Living Faith Church

At Living Faith Church we are passionate about creating a place for everyone to connect.

Living Faith Church

We are a community of diverse people doing our best to live a life grounded in the love of Jesus and his teachings. We seek to be a positive presence in our workplaces and neighbourhoods, and bring the hope of Christ into our real life. We are formed by the cooperation of the Uniting Church and Church of Christ in Greensborough, with the belief that we can do more for Jesus together than we could apart.

Worship helps us to engage with God’s story of love, challenging us to grow as people. Our relationships with one another help us to go deeper and see the love of Jesus as it has formed and transformed others. Serving helps us to see God’s Spirit at work in the world, and join in with the opportunities to love all people as God has loved us.

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37 Grimshaw St, Greensborough VIC 3088, Australia

Sunday, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Devotionals

Filled with the Holy Spirit?

Filled with the Holy Spirit?

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: Hymn of the Resurrection

I glorify the power of the Father,

I magnify the power of the Son,

and I sing a hymn of praise to the power of the Holy Spirit:

one Godhead,

Trinity indivisible, uncreated,

equal in essence and reigning forever. Amen.

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

“Filled” with the Spirit? What can this mean? It is obviously a wonderful experience in the Christian life. It is also involves the “heart” and the emotions. It is a positive experience because it helps the Christian focus on thankfulness. It is something enjoyed best together (verse 19). It apparently made Paul think of drunken parties where in the first stage alcohol loosens people up to have fun together but in the next stage reduces them to uncontrolled damaging behaviour and regrets. I suspect Paul saw a parallel to the first stage (otherwise why mention it at all?) but rather than damaging the community the Holy Spirit that fills each of us brings out the very best in us.

If you thought Paul was talking about a charismatic worship service, you would be wrong. This is the part of the letter where he talks about everyday life. It is also clear the being filled with he Spirit can happen repeatedly in your life.

Do you think you know what being filled with the Spirit is? Then invite God to fill you today. If you don’t know then there is a great surprise waiting (and available) to you. Seek and you shall find, ask and it will be given (Lk 11:9-13)

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Holy Spirit: Spirit of Creativity

Holy Spirit: Spirit of Creativity

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: The workshop of the Carpenter

O Christ, the Master Carpenter,

who at the last through wood and nails

purchased our whole salvation;

wield well your tools in the workshop of your world,

so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench,

may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.

We ask this in your name and for your sake. Amen.

A prayer of the Iona Community, Scotland

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Exodus 35:30-35, 36:1 NIV. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers. 36 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

(Exodus 35:30-35, 36:1 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Christians have a love/hate relationship with beauty and art. The Puritan tradition stripped their churches of anything beautiful because the Catholic church at its worst was filled with expensive fine art and images. Furthermore, they didn’t want any attachments to the world to get in the way so they emptied homes and clothing of all jewellery, colour and art. All of this was seen as self-indulgence and following the way of the world. But our passage seems to be saying that they ‘threw the baby out with the bathwater’. God loves creativity and artistic flair and beauty. The Holy Spirit took Bezalel’s and Oholiab’s human skills to the next level by his power because the cause was worthy.

Beauty brings us to praise the greatest artist of all; God. Greed sullies beauty, because beauty cannot be possessed, it can only be received as a gift from above. Appreciate the beauty that artists have brought you today. Look at art, gardens, architecture, clothing, and the creation. Enjoy.

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Holy Spirit: Spirit of Fellowship

Holy Spirit: Spirit of Fellowship

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezek 36:26

Into the warmth of your presence we come, Lord God

With the offerings of our praise, our worship, our prayers and our lives.

Into the warmth of your presence we come, Lord God

Freed from the distractions of the world, free to meditate on your word.

Into the warmth of your presence we come, Lord God

To be blessed by the depth of your love and the warmth of this fellowship.

It is good to be here, Lord; good to be in fellowship with each other; good to know the presence of your Spirit in this place; good to know that you are here with us, listening, prompting, touching lives, healing, renewing, making us whole. Amen

https://www.faithandworship.com/liturgy11.htm

Read:

2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NIV. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

When I started going to church as a teenager they kept using this strange word around the church; fellowship. It seemed to be something important but it was not a word in the teenage vocabulary. Seeing they had tea and fellowship after church I decided that it meant a very weak form of friendship that enjoyed each other’s company but never got past superficial things.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered much later on that the Bible used this word (koinonia in Greek) to mean the very deepest form of bond that a human being could have with another. The sort of bond forged after surviving great adventures or traumas together. A bond so deep that it reflected the love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit for one another. Deeper and more eternal than friendship. A bond forged between human beings with the Spirit’s help and the mark of a church. A bond forged with God himself with the Spirit’s help. A bond so precious that Paul uttered it as a blessing at the end of his letter to the church family in Corinth.

Explore what this might mean for you; the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

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Holy Spirit: Spirit of Imaginative Prayer

Holy Spirit: Spirit of Imaginative Prayer

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and forever. Amen.

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Romans 8:19-27. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

(Romans 8:19-27 NLT)

Thought for the Day:

Prayer is made for the imagination. Sometimes all our prayers are based on the evil we see and we ask God to fix it. But prayer is where God invites us into his creative space and asks us to imagine what your world or community be like if God’s kingdom reigned here. Pray for that. Pray for the good that you do not yet see.

To do this you need to be familiar with what God values most in life because it his Kingdom that we pray will be “on earth as it is in heaven”. We only have Jesus’ teachings to guide our imagination. And imagination sometimes leads to action when the Spirit gets involved. But prayer is more art than science.

Many of us have got out of the habit of dreaming and imagining and even the most prayerfully creative get stumped. But there is good news for all of us; the Spirit helps us in this weakness of prayerful imagination. The Spirit hears our yearnings and our deep desires that things be simply better and interprets this for us to the Father’s heart. Even our rambling prayers are made effective because the Spirit is joined to our spirit and knows what we mean even if we can’t … like… well … err… what I am trying to say … perhaps I should begin again… I just really wanna say … oh dear this is getting awkward …sorry.

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Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Love

Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Love

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

This week we are focussing on who the Holy Spirit is in Scripture in the lead up to the festival of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to all people of faith not just a special few. May you discover the richness of what God has given for you.

Prayer: Fear not

How many times, after I had sinned,

you comforted me, as a good father,

and you kissed me warmly as a son or a daughter,

and you stretched out your arms to me and cried out:

rise up, fear not, stand up, come! Amen.

Excerpt from a prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ,

St John of Damascus, 7th-8th century

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Romans 8:14-17. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

(Romans 8:14-17 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

It is theologically correct to say God is Father but it is life changing to “cry” Abba, Father.

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Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Teamwork

Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Teamwork

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

This week we are focussing on who the Holy Spirit is in Scripture in the lead up to the festival of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to all people of faith not just a special few. May you discover the richness of what God has given for you.

Prayer: This bundle of life

O God,

who has bound us together in this bundle of life,

give us grace to understand

how our lives depend upon the courage, the industry,

the honesty and the integrity of others;

that we may be mindful of their needs,

grateful for their faithfulness,

and faithful to our responsibilities to them;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

1 Corinthians 12:4-14. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

(1 Corinthians 12:4-14 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

I once had a couple who I had never met, come to me to discuss the baptism of their baby. As we went over the promises they would make we came to a sticking point. The church promises to help them with the discipleship of their child and they promise to help their child live out the Christian faith in the context of the child’s new church family. The parents were confused; what did the church have to do with being a Christian? Surely you can be a Christian and not have to go to church?

I have had many responses to this oft repeated question over the years but my favourite is this; “Where’s the fun in that?!”

Following Jesus is at its best in a loving community that works together to make the world a better place. We were born (again) to be in a team that does wonderful things together. Playing sport on your own is merely exercise but playing together on a winning team is heaven. And that is what the church is meant to be when Paul talks about the body of Christ having different gifts that work together for the common good with Christ as the head (captain coach).

Where is your place on the vast team that is the church on earth (not restricted to just LFC)? Some know it, some are looking for it, and some are in between.

May you taste together, again and again, some of the sweet achievements for God that comes from working as a team.

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Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Freedom

Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Freedom

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

This week we are focussing on who the Holy Spirit is in Scripture in the lead up to the festival of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to all people of faith not just a special few. May you discover the richness of what God has given for you.

Prayer: For the Knowledge of God’s Will

Almighty and everlasting God,

in whom we live and move and have our being,

who has created us for yourself,

so that we can find rest only in you;

grant unto us such purity of heart

and strength of purpose,

that no selfish passion may hinder us

from knowing your will,

no weakness from doing it;

but in your light we may see light clearly,

and in your service find perfect freedom;

for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Book of Common Order, 1940, Church of Scotland

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Galatians 5:13-25. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh(sinful nature); rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:13-25 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Keep in step with the Spirit; this is the life of freedom. Two things may sound odd to the average person:

1. That we walk with the Spirit and Paul the writer of the letter does not say Jesus here. I wonder why? Perhaps it is because Paul sees the absolute unity of Jesus and the Spirit in both presence and purpose.

2. The Christian life is described as freedom. Maybe this is because society’s idea of freedom sounds more like ‘doing’ what you want whenever you want including holidays, finding love, and trying out lots of pleasurable things. I think the Christian idea being portrayed in Galatians is about ‘being’ free to be the person God created you to be (fruit of the Spirit). On top of that this freedom is most enjoyed in a community of people who walk by the Spirit. Which freedom do you set your heart on?

May you walk with the Spirit today.

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Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Truth

Holy Spirit Week: Spirit of Truth

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

This week we are focussing on who the Holy Spirit is in Scripture in the lead up to the festival of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to all people of faith not just a special few. May you discover the richness of what God has given for you.

Prayer: Fulfil our Request

Christ, our God,

who has made it possible for us to pray together

and who promised that

when two or three are gathered in your name

you will give what they ask:

Fulfil now our request,

(insofar as it is good and according to the special needs of each),

granting us in this world the knowledge of your truth

For you are a loving God

and to you we give glory,

to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

now and forever. Amen.

Adapted liturgy prayer

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

John 14:15-27. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you. Jesus shares with his disciples in the Upper Room the day before his crucifixion.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

(John 14:15-27 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

In a world in which everything is just opinion and every opinion is contested by another, what is truth? How would you recognise it? Is the opposite of truth deception or someone else’s personal truth? Or is the search for truth a yearning to know what is real and what is not real? Is Love at the centre of the universe or something else?

We humans need to know what life is about and how we fit into it. We invent philosophies and economies, advertising, and political ideologies to make sense of it or to imagine the world we would like to see, but what is real. Jesus says just before our passage that “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” But then he tells them that he is leaving (dying and ascending to heaven), so who will help us to discern what is real and true in life; the Spirit of Truth. She is not neutral towards us and our needs. Instead she is given as an ‘advocate’ to guide and defend us in this confusing world. And best of all, to help us recognise the Truth.

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Holy Spirit Week: Jesus needs the Spirit

Holy Spirit Week: Jesus needs the Spirit

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

This week we are focussing on who the Holy Spirit is in Scripture in the lead up to the festival of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to all people of faith not just a special few. May you discover the richness of what God has given for you.

Prayer: A prayer for the Lord’s Day

Eternal and most glorious God,

you dwell in light which no one can approach,

and live and reign for ever and ever:

we bless you that you have brought us by your grace

to see the light of another day.

Help us, O Lord, this day

to commemorate the rising of our blessed Redeemer;

and let our hearts be raised to the heavenly world,

and to Jesus, who sits at your right hand in glory.

May the blessed Holy Spirit visit us with divine influence,

and remain with us in both public and private worship,

for without the blessed Spirit’s gracious assistance,

we can do nothing that is acceptable to you.

May we attend with cheerfulness and holy desire

on the ordinances of your house this day,

and may we find your presence in the assembly of your people.

May our souls be lifted up to you

in the prayers that will be offered,

and may our lips sing your praises with holy joy.

Let us come away from your house

under the light of your countenance,

satisfied with your love

declared to the world in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748 (abridged)

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)

Read:

Matthew 3:13-17. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

(Matthew 3:13-17 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Getting baptised and beginning the Christian life is strongly associated with repenting of your sins and symbolically dying to the old life and rising to the new. Less often, we also celebrate that when we begin this Christian walk we are simultaneously given the Holy Spirit to empower the new life. So we get confused by Jesus getting baptised. Did he have sins to repent of? No. However, he was starting a new life that needed the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Remember that when he became fully human at Christmas he had to empty himself of all power and be vulnerable like the rest of us. (Phil. 2:6-8)

His ministry and his encounters with people and his inner peace all needed the help of the Holy Spirit to make it happen and to make it fruitful.

If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to walk the Christian walk then so do his disciples. We will never make it on our own and we don’t need to.

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