At the end of March, with many a tear and hug, we said goodbye to Pastor Marilyn and Ray Hunter after 31 years of amazing service at Encourage Church. They have been called by God to leave the Macedon Ranges and continue their ministry in the warmer climate of Queensland. We thank God for their leadership, wisdom and faithfulness and we know that God will bless them as they serve Him for many more years.

As one door closes, so another opens, and we would like to introduce the new Senior Pastor of Encourage Church and his family. Pastor Tim Emonson will be stepping into the Senior Pastor position, with the support of his wife Georgia, and sons Josh, Jonah and Noah. Pastor Tim was ordained in a wonderful service on the afternoon of Sunday, the 6th of March this year and he is excited to be serving the church and the community into the future.

Pastor Tim and his family have lived in Romsey for over 17 years. You may have come across them in one of their community activities – Lancefield/Romsey Little Athletics for many years, junior and now senior football for Romsey, playing futsal on a Tuesday night at the Romsey Recreation Centre, as the Approved Provider for the Kidzone Before and After School program, mainly music with pre-school aged children or working in the local libraries.

Pastor Tim is putting aside his consultancy business, with his previous career covering a couple of the Big-4 accounting firms and then financial modelling consultancies. Pastor Tim will be full time with the church from the 28th of March. Please feel free to contact him via the church, or bail him up in the street, if you would like a chat.

Horses can be very reluctant to jump hurdles.  In the sport of show jumping, riders train them by initially placing the pole very low.  Each time the horse shies from a hurdle, the patient rider brings the reluctant horse back to try again.  With encouragement, eventually the horse will jump.  When the rider sees their horse confidently meeting each challenge, they will raise the pole and continue to encourage their horse to conquer the course that is set before them. 

God is training us to overcome the course He has set before us.  He has planned a spiritual journey for each of us, which entails crossing into many fields of endeavour. 

 The problem is, each field is separated by an obstacle and before we enter a new field, we must jump the hurdle.  There are many hurdles to overcome as we advance in our spiritual lives.  These hurdles cover an infinite variety of different things (usually personal issues of which only you and God are aware), but these hurdles are a barrier to your advancement. 

God will lead us to each hurdle and encourage us to jump.  He knows our ability and will never direct us to a hurdle that is too high.  Like horses, we shy away at times and even buck God off (reject God’s plan).  But when we allow God back on the saddle, He will lead us to that same hurdle time and time again, so that we can advance in His perfect plan for us.  

On the day we finally overcome that obstacle, we will find God has led us into a fresh field of endeavour, with even further fields in sight as He encourages us on to spiritual greatness and the Abundant Life in Him.

If you would like to know and understand God and His ways for your life, please contact our Church office and you will be linked with one of our friendly Leaders.

Two birdos (bird-watchers) sat restfully on a hill with binoculars raised.  One birdo was looking skywards and the other was focused on the valley below.  Suddenly, the birdo looking into the valley jumped in rage. ‘Did you see that blasted cat?  No doubt on its way to eat some beautiful bird!  Doesn’t it make your blood boil?’  The other birdo shrugged her shoulders.  ‘Sorry, didn’t see it.  I’ve been focusing on that magnificent eagle flying peacefully above us.’

Are we stressed or are we relaxed?  The answer to that is usually determined by the focus of our thoughts.  

Stress and worry can be easily justified - often this world is a horrible place teeming with many injustices.  However, if we allow our thoughts to focus on these worldly things, we will eventually develop a depressed and pessimistic outlook on life.  This outlook will soon infect everything we do.

Frustration and stress is often a sign that we are overwhelmed by our goliath problems and not trusting in God.  If we focus our thoughts heavenward, confident in the knowledge that God can take care of all the injustices of life and our overwhelming problems, the result will be inner peace. 

On another note, we all mess up at times and God handles our falls through grace.  When we focus on God’s grace and how every day we receive that which we don’t deserve (divine mercy instead of judgment), in turn we will be graceful, forgiving and mentally relaxed towards others.

 ‘But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’ Isaiah 40:31

You can make all the difference to your future in 2022 by the things that you focus on. Why not make a NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTION and ask God to help you focus Heavenward and His grace toward you.

It will definitely make things a lot better for you than what they could be. Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 4:8-9

It's Christmas time again! Yay! I think most people in Victoria are longing to celebrate this Christmas more than ever BEFORE. To be with family and friends, presents, festivities, holidays.

Thank God we can look forward to Christmas.

But have you ever thought about the fact that if there was no Jesus, there would be no Christmas??

Christmas most IMPORTANTLY reminds us of God’s love for each of us in sending Jesus to demonstrate what Heaven is like, as He healed the sick and raised the dead and offered love in place of fear, hatred and worry. He also revealed what our Heavenly Father is like and consented to die in our place to pay the price of our sins so that we could, one day, go and live in Heaven with Him for Eternity.

So, could we spend just a moment this Christmas Season to read a “Christmas Version” of 1 Corinthians 13 to truly understand what Christmas is really all about?

“If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny balls; but do not have love, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime; but do not have love, I’m just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels, and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata; but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though stressed and tired. Love does not envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who cannot. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. - The Bible tells us that Jesus (who is God) is love.  1 John 4:8

Toys will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.

When we understand this fact, then we are really understanding what the Primary reason of Christmas is.

If someone said he had a theory that elephants evolved from prehistoric flying pigs, we might want to see their evidence before accepting it as fact.  If they said they’d found no evidence or the evidence was missing, it would take a great step of faith to believe their theory.

Evolution is a belief that in the beginning there was nothing – the nothing exploded and gradually created everything. 

It would seem the world’s greatest faith is placed in evolution and its ever-changing theories. Yet generally unbeknown to the believing public, no palaeontologist has presented any supportable evidence of the problematic transition from one species to another, especially when considering more than 250 000 different fossil species have been found to date.  The link between man and ape remains missing.  All supposed links between dinosaurs and birds have been refuted by experts in the field as unfit candidates. 

To date, no one has witnessed any lifeless chemicals arranging themselves into complex information-bearing bio-molecules needed for life.  The odds of just one single protein molecule (in all its mathematical complexity) being arranged by chance has been calculated at 1 in 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000.  However, 239 protein molecules are needed for the smallest theoretical life.

It is ironic that many people refute beliefs of Christianity on the basis of lack of supportable evidence, but happily turn to ‘theories’ of evolution, never once questioning – where is the evidence?

Still, many people object to the idea of God, thinking that such a belief is not scientific.  You may be surprised how many well-known, respected scientists (both past and present) conclude that there is an ingenious Creator behind creation and have strong Christian views. 

(Check out Wikipedia’s: List of Christians in Science and Technology.)

Romans 1:20 states: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. NIV

Once a person is truly “Born Again” they automatically have all the evidence they need that God is alive, loves them and wants relationship with them.

Please feel free to contact us to lead you in that process.