Thanks for reading The Billabong's newsletter, the Tuckerbag (December 2017, Edition 340). Access this newsletter at any time at thetuckerbag.com or for sermons online and more info, visit thebillabong.org.au

Hope

Hope is one of the four traditional themes of the advent season (lead up to Christmas), along with peace, joy and love. But the hope we receive from God is not like the kind of hope we often talk about. We may hope to fall in love one day. We hope things fall in to place in a work situation. Or we hope we'll the Christmas present we asked for (and that's not just our kids!)

But the hope we have in Jesus is something more than that. It has more 'substance'. Its still about something we long for in the future, but has a more direct impact today. Its more than a feeling or a 'positivity' that keeps us going. Its about a promise of what is coming and what that means for us now. 

I've been struck by the fact that God given hope is something that surrounds both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. In death, pain, suffering and trial, a sense of hope in the promises of God and his presence with us can be profound. In spiritual rebirth, celebration and breakthrough there is also a sense of great hope in what God is doing.

This is because Christian hope centres on the presence of God. And God is with us on the mountains and in the valleys. Whether on the way up, or crashing down, God's promise has always been "I will be with you". And because all evil must flee from where God is, that brings us hope.

May this Christmas season - whether a time of great celebration, a time of pain and struggle, or a combination of the two - be full of real, rich, Christ-grounded hope for you and your family.

Giving Update Jan-Sept 2017 YTD: Budget $173,250. Actual $172,000. 
Direct Debit: BSB 036224 A/C Number 131848.
2018 is almost here! Would you consider increasing your pledge/regular contribution? Please fill out a pledge card (located near the offering box) or let our treasurer know at accounts@thebillabong.org.au

Need prayer?

Do you need a community of praying people to pray for you or someone close to you? You can simply email prayernet@thebillabong.org.au and your request will be sent to a prayer network of The Billabong. (If you'd like to join the PrayerNet list so you receive these requests, please email admin@thebillabong.org.au)

Life Groups

Cinnamon Donuts - Girls age 14+ bible study. Mondays 7-8.30pm in the Library. Bek: 0458 127 744

Ladies Bible Study - Fridays 10am-12pm (during term time) in the Library. Frances: 0414 667 960

Saturday Life Group - 8pm in Harrisdale, fortnightly. Nat: 0421 546 467 
Spice of Life - a monthly group for Ladies meeting in various locations. Tina: 0400 858 490
Retirees on a Roll - first Wednesday of the month (various times, locations). Contact Margaret Hill on: 0438 066 133
Saturday Brekky Life group - Luke: 0423 958 973
Tuesday Evening Life Group - John: 0429 651 378
Bible Study - Every other Tuesday 7-8pm. Jill: 9459 2920

Programs & Activities

Playgroup - Runs during school term at The Billabong. To volunteer or for more info call Deb: 0437 118 896
Fresh Bread - a simple meal (free or donation only) run fortnightly on FrI idays in the cafe. Luke: 0423 958 973
Amplify - a community of teenagers led by young adults, helping them in faith & life. Cam & Annelis: 0401 787 626
Billabong Crafters - 4th Saturday of the month 8.30am-12pm at The Billabong. Bring your craft and share ideas and skills. facebook.com/billabongcrafters


2018 Finances

Thank you for those who we able to attend our budget meeting, where the budget for 2018 was approved. We also received word last week that our mission grant for 2018 ($18,000 helping to fund our new 'Community Engagement' role) was approved! If you would like to update your giving pledge for 2018, please fill out one of the cards at our Celebrations or email accounts@thebillabong.org.au

Children's Ministry

We are in need of new volunteers for our children's ministry programs on Sunday mornings. If interested, please speak to Luke (luke@thebillabong.org.au)


Opportunities to Serve

We are looking for volunteers willing to lock and unlock for casual bookings at our community centre. When a booking request comes through, we will contact a team of volunteers to see if someone is available at the necessary times to proceed with the bookings. As this will be a significant income source for us, some reimbursement for helping out is available. Contact Kassie (9455 6474 / admin@thebillabong.org.au)

Leadership Team Update

The Leadership Team met for its final meeting on Tuesday 5th December - here is a short summary of our meeting:
- We are pleased to welcome Rev. John Whaley and Teresa Beauglehole to the Leadership Team (co-opted). John and Teresa each bring significant gifts and experience in pastoral ministry and we are thrilled to have them use their gifts in this way at The Billabong. They will be brought before the congregation for official nomination at our AGM next year.
- As the ministry of the Billabong grows and the responsibilities of the Leadership Team grow with it, we plan to shift the way we operate slightly. From next year, part of the team will continue to meet monthly to address matters of governance (Finance, Admin, Property etc) and part of the team will meet more regularly with (not yet appointed) ministry staff to spend time on ministry (pastoral, prayer, groups, ministries) with the whole team meeting at least quarterly to ensure cohesion and teamwork.
- We agreed to advertise for a new church admin role between 3 and 4 days per week, with advertising beginning in January. The final job description will be available on our website soon.
- We received the results of a recent 'church financial health assessment' and financial audit which give us a positive outlook for coming years in our finances. Some new online facilities such as a Billabong app and credit card giving will be introduced next year as we seek to improve methods of communication and financial stewardship.
- We are grateful that kitchen fit out in our cafe space is being completed soon, and are exploring options for the next steps.
- Finally, we agreed on the Christian missions we will support with our 'tithe of tithes' this year, and will announce those this Sunday.
From the Leadership Team, thank you for your generosity (in many ways) and contribution to our church community this year. We look forward to a year of fruitfulness in 2018. May your Christmas be full of hope in the Lord Jesus and the peace he brings.

The Billabong in January

In January of 2018 our children's ministry, music team and other serving team volunteers will be having a well earned break. From new years eve and through January we will be studying the gospel of Luke through video based bible studies at the community centre (normal time 10am Sunday) and/or in life groups who wish to use the material. If you have not yet joined a life group, now is a great time to consider whether there are some other families you could begin gathering with on a regular basis in the new year. Or, if you plan to come on Sunday morning (for a short time of singing, prayer, bible study and discussion), please come a few minutes early to 'pull up a pew' and grab a coffee for yourself and any visitors.

Admin and Bookings: Kassie Phillips (Facilities Manager) 9455 6474, admin@thebillabong.org.au
Minister: Revd. Luke Williams 9455 6474, luke@thebillabong.org.au 
Kitchen Rosters: Julie: 9456 1495 
Leadership Team: Marilyn Burdett, Lisa Harries, Martin Hill