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.

Read More

37 Grimshaw St, Greensborough VIC 3088, Australia

Sunday, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Devotionals

Praise

Praise

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: For the renewal of our hearts

Instruct our mouths, O Lord, with a new song;

that, our hearts being renewed,

we may always rejoice in your praise

and in the company of your saints,

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

Ancient Scottish Prayers, 1595

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

Read:

Psalm 150. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,

praise him with the strings and pipe,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

(Psalm 150 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Praising God is the most natural of activities. The psalmist doesn’t complicate it with lots and lots of reasons why we should praise the Lord. Instead he/she focuses on how we should praise the Lord. Most of the verses are talking about a variety of ways of expressing and letting loose the love we have for God.

The world is full of cultures, styles, music and poetry to praise the Lord. What would you like to do to praise God right now? Sing, silence, speak out a written prayer, or simply lift up your heart with a grateful smile? Whatever it is do it now. There is no unacceptable praise in God’s kingdom.

View

Jonah Shocked

Jonah Shocked

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: Forgive them all

Forgive them all, O Lord:

our sins of omission and our sins of commission;

the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;

the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;

our secret and our more open sins;

our sins of ignorance and surprise,

and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;

the sins we have done to please ourselves;

and the sins we have done to please others;

the sins we know and remember,

and the sins we have forgotten;

the sins we have striven to hide from others,

and the sins by which we have made others offend;

forgive them, O Lord, forgive them all for his sake,

who died for our sins and rose for our justification,

and now stands at your right hand

to make intercession for us,

Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

John Wesley, 1703-1791

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

Read:

Jonah 3:1-10. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

1Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

(Jonah 3:1-10 NLT)

Thought for the Day:

Jonah is the grumpiest, most sullen evangelist the world has ever seen. Feeling obliged to go to the Assyrians now that God had outflanked him with the sea monster, Jonah’s message is so short that he could not be bothered including the obligatory part about repentance. Imagine his shock when God uses even these few grumpy words to touch the hearts of the brutal Assyrians. They repent even though they don’t know if it will change anything.

Jonah is shocked because he has projected onto the Assyrians a rough callous persona but the reality is there is a lot of inner turmoil and troubled consciences that Jonah cannot see; but God can.

Do you project onto people what you expect to see? Perhaps God is calling you to speak words of love to these people?

View

Jonah Repents

Jonah Repents

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: A prayer to the Almighty God and Father who loves humankind

I bless you, O Lord,

that you have worked wondrous mercies upon me, a sinner,

and have been most loving to me in all things:

nurse and governor,

guardian and helper,

refuge and saviour,

protector of both soul and body.

I bless you, O Lord,

for you have granted me the power to repent from my sins

and have shown to me myriad occasions

to return from my malice.

For you have mercy and save us, O God,

and to you we send up glory, thanksgiving and worship,

together with your only-begotten Son,

and your all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit,

now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Excerpt from a prayer

to the Almighty God and Father who loves humankind,

St Basil the Great, 4th century

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

Read:

Jonah 2:1-10. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

1Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,

and he answered me.

I called to you from the land of the dead,

and Lord, you heard me!

3 You threw me into the ocean depths,

and I sank down to the heart of the sea.

The mighty waters engulfed me;

I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.

4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.

Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

5 “I sank beneath the waves,

and the waters closed over me.

Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.

6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.

I was imprisoned in the earth,

whose gates lock shut forever.

But you, O Lord my God,

snatched me from the jaws of death!

7 As my life was slipping away,

I remembered the Lord.

And my earnest prayer went out to you

in your holy Temple.

8 Those who worship false gods

turn their backs on all God’s mercies.

9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,

and I will fulfill all my vows.

For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

(Jonah 2:1-10 NLT)

Thought for the Day:

Jonah fled to prevent the brutal Assyrians having the opportunity to repent and change for the better. His hate blinded him to mercy.

Now God is giving him a lesson in empathy. Jonah, himself, is in a terrible situation in the belly of the sea monster. His only hope for escape depends on God and it is God who he has sinned against. Ironically, his salvation depends on repentance; the very thing he is denying to the Assyrians. Surely, this is an Old Testament story that teaches us this; “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Whose sin do you think is beyond God’s mercy?

View

Jonah flees

Jonah Flees

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: For unity with all God’s children

Confront us, O Christ,

with the hidden prejudices and fears

which deny and betray our prayers.

Enable us to see the causes of strife;

remove from us all false sense of superiority.

Teach us to grow in unity with all God’s children.

Into your hands, a Lord,

we commend all for whom we pray,

trusting in your mercy now and for ever. Amen.

World Council of Churches 6th Assembly, 1983, Vancouver

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

Read:

Jonah 1:1-2. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

1The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

(Jonah 1:1-2 NLT)

Thought for the Day:

Why did Jonah flee?

The Assyrians were known in their time as one of the most ruthless inhuman empires to have ever conquered the Middle East. They used terror to maintain control. They ripped people out of their homeland and their connection to their geographically based gods and placed them on reserves far away. They tried to stamp out their culture and their language. They did this to neuter them as a people and extinguish their uniqueness so they would never rise up again. They were infamous. But as I describe this cruelty that one seems to expect in the distant past I can’t help but get a shiver up my spine; I seemed to have also described the European settlement of Australia. I wonder if the Assyrians cast themselves as the heroes who brought civilization to the lesser peoples?

Back to Jonah. Was he afraid of what the ruthless Assyrians might do to him or was he afraid that the Lord was giving them a choice to repent? Remember that prophecy in the Old Testament was never a prediction of a single future but was always an offer to chose one of two futures depending on the response of repentance. It is suggested that Jonah hated the Assyrians so much that he was willing to disobey God to ensure their destruction.

Is there anyone you know who you would rather not learn of God’s salvation to them? What a question?! What will you do if the answer is yes?

View

Matthew 7 Series: Resilient

Matthew 7 Series: Resilient

Prayer:

"O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be [stronger](https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stronger) men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the [grace](https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Grace) of [God](https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/God)."

Philip Brooks, "Going up to Jerusalem", Twenty Sermons (1886), p. 330

Read the passage from Matthew 7:24-29 three times noting words and ideas that stand out for you. Pray for Christ to reveal to you the meaning of his words.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Reflection:

Chapter 7 concludes the Sermon on the Mount with teaching about what to do with the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has listed a number of poor responses and good responses ranging from hypocrisy to looking to leaders' good fruit rather than skills or charisma. Jesus conclude with one more of these insights as he compares the benefits of a life that integrates his teaching into real life practice as opposed to the Church goer who merely knows Jesus teaching but does nothing with it.

The difference is not revealed in the good times in life when both people look identical. Rather it is revealed when life is under pressure or even touched by tragedy or persecution.

Which are you?

View

Matthew 7 series: True Disciples

Matthew 7 series: True Disciples

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: The holy love of God

Deliver us, O God,

from a lazy mind,

all lukewarmness of heart,

and all depression of spirit.

We know that these must deaden our love for you;

mercifully free our hearts from them all.

And give us such a lively, fervent and cheerful spirit

that we may vigorously perform whatever you command,

thankfully suffer whatever you choose for us,

and always be eager to obey your holy love

in all things;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

John Wesley, 1703-1791

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

Read:

Matthew 7: 7:21-23. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’.

(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

So few lines and so many surprising comments by Jesus.

Can you imagine a person who says they are a Christian and doing miracles in Jesus’ name being disinterested in Jesus and his teachings? Or are these people who think they are Christians because they do super religious stuff but neglect the Christlike life of love, the discipline of overcoming self-centredness, and the yearning to make the world a place of justice and peace?

They appear to be surprised by Jesus’ rejection which implied they either wilfully misunderstood his instructions for discipleship or couldn’t be bothered with that self-awareness focus we have seen repeated over the last 2 devotionals.

Of course, these are not real people but an imaginary situation designed to tell us how serious Jesus is about taking his teachings seriously and incorporating them into our lives.

Not surprising that this teaching should be at the end of the Sermon on the Mount.

View

Matthew 7 series: True Leadership

Matthew 7 series: True Leadership

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: An instrument of God’s peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is discord, union;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy;

for your mercy and truth’s sake.

O divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

A 19th century prayer in the spirit

of St Francis of Assisi

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

Read:

Matthew 7:15-20. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

(Matthew 7:15-20 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Jesus uses the word “prophet” to refer to a spiritual leader in the community. As yet there were no Ministers, pastors, evangelists, apostles, popes or priests. But if he is referring to those tasked with spiritual leadership in a community in all its infinite cultural variety over the centuries, then we might include anyone we give our trust to including Sunday School leaders, parents, spouse, Life Group leaders, etc.

Jesus teaching is aimed at the one who trusts spiritual leadership in any of its forms. And he invites us to never to give blind trust to a leader. Instead, look at the whole of their lives (as much as you can see). Ask yourself whether their life is producing the good fruit that Christ is looking for in us; love, compassion for the marginalised, peace, the love of God, the rejection of the pursuit of wealth. Note that I am just listing some of the teachings from the Sermon on the Mount because this teaching is given right at the end of those teachings. I am sure Jesus and Matthew are linking them.

This appears to be a warning against charlatans but I believe it is relevant to the far more common situation where the spiritual leader is not self-aware enough of the contradiction between how they live and what they teach. Which brings us back full circle to yesterday’s devotional.

Do you check who you put your trust in? What good fruit do you look for?

View

Matthew 7 series: the Little Gate and Narrow Path

Matthew 7 series: the Little Gate and Narrow Path

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: Bearers of reconciliation

Lord Christ,

at times we are like strangers on this earth,

disconcerted by all the violence and harsh oppositions.

Like a gentle breeze,

you breathe upon us the Spirit of peace.

Transfigure the deserts of our doubts

and so prepare us to be bearers of reconciliation

wherever you place us,

that the hope of peace may arise in our world. Amen.

Brother Roger of Taizé, 1915-2005

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

Read:

Matthew 7:13-14. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

(Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

At first glance, this seems to contradict Jesus generous grace to all, but that is not what he is saying. He is talking about the likelihood of people choosing the less challenging path over the more challenging path. Although grace is offered to all it comes with a challenge; the challenge to change your ways, live the way of Christ and be transformed. It requires discipline but we are given the Spirit. It requires energy and focus but we are given the power of God. It requires you to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus but we follow him into intimacy with God and love for a broken world.

It is no mistake that this teaching comes at the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which is a description of the life of disciples. This defines what is the small gate and narrow path that leads to life. It is not a vague metaphor but has several chapters of teaching backing it up.

The path to life is God’s grace to us not because God likes to give us random challenges but because this is what it takes to live, really live. If you are on this path keep walking and don’t stop.

If you are not on this path yet, there is a little gate that is wide open just for you.

View