Hello website visitor,
I am presently preaching through Ephesians at Morning Church (Sunday 9.30am) and Romans at Evening Church (5.30pm). This year we are running several LIFT groups. A LIFT group is a Bible Study group aimed to give us a spiritual lift. L.I.F.T. - Learning in fellowship together. In the 2011 census, 61.14% of Australians adhered to the Christian faith. However, the number of Australians committed to church attendance falls below 15%. I understand that we have cultural Christianity and nominal Christianity at play here, but there is another factor. Australian society has become very individualistic. People are moving further away from community groups. As a consequence, Australian Christians are not getting a L.I.F.T - learning in fellowship together. As church attendance has dropped, what have we seen in our society? There has been a rise in loneliness, depression, dissatisfaction, suicide and mental disorders. It does not take much research to realise that we are not meant to be loners but to belong to family and community groups. God's community group is the local congregation. The great prophet Isaiah wrote, "Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall rise like wings of the eagle" (40:31). The all-wise God has called His people to meet together to be lifted up by experiencing God's presence through God's Word and God's Spirit. The desire of our church is not to have a community of people saying, "I'm a downcast Christian" but to say, "I am a lifted up Christian by the grace of God". Check out the youtube videos that capture something of the inspiration of being lifted up - DEREK REDMOND - you raise me up.wmv and I AM CARRIED - Words and music by Geoff Bullock.
The first is about a father who lifts up his son in a time of trouble - the music is You Raise Me Up. The second is by an Australian Christian writer, Geoff Bullock, and has the lyrics, "I am carried in the arms of grace and love Divine".
About 20 years ago, the Christian Television Association has an add that said, "find yourself in church". In the advertisement, people wrapped up the church building to show that the church was a gift. If we consider ourselves to be Christians, let us become lifted up Christians, and find ourselves in church.