A Weekly Wrap from churches, campsite, support ministries and people around the wider movement, with CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace.
Over the next three months I’m going to begin each weekly wrap with a short note from 1 Corinthians 15.
'Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.' - 1 Cor. 15:1
The Corinthian church could be graciously described as a mess.
How does Paul settle their hearts, concentrate their minds, and focus them on the purposes of God in the city?
He takes them back to go forward.
To move them beyond their current situation he takes them back.
To renew them he reminds them.
To replenish them he reminds them.
To reconcile them he reminds them.
To renew, replenish, and reconcile them he reminds them of the content centrality and significance of the gospel.
Think through the challenges facing the Corinthian Church; profound sexual sin, legal infighting, unruly worship, hostility between rich and poor...
How does Paul settle their hearts, concentrate their minds, and focus them on God’s purposes?
He grounds them in the gospel, again. In doing so he reminds them of three things in verse 1:
- The gospel and how they heard it
- How they responded to it
- How they’ve lived out of it
I am convinced that many churches in this season need strengthening. That strength will come from quietly and consistently reminding ourselves of the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Replenishing, renewing, and reconciling come from cross-shaped remembering.
Snippets from the week
CCCNZ Auckland Mission Enabler Lui Ponifasio has reminded me that this week is Samoan Language Week.
Talofa Lava. Malo le soifua!
Literally meaning: 'Greetings and well done for living well!' Thanks Lui for the reminder and the greeting.
What can result when elders and pastoral leaders get together with their regional CCCNZ camp to ask: How do we grow the gospel together? (That's what you can see happening in the picture above, earlier this year.)
Great to hear that Teapot Valley Christian Camp, along with three local churches--Hope Community Church, Tasman Church, and Grace Church Richmond, are planning on running youth camps with an evangelistic focus.
On Sunday morning it was a delight to have 20-year-old Elliot Auer from Crossroads Church in Palmerston North preaching at Feilding Bible Chapel.
Elliot has been a Pathways student and is now studying through Carey College. Elliot gave a wonderful exposition from Joshua.
Sharing preachers is a wonderful way churches can be growing younger preachers and supporting each other. We're looking forward to having you back Elliot!
Auckland Leaders Forum
In Auckland on Tuesday I spent time with Richard Fountain, the CCCNZ Auckland Enabler.
Lovely to hear from Richard about the number of churches represented at the Auckland Leaders Forum, with the Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft, on Saturday morning.
Church leaders from North, South, East and West Auckland were present at Northcross Community Church to wrestle with a local church response to child poverty.
While we are chatting about Auckland, it has been great to hear that the LifeChurch Manurewa and Manurewa Bible Church youth groups had their first combined youth group night on Friday night.
A huge shout out to the Word of Life team for facilitating the evening.
This is an encouraging story of churches and support ministries working together for the growth of the gospel.
On Thursday I was in Hastings with Rob Morton.
Rob is CCCNZ’s Scholarship and Training Co-ordinator, and one of the elders of new church plant Heretaunga Community Church, and is pictured here along with fellow elder, Victor Moore. I was encouraged to hear of the work HCC is doing.
I was also delighted to hear that Rob, and Joel Birkin, from Kingston Community Church are planning a CCCNZ Central/Lower North Island Easter Camp on the Kāpiti Coast for 2022.
It was good to have an update about the work of the Kawerau Bible Chapel during the week.
The Chapel was able to purchase the local Intermediate school which had been closed for several years prior.
It now operates under Kawerau Life Konnect Charitable Trust.
It’s encouraging to know this small church has appointed a part-time Youth Pastor, Erin Jantzen.
Please be praying for the church family and all that God is doing in and through it, and all that he wants to do through it.
On Tuesday I have my regular call with Gordon Fountain the Chair of the CCCNZ Board. (Pictured).
Gordon is an Elder at Eden Community Church and part of their preaching team.
We have our next Board Meeting on Friday 18 June in Christchurch.
On a personal note
The long weekend will involve cleaning up after we’ve had a new septic tank installed. The last one gave up after 20 years. Ben is camping with friends. I'm looking forward to being with our church family.
On Monday I’ll drive down to Wellington to bring Hannah home for a week. Emma’s looking forward to being in the garden. Zoe’s looking forward to quality time with her ducks, cat, dog and chooks (and hopefully her parents and sister!).
Thanks for all you are doing, and for your partnership in the gospel.
Ngā mihi nui,