Mar 25, 2018
Foundations Week 3 – Who Is Jesus?
I’m not a huge fan of reality TV. A fact that has only been confirmed after the rise in popularity of one particularly ridiculous program called ‘Married at First Sight.’ This program comes with the tagline, ‘Australia’s most controversial social experiment’. The basis of the show is that two people, who are searching for a relationship, are matched up by ‘relationship experts’ and meet for the first time (ever!) at the altar. They participate in a commitment ceremony (as Australia marriage laws do not allow for ‘on the spot’ legally binding ceremonies) and stay together for a month before deciding whether to remain together or part ways. Neither person has any idea about the personality, core values or physical appearance of the person they’re about to marry. They’re completely blind until the bride walks down the aisle, at which point a change of heart is too late. To me, that sounds totally crazy!
Some people see becoming a Christian as merely a blind leap of faith. The type of faith that might be needed to trust a group of total strangers to pick your future spouse. There is of course a step of faith required, however, it is not blind. It’s a step based on firm historical evidence. Most serious historians would acknowledge the existence of Jesus. There is also a great deal of evidence that supports the Christian contention that Jesus was and is the unique Son of God who came to save humanity.
Tune in for this Palm Sunday message, as we continue our series ‘Foundations’, exploring the central truths of the Christian faith by asking ourselves another key question - ‘Who is Jesus?’
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  • Mar 25, 2018Foundations Week 3 – Who Is Jesus?
    Mar 25, 2018
    Foundations Week 3 – Who Is Jesus?
    I’m not a huge fan of reality TV. A fact that has only been confirmed after the rise in popularity of one particularly ridiculous program called ‘Married at First Sight.’ This program comes with the tagline, ‘Australia’s most controversial social experiment’. The basis of the show is that two people, who are searching for a relationship, are matched up by ‘relationship experts’ and meet for the first time (ever!) at the altar. They participate in a commitment ceremony (as Australia marriage laws do not allow for ‘on the spot’ legally binding ceremonies) and stay together for a month before deciding whether to remain together or part ways. Neither person has any idea about the personality, core values or physical appearance of the person they’re about to marry. They’re completely blind until the bride walks down the aisle, at which point a change of heart is too late. To me, that sounds totally crazy!
    Some people see becoming a Christian as merely a blind leap of faith. The type of faith that might be needed to trust a group of total strangers to pick your future spouse. There is of course a step of faith required, however, it is not blind. It’s a step based on firm historical evidence. Most serious historians would acknowledge the existence of Jesus. There is also a great deal of evidence that supports the Christian contention that Jesus was and is the unique Son of God who came to save humanity.
    Tune in for this Palm Sunday message, as we continue our series ‘Foundations’, exploring the central truths of the Christian faith by asking ourselves another key question - ‘Who is Jesus?’
  • Mar 18, 2018LivingOurVision Week 6 – With The Love of Jesus
    Mar 18, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 6 – With The Love of Jesus
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    I say I love a lot of things. I love coffee, I love my husband, I love the beach, I love my kids, I love eating, I love walking and I love the local church. Love has become a very basic way to describe how we feel about something or someone. The problem is, while I ‘love’ burgers, I wouldn’t lay down my life for them like I would for my kids. It’s not the same thing. Real love doesn’t mean the warm, fuzzy feelings we get when we enjoy something. It’s not simply about our belongings, places or people that bring us delight in life. Real love is about commitment, steadfastness and being faithful no matter the cost. Real love is often very, very hard.
     
    The Salvos national vision to ‘transform Australia one life at a time, with the love of Jesus’ is a radical statement. The ‘love of Jesus’ is not easy. The love of Jesus meant he drew near and engaged with people in a way that transformed them. He healed and restored them to their communities; he forgave them; he set them free from their addictions; he treated them with dignity and significance. He challenged the religious and political authorities. He gave up his life for the sake of others – for us. This is what real love is all about.
     
    Tune in as we explore the final part of our National Vision, and consider some practical ways to continue living out this vision at Wollongong Salvos.
  • Mar 11, 2018LivingOurVision Week 5 – Transforming Australia
    Mar 11, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 5 – Transforming Australia
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    A friend of mine celebrated his sixtieth wedding anniversary last week and he talked warmly about the way his life has been transformed because of the relationship he has developed with his wife. Initially, his diet changed, his spending habits changed, his sleeping habits changed, and his sense of fashion changed. All these changes were remarkable, but over the longer term, he has seen many more significant changes in his inner-self. He felt different about himself and the way he interacted with the world. His relationships with other people changed, he became less aggressive and less anxious, more accepting and more loving.
    Actor Peter Scolari said this about marriage, “The reality of getting married, it really changed things into something beautiful. There was transformation.” If a marriage relationship brings about transformation, then how much more does a relationship with the God of the universe?
    This week we look at the transformation that happens in one unlikely man’s life after Jesus personally invites him to become one of his disciples.
    Tune in as we unpack the fourth line of our new national vision statement, “Transforming Australia one life at a time.”
  • Mar 4, 2018LivingOurVision Week 4 – Alongside Others
    Mar 4, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 4 – Alongside Others
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    Last Sunday night, in the torrential rain, I went and saw Sydney FC defeat the Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium. Sydney FC scored three absolutely stunning goals, and after each one the massive screens would declare, “This goal proudly brought to you by Beechwood Homes.”
    Running around the field, boasting of his skill after scoring two of these goals, was star player and record goal scorer, Adrian Mierzejewski, who brings out his guns with every goal. On the screens however, was the clear acknowledgement that the goal would not have been possible without the sponsorship of Beechwood Homes. Without their money backing the team, it wouldn’t matter who was playing, what they were doing, how loudly over 25,000 fans were screaming at the top of their lungs or how skilfully other players had set up the goal. In order to enable them to achieve their purpose Sydney FC works alongside others like Beechwood Homes.
    The Salvos are part of the world-wide church, the body of Christ, but there are other parts that play an important role in the world too. We need to work alongside other organisations and community groups to fight for justice and care for people. We can’t do it all on our own. Within the Salvos too, each of us plays different roles; we are more effective when we look to work alongside others to make a difference in this world.
  • Feb 25, 2018LivingOurVision Week 3 – Live Love Fight
    Feb 25, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 3 – Live Love Fight
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    I grew up in a fairly stable, middle class home. I went to Sunday school and church services every week where I was taught that the mission of the Salvation Army was to serve those suffering hardship or injustice. However, despite all the lessons, all the sermons and all the meetings, it wasn’t until I actually got involved in Red Shield Summer Camps that I learned how to live, love and fight for people.

    Red Shield Camps were the most powerful experiences in my youth. The primary responsibility of a camp leader is to love kids who have suffered hardship and injustice. Kids were shown love by making sure they had everything they needed and by giving them an amazing week of excitement and adventure. Primarily however, we tried to give them self confidence, dignity and a sense of self worth. We taught them that they are just as valuable to God as anyone who ever lived. For a week, we lived with them, loved them and fought for their right to live on the same level as anyone else.

  • Feb 18, 2018LivingOurVision Week 2 – Hardship and Injustice
    Feb 18, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 2 – Hardship and Injustice
    Posted by Sarah Walker

    Each week, our Wollongong Salvos Connect Site volunteers distribute food parcels, financial assistance, coffees, toiletries and warm meals to people in our community who are facing hardship.

    There are just so many people in Wollongong alone, who are in desperate need of practical assistance. Some days, the need seems overwhelming, and our task looks almost impossible. But each day, our volunteers show the love of Jesus by meeting the needs of these community members in a tangible way. We may not be able to solve every problem of every person in our community facing hardship, but we can always do something. We are playing a role in transforming our city one life at a time, and we want to continue to be a community of faith that is always looking to do this more effectively.

    Jesus was revolutionary in the way he welcomed and engaged with the most vulnerable – those who faced hardship and injustice – ‘disreputable’ women, lepers, tax collectors, and people with disabilities. He broke the social and religious conventions and ‘ate and drank with sinners’. He saw that all people were made in the image of God, and treated them with dignity, worth and significance. The God of the Bible is not a distant, impersonal force but a personal, relational God, who cares about all people. He has compassion for those living in hardship or facing injustice. In fact, in Jesus, God entered the world and experienced hardship and injustice Himself – to the point of his own unjust death.

  • Feb 11, 2018LivingOurVision Week 1 – Why Vision
    Feb 11, 2018
    LivingOurVision Week 1 – Why Vision
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    A blind and deaf author by the name of Helen Keller once said, “The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” Many people go around the world with total ability to see but they have a severely limited picture of the future. One of the reasons why people take their own lives is that they lose all hope. They can no longer see any positive reason for continuing to live. It is no surprise that in one translation of the bible Proverbs 29:18 is translated “Without vision, the people perish."

    In some ways Churches, organisations, clubs and companies are just like people. If all the people in a particular organisation can no longer see a positive view of the future, then those people will go their separate ways and that organisation will cease to exist. The effort that goes into getting along and working together in that organisation will overwhelm the hope that something good will come out of what the organisation is trying to achieve.

    Over time, without continued reminding and refreshing, visions we have for the future begin to fade. They lose colour and lustre and begin to simply become part of the furniture of our lives. They can loose their effectiveness for generating hope. We in The Salvation Army have served Australia for over 100 years and now we have the opportunity to be refreshed and renewed. We have a new expression of vision driving new structures, missions, creativity and enthusiasm.

    This Sunday at 10am is the beginning of a new message series unpacking this vision and revealing the heart of God behind all of it.

  • Jan 28, 2018Foundations 2: How does God guide us?
    Jan 28, 2018
    Foundations 2: How does God guide us?
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Foundations

    Did you know that there is a woman in California who operates a Barbie channeling service? For a very small fee Barbara Bell will summon up the spirit of Barbie to solve the problems of those seeking her advice. She says “I appreciate and understand Barbie…she has been forced to be shallow all these years, but underneath she’s a profound person.”

    The idea that you can summon the spirit of a plastic doll is totally ridiculous, but the sad truth is there are many people attempting to know the future, looking for guidance and direction in life, who are more than willing to go to ridiculous lengths to try and get it. Perhaps they aren’t all going to look to the spirit of a plastic doll, but people read horoscopes, tarot cards and other means that claim to bring spiritual insight from the future, to guide them in their present.

    When we come to know God, this desire to hear from the spiritual is directed toward God. We pray to God, asking questions about relationships, finances, careers and other big life moments. How do we expect to have these questions answered? It’s not often that God speaks with a voice inside our heads, It’s not often that God sends us an email. So the question is, when it comes to the choices we have to make in our lives, how does God guide us?

    tune in as we dive into the question, "How does God guide us?"

  • Jan 21, 2018Foundations 1: What’s The Point?
    Jan 21, 2018
    Foundations 1: What’s The Point?
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Series: Foundations
    A retired friend of mine grew up in a small coastal town, in a cottage on the edge of a beautiful lagoon. It was a small house, but solidly built. Many years later, after his family had moved out of the house, a great storm hit the town and the house slid off its piers and into the lagoon. The house had some good foundations. The piers were solidly sunk into the earth. But over the years the linkages connecting the house to the foundations had become loose and ineffective. When a storm came, because the house had lost its connection with its foundations, it was destroyed.
    Like this house, over time, people can lose connection with the foundations in their life: the basic facts they believe about themselves and the world that support their decision making and coping skills. The wearing down of these foundations is usually not seen or felt, but it is still dire. Not only does the wearing down of foundations pose a risk, but some people never have great foundations to start with. Consequently, sometimes when life throws up a storm, when someone we love dies, or a business collapses, when a relationship breaks down or a major illness is diagnosed, people find themselves completely shaken from their foundations.
     
    A key sermon series this year will address the foundations of our faith: key things we believe to be true about humanity, God and the universe. We pray that as we progress through this series that you will build, or rebuild, solid, safe and stable foundations of belief that will give you the best possible platform for the future.
    Tune in as we begin this series with a discussion of the relevance and truth of Christianity.
  • Jan 14, 2018Sticks & Stones 3: Approach
    Jan 14, 2018
    Sticks & Stones 3: Approach
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I was over the hashtags before the 9 o’clock fireworks.
     
    #newyearnewme #fitlife #2018ismyyear I wonder which of my Instagram friends will join the 92% of people that fail at sticking with their resolutions. I’m not being cynical, I’m just never really sure why we have to wait for a new year to take up the challenge of being the people we want to be. Why do we have to push the restart button on healthy eating or speaking up for others or daily bible reading? Then, three weeks in when we get caught late at work and grab a Quarter Pounder through drive-through on the way home, we’re riddled with guilt and shame, and jump off the band wagon. Better luck next year.
     
    This January, we’ve been looking at secret weapons that enable our ‘resolutions’ to become more than words. When we, like David, understand that we are anointed and have been given abilities, our approach to life and the situations it presents us with should be different. We don’t have to wait for a new year to begin working on what God’s called us to do, or who he’s called us to become, and we certainly don’t have to feel guilty if we slip up or miss the mark occasionally. The key is not to give up, but to keep going. Day in, day out drawing on the secret weapons God gives us and reminds us of throughout his word.
     
    Join us as we see how David defeated Goliath with his approach to forces that were intended to bring him down.