The Pastors’ Pen

It’s exciting that Food for Thought Sunday and Hope Explored are coming up. (Notwithstanding from our Vision series you are, humanly speaking, your neighbours best hope!) As Hope Explored is new this year to SCPC, I thought it could be helpful to interview our ministry apprentice Steve Tilley who, with Matt C, is heading up Hope Explored in 2024.

SP: Hope Explored is coming up. How are you feeling about it? 

ST: Excited. It’s crazy how quickly it’s come up. Matt and I have been preparing for the last couple of weeks so we’re ready to go!

SP: For those who don’t know, what is Hope Explored

ST: It’s a 3-week program that offers a great opportunity to start to explore and engage with what the Bible says about hope, peace, and purpose. We kick off this Tuesday at Park Ave. 

SP: Sounds good, what will your typical session look like? 

ST: Some lovely ladies from our church family will provide dinner from 6:30pm, then everyone will sit at tables of up to 5 people. At 7:00pm, we will have a quick ice breaker question to start, then a series of videos and discussion questions. We’ll wrap up at 8:30pm, but people are welcome to chat after.

SP: Discussions can be a bit confronting. What’s expected from participants?

ST: Almost nothing. They can come to all three sessions or just one. They can have lively discussion or sit and listen. We are there to facilitate their exploration, so no expectations, just opportunities.

SP: Who are you hoping will come? 

ST: Anyone who’s keen to start exploring what God’s word says about major life topics. Also, anyone who invites someone is welcome to support their friend and facilitate their exploration.

SP: What if I don’t have a friend? 

ST: Prayer! We would love the church to be very deliberate in prayer, especially on the nights the session is running – saturated in prayer if you will. If the Lord brings a huge inundation, then we may also call on some of the church family to help facilitate the explorers.

Thanks Steve. Please be praying for Hope Explored. It’s not too late to register. We have an incredible God don’t we!?! The one who brings satisfaction, joy and contentment. What a hope we have: 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples. ‭Psalm 96:1-3 NIV


Posted in General, Pastors Post

The Pastors’ Pen

Food for Thought is coming up in just over week on Sunday May 26th. It’s a perfect opportunity to invite a friend along. Luke Thomas from Kyogle will be speaking from John 6 on finding satisfaction in Jesus. 

Following the 9:30am gathering we’ll have three food trucks:

– OMG Donuts
– Coffee Addiction
– Charby’s smash burgers 

Also, keep in mind that after leaving space for the food trucks, there will be limited parking next to the MPU. 

Our evening gathering will be at Two Mates Brewery in South Lismore. We’ll be starting earlier than usual: 

– 5pm arrival
– 5:30pm short talk and testimony 
– 6:00pm dinner

Afterwards, starting on Tuesday night May 28th we will run a 3 week course, Hope Explored. This is designed as a next step for those who’ve come along to Food for Thought and are open to finding out more. You might want to already be talking to your friend about Hope Explored before they come to Food for Thought, so that they can start considering it (or even sign up for it) early. 

I’ve been encouraged by Romans 10:14-15 lately. It is a precious gift to share the news of Jesus. 

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Posted in Pastors Post

The Pastors’ Pen

Does Jesus affect your everyday?

Does he feel present Sunday, then gone again on Monday? How can we experience the comfort of the Gospel everyday from Monday through to Sunday?

If you have ever pondered this reality in your life, please, please, please consider joining us for our second Equip night of the year – next Tuesday May 14.

We will be joined by Pete Greenwood, a pastor from Victoria who was a church planting pastor from the evangelical Anglican church St Jude’s on the edge of the city. Pete, his family and ministry leaders have a heart for the inner west of Melbourne. He and the church family there have a desire to see the everyday reality of Jesus rule and touch the challenges each new day brings. Some call this desire ‘gospel fluency’. What they are getting at is how, after we are born again (John 3), we can speak a new gospel language to our brothers and sisters in Christ – how can we help each other make sense of today’s hardship through the lens of the beautiful and full gospel.

I really struggle to do this… Do you struggle too?

If you do, come along and be encouraged by Pete Greenwood. I haven’t meet Pete personally before, but I was deeply challenged and encouraged by a podcast I heard him do with an experienced Anglican pastor in Sydney. I felt my heart connect with his heart as he described his journey to see the gospel transform community in the everyday.

I am SO excited to have Pete visit us. What a treat!

Let me sign off with this great reflection of the apostle Paul from ‭Colossians 2:6-7

[6] So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, [7] rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.


Posted in Pastors Post

The Pastors’ Pen

How excellent is Christ!

Each new day let us draw our minds into the realm where we can replay the wonders of what it means to be in Christ. They suggest this habit is the best one to draw us away from the love of the world for we are so mesmerised by the love of God, it captures our affections. Everything else falls into the background. I think is part of the ‘secret sauce’ for us to love our city well.

Tell them how much we love Christ. Tell them how good he is. Tell them how much the good news of Christ means to you. Tell them about transformations you have seen in your life. This is how a Scottish evangelical pastor concludes his famous sermon ‘The expulsive power of a new affection’. [1] In his sermon from 1819 he is trying to suggest that the way we transform the world, is by holding the
beauty of Christ up for all to see. [2] At times it’s a little tricky to work out what he’s getting at. But
read it three times slowly and I reckon you start to get a sense of things…
If during this time of contemplation, some happy island of the blest floated by… and he clearly saw that there a purer beauty rested upon every field and a more heartfelt joy spread itself among all the families; and he could discern there a peace and piety and a benevolence that put a moral gladness into every bosom and united the whole society in one rejoicing sympathy with each other and with the beneficent father of them all and he could further see that pain and mortality were there unknown and above all that
signals of welcome were hung out and an avenue of communication was made for him – perceive you not that what was before the wilderness, would be the land of invitation and that now the world would be the wilderness.

How did you go? He is suggesting that when people see how incredible Christ is (like a beautiful
island signalling welcome), they will leave behind their love for the world simply by being drawn by
the absolute beauty of Christ. How cool is that vision? I love it!

Remember, if you find a neighbour or friend interested in reading the Bible with you, we have a stack
of Word One to One resources available. Here are two short videos that help to explain Word One to One: – this one explains the history of the resources, and
this one (from Rico Tice, on of the creators of Hope Explored) helps us to see how you can be so powerful in helping love our city for Christ sake.

Let me finish off with the classic passage of the treasure in the field and the fine pearl…
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46



1 Piper, J. The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, Thomas Chalmers. (Illinois: Crossway, 2020), 70-71.
2 The text he was working from was 1 John 2:15 (NIV): Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

Posted in Pastors Post