ADVANCE | step by step – Jul/Aug 2021

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
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My plan for your future has always been filled with hope

Based on Jeremiah 29:11

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HOPE. Across the globe this Covid-19 season, we hope like birds in cages.

We HOPE the virus will dissipate; that vaccinations will help; that loved ones are kept safe.

How important to remember Jeremiah’s words:
“God has plans to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE”.

Take hold of hope by joining the National Prayer Gathering for the Covid Situation on Tuesday 31 August. Find out more below.

This issue includes . . .
FROM THE MD: Stephen Baxter with treasures new and old
INTERVIEW: Liam Conway Ministry Apprentice at Hobart: he is a gift!
HOSPITALS IN PNG: Prayers answered to avoid closure (a gift of PPE)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Jenna Blackwell wrestles with being a missionary in Tasmania
CHURCH PROFILE: LifeWay Devonport, now ministering in the South!
MERGE YOUTH: Citywide are kicking goals
REGIONAL ROUNDUP: City, Latrobe, Westbury, Claremont, Citywide and Hobart
NATIONAL PRAYER GATHERING: Nationwide prayer against COVID-19
CONVERGE CONFERENCE: Advocating to our government leaders
NEED TO KNOW (news):
GATEWAY turns 145! | EmpowHer Northwest walk | Request from Library Aid International | Tas Baptists’ website | Fostering Hope devotional-zoom | Australian Christian Literature Awards | Baptist Basketball Grand Final | Stand Sunday | Farewell PETER CUTHBERTSON | Ray’s Poem

You can read all these in the download-able version

Be blessed this week!

Jenny

Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

Treasures New and Old

Treasures new and old
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comment:

From the Mission Director

Stephen Baxter

Treasures New and Old

After seven parables in succession, Jesus asked the disciples if they understood. When they replied, “Yes,” Jesus responds with a one-sentence-long parable.

“Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” (Matt 13:52 NIV).

It’s a comment on his teaching of the Kingdom. Jesus explained how his teaching drew on the rich tradition of the Hebrews and the scriptures of the Hebrews, yet was also full of fresh, new insights that he brought.

EVERY TEACHER . . . brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old

Matthew 13:52

His teaching on God’s kingdom through the parables did not ignore or reject the past, rather he built upon them to explain how God rules in new and engaging ways.

And then . . .

To illustrate the point, Matthew explains what happened next. Having finished this teaching session in parables, Jesus journeyed to his hometown and taught in the synagogue. The people were astounded and wondered where all his wisdom and miraculous powers came from. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son,” they asked, “Isn’t his mother’s name Mary?”. (Matt 13:53-56 NIV)

No wonder Jesus resorted to parables. What he taught was just too hard for some people. The final verse of the chapter notes the outcome: Jesus “did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matt 13:58 NIV)

Treasures New and Old

They thought they knew Jesus, but their familiarity was a stumbling block. Their inability or unwillingness to see it was an act of unbelief and they missed out. The “wisdom and miraculous powers” of Jesus promised them a new future but they were unable to receive it.

The Kingdom Comes

The heart of all Jesus taught was about the rule of God on earth. He taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Then, as they prayed, Jesus demonstrated what it looked like. The “blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Matt 11:5).

Every healing changed people’s future in an instant.

This was the kingdom coming and it made a profound difference. Every healing changed people’s future in an instant. And not just for themselves, but for the whole community. A healed leper, once shunned by family and community alike, could no longer be treated as an outcast. Their life, and the life of the community, was changed forever, and everyone needed to adjust to the change. Sure, the old familiar ways of living were there, but something new was in the air. Every healing was a small social revolution. Life could never be the same.

A Call to Believe

Treasures New and Old

Everything Jesus did and taught was a call to believe in the possibility of a new and open future for both individuals, and their communities. He called us to trust that things can change, newness can come, and inexplicable gifts will be given. Yet, the people of his hometown took offence. They settled for the familiar and dismissed the new, fresh kingdom transformation Jesus was bringing. Their “lack of faith” meant they missed out.

Your Choice – to be like Him

At the Tasmanian Baptist May Assembly this year we introduced, and received, a new strategic plan. Its key strategies of Reengage, Reimagine and Realign are a call to our churches, and everyone in them, to exercise our faith in Jesus. It is an invitation to trust in God’s goodness and power, and not be content with the familiar. God is not mute or impotent in the face of our current realities of decline, decay and death.

But do we believe it? Will we embrace the new things Jesus Christ is bringing into our world through his church? Like the people of Jesus’ hometown, we have a choice.

Our lack of faith will limit what God does in and through us, but it does not limit God. Despite the “unbelief” of his hometown, Jesus was not deterred. He went on to fulfil all that God called of him despite their lack of faith.

May we be found faithful in life and ministry, just as he was. And may we continue to listen to his treasures, new AND old.

Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter
Mission Leadership Director, Tasmanian Baptists
stephen@tasbaptists.org.au


Read more in the July/August 2021 ADVANCE | step by step