Biblical Discipleship — Gracious Community — Light to the World

Renew is a fresh, young church. We meet every Sunday at Burleigh Church of Christ for worship and dinner (dinner is done in different ways each week, just come along).

We value Bible study and meet on Tuesday nights in different homes during school term to study God's word and on Wednesday nights in a more social form at the Groves' place.

On Saturday nights once a month during school term, Renew Youth gathers together for fun, fellowship, and Bible talks.

This all sounds pretty normal for a church, but our focus is on the transformative power of the Holy Spirit on our entire lives that happens in and through these activities. Come and join us on this journey!

If you can't join us in person you can always Zoom in using the buttons below.

The host will generally be online 15 minutes before the meeting for chatting and catch up, unless otherwise stated.

If you are new to Renew when you Zoom in, we will ask you to introduce yourself with your video on so that we can get to know you. We can't accept newcomers without video, unfortunately.

Sunday

4:00-5:00pm—Weekly service

You can watch an online feed of our slides (usually projected) on your web browser here.

Tuesday

7:00-8:30pm—Bible study

Service Times
SUN
Sunday Worship
Sunday 4:00 pm
TUE
Tuesday Night Bible Study
Tuesday 7:00 pm
Where we meet
Blog Posts
Cultural Engagement

The idea of "Cultural Engagement" is increasingly important for Christians to grapple with because our culture--our practices, beliefs, and way of life--is increasingly diverging from the culture of the society that we live in.


While it is tempting to simply follow society's cues, we have a higher calling which is powerfully presented in the Bible, God's Word to us. We are called to build our culture on that foundation, not on the shifting sands of our culture's current mores and preferences.


But we must not let that increasing difference alienate us from the surrounding people, and so intentional and intelligent engagement becomes an increasingly important skill and topic to explore.


But the skills of Cultural Engagement do not come naturally, as a glance at discussions online or in the media amply demonstrate. In the first half of 2022 we at Renew dedicated our Tuesday nights to studying how to best engage with people across this widening cultural divide. Here are some more resources on that same issue.


We worked through a course by Professor Darrell Bock, and in this Think Biblically podcast, Scott Rae and Sean McDowell of Biola discuss with Darrell his new book on the topic, Cultural Intelligence. Perhaps the key takeaway of Bock's work is that tone and content are equally important.


If we don't have the right content, we won't communicate anything useful. That's pretty obvious, right? But, equally, if we don't have the right tone, the message won't get through, no matter how eloquent our explanations. Poor tone guarantees that the people we are speaking to will not be our listeners, but rather our ignorers.


Cultural engagement is a complex, subtle skill, needing as much practice, encouragement, and training as possible. Another resource for improving our engagement is The Table podcast. This podcast focuses on "topics related to God, Christianity, and cultural engagement," and is a great listen for those long drives, hanging out the clothes, or whenever you have time with your mind free.

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A different vision of the church

Ephesians 4:1-16 reveals Paul's vision of the church. Check it out, it's fascinating.


Paul segues from unity (grounded in our one saviour) to diversity. For our world, perhaps the most important realisation is that the church can offer both unity and diversity in the one organism. Jesus doesn't make us all clones, rather he gives us different gifts and roles in the church so that we can build one another up into a strong body.


But there's something else fascinating in this passage, too: what it says about the goal of the church. This passage mentions nothing about social justice or transforming society or anything like that. Rather, "we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." (v. 15)


Certainly, when "each part is working properly," the "body [will] grow so that it builds itself up in love." (v. 16) The church is not a static organism, it is designed to grow. That is achieved by evangelism, sharing the good news of Jesus' death on the cross, which sets us free from sin and death.


But the church is not here on earth for some lesser purpose. If something is not communicating the gospel and drawing people closer to Christ it is not the church's work. We have limited human resources, and so we should make sure that they are directed such that "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God." (v. 13)


Too often we worry that, unless we engage the surrounding culture in some way that catches their attention, we will not be able to share the good news. Yet Paul's vision of the church in Ephesians makes clear that if we focus on pressing closer to Christ, and equipping and encouraging one another in that endeavour, that will itself engage the surrounding culture.


The role of the church is to be the body of Christ on earth. Let us labour together to get that right and let God give the increase of souls each day. (Acts 2:47)

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Mercy vs Grace

Last night in our Tuesday Night Bible Study we were wrestling with the difference between "mercy" and "grace." Many religions espouse mercy, but only one offers grace.


There are many ways to describe the difference (the picture accompanying this post is one: only in Christianity does God himself enter into a rebellious world as a member of a rebellious race in order to die so that their rebellion might be forgotten). Perhaps a good one is the experience of the apostle Paul.


The apostle Paul started out as a faithful Pharisee and enthusiastic persecutor of the church of Jesus. It was only when Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus that he realised his error. But because of the grace of Christ, Paul didn't merely become a follower of Christ, he became an apostle: one who travelled the world persuading people of the need to give their lives to Jesus.


God's mercy would have, perhaps, stretched to forgiving Paul his horrible persecution of the church. God's grace, however, transformed Paul into one of his most influential servants!


When we talk about our second value, "Gracious Community," we're talking about a community that is filled with the power of God so that its members are transformed from rebels into relatives, from sinners into sons, and from captives into conquerors. Only Christ can do that!

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