Tuesday, December 18, 2018

To our dearly loved of God Missionheart family and friends,

We are wishing you a Joy filled Christmas and a deep encounter with Jesus as you celebrate His birth and His coming into the world.

Thanks for continuing to journey with us as we pursue God’s plans for Missionheart / Missionworx and continue in our passion of showing and sharing the love of God, in word and deed. We are so grateful for all you are and do with and for Missionheart, may God bless you richly.

As Christmas approaches we have been exploring Jesus’ claims regarding why he came into the world and we are looking forward to celebrating Jesus together this Christmas. He came; that we may have Joy (complete) and Life (to the full), that His light may dispel the darkness, to seek and to save the lost (me), to destroy the works of the devil, to serve – not to be served as an example to follow, to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God, to bring peace (to those on whom his favour rests – could be you), to gift the Holy Spirit, to show God’s love and bring Glory to God. He came to die and raise again, for you and I.

As you give and receive gifts, spend time with loved ones, please don’t forget along with most of the world the real reason for celebration: Jesus came into the world on purpose, for a reason and because of this we are most blessed. Share with others something of the beauty and wonder of the gift of Jesus, celebrate God’s love, enJOY! Be filled with Joy. Say a prayer of thanks to start your Christmas morning, pray for our dear friends who find this time of year so difficult. Share God’s blessings with others, Celebrate JESUS – without Jesus there is no reason for Christmas at all. Without Jesus there is no HOPE, without Jesus we are dead in our sin and alienated from God!

Thank God we are not without Jesus!

He is Not just a baby in a manger – Simeon the old man who held the baby Jesus knew this, as he in great Joy held the baby Jesus he said “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” May each of you have deeper personal revelation of Jesus as you celebrate Christmas and may we all follow Jesus’ example of how to live more and more in the coming year.  

God be close,

Jase

 
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Thanks so much for sharing about how the Gathering touches you. Below is a summary of the responses from the survey we conducted a few months ago.

Over 80% of people responding came to the Gathering every week and over 85% of those said that Missionheart is their church. Another 85% said that they stay for the community lunch every time they come. 90% said they would invite friends to the Gathering.

40% of people choose to come to the Gathering based on a desire to know more about God and 25% like to be able to use their gifts to serve. People find the Gathering helpful because they can learn about Jesus (83%), can sing and worship (76%), hear God’s word (72%) and can use their gifts to serve (72%).

The things that people enjoyed most about the Gathering were; being challenged to know God better, a loving and real community, worship that is relaxed and informal with different styles, accessibility and realness, and many people enjoy the children and families.

The things people didn’t enjoy about the Gathering were; when the community is fragmented, diminished and not welcoming, difficult and intimidating behaviour, when there are 2 sermons or too many questions and answers, and when the Gathering lacked structure, engagement and enthusiasm in worship.

There were a lot of great memories of the Gathering, including; seeing people healed, hearing Jase speak from the heart, involving so many, letting God lead people even when they didn’t want to cooperate with God, storytelling and testimony, and hugs, joy, prayer and laughter.

The following changes to the Gathering were suggested; getting kids and teenagers more involved, welcoming and mixing with new people, format and structure changes, starting on time and prayer to prepare, more connection with the Holy Spirit in worship and more people on the bags roster.

There were lots of great ways the Gathering has impacted people including responses like; encourages me to keep seeking God, a sense of belonging and a place to be truly me, hope, freedom to be open and honest with God, to see young and old enjoy being together, learning to listen more to the Holy Spirit, and learning how to be loved and used to serve Jesus.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated. The Leadership Community together with the Missionheart community will continue to work towards making the Gathering a place we can all call home and grow closer to Jesus and each other.

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We are very happy to share that over 100 people joined together for the Missionhouse Dinner on 22nd March. We ate a wonderful dinner, listened to great music from Ellen and CJ, and heard and saw stories of the journey towards Missionhouse and the vision for Missionhouse. Thanks to all who came for sharing with us and making the night such a success. We have been so blessed by the responses from the people who came and offered to partner with us.   

Please contact us by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or phone (6147 9049) if you would like to be added to the prayer list, donate or offer help in other ways.

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There is a girl who sits at the pedestrian crossing here in civic, asking for change and often looking like she hasn't slept for days. I've been trying to find a good time to talk with her, because the last time she hung around Missionheart, she wasn't doing very well. She borrowed a swag to sleep out, even though she has a flat. Like many of our people who disappear and then reappear, we don't forget them, and are often praying for them when God brings them to mind. I was glad to see her in civic again, but every time I walked past she was asleep or talking with someone else. I was stuck in the dissonance between wanting to reestablish the relationship, and not being able to find a natural moment to see if she even remembered me. I prayed that God would help me find the right time, and left it with Him.

A couple of weeks later I was making toasted sandwiches at Drop in. One of our usual volunteers was away that day, and another had not been able to get in until late. There was only myself and one other volunteer, and we had just enough time to prepare and open up. The day became busy and I spent 2 hours making sandwiches. We ran out of milk, so the volunteer offered to go get some more. I wasn't looking when he walked back in but when he exclaimed “look who I've brought in”, I noticed straight away the girl I’d been praying for. Without knowing my specific prayers, he had invited her and another man he encountered in the short trip to Coles to come have lunch with us. I was grateful that God had brought her in at a time when Drop in had almost finished and there was time to talk with her. She remembered me, and even asked how my kids are. While I made her sandwiches she wandered around and took some warm things and toiletries.

It is small moments like this that are my favourite Drop in times. Moments where God is in charge, when we can show love to someone, and where my team works together towards the same goal.

Thank you to everyone who supports this ministry through prayer, donations or by coming along and playing cards, sharing a meal and being Jesus to the people of the city.

 
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As a part of moving towards the realisation of Missionhouse, the Missionheart community has established our first Connect House. We began renting a granny flat in North Canberra that will house 1-2 participants at a time. This house, being a part of the Missionhouse ministry, will foster the culture and hopes thereof, and offers its residents support as they journey towards living life to the fullest becoming more of the people they were created to be.

Our first tenant is doing really well, we are already seeing the benefit of being in the Connect House and the support they are receiving. We hope to see another person benefiting from this venture soon. The movement from isolation towards greater experience of community is so very important to the success of all Missionhouse endeavours. A number of our team are regularly in and out of the house, James has been running a Boundaries course there for 8 people, people have come in to engaging bible studies and facilitate a Life Transformation Group, others to help with navigating NDIS, routines and keeping house, or just to spend time together. We are so grateful for our landlord Linh and his generosity and Kingdom partnership that makes this Connect House possible.

Don’t forget to register for the Missionhouse Vision Dinner March 22nd (register before March 12th) to discover more.  

 
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The last few months have seen a flurry of activity for the Missionhouse Action Team. First off, let’s briefly recap what Missionhouse and its action team is. Missionhouse is a concept that has been years in the making and seeks to be a live-in residential ministry in which people who most need it can receive growth, healing, discipleship, love, compassion and purpose. Thus far, the ideas and plans for Missionhouse are steeped in prophetic words and visions. Missionhouse has over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars saved so far, with many of those dollars having very captivating and God-breathed stories behind them. The Missionhouse action team is a group of about thirteen people who are dedicated to seeing the hope of Missionhouse realised. They meet regularly to make plans, research, wait on God, pray, and figure out in which direction the next steps for the Missionhouse ministry are headed. In July, the action team went on a road trip around the surrounding areas of Canberra to look at different properties that may or may not be suitable for a Missionhouse ministry. It was a very useful experience that helped the team develop more of an idea about what aspects of a property are important to Missionhouse. There was also a tangible sense of excitement in the air as members of the team began to really feel the nearing fulfilment of Missionhouse.

Kelly has begun her research project on behalf of Missionhouse in order to explore and develop how to best create the intentional Missionhouse community in which discipleship is modelled throughout every aspect of life. The action team assist Kelly with her research by being part of the insider team. In addition to this, Kelly has several very knowledgeable experts in the field who are giving her guidance and assistance with her project. Kelly and some of the action team will be embarking on their first visit to some like-minded discipleship communities in November and we look forward to hearing all the wonderful things they will learn as they live with these communities for a few days.

‘Missionhousing’ is another very exciting thing that the action team has been undertaking in different contexts over the last few months. Rather than just sit around and wait for the Missionhouse project to be fully underway with a residential property, the Action team has been challenged to find opportunities to start living out the culture of Missionhouse in their existing lives. There have already been many inspiring stories of people in the Missionheart community opening their homes to those in need (and even some pets in need), sharing meals and hospitality, and caring for sick friends.

Planning is underway for a Missionhouse vision sharing evening in which there will be opportunities to learn more about the vision for Missionhouse, to celebrate all that has happened, and look forward to all that is around the corner. More details coming soon! It’s a busy and exciting time for the Missionhouse project, please be praying for all aspects of Missionhouse and for wisdom and guidance for the action team, especially those travelling to visit other communities in the coming months.

Jen

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What a joy it is to journey with you as we engage in living faith that models the love, compassion and generosity of Jesus. We have been busy creating stories of God’s goodness in our day and look forward to sharing these with you. From the start of October, we have been exploring Practical Faith as we engage with the book of James in our sacred scriptures. It is a refreshing, yet challenging book. James calls us to prove our faith in living a life that displays it, he confronts mere talk with an expectation that alive faith is only seen in its expression (actions). James invites us to humble ourselves before God, resist the devil and draw near to Him with such wonderful promises, not the least of which is that He (God) will draw near to us and our enemy the devil will flee! He reminds us of the power of prayer and invites us to practise it. The word of God fond in James gives us perspective as it explains what is true faith or Christian living. The message paraphrase puts it this way,

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the father, is this: reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” (James 1: 26-27)

At Missionheart we are living a lifestyle of reaching out to the homeless and many you may categorise as ‘loveless’ yet this call is as much for us as for others. It is easy to justify a shying away from the call of faith to act with strength and courage by the things we do that are seen to be faith-full… Faith is always calling us out upon the water, to places where an absence of God would mean failure - this is the edge of the kingdom, this is where faith is alive, this is where I want to live.

What is God calling you to? Are you diminishing faith through religious justification? You say you believe - prove it! says James. Go on have a go, take that step of faith, drag someone along with you, pray for somebody in a way that only God acting could see the prayer answered. Follow Jesus into deeper places of power and influence, “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5: 16bNIV) so death to sin, take a serious stance towards sin that limits todays church so dramatically, repent and call others to the same, for as Jesus says, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

We serve the same God that those of the new testament served and he has not diminished in potency or ability, or desire, next time you sense the prompting of God – respond, leave the results and outcome to Him, simply respond in faith. This dark world needs the light of Jesus to shine hope and life through the faith of His devoted children and experience the love and transforming power of God that delivers people from darkness to light, death to life, sin to righteousness. May we be those children for, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1John 4:17 NKJV

As we approach Christmas may we remember this great hope for which Jesus came into the world, to reconcile it to himself. So glad to have you on this journey with us. Be encouraged, you are here as a person of faith for such a time as this, God be near,

Jase

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This is the last remaining footing for the Allawah Flats here in Canberra City. These blocks of public housing units were home to many of our people, who have been dispersed to other public housing properties across Canberra. They have been demolished so that many more units can be built and sold to those of us Canberrans who would like to live in the inner city, across from the Canberra Centre and close to Glebe Park.

                I have conflicting feelings about the end of this public housing precinct. When I look at this picture I remember the problems associated with grouping many of our most vulnerable members of society together. If moving from here means moving away from your dealer, then it is a positive move. I remember visiting in these flats and accidently waking our guys up because their front door was open. It couldn’t shut after the home invasion the week before. I remember the fire in Bega Flats, when the second floor flat occupant lit her apartment on fire, and the apartment of the man above her too. Jase tried to look after him that night, but he was too traumatised to sleep and spent the night walking around the lake processing what had started as a normal day. I remember one occupant told me how she had to wake up at 5am to do her washing because it got stolen from the machines if she did it during the day. I also remember the day I took one of our volunteers out for their first Streetwalk, where we would go walking around the city and these flats, stopping to talk with anyone we came across. We rounded one of the buildings and saw a skinny shirtless man trying to drag one of the big waste hoppers towards his block. After asking if he wanted any help, he informed us that he was trying to get it close enough to his block so he could throw his television from his third floor balcony into the bin.  He was very cheery and friendly to us, but very annoyed with his tv.

                I remember these problems, but I also remember the love and characters. There was the time one of the ladies we had been visiting rang me up to see if I could help one of her friends who had had a fire in her apartment. She wanted to see if we had any furniture we could give her while her flat was being repaired. There is a mum who has looked after and loved her daughter with a disability for 30 years, and even after all the heartache and struggle still just wants the best for her daughter. I remember the flat of the man who always looked after people who didn’t have anywhere to go. I remember my friend who could fix anything on a car, but struggled with people. I remember delivering Christmas Hampers amongst the flats, and getting to share the joy of Jesus’ birth with our people. I’m hopeful that when our people move away from the city they are able to enjoy their new environments. However I’m worried that living so far from services will isolate and endanger our vulnerable members of society. Some of the times Missionheart has been most useful have been the times we can tell somebody just isn’t quite themselves. When we see our people frequently we can offer help when it is most needed. We attend court dates and sit in meetings with our people. We visit them when they are sick, and we notice their mental health issues have increased in severity and encourage them to get help. We have learnt that people isolate themselves when they are not doing well, and I am worried that if our people are removed from the communities they have here in the city, then they may not be known well enough to have someone know when they are regressing.

                As a society, how do we look at our vulnerable people? My fear is that we see them like we saw their flats; as taking up valuable real estate. That smelly person is taking up a table at my favourite café. That weird looking man is sitting near my kids. That loud lady is yelling in my shop.

My hope is that we look at our vulnerable people like we look at our underutilised real estate. Our guys have so much potential. Here at Missionheart we believe that God made all people to be a blessing to their communities. Some of our people have had their beauty hidden by the overgrown weeds of trauma, addiction and illness, but their capacity for love,joy and peace remains.

I wonder what the next year will bring. For our community, I wonder who the next year will bring.

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Seriously, do we have to think about Christmas already?

It seems that we are in September already and Missionheart will start to put together our Christmas events and activities soon. Every year we do Christmas hampers for those most in need in our community. There are some who are desperate for the assistance and others we just want to bless with a gift at Christmas.

If you would like to help organise the Christmas hampers this year or donate items you can get in contact with Kelly and offer your services. Useful items are toiletries, non-perishable food items, Christmas treats, gifts for children, teenagers, men and women. Our hampers are very sort after each Christmas, known to be brimming with lovely treats, blessing many individuals and families each year. This has been possible because of the generous assistance of those who donate items, help pack and deliver hampers, thankyou in advance.

Email Kelly on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 0432 867 027.

 
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What does a toothbrush have to do with camp this year?

Was it one of the everyday objects used to create an incredible catapault that launched a tennis ball further than anyone expected?

No it wasn't, but that certainly was a camp highlight. 

Were toothbrushes given to junior leaders so they would be recognised by the children?

No, the junior leaders were recognised by their maturity and important role in caring for the children during session times. We are very thankful for their help. 

Were toothbrushes used as a way to creatively show our thankfulness to God?

No they weren't, we had playdough, tree leaves, rocks and music for that purpose which we used to mould, draw, write and sing. 

Did people use a toothbrush as a microphone when telling their testimonies?

No, these amazing stories of how God has brought people closer to Him didn't need any embellishment.

What does a toothbrush have to do with camp?

Everyone received a toothbrush as a daily reminder of the camp theme "a space to become". In particular to make time for God in our lives and see and get on board with what He is already doing. The toothbrush is to help us not forget to listen and look to God in everything.

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Dr. Grace (AKA Pete Ehsman) visited us at the Gathering last Sunday to help us explore the idea of forgiven-ness. With bible scans that revealed our sin-lesions that left us all in a terminal state, he directed us to our only hope – Jesus blood! It was fun to laugh but at the same time explore the deep reality that all too often we know about Jesus’ power to forgive but miss out on the privilege of experiencing genuine forgiven-ness and the ensuing intimacy with God that accompanies it.

Knowing that I know, that I know, that I am forgiven is such a powerful experience and a place from which we can be who God has called us to be and experience what he has designed for us to experience (fullness of life). This position of forgiven-ness places us out of the reach of Satan’s influence he loves to exert in accusation, torment and shame. The freedom from guilt, bitterness and the need to earn favour provides a space where we can enter more fully into who we were created to be and we become more available for God to use for his life giving kingdom purposes.

This forgiven-ness is the key to an intimate relationship with Jesus (impossible to have this without it). If you don’t know what this forgiven-ness is like then take your sin-lesion infested self (we are all in the same boat – all have sinned) to Jesus and ask him to take you to a place where you can truly say, “I am forgiven”. Sometimes we need to do this with other Christians so if you need help – find someone you trust who has a strong relationship with Jesus and has tasted forgiven-ness and pray with them – If they have known this they will not judge you, they will be excited for you to know the beauty of forgiven-ness. Jesus died for us that we may live the life of the forgiven…

- Jase

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