Do you ever feel like your Christian life is an endless cycle of sinful stumbling and redoubled efforts? Are you beginning to suspect that God’s patience with you must be wearing thin? At the very least, his love must come with a deep sense of disappointment. For the discouraged, exhausted and burnt out; this book … Continue reading Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers – Dane Ortland
If a friend asks you, “what is it like being a Christian?”, how would you respond? I want to encourage you to take a moment to come up with an answer in your mind before you read on. I suspect many of us would want to speak of the goodness of knowing Christ, the joy … Continue reading The Church of Philadelphia
Zombie movies have gripped audiences around the world for many decades. There is certainly something about the living dead that captures the attention of people. And yet, this concept of one who is dead yet still alive has been around for centuries. In fact, Jesus uses this very image when describing the church of Sardis. … Continue reading The Church of Sardis
Everyone would get the occasional spam message now and then that they have won $1,000,000 in a giveaway and that they must redeem the prize before the deadline. Underhandedly, they would also ask for your account information, insisting that this is the only way to claim the sweepstake. Most of these messages are filtered out … Continue reading The Church of Thyatira
Jesus’ third letter to the churches of Asia Minor is addressed to the church of Pergamum, a church that faced intense external pressure and persecution whilst also tackling internal immorality and heresy. Their moral compromise with culture is condemned by Christ and while it is shocking and disappointing, it is also not exactly foreign to … Continue reading The Church of Pergamum
Has it ever occurred to you that 1 in 8 Christians are persecuted for following Jesus? I guess for many of us that’s not something we are aware of or even think about. Yet when we come to the word of God, as Jesus speaks to his church in the book of Revelation, this is … Continue reading The Church of Smyrna
What would Jesus say to your church if he were to return today? For the church of Ephesus, there was no need for speculation as Jesus spoke to them through the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. On the exterior, the Ephesian believers appeared to be flawless. However, they had a profound heart issue … Continue reading The Church of Ephesus
The book of Revelation has developed a reputation for being mysterious & prophetic apocalyptic literature, but digging beneath the surface reveals that the book is actually filled with rich pastoral implications. Written by the Apostle John during his exile on the isle of Patmos, the book of Revelation uses vivid symbolism and imagery of Christ’s … Continue reading The Seven Churches of Revelation
This is such an interesting question because it would be pretty rare for anyone living in Australia and particularly in Sydney to have not heard the name Jesus before. As a city, we are saturated with Bible-believing Christians and gospel-preaching churches. Yet, looking at global statistics, it shows a staggering 41.8% of the world population … Continue reading What happens to those who never get to hear the gospel?
Last night at ACG, one of our members asked this interesting question during QnA about the relevance of Jesus' command to "deny himself, take up his cross and follow me" for believers living in today's culture (see Matt. 10:38; Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27). She mentioned how she recently heard a conference … Continue reading Does the command to “take up your cross” no longer apply to us today?
Question: What is the purpose of fasting, and why don't modern Christians seem to fast as much anymore? What is fasting? To cut to the chase, fasting is a voluntary and deliberate abstaining of something that is good, namely food, for a temporary period of time for the primary purpose of intensifying our spiritual need … Continue reading What is the purpose of fasting?
Most Christians consider the Sunday sermon to be a staple meal of their spiritual diets that they receive throughout the week. It is the nutritious meal that every family of believers share around the dinner table, as they open up to the weekly bible passage together and are fed through the reception of the preaching … Continue reading How to Listen Well to Sermons in an Online World
Question: Actually received this question from one of my youth and we were quite perplexed with regards to how to answer! She was basically asking if God has no biological gender (neither female nor male), then why do we refer to God as "He" or "Him"? I suspect this might have something to do with … Continue reading Why do we refer to God in masculine terms?
Question: How should Christians think about saving money? How should we balance offerings to church, financially supporting overseas/local ministry work, money spent on daily living (e.g. expenditures from gathering with brothers and sisters, raising a family, etc.) and saving? From a purely financial standpoint, it is shrewd to save, but doesn't saving also raise issues … Continue reading How should Christians think about saving, giving or spending money?
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10) As Jesus concludes the prelude to his Sermon on the Mount, he pronounces a final blessing unto those who endure persecution for righteousness’ sake. He elaborates on the hardships that his disciples will inevitably face, addressing them … Continue reading Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted Because of Righteousness
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). The seventh beatitude that Jesus pronounces is a blessing for peacemakers; those who seek healthy and loving relationships with friends and even enemies. It is these humble destroyers of enmity and hostility that will be recognised as children of God, a … Continue reading Blessed Are The Peacemakers
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). Purity in heart is the sixth key to living a blessed life. Jesus draws our attention immediately to the internal workings of our own hearts, and not to the pious appearances we might display in the public realm. God sees what is … Continue reading Blessed Are The Pure In Heart
So far, we have read about some of the blessings for disciples of Jesus as they undergo a series of spiritual awakening and transformation - what now? Here comes our fifth beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) What does it mean to be merciful? And what exactly is … Continue reading Blessed Are The Merciful
Two ACG members have asked a series of similar questions concerning the topic of assurance in light of last Friday’s exposition, and so I make it my aim to answer all these as succinctly as I can in this article: Question 1: In light of John 6:37, how do we make sense of those who … Continue reading Can true Christians fall away from the faith?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6) As we approach Jesus’ fourth teaching to his disciples, it is important for us to understand the weight behind his words in order to fully savour His promises. We tend to think of righteousness as moral behaviour, virtuous living … Continue reading Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness
As we currently sit in our homes quietly during the lockdown, Australians all across the country are on edge with what’s to come. As our government implements strict measures to contain the further spread of this virus, it has made a catastrophic impact on our economy to say the least. A month ago, it was … Continue reading God’s Call to Busy Australians, Be Still!
Question: In our study on Titus 2:1-10 we talked about how Christian men and women should be living out and preaching the gospel so that all may see the truth, beauty, and goodness of God's word. I was just wondering in households where Christian gender roles are not practiced (by either the mother/father or both), … Continue reading How can children grow to be godly men and women when there are no good role models in the household?
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Jesus throws our minds into confusion once again with this maxim that runs in direct contradiction to the world’s logic. The literal definition of the word ‘mourn’, according to the Cambridge dictionary, means “to feel or express great sadness…” If that’s the case, … Continue reading Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
The following questions come from the passage 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Is the women not speaking directive aimed at church governance and involvement in teaching, or is it just a general command to be quiet during service? I'd hope it's not the latter because I know the women at our church are not mute every time … Continue reading Are women supposed to be silent in church?
The following questions come from the passage 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. In 1 Cor 11 verse 3, it talks about how the 'head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God', and in the NIV they use the term 'woman' and 'man' instead of … Continue reading Questions about Head Coverings, Submission, and Authority in 1 Corinthians 11
Day 85. Revelations 4-6 Day 86. Revelations 7-9 Day 87. Revelation 10-12 Day 88. Revelations 13-15 Day 89. Revelation 16-18Day 90. Revelation 19-22 Devotion Why are we attracted to book series like the Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings? What is it about these books that grip our attention and our affection? Part of it is … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 13 Devotion
Hello! I have some questions about some passages in 1 Corinthians that I was hoping you could perhaps answer and bring some clarity to. 1 Cor 7:12-16 My question(s) specifically focuses on verse 14, where Paul says 'For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy … Continue reading What does it mean when Paul says that the unbeliever is sanctified by a Christian spouse in 1 Corinthians 7:14?
1. Kicking off the Galatians series As most of you should know already, our first book series for the year will be on the Book of Galatians and we will be dedicating 15 weeks to studying this book in extensive detail. This book in particular is awesome to read because this epistle encapsulates themes that … Continue reading February Announcements
Day 78. 1 Peter 1-3:7 Day 79. 1 Peter 3:8-5 Day 80. 2 Peter Day 81. 1 John 1-3:10 Day 82. 1 John 3-11-5 Day 83. 2 John; 3 John; Jude Day 84. Revelation 1-3 Devotion This is now our twelfth week of the Summer Reading Program and we are nearing the end of this reading plan! What a journey it … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 12 Devotion
Day 71. Hebrews 1-2Day 72. Hebrews 3-4:13Day 73. Hebrews 4:14-7 Day 74. Hebrews 8-10Day 75. Hebrews 11-13Day 76. James 1-3:12Day 77. James 3:13-5 Devotion There are a handful of practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) who are given the title ‘G.O.A.T’. I’ve always wondered what that was. ‘Is he as strong as a goat?’ Goats aren’t known … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 11 Devotion
Day 64. 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Day 65. 2 Thessalonians 1-3 Day 66. 1 Timothy 1-3 Day 67. 1 Timothy 4-6 Day 68. 2 Timothy 1-4 Day 69. Titus 1-3Day 70. Philemon Devotion What makes a good leader? Is it their looks? Their charisma? Filled with confidence? Incredibly ambitious? Great communicator? Proficiency in multiple skills? Or perhaps their self-sufficiency and independence? … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 10 Devotion
Day 57. Ephesians 1-3Day 58. Ephesians 4-6Day 59. Philippians 1-2Day 60. Philippians 3-4Day 61. Colossians 1-2Day 62. Colossians 3-4Day 63. 1 Thessalonians 1-3 Devotion The doctrine of predestination is a tricky one. Some want to deny the existence of the doctrine and others want to explain it away. Why? There are a number of reasons. … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 9 Devotion
Day 50. 2 Corinthians 1-3 Day 51. 2 Corinthians 4-6Day 52. 2 Corinthians 7-9 Day 53. 2 Corinthians 10-13 Day 54. Galatians 1-2 Day 55. Galatians 3-4 Day 56. Galatians 5-6 Devotion This marks our eighth week of the Summer Reading Program. We are about two-thirds of the way through the New Testament, so we are definitely over halfway until … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 8 Devotion
Day 43. Romans 12-13Day 44. Romans 14-16Day 45. 1 Corinthians 1-4Day 46. 1 Corinthians 5-7Day 47. 1 Corinthians 8-11Day 48. 1 Corinthians 12-14Day 49. 1 Corinthians 15-16 Devotion Immorality. This is a word that is increasingly foreign in our cultural context. What does it even mean? We get the word ‘immortality’. But ‘immorality’? Sounds foreign…weird. … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 7 Devotion
Day 36. Acts 19-21:36 Day 37. Acts 21:37-25:22 Day 38. Acts 25:23-28 Day 39. Romans 1-3 Day 40. Romans 4-6Day 41. Romans 7-8 Day 42. Romans 9-11 Devotion This marks our sixth week of the Summer Reading Program. If you have been consistent with your readings up until this point, props to you! As you continue your devotions throughout the … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 6 Devotion
The Case for Catechisms Well folks, it’s time for the Catechism of the week! If you’ve been a regular member at our GracePoint Sunday worship services, you will have noticed a few additions to our church liturgy over the past year. Most notably, the interactive segment of catechisms, where we get to hear a central … Continue reading Why Should We Catechise?
If one of your Christian friends were to ask you this question: Here's your friend: Do we get rewards in heaven? What would be your initial thoughts? If this is the first time you've ever encountered such a question, my best bet is that it would have made you quite uncomfortable! You were probably lost … Continue reading Do we get rewards in heaven?
One of our members at ACG asked me this question recently because she's been feeling guilty for sleeping through her alarm, especially during her exam period. She's a overthinker, an overworker, and an overachiever. She's busy juggling many different responsibilities in her life and she tends to sacrifice her health to prioritise her studies. She … Continue reading Should I feel guilty for not studying enough?
“Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope.” Martin Luther King Jr. 2020 has been hopeless and fearful. None of us has been able to live the kind of life we expected, the kind … Continue reading Hope and Hopelessness This Christmas
In his earthly life, Jesus spoke on the topic of hell more than he ever spoke about the kingdom of heaven. He describes hell using vivid imagery all throughout the gospel accounts, illustrating it as a place of unquenchable fire (Mk. 9:43), outer darkness (Matt. 8:12), and eternal torment (Lk. 16:23) where there will be … Continue reading Are there different degrees of punishment in hell?
Continuing with his statements that seem to defy how the world operates, Jesus tells His audience that: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5) In a world that purports personal agency and assertion of individual rights for individual gain, Jesus asserts something radically different. He declares that it is the … Continue reading Blessed Are The Meek
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 5:3). We come to the very first Beatitude of the series and we see Jesus breaking open his sermon with such a peculiar opening statement! What does he mean when he says “blessed” or “happy” are the poor in spirit…? The … Continue reading Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit
French mathematician Blaise Pascal famously said that: All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step … Continue reading Introduction to the Beatitudes
On the 14th of March, as I was grinding out my sermon draft in preparation to preach in a couple of weeks time, I received the following text message from my pastor at 10:30pm with some rather unpleasant news… “Heads up for you. Tomorrow will be the last Sunday we will meet for the rest … Continue reading 3 Ministry Lessons To Learn During This Pandemic Season
Hi ACGers! You should all know that starting tonight, ACG will be going online via Zoom! This will be a first for all of us and the leaders are doing what they can to stimulate community as much as we possibly can on Friday nights. To help us help you, Elliot and the leadership team … Continue reading Video Conferencing Etiquette
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Introduction Dear ACG family, as you may have already heard last Sunday (March 15), the Session (Pastor-Elders) of GracePoint announced that our services will go online starting from March 22. The first stage of this transition is that Community Groups will be gathering in small decentralised clusters and worship together with the assistance of the … Continue reading Game Plan for ACG – COVID19
Generally my blog writing doesn’t get much traction, so I’m always super thrilled whenever someone leaves a reply on one of my articles! A short while ago, a spicy skeptic posted a rebuttal to some of the points I’ve made in my article on Scripture Alone and this was his reply: “How can the word … Continue reading How can the Bible be God’s word when there are so many interpretations?
2019 was a busy year for many of us. And as the year concludes, it calls for a time where we can pause and reflect on what we have learned and been taught, on our greatest joys and highest points, as well as on our deepest sorrows and lowest points of our year. One of … Continue reading Why you should write up your own mission statement
Day 29. John 19-21Day 30. Acts 1-3Day 31. Acts 4-6Day 32. Acts 7-9Day 33. Acts 10-12Day 34. Acts 13-15Day 35. Acts 16-18 Devotion Welcome to Week 5 of our Summer NT Reading Program. If you’ve managed to make it this far, it means that we are almost half way through the entire reading plan! Now, … Continue reading Summer NT Plan – Week 5 Devotion