Friday, December 27, 2013

The Paper January 2014

A New Year’s Revelation

We have passed another milestone in time – it is now 2014.  Every twelve months we commemorate a “New Year” – but what is a year?  Astronomically it is “the period between successive returns of the sun” – that is, the period it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun.  A “year” is a measure of time – it can start at any time, but we choose to start our New Year on 1 January.  This is a feature of the Gregorian calendar which we now use.  Historically it has not always been the same, with the New Year at times in the past having started on 25 March in many countries. 
For us (from an Australian European heritage perspective) the date of the New Year changed in 1752 when the United Kingdom also changed from a Julian to a Gregorian calendar, and added 11 days to align the date with the relative position of the sun.  September 2nd 1752 was followed by September 14th 1752, although the days of the week retained their sequence.  The Gregorian calendar allowed for small adjustments each 4 years – with a Leap Year adding 29th February, but further compensating for over adjustment by century years not being Leap Years (with the exception of Millennium years).
Some calendars have measured time by the moon (a month being the time it takes the moon to revolve around the Earth) – but under that arrangement years needed to be made of different lengths to align with agricultural cycles so that periods of the year related to repeatable events.  Some calendars included a combination of the moon and the sun.  Obvious events such as longest and shortest days, and equinox days can be observed, and we want to link them to particular fixed dates.  People often wonder why Easter is not a fixed date, but it is linked back to phases of the moon - Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the March equinox – which made sense when it was established, but this is not a fixed time by the sun based calendar.
Maybe we (personally) don’t really know how to measure a year in an astronomical sense, but to help establish an annual cycle, Nature has introduced a sequence of seasons - summer, autumn, winter and spring then back to summer again - so this is as good a basis as any on which to base our calendar.  Whilst the equinoxes continue occur on 20th March and 22-23rd September we can know our calendar is on track!
So what is 2014?  Most of us would be aware of the AD symbol – Anno Domino - or in the year of our Lord – that is generally accepted as years since the birth of Jesus that we remember at Christmas.  The purists have tried to change the emphasis in now calling it the CE – Christian Era – but it still points back to the historical event that happened around 2014 years ago. 
We have just been through the Christmas season, and as the New Year starts I would like to recap on the key icons that we may have considered over that period: 
The Manger – we would all be familiar with the Manger scene, but what it really symbolises is humility.  To those who wish to see the event as “a story” there is the message about how great things can come from small beginnings.  To Christians, who believe, it shows how God who we believe created and owns the Universe allowed His Son to be born in such a humble situation.  He could have been born in any generation, in any location, in any situation, but was born in a stable among the animals.
The Shepherds – are a reminder that the best things of life can’t be bought with money; shepherds were very low in the socio-economic order but were able to believe and accept the great events of eternity.   It is not money or material wealth that gives us happiness, but an inward peace and being in accord with the world around us.
The Angels –make us think about the possible existence of a non-physical world that may be around us.  Most people, at some time or another, experience something in their lives that make them think that there is a dimension beyond our physical experiences.  People who believe hear the Angels singing throughout their life as they place their faith and trust in the God who created the World we live in as well as the World we cannot experience with our physical senses. 
The Baby – the “Saviour” coming as a baby is a statement to all that the desirable attributes of life have to be developed.  Behaviour patterns which show Christian traits such as love, joy and peace are not purchased as fully grown “plants”, but rather are acquired as seeds which must be grown, nurtured and shared to come to maturity.  So too peace between friends, groups and nations must start with respect and be developed through growing positive relationships.  
The Wise Men – show us that we need to develop a Vision in our own lives if our lives are to have purpose and meaning. If we don’t have a vision, we don’t know where we are going, or when we have arrived!  For Christians the vision remains in believing the Message brought through the teachings of the grown Bethlehem baby, and in seeking to follow the life-style He taught.  For many Christians there is also a reality in the hope that He has promised to return to this Earth and transform it into a place in which all Nations will know and follow Truth.  
Socially we accept the turn of the year as being a time when we think about a “new start”.  We talk about making New Year’s Resolutions to change things that we are not happy with in our routine of life.  The lessons from Christmas apply universally to all people at all times.  However to those who accept that the events actually happened, they represent a revelation from a Great Creator to those in our World who are looking for answers and reasons for life. 
The New Year is an opportunity to think about a new start – if you have not thought about the interwoven relationship between the events of the past, the impact they have on the present, and the potential effect on the future, now might be a good time to do so.  For those who have thought about it, but not seriously, now might be a good time to think again.  Those who have done so should be reaping the rewards of the fruit of the seeds which are growing to maturity in their lives.
We would like to invite you to visit us, or a Church in your local Community, to reflect on how the annual cycles of our society have developed, and how they offer an opportunity for us to recognise and engage with the covert issues of life which can reveal a further dimension to our existence.  See Church Notices in this Paper for times of Meetings at the Christian Israelite Church at 196 Campbell Street – we have been there since 1853 meeting the needs of people in a changing society. 

Rodney Gray – Pastor Christian Israelite Church, 196 Campbell Street, Sydney ( )

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Outline of Service 22nd December 2013

An offering in Righteousness ..  Malachi 3:3

Hymn 38 – Tune 34:  God’s Plan
The Lord’s Prayer from Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 46   A Refuge and Help

Bible Readings:                                                   
God’s Promise:  Isaiah 7:10-16; 65:1-2, 9-10, 16-25
God’s Plan:  Hebrews 1:1-14
Still More to Come:  Acts 1:1-11
What Gift Can We Give:  Malachi 3:1-4, 16-18
Hymn 13:  Jesus’ Mission
·        God has a Plan for our World
·        The central focus is the virgin birth, death and resurrection of Jesus
·        The future includes the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth
·        The Bible includes instructions on a Lifestyle recommended by God
·        Those who follow this Lifestyle will be ready for Jesus Christ’s return
·        His gifts to us are shown in His Plan; our gift (offering) to Him can be obedience  
·        In following God’s Lifestyle, He is able to complete His Plan is us

Hymn 142:  The Baby, Prophet, Saviour, King


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Outline of Service 8th December 2013
Making Ready for the Lord
  Luke 1:17
Presenter:  Anthony Gray

1.     Christian Israelite Church Brass Band
2.     Community Singing including
Carols, Carol with Band
Hymn 119
3.     Welcome and Prayer
4.     Psalm 143:1-12:  Teach Me
5.     Solo – Shirley Mercer and Carolyn Armstrong
6.     Bible Reading:  Job 38:1-13;   Rom 1:18-23
7.     Congregation – Hymn 99  We SEE God in Creation
8.     Recitation – Brydie Gray
9.     Flute and Horn – Teresa and Kerrie
10.    Hymn 53 – Brothers and Sisters to Jesus Christ
11.    Bible Readings: 
Loving God – 1 John 4:7-21
Following God – Deuteronomy 30:1-10
Love is Obeying – Rom 13:7-10
12.    Hymn 34: - Loving God
13.    Message –
14.    Congregation – Hymn 47  Following The Example

Benediction – Numbers 6:24-26

to SEE Thee more clearly
to LOVE Thee more dearly
to FOLLOW Thee more nearly
day by day

John 14:23

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Outline of Service 24th November 2013

God’s People  Rom 11:2

Hymn 105:  Praise God’s Greatness  
The Lord’s Prayer from Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 75   God is the Judge

Bible Readings:                                                   
The Division:  11 Chronicles 10:1-8, 13-19
God is in Control:  Jeremiah 18:1-10
The Reuniting:  Romans 11:1-12, 25-27, 33-36
Many Rooms in the House:  John 14:1-6
Hymn 118 – Tune 115:  God is Watching
·        God called Israel but they did not follow Him
·        Israel was scattered and God showed His Blessings on all people
·        There are still special promises to Israel in the Scriptures
·        True Israel will seek to follow God’s laws and commandments
·        God will regather His people when they are obedient to Him
·        All believers are God’s People – but “in my Father’s House are many mansions”

Hymn 83:  Working Towards the Goal


Friday, November 8, 2013

Outline of Service 10th November 2013

Called and Sent Forth  Matt. 10:1,5

Hymn 106:  A Call to Worship  
The Lord’s Prayer from Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 5:1-4, 7-9, 11-12   The Blessings of Faith and Trust

Bible Readings:                                                   
The Division:  11 Chronicles 10:1-8, 13-19
God is in Control:  Jeremiah 18:1-10
Finding Life:  Matthew 10:1-10, 32-42

Hymn 84:  A Call to Come-Out
·        God calls all to worship Him, for their own good
·        God calls for “the Lost Sheep” who would follow Him more closely
·        Through obedience we can show our love to Him
·        When Jesus Christ returns the Kingdom of God will be established here
·        When Satan is bound divisions will cease, and all will believe in God
·        Let us seek to be preserved in spirit and soul and body until that Day.

Hymn 47:  A Call to Obedience and Life

Friday, October 18, 2013

Outline of Service 27th October 2013

Praise ye the Lord  Psalm 146:1

Hymn 6:  The Lord of Always  
The Lord’s Prayer from Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 146   God is in Control

Bible Readings:                                                   
He holds the Power of Life:  Isaiah 38:1-22
Different Dimensions of Life:  11 Corinthians 5:1-10, 17-21
A Future State:  Luke 16:19-31

Hymn 134:  The Lord of Past, Present and Future
·        In His Wisdom God has a Plan for this World and for each of our lives
·        Trust the Lord that all things that happen are part of God’s Plan
·        We believe we are living in the Last Days when Jesus Christ will return to this Earth in accordance with God’s Plan
·        Thank the Lord that we can ask God to preserve us until that time, to be redeemed in spirit and soul and body
·        Praise the Lord that ultimate reconciliation of all will come through Jesus Christ.

Hymn 59:  Ultimate Reconciliation   


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Outline of Service 13th October 2013

The Promised Rest  Hebrews 4:9

Hymn 26:  God of All Creation  
The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 42:1-11   God - an Uplifting Companion

Bible Readings:                                                   
The Cycles of Life:  Psalm 104:1-24, 31-35
Work to enter Rest:  Hebrews 4:1-16
Rest within Turmoil:  Mark 4:35-41

Hymn 99:  God of the World We Live In
·        God has created all things ultimately for His Glory
·        In this World the Devil creates FUD - fear, uncertainty and doubt
·        God promises Inward Peace now to those who know Him
·        There is a promised Rest to all Creation after Jesus Christ’s Return
·        Let us seek to obey Him and to enter into that Rest wholly - in spirit and soul and body

Hymn 21 (Tune 13):  A Personal God   


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Outline of Service 22nd September 2013

Buy... without Money   Isaiah 55:1

Hymn 68:  Satisfying Spiritual Hunger  
The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11:2-4
God Calls:  Isaiah 55:1-3, 8-13

Bible Readings:
God Provides:  1 Kings 17:1-16
Feeding Spirit, Soul and Body:  Mark 6:30-52

Hymn 100:  The Living Bread
·        God provides for His people despite worldly circumstances
·        Jesus used temporal food as an illustration of our spiritual need 
·        God’s People will find more in the Bible than those who look at it just as a book or story!
·        God shows a Plan for the Universe, Our World, and each individual life in the Bible
·        Let us seek to live depending on the Word of God 
·        Jesus said If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death –  we believe that ‘s true!

Hymn 123:  An Inward Work  


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Outline of Service 8th September 2013

To Make Ready a People Prepared for the Lord   Luke 1:17

Hymn 6:  The Great Expectation   
The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11:2-4
Psalm:  Psalm 103:1-5, 17-22

Bible Readings:
A Great Awakening:  Ezekiel 37:1-11
Types of what is to come:  Luke 1:5-17
Sitting with the Lamb:  Revelation 14:1-5; 15:1-4

Hymn 19:  The Dry Bones
·        The Bible tells of disturbances in the Earth itself in the Last Days
·        Those who love The Lord will be Making Ready for His return
·        A Special People will be Prepared through obedience to God’s Laws and Commandments
·        Some will stand with The Lamb on Mount Sion
·        When Jesus Christ returns those prepared will be redeemed in spirit and soul and body without physical death

Hymn 83:  Ready and Waiting!  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Paper September 2013 –
Faith In ???
When I come home on a dark night, put my hand in through the door and flick the switch, I expect that the light will go on.  When I go across a high bridge in the car and look down at the water below I feel safe.  When I sit in a train as it travels quickly along the lines I don’t worry about safety, and when I am sitting in my seat on an aeroplane 10 kilometres up in the sky I have confidence I will safely land on earth again.  In all these “potentially uncertain” situations I accept the circumstances and expect a particular outcome even though they are all far beyond my personal ability to control!  I have never visited a Power station, I was not there when the bridge was built, I know nothing about how to make 360 tonnes of metal and plastic ascend into the air like a bird, but yet I have confidence that those who do will make it work on my behalf.  Perhaps the fact that I have been in these situations before is able to help me to accept, but how do I know that it will work next time? 
What gives me confidence to be able to accept that these things will continue to work in the way I expect?  The answer, I guess, is that through experience and over time I have developed faith in systems in the world around me, things that exist and support me.  Now these examples cited are all from an engineering-built environment that we can inspect, handle or see if we want to - not that we would be able to understand the theory, design and construction of them even if we tried - but because we are “physical”, and these things are “physical”, we develop and accept a level of trust that allows us to have confidence, or faith, in things we use so frequently. 
Whilst it is demonstrably true that we are “physical” beings, I believe it is also imminently observable that we are more than just physical – we also have a part of our being which exists beyond the physical, or in what we might call a “spiritual” realm.  I see this in the world around me – in feelings, emotional responses, acceptance of basic life-principles and in showing of concern for those in need.  I experience it in my own life as well as through the experiences of others which they share with me. 
I believe that the World was created by a non-physical, or an aphysical Power I call God, and as a Christian I also believe that this God has manifested Himself to us through one Jesus Christ who lived on the Earth in a different generation.  Through study and observation I have come to believe that He was able to link the world beyond to the physical world around us.  Whilst my human experience of God is not physical, it is none the less just as true to me as is the assured certainty of turning on the light, safely crossing a bridge or flying in an aeroplane.  I can logically worship my God through a faith that is within me.
The issue of putting faith in something we cannot see is not a new topic.  The Apostle Paul in the New Testament, when speaking to people in Athens, ‘reasoned’ with them about a God who is findable if anyone seeks him, for “he is not far from any one of us”. (See the Bible book of Acts, Chapter 17 verses 16 to 32 for a more detailed report of Paul’s encounter.)  However, unlike the faith we have in the physical world around us, Faith in God is not some-thing that we can manufacture or ‘try’ to have, but is given us of God.  It is strengthened with experience.  Rather than being passive, faith in God leads to an active life aligned with what the Bible teaches.  Faith sees the mystery of God and his grace, and seeks to know and become obedient to Him.  To a Christian, faith is not static but causes one to want to learn more of God and grow; its origin is in what God has done in history, and its presence in what God is doing in lives today.
Many think that having ‘faith’ in God and Jesus Christ is fideism, that is a faith that is independent of reason.  However, when we consider the situation, we find that there are reliable reasons to place our faith and trust in the claims of the Bible and specifically in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We would like to invite you to visit us, or a Church in your local Community, to talk about how you can develop a certainty about “spiritual” things of God in a physical world.  See Church Notices in this Paper for times of Meetings at the Christian Israelite Church at 196 Campbell Street – we have been there since 1853 - 160 years.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Outline of Service 11th August 2013

Signs in the Earth  Acts 2:19

Hymn 118 (Tune 115):  Facing the Future  
The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11:2-4
Trust in God:  Isaiah 26:1-8

Bible Readings:
Promises of Change:  Isaiah 65:16-19
The Old Prophecies:  Joel 2:21-32 
The Prophecies Partly Fulfilled:  Acts 2:14-32
The Final Fulfilment and Transformation:  11 Peter 3:1-14

Hymn 57:  Heavens and Earth
·        The very Earth itself will be troubled because of evil
·        God will deliver those who trust in Him
·        We hope to live to see Jesus Christ’s return
·        God’s Israel will be redeemed wholly in spirit and soul and body
·        We cannot imagine the glory of the New Kingdom

Hymn 113 (Tune 117):  Personal Dedication  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Outline of Service 28th July 2013

I Will Come to You  John 14:18

Hymn 3:  The Promised Power  
The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11:2-4
Psalm 107:1-8, 42-43:  – God’s Lovingkindness

Bible Readings:
God’s Blessings to Believers:  Isaiah 44:1-19 
How to Prepare:  Acts 15:5-21
Obedience – The Key:  John 14:10-21

Hymn 15:  God’s Spirit Will Prepare His People
·        Isaiah speaks of three Groups of believers
·        Most Christians follow only some of the Old Testament Laws
·        Jews do not accept the (New) Testament of Jesus Christ
·        Christian Israelites both accept Jesus Christ and also seek to follow the life-style God set out in the Old Testament
·        The Spirit of Truth will prepare people wholly, in spirit and soul and body
·        When Jesus Christ returns He will be looking for obedient followers of His Commandments who are in the World but not of the World
·        All will be changed in accordance with God’s Will.

Hymn 47:  Proving Faith by Works  


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Paper July 2013 - Beyond Reasonable Doubt?
How do we prove something?  I guess for different types of hypotheses (what we are trying to prove) and for different people there are different criteria that would be acceptable as a “proof”.  And then there are different sorts of proof - scientific proof, mathematical proof and personal proof – and a combination of them all, as appropriate, needs to be considered before we would be personally satisfied that something is true.  In this article I would like to share some mathematical facts, and then think about how these might support a personal proof of a related matter. 
 Have a look at the following Tables.  They do not “prove” anything as they are a set of true mathematical statements.  However it does show something about the symmetry of numbers and as a result creates a feeling that the power of numbers is greater than just the equations.
1x8 +1=9
or this one:
Get’s you wondering, doesn’t it!  There is an order beyond our basic understanding that seems to be demonstrated here.
Next let’s take the letters of the alphabet, A to Z and assign a number to each; A=1, B==2 and so on up to Z=26.  Let’s then look at a number of words, assign the numbers, add up the total and call it a percentage.  We find the following:  Knowledge = 96%       Hard work = 98%      Attitude = 100%
The three are each important, but this gives them a ranking.  This suggests that whilst knowledge is important, hard work (through application of the knowledge) is more important, and that attitude - your approach to the job or what you feel inside – is even more important. 
Now as a Christian I believe there is a greater power than that which we are presently able to comprehend, and that the World has been ordered by a Great Creator who we call God.  I believe that this God manifested His love toward His creation in a strange way – He sent His Son to live on this Earth some 2,000 years ago, and He was subjected to its ways and whims; He was crucified because people argued about the good He did and miracles that He performed, but strangely enough through His death the power of death has been overcome.  Through belief in Him we can experience an inward assurance that we will receive life in the World to come, but we can  also hold a hope of being kept alive until His (Jesus Christ’s) promised return.  Maybe this all sounds unbelievable to those who have not studied the matter, but it reflects the Love of God as set out in His Plan in the Bible.  And what do we get if we total the letters in the “Love of God”?  Love of God = 101% - more than we are able to imagine or comprehend!
Whilst these mathematical facts themselves really do not prove anything, they hopefully can help us to think about a paradigm or framework of understanding that transcends our own ability.  What hidden knowledge might be tucked away into which we get a window of perception when we consider examples such as these?  What other issues of life might be hidden in ideas and principles that many people don’t respect any more, but consider to be old-fashioned or out of date?  If we know these principles, and work at understanding them with the right attitude we may get closer to finding out!

We would like to invite you to visit us, or a Church in your local Community, to talk about how many things in the World around us point to a Great Creator, and to discuss the Plan that is set out in the Holy Bible.  See Church Notices in this Paper for times of Meetings at the Christian Israelite Church at 196 Campbell Street, Darlinghurst.