Bren McLean

Archive for December, 2012


by on Dec.26, 2012, under Worship

Below is the setlists for 23-25 December 2012:

SUNDAY 10am:

1. O Come Let Us Adore Him

2. Hark The Herald Angels Sing

3. Praise The Saviour (spch)

4. Joy To The World


CHRISTMAS EVE 5pm (Family Service):

1. O Come All Ye Faithful

2. Happy Happy Day (Colin Buchanan)

3. Born Is The King (Hillsong)

4. On That Very First Christmas (Colin Buchanan)

5. Away In A Manger

6. Silent Night

7. Jesus Saves (Colin Buchanan)

8. Joy To The World



1. O Come All Ye Faithful

2. Praise Him (Hillsong)

3. O Holy Night

4. Hark The Herald Angels Sing

5. Angels We Have Heard On High

6. Be Thou My Vision

7. Joy To The World



1. O Come All Ye Faithful

2. Angels We Have Heard On High

3. Mary’s Boy Child

4. Away In A Manger

5. Joy To The World


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


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by on Dec.21, 2012, under Worship

I am delighted to announce the names of the 2 amazing guys who will be joining the staff team from end of January:

RICHARD VASSALLO (Production Minister)


Rich and Annelli are established members of the 5/7pm congregation. His experience and passion for well balanced Production is undeniable. I have no doubt the entire creative team will benefit from Rich’s commitment to excellence.


RICHARD THOMPSON (Asst. Music Minister)


Rich and Nicky are new to spch. The Thomspon’s recently moved from Newtown to Baulkham Hills and will be regular at 10am church with their 2 young girls.

Rich has just completed his Diploma of Theology at Moore College and is passionate about songwriting (as well as his family) and building the songwriting ministry here.

Rich was bass player for the Christian rock band REVIVE and was also involved in songwriting and production on most of their albums.

REVIVE spent 4 year’s in the States, touring with some of the big US bands and were signed with Third Day for a while. Rich still has some contacts in Nashville and Atlanta which could prove to be very fruitful.

Check out REVIVE’S single, BLINK:

Both Rich V and Rich T possess much skill and experience and will be a great blessing to us. Praise God for His provision!

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BOOK REVIEW: AXIOM Powerful Leadership Proverbs

by on Dec.19, 2012, under Leadership

My senior pastor gave us all a copy of AXIOM a couple of year’s ago. I’m keen to have another read over the holidays, because I remember it being such a profound collection of leadership proverbs.


“Toss out all your texts on leadership by theorists and read this masterpiece again and again. Bill serves up solid content, not cliches; axioms, not merely anecdotes. I love this book! The distilled wisdom is pure gold-classic Hybels.”
-Rick Warren


I completely agree. It is full of practical stuff for leaders of all ages.



The book is divided into 4 categories:

1. Vision and Strategy

eg. Hire 10’s

2. Teamwork and Communication

eg. Speed of the leader speed of the team

3. Activity and Assessment

eg. Find the critic’s kernel of truth

4. Personal Integrity

eg. Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t for hire


What are YOU looking forward to reading these holidays? Have a blessed and safe Christmas.

“Jesus is the reason for the season”



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by on Dec.17, 2012, under Worship

Theme – The Spirit of Christmas Makes His Move

Bible Reading – (Luke 1:1-38)


Below is the setlist for 16 December 2012:


1. Run (Hillsong)

2. God Of This City (Hillsong)

3. Praise The Saviour (spch)

4. Jesus Messiah (Tomlin)


1. Found A Love (spch)

2. Praise The Saviour (spch)

3. None But Jesus (Hillsong)

4. So Merciful (spch)


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


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by on Dec.13, 2012, under Worship

The term ‘worship’ has become a hot topic in Christian circles.  Many definitions have been attempted, but Robert Shaper’s seems to be the most all encompassing:

“Worship is the proper response of human beings to God, precisely because he is worthy and delightfully so”.

Shaper’s quote is also found in ‘Worship By The Book’. Mark Ashton, Don Carson, Kent Hughes and Tim Keller have collaborated to write a book offering a thought provoking biblical theology of worship.

Carson analyses how on this side of the Fall, our worship is a response to God’s redemptive work (p34-38), how all worship is God-centered (p38-41), and how Christian worship is Christ-centered (p41-42). Then, he claims that Christian worship is Trinitarian (p42-43) and that it embraces both adoration and action (p43-44).

A popular brief version is that worship is “all of life”, because everything that we do as followers of Christ is an act of worship.  As sinful humans, we all worship something and if it’s not God, it is someone or something else, which is idolatry and abhorrent to God. Shaper also suggests that worship is like ‘love’; everyone knows what it is, but it is hard to explain.


It is difficult to agree on a clear, biblical definition of worship because:

1. Worship is an inadequate translation of the original Greek and Hebrew terms. Various words in the bible are translated as ‘worship’. Eg. Proskyneo (bow down), Thusia (sacrifice), Latreia/Latreuo (service), Leitourgeo (priestly service), Seibo (fear)

2. The word worship has evolved over recent years. Worship of God in the Old Testament referred to specific activities at a specific time and place (cultus by the High Priest in the Temple)


Worship in the New Testament sees believers “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21-24), which encompasses everything that we do.  Under the new covenant, we don’t need a mediator. We can approach God directly, because of what Christ has done.  Jesus is the High Priest, we are the temple and our bodies are to be offered as a living sacrifice (Romans. 12:1-2).

In modern times, the word worship is derived (etymology) from the Old English ‘weordhscipe’, meaning worthiness, or ascribing someone the honour that is due.

More recently, worship is also closely associated with music and singing.  Terms such as worship music, worship leader, worship service offer a limited, somewhat false impression of the real meaning and value of the verb.

Now that we know what worship is and what it should not be limited to, we should always be careful to use language in our gatherings that are clear and helpful.  At spch, most leaders avoid using any such narrower terms for worship.  Those on the platform sometimes communicate that worship of God occurs ‘24/7’ (every waking moment) and that church is a great opportunity for the body of Christ to come together each week and worship God corporately (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We can and should worship God individually (eg. by reading the bible, journaling, praying, singing, acknowledging His creation, evangelising), and worship continues (rather than starts) when we meet on Sunday morning for church.


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by on Dec.10, 2012, under Worship

Theme – Mary, a woman of substance

Bible Reading – (Luke 1:39-56)


Below is the setlist for 9 December 2012:


1. For We Are Yours (spch)

2. God Of This City (Tomlin)

3. Praise The Saviour (spch)

4. Forever Reign (Hillsong)


1. Breaking Out (spch)

2. How Great Is Our God ( Tomlin)

3. Praise The Saviour (spch)

4. Awakening (Tomlin)


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


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by on Dec.05, 2012, under Personal

Ethics is defined as ‘moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior’. It is closely associated with morality, which concerns things like our character and belief systems.

Ethical decisions confront us every day, but what are the key factors that influence our decisions in terms of right and wrong?



There are ‘four poles’ in modern ethics:

1. Values/Virtues – settled patterns and habits of good action and proper emotions

2. Rights – what we feel is essential to our humanity

3. Rules – commands/laws/codes of practice

4. Results – the end point/consequence/outcome


The problem with a secular view of ethics is consistency. The approach to the ‘four poles’ will vary from person to person, particularly in a post modern society where matters of truth and justice are subjective.


So, what does the Bible say about ethics? There are two common views on how we should view the Laws in the Old Testament:

i) Theonomist – God’s word is eternal. Everything is binding

ii) Antinomian – God’s word is no longer relevant (we live under grace, not Law – Romans 6:15)


Andrew Cameron suggests there is a third, better way to view laws in the Bible:

iii) Christian Wisdom – Applying knowledge of the Bible

A ‘unified field’ of moral reality whereby Jesus Christ unifies the other influences



‘Five poles’ for Christian thought about ethics become a ‘unified field’:

1. God’s Character – eg. Justice, mercy, steadfast love. God lives out this triad throughout salvation history

2. Created Order – man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Humanity sustainably cares for and uses what has been created

3. Commands For Love – principles that determine how we should live together

4. New Future – new creation, promise fulfilled, eschatology

5. Jesus Shaped Community – discernment to consider the effect Jesus has on all the ‘poles’. God reconciles us to Himself so that our relationship with Him and others is healthy

This view of ethics is directly from Cameron’s book, Joined Up Life: A Christian Account Of How Ethics Works. Being aware of and applying this unified field theory enables us to make good decisions in our every day lives.




Click HERE for the Matthias Media review of the book.


Jesus is a game changer! Christ’s death and resurrection is significant for humanity and should influence everything that we think, say and do.





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by on Dec.04, 2012, under Church Life

iTunes have recently replaced the ‘Christian/Gospel’ genre with ‘Inspirational’. Music stores have a ‘Christian’ section. Both are such broad and inaccurate classifications.

Why is there a genre for ‘Christian’ music anyway? What makes a song ‘Christian’ or ‘Inspirational’?


The music? No.

The performer’s beliefs? Not necessarily.

The lyrics? Probably, but how many references to God or Jesus does a song need to crossover into this category?

Michael Gungor believes it is odd to have a genre that is based on religion: “no other music is categorised by the content of it’s lyrics. There is no Buddhist or Atheist section of a record store.”

‘The Crowd, The Critic & The Muse’ is a great read, particularly for creative people. I highly recommend this book, which looks at the highs and the lows of an artists journey in a brutally honest way.

‘Christian’ music is labeled as such to target a specific subculture. The music industry is massive, but three record labels represent over 80% of the global market. ie. Universal, Sony and Warner. Most of the other labels are owned by one of these companies, so it’s a pretty incestuous industry. We live in a capitalist society and executives work hard to maximise sales and profits. But in their pursuit of the almighty dollar, the quality of art can suffer.

NOTE: If you work as an artist, what motivates you? Sure, you need to make a living, but if money is your main motivator it will lose something, it’s essence. Great art comes from the heart.

Personally, I would prefer it if musical genre’s were only be classified by a musical style. eg. Rock, Pop, Blues, Classical, Country (for those so inclined), Dance, Jazz, Metal…

Even then, it’s subjective! The musical style of a lot of artists nowadays is getting harder to classify. In an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, artists ‘crossover’ and produce music that could fit 2, 3 or more genre’s. Take IDOL winner Carrie Underwood. Would you consider her as a Country, Pop, Christian artist, or all of the above?

Record companies will even release multiple versions of ‘hit’ songs, to appeal to different audiences. HELP!

What do you think about the whole topic of musical genre’s?


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by on Dec.03, 2012, under Church Life

It was announced at all services yesterday, that Ken Allen will join spch next year as Seniors Minister (for want of a better title). Ken was unwrapped (literally) and ‘gifted’ to the 8am congregation, before he delivered a powerful evangelistic message.

Both Ken and Danielle have a long history with spch. Ken was curate in charge for about a year before John Gray started as Senior Minister. He has worked previously as Pastoral Care manager at Anglicare and Archdeacon of Western Sydney.

They were welcomed back warmly yesterday and will be a wonderful blessing to our staff team and church community.

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by on Dec.03, 2012, under Worship

Theme – Jesus heals spiritual and physical blindness

Bible Reading – (John 9)


Below is the setlist for 2 December 2012:


1. Holy (spch)

2. Cornerstone (Hillsong)

3. Amazing Grace (Tomlin)

4. When I Survey (Traditional)


1. Amazing Grace (Traditional)

2. How Deep The Father’s Love (Townend)

3. It Is Well With My Soul (Traditional)

4. Praise The Saviour (spch)

5. When I Survey (Traditional)


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


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