molia and Ruth Fruean, from Samoan Open Brethren in Ranui. Above right: Chris Northcott from Lincoln Road Chapel.

The Leaders' Dinner at Lincoln Road Bible Chapel.

A huge thank you to the church family members who hosted us at both gatherings. Your beautiful food and warm welcome were a real blessing.

It was lovely to meet Zeprina Fale and Alofa Eti from Life Church West on Thursday night at the West and North Auckland Leaders' Dinner.

It was encouraging to hear from both leaders that a meal is shared after each Sunday service. Homeless people in the area are also welcome to be a part of the Sunday gathering and often participate.

I am grateful, too, to hear of the initiative at Massey Community Church—in partnership with the church's community trust—where church family members open up a spare room to young people who may be homeless.

It was a blessing to catch up with Ben Cochrane at the East and South Auckland Leaders' Dinner on Wednesday night. He is pictured above chatting to Shannon Samuels.

CCCNZ Camping Enabler Richard Davis writes, “Ben Cochrane is the manager at Moirs Point Christian Camp. It is a camp elevated on a hill looking out towards the Mangawhai Heads.

Ben has a servant heart. His joy is hospitality, and he is looking for churches in the Auckland area who would allow his camp to serve and help them reach their communities.

Moirs Point can cater for both smaller groups in lodges or larger groups using their cabins.

CCCNZ PastorLink Enabler Mark van Wijk enjoyed connecting with Greg and Chris Va'afusuaga from Tamaki Community Church at the recent East and South Auckland Leaders' Dinner. He says:

“Turns out Greg (an elder at TCC) and I grew up quite close to each other in South Auckland, and it was lovely to connect over our shared experiences. It was great to see quite a group of leaders from TCC at the dinner which had churches represented from all over South, East, and Central Auckland."

Churches and Camps Working Together

From the 17th-19th of April, twenty-five older teens and young adults came together at Lakeland Park for a weekend of exploring the theme of loving Christ and letting God lead in all kinds of relationships.

Over three sessions, small group discussions were had about relationships, singleness, friendships, dating, and marriage.

Our speakers were Garth and Kachina Kinley from Cornerstone International Bible Church, Annalise Copland and Jeff Coleman from Caversham Community Church, and Brendan Malone of Lifenet Charitable Trust.

Jeff Coleman notes: “It was a great partnership between Cornerstone, Caversham and Lakeland along with the wider support of CYC Waihola and Thinking Matters.”

Financial Resources to Support Churches in their Mission through Camping

CCCNZ Children’s & Family Ministries Enabler Julie McKinnon manages a fund (on behalf of Lichfield Lands Inc) that CCCNZ/OBH churches are warmly invited to apply for. The fund enables churches to engage school children and their schools, inviting them to hear and experience the gospel through camping.

If your church would like to know more about the fund and how it can serve your reaching out into your community, contact Julie here



 

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