Oct 4, 2015
It Doesn’t Matter What you Believe
Posted by Phil Inglis

Like many young people, during my final few years of High School I was quite undecided about what to do with my life and like many young people I simply chose a university course based on the subjects I was good at. So I ended up studying Physics. I left a quiet and sheltered life at a church based high school and ended up in one of the largest universities in the country surrounded by 50,000 students, all with opinions.

There are groups for everything on a university campus, most of them involved alcohol to varying degrees and occasionally they would burst out into bouts of philosophy and religion. In no other place can you find such diverse groups of people in the same place all clamouring for your attention. For me, a guy from a christian home, who went to church every Sunday, who went to a Christian school… it was a new world, fascinating, intriguing and challenging.

In such a place a well worn phrase was “It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere.” It’s a phrase that is still common in our politically correct society and it seems as though it’s a good sentiment. The problem is, I believe Jesus spoke the truth when he said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

This Sunday at 10am we will consider what it means to introduce people to ‘the way, truth and life.’ Because, in fact, what people believe is important! What people believe about themselves and their relationship to God is vital.

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  • Oct 4, 2015It Doesn’t Matter What you Believe
    Oct 4, 2015
    It Doesn’t Matter What you Believe
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    Like many young people, during my final few years of High School I was quite undecided about what to do with my life and like many young people I simply chose a university course based on the subjects I was good at. So I ended up studying Physics. I left a quiet and sheltered life at a church based high school and ended up in one of the largest universities in the country surrounded by 50,000 students, all with opinions.

    There are groups for everything on a university campus, most of them involved alcohol to varying degrees and occasionally they would burst out into bouts of philosophy and religion. In no other place can you find such diverse groups of people in the same place all clamouring for your attention. For me, a guy from a christian home, who went to church every Sunday, who went to a Christian school… it was a new world, fascinating, intriguing and challenging.

    In such a place a well worn phrase was “It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere.” It’s a phrase that is still common in our politically correct society and it seems as though it’s a good sentiment. The problem is, I believe Jesus spoke the truth when he said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

    This Sunday at 10am we will consider what it means to introduce people to ‘the way, truth and life.’ Because, in fact, what people believe is important! What people believe about themselves and their relationship to God is vital.

  • Sep 20, 2015God Wont Give You More Than You Can Handle – God Never Said That
    Sep 20, 2015
    God Wont Give You More Than You Can Handle – God Never Said That
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    We love offering little nuggets of advice, support, or sympathy. They come in handy when we want so make people feel better. Particularly if you have nothing to say, you’ve run out of words appropriate for the situation. So often we jump to quick advice and platitudes that are simply not true when uttered out of context.

    This week we look at the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” This is a great phrase, and of great comfort to people in certain situations, but what if God doesn’t want you to handle something and instead he wants you to turn to God, to rely on God in a far greater way than you ever have before? What if God does give you more than YOU can handle, but never more than GOD can handle through you.

    A few years ago I spent three months in hospital recovering from a number of brain surgeries. At one point I had a tube stuck in the base of my spine draining fluid, giving me incredible headaches and preventing me from moving for 6 days. I have to say, I couldn’t handle it… I was in pain, I couldn’t sleep. It was medically legal torture. However, I had never before been as close to God as I was in those dark times. Looking back I can see the presence of God in those times. I now have a far greater understanding of what my relationship with God is like and I can say that God will sometimes give you things you can’t handle. But he will always be there to share the load and ensure that you do not buckle under the pressure.

  • Sep 13, 2015God Wants You To Be Happy – God Never Said That
    Sep 13, 2015
    God Wants You To Be Happy – God Never Said That
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis

    Most people have worked out that money doesn’t make us happy. We have witnessed some of the world’s wealthiest people who are miserable, lonely and lost. Recently there has been a surge in research and resulting information about how travel makes people happy, encouraging us to spend more money on experiences rather than accumulating things. I agree, travel makes me very happy (but travel costs money, so in effect perhaps money does make us happy?) So much focus is on happiness. People want to be happy. Our world is obsessed with happiness. Just today I was speaking to someone expecting a child about their hopes and dreams for that child and she said, “I just want them to be healthy and happy.” 

    Many people believe God want us to be happy. This is a popular statement that many Christians, particularly in the western world, make about God. The problem is that the bible doesn't say that God wants us to be happy. To say that above all else, God wants us to be happy is a misconception that can cause a huge amount of confusion about other aspects of our faith. 

    I do believe that God delights in our happiness, that when I’m happy, it brings Him joy, just as any parent is delighted when a child has joy or happiness. Yet when we believe, above all else, God wants us to be happy, then we end up doing things that are wrong or unwise in the pursuit of happiness, or feel unloved or abandoned when we are not happy. 

    What God teaches us in his word, is that we are to “Be holy, because I (God) am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness, he wants us to pursue him. Join us this Sunday at 10am as we consider whether the measuring stick of our lives is happiness or holiness.

  • Sep 6, 2015Failing Forward
    Sep 6, 2015
    Failing Forward
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Fight!

    So much media attention over the last few weeks has centred on Ashley Madison. At first I was confused because everyone seemed to know the name but I had never heard of anyone named Ashley Madison. As the story unfolded, it was revealed that Ashley Madison was an online dating service that catered specifically for married people looking to have an affair. In exchange for credit card details, the website would give people the opportunity to find others with whom they could have and affair. Three weeks ago criminals broke into the offices of Ashley Madison, stole all the account holders' personal information and released all of it to the Internet. 

    Perhaps the most tragic part of this whole story is that millions of people were actually signed up to the site, millions! For instance, Fairfax media (The Mercury) published a map graphic that reveals that about 2% of the people who live in the Illawarra were signed up to this site. This huge amount of failure has suddenly been exposed. Relationships have been torn, some broken. Pain and regret is everywhere.

    This Sunday morning at 10am, is our final week looking at Judges 16, we learn from Samson how we can understand and deal with failure. We see how a man who kept the peace between Israel and Palestine for 20 years, deals with his own failure. We're shown how a strong man learns that failure is an event, not a person. We see how even though he was treated like a circus animal because of his failure, when he turned to God, in humility, God used him in a powerful, world changing way.

  • Aug 30, 2015Junior Soldier Enrolment
    Aug 30, 2015
    Junior Soldier Enrolment

    Junior Soldiers are young people (aged from 7 upwards) who have made a decision to be a follower of Jesus and who want to grow and express their faith through ministry with the Salvation Army. In Junior Soldiers we have loads of fun as we help kids develop in their faith and their understanding of God, the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Children are challenged to think about the ways they engage with their community and have the opportunity to participate in special projects that will make a difference locally and globally.

    This Sunday our Junior Soldiers will renew their promises, and we will celebrate the enrolment of Fiona Seymour and Taylor Steele. As our Junior Soldiers lead us in worship, they are excited to share what they’ve been learning from Ephesians 1:4 which says, “Even before he made the world God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes”. God loves each and every one of us, and he has chosen us to be holy.

  • Aug 23, 2015SNS: Life in the Confrontational Space
    Aug 23, 2015
    SNS: Life in the Confrontational Space
    Posted by Sarah Walker
     
  • Aug 23, 2015Small Steps Towards Big Destruction
    Aug 23, 2015
    Small Steps Towards Big Destruction
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Fight!

    In considering Samson, the following insight from a wise man comes to mind, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (Proverbs 26:11) 

    When my son came home from his first day at kindergarten I asked him, “What did you learn today?” And he quickly repeated back in almost rhythmical way, “Mistakes are OK because that’s how we learn.” And that has been my experience. My greatest learnings have come from my failures, not my successes. But it’s also true that sometimes we don’t learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we are fools and repeat our foolishness.

    Time and time again as I’ve been preparing for the messages on Samson, I’ve just had to stop, shake my head in disbelief and think “Samson, seriously, won’t you ever learn…. what did you think would happen when you did that?” Despite 20 years of, with God’s help, keeping things together, we see tragically, a guy who with so much God-given potential, makes poor decision after poor decision and ends up with his eyes gouged out, his hands shackled and the laughing stock in front of his enemies, the Philistines. 

    It raises the question, for me, how could a man with so much strength, with so much God-ordained potential, mess up his life so badly? The reality is Samson didn't ruin his life all at once. He ruined it one step at a time. It’s the same way many people today mess up their lives. Mostly it doesn’t happen all at once, but one step, one bad decision, one stupid action at a time.

    Our prayer is that as we look at Samson's life, we will become better learners from God’s spirit within us, so that our desires and emotions do not drive us to destroy the amazing God given potential within each one of us.

  • Aug 16, 2015Emotions That Take Down The Strong
    Aug 16, 2015
    Emotions That Take Down The Strong
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Fight!

    In 2002, the Nobel prize for economics was awarded to Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton psychologist who proved that human beings make decisions first for emotional reasons and second for rational reasons. These studies showed that there is no difference in these results based on ethnicity or gender. Men and women of all races respond emotionally first, rationally second. 

    I'm sure we can all think of times when we have reacted 'without thinking'. Times when we've been at the football, or playing sport, or even driving with crazy people in traffic. I have to admit that I haven't always been a model citizen in some of these situations. 

    This Sunday we continue to look at Samson, a strong man of God. He made a rational commitment to God, but he reacts emotionally in ways that don't exactly line up with God's plan and purpose for his life. We pray that Samson's story will help us to more intentionally make choices in our lives based on God's best for us rather than our feelings.

  • Aug 2, 2015When the Strong are Weak
    Aug 2, 2015
    When the Strong are Weak
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    Series: Fight!
    Think you’re strong? Even our best intentions can falter when we face temptation and distraction. During August at Wollongong Salvos at 10am each Sunday, we invite you to join us in considering the life of Samson (Judges 13-16) as we get better equipped for standing strong against forces of darkness that want to take us out. This Sunday we consider what makes the strong weak. Samson's accomplishments are legendary. At the same time, so are his weaknesses. In fact, he's like a lot of us. God had given him, just like each of us, so much potential for righteousness and kingdom benefit; and yet, again and again, he made poor decisions. In fact, if I would summarize his life with one statement: Samson was an incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will.
    As we spend some time considering his life it’s helpful to acknowledge that we can all have attitudes like Samson where we are driven by our desire: “I want it! I deserve it! I can handle it!” These are the attitudes that make even the strongest men and women weak.
  • Jul 26, 2015SNS Chaos to Christ
    Jul 26, 2015
    SNS Chaos to Christ
    Posted by Matt Kratuik