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By Rick Mapperson

How to survive Christmas and keep your finances intact.

It is no surprise that straight after the Boxing Day sales and the Christmas decorations have been packed away, shops start selling Hot Cross Buns. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, all the holiday occasions are opportunities for shops to get us to part with our hard-earned dollars. Christmas is the biggest spending season of all, and retailers do all they can to get us to spend and spend big. For too many people Christmas spending leads to heartache in January when the credit card bills start rolling in.

Here are some real-world tips that are guaranteed to help you have a great Christmas And a January that doesn’t involve regret and stress.

1. Develop a gift-giving philosophy.

Before you consider how to save money and budget for Christmas, our very first Christmas tip is this: You’ve got to create your Christmas gift-giving philosophy.

Consider why you give what you give and what you are aiming for in your gift giving.

What does giving mean to you? Is it about finding the perfect presents? Do you hope to impress others with how much you spend on them? Or do you feel obligated to buy for people? These motivations (and others like them) can really shape how you view the season.

Be honest with yourself and think about why you’re buying presents before you think about how you’re going to pay for them all.

Marketers are experts at making us feel inadequate and that we need to buy the latest and greatest toys etc. Children see something on TV, and they want it. Children also know that if they ask for something often enough, they stand a good chance of wearing us down and getting what they want.

Yet, teaching our children that just because they like something or see something that looks great doesn’t mean that they can have it or should it.

Resist the pressure to give into your children’s pleading. Remember that marketers are constantly seeking ways to prise money out of our wallets. Don’t let them do that to you.

Know why you give, know what you want to achieve in your giving plans. We will explore some very creative and practical ways to make your Christmas great without getting yourself into financial strife. And having a surprisingly great Christmas at the same time.

2. Budget.

Now, the way you become the hero of the holidays is by budgeting. That’s right, if you want to stay on Santa’s nice list, set a limit for how much you’re going to spend and stick to it. Knowing how much money you have at your disposal and sticking to that limit is empowering and puts you in control.

3. Track your spending.

So, lots of people spend like crazy throughout December and never check in on their budget. They just think, I’ll worry about it in January. Don’t do that. It will give you a regretful attitude about Christmas and the burden of debt can hang around for months to come. Track your expenses as you go, so you don’t end up overspending and ruining this months and next month’s budget.

4. Keep it real

You will often hear advertisements refer to having a “magical Christmas” or a “Wonderful Christmas” and that sounds great. We do need to stay realistic and remember that relationship problems can’t be fixed by buying lots of presents. Feeling lonely or isolated is not resolved by buying gifts for people in the hope that they will suddenly start to be your best friend.

It is not realistic that the person you have not gotten on well with during the year will find a new found friendship at Christmas. We need to keep it real.

not try and solve problems that have nothing to do with money by overspending to try and fix

5. Think creatively.

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” and while some people might use this as an excuse to be cheap its actually a great philosophy. A homemade cake or slice can carry more meaning than something easily picked up at the supermarket.

A jar that has all the ingredients added with the relevant recipe attached is a very thoughtful and fun gift to give to someone.

Some people will love the gift of time. Give them a voucher for babysitting, or other service so time poor people can receive what they really want, time.

6. Shop early.

Do what you can now and even better plan for next year now. Don’t wait for Black Friday to start Christmas shopping, look for sales all year long. Grab that special gift on sale at end of the financial year sales in June.

When you’re mindful of your list throughout the year, you’ll spread out both the spending and the stress (and maybe even get rid of the stress altogether).

7. Give fewer gifts.

Be deliberate in who you give gifts. Not everyone needs a gift. This year, send your tidings of comfort and joy to some people on your list through a thoughtful card only.

And if you want to save even more money, have a kind chat with your family members. Are you all giving just to give? Do you all want to cut back? Some families agree that each person will buy one gift for one person. Also its not uncommon to set a dollar figure limit on the gift too.

A clear conversation about skipping presents this year for a shared meal (if you’re able) and stocking stuffers instead could be just the thing both your family and your finances need.

8. Live by the list.

There’s a reason Santa checked his list twice, and it’s not because he’s absent-minded. When we go off the list, we overspend. Now, if you realize you forgot a friend, of course you add them in! But once you’ve got your philosophy and budget set, don’t get swept up in the Christmas spirit and start buying every gift that catches your eye for every person you’ve ever met.

9. Go in on a group gift.

A bigger, more expensive gift doesn’t have to be off the table just because you’re on a budget this year. Just go in on it with someone else. Get all your siblings in on buying one big gift for your parents. Ask teammates to go in for a nice gift card for the coach. Email all the parents in your kids’ class to donate small items for a gift basket for the teacher.

They say sharing is caring, after all. And sharing the cost of one big present is a great way to give well, while still caring for your budget.

10. Regift.

Regifting has a bad reputation, but it’s time to move away from that. Regifting solves two problems in one. It saves you shopping and money, and declutters at the same time. TIP: Make sure you check inside the box for any cards. Nothing gives regifting away like an old card with your name on it. Here are the ground rules for regifting.

A. Make sure the gift you give didn’t come from who you plan to give it to.

B. Make sure it is still in pristine condition. If it looks old and worn things won’t go well.

C. Make sure it’s appropriate for the new recipient and will be welcomed.

Be smart, but there’s nothing wrong with this kind of regifting. It saves money and keeps a gift from going unused.

11. Make presents.

If you want to give something personal, memorable and one of a kind, make it! Seriously. Pinterest has a ton of ideas and instructions. If you aren’t super crafty, try baking a sweet treat, putting together a gift basket of someone’s favourite flowers. Nothing says Happy Christmas like something homemade.

Christmas Tips to Get More Money

12. Sell your stuff.

It’s almost that time again, time to get more stuff. So, why don’t you get rid of some of your old stuff? Not only will you make room for new things, but you’ll also make some money to buy other people stuff.

Yes, we’re making a little light of it. You know the season isn’t supposed to be about stuff. But really, try clearing out some things you never use and make some money in the process!

But remember, if money’s tight this year, and you’re having income issues already, don’t put pressure on yourself to make more or spend a lot this year. Focus more on the other joys of the season.

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Anxiety and stress over christmas https://hopechapel.org.au/anxiety-and-stress-over-christmas/ Mon, 06 Dec 2021 01:50:55 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=881 Anxiety and stress over christmas Read More »

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By Kerry-Ann Mapperson

Santa knows if you’re naughty or nice, but not if you’re sad or stressed.

As this overburdened year comes to a close and the ‘festive season’ approaches, this period can be difficult to navigate at the best of times, and it certainly hasn’t been the best of times.

Although it’s supposed to be a time of joy, Christmas can be a stressful and sad time for many and it is common for people to feel negative over this period. What do you do with these unwanted emotions?

While some are welcoming the opportunity to travel and gather with family and friends, many are still unable to do so as a result of travel restrictions.

Going over the same thoughts repeatedly only ads to feelings of loneliness and sadness.

For some people, reaching out and talking to others about your feelings of loneliness, can provide an immediate boost to your mood.  

Remember loneliness is a feeling, but isolation is a choice.

But for many, these negative feelings have been building throughout the year, and will only be exacerbated by pressure to have ‘the perfect Christmas’ with presents, family and food. And reality is – there is no ‘perfect Christmas’.

The separation from loved ones is also an opportunity to connect more often or more deeply through technology. Maybe reframing your sad thoughts because of distance, to thinking how you get to connect with loved ones more often due to zoom, facetime and phonecalls.

Or maybe you can start putting thoughts into recreating the get together, planning how you can celebrate together at a time that doesn’t have to fit on the calendar set in stone.

Consider planning some of the scheduled technological get togethers into planned fun events – like playing games, eating the same meal, or simultaneously watching holiday movies.  Doing things like this can help maintain the sense of connection that comes with Summer, despite the physical distance.

It is not only those separated from loved ones that feel sad and negative feelings.  For those who are able to gather with family and friends for the holidays – their excitement might still be mixed with stress and worry.

Many face financial tension at the moment.

The pressure of giving gifts is likely to exacerbate the negative effect of financial stress. Consider seeing this as an opportunity to make gifts – like propagating plant cuttings, baking or painting – can help people cope with this challenge.

Having spent such a prolonged period of time in a heightened state of alert, it’s natural to feel on edge when travelling this Christmas.

Discomfort, anxiety, and uncertainty will bring thoughts like “Why aren’t people wearing masks? Can we hug in public? Why are people so close together? And where is the hand sanitiser?!”

Recognising and accepting your emotions is an effective coping mechanism, especially in 2021. Let others know how you feel, might just be the best gift we can give one another this Christmas.

Even though it might be tough, Christmas can be a good time to be grateful for people or things that you love in life.

Of course, if things are really challenging, reach out to your GP, mental health professionals or after-hours services such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline.

Contact Hope Chapel and let us know how we can pray for you.  Or maybe you can arrange a time when you can come and sit in church, spending time meditating, praying or soaking in the gentle music https://www.hopechapel.org.au 02 96213964 info@hopechapel.org.au

If you can’t feel glad at the moment, try looking to the future with hope that things will improve. There is always hope.

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Hope https://hopechapel.org.au/hope/ Mon, 15 Nov 2021 05:44:38 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=808 Hope Read More »

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By Pastor KerryAnn Mapperson

Faith reflects a desired intention.  Hope is the anticipated fulfillment of that intention; it deals with future states of affairs.  Faith is the result of current belief systems that were shaped by experience, hope is the product of desiring a future state of affairs. 

Faith is necessary for hope: no one can have hope without faith.  So, if there is hope present you know that there is faith present as well. Oxygen is necessary for fire. If you have a fire you know that you have oxygen present. Faith without hope is possible: hope without faith is not possible. Hope is always accompanied by faith. People need to have faith because they need hope.  

David had faith and hope in God to defeat Goliath because he had overcome previous battles over a lion and a bear.  David does not know or even wonder how God will resolve this ugly confrontation, nor does he fear.  As a result of David stepping up and standing in the gap and not hesitating, all Israel received hope.

People lose hope when their focus is on something in this time limited world, which can never satisfy the longings of our souls.  The things in this world were never intended to satisfy us, but instead they were created as a glimpse of what is to come eternally.  Putting our hope in this temporary world set us up for failure and hopelessness.  We were made for eternal life and to help others find that life.  This world is not our end.

When the rest of the world around you is despairing and groaning defeatedly – hope is the steady, stone within you that gives that sense of “maybe!!……”……..”but God…..”

Five stones – five – interesting – many stories in the Bible incorporate the number 5 – five virgins, five talents, five loaves and fish, five sparrows, the Samaritan woman and her five husbands – Grace – the number five means Grace.

We face giants like fear, failure, anxiety, family troubles beyond our control, insecurities, floods of crises, trials of fire, faithlessness and false hopes.  Giants of habits, hurts, hopelessness, hang-ups and harbored feelings. 

God’s grace equips us in our battles of faith that build hope. Build hope just like you would, an arsenal of smooth stones. Smooth stones, just like good character, when propelled fly straight.  When stones have nicks and bumps on them when propelled don’t go the distance and they can change directions. Five smooth stones Stones made smooth by life experiences David’s experiences were already many, which he allowed to build character which gave him an arsenal to reach into when new challenging circumstances came along. David had more stones that he could use if needed, another person may have had none to choose from. Possible names to these stones that David selected could be:

Praise – always singing God magnifying songs – so in the midst of this adverse situation of abusive language and physical danger David just shouted the magnificance of God over the top of it all

Trust – that regardless what he was under, God was over it all

Commitment – involves bravery, personal training, service to others, a code of values to be held always

David was an undeveloped teenage body, which everyone including Goliath noticed as soon as they saw him.  Like a toy poodle taking on a Rottweiler.

We are no match against abuse, alienation, unemployment, unfaithfulness of trusted family, or even our own unworthiness.  We do not have the natural strength to meet the demands of people who we cannot please, passing grades you cannot make, payment of bills due, pornography you can’t refuse, habits you can’t shake.

We need a greater source of strength and stability than what is natural to us.  God is the only source of strength and stability.  In Joshua 1:5 He promises He will never fail us.  It is up to us to gain the confidence and courage that comes in being persuaded of the power, presence and promises of God.

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

David had made a commitment to serve God long before he faced Goliath.  During that time of commitment, his trust in God grew.  That is how he could run at Goliath saying, “I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty”. The word “champion” comes from the Hebrew word, “a middle man, the man between two.” The idea is that this was a man who stood between the two armies and fought as a representative of his army. When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. Goliath was able to defeat the Israelites on fear alone. Things that confront us can also defeat us simply through fear – divorce, cancer, unemployment….. Saul was head and shoulder taller than other Israelite men (1 Samuel 9:2). Saul was the logical choice to square off against Goliath, and we can expect he knew others were expecting him to fight Goliath.

(1 Samuel 16:14). As the Spirit of the LORD left Saul, so did his courage. It shouldn’t surprise us that a man filled with the Spirit of the LORD will have the courage to fight Goliath.

The Spirit of the LORD really can give us courage. When we are dismayed and greatly afraid, that is not God’s Spirit within us. God wants to give us a holy boldness and courage, not in ourselves, but in Him.

And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days: Day after day, Goliath would taunt and mock the armies of Israel, exposing them all (and especially Saul) as cowards who would run from a fight.

Forty in the Bible symbolized testing and probation. It rained for forty days in the time of Noah. Israel was in the wilderness forty years. Jesus fasted and was tempted of the devil for forty days before He began His public ministry. During Moses’ life he lived forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert before God selected him to lead his people out of slavery. Moses was also on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights, on two separate occasions (Exodus 24:18, 34:1 – 28), receiving God’s laws. He also sent spies, for forty days, to investigate the land God promised the Israelites as an inheritance (Numbers 13:25, 14:34).

 So here, Israel is tested by Goliath’s mockery. And if that is not enough to include in your day, David’s eldest brother minimizes him like only someone intimate to you.

If hurtful words can get David to fear and doubt, then David’s strength is gone. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than any lion or bear.

But when David didn’t give way to fear and emotion, and answered softly, he was more in step with God’s good plans for him. You could start digging Goliath’s grave right then!

David said: “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:30) David was different from all the men of the army of Israel, because he saw the battle as a cause of the LORD.

God wants to use us in and through the normal cares of life. How long did David prepare to fight Goliath? All of his life, up to that day. This is generally God’s pattern for preparation. He calls us to be faithful right where we are at, and then uses our faithfulness to accomplish greater things for Him. If David had run scared at the lion or the bear, he would never have been ready to fight Goliath now. But he had been faithful then, so he will be faithful now.

When he kept his sheep and the lion came, David did not raise the question whether he could kill the lion: he killed him, and then the question was settled. When the bear came, and was about to rob him of one of his lambs, he killed it, and then he knew he was called to do it.

As a shepherd facing the lions and the bears, David had no idea he was being trained to fight a giant. When we are in the midst of our preparation, we rarely see how God is going to use it.

David makes a contrast between himself and Goliath, without giving credit to Goliath himself. “Those are some pretty fancy weapons you’ve got there, mister. But I’ve got something far better than your weapons.”

David was motivated by a true love for God, and for the glory and honour of God. David was bold, but his trust was in God, not in himself. He believed that regardless what he was under – God was over it all.

Joshua 1:8 fear not…. I am with you wherever you go – whether you make wise choices or dark choices – God is there

God has a way forward for every person regardless of where you are at this moment. God knows how to create good outcomes for every person in any particular circumstance.  That doesn’t mean you can dictate what that will look like.  But right in this moment and from here forward – honour God first in every thought and choice – obey His preferences – that generates faith – which will lead to hope and hope fulfilled.       

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Boundaries https://hopechapel.org.au/boundaries/ Fri, 08 Oct 2021 05:27:41 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=604 Boundaries Read More »

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by Pastor Kerry-Ann Mapperson

Addiction to the approval of others; 

Living the life that your parents wanted you to live, your kids want you to live, your friends want you to live are all signs you are a people pleaser  

Or are you fearful of being rejected by others? 

The fear is a door you open and enables others to come in and control you, manipulate you, alter you from being the individual that you were created to be. 

It does not have to be dangerous to be considerate of what others think of you, but it can be. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to please your parents, your spouse.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to please others.    

A person who has no interest in pleasing others at all is a narcissist, totally self-centred.  

But that need to please others cannot be controlling over us.  

Everything good can be overdone – we need to eat, but don’t over eat.  We need to sleep, but not oversleep.  We need to be generous, but not taken advantage of.  We need to work, but not overwork. 

You cannot be worried about what everyone else wants you to be and focused on what God made you to be at the same time. You will stress yourself and miss being the authentic you, instead being at risk of being a replication of someone else. 

Envy and Peer Pressure are the two problems that make us move away from being our unique self.  

Ask yourself, “Whose opinion matters most to me?”  “Who do I trust most?”  

Giving in to peer pressure leads me to be less than who I am created to uniquely be.  

We should all be self-thinkers so we don’t just blindly follow the crowd. 

Succumbing to peer pressure leads us to deny what is truth and minimises who we are capable of being. When we surrender to living less than to our full capacity we are robbing those around us of the value that we can add to strengthen our community. 

Is it possible that wrong things are occurring around us because people are not being their true self and standing in their uniqueness?  I think so. 

Can I look at myself in the mirror and say, I cared more about pleasing people. I let them tell me what to do? 

In what areas of my life am I caving in to win the approval of others?  

When we succumb to others choices we wear a mask and give a fake presentation of ourselves.  

You can alter how you present what people see, but it could just be a coverup for who you really are.   

This is giving false information to people and creates a false foundation for the relationship.  It will eventually lead to a breakdown, particularly when put under strain. 

Living like this limits my ability to share my life stories, it even takes away any chance of having a story to tell that is truly mine. 

But if I am living authentically who I am, I am free to make character alterations as needed so that I continue to grow and reflect a better presentation of who I am. 

When I am living authentically to my true self, I will get a lot of pleasure from being able to share my life stories with people and they will be enjoyed by others hearing them. 

Who would hear about my values, opinions and desires from me, if fear wasn’t an issue?  

What is the antidote?  

1.     Even God can’t please everyone.  Only a fool would try and do what God cannot do.  

The only time everyone will speak well of you will be your funeral.  

2.    I don’t need everyone’s approval to be happy.  Happiness is a choice. Disapproval doesn’t have to ruin your happiness.  As soon as you become a leader of anything 50% of the people are not going to like you.  If you haven’t got their approval already by now, you are not going to get it.  Stop trying to earn it.  You don’t need it to be happy.   

3.    What seems so important now, is only temporary.  Eg  what were the 5 most important things to you in High School?  Maturity is when you learn that everything you think is important – isn’t.   

Success, wealth and fame are the things most people value and all of which can be taken away in a breath. 

4.    Life is too short to live it as a fake representation of your true self. 

5.    I was born as unique as my fingerprints.  

You are not god for anybody.  You are not someone’s source of total supply.   

We need a balance of two elements in relationships:  

Grace –give and receive grace from each other  

Truth – speak truth with love 

Grace provides the safety we need and Truth provides the structure.  

Grace says to you, “I am for you no matter what”.    

Truth says “I need to give you some feedback so you don’t ruin yourself”  

If your relationship is out of balance it could be because someone in the relationship is out of control that tramples on grace and doesn’t have truth.   

– don’t take responsibility for their behaviour, don’t become their parent.  They won’t get better and your relationship won’t get better.  

We should all responsible for our own behaviours and when we choose to, we are healthier within ourselves and are capable of having stronger relationships. 

Or an out of balance relationship could also be because someone is controlling someone else in the relationship.  We have choices and a voice in relationships.  

There are 2 types of controlling people – anger – if you don’t do it my way I will be angry with you – control by anger. 

Control by guilt – if you don’t do it my way, I will be hurt.  This is just as strong a control as anger.  

Boundaries are simply a property line.  Defining what is my responsibility and what is the responsibility of others.    

When considering where to place boundaries, a good point of reference is knowing what I have to offer and what I need to keep. 

Love others without rescuing them.  Love and Rescuing are two different things.  

When sharing a relationship for any length of time, there will be give and take.  There will be times when one of us has something they cannot carry on their own – an emotional problem or maybe a health issue, for a season. 

Then there are also the consistent things that you carry yourself.  Feelings, what you cherish, your thoughts, what you carry in your heart.  These are for each individual to be responsible for themselves. 

Things go well when we help carry those seasonal problems for a while, but not those things that each one of us should be carrying for ourselves. 

We are not responsible to fix their bad attitudes, their finances, their emotions.  You cannot make a miserable person happy.  

Love others without rescue.  

Ask yourself “Is this something they should be doing this for themselves?”  

This doesn’t mean when your partner asks “Honey can you make me a cup of coffee?”  You think – they can do that themselves, I’m not rescuing……. That is not what this is about. 

Learn to confront in love, not judgement.  

I’m trying to make a healthy me and a healthy you and a healthy us.  This is how we can bring out the best in each other.  

Start from a position of love – I want this person to win.   

I want the “We” and the “We” is not working.  The work we, the married we, the neighbour we.  

There is a time to say “no”.  Say “no” when it is best.    

Telemarketers need to hear the word.  

“That just doesn’t work for me”.  “No”.  

Those words or tone don’t work for me, that purchase doesn’t work for me, that behaviour doesn’t work for me. 

Sometimes it will need consequences.  Don’t rescue them.   

If they disregard what you say, if your words don’t have an impact on them then they are saying that pain is the only thing that they will impact them.  Time out works for 32 year olds and 2 year olds.  If you continue this behaviour I will leave the room, I may leave the house or I will hang up the phone or I am not going to give you my money, my time or my heart.  It doesn’t work for me.  

Just because you are seeing immature signs in your relationship, doesn’t automatically mean you should terminate it. You can see restoration of relationships.  You may need to consult a professional to assist.  But it is worth starting with a conversation and make your thoughts and feelings understood, and listen for what is the felt response from your partner.   

Every relationship needs boundaries and they need to be communicated before they can be agreed upon.  Unmet expectations often occur because they were never expressly communicated. 

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True friendship https://hopechapel.org.au/true-friendship/ Fri, 08 Oct 2021 05:22:04 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=600 True friendship Read More »

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by Pastor Rick Mapperson

Grooming Your Pallbearers 

A man and his wife were out on a date. While they were sitting in the corner of the restaurant waiting for our food the husband took out his pen and started to mark lines on a paper napkin. When he was done, he had made an acceptable likeness of a casket. He slid it across the table. 

“How many people does it take to carry one of these?” She looked at him with whimsical eyes that said, “What is he up to now? But she gave the right answer. “Six.” 

He said, “Honey if I died tomorrow, who would you ask to carry my casket?” He had plenty of friends who he believed would be willing to help with this task, assuming there was nothing more pressing in their appointment book. But he realized he didn’t want those types of people carrying him to his grave.  

He wanted people who would drop whatever they were doing in order to carry him to his final resting place. He realized at that point he had some work to do in the area of committed friends. If he died today he realised there would be a shortfall of committed pallbearers. 

He went on to describe this experience and said “I realised this could sound morbid, but I decided I needed to start grooming my pallbearers.  

Certainly not because I planned on needing them anytime soon. But they represent the people who have been with you through the best and the worst of times. It was obvious to me that if I wanted to have rich friendships, I would have to be a loyal friend myself. 

We have a crisis of friendship in the 21st century. We have never been more connected, thanks to social media, but in many ways we have never been more disconnected.  

Covid has revealed much about the way we are living, especially in densely populated areas of Sydney. A recent study by Macquarie University found the following: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened feelings of isolation among apartment dwellers, with more than one-third saying they know no one in their building well enough to have a conversation. 

Macquarie University researchers also found 57 per cent of people living in high-rise apartments had no neighbours they would ask a favour of or invite into their home. 

The research, which surveyed apartment dwellers in Macquarie Park, Chatswood, Epping, Bankstown and Parramatta, found 64 per cent of people would like to interact more with their neighbours. 

People over the age of 50 were more likely to speak to neighbours daily or weekly, while 61 per cent of people under 50 did not know anyone well enough to ask a favour. 

The survey led by Miriam Williams, lecturer in geography and planning at Macquarie University, also found renters were more likely not to talk to other residents. 

But she added: “Not everyone that was interviewed was interested in interacting more with their neighbours.” 

Dr Williams said parents with children living in apartments were more likely to be connected to their neighbours: “Children play a key role in facilitating interactions due to their presence in common spaces.” 

Apartment dwellers also said they interacted with neighbours less during the pandemic, despite spending more time at home because of lockdowns. 

How are you doing when it comes to friendship? 

We all want friends, we all need friends. So how do we get friends? 

It has often been said that “A man who has friends must himself be friendly”. And that is true. “If we are to have friends, we must first learn how to be a friend.” 

Traits of a true friend 

1. A true friend lifts you up when you are down. 

Its easy to be friends with others when life is good and they are fun to be around. What happens though when life is less than wonderful? We all want true friends in our lives who will love us, support us and encourage us when life is challenging, which it will inevitably be.  

A true friend supports you. A true friend will demonstrate their support by standing behind you and beside you.  

2. A true friend will bring out the best in us. 

A woman and her husband, the mayor of a large city, were walking along the street one day when a construction worker on a nearby scaffolding leaned over and shouted, “Hello, Peggy.” She turned to look and recognized him as being an old boyfriend from high school.  

She returned his greeting and they had a brief conversation before she and her husband continued their walk. 

The mayor chuckled and said to his wife, “See there, if you had married that fellow, you’d be the wife of a construction worker.” 

She looked at him and said, “No, dear, if I’d married him, he would be the mayor of this city.” 

Behind everyone who achieves anything of worth is a friend of great worth! 

3. A true friend will strengthen you! 

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:  

 
“One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is unbreakable.”  

 
“One who understands our silence.”  

“A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.”  

 
“A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down.”  

 
The winning definition read: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.” 

Now of course we all would love to have those sort of friends. Friends like that can be a great resource in life. Friends who we can count on that will drop everything and come to our aid if we needed them, Friends who bring out the best in us and also can see the worst in us and still remain our friends in spite of the truth that we can have some less than desirable traits at times.  

Of course the key to attracting those types of friends is being like that ourselves. 

I read the story of a man who was disappointed to discover one day that his ride on lawnmower had broken down and he frustratingly spent hours  working fruitlessly to get it going.  

Suddenly his new neighbor appeared with a handful of tools. ‘Can I give you a hand?’ he asked. In 20 minutes he had the mower functioning beautifully. ‘Say, what do you make with such a fine set of tools?’ the man asked. He smiled and said, ‘Friends.’” 

A great way to make friends. Help them with what you can do. It doesn’t need to be having great mechanical skills. Just be observant and seeing what is happening on their world and helping as best you can is sufficient to start some great long term friendships.  

What can you use to strengthen and help those around you? 

We can strengthen others by praying for them. We can strengthen others by being there for them in their time of need. We can strengthen others by being real.  

C.S. Lewis said: 

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.” 

So we have learnt that a true friend will stand behind you and will support you and a true friend will stand beside you and will strengthen you! 

4. A true friend will stimulate you! 

While sitting in the club house, an old friend asked Bill why he no longer played golf with George. Bill said, “Would you play golf with a guy who’s always improving his ball position, occasionally slips a tee under his ball in the fairway, and regularly lies about his score?” The answer from the old friend was obvious, “Certainly not!” Bill said, “Well, neither will George.” 

We need to be the kind of friend who lifts others up, rather than dragging others down! People ought to be able to say that they are a better person because of our influence in their lives! 

5.  A true friend helps to make us better people.  

They do this by sticking with us.  

A girl gave her boyfriend her picture. On the back was this note: “Dearest love, I love you more everyday and I always will. I know you feel the same way about me. All my love forever and ever. PS – If we break up I want this picture back.” 

That’s not to commitment of a true friend. A true friend doesn’t abandon you when things get tough. They do not forsake you. 

You can tell a true friend by the fact that when you’ve made a complete fool of yourself, they don’t seem to believe that you’ve done a permanent job of it. They stand by you and stay with you, and help you move beyond your failure to see successes in life once again. 

True friends choose to have faith in you. 

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play major league baseball. While breaking baseball’s “color barrier,” he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. His own fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans booed. 

Then shortstop “Pee Wee” Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew silent. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career. 

Do you want to have true friendships in your life? 

Are you ready to take action to widen your circle of friends? 

Here is where to start. 

Be genuinely interested in others. 

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie 

That means really listening to them. It means being hospitable. It means realising that people can be different from you and that doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong, they are just different. 

Express appreciation to others. 

“Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought or sold, 

But its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold. 

For gold is cold and lifeless, it can neither see not hear, 

And in the time of trouble it is powerless to cheer. 

It has no ears to listen, no heart to understand, 

It cannot bring you comfort or reach out a helping hand, 

So when you ask God for a gift, be thankful if He sends 

Not diamonds, pearls or riches, but the love of real true friends! 

– Helen Steiner Rice 

Let’s groom our pallbearers. Lets be people who love others. Lets be the kind of friends we want others to be. 

Let’s start it now.  

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Caring for the vulnerable https://hopechapel.org.au/caring-for-the-vulnerable/ Fri, 08 Oct 2021 05:17:09 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=596 Caring for the vulnerable Read More »

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by Pastor Kerry-Ann Mapperson

No one likes being sick. No one likes pain. No one likes being unable to help ourselves. No one likes losing our dignity. But the truth is we all will be vulnerable in some way due to physical dysfunction in our lifetime. 

Darwinism says, “survival of the fittest”, which immediately says Premi-babies, fragile elderly, disabled or anyone after a major accident is at risk of being left behind. 

Love is one of those crucial attributes that evolution cannot explain. If Darwinism were true, we would not need hospitals or nurses. Instead, we can and should choose to live in such a way that we care for the least. Caring for the most vulnerable in our community has real and pleasant consequences for your life. 

From the moment we were born it was not simply to ‘be,’ but also to ‘do.’ We are not just to absorb what the world has for ourselves, but to use what we must give, to create, to build, to mend. We are engaging at our best when we make steps to love someone first who is not loving me first and maybe to do it with people who cannot give back to me. 

Remember who’s in control. 

This is a hard one for nurses, care givers and all medical front liners. Nursing is a field where your actions and decisions are a huge deal, and in reality they can mean life or death for someone. In that line of thinking it’s easy to become stressed out as you feel you must manage and control everything. But when it comes down to it you don’t have control. You just don’t. 

We appreciate those who make choices to serve and care for the wellbeing of our most vulnerable, for their lack of favouritism, no discrimination but instead consistent in their level of care for every person. 

Our personal values and morals need to lead us to be more merciful and more compassionate towards people with very practical needs.  

If we can turn a blind eye from our community vulnerable, something’s missing or damaged in our soul; it’s not whole, it’s not complete. It lacks integrity. 

Caring, is going to mean concern for the vulnerable. It’s going to mean showing compassion and mercy. It’s going to mean giving them what is needed for the body and soul.  

Love is the compassion that feels, the care that gets involved,  and the commitment that doesn’t quit.  Love originates in the giver of love, not the recipient of love; love initiates,  love takes the first step in reaching out to those in need.  Love pays the ultimate price, going to extraordinary lengths to help the hurting. 

Love your neighbour as yourself. That’s the law of love, and if we do that we’re going to care for the needs of the oppressed. Our community as a whole is stronger when we do not ignore our vulnerable. 

If you are not in a position of responsibility in caring for the vulnerable, consider assisting someone that is. Give them encouragement. Be there to offer respite or provide meals to help carry their load. Be someone who engages with them in conversations that take their minds and hearts to a different place, even if it is just for an hour or two.  

If you are a Carer of a vulnerable person at home, do not isolate. Loneliness is a feeling; isolation is a choice. 

Find community groups that you can join that fill your emotional tank and remind you who you are as an individual. 

Take time to go for walks to enjoy nature and allow it to restore your soul. 

Send Hope Chapel a message to let us know how you are going. 

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Money https://hopechapel.org.au/money/ Fri, 08 Oct 2021 05:03:39 +0000 https://hopechapel.org.au/?p=591 Money Read More »

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Article by Rick Mapperson

If you ask most people what their attitude to money is, they would all say the same thing – I need more it.  

Money is one of the potential divisive and controversial subjects you can discuss with people. Some people say that money is the cause of all conflicts in homes and nations. Money is in fact neutral.  

The same money that is used to buy weapons that kill people can be the same money that is then used to finance the doctors who repair the injured. Money is just a tool. 

Billy Graham said “There is nothing wrong with possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.”    

Some people believe that their lives would be perfect if only they had a little bit more money. If they are honest, they were admitting that they want a lot more money. There is a reason so many people are buying tickets in lotteries. They truly expect that if they win a huge windfall that all their problems will be solved.  

Several years ago actor Sylvester Stallone was asked what effect money had on his life. 

Stallone said: 

“Money does not bring peace of mind. It brings more problems. Everything is magnified one hundred thousand times. That is not to complain. But once you make a fortune, you would think it would be all green lights and blue skies. But that is not true. In fact, it brings out some of the vilest characteristics that you can imagine.”  

We need to have realistic expectations about what money can do, but more importantly, what it CAN’T do. 

Someone has described this situation well. 

Money can buy a bed…but it cannot buy sleep. 

Money can buy amusements but it cannot buy happiness. 

Money can buy companions but it cannot buy friends. 

Money can buy books but it cannot buy brains. 

Money can buy a house but it cannot buy a home. 

Money can buy medicine but it cannot buy health. 

Money can buy flattery but it cannot buy respect. 

So how can we have financial security? How can we manage our money so that we are in control of it rather than its controlling us? 

Here are some simple steps: 

1. Have a safety net. 

Did you know that during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that during the first half of the construction 23 men fell to their deaths in the waters below? It was so dangerous that they stopped construction. Then they built a huge net under the bridge at a cost of $100,000, so if anyone did fall they would not be hurt. During the second half of the construction only 8 men fell and of course, none of them died. But here is the amazing thing… during the last half of construction the work proceeded at 25% greater efficiency.  

Having the net under them did not make them more careless it made them more confident and more efficient.  

Those workers experienced a new freedom.  

Financial security can bring a net of assurance can take stress and worry out of our life.  

How we do we get there though? 

How can we achieve financial independence? 

Sorry to disappoint you but there are no shortcuts. People that promise you that you can “get rich quick” usually have an agenda that will help me them rich and at your expense.  

1. You must have a budget.  

Most people do not have a budget. They spend what they get and then hope that dreaming and best intentions will combine to bring financial stability. It is never going to happen. We need to be deliberate with our planning. We need to have a plan.  

Keys for successful budgeting. 

  • Write it down, on paper, on purpose. Every dollar has a purpose. 
  • Be realistic 
  • Plan for emergencies. You need “rainy day” money 
  • Factor in fun. You wont stick with the budget if there is no provision for entertainment and enjoyment. 

You must remember that you do not work for an employer. You work for your own company. You manage money for a company called “You company.” 

The average person earns 4 to 10 million dollars in their life. Does that scare you? It should. Its not exciting. It’s not revolutionary, but the best way to achieve financial freedom is knowing what you earn, being very deliberate with what you earn and making sure you set aside something of every dollar you earn.  

2. Eliminate debt 

Debt is poverty with a façade of prosperity. We are trying to be rich with money we do not really have but think we will one day. 

How to get out of debt? 

Here are some effective steps. They will not work unless you do. If  

1st. Commit yourself to removing debt from your life. do not accept debt as normal. 

We should regard this as a kind of “Debtors Anonymous.” In AA, what is the first thing an alcoholic need to do to take control of their problem? That is right: They need to acknowledge that they have a problem. Likewise, for us to gain control of our debt, we need to believe that debt is toxic to our financial future. 

2nd – Make a commitment not to take on any more debt. This is not always possible, but that should be our goal. 

3rd – Develop a written plan on how to retire your debt (a budget). Contact those who you have debts with. Companies will often have options that can negotiate a better deal for you. They will not volunteer these offers unless you can assure them that you are committed to working proactively with them. Ask for a better deal. The worst thing that happen is that they say no. If you do not ask you won’t know. 

4th – Set a reasonable period to retire your debt. Be realistic. Allow for emergencies.  

5th – Adjust your lifestyle to meet your objectives 

Do not eat out as much 

Do not subscribe to cable TV 

Leave the car home and walk where you can. Your body will be grateful you did and so will your budget. 

A lot of times, we buy “things” that we really do not need. And we subscribe to services we could live without. 

6th – Begin to pay debts off – small ones first. The logic here is that with every debt that is paid off, we gain confidence that we can meet our objectives. 

3. Harness the power of WHY 

The Power of “WHY” 

There is a secret mechanism behind your own human motivation that you need to know.  

Whenever we make a decision, two elements are present: 

1.   The decision at hand.  E.g. “I’m going to lose 5 kilo’s this month” 

2.   The reason WHY you want #1 and the emotional pressure of that “WHY”  

Here is the secret: 

Whenever you make a decision, a commitment, or a goal, the single most important thing which determines whether you will SUCCEED or not is if you’ve created a BIG enough REASON for yourself to succeed.  

This is what I mean by the power of “WHY?” 

Whenever you set out to succeed at something, first ask yourself: 

“WHY is this really important to me?  WHY MUST I have it?” 

Once you ask this question you absolutely MUST come up with a powerful enough reason or a series of reasons which will turn your soul on fire and give you the drive necessary for you to follow through with your decision until the end, and make it IMPOSSIBLE for you to sit around and procrastinate. 

I guarantee you that if you currently have some things you’ve wanted in your life for a long time but they’re still not there it’s because you haven’t taken the right action, or the right amount of consistent action in your life to get that.   

And the main reason you haven’t taken the action is because you haven’t given yourself a powerful enough REASON that drives you emotionally at full strength towards that goal! 

Let’s quickly look at some examples of really poor decisions: 

Example #1) 

When most people decide they want to lose weight or do something for their body, their decision is usually one sided without even being consciously aware of the “WHY.” 

Decision: “I’m going to lose 5 kilos” 

Reason:    “Because I want to look thin, lean and attractive” 

That reason is nice, but it’s simply not emotionally driving enough to push your limits to the point where you stay absolutely committed to your goal until you achieve the desired result in your life.  

This is why most people’s “new year’s resolutions” hardly ever get accomplished, because they are simple blatant decisions with little emotional value. 

If you want to GUARANTEE your success you have to stack your reasons to a point of emotional overwhelm where there is NO ROOM for failure: 

Decision: “I’m going to get out of debt!” 

Reason: 

Because I am tired of being nervous every time the mail comes or the phone rings.  

I want to be able to provide nice things for my family without worrying about how I am going to pay for it. 

I want to have money set aside for emergencies.  

I want to be relaxed, secure and HAPPY.  

This sounds so simple but it’s extremely powerful. Most people don’t do it because they’re afraid of being honest with themselves. 

4. Increase your income 

You don’t paid by the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour. Improve your value by being a valuable employee. 

5. Work on family relationships 

Marriage is grand, Divorce is 200 grand. Dysfunctional families will send you broke. If you are addicted to something you will end up broke.  

If you stay with something who is addicted you will end up broke. Nice people get ahead in this world. 

6. You have to be a giver. 

You will not learn how to be wealthy until you give. Giving people are generous people and generous people have quality relationships. 

Do you need help with finances? Hope Chapel can help people with money management strategies. We can assist with helping you set goals and give you assistance to reach financial freedom. 

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