Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries


Hope for the future - The Prophets

Isaiah 40:1-11
Mark 1:1-8

First Sunday in Advent

Reader: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light has shined... For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:2, 6)

Reader: Today we remember the prophets of old, who demanded to be heard, who dared to speak of a child to come, unexpected liberator of the people, vulnerable incarnation of the Holiest of Holies, a new name for God.

People: Today we give thanks for the prophets among us, who bring to us surprising new visions of hope, who challenge us to think outside the box, who show us a future we never anticipated.

Reader: On this first Sunday of Advent, we light this candle as a symbol of the prophets who renew our faith and remind us of what may be. (Light a purple candle.)


Hope in confusion -Joseph

Luke 2:1-5
Romans 5:1-5

Second Sunday in Advent
Reader: "In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David" (Luke 2:1,3-4).

Reader: Today we remember Joseph, worn-out traveller and worried husband, doing what was necessary for the sake of his family, the burden of poverty stifling his hope in the promise of God. There was no room for him, yet he knows to whom he belongs.

People: Today we give thanks for the Josephs among us, migrating far from home when there is no choice, fiercely devoted to the ones they love, unwavering in their belief that there is room for all in the kingdom of God.

Reader: On this second Sunday in Advent, we light the second candle as a symbol of Joseph, who knocks at the door, ready to take his place among royalty. (Light two purple candles.)


Hope for the marginalised - Mary

Luke 1:26 – 38
Luke 1:46-55

Third Sunday in Advent
Reader: "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name'" (Luke 1:46-49).

Reader: Today we remember Mary, innocent and powerful, sacred and scared, worried and waiting as the Savior of all grows in her womb. She sings boldly when she might be meek; she bears her role in history with the confidence of a warrior; she is the beginning of a mighty revolution as the proud are brought down and the lowly lifted up.

People: Today we give thanks for the Marys among us, who step out of the roles society has planned; unintended pioneers determined to do as God asks; fearless and fearfully stepping out in faith, and beckoning us to do the same.

Reader: On this third Sunday of Advent, we light this candle as a symbol of Mary, mother of Jesus, bearer of the Way. (Light two purple candles and one rose candle.)


Hope in the ordinary - Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20
Titus 2:11-14

Fourth Sunday in Advent
Reader: "In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people'" (Luke 2:8-10).

Reader: Today we remember the shepherds, workers for the common good, steadfast watchmen isolated and alone, far from the warmth of home, doing the job no one wants. And yet God saw them, God valued them, and God declared the greatest news of all to them alone.

People: Today we give thanks for the shepherds among us, back-breaking laborers on whom our economy stands, those we overlook or rarely see, yet rely on for our very survival, the ones who have much to teach us about watching for God in the darkness.

Reader: On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we light this candle as a symbol of the shepherds, agents of the gospel and redeemers of the world. (Light two purple candles, the rose candle, and the last purple candle.)


Hope is born - Jesus

Luke 2:1-7
1 Peter 1:3 - 9

Christmas Eve
Reader: "While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger" (Luke 2:6-7).

Reader: Tonight, angels far and near sing tender lullabies; well-worn fabric full of years holds in the warmth of parental love; animals and shepherds crowd in tight, glowing with adoration, while a muffled cry squeezes out to greet the world.

People: Tonight we give thanks for every child among us. Each new birth -- regardless of circumstances -- reminds us of the preciousness of life, the potential of tomorrow, the promise of God.

Reader: On this Christmas Eve, we light the Christ candle for the child-King, the infant-Redeemer, the lowly-Lord. And now we know . . . He is born and nothing will ever be the same! (Light all candles.)


 Hope for the future    Audio

Is 40

One of the major themes that have run through the media this year has been the sense of isolation and pain caused by such a long period of lockdown and disconnection. What we’ve longed for is some sense of comfort and relief. So where do we look for comfort? Well some of us have probably looked to food, as testified to by the daily recipes in The Age, not to mention our expanding waistlines. But we probably also acknowledge that that’s not the most positive way to seek comfort. The people of Israel, suffering not lockdown but exile, felt a similar sense of isolation and disconnection; not from one another but from their land. And so God speaks to them, offering comfort through a promise of rescue. His words are addressed to Israel but are equally helpful for us, struggling in a fallen world, longing for release. His words are gentle. He says “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” Literally, “speak to her heart.” The way lovers woo each other, speaking sweet nothings to one another, wooing, persuading, inviting a response of love. But it’s a cry that holds real hope: “Cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double, for all her sins.”

Sometimes we have trouble hearing when God speaks to us, but here the prophet is told to speak with quiet words of love and a loud shout of proclamation. Whatever it takes they’re to hear this message: ‘Comfort, Comfort!’ and believe that it’s true.


1 Peter 1:13-16   1 John 1:8-2:2

One of the things that has come out clearly in the last few weeks of this pandemic is the desire of people to find a culprit, to allocate blame for what’s happened; or in some cases the opposite: they want to shift the blame from themselves, or from their government, to someone else. It’s part of our human nature isn’t it: to want to find someone to blame for what’s gone wrong? If we can blame someone else it helps us to avoid any responsibility on our own part. Well that’s part of what we’re going to be looking at this morning.

Today we come to the third of our studies on Christian disciplines, on finding patterns in living out the presence of God. Today we’re focussing on obedience.


Do you have a problem with obedience? Are you like me, a bit of a rebel. All someone needs to say is don’t do that, and immediately you want to do it? In some circumstances you might even get away with that. Though don’t try it if it involves refusing to wear a face mask in public. Obedience is a good thing when it comes to obeying the law, or doing what your boss tells you to, or where your safety is involved. And obedience to God’s rules is even more important. In fact obedience is one of the characteristics used by Paul to describe his converts. In Romans 6:17  he says “17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.”

Ambassadors for Christ Audio

2 Cor 5:14-21

Well, it’s a big day for these five ordinands as they commit themselves to ordained ministry in the church as well as for George as he takes up a pivotal role as Archdeacon, but it’s also an opportunity for the rest of us to be reminded of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.

As I read through the passage from 2 Cor 5 that we’ve just listened to I was struck by three statements that are particularly appropriate to an occasion like this.

No longer for ourselves but for Him

The passage begins by reminding us that Jesus died for all and that his death draws us in, so we too have died with him. The first thing that struck me was the conclusion that’s drawn from this. It’s there in v15. Jesus died so we could live; but not just live. The gospel has much greater ramifications than us simply being saved to new life. The gospel is much more countercultural than that: “He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.” As I used to say to the kids in the youth group at church: “It’s not just about you.”


2 Tim 3:14-4:5    Prov 1:1-7

Hey Jesus, how can the Bible help me with life now, when it’s so old?

Research carried out some 15 to 20 years ago indicated that while 29% of Australian adults said they read the Bible at least once a year, only 8% said they read it frequently. When it came to school students that number dropped to 4% and they were mostly people who regularly attended church and youth activities. So clearly, even if it is still the best-selling book of all time, the Bible isn’t on many people’s go-to list for help with life.

So why is that? Is it to do with what C. S. Lewis called chronological snobbery? Anything that happened before the invention of the computer is out of date? Or is that the invention of the smartphone? Or Twitter and Facebook? Is it that we know so much more now through modern science, that the ancients didn’t have any clue about, that whatever we read in the Bible must be out of date?


Matthew 6:25-33    Psalm 119:96-105

I have a problem! Well, I have lots of problems, but this one is that my mind sometimes works too fast. Now you might think that that’s a good thing. There are times when you need to think fast: when you turn a blind corner and someone is hurrying towards you; when the car slides on a wet road; when you spill your glass of red wine on a white tablecloth. But I’m thinking of times when I come across some situation and my mind immediately jumps to conclusions, when I make an instant judgement about someone, or when I instantly fear the worst.

But then there are other times when I find my mind isn’t engaged at all, when I sort of drift through the day without really noticing what’s going on around me and that’s equally a problem for me.

There are also times when I echo the words of Neddie Seagoon on The Goon Show: “I don’t wish to know that!” Sometimes it feels like it’s all too much and it would be better to escape from reality.

Well what we’re thinking about today is how the Biblical idea of wisdom might change the way I use my mind. We’re going to be thinking about two complementary disciplines: mindfulness and memorisation. It’s always good to have sermon headings that alliterate isn’t it?


Jonah 1-2

Jonah would have to be one of the best known names in the Bible, wouldn’t he? Just about everyone has heard the story of Jonah and the whale even if they don’t know the details. When a cricket commentator says how well a batsman’s doing and he gets out a couple of balls later, what do the other commentators say? “You’ve Jonahed him!”

But you know, there’s a bit more to this story than just a morality tale of someone who brings bad luck to those he travels with because he’s disobeyed God. Jonah is one of those Old Testament books that point forward so clearly to the gospel and its implications for us as Christians.

In fact, the main character in this story isn’t Jonah at all; nor is it the whale. The main character is God. Jonah is one of the supporting characters, along with the king of Nineveh and his people but the thrust of the story revolves around God and his purposes for the world.

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