Events coming up for December

The Advent Season is just about upon us. That means a few different things to different people. In church terms, it marks the beginning of the new liturgical cycle that set the stage for Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter. For a few parents it will mean that the summer holidays are about to begin, year 12 students are on schoolies, and preparations need to be made to host the family gathering at Christmas. The countdown is underway.

So to help plan your participation at church during December, here is what’s on …

#1. Family Church (normally at Cotlew Street campus) will be joining us at the Main Worship (Ashmore Road campus) to light the Advent candle, children’s chat by Pastor, and then participating with their team leaders in arts & crafts – something to make for your own Christmas tree decoration.

#2. People involved with the Christmas drama (Nativity Play) and choir will be practising for Christmas Eve. We will be setting up the Christmas tree in time for the last college chapel service before the end of the school term. This will include an artistic visual display linking Christ’s birth to Christ’s crucifixion – as the gift of love (a gift box under the tree) to the gift of life (ribbons to the cross).

#3. The home groups / study groups will go into recess over the summer holidays (December – January). They will resume in February. Pastor is planning a focus on spiritual gifts, an inventory to discover your gifts, and opportunities to use your gifts. This will be a study discussing the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church, the fruits and gifts shared by the Holy Spirit, and how God empowers us for service in this world.

#4. Dates:

Advent Service with Holy Communion (Dec 2, 9, 16, 23).

Christmas Eve Nativity Service (Dec 24, 6pm)

Christmas Day Carols & Lessons (Dec 25, 9am)

First Sunday after Christmas (Dec 30, 9am)

 

An article from our Chairman – dealing with loss

The Antidote to Loss, Guilt, Shame, Loneliness, Isolation and Resentment – Jesus Christ

I am a physician specializing in mental illness – a psychiatrist. I have an interest in suicide prevention – see website drphilipmorris.com – the article on Nine steps to halt suicide.

But today I want to explore a more personal approach from my experience as a physician and Christian. What can we as Christians do when confronted with an individual who is facing suicide?

First let’s look at the problem.

Suicide deaths in Australia are a growing problem.

2004 – 2098 suicides; 2017 – 3128 suicides – a 49% increase

During this time the population of Australia has increased.

2004 – 20.1 million, 2017 – 24.7 million – a 23% increase.

So the growth in suicide numbers has outpaced the growth in population. And this is despite a reduction in stigma regarding mental illness and improved mental health literacy, and the presence of Lifeline, Beyond Blue and Black Dog services.

Only about half of suicides are in an obvious setting of mental illness and substance abuse. So what are the immediate causes?

In my experience they are loss (for example; death of a loved one, loss of a romantic relationship, loss of job or career, loss of money, financial disasters and debt), as well as guilt, shame, and resentment – with all these afflictions leading to loneliness and isolation.

When isolated, individuals take actions that would not otherwise be contemplated – suicide is much closer to the surface than we think. Despair, resentment and self-loathing become all-absorbing preoccupations in the absence of the moderating influence of other human contact. The presence of mental illness and substance use reduces the threshold to take harmful actions against oneself.

The antidote to loss, guilt, shame and resentment is love, repentance and forgiveness – for oneself and others. In Mark 11:25 Jesus said: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Or from Martin Luther King Jr: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” This advice about love, repentance and forgiveness can apply just as much to the individual’s needs as it applies to the person’s attitudes to others who have wronged him or her.

But how can we do this?

Though the grace and example of Jesus, as stated in Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

What does Jesus command us to do?

In Matthew 22:39 Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

So how can we apply this commandment when faced with an individual at risk of suicide?

We must apply the approach of Jesus – deal with each person as an equal in the sight of God and approach the individual honestly with love. Overcome isolation – by one to one communication, letting the person know they are an individual fully worthy of your attention and interest. Invite the person into a caring church community, if possible. Take time to listen to the individual’s loss, guilt, shame, and resentment with an attitude of open-minded inquisitiveness. Encourage the person to meet Christ and experience His forgiveness and love. And of course help the person to get appropriate professional help for identified problems.

So for us Christians the antidote for loss, guilt, shame, resentment, loneliness and isolation is the love of Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving & New Members Sunday

Dear friends of Trinity Lutheran Church Ashmore. On Sunday, November 18th, at the Main Worship Service held on the Ashmore Road College Campus, we will be celebrating our ‘Thanksgiving Service for Volunteers‘ as well as welcoming our new members into the congregation. Just a side note from the chair of the oversight committee, the testimonies planned to be shared on that same Sunday will not be taking place based on recent information received.

Also exciting news is the ‘Confirmation Rite‘ for a few of our students who have worked through the three journals and on-line course which we have done over the past three semesters at the college. This will be taking place on November 25th – also at the Main Worship Service.

For the first two Sundays in November we will be noting the ‘All Saints Day‘ (4/11) tradition of remembering those who have recently departed and the ‘Remembrance Day‘ (11/11), with our prayers for peace in war-torn places around the world.

Family Church (for children & young families): 9am at the Cotlew St college campus.

Saturday Night Live (for young people & young families): 5pm at the Sports Stadium.

COMING UP DURING NOVEMBER 2018

Nov 4

  • 9am Liturgical Worship with Holy Communion
  • [ Sermon theme: OT Characters: Ruth & Naomi ]
  • 9am Family focused worship service
  • Nov 3, Saturday Night Live @ 5pm

Nov 11

  • 9am Liturgical Worship with Holy Communion
  • [ Sermon theme: OT Characters: Ruth & Boaz ]
  • 9am Family focused worship service
  • Nov 10, Saturday Night Live @ 5pm

Nov 18

  • 9am Liturgical Worship Service
  • [ Testimonials from participants at the Xplore course ]
  • 9am Family focused worship service
  • Nov 17, Saturday Night Live @ 5pm

Nov 25

  • 9am Liturgical Worship with Holy Communion
  • [ Confirmation | Budget & Elections meeting ]
  • 9am Family focused worship service
  • Nov 24, Saturday Night Live @ 5pm

REFORMATION SUNDAY

The Lutheran Church has a 500 year history that began at the Reformation with Martin Luther. It is commemorated each year at the end of October, around the date when Luther nailed 95 complaints on the Wittenberg Church doors protesting against the abuses by the Roman Catholic Church. The main issue was the selling of what was called ‘indulgences’ – a financial transaction for the forgiveness of sins.  Luther’s protest focused on our salvation won by Christ alone, not through our works. His emphasis and that of the Lutheran Church thereafter was on God’s grace and his free gift of forgiveness, a message affirmed through scripture alone and received by faith alone.

On Sunday,  28th of October, all the Lutheran Churches on the Gold Coast will be celebration this event at Trinity Lutheran Church, Southport (10:30am). The Longest-Lutheran-Lunch will follow as a fellowship and fund-raising event in support of ALWS. [ book in at Southport: 5532-7366 ]