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Youth Take Over – Ps Dave Doolan

[18/10/2020]

Episode Notes

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Youth Take Over – Ps Dave Doolan2020-10-18T10:21:50+10:00

Faith Mods Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[11/10/2020]

Episode Notes

Faith Mods (modifications) are things that we can add to our faith to step into all that God has for us!

Mods, short for modifications, are things you do to improve, better, increase and add to!

If you want to hear the whole intro on why this matters then just pop back to our September 20th service on our website and it will give full context to this message and the understanding of adding to our faith.

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Make every effort to mod up your faith!

Faith is good:

  • It gets us to heaven
  • It saves us
  • Without it, it is impossible to please God
  • Faith is God’s currency
  • Faith is key

but it can be kitted out, improved and added to.

In fact, this very passage and the verses following say that if we add to our faith we will be:

  • Effective and productive in our knowledge of Christ
  • It will stop us from stumbling in our faith
  • It will lead to a rich welcome into heaven when the time comes

But likewise, it says of those who refuse to add to their faith that they are:

  • Near sighted and blind
  • Forgotten they have been cleansed from their sins
  • Add to that the conclusion is they will be ineffective, unproductive and easily stumble

Good enough for me, so let’s read and grow together.

Bruce preached last week on Self Control and Perseverance and so I will keep going and the next one is:

KINDNESS

Brotherly Affection (NLT), Mutual Affection (NIV), Brotherly Kindness (NKJV)  

There is a clear message in all of it is. Kindness – what a wonderful thing to be said about us, that we are kind.

Pastor Tim Douglas from Hillsong Victoria is one of the kindest persons I have met. He went out of his way to help Tegan and I when we moved to Bendigo.

Likewise, Brett and Shirley Gregory are also such kind and caring people here in Connect Church.

Romans 12:9-10 (NIV)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love (same word). Honour one another above yourselves.

(NKJV)

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.

The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Wouldn’t it be nice if every  Christian was simply kind wherever they were!

Kind in:

  • How we speak to others
  • Kind in our consideration of others
    • Honour one another above ourselves
    • Giving preference to one another
    • Kindness is thinking of others and acting from it
  • In our actions to others
  • In situations are we the kind person

Using the statement, “that’s just who I am” does not exclude us from the Bible’s requirement of being kind. The idea that ‘I am just saying what I think’ is not an excuse to disobey scripture and be unkind with our words. It is not an excuse of not developing kindness in our lives.

Now this isn’t a scripture or message for ‘the gentler ones among us’ or the ‘feelers’ in the group. Don’t be tempted to think of kindness as weakness and passive!

When we look a little further on at what the Bible says about kindness, it will demonstrate that the Bible’s definition is far from weak or passive, in fact it takes far more strength, security, discipline and courage to be kind than to be unkind. Being unkind is weak and lacks self-control and discipline.

The Bible has some key things to say on this topic of kindness.

Firstly, the passage in Romans we read says Christians are called to be kind to one-another in the Church!

  • This is key because it does not say be kind to the people you get along with, or like, in the Church, but all the Church family.
  • Why would the Bible even need to say this? It does so because one of the things that makes the Church so incredible and special is that is it made up of such diverse people
  • It gathers rich and poor, slave and free, men, women, kids, all sorts of political persuasions, hugely different backgrounds, diverse races, ethnicities, cultural differences and socio-economic groups
  • Nowhere else do we find such a huge mix of so many different people and if we could all show kindness to one another it would be the ultimate example to the world!

In a world divided, separatist and squabbling, imagine if we could just demonstrate a kindness that shows the way to Jesus for those who are looking for Him!

Matthew 5:14 (NLT)

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.

A warmth of light on a hill. The example is a light on a hill.

  • Somehow in some ideas of Christianity this has become thought of as a lighthouse warning of rocks and peril. But that is not what the Bible says!
  • No-one is drawn to a lighthouse beaming out their failings on the rocky outcrop of judgmental religion. That kind of light pushes people away,

It says a city on a hill! A place of shelter, warmth, food, people and life! Jesus’ intent is not that we are the lighthouse, defenders of all things religious but instead that those who are in the valley would look and see a place where:

  • They get a reprieve from the elements of life
  • There is food and people to welcome them
  • Warmth and life
  • A place you want to head to
  • Imagine a weary traveller maybe even lost in a dark valley looking to the glow of a city and longing to reach it

That is what a Church that is filled with kind people will be kind to those searching for God.

The scriptures teach further on kindness and bring it into a whole new light!

Proverbs 25:22 (NLT)

If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.

Matt 5:38-42 (NLT)

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Romans 12:14-21 (NLT) – one of the original verses that uses this word for kindness goes on to describe it.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”. 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

All of these passages come from the same angle.

Kindness is not simply being kind to those who are kind to us!

  • God’s kindness is being kind to those who are unkind to us
  • To the stranger
  • To the person who cannot repay us
  • Never having an ulterior motive.
  • Kindness because Jesus would ask that
  • Not to just the people that think like us
  • Not just to our friendship group

Paul says: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

What this does is put the responsibility of kindness onto our own shoulders.

  • Not the person’s response or lack
  • Not their deserving or not
  • Not their repaying or consideration

Just at every opportunity show kindness to people, especially to those who don’t deserve it! We are called to a whole new level of kindness.

That’s why real courage, real strength and real toughness comes not from repaying, but choosing kindness as a deliberate response. Even when we think they don’t deserve it. Choose kindness as a deliberate response.

I close with this, God can ask us for this, because He has modelled it for us.

  • God first loved us

Jesus came to die for a world that rejected Him and crucified Him. His offer of kindness was already decided in Heaven.

God is not an unjust, angry dictator. He is a loving and kind God and He wants to show that kindness to each of us!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Do you find it easy to be kind to everyone? Not everyone can. Discuss why this is so.
  2. When someone has been unkind to you, how have you reacted?
  3. Discuss ways that you can react in a positive way and encourage others to do the same.

Faith Mods Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-10-11T15:27:14+10:00

Faith Mods Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[04/10/2020]

Episode Notes

Faith Mods – things that we can add to our faith to step into all that God has for us!

Mods – short for modifications – things you do to improve, better, increase, add to.

In the words of the little bobcat guy off Dusty Crop Hopper.

  • Better than new!

If you want to hear the whole intro on why this matters then just pop back to our Sep 20th service in on our website and it will give full context to this message and the understanding of adding to our faith..

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But whoever does not have them is near sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Make every effort to mod up your faith.

Faith is good:

  • It gets us to heaven
  • It saves us
  • Without it is impossible to please God
  • Faith is God’s currency
  • Faith is key

But it can be kitted out.

In fact, this very passage and the verses following say that if we add to our faith we will be:

  • Effective and productive in our knowledge of Christ
  • It will stop us from stumbling in our faith
  • It will lead to a rich welcome into heaven when the time comes

But likewise, it says of those who refuse to add to their faith that they are:

  • Near sighted and blind
  • Forgotten they have been cleansed from their sins
  • Add to that the conclusion is they will be ineffective, unproductive, and easily stumbled

Good enough for me, so let’s read and grow together.

Bruce preached last week on Self Control and Perseverance and so I will keep going and the next one is:

Godliness – Add to your faith Godliness!

The English words that define this in the dictionary, or are closely related are:

Pious, Holiness, Godliness

Sadly, these words have taken on meanings that are far from what God ever intended them to mean and it is more of a cultural misunderstanding on both sides of the fence.

The average person tends to think of this idea as:

  • Pious snobs, holier than though types inflicting their beliefs on people
  • Beliefs that are typically dead, boring, powerless, irrelevant and out of touch with the common man
  • The person that looks down on everyone for not living up to their unreasonable high standard, usually because most of us would die from boredom in trying to do so

There are only so many people that scan live truly boring lives and be ok with that:

  • It seems that through history that being ‘good’ has meant you miss out on the fun while being ‘bad’ is to be envied
  • I hope to clear that up today

The classic cultural picture of this is Ned Flanders from the Simpsons.

  • Love it or hate it, even ignore it if you like, but in reality, that is what most people think of Godliness

This sadly comes because there has been a history of people taking this idea of Godliness and claiming that’s what it looks like.

  • They have high minded and useless religious ideas that only serve to make them feel good about themselves or feed some weird complex they have that is beyond what a normal person can grasp

They claim to be so Holy – yet they have never told their face!

  • They are not enthusiastic, life giving, encouraging
  • People see them coming and run as if the Zombie apocalypse is on its way
  • No-one is drawn to it or wants it, rather it serves as a warning to steer clear of that kind of belief set

Such a wrong perspective!

Godliness will add to your life, joy, peace, excitement, purpose.

  • I would put to you that to reject Godliness (or misunderstand it) is to miss out on the kind of abundant life God intends for us.
  • Jesus was not a sour, sombre joy killer.
    • All the best parties wanted Him there
    • Kids loved him
    • Sinners wanted to be near him
    • People were drawn to Him
    • People gave up food and went to remote places just to hear Him
    • That is not Ned Flanders

This word is only used 15 times in the New Testament and in the book of 1 Timothy it has a bit to say about it.

1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NIV)

 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; (don’t get caught up discussing and arguing rubbish on Facebook) rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.

What I like here is some of the clarity this gives around the issue of godliness.

  • It is not useless discussion about things that don’t change lives. Some people want to discuss and debate useless points of view that don’t help anyone. It is useless and most of it on Facebook or YouTube.
  • Neither is it about holding on till you finally go to heaven having survived this earth. It holds promise for this life and the next.

So, if we are just hanging on for the sweet by and by, that is not biblical godliness.

  • People think Godliness is not spitting, swearing or warming the same pew in church week after week
  • But that is incorrect!
  • We can do all those things and its simply religious tradition and useless

It is valuable for this life!

  • It is so valuable that unlike many things that are only valuable for this life – Godliness goes beyond this life to the next
  • It requires effort and training, hence our original verse saying ‘make every effort.  It is an active thing.

According to Jerry Bridges:

“The New Testament word for godliness, in its original meaning, conveys the idea of it, a personal attitude toward God that results in actions that are pleasing to Him. This personal attitude toward God is what we call devotion to God.”

Devotion is not an activity, it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is composed of three essential elements:

  • The fear of God
  • The love of God
  • The desire for God

Note that all three elements focus upon God. The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God. From this Godward attitude arises the character and conduct that we usually think of as godliness.”

So often we try to develop Christian character and conduct without taking the time to develop God-centered devotion. We try to please God without taking the time to walk with Him and develop a relationship with Him. This is impossible to do.

In order to simplify this or break it down a little, Godliness is a life with God at the very centre of every part of it.

Probably the best scripture that puts it in simple terms is:

Mark 12:30 (NIV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.

Godliness isn’t just one thing! It is the way that having God central to who we are which effects everything.

A strange and abstract example of this is insecurity!

  • Now when we have insecurity as the centre of our worldview, it doesn’t matter what part of life we look at, it affects everything!
  • The way we think is affected
  • What we see is affected
  • How we act is affected
  • If we win or lose is irrelevant because we will view it through insecurity

But in an opposite kind of way, Godliness means that God is so central to who we are that it infiltrates and affects every part of:

  • Our love and relationship of God. It is central to our time and life commitments
  • How we think
  • How we act
  • What we believe
  • What we value

But it’s all this together – not one or the other that affects our life.

So, to have the strictest of disciplines in character but to deny the relationship with God, makes us moral but not Godly. That is a moralist life – but not Christian

To know about God or even that He loves you but to not have it impact the focus of our life, makes us feel good, but not Godly. That is a person who knows of God yet is not transformed by Him.

To have an intense desire for God and want to know Him, yet to ignore change in our conduct is spiritual, but not Godly. That is a spiritualist life – but not Christian. It all has to work together.

I feel like this is where some of the confusion lies. Godliness is not denying the fun of life and what it offers, but rather acknowledging and surrendering to God in the midst of it!

It’s not that we can’t party – but  we can celebrate and honour God within that .

It’s not that we can’t enjoy pleasure – just within God’s plan and honour Him with it.

Godliness isn’t denying sex – it is living out what He has for us. He knows best for it.

Godliness is not that we can’t enjoy music, arts and talents – just honour God for it and with it.

Godliness is not that we can’t have money – just honour God with it.

Godliness is not that we can’t have a highly successful career – just honour God with it.

Godliness is not that we can’t enjoy food and having a great time – just honour God with it and in the midst of it.

Godliness is not that you can’t love sport, camping, or have some sort of fun life – it’s just put God before all those things and honour Him in the midst of them.

Paul the apostle wrote a very interesting and clarifying passage in Romans 14 which speaks to this.

Romans 14:1-15 (NIV)

1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

(Look if you want to eat just veggies, good for you, I am going to enjoy a good, rare steak with a big slither of fat, pork and crackle)

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (This is the key)  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

“As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

This is why it seems Godliness is grossly and usually misunderstood for legalistic, pious religiosity judging people.

  • This passage is stating clearly that to judge others with your own religious ideas is ungodly!
  • In fact, this passage teaches that Godliness is the opposite of judgemental, instead it is freeing and life giving!

This passage doesn’t condemn living life to the full, enjoying it having a good time, but says, the opposite.

14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean…”

Godliness isn’t about missing out on life, but living it! It’s just that the life we live has Jesus Christ right at the centre of it all!

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

Galatians 2:20

Now that does not mean we have licence to live however we want and ignore God’s Word.

  • Well I feel like I can sleep with my girlfriend and don’t feel it’s wrong, so there you go
    • No – that is in direct violation to God’s Word and commands
  • Well I feel like I can slack off at work and the boss owes me anyway
    • No – that is in direct violation of Gods’ Word and commands

Godliness is having a love and desire for God that is so strong that it affects the way we live! God is central, not peripheral to our life!

So, to just decide you want to live however despite it being against God’s commands does not fit with godliness!

  • That is rebellion or disobedience and God is not so cool on those things
  • Godliness is God’s ways above our ways not the other way around

Godliness is not about dividing up life into spiritual and natural.

  • Give God 15 minutes in prayer then ignore Him for the other 23 hours and 45 min
  • It does not be one thing Sunday and another on Monday
  • It does not simply sing worship songs Sunday and behave however it wants the rest of the week

It is a God consciousness and willingness to put Him first in every scenario of life:

  • In the workplace – Him and His ways are first
  • In the home – Him and His ways are first
  • In the bedroom – Him and His ways are first
  • In the TV room – Him and His ways are first
  • With my friends at a party – Him and His ways are first
  • In Church on Sunday – Him and His ways are first
  • With my money – Him and His ways are first
  • With my time – Him and His ways are first
  • With my affection and desire – Him and His ways are first
  • With what I am passionate about and committed to – Him and His ways are first

Godliness is not just heart with no actions. It is God being so central to both that He is supreme right across our life!

It is not about being a boring, pious, religious zealot – but rather living life to the full with God at the centre of every part!

Let me begin to close with this:

2 Tim 3:1-5 (NIV)

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

So, there is godliness without power and godliness with power!

  • That is when we give God our heart but not our life!
    • Or we give our actions but not our heart!
    • Being moralist or Spiritualist is not Christian!

They are not the same! There is no power in that kind of life!

The only way consistent with the scripture to add Godliness to our faith is to:

Mark 12:30 (NIV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

That means Godliness is:

  • Loving God and have relationship with Him
  • Desiring God above anything else in life
    • Career, pleasure, money, others respect, a sport or passion
  • Obeying Him with our actions and our strength!

Godliness is not Ned Flanders or some dead boring, irrelevant life!

True Godliness is a life of all that God has and that has God at the centre of every part:

  • Life to the full
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Excitement
  • Passion
  • Blessing
  • Adventure

Add to your faith Godliness. Living life to the full but with God right at the centre of every part!

So today if you are listening and perhaps you have resisted surrendering your life to Jesus because you thought that was giving up life and having to become some dead boring rule monger.

Then let me tell you the truth this morning! Jesus came to bring life and life to the full.

The devil only wants to steal from you, bring death and destruction to your world. He will promise ultimate freedom – but deliver ultimate death.

Right now, the Holy Spirit will be speaking to you and showing you what He wants you to do.

Today make a decision to turn from this worlds cheap and destructive perversions of life and become a follower of the God who loved you so much He gave His own life that you could know Him and experience His love for you!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss what you thought was meant by Godliness before you became a Christian.
  2. How different is it to what you believe today?
  3. Discuss what it means to you to put God first in every area of your life. Is this easy or hard for you?

Faith Mods Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-10-04T11:35:37+10:00

Faith Mods Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge

[27/09/2020]

Episode Notes

Hi Church, a lot has happened since I had the opportunity to talk with you all. What an awesome Sunday a couple of weeks ago when our Miracle Offering giving in our first weeks is now paving the way for us to be in our new facility very soon. Thank you for your ongoing generosity.

The time is getting closer for us to celebrate together.

Also, on a sad but at the same time triumphant note, we farewelled Jan’s Mum Faye at a beautiful graveside service which I know many of you viewed online. Thank you on behalf of Jan and all our family to all who prayed for us, sent flowers and messages of sympathy and practically assisted during this time. We have a loving, generous and genuine Church. We are very blessed!

2 Peter 1:3-10 (NIV)

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,

I want to continue the series started by Pastor Kerrin last Sunday entitled “ Faith Mods” or adding to your salvation experience by tapping into God’s divine power here on earth “that has given us all we need for life and Godliness… so that through them (the very great and precious promises) you may participate in the Divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”

You see, if we don’t intentionally tap into God’s Divine Power and participate, then we won’t escape the world’s corruption. There may be oil underground but to get to it we must “tap into it”. It must be intentional!

Peter, in this letter written in his latter years to Christians facing horrific persecution, addresses the difficult times during which they may wander and forget the basics of their faith. A time when false teachers were around denying Christ’s second coming. A time of opposition to the basics of the Faith. A bit like today, without the obvious persecution in this part of the world, but still filled with false doctrines, relative truth, situational ethics, secular humanistic, godless lifestyles, greed and corruption at all levels of society.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

3 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

Tap into, participate and escape, all imply intentional effort.

Salvation is a free gift, but to tap into, participate and escape, we must “make every effort” as Peter says to add to our faith. We are saved by grace, a free gift, but to live the life God intends us to live it takes effort, it takes spiritual warfare, it takes adding to our salvation faith the virtues which Kerrin spoke about last week and the ones we address today from 2 Peter.

Faith Mods!

It’s not about us only, if we are satisfied to be saved and have our “ticket to heaven” and don’t “tap into, participate and escape” then nothing will change in our world. Our salvation is assured, but is it all wood, hay and stubble?

No legacy for future generations and no impact now…… Faye’s legacy.

If we build a new building for our comfort, nothing is gained except we enjoy our Christian gatherings more, have all the mod cons and can even be falsely proud of our achievements but our building is to bless others, bless our city and demonstrate our desire to give our best to Him who gave it all for us. “Excellence honours God and inspires people”.

The vehicle in which we tap into, participate and escape is God’s “very great and precious promises”

As with any vehicle you have to purchase it, own it and move through life with it. Do you know and own the precious promises given to you through God’s Word? Are they your vehicle?

The promises that He will supply all your needs, all things work together for good, healing promises, generational blessing promises, protection promises, end time promises, and the list goes on. Are these promises your vehicle for life?

Now, 1 Peter 1:6 takes us to the next Faith Mods, to add to our faith. Following Goodness and Knowledge comes Self Control and Perseverance.

Remember from last week, Goodness is Excellence in our attitude, effort and reputation e.g. In SCA our sports Chaplains are reminded that they are ambassadors, representing the King in their club and in their world.

Knowledge is not just believing, but knowing what you believe.

Self- Control – add to your faith self- control. In the Hellenistic world of Peter’s day this word pertained to sports. As Paul put it “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training” (1 Cor. 9:25)

(Reflections on lack of strict training during football days, no cutting corners when running laps, no concessions for short legged footballers… although I pleaded my case!)

It’s the same with “add ons” to our faith, we can’t cut corners with holiness!

Self-control is complete reliance on God. It can mean waiting for God’s timing and unlike Abraham not causing a mess by becoming impatient with God and letting self take over and run ahead of God and His purposes.

What a “Middle East catastrophe” that lack of self-control continues to cause!!

A word here for those trying to make things happen in relationships,

God has this, rest in His promises. Don’t try to make things happen like Abraham!!!

Perseverance (Romans 5:1-5 (NIV))

Defined as “the ability to continue in the faith and resist the pressures of the world system.”

It’s stick-ability, consistency, determination, forward focused tenacity, …

It’s how you leave a Legacy; it’s moving forward when nothing seems to be happening.

It’s also adapting as you move tenaciously forward, taking on new approaches and new ways of reaching now generations.

Jan’s late mum, Faye was a great example, always adding to her faith, tenaciously embracing new ways, especially in Church life. When our previous Church introduced Friday night Church, her desire to encourage young leaders overruled loud music, overruled Friday night tiredness, overruled preferred worship style. If it was a gathering of God’s people, she would be there. Even in her incapacitated state in Aged Care she would wonder who was taking her to Church, not realising those days were over. Perseverance combined with daily prayer warfare leaves a legacy of perseverance, determination and tenacity.

These are Faith mods – add-ons and they take “every effort”.

2 Peter 1:5a

“for this reason, make every effort to add to your faith”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) sums it up.

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works lest any man should boast.”

The free gift part is to participate in the divine nature.

For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” – the add ons, participate in the good works, God has targeted you for!

Salvation is a gift won for us by Jesus on a Roman Cross at Calvary.

That piece of divine workmanship – you, has been created in Christ Jesus to fulfil a God ordained purpose- so let’s make every effort to add to our “Salvation Faith” these virtues.

It’s all about tapping in, participating and escaping.

Today if you don’t know Jesus tap into the Divine Nature, participate in His will for your life and thus “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”.

Repent, receive the gift of salvation and escape from a life of futility and experience what God has prepared for you…… and it is good!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss what it means to you to “tap into, participate and escape”.
  2. How difficult is it to wait for God’s timing and not become impatient with God?
  3. Are God’s promises your vehicle for life?

Faith Mods Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge2020-09-27T16:38:43+10:00

Faith Mods Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[20/09/2020]

Episode Notes

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Make every effort to mod up your faith!

Faith is good:

  • It gets us to heaven
  • It saves us
  • Without it, it is impossible to please God
  • Faith is God’s currency
  • Faith is key

But it can be kitted out.  Martin Luther argued ‘Sola Fide’ – by Faith Alone and that is 100% true of salvation, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us also add to our faith!

I don’t believe this is just about trying harder, but working with God, asking Him to help us, giving us grace to change and to grow.

What sort of life do we want?

  • What sort of treasure in heaven do we want to store up?
  • What sort of influence do we want to have here in this life?
  • What sort of impact do we want our lives to make?
  • What sort of eternal purpose and destiny do we want to live out or step into?

There is a place that we can live where we are a Christian but missing out on so much that God has for our lives!

But before we look at these things, lets jump ahead and find out what Peter says about it if we do not add to our faith.

1 Peter 1:8-12 (NIV)

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.

It is possible to have faith in Jesus – but not have told our personality, our manners, our character, our mouth, our smile!

It is possible for people to be saved from their sin and become Christians,

  • But boy are they painful, negative, complaining, cynical
  • Still pretty rude and have terrible manners
  • No-one wants to be like them
  • They are fruity and weird, but unfruitful
  • Barron – no influence, not birthing anything new in God or no-one looks to them
  • They are a Christian, yet they go around and around in circles about the same issues, never seeming to overcome or break free of things

But there is another Christian life that steps into all God has for us!

  • A Christianity filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and miracles
  • Blessing and favour
  • Freedom and liberty
  • One that is filled with joy and peace!
  • Life and lived to the full!

If that is the kind of life and Christianity you want, then this message is for you!

Let’s live life to the full like God intends us to live!

There are some pretty good reasons to mod up our faith and some pretty strong words for those who refuse to do it. So let’s check it out.

But I have one disclaimer:

  • I don’t believe adding to our faith is ‘working harder and doing more’ – but neither is it just hoping God does everything
  • This message requires our ‘making every effort’, but also the grace and work of the Holy Spirit together to help us grow and add to our faith so it its dynamic and powerful.

1. GOODNESS!

This word is Ar-et’-ay means excellence, goodness and praiseworthy. 

This word is used four other times in the New Testament and twice it is translated as ‘praise or praiseworthy’.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) it is talking about what we think about and one qualification is anything ‘praiseworthy’ – it’s the same word.

Then in

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

This is the same word – it seems aligned with something that would draw praise especially to God.

Something is praised when it stands out as excellent!

  • When it is excellent it has reason to be praised
  • The Bible says add that quality to our faith

That is why this is to be added to our faith, not because we might believe in Jesus, but for others to see us and also want to follow Jesus, they will need to see something good in our lives. See something that would cause them to praise God.

What makes a person good? What quality do you describe it as, or what attributes define this goodness? Are we excellent in our attitude, efforts, reputation and craftsmanship? Is what we give our time and effort to, excellent and praiseworthy?

  • Christians ought to be the best employees and bosses in Bendigo!
  • People ought to see us at work and our effort and diligence should warrant praise which then can be directed to God.

Goodness could be:

  • A willingness to help others at our own expense – that is good and excellent in character and praiseworthy
  • A generous heart – willing to give and not be stingy and tight fisted
  • Are we encouraging, uplifting, nice, friendly with our demeanour, are our interactions with others praiseworthy? Does your face know you are saved?
  • The Bible talks about entertaining – even lists it as a gift – which is being warm and friendly, giving people food, treating them nicely and being welcome
  • Are we honouring of others, preferring others, sharing?
  • Excellence in our honesty and integrity is good – people admire that
  • A person who is honest but gracious with their words
  • A good person who does what they say even to their own hurt
  • Someone who defends people who can’t defend themselves
  • Someone who makes room and space in their lives for others

Let’s mod up our faith with being good people – goodness. Our lives need to be praiseworthy that can be reflected back to God.

2. KNOWLEDGE!

It is one thing to believe in something or be passionate about it, but it is another thing to have knowledge about it. In life we call this maturing!

Cooking without knowledge will lead to not enjoying your food.

Marriage without knowledge can fail.

We might have had a radical God encounter, love Him so much and be so in awe of Him, but if we don’t add some knowledge to that we won’t grow – sadly I have seen people abandon their faith due to lack of knowledge.

Romans 10:2 (NIV)

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

Ephesians 4:13 (NIV) puts it like this:

13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

This is about maturing as a person, gaining the knowledge to:

  • Understand things about God
  • Not be easily convinced of this or that
  • Knowledge of God, who He is, what His word says. It’s one thing to believe the Bible, but it’s another to know what it says
  • Knowledge about having good relationships
  • Knowledge about what leads to blessing versus what leads to trouble

Are we growing in our knowledge and learning to be mature in life? Lack of knowledge leads to wrong decisions.

It is so essential that we have good, godly people who speak into our lives. We need to choose to grow in knowledge and listen to those who have some knowledge as we grow. It is easy to get side-tracked and make terrible mistakes and bad decisions.

Its why I love Bible College so much. It adds knowledge to our faith and helps us stay grounded and mature. Get knowledge from reputable sources.

We are saved by faith, but maturity comes through adding to that knowledge and learning about the Word of God, the Person of God and the things of God.

Faith in Jesus Christ is the most important thing. Be a follower of Jesus.

Read your Bible and find God’s plan for your life.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss ways you can modify your faith to mature into what God has planned for your life.
  2. Lack of knowledge can lead to abandoning your faith. How can you prevent this from happening?
  3. How can you develop goodness and maturity in your life?

Faith Mods Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-09-20T14:56:51+10:00

Celebration Sunday – Ps Kerrin & Tegan Wallis

[13/09/2020]

Episode Notes

Sorry, we do not have any notes for this message yet.

Celebration Sunday – Ps Kerrin & Tegan Wallis2020-09-13T09:44:39+10:00

Between Jordan And Jericho Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[06/09/2020]

Episode Notes

We talked last week about the journey of faith for the people of Israel and how there is a parallel for us as individuals on our journey of faith and how, as a Church, we stand at a unique place of having crossed a metaphorical Jordan and taken certain faith steps toward what is part of a new season of influence and harvest for us being our new facility.

If you missed last week it will really make a lot of sense if you go back and listen to that message as well as today.

We looked at the people of Israel who:

  • Crossed the Jordan – which put them in the promised land
  • But they had to conquer Jericho to possess and live in the promised land

We believe for us as a Church that completing and moving into our new facility is taking our Jericho and preparing us to move into and possess God’s promise, prophetic words, our destiny as a Church.

But between Jordan and Jericho were two things:

  • One was a pile of stones – Faith stones – a memorial to God’s miracles in the past
  • The other was an act of obedience – which represented a trust in God’s miracles for the future

Let me explain:

Joshua 5:2-9 (NIV)

At that time the Lord told Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise this second generation of Israelites.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the entire male population of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth (which means hill of foreskins).

Joshua had to circumcise them because all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died in the wilderness. Those who left Egypt had all been circumcised, but none of those born after the Exodus, during the years in the wilderness, had been circumcised. The Israelites had travelled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the Lord, and the Lord vowed he would not let them enter the land he had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey. So Joshua circumcised their sons—those who had grown up to take their fathers’ places—for they had not been circumcised on the way to the Promised Land. After all the males had been circumcised, they rested in the camp until they were healed.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” So that place has been called Gilgal to this day.

Originally, I was going to talk about the two piles between Jordan and Jericho, a pile of rocks and a pile of foreskins, but no-one wants that image do they?

Perhaps that was part of motivating them to defeat Jericho because no one wanted to sit around where that had happened – that was a day they were all trying to forget.

So, what has happened and what is the significance?

Between Jordan and Jericho was:

  • A pile of faith, memorial stones
  • An act of obedience in them choosing to get circumcised

I want to show what an act of obedience does in moving us into God’s promises for our lives. As we stand on the eve of our Miracle Offering, what does this mean for us as individuals and a Church collectively?

An act or a step of obedience.

1. Shows we are willing to fight!

You see what had happened was all the males that had left Egypt and were of military age, were circumcised.

  • That was part of their culture and the instructions or commands God had given them
  • It was part of their identity as the people of God
  • It signified that they were men and able to fight for God and His promises

Yet they died in the wilderness. Men of battle, but never in battle.

  • Not in battle – though they were able
  • Not possessing anything – though it was promised by God
  • Not with courage or faith – though they had seen God’s miracles

Instead they lived and died:

  • Complaining
  • Looking back
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • So faithless and passive that God said they must die before anyone goes into the promised land
  • Unwilling to believe God could do what He promised
  • Unwilling to fight for that promise

So, where this becomes significant is that a whole new generation rose up that would believe God and would step out in faith.

But first God gives them an act of obedience to take, in order for them to move through to what He had promised. That step of obedience demonstrated their faith in God for the future and in doing so separated them from the faithless ones before them.

As believers at Connect Church, I want our kids, our city and the generations to come, to know we will fight for:

  • God’s promises
  • Our future – their future
  • For our city and those without Jesus in it
  • For our marriage and family
  • For our blessing
  • The generations to come
  • The call and purpose of God for our lives

I would be heartbroken if the generations that follow us could look back and say that they died wandering, because of fear or unbelief, rather than fighting with faith for the future.

Let’s be those that use every bit of God’s armour because we are in the thick of the battle for the things that matter!

In regards to this, what is interesting to note is in v9.

Joshua 5:9 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” So that place has been called Gilgal to this day.

As a people, they had been out of Egypt for some time now:

  • Free from slavery
  • Seen God do miracles
  • Had provision
  • Had God’s presence

Yet it is not till this point that Joshua finally says, “Now – the reproach of Egypt is off you?”

I used to assume the reproach of Egypt was the slavery, the bondage, the captivity, but they had been ‘free of that externally’ for over 40 years. Surely seeing God’s presence, miracles, provision etc was deliverance out of Egypt, but not according to the scriptures. They arrived a reproach (God’s disapproval) from Egypt.

The reproach of Egypt is not circumstantial or the past, it is rather an unwillingness to fight in faith.

  • The reproach of Egypt is when people are willing to go around in circles and wander aimlessly through life, rather than rise up and take possession of God’s call, purposes and promises for their life and the generations to come.

We read in Psalm 78:9-10 (NIV) a comment on this

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; 10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. 11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

God considers ‘turning back on the day of battle’ a refusal to live by His laws.

What law? The law of faith!

Hebrews 11: 6 (NIV)

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God

Our acts of obedience today align us with God’s promises for tomorrow!

Acts of obedience:

2. They are uncomfortable!

The cost of:

  • Fighting for the future
  • For the generations to come
  • For the lost who don’t know God in our city and beyond
  • For our families
  • For our Church and its destiny
  • For impacting a region for God

It requires some discomfort on our part!

The sad part of the generations before this in the story, they never possessed the Promised Land because they were self-focused and more worried about their own comfort than embracing the discomfort of obedience and fighting for the generations to come!

As soon as discomfort came, they started complaining and wishing for the safety of slavery in Egypt! No wonder they never possessed anything. They were scared of being uncomfortable

But the new generation, the ones that possessed the promised land, they didn’t back down, they took on the challenge! They obeyed God regardless of the discomfort and they fought regardless of the challenge. They won a future for them and the generations to come!

The price of comfort for a Church by the way is irrelevance! We either fight for God’s kingdom and embrace discomfort, or wander in irrelevance.

Let’s be willing to act in obedience and step into great promise!

3. They usually cost something!

God is not interested in:

  • Our seconds
  • Our scraps
  • Our tipping Him with leftovers

Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter 4 teach us that God doesn’t approve of a half-hearted effort ‘when I get around to it…’

David in Chronicles also makes this point.

1 Chron 21:24 (NIV)

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

There is something about a willingness to sacrifice and sow significant things that is attached to faith and stepping into God’s promises.

Where we are at as a Church right now:

  • Building a facility to reach more lost people
  • Building a facility to raise champions
  • Building for the future generations
  • Building something to unlock generosity
  • Building something to shine God’s glory to our community

It has a cost, but it’s worth it! It takes a fight, but it’s worth it! It takes faith, but it’s worth it!

We can only do this together because people have risen in faith and taken bold steps of obedience and faith in God.

  • It has brought us to here
  • Now we are believing to see it finished. To see Jericho fall, our new season stepped into, kitted out ready to go

Connect Church was born through bold faith steps, miracles and people willing to take risks.

What I love and believe is significant for this Church is that its destiny is linked to its DNA. This place has people willing to fight in its history, and its future will be possessed by those willing to fight again!

I asked Pastor Tim Hall to share some of this with us as a Church, as I believe it speaks to what is in our DNA – what is in our future and it gives us courage to rise together today.

Tim shared his experience in stepping out in faith and birthing Connect Church with Pastor Ian Fenn.

He said that we, as a Church, are stepping into our destiny.

Pray for the Miracle Offering and pray for what God wants you to give.

Prepare your hearts for Miracle Sunday next week. Make a commitment to give and be obedient to what He has to say to you.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Are you prepared to move into God’s promises for your life?
  2. Are you ready to take on the challenge of fighting for the next generation?
  3. Discuss why our acts of obedience today align us with God’s promises for tomorrow!
  4. Bold faith steps, miracles and people willing to take risks are what is needed now. What are you prepared to do to make this happen?

Between Jordan And Jericho Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-09-07T09:38:14+10:00

Between Jordan And Jericho Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[30/08/2020]

Episode Notes

This message I believe is for all of us in our own faith journeys, but for those who are part of our church family it is particularly important, in regards to our Church’s faith step, to get into our new building.

There is found in through the books of Exodus to Joshua a fascinating story of the journey of God’s people:

  • God’s people the Jews are freed from Egypt with a promise of the land of Canaan, modern day Palestine. There they would serve God, be blessed and demonstrate Him to the peoples of the world.
  • An entire generation leaves Egypt on what should be a short journey to God’s promise.
  • This generation however refuse to believe God and His promises, refuse to take steps of faith and end up dying in the desert over a 40 year period of wandering around in circles.
  • A new leader, Joshua, rises up and a new generation believe God to move into His promises and place of blessing and influence.
  • God takes them across an un-crossable river, the Jordan, by parting the waters that they could walk across on dry land.
  • This puts them in the promised land, but it is still filled with enemies and challenge in order to possess it!
  • They then have to take a city called Jericho that then opens them up to begin to possess and live in the blessing and influence God has for them.
  • When they see Jericho fall and conquer that city, they all of a sudden change their history as God’s people and begin to demonstrate Him to their world in a whole new way.

I have no doubt that there is a significant parallel with the people of Israel leaving Egypt and possessing the promised land that is for every believer and our journey of faith, but I also feel that for us particularly there is a strong sense that this is also true for us as a Church right here, right now.

There are significant times and parts to history that bear great influence on the future!

  • I see them as windows of opportunity that groups, or people, or even individuals, have to rise to an occasion and step up.
  • The choice to go for it remains theirs, but the window is not open forever.
  • I remember hearing a preacher speak on the opening of just such a God window over a particular area in our nation and the sadness that no-one rose to the occasion and it was over a decade before another significant, divine opportunity seemed to arise.

I believe we together as a Church stand at ‘such a time as this’.

  • Esther had an opportunity that she couldn’t put off or reassign to a more comfortable time
    • She couldn’t say, ‘I will tackle that later when I have a bit more relationship with the king…’
  • It was a moment, a window, an opportunity to step up and make a significant influence on her people and generation

We stand in the middle of a window of opportunity!

  • As a Church we have taken faith steps
  • We have stepped out
  • We are right on the edge of what I see as stepping into what God has for us
  • And now this miracle offering, this window to give, is so key that it is our chance to take a step that propels us into a new day as a Church.

Even with COVID around us, I don’t believe it takes away, or changes the window of opportunity we have to step into something new, regardless of circumstances.

The people of Israel faced a similar time. There was an opportunity missed by the generations before, but then it came again, the opportunity to take up God’s purpose and intent and this time they rose in faith, stepped up to the challenge and won.

I think we stand like the people of Israel ready to walk through or over Jericho and begin to take some of the promises, prophecies and words from God and step into them. To begin seeing God move in this generation and the ones to come in an incredible way. This is our city and this is our time!

And let me be crystal clear:

This isn’t actually about a physical building! It’s about what we have always felt and talked about:

  • Reaching more people – in our city with God’s love
  • Raising champions, leaders of the future who are bold and take faith steps
  • Building for the future – thinking of our kids and future generations
  • Unlocking generosity – rising in faith to learn the power of generosity and miracle giving
  • Revealing God’s glory to our community – reflecting Him in our facilities

Over the next three weeks I want us to understand the significance of where we stand today, what we believe is ahead and then how we get there!

Tegan and I felt called by God to move to Bendigo and take on the leadership of Connect Church in 2016.

  • We have been blessed to see God’s goodness and fruitfulness and growth as a result
  • But even early on we believed God was speaking to us about more for this church in the future

There is a rich history at Connect Church of prophetic words, of prayer, miracles, faith and revival.

  • And we took some serious steps as a Church to move into that promise and future, one of the most significant I felt was in 2018 at our Miracle Offering.

I believe we crossed our Jordan River right there. The Jordan in the story was a river that they couldn’t cross in order to get onto the promised land.

  • When we saw an incredible miracle offering of $380,000, it paid out our loan and put down a deposit for the building to begin moving into our future
  • Many thought we were crazy, that it couldn’t be done, that it was too big, but God allowed us together to rise in faith and step toward His plans and purposes.
  • This was such a significant thing and so together God allowed us to do something amazing

It truly was that which allowed us to step into the Miracle of a facility. That day pushed the water up and we were able to cross into new territory together.

However, in the story we find in the book of Joshua of the Israelites possessing God’s promised land, once they cross Jordan there is the city of Jericho that needs to fall.

  • Jericho was the gateway to the promised land
  • Crossing the Jordan put them in it, but to possess, it Jericho had to fall

We honestly believe as a team that finishing and opening our new facility is part of the gateway to what God has for us as a church for the future and for our city!

In the account there are two significant things between Jordan and Jericho for the people of Israel.

There were two piles between Jordan and Jericho

  • Once was looking at God in the past for faith
  • One was looking at God’s promise for the future
  • One was a reminder of God’s faithfulness
  • One was a looking ahead to promise
  • One represented the past
  • One represented the future
  • One was fought
  • One was to fight

Let’s begin.

The first pile between Jordan and Jericho was a pile of stones that pointed to the past.

These stones were collected and piled for a specific purpose from the Jordan River and piled up for people to see.

Joshua 4:21-23 (NIV)

21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b]when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.

It tells us that the stones were supposed to be there so that future generations would look and see and ask what they were for – the explanation would then be about the miracle of crossing the Jordan and being brought out of Egypt. The generations to come would look and know that God moves in the realms of the impossible!

1. These were significant stones!

– not a couple of rocks in the back pocket.

This pile of stones was to be significant enough that anyone who walked past would say – “what is that?” They would notice it.

I believe that what we are building is significant!

  • We have not sold land or assets to do it – this is important.
  • We have taken a faith steps to build a facility that is significant – it’s big – it’s well built – it says something
    • We haven’t built a half finished shed because ’that’s what we had!’
    • We have built a great facility because that is what we see
  • We have built this with vision and the future generations in mind, not our own comfort, safety, conservative planning

It is important that we do this well, build something we are proud of, put a footprint that shows God’s supply and blessing to our City.

Isaiah 60:1 was part of God’s leading when we first took this journey of faith on.

Isaiah 60:1-4 (NIV)

60 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

Gentiles – those without God will come to us because they see Gods glory on us.

We need to finish this and finish it well if we are going to give our kids some faith stones worth looking at!

  • In fact on September 13th Tegan and I want to walk the whole Church through some of the incredible parts to this faith journey that many don’t even know because as a Church we need to know God has brought us this far and we can rise in faith to possess the Promised Land!

This isn’t just for us as a Church and our facility. It is for every one of our lives. To show what significant faith steps have we taken and what things in lives we can point to and say: ‘That is what God has done!’

  • Is our prayer life significant?
  • What faith steps in family, life, career, business, ministry have we taken for God’s purposes that are significant?
  • What times in our life have we made a significant decision or faith step for God?
  • Surrendering our lives to Him is significant
  • Baptism – public declaration of our faith is significant

This is a challenge for every one of us as there is always another faith step to take.

  • What has God spoken to us about or is speaking to us about?

For some the challenge today is that you have had a significant faith step on your radar that you are yet to take!

  • We can only ever point to faith stones that prove God and his faithfulness on the other side of the Jordan after we have taken a step of faith

A significant faith step that leaves something for us and generations to look at will always be scary and require faith! It is something we carry that requires sacrifice, effort or weight, because our kids and generations need to see it and it should build Faith!

We refuse to build God something that doesn’t stretch us or challenge us.

We are determined that those who come, find Jesus here, our kids that grow up here, that God is powerful and above measure – not average! But there is always a cost to significant faith stones!

1 Chron 21:24 (NIV)

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

These stones were not little rocks they popped in a back pocket, but significant stones that took effort, strain, challenge, probably difficulty to move and pile up!

The other thing of note for this first pile between Jordan and Jericho is:

2. These were taken from a Miracle!

A place that should never have happened!

There is something about where something is taken that gives it significance.

The stones in the story were taken from the dried bed of the Jordan river which they crossed miraculously.

  • The people of Israel should never have left Egypt let alone crossed the Jordan!
  • It was impossible!

This is important as a requirement for Faith Stones because they are to be a memorial to God.

  • Not luck
  • Not our efforts
  • Not a plan we could pull off on our own
  • Not a plank from a bridge they build

Stones – from the place they should not have been able to be!

When I consider the last 5 years, we are standing in a place we shouldn’t be!

  • Many watching today know it – they cannot believe what we are doing
  • One of the builders stood and looked at it and his comment was – it’s an amazing set up for a Church!

Yes it is! It is impossible – yet here we are!

  • I cannot wait to have to explain to people how we arrived here in the middle of a global pandemic
  • I cannot wait for people to walk in and be blown away that a Church would do something like this
  • I cannot wait to remind our boys when they head out to plant churches or missions and serve God, that they grew up in a Church that was not afraid to step into the impossible – depend on a miracle

Again, in our own lives, let’s make sure the things we turn to focus on are from places of:

Miracle, Breakthrough, Promise.

We must refuse to let the things we turn to be:

  • Hurt from the past
  • Times of disappointment
  • Failures of leaders or people in our lives
  • Times of comfort or ease
  • Relationships that drag us into negativity or away from God

Faith stones come from the seasons of miracle and power of God in our lives!

I suppose it’s the same challenge and encouragement really.

  • Have we put ourselves in a faith step significant enough that it required God to do the impossible for it to come off?
    • If not, it’s not really a faith step, it’s a good move or calculated result
    • But our God id moved by faith!
    • He rewards faith!

As a Church I honestly believe that we can look back on this journey and say, “Wow God met us” and it will point the way for future faith steps and break through.

If we ever want to possess the promises that God has for us, particularly big and audacious, faith filled ones, we will need to move from the edge of the Jordan through Jericho.

  • Between those places the first thing that we will find is a pile of faith stones that point to the power and provision of God in the past!

Today I hope that we are encouraged and challenged about this move from Jordan to Jericho.

  • We are believing that it will not just be our Church that sees breakthrough, but every individual and every family
  • That this would be a season of unlocking the impossible in God!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Are you ready to cross over ‘your Jordan’ to receive your miracle?
  2. Can you take your ‘faith stones’ as you cross over and build them on the other side as a reminder of what God has done for you?
  3. Are you believing for a breakthrough in your lives today and looking to unlock the impossible in God?

Between Jordan And Jericho Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-09-02T08:12:09+10:00

What Do You See? – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[23/08/2020]

"What we are looking at is not always what we are seeing..."

Episode Notes

I am excited today to preach from a passage that has been stirring in my heart for some time now – it is marked in my Bible as something to draw my attention every time I turn to that page.

There seems to me to be a phenomenon that you can be doing and looking at one thing, while totally seeing another thing!

Perhaps you can remember doing something stupid or accidentally:

  • Breaking a window
  • Putting a ding in a car
  • Perhaps spilling something on yours or someone else’s new and expensive clothes

And although in the natural looking at the event you somewhere in your head see:

  • Someone response
  • The bill you will need to pay
  • The consequences and conversations required as a result

Perhaps you have bought someone a present and you are looking at the present yet what you see is the face of the person you are going to give it to and their joy at receiving it!

What we are looking at is not always what we see!

Turn with me to Isaiah 6:1-8 and I want to talk about what do we see today?

Isaiah 6:1-4, 8 (NKJV)

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

We find Isaiah in a set of circumstances, “In the year that King Uzziah died…”

  • It is the first words used to paint the picture of what is happening or has happened

This could be seen in a bunch of ways.

What Isaiah was looking at was a king – likely a cousin and friend who had passed away.

  • King Uzziah had been a relatively good king. He was the son of a godly father and he also had initially followed God, bringing the country to power and prosperity. He defeated the Phillistines and raised a standing army of over 300,000 troops all with armour and weapons which was unusual.
  • He had defended their city walls with special machinery (catapults – to hurl large stones and propel giant arrows (bolts later known).
  • Sadly, he makes a mistake out of his own pride and disobeys God and ends up with leprosy as a result
  • From there he sees out his days with that condition and dies of it

It is here this verse starts.

For Isaiah it could be a range of things:

  • Sorrow to see another companion (some say his cousin – a godly king, die)
  • I suppose fear, not knowing what his son will rule and be like
  • Uncertainty for the nation and future
  • Relief that the man he knew was no longer suffering
  • Optimism – perhaps dreaming of where they could rise to as a powerful nation

Although he was looking at these things it is incredible what Isaiah sees!

The first thing to consider here is:

Despite what he is looking at…

He sees God!

It is unclear what Isaiah was feeling or looking at in the natural, however it is extremely clear what he was seeing in his spirit was God!

Of all the possible options he could be focusing on, that are happening around him and to him… he sees God!

Isaiah 6:1 (NKJV)

6 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord.

Are we looking for God in the midst of our lives?

What are we seeing?

  • Do we just see COVID and fear?
  • Do we just see restrictions?
  • Do we just see our job / career and finances?
  • Do we see prosperity or challenge?
  • Do we see ourselves or others?
  • Do we see our social media image or other’s opinions?
  • Do we check our Facebook or Instagram likes more than what God likes?
  • Do we see our bank balance or social status?
  • Do we just see the past?

Here in the passage Isaiah gets a vision from God and it is of God!

This is key to all of us regardless of the times we find ourselves.

  • In tough times it is easy to start looking at and seeing all the negativity, hurt and challenges
  • In amazing times, it is easy to start looking at and seeing our own success and all the trappings of life
  • In the average or day to day of life it is easy to see just the daily grind, the ceilings of our life, the problems, or perhaps just looking for a way out or some form of comfortable

But what is needed is our eyes to be fixed firmly on God Himself

  • Who He is
  • His promises
  • His Word and instructions

So, do we see God regardless of what we are looking at or facing?

I feel like this is why the scriptures give such clear instructions on:

  • Communion
  • Church and fellowship
  • Praise and Worship

Because these things help us to see God and redirect our natural and human tendency to look at everything else.

But even if we do see God, how do we see Him?

Do we see God, high and lifted up?

It is one thing to see God, but how we see Him?

This is what originally got my attention in the passage is that Isaiah sees God high and lifted up seated on a throne!

I know in my life that just like there is a tendency to see everything but God, it’s also easy to see God in light of my circumstances, not my circumstances in light of God.

There is a huge difference!

It is tempting to see God as:

  • Indifferent – because we don’t feel like He is answering us
  • Powerless – because the circumstance seems to be winning
  • Judgmental – because we, others or the devil keep reminding us of our mistakes
  • In everyone else’s life – but not ours – when life is not happening as we thought
  • A philosophy or good moral idea – because we are not seeing what we feel is the miraculous we are believing for, so we break Him down to the level of our experience

But when we look at this broken and messed up world in order to draw conclusions of God, we will always end up being at the mercy of what is happening around us!

It would be like taking a product, car, house, piece of machinery and then a person leaving it in disrepair, un-serviced, mis-used or broken and then us seeing that and drawing conclusions on the manufacturer.

That would be crazy. When it left the manufacturer, it was good and so the dis-repair, brokenness, faults are therefore reveals how the owner has treated it, and therefore them, not the manufacturer!

So, in our lives, we must see the Lord for who He is, as it states in the scriptures then we can correctly judge and look at this life, our circumstances and surroundings.

Worship is so powerful because it puts God in His rightful place and then the rest of life finds it’s rightful place!

David talks about this in Psalm 73:1-5,13-28 (NIV)

1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.

That is how he is feeling – what he is looking at.

15 If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

It is such a human and easy way to feel and think… and that is okay, but we just can’t stay there!

We all feel overwhelmed at times, uncertain, face fears, doubts, have questions, that is normal, but at that point we need to get into the sanctuary of God.

When we choose to worship, to re-align, focus on God’s word and promises, we rise above being a victim like the enemy, the devil, intends!

Because when we see Him high and lifted up, He is bigger than the problem, not the other way around.

The other thing I think is important is: He is seated on the throne.

  • Not pacing around nervous
  • Not desperately emailing angels with new orders
  • Not running around trying to fix everything
  • Not scrolling through the news with a frown

A King sits on a Throne – because He is in charge! Our God sits on the throne – He is in charge – not what we are looking.

The word ‘sitting – OKJ / seated NKJV’ means remain, settle dwell.

I tell you it is a game-changer when we begin to choose what we will see.

I want to be clear on this and make a distinction. I am not saying keep our eyes on what God can do for us – but who He is!

  • King of Kings – therefore situations are subject to Him
  • Eternal – above and surpassing this life and earth
  • All knowing – His ways go above earthly ways
  • Ever present – never leaves us nor forsakes us

If all we ever do is look at what God can do for us, then we are still seeing ourselves at the centre rather than God at the centre .

Worship is not about us, but about Him and that is why it is so powerful!

Another point of note is that this is happening in the Spirit!

In order to do this, we must ask God to teach us to see with our spirit.

2 Kings 6:14-17 (NKJV) (ELISHA)

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

I am talking today about God encounters!

  • Times in His presence
  • Times He lights up His word
  • Times we choose to stop and listen
  • Times we choose to obey regardless of what we feel or see

I want to pray, for God encounters in people’s lives today.

And what I want to close with today is what happens when we see the Lord high and lifted up – seated on a throne.

  • It fills us with the faith instead of draw back in fear or doubt
  • We can step up to the plate and say God – send me!

In Isaiah 6 after Isaiah sees God, God then speaks of a mission that needed someone to go… and Isaiah volunteers!

The mission wasn’t pretty – it was hard, filled with challenge and opposition, yet Isaiah could see God and that was enough to say “send me!”

Church, is our prayer “send me”?

Do we look at tough times and situations and hide, avoid, pray for deliverance or step up in faith and say – send me!

  • In our workplace when was the last time we considered a tough situation an opportunity for God to shine through us?
  • In our community are believers out running around in fear like everyone else or standing up saying God send me?
  • Do we come up against opposition and look for a way out, or stand up in faith and say God send me through?
  • In our families is there enough of a God encounter in our spirit to say God send me?

I want to pray today that we, like Isaiah, would see God and that it would cause our hearts to rise in faith and say to God – send me!

You might be watching and you have put off the call of God on your life or some faith step, but what is needed is to seek God, see Him and finally say God send me I will go!

The whole of chapter 6 is a God encounter that Isaiah has and it changed his life.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the statement: what we are looking at is not always what we see!
  2. Are you looking to God and not to your circumstances?
  3. We need to ask God to teach you to see with your spirit, can you do this?

What Do You See? – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-08-23T15:14:33+10:00

You’re Gonna Have To Fight For It – Nathan Hulls

[16/08/2020]

Episode Notes

Good morning Church, it’s great to be with you this morning. It is my privilege to be able to share the Word with you this morning.

Before I get into it, I just want to pass on our love. Kate and myself, we want to say hi, we love you guys and we miss you. Greetings from Ollie and Archer. Ollie just had his 21st birthday?

It’s been a while since we have seen anybody, but we are thinking of everyone and we are really praying for everyone. We miss you guys and we can’t wait to get back to some sense of normality.

It’s an honour to preach this morning and as I’ve looked back over my life and reflected on certain years and events, I remember certain things. In 1997 I remember graduating my VCE and the best thing was I graduated with a higher score than my sister. 2001 I registered my first business name. 2005 my Mum passed away and I also remember sitting on a couch at 2am one morning and summoning up the courage to ask Kate to be my girlfriend and then in 2009 she became my wife. 2010 I started my High School speaking business and getting my first paid speaking gig.

2014 Ollie was born and in 2016 Archer was born and in 2019 launching our gym.

As you look back over your life and the things that you have experienced, the things that you have achieved, I am sure there are lots of things that you remember over various seasons, however I have a question for you this morning and that is when you look back on 2020 what do you want to be able to remember it for? Challenging, right?

I am sure for a lot of us, we sit here and right now in August 2020 and there is a whole lot of stuff that we think we are going to remember 2020 for. But the premise of my question is about this, do you want to remember 2020 for the year where some dude in a market in China ate a bat and it ruined your year. Remembering 2020 for the things that you can’t control, the things that happened to you, the events outside of your control or circumstances beyond you, or, do you want to remember 2020 for the things that you achieved? The things that you took hold of, the growth of your relationships. Seeing miracles happen, walking by Faith, seeing God provide. Experiencing His presence in new ways, hearing God speak to you. A year of survival, of new levels of growth. When you look back on 2020 what do you want to remember it for?

I feel really strongly about this message today. I feel it’s a prophetic message for you as an individual and I feel it is a prophetic message for the Church.

I feel like God wants you to know that He hasn’t changed. His plans haven’t changed, but the season we are in has changed. Different seasons different actions and activities are required and the word that I am hearing this morning, the title of this message is “You are going to have to fight for it!”

I don’t know about you, but I remember growing up there was a phrase that me and my mates would throw around and that was ‘I’ll fight you for it’. Whether it was the last biscuit, the next turn on the Nintendo 64, the last piece of pizza, the last can of coke we would say ‘I’ll fight you for it’ whatever it might be.

I feel really strongly that God is challenging us to step up the fight. When there is something on the line, when there is something that you want, when there is something that you want to achieve, when there is something that you want to have, sometimes it requires a fight.

At the moment there are lots of people fighting about lots of things, people are fighting about wearing masks, people are fighting about not wearing masks. People are fighting about whether or not the Government is doing a good job, people are fighting over conspiracy theories, people are fighting over toilet paper. What are we fighting for?

The fight that God is calling us to this morning is one that Paul speaks about throughout his writings. I love Paul’s writings. He talks so much about the fight. There are so many metaphors about elite athletes and some of these challenges and for us it is to step into more of what God has for us this year. In 2020 despite the current circumstances it is going to require a fight. The reality with nature is that seasons shift, and different seasons require different activities. Different seasons require different actions. There are some seasons in life where things seem to be in an ease or in a flow with little resistance. But sometimes we find ourselves in seasons where we have to fight for what is rightfully ours. I guess the question is ‘what do you want’?  What is it that you want to remember 2020 for? What is it that you want to achieve?

Right now it is August 2020 and there is not a whole lot of the year left, but I feel so strongly that God is putting to us the question ‘what is it that you want to remember 2020 for?’

If you want to hear God’s voice this morning maybe you are going to have to fight for it. If you need God’s provision this morning fight for it. If you need peace in your mind, maybe you are going to have to fight for it. If you need relationships to be mended, maybe you are going to have to fight for them. If you have loved ones who don’t yet know Jesus, maybe you are just going to have to fight for them.

So this morning as we put out this challenge, I want us to look at two main areas:

What does it mean to fight and what are we fighting for?

Depending on your personality style, maybe you heard this thought this morning that we are just going to have to fight, maybe this pricked up your ears. Some people just love a good fight. Some people now matter what it is will look for a fight. Some people shy away from it.

Paul’s athletic metaphors that I referenced earlier often uses these metaphors of strict discipline. He talks about running the race to win the prize. He talks about submission. He talks about waging warfare. He talks about wrestling. He talks about fighting the good fight. I love anything that requires humans to push themselves to their limits. It intrigues me some of the things that people have done and what the human body is capable of.

A few years ago, I heard of a race called the World Marathon Challenge. For about 5 seconds I thought I would love to give that a go, and then I thought otherwise. The World Marathon Challenge requires competitors to run seven marathons in seven consecutive days on seven different continents. 42.195 kilometres in Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America within 168 hours.

Not only does it require stamina and physical fitness, it requires mental toughness and logistics to even just to be able to navigate. They fly chartered planes, they run a marathon, jump on a plane and fly to the next continent. Competitors suffer from physical fatigue, jetlag, sleep deprivation as well as the impact of wide temperature fluctuations of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The oldest man to complete the World Marathon Challenge was 76 years of age. Puts me to shame.

I have always been inspired by these professional athletes who commit themselves to strict discipline, early mornings, strict eating regimes, lengthy training sessions, delayed gratification in order to push their bodies to perform at their optimum and at their peak.

Two times in his letter to Timothy, Paul uses the following phrase:

1 Timothy 1:18 he says: Wage the good warfare

In 1 Timothy 6:12 he says: Fight the good fight

You have probable heard that phrase thrown around ‘fight the good fight’.

This is where I want to focus for us this morning on this idea of what are we going to have fight, we are going to have to fight for the plans, promises and purposes of God.

I feel that Paul was wanting to ensure that Timothy was aware that he was in a battle. So, what does it mean for us as followers of Jesus and people of faith to fight the good fight?

I like to dig into the meaning of the words and so this word ‘fight’ that Paul uses there ‘fight the good fight’ in the original Greek language it is the same word that is used as the root word in the English word ‘agonise’. It actually means to purposely struggle, to contend for a prize like an athletic contest, to be deliberate, consistent in your efforts and your action. A fight is not passive.

If you are in the Octagon in a UFC fight and you just stand there passively, you are in trouble.

If you are in a race and you stand passively, you are going to get left behind.

Some people who love a fight will be listening to this and be like ‘come on, let me at them’. But the next part of it ‘fight the good fight’ is just as important as the call for us to step up and to fight. The good fight, the word there ‘good’ actually means attractively good, or good that inspires and motivates others to embrace what is also good.

The key thing here is fighting for what we want, for what we believe is ours, fighting for the plans and the purposes for what God has for us, fighting for His provision, fighting for His presence, fighting for Him to speak to us or hear His voice, fighting for the souls of our city. The key here is for us to fight. Paul is telling Timothy ‘you need to fight in a way that is attractive and inspires others to also want to jump on with thing that is good.

How many times have we seen Christians who love a good fight or an argument, they love to stand up for truth at all costs? They are always waging war on the enemy or just anyone who doesn’t agree with what they believe. More often than not it turns people away. I feel like just as important as the call for us to be deliberate about our actions, to be disciplined about our actions, to be more intentional about how we fight the fight. Fighting in a way that inspires others and doesn’t turn them away is just as important.

The call here that Paul is putting out is, and I believe God is calling us this morning in a number of areas, is to increase our disciplines and fight in a way that is attractively good and inspires and motivates others to also embrace what is good.

Let me come back to the question ‘what is it that you want for this year?’. What do you want to look back on this year and remember? What is it that you need right now? What is it that you believe that you have been called to? Everyone of you have a plan and God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Whatever circumstances we are facing right now, that hasn’t changed. God hasn’t changed. His purpose for you hasn’t changed. The season has shifted and so right now you are just going to have to start fighting a little bit harder, being a little bit more disciplined, taking some more intentional actions.

Let’s look at some of these ideas of how we fight and also what are we fighting for?

Recently I have heard a lot of people saying I can’t wait to go back to normal. I think God is saying I don’t want you to go back to what you knew was normal. I want you to move forward, I want you to step up, I want you to come out of this stronger, fitter, faster, ready to take on the world. I want 2020 to be a year where you overcome those challenges and it grows you. It allows you to build your faith. It allows you to step into a new realm of provision, a new realm of presence, a new realm of purpose and calling. I want you to fight for it.

I think part of the challenge for us as a Church is that we may have been through a season that has been a season of ease and sometimes we are not conditioned for fighting and we find ourselves in a season where we need to fight and the challenge we face is that before lockdown things were pretty comfortable. You could rock up to Church, you could engage in worship, you could hear a great sermon. There was really little challenge and little resistance, now just to attend Church we have to have the willpower to get up out of bed. We are battling the kids running around. Making sure we can hear it. We have the ability to attend or not attend and no-one is really going to know.

And so before we get into what I want to look at the four areas that I think we should be fighting for, I want to remind you that God knew that 2020 was going to be this way. When God gave you a dream for your future, He knew that 2020 was going to cause some potential challenges and some potential hardships. When God called us as a Church to expand our facility, to embark on this building project, He knew exactly what we going to happen in 2020. It wasn’t a surprise to Him, none of this is a surprise. When God spoke to you about the plan, the calling, the purpose that He has for your life, when maybe God spoke to you about starting a business – the exact scenario that Kate and I are in right now, two business. When God called you to start a business, now it’s time to take up the fight He was fully aware of exactly what we would face ahead. His plans for you haven’t changed, His plans for us as a Church haven’t changed, but the season has shifted and now it’s time to take up the fight.

The four areas that I want to look at this morning are:

This sermon this morning is brought to us by the letter ‘F’.

The first area that I want us to fight for is:

1. To fight the good fight of Faith!

Fight the good fight in our faith in terms of our relationship with God, the basic disciplines of our faith from a perspective of ‘what are you believing for?’ How is your faith level at the moment? Whether it is faith for miracles, faith to see God provide. Faith to see God give you opportunities to step out in faith. Right now, God wants to increase our faith, but we are going to have to fight for it.

Hebrews 11:1 says Faith is the substance of things that we hope for, the evidence of things that we don’t see.

As we face some challenges and some distance, often our faith can be pushed down. Often our hope for the future can often go into survival mode and we are trying to get by on a daily basis. My challenge is that now it is time to ‘fight the good fight for our faith’. It takes consistent and deliberate effort and action to grow in faith. God continues to remind me about this current situation that everything that He has called me to He knew that 2020 would be this way. He hasn’t changed, He hasn’t gone to sleep, He is not in lockdown, the Holy Spirit isn’t wearing a mask, we can’t hear Him. Nothing has changed in the Heavenlies.

Right now we face some challenges, right now we are walking through a season which is different, and a different season requires some different actions.

Faith grows by what we feed on. Facebook isn’t going to grow your faith. The news reports are not going to grow your faith. Basic faith habits that we need to engage in more deliberately, more consistently with greater effort, greater energy to fight for our faith.

A consistent prayer life, contending for your faith in prayer. Praying, calling out to God asking Him for what you need, calling out, contending for the things. Using our words to confess the promises of God over our lives.

A consistent devotional life, Bible reading, studying, learning, feeding your faith. Deliberate periods of fasting. The Bible says ‘when you pray’ and then it says ‘when you fast’. For all of us we should, whether it is once a year or just on a regular basis, take a day out where we remove something from our life to open up some space for God to come in.

Weekly online attendance, attending Church online, a Zoom Connect Groups prayer meetings, everything that we are doing to keep everyone connected. Consistent, deliberate actions that are going to help you ‘fight the good fight of faith’.

Depths of faith, just because we can’t meet together doesn’t mean that we don’t go about our day looking for opportunities to step out in faith. Asking God for promptings, divine appointments, conversations with people whether it is in real life, whether it is on Facebook, the reality is that the world is looking for hope, right now the world is looking for hope.

This good fight that Paul talks about is for us to fight for our faith in a way that inspires others, that motivates others, that brings hope into other people’s worlds. Praise, I love the song that we sing This is how I fight my battles. We fight through praise.

I don’t know about you, but I noticed that I had been praising and singing worship a lot less in lockdown. Sitting at the computer watching Church online, it can sometimes be a little bit awkward singing into a computer.

Take time out, make sure that we are being consistent, taking action, praising to build our faith, fighting our battles in praise and faith-based confessions. To fight the good fight for our faith means to fight in a way that is attractively good, in a way that inspires others to want to embrace what is good.

The challenge isn’t just to grow more deliberate and consistent with our effort and our actions, but it is also to do it in a way that inspires others. If you want to grow in your faith, you are going to have to fight for it.

2. Fight the good fight for your Focus!

Super important for the season that we are in right now is ‘What are you focusing on?’ Focus and Faith go hand in hand. What you focus on is what you move towards. If you are driving in a car and you look to the side of the road and something catches your attention, your focus goes there, the car will naturally go there as well. What you focus on is what you move towards. If you are focusing on the hardships, the challenges, the problems, the things that you can’t control, the things that you don’t like, the things that aren’t working, that’s what you are going to move towards.

If you are focusing on God, if you are focusing on His plan, His word, if you are focusing on the faith steps that you are going to take, the goal that you have ahead of you, the prize, Paul says ‘now I strive towards the prize’ that’s what you are going to move towards. The challenge can be when we start to focus on the problems, the challenges, we can focus on our feelings, we can focus on Facebook rather than the Good Book.

Paul writes in Phillipians 4:8 ‘Finally Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.

Use that as your filter. Is it true, is it noble, is it just, is it pure, is it lovely, is of a good report, is there any virtue, is it praiseworthy? Use that as your filter to determine what it is that you need to focus on, and in the season that we are in right now, your focus must be deliberate. Making a deliberate decision to those things that are good. Be deliberate about looking for God’s goodness. Be deliberate about dwelling on God’s faithfulness. Be deliberate about focusing on God’s promises, His plans, His purpose for you.

Even if it is getting some structure about how we do those things in a deliberate way. Write in a journal, start to journal at the beginning of the day, the end of the day, shift your focus. Look at what you can be grateful for, be deliberate seeing where God is, where He is moving and how we can get involved. You have got to fight the good fight for your focus.

We are being bombarded by so many different messages, most of them are negative. The reality is everyday we have got politicians jumping on TV giving us updates of the scenario, the season that we are in. If you are not deliberate about your focus, your focus will go to those things, and those things will become your world. If you want peace in your mind, if you want a faith-filled focus and the ability to hear God’s voice for this season, you are going to have to fight for it.

3. Fight the good fight for your finances!

In challenging times like we are in, some of us are finding it impacting on our finances. For others maybe you are still at work and you actually are less able to go out and so you find that you have got more money than you had previously. Personally, as business owners, we have had our income significantly reduced. We have two business and both of them are effectively shut down. With my High School speaking business, the schools are shut down and now Victoria is basically in lockdown, we can’t fly anywhere. I am doing some Zoom presentations, but I’ve got that business closed down. We have got the gym which is effectively in lockdown, we are doing online classes, but our business income is down about 60%. That’s a fair chunk of money.

Right now, if we are going to move forward, I can sit back and we can be passive and that’s not going to take us where we want to go, or we can ‘fight the good fight’ for our finances. There are certain things that we can control. The knee jerk reaction can be hold onto everything that we have, hold on to the $5 note so tight that the Queen sheds a tear.

My challenge is for people of faith that no matter what circumstance that we are in right now with our finances, God is our provider. He is still on the throne. This wasn’t a surprise to Him and we have to ensure that we are fighting the good fight for our finances, we are being good stewards over what we have, we are spending less than what we earn. We are being deliberate about our giving, our tithes, that’s just a no-brainer, that’s what we give to God. He gives us the ability to keep 90%, but then over and above the opportunity to be generous, looking for ways that we can be generous. The Miracle Offering that is coming up. I felt compelled that fighting the good fight is in our finances and one of those opportunities we have coming up is sowing into the plan and the purpose that God has called us to with the Miracle Offering.

I shared with the Bible College students the four buckets – looking at managing our finances in a practical way with four buckets, or four business accounts.

One account is about sowing, putting your money for your tithe and your money for any generous offering over and above giving.

One account is spending – all your bills, all your expenses, making sure that you have got enough for your spending.

One account is for saving, always putting a percentage into a savings account. An account for growing, an investment type of account. Always being deliberate, being consistent, taking action in a way that is fighting the good fight for finances.

For us an example of God’s provision was in 2019 for the Miracle Offering both Kate and I felt to double what was our previous Miracle Offering. Then in 2020 our business got hit, our income got hit, and the question in our mind was how are we going to make good of our pledge? We got our tax done and we got a back payment of family tax benefit which was almost the exact amount that we had remaining on our pledge and we were able to, over and above, make good on our pledge for 2019.

God is our provider. We should never feel compelled, we should never feel like we have to give. We give because we do something that God is calling us to do.

As Christians, I feel like God is calling us to fight the good fight for our finances.

Be good stewards over what He has given us. Be deliberate, take consistent action in a way that we are spending less than we earn and we being good stewards by making sure that we have actions and activities that are deliberate to help us to use what He has given us in a good way.

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NKJV)

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.

God is faithful. He will supply our everyday needs. The challenge for us is we need to do what we are able to do to develop disciplines and deliberate habits and being good stewards of what He gives us. If you need God’s provision and you need God to move you forward in your personal finances, or your business, you are going to have to fight for it.

4. Fight the good fight for our Family and Friends!

If you have your own family, Mums, Dads, kids, and also if you are single, fight the good fight for your family and friends.

Husbands, Dads, if I can speak to you guys, the way that we fight our fight as Dads and Husbands, isn’t just about bringing in our harvest in our own life, for us to see what God has called us to, but it will be replicated in our family, by our spouses and by our children. Our prayer life, our devotional life, our attitude towards generosity, our focus and our faith. All of us, whether you are a Mum or a Dad or whether you are single, good family takes deliberate and consistent efforts and actions. It is a fight, it’s a race that we have to run. We have to be deliberate and determined about fighting the good fight for our family.

Deliberate and consistent effort to have quality family time. Deliberate and consistent effort to have a vision and something that we are moving towards as a family.

With each lockdown I have been made more aware of how easily the business of life can take over and family can end up getting the leftovers. I am challenged about this as someone who is pretty busy, someone who has multiple things going on at the same time, it is time to re-establish some deliberate habits in our lives which allow us to sow into and grow our family relationships. The way that we build our faith as a family, the way that we build our relationships as a family, the way that we establish little family rituals, things that we do as a family, things that are our family culture. Things that we are wanting to achieve as a family, much like the athletic metaphor, if you ask an athlete what they are aiming for they will be able to tell you about their goals and their dreams. They will have a training regime. They will have an eating regime. It is pretty set out.

As a family I think it is super important to do things like sit down and eat meals together at the dinner table. Have little rituals, have little things that you do as a family that build quality time, that build good relationships, things that help you move forward towards what God has called you for.

I believe that not just as individuals that God has a plan for you, but as a family. I believe that God has a plan for families. God is calling your family to reflect His goodness to inspire other families, the world is crying out for models of family. The world is crying out for hope in this current season.

God has called us to more, God has called you to more, He has called you to greater things. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. COVID hasn’t put God’s plans on hold for you, for your family, for your finances, for your focus, for your friends.

What I want us to realise this morning is that for us to keep moving forwards, to see those things become a reality, it is time for us to fight. Fight the good fight. Fight deliberate, consistent effort and actions. We have to get back to realising that for us to move forward in this season we have to do certain things that maybe we haven’t needed to do in the last seasons.

Fight for your faith. Fight for your focus. Fight for your finances and fight for your family and friends.

The amazing thing for all of us this morning is that we don’t have to take this fight on our own. We are not in this on our own. The reality is that the battle has already been won, the war has been won. Right now we are fighting a fight, but the war has been won. Jesus paid the price. He won the war. He is waiting for us to invite Him into our world so He can fight for us and with us.

Maybe this morning you feel like you are fighting all on your own. You feel like this is a battle that you have got no help in.

This morning as we finish up, as we come to a close, if your feel like you are on your own, you have drifted away from God, maybe in COVID season you feel like you are in isolation and you haven’t reached out to God, God wants to fight with you and to fight for you.

In the end we win. 2020 hasn’t caught God by surprise.

The challenge for you is to look at those areas, your faith, your focus, your finances and your family and friends and see where God is challenging you to step up your fight. Those disciplines and intentional activities, are you fighting in a way that inspires others? Are you fighting in a way that motivates those who maybe don’t believe what you believe?

The final question is how do you want to look back on 2020? What do you want to remember 2020 for?

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What has God been asking you to fight for in 2020?
  2. Do you find it difficult to trust Him in this season? Why?
  3. How can you fight in a way that motivates others?

You’re Gonna Have To Fight For It – Nathan Hulls2020-08-18T17:00:59+10:00

This Is The Day – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[09/08/2020]

Episode Notes

There is a lot that can happen in a day!

  • The world can change in a day
    • Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 – edge of nuclear war
    • World Trade Centres
    • Corona Virus
  • The destiny of a person can change in a day
    • Turn of events
    • The right idea
    • An encounter with God
  • Life or death can happen in a day
  • A day, 24 hours, wow what a difference it can make!

We often talk about good days and bad days, because I am going to guess most of us have had our fair share of both.

Psalm 118 says:

This is the day, that the Lord has made – and there are lots of things happening today!

 I want us to consider how to look at and interpret life so that we can follow what the Psalmist says following that, “This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it…”

But in order to rejoice today, we have to get our “what’s” – right!

The great part is we can know that David, who wrote this, didn’t always have great days, in fact he certainly had some days that were not so good!

He had a problem – a Boss and a King!

  • A guy he had served, risked his life for and would come in to play music to help!
  • Then one day that king decides David should die and so throws a spear at him!
    • Now I have had a lot of fun throwing things around worksites and offices
    • Fire-crackers – they were always fun
    • Lollies for people to catch and enjoy
    • Thrown bits of rubbish in small office skirmishes
    • But I never have seen a spear thrown to kill someone – that’s kind of serious problems there

David on other occasions:

  • Had huge family issues including massive rejection
  • Sin problems that became public
  • Faced death of loved ones
  • Faced being physically hunted and chased down living on the run
  • Got in a situation at one point where the only way out was to literally fake madness!
  • Now that’s a corner where you are so trapped the only option is to dribble and yell and fake madness – not a common way to face the day

So, we know this guy hasn’t lived a peachy, comfortable life and yet he can say:

“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it…”

He could do this because despite the externals, he seems to have formed some very good personal convictions about God and life and they are spelled out here in Psalm 118!

Let’s take a look!

We can say ‘this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice’ when our ‘what’s’ are correct.

1. What is our confidence in?

Psalm 118:1-12, 13-14 (NIV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say, “His mercy endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.” I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

……

13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the Lord helped me.14 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

If you were to summarise this passage the most appropriate words would be:

Have confidence in God!

Trust and confidence is so important and particularly where we place it.

The Bible is filled with clear instruction that God is where we are to put our confidence and all other things have a big note saying – Unsafe – Do not use!

But just like me we refuse to listen and we roll the dice thinking, “Surely it can’t mean that!”

We put our confidence in:

  • Money and our pay packet
  • What others think
  • Our own selves
  • Power or position
  • Relationships
  • For some its routine and forms of control over life
  • Others it’s a lifestyle or health or image

But none of these are unshakeable!

  • Surely the fact we are all wearing face masks and living through a pandemic started by some wrong food in the back end of a Chinese market ought to suggest we may need to re-think our confidence

Psalm 20:7 (NIV) puts it like this…

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

The thing we learn from David is that if you want to rejoice in every day then you must have your confidence in something that never fails – God!

Can I encourage every person listening to this that our confidence ought to be in God?

It doesn’t mean we don’t:

  • Live with wisdom
  • Plan for good outcomes
  • Work hard in life
  • Or make great life decisions

But it does mean that when those things fail, we can still rejoice in God, because He never fails!

That is why regardless of the day – we can say:

  • This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!

We can say this ‘this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice’ when our ‘what’s’ are correct!

2.  What is the company we keep?

Psalm 118:15-17 (NKJV)

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Psalm 118:15-17 (NIV)

15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!

A lot of how we see today is affected by the noise around our lives!

We all know this!

  • If you want to have a party and celebrate and enjoy the night – you are not putting on some sad, melancholy music, you go to a party playlist!
    • Why because it sets the mood!
  • If at the breakfast table someone is cranky and irritable – it doesn’t send you into your car excited about the day – but frustration gradually spreads across the whole family

Well if we want to face today and rejoice, we must put the sounds of rejoicing, salvation, joy and victory around us!

Notice that is what happens in the tents of the righteous,

The tents of the unrighteousness are not mentioned so we don’t know that sound, but I can tell you the sound that is not predominant in the tents of the righteous:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Loss
  • Doubt
  • Failure

They might get a mention now and then, but the sounds that are overwhelmingly  heard are the ones in the Psalms – rejoicing, salvation, victory and joy!

What tents do we live around – go to – visit – sit in?

We are free to choose but our choice determines our outlook and therefore our confession and ultimately our result.

That’s why I love Church! The tents of the righteous! Even when I don’t feel like victory, I can be surrounded by others who choose it and it helps me to rejoice again.

Church let me encourage you to find people, songs, reading, podcasts, friends that help you rejoice!

If the predominant sound from a tent (whatever that represents to each of us – relationship, group of people, friends, influencers, things we watch listen to or read) isn’t this, then just be wary of the tent – it may not be a righteous one!

We can say this ‘this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice’ when our ‘what’s’ are correct!

But it’s this next one that really is like the double encouragement!

3. What do we do when we make mistakes?

I don’t know about you, but this is one I can definitely identify with!

Man have I made some mistakes:

  • For one I sold an FJ45 Landcruiser in fantastic condition
  • Then the sale of every other land cruiser in my life has also proved over time a mistake
  • I once bleached my hair with peroxide and then washed it out in the shower only to burn not only my entire scalp which later fell out – but broke out in a red rash
  • More than once I have gambled on the deep fried food sitting in the heating tray of a service station – it’s worth the roll of the dice
  • I wore shirts with mustard collars and a tie to church thinking it was cool
  • And Tegan seems to think the days of my mullet were a mistake, but I felt it was flawless in taste and style

Psalm 118:18 (NKJV)

18 The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

 In other words:

  • I have made mistakes and even paid dearly for them!
  • I have messed up, caused problems, created brokenness and mess!

And haven’t we all!

I know I only used silly mistakes (except selling the Cruisers – that is downright unforgiveable and I pay often)

  • But in life haven’t we all done things that we regret??

I am sure there are:

  • Relationships we have damaged, lost or broken
  • Financial mistakes and messes we wish we could change
  • Situations where we reacted wrongly or responded terribly
  • Things we have said, done, not done

But listen to the end!

Psalm 118:18 (NKJV)

18 The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, and have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes.

I have made mistakes… but open to me the gates of righteousness I will go through them!!!

Wow! To know we have messed up, but God’s love, grace and forgiveness are bigger!

It sounds a lot like Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

It is really hard to praise God while we sit staring at our past mistakes and failures.

But it is hard not to praise God when I stare at Jesus who forgave me for it all.

This is the confidence that we can have that whatever has been has been – but my future is:

  • Blessed
  • Sure
  • Filled with God’s goodness
  • Has strength and breakthrough
  • Is for more

Because we open up the gates of blessing, inheritance, favour, provision, breakthrough for the righteous and they are mine!

Psalm 18:25 (NKJV)

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.

Psalm 18:25 (NIV)

25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Now you don’t say ‘Save me if everything is perfect’ – so clearly stuff is up and life isn’t roses … but He doesn’t let that stop and David goes on to say:

  • Grant us success!

Too any Christians stop at save me and never move onto the fruit of that:

  • Send now prosperity and grant us success!

Can I encourage you, regardless of yesterday, we can still see the goodness of God!

Believe Him for:

  • Blessing
  • Favour
  • Increase
  • Breakthrough
  • Good things!

That brings me to the verse itself.

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

I want to make one last point!

This is the day the Lord has made! We will rejoice in it!

  • Not yesterday is the day the Lord has made
  • Not when COVID is finished is the day the Lord has made
  • Not the weekend or holidays is the day the Lord has made

But today! Learn to choose praise today!

Sadly, many are letting their praise dim and their focus shift, but I hope this message is a reminder that God made today!

  • Nothing has caught Him by surprise!
  • Nothing is too big for our God
  • He made today and it is our choice to rejoice!

Just like David we could all choose other focuses and therefore not praise, but why would anybody want to choose that when they can say:

This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it!

Let’s look at the what’s in our life and get them aligned with God’s Word.

  • What is our confidence in?
  • What is the company we keep?
  • What do we do when we make mistakes?

 Suggestions for discussion

  1. It can be hard to look at things that are going on around you today and say: “This is the day that the Lord has made”. Discuss how you are able to do this, or the difficulties you have doing it.
  2. What ‘tents’ do you spend your time in? If things are negative around you, can you change them?
  3. See the goodness of God around you today and praise Him for it. Remember this is the day that the Lord has made!

This Is The Day – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-08-10T19:21:48+10:00

But, What Does God Say? – Ps Bruce Claridge

[02/08/2020]

Episode Notes

We live in a world bombarding us continually with information, 24-hour news, opinions, new ideas, conspiracy theories, fear filled alarmist headlines, etc. We have daily Covid virus updates, multiple news channels, armchair experts giving their opinions on everything from relationship keys to world affairs and even end time theories.

Never has so much been accepted as truth because so called experts have spoken authoritatively on a particular subject. From global warming to Government cover ups, so called experts have had our attention.

Whatever your philosophical or political stance, it gets pummelled or supported by fresh information and ideas.

This morning I want one thing to ring in your ears long after you have forgotten the details of this message, amidst all the noise, it is this question: “But, What Does God Say?”

1 Kings 18: 1-45 (parts of the story of Elijah)

Elijah, a great prophet of the Lord, faced massive life challenges that would dwarf some of the things facing us today. Severe famine, a brutal and autocratic King, satanic religions deceiving God’s people and a country in such a bad state generally that here currently we look like our national life is pretty good even with Covid and other challenges.

Into this situation God sends him. After a long time, God tells him to ”Go to this barbaric King, and I will send rain”. Elijah goes into certain death or so it would seem if he listened to any other voice than God’s.

Elijah even asks an undercover Godly official called Obadiah to help him and go to the King and tell him something that may get this man killed.

Elijah’s whereabouts! (vs 14-16) Elijah was so confident in His God that he presented a challenge to the prophets of Baal which saw him totally outnumbered, but what I love here is that Elijah called the shots! The servant of God, God’s prophet, set up the challenge. He was confident in God to come through (vs 19-39). Baal was supposed to be the god that controlled storms and rain!!! Surely his prophets could have sorted out this drought by now!

In verse 36 Elijah says “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command”. He then follows this up with vs 38 and says “Answer me Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” – then the fire of the Lord fell!

Elijah proclaimed to Ahab “Get ready for drought breaking rain”. It took a while, but the rain came (vs 41-46).

Throughout this encounter with drought, a religious challenge to truth and a brutal ungodly King, Elijah maintained his stance of unwavering faith by declaring to both himself and everyone around him “But, what does God say?”. Not what does the government say, or what does current thinking say or what do my friends say, but what does God say?

It didn’t happen straight away (vs 42-46), but what God said happened!

Perhaps you are in that waiting time. Remember what God said happened!

What does Elijah teach us today? (Romans 5:1-5)

1.

We are not exempt from tough situations personally, regionally or nationally. Life tragedies, Covid pandemics, financial challenges, unfulfilled dreams, seasons of doubt, persecution for our faith and so the list goes on. A very disillusioned Elijah was in such a place. The most wicked rulers Israel had ever known were out to kill him.

There was a three-year drought and his people were starting to follow after other gods. That would make any man of God question their faith. Question their call! But deep-down Elijah knew that God was still God and still sovereign. This is what we must know today.

Read the Book of Revelation, notice that in the end “We win” ……This is what God says!! God’s plan will be fulfilled.

2.

To know that God expects us to be faith ready regardless of the times we are in. Covid restrictions are not a sabbatical. Not a time to take a spiritual break. No Church together is not an excuse. Tough times are times to hear what God has to say.

Even in this situation God tells Elijah to go to the man who is trying to kill him. A major faith challenge! This assignment didn’t come after a faith rousing conference or a faith filled message from a great preacher, but in the “long time” after his precious miracle when a young boy was raised to life.

A long time since you heard God speak or saw God move is not an excuse (vs 1) neither is the enormity of the directive from God. We are called to be “instant in season and out of season” – to be faith ready even in times of doubt!

3.

To know that He may ask us to challenge other believers to step out in faith with us (the Obadiahs in our life). Isolation does not mean separation from other believers – connections must be intentional. You never know how many Obadiahs are prepared to join you until you ask.

God is a God of community (listen to the recent series on The Church). There are Obadiahs in your life just waiting to be asked to join your faith venture. e.g. SCA chaplains and helpers who have come on board, like my good friend Geoff Scown who now stands in front of grieving sports communities and walks them through their grief.

Geoff will say that if I hadn’t asked him to join my particular faith venture with SCA he would never have realised the amazing gift of compassion on his life!! Who is waiting for you to challenge them to join you as you serve God?

This is what we do when we challenge people to join us in seeing our city transformed. It’s called intentional discipleship. I believe that right now God is placing on your heart people to join you in serving God, people to step out in faith with you (PRAY).

4.

To know that God is a God of Victory (Romans 8:18, 28, 37) Vs 18 – “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will revealed in us”. Our eternal perspective. Vs 28- “In all things God is working for your good” (even if it doesn’t look that way).  Our present view Vs 37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. Our ongoing triumphant view.

But what does God say? He says filter every voice, every philosophy, every new idea through the filter of the truth of My Word. Take every thought captive to His Word. Let the Christian world view be your world view, not your favourite celebrity or politician’s world view and certainly not the world view of the loudest voice!

Elijah was not immune from feelings of inadequacy, even after this triumph of Chapter 38. The next chapter finds him running away in fear from Jezebel and wanting to die, he began to hear other voices, voices of defeat, of fear and torment. This reminds us to continually stay tuned into God’s voice through his Word and His Spirit.

What voice do you need to tune out this morning? Be specific, make a decision to tune out!

What does God say? Do you need to hear his voice of salvation?

Do you need to hear His voice of Faith?

Do you need to hear His voice of comfort and healing? What is God saying to you today?

I want to pray in three ways as we finish.

To pray for those who are hearing the “come home” voice of God (Salvation).

To pray for those who are hearing the voice of God as a call to action.

To pray for those who need to hear the voice of a God of comfort.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Do you find it hard to remind yourself to ask what does God say about certain things in your life?
  2. Are you faith-ready for any situation that may happen in your life?
  3. Are you ready to challenge other believers to step out in faith with you?

But, What Does God Say? – Ps Bruce Claridge2020-08-04T15:12:55+10:00

The Church Pt 5 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[26/07/2020]

Episode Notes

We find in the book of Acts our only recorded pattern of the outworking of both the Global and local Church.

We see the transition from a group of disciples to local congregations forming and working out what it looks like.

The book of Acts is filled with exciting changes and the explosive growth of the Church and in multiple places we see factors that led to this growth and expansion.

Look at all the passages that say “and the Church grew, increased etc…”

God’s plan is that healthy things grow – we see it right across creation

Therefore, healthy Churches should grow. We see that modelled in the book of Acts – so let’s look at what grew the Churches:

  1. High personal commitment to their faith and mission!
  2. Lack of personal comfort!
  3. Balanced understanding of God!
  4. Innovation!
  5. Just kept on Mission!

There is something powerful in remaining focused and on mission.

The choice of people who excel in a field do not allow things to put them off, or change their focus but rather a commitment to fulfilling the mission they started.

If you are a parent, you will understand the frustration of when you ask your kids to do something and they don’t finish it, but allow other things to distract them and you just say “What did I ask … do that!”

I think sometimes God may have a similar frustration with us.

Acts 12: 20-25 (NIV) 

20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry.

The mission kept going!

They refused to let what was going on around them stop their mission, change their mission, pause their mission!

  • The Church just kept being the Church, they kept helping people find life and live it – wherever they were
  • They kept being devoted

While it could have been possible to take their eyes off things, look at all the politics and uncertainties, they realised the big picture of eternity is still the same – so let’s keep rolling!

There were pressures, cultural issues, challenges but they kept their focus on their mission from God.

Herod died, but Barnabus and Saul didn’t pack up and return.

To them it wasn’t about when the culture seemed right, or when the feel was good, or when the politics was sorted. It was about when they had fulfilled their ministry!

  • Don’t give up
  • Don’t get distracted
  • Don’t allow a change in environment shake you
  • Don’t get swayed this way and that

Get some steel in your convictions about your calling and fulfill your ministry.

What is the calling on your life that we spoke of last week that every believer has?

  • What is your eternal purpose and what do you feel deep down you were wired to do for the Kingdom of God?
  • Have you fulfilled that?
  • Have you continued with the cause or gotten distracted from it?

Can I ask you to pray and commit to re-firing your calling and then putting it at the forefront of your life, not on the backbench.

Oh for a rising of believers who put fulfilling their ministry above the other distractions and pressures of life!

6. Worked with people who were passionate!

Acts 13:44–52 (NIV)

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ 48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Paul and Barnabas had some people who opposed them and were stuck in their religious ways. They were basically a hinderance to reaching people.

  • But then there were those who were just keen to get on with growing, reaching others and moving on in faith

The lesson here is don’t waste your time trying to convince people with religious, negative, resisting attitudes, just let them go and work with people passionate to get on with it.

I think Church is like a big bus and we are going somewhere, but we ought to know where that is.

  • But there is a front door and back door
  • If people like where we are going then jump on, grab a seat and let’s go!
  • If they don’t, then no worries, there’s a back door as well where they can find a different bus

But as soon as these guys stopped trying to:

  • Work with negativity and religiosity
  • Convince people that didn’t really want to believe
  • Worry about their personal preferences and comforts

They went to the people hungry for God and the Word of the Lord spread!

  • And to the unlikely Gentiles!
  • Give me a fresh passionate believer any day over some religious, stuck in the mud!
  • God isn’t fussy on requirements, but He does require faith and passion!

It’s not dis-similar to ‘they devoted themselves’, but this is they were on board with it.

Paul and Barnabus knew their job was to go out and fight with the devil, so don’t waste your time fighting with people that are not going to listen or want to grow.

We are working on creating Connect Groups where there are people who want to grow!

  • Our Connect Group structure is not to build a social calendar for socially inept people, but to gather together for growth and the mission of helping people find life and live it!

Personally, commit to surrounding yourself with people who are on a mission with you and who encourage you and fire your passion.

But as a Church, we really don’t try to get people to come around to this or that, we just open the front door and say join us if you like.

  • We are looking for passionate believers who want to serve God, all the rest can be worked out.

7. Good Leadership and Oversight!

Acts 16:4-5 (NIV)

4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily.

What we find here is the leaders passing on well credentialed and reliable teaching with the stamp of the apostles.

When you have good leadership and covering, it will always lead to health.

We see this pattern ever so clearly even in the OT, it’s not a NT thing, it is a God principle.

Judges 17:6 and 21:25 (NLT)

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

What a sad tale of the people of God who had been:

  • Set free and rescued from slavery
  • Possessed a promised land
  • Seen God do the miraculous

But with no real leadership and guidance and everyone just doing their own thing, they led the nation into sin, decline and brokenness.

This happens today, we see people find the freedom of Christ, their lives turn around, but when they will not commit to a leadership journey and the oversight of trusted leadership, sadly they become stunted in growth and often times find their faith in God in trouble.

But the opposite is also true, in the absence of this, with:

  • People with no real, tangible church leadership covering
  • I don’t mean some ticket in the mail from the back of a Weeties packet, I mean have they served another man’s vision over a length of time and proven themselves to a recognised and trustworthy apostolic group and been recognised and recommended by these trustworthy people?
  • People with no real commitment or loyalty to oversight and authority, just move around to whatever suits them
  • Drifting Giftings I call it when people don’t answer to anyone, and every time they are challenged they just move along or drift apart!

That isn’t healthy and it never leads to health.

Teaching, oversight and good leadership are part of a healthy and growing Church.

  • In fact, here we find that after good leadership came and brought some direction, correction and oversight happened, it led to growth!

They are actually part of a healthy growing life, even personally we need these things in our life.

Leadership is not some 21st Century or secular concept, it is clearly presented as part of a healthy Church in the book of Acts 2000 years ago.

  • The New Testament we read was put together and one of the criteria for a book to be included was its link to genuine apostolic oversight!

Proverbs is a book filled with wisdom to help us in life and one of the standout themes in the book is the blessing of guidance, instruction, correction etc.

Proverbs 15:10 (NIV)

“the one who hates correction will die…”

 Proverbs 15:31,32 (NIV)

“whoever heeds life giving correction will be at home with the wise.

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.”

I think for any believer who reads the Word of God, Leadership and oversight are just part of God’s plan and His Word is clear on it.

If we are to follow the Old Testament through, we find example after example of good leadership leading His people to success and prosperity and poor leadership or no leadership leading them to terrible consequences.

But as a Church it is one of the keys that we see in the book of Acts, ‘good leadership and oversight’ by those called by God and linked to recognised Apostolic Voices.

I am so glad for our ACC movement and the brilliant leadership we have. And for us it’s not distant, but we have good people that we are personally connected to and listening to regularly.

If we are serious about a move of God, then we must be serious about oversight and leadership which is the pattern in the scriptures.

Conclusion

I love the fact that God has given us His Word and the examples we need to follow. It cuts through so much of some of the misinformation that is floating around.

The pattern is consistent:

  1. High personal commitment to their faith and mission!
  2. Lack of personal comfort!
  3. Balanced understanding of God!
  4. Innovation!
  5. Just kept on with the Mission!
  6. Work with people who are passionate!
  7. Good leadership and oversight!

I am so excited about the days ahead and what God has for us together.

  • We are not here nor called to build a crowd, but His Church.
  • A unified, army of faith believers who work together to help people find life and live it!

Our prayer is you find a spiritual home where you can be part of God’s working in His amazing Church.

It could be here with us, it could be down the road or in another city, however, commit to God’s people and plan – the Church – to flourish as a believer.

Psalm 92:13-15 (NIV)

13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

  • Maybe today you have never been part of God’s House or family.
  • Make a decision to be a follower of Jesus.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. How often do you need to tell yourself to not waste your time trying to convince people with religious, negative, resisting attitudes, but to just let them go and work with people passionate to get on with it?
  2. Do you commit to surrounding yourself with people who are on a mission with you and who encourage you and fire your passion?
  3. Are you seeking a healthy growing life? How do you do that?

The Church Pt 5 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-07-27T17:44:06+10:00

The Church Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[19/07/2020]

"The healthy growth of the church..."

Episode Notes

I hope you enjoyed the message from Pastor Tim Hall about the days of revival ahead for the Church and particularly as it stands in Bendigo. I believe God is preparing us and even our facilities to be a place of revival and an increasing light of Jesus to Bendigo and beyond!

We have really covered some great ground on the subject of the Church so far in this series.

We have covered that the Church is the eternal plan of God to represent Him on planet earth. Its mission has never changed but is set in concrete – Helping people find life in Christ and then teaching them how to live the Christian life to the full.

The global Church is expressed through local contexts and groups of people. It is the collection of local churches that enable to Global Church to live out God’s intent and plan for it. Within the local context of people making every effort to work together in unity, we grow and mature into the kind of people God needs us to be to follow Him.

Today the pattern we are given for the Church and what it should look like is the New Testament and particularly the book of Acts which is about a 30year history of the birth of the Church.

  • We see in it that there are noted points of health and growth which I want to look at today and next week
  • God’s plan is that healthy things grow – we see it right across creation
  • Therefore healthy Churches should grow and that is exactly what we see modelled in the book of Acts – so let’s look at what grew the churches

1. High personal commitment to their faith and mission

 Acts 2:42, 47 (NIV)

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

47And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved

The very first ingredient we see here in the health, growth and expansion of the Church is the commitment of the believers to:

  • The Apostles teaching – Word of God and growing in it
  • Fellowship together – Church Sundays, gatherings
  • Sharing meals – investing in personal relationships with other believers
    • Connect Groups – Best plan yet… intentional investment into personal relationships.
  • Prayer – Engaging with God in prayer

I suppose you could liken it to a sport a bit like last week.

  • On one team they are devoted to what they do
    • They train, sacrifice, work hard, work together, dream together, put in effort to train, grow, improve
  • Compared to a team that is indifferent and it’s a thing they do on the side, but not what wakes them up in the morning

Which team do you think will grow, develop, mature and win?

Again, to refer to Ps Tim’s message last week, revival and moves of God do not come with apathetic or comfortable Christianity, but a willingness to engage with God personally with prayer and diligence.

For the Church to rise and be the growing, healthy and have world shaking influence it needs every believer needs to be devoted to their faith!

We won’t make a difference if most believers:

  • Have their Christianity as a side thing
  • A Sunday thing
  • A when I feel like it thing

Remember two weeks ago – every believer has a calling and if we build our lives around the things of God and devote ourselves to it, then all together we can be the kind of Church God has called us to be.

It seems Churches grow and are healthy as people mature and devote themselves to following Jesus.

2. Lack of personal comfort

The Church in Acts 1 was commanded to go into all the world when the Holy Spirit came and then He came in chapter 2. But it takes till chapters 8 and 9 for any of the ‘going out’ to happen.

Acts 8:1,4 (NIV)

Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria….  But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

We see then that the Gospel spreads like wildfire and these people who were pushed out of their nest end up bringing the gospel, to Samaria, Ethiopia and to cities everywhere.

When the believers were all of a sudden pulled out of their own comfort zone with persecution, there was an expansion of the Church and it was launched into a new time of growth!

To me it is sad that it took persecution to do that!

I will never forget my good friend Lucas Connell bringing me a prophetic word over a coffee one day. We were catching up talking about life and then out of the blue he said: “God told me that you are comfortable where you are, but God is calling you out of that. And if you don’t choose to get out of the nest – God will push you out of the nest!”

Another great leader in my life Pastor Paul Geerling told me – God uses discomfort to get us to step into His plans and purposes!

If we are comfortable and are not proactive in making ourselves uncomfortable – God will do it for us or allow circumstances that do it!

I think we need to be proactive about getting out of our comfort zone in:

  • Faith steps – when was the last time we took a faith step that made us uncomfortable?
  • Prayer – have we stretched in prayer or fasted or prayed big audacious prayers that require faith and action – or safe little ‘keep me safe’ prayers?
    • I hate ‘just keep me safe mentalities’ – there is no faith or blessing in that!
  • Sharing our faith – when was the last time we were willing to be uncomfortable to share our faith?
  • In uncomfortable environments – we love comfort and often surround ourselves with comfortable people and places, but when did we last step out of that comfort zone for God’s purposes?
  • The Church was never healthy and growing while ever they sat in comfort. Not to mention they were commanded to leave that comfort zone, and we have the same command today
  • They had to get out of the upper room
  • Then out of Jerusalem
  • Out of their comfort zone

I honestly believe when God spoke to us about building a new facility it was part of God pulling us as a Church out of a comfortable, secure, safe season and into one of challenge, faith and discomfort so we could become healthy, outward focused and grow!

You watch as people take the discomfort of faith steps, all of a sudden we move into a zone of the miraculous!

3. Balanced understanding of God

Have you ever driven a car that has its wheels out of balance?

  • Last year heading to the snow on a few occasions it is 4 hours both ways
  • Unfortunately, I hadn’t had my wheels balanced for a while and there were certain speeds that the steering wheel would just shake
  • I remember in an old cruiser I had, lending it to someone and warning them because it had such a violent shake you thought something was wrong, but really it was just out of balance

When things are about of balance it is not a healthy place to be!

Acts 9:31 (NIV)

31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.

We see two concepts of God that sometimes appear as opposing each other. They grew in the fear of God, but also there was an encouragement of the Holy Spirit…

Believers or Christians today, just like then, need to have a healthy fear of God in order to grow

Without it, God becomes:

  • Santa Clause
  • Good vibes
  • A positive life message
  • A great set of value

But God is none of those things, He is a saviour and friend yes… but equally a king and a judge!

Everyone listening today and those who are not will one day give account before God and be judged for how we lived on planet earth!

Jesus is clear in the Gospels that He demands:

  • Fruitfulness in our life both natural and spiritual
  • Growth and maturity
  • Willingness to forsake all for Him
  • That we build treasure in Heaven not on earth
  • He gives commands to put Him first above all else

These are not up for negotiation and we will be held accountable for this.

People sometimes want to preach the gace of God but neglect the truth of God.

  • Jesus came in grace and truth.

When we understand this, I think we become aware that we have a responsibility to:

  • Serve
  • Give
  • Share the Gospel
  • Grow spiritually
  • Disciple and lead others

We will be held to account for what we do and don’t do in regards to this stuff! These are not opt in and out for believers.

If we don’t balance this healthy fear with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit – we equally end up out of balance. If we do not also grasp the grace part of God, then we end up out of balance, legalistic and there is no joy and peace.

A correct understanding realises there are things God holds me accountable to, but He is also a kind, gracious, loving and forgiving God.

  • He wants to bless us
  • He walks the journey with us
  • He helps us through our mistakes
  • He loves unconditionally, He brings joy and peace
  • He is not a driver like the devil but a leader like a shepherd

When we get this balance right, we can see the two outcomes.

  • Church was strengthened!
  • Church grew!

I often feel like one of the key things we do is try to help people see both sides of God instead of just one.

Don’t drive a faith car without balanced wheels of grace and truth.

4. Innovation

Acts 11:19-21 (NIV)

19 Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews.20 However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21 The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.

At this point they only knew reaching Jews and preaching to the Jews who had a particular concept of God.

But, all of a sudden, some of them started breaking the mould, preaching to the gentiles and boom the Church exploded!

  • It was controversial
  • It was bold
  • It was different
  • They hadn’t seen that before
  • God hadn’t done that before

But it opened the door for growth and revival.

If we try to do the same old, same old, we are not seeing that God constantly pushes for innovation in our ways of reaching people and discipling people.

The mission is concrete – helping people find life and live it, but how we do it and what it looks like – the sky is the limit!

Are we prepared to:

  • Change?
  • Do things we haven’t done?
  • Give up things we have done?
  • Be willing to do what reaches people not what makes us comfortable?
  • Try new faith steps and ventures?

What new methods of reaching people are yet to be discovered? What could Church look like?

  • What things should we stop doing that have lost their edge and are not very fruitful anymore?
  • What things should we start doing that have never been done before?

When someone says to me “We haven’t don’t that before..”, I think good, brilliant, maybe this is a new thing that will help reach more people!

The early Church was constantly adapting to changing environments, cultures, ways of communicating and leaders moving around.

  • Don’t forget at this point they were still working out what this thing looked like!
  • They held Church councils to ask ‘Exactly what are we asking of people following Jesus…’
  • They thrashed out what we hold as sacred by change, trial and error, new concepts and innovation

When Churches don’t innovate, they stagnate and stagnant things soon become poisonous!

So as the Church today, with an even more accelerated rate of change around us, we must as a Church, innovate in order to see health and growth.

  • We are heading into great days of growth and revival, but we must be willing to get ourselves into a space where we can be part of it

Each person has a part to play and I would encourage everyone listening to take seriously the days ahead in regards to the Kingdom of God.

I want to pray for those right now who have never made a decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

  • Perhaps you always saw Jesus as a Santa and have never really lived committed to Him
  • Perhaps you were pushed away from Him thinking of Him as judgmental and harsh and never knew His love and grace for you
  • Whatever has kept people from relationship with Jesus today

Suggestions for discussion

  1. As believers, health, growth and expansion of the Church depends on our commitment to see it grow. Discuss what you can do to help this growth!
  2. As you watch people take the discomfort of faith steps, are you prepared for a move into a zone of the miraculous?
  3. What are you prepared to do when we don’t see that God constantly pushes for innovation in our ways of reaching people and discipling people? How much are you prepared to change?

The Church Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-07-27T18:25:07+10:00

Revival – Ps Tim Hall

[12/07/2020]

"Keys to revival..."

Episode Notes

Bendigo has had 8 revivals in the past, but the best is ahead.

There is to be a very significant move of God in the golden city of Bendigo in the future.

Bendigo was named after one of the three men in the furnace, but the mother spelt his name differently.

Habakkuk 3:1-5 (NKJV)

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet on shigionoth (musical term). Hebrew poetry written to music, loud shouting, trumpets

Oh Lord I have heard your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden. Before Him went pestilence, and fever followed at His feet.

It points ahead to when Christ is going to come back to earth in all of His glory.

It is a picture of revival. First the deep travail of prayer and then God steps in.

Like God stepped in with Saul on the road to Damascus.

What is revival? It is God taking the field and stepping into your circumstances.

It’s God’s invasion of Heavenly power, conviction, glory and might and healing and majesty. It is not the work of anything of man.

It is when man’s work is finished, and God says I will step in now. It’s supernatural, an invasion which comes in suddenly.

So often revivals suddenly happen.

Acts 2:2-4 (NKJV)

2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Revival is God striking in with power and it is unexplainable

The hardest sinners are suddenly overtaken with something unexplainable and outside their understanding.

If ever the world needs this now with no absolutes.

It is only when God himself comes in such a way as it cannot be understood except that this is God.

Revival is God taking the field and saying I am coming in to do something remarkable. He is coming to take possession of this whole situation.

Bendigo is getting ready to see a great visitation of God. There is a genuine move of God coming that is going to shake and impact the world. We need to get ready for it and prepare for it and do what has preceded other great revivals.

When are the revivals expected?

In the 1870’s after the great fire of Chicago under DL Moody, the city was primed for revival. They had been through a very difficult time in the Civil War and they were very aware of their vulnerability.

When people are feeling vulnerable there is a brilliant atmosphere for a significant revival.

We are living in such a similar circumstance now where people are very much aware of their vulnerability. This makes a brilliant atmosphere for a significant revival.

The first great awakening in America took place under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards. That happened at a time when nominal Christians were very compromised, there was no spiritual life or power. It was a dead church, a time where the people were desperate for a great move of God. Jonathan Edwards preached a message of the fire of hell and brimstone. He preached about the little cord of God that held men back from destruction. Men were screaming for repentance so they didn’t have to go through the fires of hell.

The Welsh revival occurred at a time when Wales was in a terrible state where there was no morality.

Evan Roberts heard Seth Joshua preach with such power that Evan Roberts made a declaration that he would fast and pray and seek God from 13 years of age until the whole nation came under the grip of God. During prayer Evan was taken onto the Mount of Transfiguration and saw the Glory of God. In Evan’s twenties, 70,000 were saved in one month. The Glory of God hung over that nation to a degree where it was reported that the nation was under the hand of God that showed no signs of lifting.

Azusa Street came out of a holiness movement. There was serious racial segregation and violence.

William J Seymour rose up and began to fast and pray and seek God for hours every day. After a time, the Holy Ghost came in such force and might that people were touched by the power of God. They ran meetings night after night in a disused stable. It was so significant that it spread right across the world, even in Australia. It was a sweeping move that came out of the prayers of one black man, William J Seymour. It was such a significant time for the Pentecostal Churches all over the world.

The Methodists were impacted by John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield. Men of prayer and fasting who prayed night after night seeking God. They shook England, putting churches on virtually every street corner.

The second great awakening in America in the 1800’s, a New York lawyer, Charles Finney was converted and after seeing the state of his nation, began to seek God and fast and pray, gathered men around him who fasted and prayed and sought the face of God. They would go in and seek God in different parts of America until people crossing the state borders would come under the conviction of God.

We need this again we need to see Bendigo shaken by the powerful Hand of God.

Great moves of God have happened in history, can it happen in Bendigo.

Ezekial asked God can these dead bones live? God said prophecy to the bones tell them to come from the east, the west, the north and the south and they rose up and became a great army.

We need to speak to the bones of the people who are away from God and lost to the Kingdom of God. Tell them to rise up and let life come into those bones. God wants to do something in Bendigo beyond anything we can ever imagine. God is preparing this new Church building for one purpose and that is because there is going to be a great influx of people because it is time for Bendigo to be saved. Time for that great move of God to come.

Our condition right now in the world. There has never been an age in history where the cry is for people to rise up in prayer and fasting like we are in right now.

We are in possibly the most serious time I have ever seen in my own lifetime and many would say exactly the same.

It is a time of gross immorality across this planet worse than anything that the Western World has ever seen.

On a global scale there is an anti-God attitude that is rising up.

In America it is so anti-God that churches have been stopped from using school auditoriums for their churches.

A young couple stated that they believe the Bible as regards marriage and are now they are not able to sell their farm produce simply because of their beliefs.

California passed a law that prevented the sale of Bibles because it is a hate book.

Cultural Marxism and Socialism is rampant in virtually every field of the media and music. In the last five years it has accelerated out of control. We are in a critical time that is heading into very dark times if we don’t stand up.

The good news is there is a stirring of prayer and optimism. There are churches that are praying, rising up and saying no, we are coming through this thing into the greatest revival that we have ever known. We will push through this thing.

There is a perfect storm that has risen up to try to halt the progress of the Church, but the Church is standing up and saying we won’t be halted.

Tim challenged the Church in Bendigo to pray, fast and seek God for the greatest breakthrough ever.

Let’s seek the face of God so that in these coming years we will see the face of God for Bendigo to be revived and experience the touch of God. The Golden City will be seen for the Power of God bigger than the greatest gold rush. Truckloads of the power of God will go out from Bendigo and touch the whole world and across the whole nation.

God is preparing us for revival, but He challenges us to deep prayer, to powerful intercession, to powerful prayer and waiting on God for something beyond anything we have ever dreamed.

This is the day for Bendigo, for a huge move of God. It is your day and I believe that you are going to see the new building packed to the doors over and over again and I will stand back in awe thrilled and remembering how things started all that length of time ago to where you are now.

These are great days, let’s get excited in Jesus’ name.

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? Are you born again? Do you have a relationship with Him? Come to Jesus and have your feet planted on the solid rock of Jesus. Do you know that your sins have been washed away? Do you know the joy of His glory filling your life? If you would like to know Him, then join me in saying this simple prayer

Dear Lord Jesus I believe that you are the Son of the living God, that you died on the Cross to cleanse me from every sin I have ever committed.

Lord I turn from my sin. I ask You today to help me to walk your way to live for you, please come into my life, fill me with your power, fill me with your life and your presence.

I give You my life today, in Jesus’ name.

Revival – Ps Tim Hall2020-07-27T18:25:06+10:00

The Church Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[05/07/2020]

"The church in context..."

Episode Notes

Last week Pastor Bruce preached a fantastic message on what it means for the Church to live out the gospel as believers. Today I want to continue unpacking that idea of the Church and the dynamics of a local context.

The Church is incredible and has a unique and powerful purpose, but the question is how do we contextualise it and then how does that look?

Have you ever seen a team sport at play?

Being here in Victoria, it is easy to picture an AFL Team. They play together, practice together, build relationships and dynamics together and sacrifice together.

  • Can you imagine if there was a player who decided, I just love football, but I am part of the big football scene. I don’t feel restricted to one club?
  • I just assume that ‘the global football community’ is more their thing especially because they don’t really like any coaches telling them what to do!
  • So, I just drift around and rock up to any game randomly and then ask to be put on the field
  • How do you think that will go with the team that has worked so hard to establish so much together?
  • Do you think this would be putting their best foot forward in a game?
  • Do you think it would be a good way of creating a team dynamic that works and would it be their best foot forward to let them just get out and run around the ground doing whatever they want?

I am going to guess people that who won’t work with a coach and local team where they grow stretch, learn, commit, work together, embrace the team culture, are not going to become effective players or on a team.

There is a name for them – they are called a “spectators” because no coach in their right mind would allow such a player to be on their team.

Let’s read something and see what this has to do with anything.

Ephesians 4:1 (NLT)

1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

The first thing I notice is that we are a prisoner for serving God, God does not owe us because we serve Him.

  • Too many people think they can turn serving God on and off, up and down according to their social calendar and whether they feel like it or not.
  • Those people that really follow the scriptures example are captured by their service to God. It arrests them, grabs them, they cannot just shake it off.

Then it says lead a life worthy of your calling!

Not your social status, your past, your income, your ethnicity, your culture, your friends, your own ideas, but your calling! We are all called! Choose to live for a calling not an income!

Choose to make your life centred around what God says about you and what He calls you to rather than all the other things that vie for your life and time.

We discover that all of us as believers have a calling!

Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

If we looked at the last verse of Ephesians chapter 3:

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

It gives us the context that Paul is writing chapter 4 about the unity of the church. Yes, we have chapters for our own ability to navigate large amounts of text, but these were letters written without chapters and the flow of this is clearly concerning the church he had just mentioned.

So we can understand we are all called by God and then He talks of how that works or looks like and the context it is to be applied in.

Then straight away it talks of the unity of the church. And we know and talked about the fact that the Church is a global move of God that goes beyond cultures, powers, times or any other thing. It is God’s eternal plan to rescue people.

However, the Scripture is clear that this happens in a local context. There are local expressions of God’s Church that create and participate in the global Church.

That is where this passage comes in because it talks of unity and the fact that we are called to make every effort to keep unity.

  • The local Church is where this happens because it is filled with people that are different, that are called to join together and serve God together
  • It wouldn’t make sense for this passage if it was referring to just drifting around to wherever we feel in the giant global church then does not require effort, let alone great effort.
  • To drift around with no real local spiritual home requires no commitment or development of the fruits of the spirit and equally no effort

The reason the global church can change the world is because local groups of people join together and make every effort to be unified in:

  • Culture, language, vision, spirit, effort and changing their world and together we all change the world

But how do we do this and what is the role then of the local church in this?

Because in order to commit to something we must have a clear understanding of:

  • What it is
  • How it functions

So, for that we continue down.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

So now we come to another key element – how does this local church work?

Well due to misunderstandings, cultural influences, even sadly some of the traditions the church has picked up on the journey, people have mistaken the church for ‘an organisation’ rather than a grouping of people.

The original term or word for church was Ecclesia – a calling out, a congregation, an assembly.

So, when we swap a group of people for ‘an organisation’ it is possible for people to read the scriptures about:

  • Loving people
  • Caring for people
  • Providing for the poor and disadvantaged
  • Sharing the gospel
  • Ministering to people
  • Praying with people
  • Discipling people

And we think this is the Church, the organisations role!

But that is not what the Bible says! The Bible says these things are for every believer!

The passages we looked at two weeks ago (get the podcast if you haven’t heard it) containing the concrete mission of the Church – helping people find life and live it from: John 10:10, John 3:16 and Matt 28:18

  • It is actually for every believer!
  • We are all personally responsible for these things!

And what we just read explains that the Church (organisationally if you consider the leadership of it) has a responsibility not to do all those things, but to equip the whole Church – everybody is to do those things in their world!

This is brilliant because it means that we all:

  • Carry the person of the Holy Spirit
  • The power required
  • The call to go
  • Therefore we have an army of people going, not just a couple of limited people designated as ‘church leaders’.

In the past I have had people ask:

  • Can you spend some time with my dad then he will get saved??? No that is not the God solution – you are!!
  • What is the Church going to do about this or that or some situation? Whoever is asking is the Church and so what we as the organisation will do is continue to equip people, teach on faith steps, generosity, excellence of effort, servant heart etc and the question is what will they do as the Church the people – since they are the Church?

For someone to ask me or any of our team, what will the Church do about this problem is not biblical!

  • They think they have done a service in bringing it to our attention, and then pat themselves on the back as if they have done a good deed
  • No, what is needed is for them to step out and do something then bring a good report on how God has brought a miracle via their faith steps in the situation

The scripture is clear there is a leadership and an organisation required for the local Church and we see it clearly in the book of Acts as soon as the Church grows, in some of the earliest chapters. This gives accountability and stability – without it, things can’t grow properly!

But its role is to equip the people of the Church to do the work of the ministry, not the people outsource the work of the ministry to a paid few or some called few.

  • We are all called!

That’s where our western, consumeristic culture has crept in, we subcontract people to do all sorts of things in life.

I can subcontract someone to:

  • Mow my lawn
  • Build my house
  • Run my accounts and finances
  • Cook food

But we can’t subcontract out our Christianity, or our role in the local Church!

If we were to go back to the sport analogue:

To subcontract out your playing is what a spectator does, not a participator. No room for spectating in these commands of God.

  • A spectator pays for a ticket, watches and comments
  • A team member, an actual player commits, trains, sacrifices, works together, has the same vision, supports the culture, is on the team, plays on game day

And the scriptures talk clearly that Christianity and following Jesus is no spectator sport… John 10:10, John 3:16, Matthew 28:18 

What we find is:

  • Christianity is inescapably corporate, and we are part of a body the Church and in a local context.
  • But it is also personal where we are to personally called, and expected by God, to contribute and not think that the corporate association covers our own personal responsibilities.

The Church is global but outworked in a local context.

Then the outworking of the Church locally is with the Church organisationally equipping every believer (the Church as a people) to do the work of the ministry in their world and spheres of influence.

Let’s just unpack this a little further.

Ephesians 4:13-16 (NLT)

13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Note: “This will continue until…”!

I like this because it is clear. This is the pattern and it leads to maturity!

I feel sorry for people who have not had this taught and so drift around, never commit and miss out on God’s best for their like because they never mature!

Relationship and commitment cause us to grow and God knows this!

It is not reading a book that makes us grow up, but doing life in committed relationships with others! I didn’t even realise I was selfish until I got married and then had children!

That is why God’s plan of the local Church is what brings us to maturity and without it, we will lack maturity.

It talks about:

Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT)

 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. (Children are immature because they live for themselves and haven’t learnt to work with and accommodate others – be in a team…) We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ,

The result of not understanding the local Church context and our responsibility within it, produces stunted, ineffective and immature believers who sadly are open to all sorts of things that are far from Gods’ best for their lives.

We must remember God is not interested in our comfort, but our growth.

The local Church where we:

  • Rub shoulders
  • Do life
  • See the good, the bad and the ugly of each other
  • Work and sweat together
  • Be in the trenches together
  • Give and sacrifice together
  • Commit to one another!
  • Fail, forgive, have patience, extend kindness and long suffering

It is exactly these things that produce growth and maturity! A unified group of believers is a mature group of believers and immaturity will always struggle with unity.

Let’s come back to the team:

  • You can be the best in the world at football, but if you can’t do the team thing – you will never win a championship
  • You can be a great musician, but it is something different altogether to play in a band and make incredible music together!

Two weeks ago, we looked at the power, the eternal purpose and the victory for the global church. But the way to be part of it is through a local context and without that, there is an inability to grow, mature and become part of that powerful, victorious Church.

We might watch it and we might comment on social media and have opinions

but unless we join the team, we can’t truly enjoy the victory like the people in the game!

From here we gain some key points of understanding:

  • We are all called personally to a calling and that should be what we live for
  • Our calling is worked out in a local Church context
    • In that context we find the people of the Church and every believer to go and do the work of taking Jesus to our world
  • Helping people, caring for them, witnessing, discipling
  • Organisation and leadership of a Church that equips the people for the doing all of the above
  • In this context, we have the opportunity to grow and mature into what God wants us to be and do

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the statement: The Church is incredible and has a unique and powerful purpose. How does this make you feel?
  2. Do you choose to make your life centred around what God says about you? How do you do this?
  3. Relationship and commitment cause us to grow. Discuss how this works with you.

The Church Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-07-27T18:24:56+10:00

The Church Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge

[28/06/2020]

"An identity reminder..."

Episode Notes

Psalm 11:3 (NIV)

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’’

But here is something to encourage those who are “the righteous”.

Is 59:19b (NKJV)

“When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Lord will raise up a standard against him”.

Raising up a standard means to make flee.

The psalmist sounds a lot like many people in 2020 asking the same question!!

What can we do?

Amidst a pandemic we see violent riots across our world, lack of respect for authority, anarchy and fear. People watch on confused and asking what can we do?

Isaiah brings encouragement to “the righteous”.

Firstly, we must answer this question, who are the righteous?

From Isaiah, they are people God stands up for.

Of course, it’s the believers! The Church today is called and equipped to turn our world upside down, just as the early church did in the book of Acts amidst Roman persecution and the pervading ungodliness of their society.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 Today, forces are at work to destroy our Christian foundations and leave generations to come confused about the Godly heritage and freedom we have as a nation.

Our Aussie history is not a perfect history, far from it, but a history from which lessons were learned and biblical truths were applied in society’s laws and culture.

Two weeks ago, Steve Penny’s prophetic word focussed on Joshua’s leadership of God’s people to their promised land.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

You need strength and courage to walk the path of faith and obedience which leads to success.

The key focus to doing this is that you need to always maintain a heavenly perspective.

Populating Heaven is our mandate given by Jesus in the great commission.

Nothing has changed with this purpose even in our rapidly changing world.

The Church is God’s Plan A (with no Plan B), through faith and obedience, to be God’s vehicle of reconciliation between a loving God and his rebellious children.

This is how simply it works:

1.

Romans 10:9 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 20:22 (NIV)

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on a cruel Roman Cross, by faith in Him you can be justified before a Holy God.

Saved and being sanctified. God working on our heart through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

No longer living for ourselves, but for Him who saved us.

Born Again and then being transformed into the image of Christ. Moving from the dominion of the kingdoms of this world to the joys of living in the Kingdom of Light. This is our new identity, but it is not just a ticket to Heaven, it is an expectation to be a world changer.

It is knowing you are now qualified to be a servant of the King and move in his authority.

If you are uncertain of your identity then today you can have this transformation as we pray at the end of this message, or right now you can ask Jesus into your life and we can pray together later.

2.

Acts1:8 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Saved and now ignited by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the fuse was lit at Pentecost. (Acts 2)

Remember, however, that a lit fuse is only a pathway to an explosion and as Steve Penny said, “Promises bring us to the border of our blessing, but only action enables us to possess it.” The experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to equip us to be a world changer not a church attender.

After Jesus breathed resurrection life into his confused disciples, he later told them to wait in Jerusalem for the empowering to be His witnesses eventually to the ends of the earth.

3.

Acts 2: 42-47 (NIV)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

We, the Church, become the barrel that directs the Dunamis charge so that the explosion ignited is not just fragmented and does not hit a target. Unattached believers have a “scatter gun effect “ignited and empowered” but without the structure of a local Church as outlined in God’s Word to bring about lasting fruit.

The local Church is the equipping vehicle to prepare the saints to fulfil the great commission as a Body of related believers each using their respective gifts in unity to impact their world.

This morning I want to focus on the justified, ignited and commissioned Church as we take the promised land as Joshua and his people did.

There are five roles we demonstrate as we witness and by faith grasp the promises God has given us for this exciting season. A season to not pull back despite the opposition to truth.

A season to raise the standard of truth

e.g. Moral compromise in the corporate and political world has seen truth sacrificed on the altar of success, power and financial gain

But a season of unlimited opportunities is emerging as we get back to a “new normal”.

We are to be present in our world, salt and light. We have roles to play as pastors, prophets (speakers of truth), priests and ambassadors.

Firstly, we must be present in our world, salt and light making people thirsty and show them the way by our abundant lives. Lives full of faith, adventure, love and acceptance.

Present in the lives of others, involved positively in their lives allowing them to witness God’s people living out their kingdom lifestyle, a lifestyle of generosity, authenticity and compassion.

As Paul says we are spreaders of “the fragrance of the knowledge of Him”.

2 Cor. 2: 14-16 (NIV)

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

We must always ask ourselves, “What do I smell like to those around me?”

Secondly as pastors we are to be compassionate, caring pastoral influences genuinely reaching out to those who have no shepherd. Pastoring our community beyond the walls of a Church building.

Outwardly focused and tuned into the Holy Spirit who guides and directs our pastoral calling.

Being that person who is alert to the needs around us and prepared to do something about it.

Thirdly we are the carriers of the prophetic mantle bringing Good News, as carriers of truth to those who are ignorant of God’s love and plan for their lives. We know and share the truth in a world deceived by lies and godless philosophies.

Commissioned to be “the oracles of God” in a world overrun with godless myths and secular philosophies.

Being prepared to give an answer to the “God questions” that will come our way. You become the God person in your club, workplace, unsaved family and school or university.

Knowing the Word well enough to explain our Christian view in a society that is more and more ignorant of the claims of Christ.

Loving them enough to be asked about the hope we have.

More and more are believing the evolutionary inspired lies of secular humanism and self-centred spirituality, but we carry the truth.

Fourthly we are Priests, being beside and standing with those we are doing life with, praying for and praying with them, daily bringing them before God and interceding on their behalf.

What the Old Testament priests did on behalf of God’s people we do now on behalf of the lost.

Genuinely making time to be prayer warriors and not just prayer “worriers”.

Knowing what Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us of the battle raging in the heavens, the forces at work in our world which must however submit to the authority of the Kingdom we represent.

Finally, we are Ambassadors.

Representing the King as any worldly ambassador does on behalf of his Sovereign or country, he represents. We represent the Kingdom of God always. In everything we do and say we are acting out the culture and priorities of our Kingdom for the world to see.

This responsibility is a privilege and a responsibility in our worldly dealings knowing what is at stake.

Always present and always ambassadors, but as the opportunity arises, sometimes pastors, sometimes priests and sometimes God’s mouthpiece as prophets.

We are living in a” last days” society.

2 Timothy 3:1-6 (NIV)

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.

We, the Church, are the” hope of the world”.

You, as a vital part of this world changing Church, are commissioned and have been ignited to make a difference now and for future generations.

Always maintain a promised land perspective, a heavenly perspective so like Paul we will say as he said in:

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

“For I am already being poured out… but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.

The application of this is: Salvation; Empowering by the Holy Spirit and Commissioned.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss how you can see forces at work to destroy our Christian foundations in these times.
  2. How do we always maintain a heavenly perspective?
  3. You, as a vital part of this world changing Church, are commissioned and have been ignited to make a difference now and for future generations. Discuss how you think we can do this?

The Church Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge2020-06-29T17:04:36+10:00

The Church Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[21/06/2020]

Episode Notes

So glad you have joined us for what I believe will be a great series on ‘The Church’.

We will cover some ground that will challenge us, remind us, re-fire us, refocus us and give understanding of what the Scripture says about the incredible plan of God which is the Church – rather than some of the assumption, guesswork, popular opinion or our culture that seems to be around.

The last few weeks as things have been slowly coming out of a crazy time, I have been in a bunch of conversations that have impacted me.

They have centred on:

  • How different everything is
  • How much things won’t be the same
  • Things that can’t be wound back now that they have happened
  • Some of the possibilities of future challenges and fears

But what I noticed was the visible air of concern or uncertainty, almost alarmist and people are not sure how to respond.

I think there is validity in realising things have changed. To bury your head in the sand and imagine nothing has changed would be foolish.

But today I want to talk to you about what hasn’t changed! In the midst of natural and earthly confusion, there are some eternal things that bring stability, hope, life, encouragement and banish doubt and fear.

I feel like perhaps some people are stuck today because they are lost in what is muddy, moving, shifting and changing. There is nothing certain that they can hang onto.

But I want to talk on the Church and some of the things you can hang on to, get some traction with and then you can keep pressing on into your future.

Here are three things about the Church that hasn’t changed!

1. The Church – as God’s eternal plan hasn’t changed!

The way it looks, the methods, the flavour, the styles may change – but no matter what, it is the Church that is God’s plan for the salvation of humankind on the planet.

Before time began God put together a brilliant plan for revealing Him on this planet, which is the Church of Jesus Christ.

In fact, God’s intent is that it is so important and the centre of our lives, that He wrote the following in His Word:

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NIV)

22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:20-23 (The Message Version)

20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the centre of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

The world is peripheral to the church, not the other way around!

I love the way the Message reminds us that whatever our:

  • Situation
  • Career
  • Position, or lack of it
  • Financial status
  • Age, Gender, Demographic
  • The possible uncertainties we find ourselves facing

The thing that He has called us to, and is central to His plan, is the Church and His plans for it haven’t changed.

God’s desire is that none should perish, but everyone would come to eternal life and His plan to achieve it is in us through Jesus!

  • Together
  • The Church
  • The Ecclesia
  • His Body
  • His Bride
  • The Glorious Mystery
  • The Head over all things

Given all the names God uses to describe it, I get the feeling God is pretty serious about, and seriously loves, His Church.

So, this is where I see believers as being able to provide:

  • Confidence
  • Strength
  • Encouragement
  • Light
  • Hope

God provides to the world around us, because while it may be shaken with whatever is happening around us, God’s Eternal Plan – the Church continues to be His unshakable eternal plan that we can count on to bring life and hope and blessing to this world.

There is a bit more for us to understand first! We don’t have to let this situation we find ourselves in at the moment, impact us.

2. The Church’s mission – helping people find life and live it hasn’t changed!

If the Church as God’s plan hasn’t changed, what about the Mission? Has it changed?

John 10:10 (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

To help people find life in Christ and live it and to disciple them!

So, if we stick to this command of Jesus, the shifting in this earthly and now realm, what is happening now only changes the how, but doesn’t change the Mission at all.

While ever we are blessed with the gift of life, we need to use it to serve God in His Mission of rescuing:

  • People who are lost
  • Broken
  • Hurting
  • Ungodly
  • The un-loveable
  • The rich and poor
  • The blind

Whoever we come across we have the ability to minister to them life and hope.

Listen to how Jesus put it in Luke.

Luke 4:18 (NIV)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.”

He has not come for us to:

  • Live in fear, doubt, anxiety, shame or brokenness
  • Have nice, comfortable social gatherings
  • Sit around and listen to good sermons
  • Pat each other on the back
  • Add to the stupidity on social media

He has come to help people of all situations find eternal life and help them live life free from the bondage and brokenness of this world.

What I love is how the method might change, but the Mission never does!

The Church at times:

  • Looks different
  • Sounds different
  • Sees change and innovation
  • Finds creative new ways of doing things

But the Mission is set like concrete!

Do whatever you have to in order to help people find life and live it.

  • Jesus did it at what cost?
  • It cost His death on a cross!

3. The Church’s Victory – we win. That hasn’t changed!

This should be the confidence we as the Church ought to have.

Ephesians 1:23 (The Message)

This world and its trends and patterns are peripheral to the church and the eternal purposes of God and we must remember that.

If we focus on God and His plans it puts everything else in perspective.

Matthew 16:18 (NLT)

18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

When Jesus made this statement, He looked through time and He knew of every:

  • Type of sickness
  • Revolutions
  • Political structures and governments – good, evil and in-between
  • Social upheaval
  • Wars civil and global
  • The shifting of world empires
  • Slavery
  • Poverty and wealth
  • Great powers
  • Every group of people
  • Right through to the innumerable cultures and ways of doing and seeing life

Yet His emphatic statement is: “I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it…”

In a world filled with change and upheaval and shifting:

  • Social ideas
  • Technologies
  • World powers
  • Freedoms and tyrants
  • Cultures
  • Values

We must realise the victory that Jesus won has not changed and neither has:

  • The message
  • His promises
  • His return, or
  • His Word

God’s plan was in play well before anything we have ever seen and has outlasted the best of challenges for the last 2000 years!

Yet it continues to move forward because it exists far above and beyond the realm of this temporary planet

The Church isn’t rocked, it’s not shaken and it’s not under threat. The only thing under threat today is the kingdom of darkness as it’s gates cannot stand against the onslaught of the army of the Lord!

The mission remains the same as what Jesus set out to do 2000 years ago. Even before that when it was decided in heaven before time that God would be revealed through His people and the Church.

In conclusion, if we make God’s Eternal plan the centre of our lives, if we make His mission our mission, if we trust in His eternal victory, then we can be bold as lions, filled with faith and confidence.

We can refuse to be gripped with what shakes the world and instead be providers of:

  • Hope
  • Confidence
  • Light
  • Personal fulfilment, purpose and peace

We can help people find Christ’s life and help them to live it!

The word of God will never fail.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Have you noticed a visible air of concern or uncertainty, almost alarmist and people are not sure how to respond? Discuss how you think is a good way to counteract this.
  2. God put together a brilliant plan for revealing Himself on this planet. How does it make you feel that the Church of Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate plan for His people?
  3. We have the ability to minister life and hope to whoever we come in contact with. How can we do this?

The Church Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-06-21T16:37:56+10:00

Putting Your Foot Down – Ps Steve Penny

[14/06/2020]

Episode Notes

I’m bringing the Word of God today and believing for it to touch whoever is listening in Jesus name.

I want to share with you today on the subject of ‘Putting your foot down’.

It is very obvious that in our world great change is upon us and in fact let me share that in the last three years my God words. The words that God has put on my life to share with the Church.

Back in 2018, my prophecy was Declaring God shifts. Get ready God is shifting things across the nations.

Then in 2019 out of that God said there is going to come a great end time gathering and I think that we are starting to see that ramp up now

Now in 2020 my prophecy is The wind shifts of Heaven, talking about how God has changed His wind shifts of Heaven to bring about different outcomes within the Church that are going to produce great things in terms of these great God-initiated great shifts that are happening in our world. They are happening everywhere, in every part of society.

Come with me to Joshua 1:1-8 (NIV)

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

This is a great God-shift moment in the history of Israel.

As you know Moses was raised up to deliver Israel out of the bondage and slavery of Egypt. He did that with unbelievable miracles and the power of God upon his life. Then he led the children of Israel through the wilderness for forty years. That in itself was phenomenal!

It was a wonderful season of God showing himself as powerful and faithful on their behalf. And now they have come to the border of the promised land and Moses dies and in Joshua chapter 1 verse 1, we see God initiating this great God-shift and he said “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord”, in other words, he served God in his nation very well, but there is a shift coming. In fact it’s declaring Moses is dead, the old season has died, a new season has begun and everything that you have known is now old and gone and so a new season is about to happen and with a new season comes a now word. Every new thing in God comes about from a new word from God, it’s a now word for this moment.

God is saying don’t mourn the past, don’t fear the future, change is happening, shift is happening, you can’t run back and say I want the old again. No, it’s something new in society, among the church and the nations, this is a new season.

So don’t mourn the past, don’t fear the future, there is a now word or a present promise for you and I and basically God is saying to Joshua, get up and get on with it. This is a new season and I want you to maximise today and the truth is this, whenever there is a now word from God, when God speaks to us, it always produces now faith

Heb 11:1 (NKJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The word here that God spoke to Joshua now therefore arise.

Now faith always has substance and evidence. Our substance, that which we substrata, our foundation, our substance that we stand on is our beliefs, what we genuinely believe, and our evidence of things not seen are our actions, how we are moving toward what yet isn’t seen but we know is in the promise.

This is very important, that’s what God was saying to Joshua, now therefore arise and go over the Jordan.

And so here is a question that I think we have to ask whenever God shifts things around and that is this – What must you get over to go forward? Arise and go over. We notice here in the people of God under Joshua, the first thing that they had to go over or get over was Jordan. Jordan was a picture of their human fatality. Jordan is 70 miles long as the crow flies. It starts in three springs in the mountains and meanders down to the Dead Sea.

It’s a picture of human life, the fatality of the curse of sin on our lives.

The first thing if you want to step into a whole new season is to stop looking at the down side and rise up to cross over to break this downward flow of futility and fatality. You have got to stop that. That’s the first thing, you have got to get up and get over Jordan. Stop thinking pessimistically, stop thinking down and start to look up.

The second thing, they had just got over Jordan and then this massive city called Jericho, the stronghold of the whole region stood before them. They couldn’t get into it and so they had to find from God a strategy of possession, break-through Not of defence and protecting what we have, but how to possess new things. God gave them a supernatural strategy of breakthrough and it was going to put words in your mouth that will bring every device and every weapon of the enemy to nought, so they had to learn new strategies for a new season of possession. So do you and I! We’ve got to learn that the Word of God can help us overcome, get over, breakthrough and possess new things in Jesus’ name.

It’s a powerful thing and I want you to learn it again in this season. Learn to have the Word of God in your mouth to bring down your Jericho, your biggest opposition, the thing holding you back.

They had to get over Jordon, they had to get over Jericho, but thirdly, they had to get over junk.

No sooner had they got over Jericho than they came to a little place called Ai and they said this is easy send a few of our troops out and they will overrun it and take possession of it, but they didn’t because a guy called Achan had kept secretly some of the bounty and loot from Jericho and God said this first battle and all it’s loot, prize and possessions, that’s your first tithe, it’s cursed if you touch it because it’s sacred to the Lord, but Achan kept some and so he had sunken his life in the camp and God judged them for that.

Even at this time, God is talking to us about rising up and getting over some stuff. Maybe you have got junk in your life, hidden things and if you are going to possess this new season, you have got to rise up and get over that stuff. Put it in God’s hands, give it to God so you can go forward in Jesus name.

This is incredible, promises always bring you to the border of your blessing, the promises. But it’s faith steps that rise up and cross over into the blessing.

A lot of people sit and camp on the edge of blessing. They’ve got promises, but they never step up, put it at risk, and so here’s where in verse 3 and 4 this whole passage of Joshua 1-1-8 gets interesting because then God said okay here’s how you do it. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given to you. As I said to Moses previously, from the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites and the great sea toward the going down of the sun that shall be your territory if you put your foot on it.

This is incredible, and here’s the challenge today of any new season and I don’t even know what it looks like, because faith steps forward into the unseen believing the promise of God.

Possession begins when you put your faith foot forward. That’s what it says here, everywhere you set your foot in faith God says I have already purchased and prepared for you if you put your faith foot forward.

Now the opposite of that is fear, faith steps forward into the unknown, fear steps backward into the safety of the known and if it is in your past, that is fear stepping backward steps into a place God has not prepared for you because God has moved in your future and prepared for you.

This is very important, God orders and sets our steps in our life.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. God orders our steps and so here’s a few scriptures quickly.

Psalm 31:8 (NASB)

And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.

God says that if you will step up and put your best foot forward, I will bring you into a large place

Psalm 40:2 (NKJV)

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.

In other words, just because the nations are shaky doesn’t mean you are. He has set your feet upon a rock.

Ezekiel 3:24 (NKJV)

Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house.

If you have got the spirit of grace, the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of faith, might and power, it will set you on your feet and you will hear God speaking to you. This is the way, walk in it. That’s what God wants to do. God sets our steps and sets our foot in place but then you have to set your foot in faith. God sets and orders your steps, but you have to take steps to walk in His steps in the way of blessing.

Job 23:11 (KJV)

11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

It’s an incredible little verse that shows us so much about how we can take responsibility for our walk in life, and it is this, my foot has set His steps, His way, the Lord’s way, have I kept and not declined. This is putting it totally back on us. God has ordered a way for you to walk in and He set it up in all creation, but you have to now set your foot. Set your steps in His way and not decline, negate, step away from, and you will see blessing in your life.

The scripture goes and says if you put your foot down and set your step in the land of promise, no one will be able to stand against you or stop you, that’s what it says in the scripture. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.

I love that, no weapon formed against you, because you have set your steps for possession and they shall never prosper against you.

Whenever you walk in faith, the greatest promise of all, when you walk in faith, set your steps in a walk of faith, the greatest promise comes into focus and it’s this:

Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

The greatest promise is I will be with you, says the Lord when you walk and set your steps in a path of faith. Then He goes on and I love this, but it takes strength and courage to put your foot down, to put a step forward in faith, it takes strength and courage and He says that in the scripture:

Joshua 1:6 (NIV)

Be strong and courageous

Be strong means within, it’s what you believe within. Be very courageous means without. It’s how you behave on the outward, so be strong, what you believe, be very courageous in how you behave.

You need to see that if you will dare to be strong and courageous, you can step out in faith and God will be with you and His plans will come to pass.

Then God goes on and He makes it a bit clearer, He says it’s not meaning being strong and courageous doing whatever you want, it’s the fact you need strength and courage to be obedient to the laws of God in the land that He provides for you. He says this that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you.  So be strong to believe and have courage to behave. That’s very important when everything in society and culture and people around you may be acquiescing or giving in to the way of the world or way of semi half-baked faith. It takes strength and courage to set your foot and say I will not leave the Lord. He will bring us through. He causes us to be established in large places, etc. And so you have got to set your foot with strength and courage and stay steadfast.

Joshua 1:7 (NIV)

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Do not turn for the law of the Lord from the right hand or to the left, walk the path of faith and obedience. This is not you had better do it, or else. No God says if you do this you will be overflowing with blessing. That is the promise here, if you will set your foot God says, you will see good success.

Set your foot – see good success.

Set your foot in the way of faith and you will see good success from the hand of the Lord and it says that you may prosper wherever you go.

Here’s my conclusion in this challenge today and it’s this, people who set their foot, know how to step in faith, always keep the end in mind. I’m going to be obedient to God because the end of it is promise of great blessing, fruitfulness, happy families, good marriage, financial security, whatever else.

I am going to set my foot to walk in faith because I keep the end in mind. Go a step further, even though the wicked rise up and come against you, you set your foot in faith and obedience to God because you keep your eternal end in mind.

I was just reading in the book of Revelation this morning and man the promises of those who believe and stand firm and have the mark of Jesus on them, no other worldly mark or defiling thing and the incredible promise of all of ruling and reigning with Him and the marriage supper of the Lamb and the description of the Heavenly City and everything, it is remarkable. Those who set their foot to stand in faith always keep the end in mind.

Let me pray for you. I just believe that this word is helping people today. Maybe you have skipped and tripped and walked on it a bit or backed up a bit or whatever else, I want you to set your foot today.

I am a believer, I’m a faith person, I’m one of the Jesus people. I’m going to set my foot and wherever my foot shall tread, be planted, be established, that shall be my possession.

So set your foot, you have to do it with warfare too, put your foot on the neck of your enemies and destroy doubt and fear, oppression and iniquity, all the things, doubt and unbelief, condemnation, discouragement, all the things that the enemy brings, put you foot on it and say you are now coming under the realm and reign of Jesus Christ and you will not stop me from putting my foot on new territory, new possession, new blessing, this is my day.

I want everybody in this season as the world goes crazy with stuff happening, I want people of faith to step up and step your foot and declare this is my day.

We are stepping into the greatest season of God blessing, God fruitfulness, God gathering we have ever seen and I want to be a part of that.

Lord Jesus, right now, Holy Spirit speak to people, people that have backed away from the issue of faith, cause them to hear your voice again. By the Spirit, cause them to stand up, rise up and go over, get over some of the stuff, the junk, the challenges, get over it.

Jesus help each one of your people listening to this message to rise up and go over so we can begin a great season of gathering and possession. Heal those that are sick right now in Jesus name. Heal those that need financial breakthrough and supply for them in Jesus name. Those that have broken relationships and difficulties, heal them in Jesus name right now and let the saints rise up and go forth with joy to possess what You have promised for us in these last days of time, a great God-ingathering of all things in Jesus name. God bless you.

Putting Your Foot Down – Ps Steve Penny2020-06-18T12:27:59+10:00

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 5 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[07/06/2020]

"That's not what I would do..."

Episode Notes

Matt 27: 38-44 (NIV)

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Well this is a sad and sorry picture of complaint that certainly seems heartless and cruel even if it were legitimate.

  • A dying and mortally wounded and suffering man and yet they throw their abuse, comments and rejection at Him
  • And it seems mostly aimed at two main complaints that if they are valid – just let Him die because He would be a useless dying man.

The complaint here is a little complex, it seems that they are complaining about two things that intertwine:

That’s not what I would do!

God’s not doing what they would do.

Their complaint was:

Matt 27:40 (NIV)

40… save yourself! Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”

 The reason they have this complaint is ‘that is what they would do!’

  • They could not imagine any reason for Jesus being the Son of God to stay on the cross because they wouldn’t do that! So then because God isn’t doing what they would expect – they have a complaint against Him and He must surely not be God or at least He was really wrong.

So universal is this complaint, that it wasn’t just those who didn’t have a concept of God that said this, it was the religious leaders as well!

I have found that one of the biggest challenges people have both in and out of church is when God does not behave as we would or as we want, all of a sudden we begin to complain or doubt.

Even Peter in Matt 16 gets a sharp rebuke from Jesus because he proceeded to tell Jesus that the Cross was a dumb idea and Jesus shouldn’t go and be cruicified – well Peter wouldn’t do it!

Matt 16:23 (NIV)

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! (Not the meek mild Jesus perhaps you have heard about – seems He doesn’t like this complaint…) You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Peter, like everybody else is saying, ‘That’s not what I would do’!

How many times have we faced a situation in life and thought it’s not what we would do!

  • God, where are you?
    • Could He be right there – we don’t think so because it’s not what we would do
    • We go through trauma or tragedy and we assume God isn’t real because we wouldn’t do that – we would just make everybody better and play magical fairies with the magic dust
  • Life seems so cruel or unfair. Our inference is God isn’t real and doesn’t care!

I would think we have all felt like this at some point.

If you are joining us for the first time and maybe don’t even believe in Jesus, perhaps you feel like this right now. This may be our complaint today.

The second complaint we find here actually follows straight on and seems to run parallel to this initial complaint – which is why they say it all in one hit!

God isn’t true to His Word!

Matthew 27:43 (NIV)

43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’

The complaint here is – “Jesus said this, but look it’s not happening…”

Life doesn’t always seem to follow our ideal script that we like to read into the Bible or our preconceived ideas on what God should do or be like!  As a result, it’s easy to try and turn on the Bible!

  • The Bible says God heals – but I didn’t get healed
  • The Bible says God is with me – but my feelings disagree
  • The Bible says I will have peace and joy – but I face anxiety
  • The Bible says God will protect – but someone got hurt really bad or even died
  • The Bible says God will bless me – but I have lost out so big

The list goes on of many promises we like to put our own spin on or demand that God do on our timing and to our expectation.

But what happens when we don’t see it? What happens here is that it seems they were looking but their response was to mock Jesus, complain, doubt and hate God.

Jesus on the Cross doesn’t seem to answer the question, or does He??? They wanted an answer on the spot, but Jesus gave His answer three days later when he emerged from a tomb!

  • It wasn’t their timing
  • It wasn’t what they would do
  • It wasn’t what they were expecting

Kerrin’s son Boston was promised a cubby house when the family moved into their new home. Kerrin was working behind the scenes to prepare to build it, but Boston was very impatient and didn’t want to wait for the eighteen months that it took to have his cubby. He thought it would never happen, but in time it was finished.

We don’t see God working in the background.  But that doesn’t mean that God has failed in His promises.

I know we are all smart, but it’s an arrogant fool who thinks they are more intelligent than God.

While Jesus answers this complaint in three days at the crucifixion, He is much quicker at answering Peter’s similar complaint that we looked at in Matt 16.

Matt 16:24-27 (NIV)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

We see that Jesus teaches His disciples that if we want to be a follower of Him we must give up our life and sense of what we think God ought to do and embrace his life and plan.

This complaint comes from those hanging onto:

  • Their plan
  • Their life
  • Their agenda
  • Their ideas
  • Their wants
  • Their genius

But God is not so insecure that he is swayed by those things.

Again, if we go back to the Cross, the complaint is made over about a three hour- period and these people shake their fists at Jesus and complain.

What they don’t understand is that Jesus was concerned with far more than their three-hour window.

  • He settled things with the Father the night before, wrestling with God’s plan and surrendering His life to God’s will (while the complainers slept)
  • Then on the cross He knew the bigger picture and it wasn’t His death at stake but the world’s death and eternal salvation
  • He also gave the answer and delivered the promise but three days later, not three hours
  • And His plan was for eternal salvation of all mankind. Billions of people, not simply one person getting off a cross and being lost in history achieving nothing of eternal value

It just wasn’t what they would do! It didn’t seem like His Word was coming true.

Well when it comes to the big plan and God’s eternal plan and we want to give God our ideas, and we say, “that’s not what I would do…”

  • We just need to note scenarios one and two are out!
  • God isn’t asking our advice on how to run the universe
  • We have no ultimate wisdom concerned with eternal perspective credibility, just selfish, small, insecure human reasoning, limited to both our humanity and this dust realm

So, when we say that to God, it’s safe to assume we are option three.

Giving our opinion despite God not asking for it and having no idea, which makes us the arrogant know it all!

This is the clear message of the Gospel. We don’t demand of God, we come to Him knowing our brokenness and our need of a Saviour. He accepts our surrender – not our terms of negotiation.

Listen again to Jesus’ response to Peter’s complaint, ‘That’s not what I would do’.

Matt 16:24-27 (NIV)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

The problem is as believers, if we never go to our Gethsemane, we won’t be ready for God’s full plan!

The result is, we react and put in our complaint when God’s plans and our plans look different.

The question is today, will we hold on to that ignorant and arrogant complaint or approach God for who He is and surrender? Are we willing to have our garden of Gethsemane experience where we surrender our plans for God’s?

I want us to listen to the wisdom of one of the dying criminals who was dying next to Jesus and witnessed this very complaint.

Luke 23:39-43 (NIV)

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Will we come to God today with humility and surrender when our will clashes with His, knowing that His plan is eternal, more incredible and wonderful than what we could ever dream up?

The other part to this creation of Jesus is eternal perspective!

Jesus said it when he rebuked Peter in:

Matt 16:23 (NIV)

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The God of the Bible’s primary concern is that of eternity, eternal consequence and an eternal plan!

We get impatient, disappointed and complain because when we are deceived into thinking this earth and life is what matters most! Well that is untrue and the whole Bible points toward Eternity being far more important than this earthly life.

Without a God centred eternal perspective, these questions will always turn into complaints and doubts about God and we will miss the true reality of God and His plan.

Let’s finish with one understanding: whatever we think, dream up, want or desire – God’s plan is better!

1 Cor 2:6-10 (NIV)

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

God’s plan is bigger and more wonderful than we can comprehend or imagine.

Again, in Hebrews it says:

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV)

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This speaks again that the only way to approach the life of faith in Christ is with an eternal perspective.

  • Believing that this earth is just a checkpoint for the reality of eternity
  • That Eternity is part of God’s plan and we can trust God has something incredible for us!

God has an incredible plan for the life of every person listening or watching today and my challenge to you is will you surrender your life to it, or hang on to the limited ideas we struggle with?

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Have you complained that God seems to be taking too long to answer your prayers? Discuss why you feel this way.
  2. What can you resolve to do to help change these feelings?
  3. How often do you feel like saying “That’s not what I would do?

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 5 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-06-08T15:09:03+10:00

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[31/05/2020]

"What a waste..."

Episode Notes

John 12:1-8 (NIV)

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Likely the same account in Mark.

Mark 14:4-10 (NIV)

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? (That is a great question – why do people get upset or offended at someone else’s willingness to show extravagant honour…??? – we will look at that….)  She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Most commentaries seem to lean towards the accounts of this event in Matt, Mark and John being the same and then a separate account, but similar incident, being recording in the book of Luke. From here, let’s work on the premise that these three accounts are of the same event.

Let’s begin with the picture, the scene that is painted here. There is a dinner. The scene is set with the main 5 characters.

Jesus is in the centre and apparently this is all about Him (in appearance anyway). The dinner that this incident is happening at, is put on to honour Jesus!

Then there is:

  • LAZARUS is reclining at the table with other guests, comfortable in Jesus presence. Kind of kicking back around JC!
  • MARTHA is serving and being faithful walking around with trays of food
  • Then there is MARY who just totally hijacked and interrupted the party, but why?

Well the party gets a bit stirred up when she breaks a bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages and gives Jesus a good foot massage.

  • Then lastly JUDAS who blew up at the whole thing and got offended at Mary’s extravagance

His objection was:

  • “That was wasted”
  • “It could have been better spent on the poor”
  • “What are you thinking?”
  • It’s too much!

It got me thinking about this scene, what caused the problem and the complaint here???

The character of Lazarus opens the scene. No-one complained about Lazarus lounging around and being casual and comfortable with Jesus that was ok.

This was a party to honour Jesus and it would seem that Lazarus, and many of the guests, seemed to think just their presence there was honour enough for Jesus.

  • It’s funny how people can feel like they are ‘honouring Jesus’ simply by rocking up
  • It’s almost like Jesus you should feel honoured that I just came to the party

You can see it sometimes in people’s attitude to church, prayer life, service to God or our giving financially

  • God you should feel honoured that I came to church
  • Surely its good enough that I came
  • What more could He possibly expect, I come most of the time and at least when it suits me Well I said a prayer this week or arrived at a prayer meeting once last year!
  • I read my Bible this week God – how good am I?

Today, just like in Jesus’ day, the majority of the party were all ok with that.

  • Everyone was there to honour Jesus, but it seems none of these guests certainly did captured His attention
  • And they were all ok with that
  • After all, He was really the lucky one that they came

I wonder if we are a bit casual when it comes to our:

  • Spiritual life
  • Commitment to His Bride the Church
  • Love for God
    • Pursuit of Godly friendships and relationships
    • Connect Groups – I would but it’s inconvenient and a bit too much effort to get to
  • Choice to put His kingdom above our own – depends if it fits my schedule or plan
  • Our Godly lifestyle

Are we more of a comfortable lounging around and assuming really God should be thanking us that we even show up kind of Christian?

  • Wow God aren’t you lucky I am on the creative team, host team?
  • Wow God you should be glad I call myself a Christian
  • I came to church today God you should feel blessed

No-where in the Bible or history is this kind of Christianity even noticed by God or anybody else.

In fact, as early as the beginning chapters of Genesis, when the first offerings to God are recorded, God rejects Cain for just such a:

  • Casual attitude toward God
  • Half heartedness
  • ‘On my terms’ presentation to God

The Bible condemns that kind of Christianity!

Rev 3:16-17 (NIV)

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

But everyone else living like it, half-hearted and casual about God loves it because it makes them feel comfortable in their compromised version of what God intended to be very different.

  • The world loves it because it doesn’t challenge anything
  • And the devil particularly loves it because it lacks any real power or God factor’

So there is good cause for us to ask ourselves:

Do we take:

  • God
  • His presence
  • Praise and Worship
  • His Church
  • His finances and tithing
  • His Word
  • His call on our life
  • His eternal kingdom and gospel
  • His people and mission

Casually and carelessly?

What does the evidence of our life, time allocations, finances, commitments, show in the Kingdom of Heaven?

But we can move to another character in the scene… Martha.

Now Martha is the next level because she is serving Jesus.

  • She is not sitting down, she is doing what is an acceptable, maybe even admirable job, compared to the majority that are just casually taking Jesus’ presence for granted.

Again, this doesn’t draw too much attention.

We are ok with people doing a bit of stuff for God, just as long as it doesn’t make me feel bad or uncommitted. Don’t get too extravagant with your honour of God and don’t ask me for serious commitment or sacrifice.

Now although this passage is a specific complaint at a party 2000 years ago, it can be heard echoed with the same spirit and motivation behind it all around the place today.

The majority of people are ok as long we are “reasonable” with our Christianity. No one gets too upset, but don’t challenge the status quo!

As long as your service to God and honour of Him is average then it doesn’t challenge people too much and it won’t get too noticed.

No one is getting upset at the party while we are just nice, safe little Christians.

  • The problem is the casual Christians, they don’t notice it and get upset, but neither does God notice it.

Then we come to Mary and she is the one that really upsets the apple cart!

She is there crying, wiping Jesus feet, then pulls out a perfume bottle worth a year’s wages and smashes the top making it un-reusable and she pours it over Jesus feet and worships Him.

  • Boy everything just got quiet and that caused an upset
  • It got God’s attention and people’s attention!

It is clear.

  • Casual Christianity never rocks any boats or gets anyone’s attention – it’s pretty much useless
  • Dutiful, boring, safe, conservative Christianity is ok, but again no-one notices, not even really God

But when someone gets real and extravagant and passionate with honouring God, that never goes unnoticed!!! Heaven pays attention

To give some perspective to just how extravagant Mary’s honour was, listen to this from a commentary:

“the extravagance and the method were disturbing. The pure nard she uses was imported from northern India (Brown 1966:448). Judas says, no doubt correctly, that it was worth a year’s wages (v. 5). The text literally reads “three hundred denarii” (cf. NIV note). Since a denarius was a day’s pay for a day labourer, the NIV paraphrase is accurate, taking into account feast days and sabbaths when one would not work. A rough equivalent would be something over the gross pay for someone working at minimum wage for a year. No wonder the disciples (Mt 26:8), Judas in particular, respond with dismay at such a waste.”

Somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 and this is not a rich women that we know of!

Wow – that is extravagant honour!

But Jesus is not uncomfortable receiving this.

  • In fact He tells others to leave her alone!
  • She has done a beautiful thing!
  • He points out their actions are nothing to even notice
  • But her actions will be remembered and spoken of wherever the Gospel is preached!

Extravagant honour gets the attention of Heaven and the world!

  • You’re just naïve and passionate, you will settle down!
    • No – only if we fail to get them away from the poison of comfortable Christianity
  • Don’t get too caught up serving God and giving too much, you will just get burnt out or used or waste your time

It is a question of our willingness to truly, extravagantly honour God!

You will notice Jesus did not stop her and say whoa, that’s a bit much.

Our modern perversion of Jesus tells us He would have stopped her and humbly refused, then been bashful about it all! But no! He sat there watched it, soaked it up and was impressed!

That’s just the thing, when we forget who God actually is and what He has actually done, we lose the kind of honour He demands as:

  • King of Kings
  • God of the Universe
  • Creator of Heaven and Earth

We want Him to be buddy buddy and all casual, but God by nature must be worshipped and honoured!

So, the party got interrupted and while it is fairly safe to assume most were probably challenged by this woman’s extravagant honour, there is a fifth player here and his response was different!

Judas got offended at her!

There is always a Judas – somewhere! Rather than be challenged and humble themselves and draw closer to God, they just stand back and criticise! they always use very ‘spiritual justification’ to cover their greed.

John 12:4-8 (NIV)

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

The Mark account says:

“Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

That is my experience with all the people who get offended at people who commit extravagantly to honouring God in every area.

They use spiritual, seemingly caring and sincere words to warn and caution, settle people, because the extravagance of someone who is truly passionate about God, His cause, His people, His mission shows up their own agenda – just like Judas!

It’s no surprise he accused this woman, who extravagantly honoured Jesus, of waste and that it should be given to the poor and then goes out and sells out Jesus for money – typical!

The Judas kind of response gets offended that Jesus asks people to commit to Him and is comfortable with extravagant honour and worship!

I suppose the question is where do we sit today?

  • If we were in this scene and room would our honour of Jesus be noticeable to him or others?
  • Or we would we get offended at others honour and passion for Jesus?

Don’t continue with casual Christianity. Be extravagant in your worship, honour and passion for Jesus, Surrender yourself to Him

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Have you been accused of extravagant worship of Jesus? How did it make you feel?
  2. Are you aware of some people’s casual attitude to God? What can you do to help change that?
  3. Why do you think Mary was the one crying and washing Jesus’ feet with the perfume?

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 4 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-06-07T09:38:51+10:00

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 3 – Ps Bruce Claridge

[24/05/2020]

"What it is to be true friend of sinners..."

Episode Notes

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The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 3 – Ps Bruce Claridge2020-06-07T09:42:44+10:00

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 2 – Nathan Hulls

[17/05/2020]

"To experience first hand..."

Episode Notes

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The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 2 – Nathan Hulls2020-06-07T09:50:27+10:00

The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[10/05/2020]

"Then He said..."

Episode Notes

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The Jesus Complaints Department Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-06-07T09:58:45+10:00

How To Get Invited To The Party – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[03/05/2020]

Episode Notes

This is one of the most personally challenging passages that I have felt God speaking to me about for a while.

I have been and still am working through what this means for my life and serving God.

I hope this really stirs something in you as you hear it.

John 2:1-11 (NLT)

2 The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. 9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” 11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

  • Sometimes it looks like the world is out having a party while Christians sit sombrely in a church on their own – and a huge divide!
  • That is religion, not Christianity, neither is it Jesus’ example

Come on, that’s a challenge for all of us right there!

  • If you are watching with us and not a believer in Jesus, you might want to keep watching because He is likely very different from your preconception
  • He is a party animal who wants to extravagantly bless our lives

If we look at this story, we can see some incredible truths and remember, this is Jesus’ first miracle – law of first mention.

  • We can know it is important in setting context and meaning to the rest of Jesus’ miracles

Jesus and His Disciples are invited to the party! I love that Jesus and His disciples are invited to the party, to the wedding!

Almost 2000 years later religious and self-righteous proposed followers of this same Jesus are the first ones not invited to the parties, the weddings, the places where celebration is. Particularly some of the ones Jesus attended.

So how do we become like Jesus and get an invite?

1. Bring the right things – it’s all about what you bring!

Jesus seemed regularly invited to the parties and places of those who would have been considered Godless gathered.

  • He was invited to Zacheus’ house
  • He is referenced as the ‘friend of sinners and Tax collectors’
  • He was actually known for it and criticized for it

Luke 7:33-38 (NLT)

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” 36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Jesus was sought out by the broken and the worldly who would likely have never gone to the house of the Pharisees! Yet when Jesus is in the House, it’s amazing who will come!

Church can I put to you that when Jesus is in our Church (and we represent Him correctly) sinners will be drawn to the life, joy and freedom in Him.

Jesus was invited because of what He brought!

  • Life
  • Hope
  • Joy
  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Purpose

It seems that according to God’s own Son, our ultimate example, the greater sin is to be so out of touch with the world or so religious that we are not invited to the sinners’ places and parties who need to know about God.

  • I wonder if too often the Church sadly has been known as the Pharisees place rather than Jesus’ place
  • If we are so ‘holy’ we are never invited to the people and places that are far from holy, maybe we have mistaken holy for religious!
  • If those who don’t know Jesus are not coming to our Church house – why not? Is Jesus there or have we lost our way?

If we bring the wrong things it’s no wonder we aren’t invited to the places where we can make a difference.

Can you imagine the godless and sinners inviting Jesus if He brought was:

  • Judgement
  • Solemn brooding
  • Accusation
  • Bashed them with the scriptures
  • An arrogant, pious, religious attitude
  • No fun vibe

Nothing has kept the Church from reaching a lost and broken world like not being in it, or being in it but being so religious, which people mistake as ‘Holy’, we can’t deal with a swear word or dirty joke.

2. Wear the right clothes!

This goes even further when you look at the details of the miracle.

  • Jesus takes the water jars that were used for ceremonial washing according to the religious law of the time – these were implements of religious use!
  • He takes the water that would be used to do ceremonial religious washing and turns it into wine to bring joy and celebration!

He takes the religious and re-purposes it to bring joy and celebration.

Maybe Jesus wants to take some of the things we tend to get religious about:

  • Music, worship, how Church should look, what we consider holy and what we think holy looks like, and turn it into some wine!
  • Something to bring some joy, life, fun, hope into people’s lives
  • And not just a little – Jesus made the equivalent of about 750 normal sized wine bottles
  • That not only covered the party but was extravagant!

God is a God who wants to bring extravagant blessing into our lives! He has more good than we could dare comprehend.

You see Jesus turning the water to wine saved the wedding host great embarrassment. It would have brought shame on the family.

  • Religion wants to expose things
  • Jesus came to cover things

If you have never met Jesus – hear me clearly this morning.

  • His plan is not to expose you to shame and guilt and condemn you to Him, but to win you with love and cover our shame, sin and guilt
  • He forgives and brings wholeness

To get invites to the places where we should be to be like Jesus, we must get rid of judgemental, self-righteous and religious clothes and put on some gear fit for a party!

Let me tell you what it is – our constant responsibility as believers is to find ways to inject and bring:

  • Life, joy, hope, love and God’s goodness into the light!
  • We were spoken of by Jesus as salt and light!

Salt adds flavour!

  • It makes things better tasting!
  • It improves things!

Do we add to things and make environments and situations better?

Do we leave people with a nicer taste in their mouth?

Do people leave an interaction with us uplifted?

Does our social media encourage and bless or criticize and get all emotional about things?

I don’t mean we don’t have struggles, but how about we take the struggles to Jesus and then take Jesus’ life to those around us?

The other example is a light on a hill!

  • Somehow in some ideas of Christianity this has become thought of as a lighthouse warning of rocks and peril – but that is not what the Bible says!

It says a city on a hill! It is a place of shelter, warmth, food, people, life!

Jesus’ intent is not that we are the lighthouse, defenders of all things religious, but instead that those who are in the valley should look up and see a place where:

  • They get a reprieve from the elements of life
  • There is food and people to welcome them
  • There is warmth and life
  • It is a place you want to head to
  • Imagine a weary traveller in a dark valley looking to the glow of a city and longing to reach it

3. Return the invite – throw a party yourself!

I love this first of Jesus’ miracles because in it Jesus sets the tone for the rest of His ministry. He embraces bringing life!

  • His first miracle is done at a party, a place of gathering, celebration, life and He even brings the extra wine when it runs out

There was a group of people who had an issue with Jesus going to parties and being invited to sinner’s houses and who He hung around with.

  • The religious
  • The people who were ‘self-righteous’ who ‘judged others’

I love this chapter in John because Jesus goes from the party to the synagogue and there is quite a different response.

John 2:13-16 (NLT)

13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Let’s be real for a minute. Too often Christians would be known for throwing the wine out at the party and welcoming a pious, religious service!

No wonder at times Christians have been excluded from the parties of sinners and choose to sit in irrelevant, religious dying congregations rather than following the example that Jesus set.

We need to re-look at the party and see what we need to do to invite them to ours!

If we want to be in the places where Jesus was, we must as believers and Churches do what Jesus did!

  • We can’t have boring, irrelevant services
  • We can’t do the same old, same old
  • We can’t get stuck in tradition and religious ceremony
  • We can’t live a Christianity that is boring and lifeless
  • As Christians our Christianity should uplift, bless, encourage, bring life!
  • Christians and Churches should be known by what they are for, not against

Our vision is helping people find life and live it! Because that is what Jesus did.

Jesus was angry at the Synagogue because it should have been a place of prayer, where people connect with God and discover Him, meet with Him.

But instead it had become about:

  • The stuff
  • Distractions
  • Religious ceremony and rules
  • Should have helped those needing to find God rather than presenting dead religion

In our Churches and even our lives we must steer clear of:

  • Religious activity
  • Creating hoops for people to jump through
  • Exclusive social groups and be inclusive
  • Being irrelevant and comfort focused
  • Lip service Christianity has no place

Real Jesus-like Christianity is exciting, radical, Holy Spirit empowered and Life giving!

But as with any message we usually fit on one of two extremes. So let me clarify it all with this verse:

I like the summation of the miracle in:

John 2:11 (NLT)

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 2:11 (NIV)

 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Some will be listening to this thinking, I can live however I want, God doesn’t care, I am not religious.

In order to please Him, our lives must bring Him glory

  • Abusing substances
  • Living outside God’s boundaries with sex
  • Gossip
  • Compromise
  • No time for God…

These do not bring glory to God.

So, whether we are in church or at a party – our life should bring glory to God!

So, there is no room for religion – but equally no room for compromise!

  • The outcome must be to glorify Jesus!

If you come to this Church, and particularly if you call this place home, here is what we don’t care too much about:

  • Personal preferences
  • Popular opinion
  • Our comfort or tastes
  • Religious views or attitudes

We do care about bringing glory to Jesus and bringing people to Him!

Helping People Find Life and Live it!

I wonder if some of us might be confused by this miracle because providing some wine to bring joy to a party and protecting a man’s reputation to some might seem far less important than healing a lame man.

We could be tempted to chalk it up as a minor little intro to the real miraculous, but Jesus chose this as His first miracle – and it revealed His glory!

So, let’s break this down to brass taxes as Christians for a minute.

  • If we think we are Christian because we rejoice that they are out of wine at the party – wrong Bible!
  • Equally if our lives and behaviour are compromising and not bringing glory to God, we are reading the wrong Bible!

Jesus’ plan for every person is to bring life, joy, hope and light into our lives!

And as Christians we ought to be on the invite list because we bring:

  • Life to the Party
  • Joy to wherever we are at
  • Light, warmth, shelter and comfort
  • Salt to improve the taste of life for people

Does our workplace see us as that?

  • Do our friends who don’t know Jesus want us around or are we tolerated?
  • Does our social media point people to the life of Jesus or our own sadness or religious opinions?
  • Would people say of us that we bring life and joy when we come?
  • Is our attitude toward Church more worried about the lost coming and feeling like they can come than our own comfort and want for the familiar?
  • Are we more worried about helping the people who don’t know Jesus to find Him, or are we more worried about us being fed?

Can we ask God to change our heart and perspective today?

  • Do we need to ask ourselves as individuals, but also as the Church of Jesus, some big questions today and perhaps consider what is God saying for our next seasons ahead?

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Are you comfortable around the sinners and non-religious people?
  2. What do you intend to do to make sure you are invited to those groups of people?
  3. Are these people comfortable in your company? If not, why not?

How To Get Invited To The Party – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-05-03T16:03:53+10:00

The Pressure Test – Ps Lucas Connell

[26/04/2020]

Episode Notes

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The Pressure Test – Ps Lucas Connell2020-04-26T14:57:14+10:00

You’ve Gotta Get This – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[19/04/2020]

Episode Notes

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You’ve Gotta Get This – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-19T11:52:07+10:00

Resurrection Sunday – Easter Message – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[12/04/2020]

Episode Notes

Resurrection Sunday – I am going to guess that in Heaven, this is party Sunday!

This is the day where they pull out all stops and it is just Party Time in Heaven!

If Good Friday happened because of the love of God, then Resurrection Sunday is the result of that – Life!

Yes, Jesus died on a cross and we remember it, are thankful for it, depend on it and He bears the scars so that neither He, nor us, will ever forget that He paid the sin for us.

We understand from scripture, Jesus has the scars, but He isn’t carrying the cross around – still nailed to it!

Sadly, some people get to the Cross and the love of God that led to it, but sometimes they stay there.

They never move beyond the cross into the life that God intended, but live:

  • Constantly reflecting, begging God to forgive them
  • Living afraid of judgment
  • Constantly living under the weight of sin and brokenness
  • Seem to be heavy with the weight of the cross
  • Never walking in the joy, life and freedom that came after the Cross.

Jesus didn’t stay on the cross, in fact He rose again.

  • He even had to send some angels to tell some of his followers – stop looking for Me where dead people are.

Luke 24:1-8

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

You may be watching with us today and perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places for God:

  • Dead religion
  • Dead tick boxes
  • Dead end knowledge of God but never knowing Him personally
  • Lists you try to do to impress Him
  • All the do’s and don’ts that eventually wear us down and God is nowhere there to be found

Today, I hope you can stop looking in the wrong places for God and look in the right place – the person of Jesus Christ and His life!

On Friday we looked at God’s original intents for humankind.

  • It was we were created in God’s image to love, and
  • The first thing spoken over us was blessing and having dominion and rule in life!

That is because God’s intent was that we would experience and live life!

Jesus spelled it out so clearly in John 10:10.

John 10:10 (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

The Message version here says:

10 A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Sadly, somehow the devil has convinced this world of the total opposite:

  • That living for self and in sinful ways is exciting and real living, but to come to Jesus means giving up all the fun, joy and excitement of life.

But that is what the devil does!

  • Even back in the beginning in the garden where it all began and God had created people for love and life, the devil came and twisted God’s words.
  • God’s single command that was given to ensure real love and life was best and the devil took it out of context and put like a constraint on our life and Adam and Eve!

Genesis 3:1 (NIV)

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

No! In fact, the total opposite is true! God not only gave mankind every kind of tree, but also the power to rule every other part of creation!

  • There was only one tree not to eat from and that was to protect them, not rob them! that was to ensure they ruled like intended.

God made variety, colour, sky, water, mountains, valleys, all sorts of trees, fruits and animals simply for us to enjoy.

The original intent was that we would be blessed, enjoy life!

The devil not only twisted God’s intent of life, but then took away the life that was possible by relationship with God.

The devil is like a credit card with a terrible and crushing interest rate.

  • He will deliver pleasure today – but not tell you what he destroyed in your future to offer it to you
  • We play now with him but always pay dearly later

But this confusion is caused by the devil and our own wanting things, but not comprehending God’s bigger and better picture for us.

Humankind often demands:

  • I want to do relationships my way – it’s about pleasure over commitment
  • Someone cheats on their husband or wife for a moment of pleasure. It’s what they want and feel like now
  • But the payment in pain and loss is coming and even on their kids in ways they never considered
  • The devil offers – but he has an unbearable interest coming
  • I want to trust in things – my way – not realising how fickle and unstable they are – seeing that right now
  • I want to put myself first – my way – not realising how destructive a community becomes when ‘self’ is put above others
  • I want to hold onto unforgiveness – my way – not realising we are only making ourselves captive
    • Read Caroline Leaf’s book – Who switched off your brain? – then we will understand the physical effects of unforgiveness and negativity. When we understand this, we would never allow it in our life
  • I want to live for now – my way – missing out on the far greater eternal aspect of life that we were created for

The only difference between us and kids is we think we are so much smarter than God.

  • Or we think we are so smart we can exist outside of God
  • We are God in that view

What a nightmare – if you and I were the only gods – what a disaster!

The commands we find God gives us are never to limit or restrict, they are actually put in place to bring the best out of life and true freedom!

  • Not just for this 50, 80 or 100 years – but eternal life!

Jesus came not to limit, restrict or have sorrowful Christians dwelling on the brokenness of the Christian life. That’s the wrong Bible! That is not what the Bible says!

Jesus came to bring life and bring it abundantly!

God’s first words over us were blessing!

Then if we go to the next major part of the scriptures, Genesis 12 where the narrative of the Bible goes from the whole world to God’s Chosen People – through Abraham.

Let’s read God’s first words about His people.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)

2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

We are considered part of that promise!

Romans 4:11 (NIV)

“…So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them…”

That is twice we see God’s original intent for us is blessing and greatness in life and life to the full.

Romans 6:4,8,11 (NLT)

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.

11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Every time, the theme is consistent.

We did die – to self, sin, brokenness, anything negative and anything bad

But then we live!

And by live it means back to God’s original intent! Blessing and ruling.

  • Like what was originally spoken over God’s people the sons of Abraham which we are referred to:
  • “I will bless you and I will make your name great.”

How can it possibly be that we get this confused other than we allow the devil through rubbish religious teaching, this world’s perspective or view and twisting what God actually said and actually wants?

The clear message of Easter is:

  • Jesus died on the Cross because of His love for us
  • But He rose again to give us Life!

Love and Life are the message of Easter!

Never forget, that when He speaks of life it isn’t limited to 80 years in some broken world:

  • but eternal life and salvation
  • forever
  • never ending
  • no more tears, suffering and loss

Perhaps you are watching this online and this is a new concept. Let me tell you that the message of God for you is:

  • Jesus died because He loves you!
  • Jesus rose so that you could have life!

When we come to God, the Bible says:

Heb 11:6 (NIV)

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

We must first acknowledge His reality and our need of Him, but in doing so we must also believe that He is a rewarder!

  • He wants to give, not take!
  • He gives love and life!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What does Easter mean to you?
  2. How does it change your life?
  3. Has the way you look at your life and those around you changed?

Resurrection Sunday – Easter Message – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-12T15:53:27+10:00

Good Friday – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[10/04/2020]

Episode Notes

As we come to Easter, I would like to take a moment to speak about where Easter began and by Easter I don’t mean ‘The celebration of Easter involving giving of eggs and stories of Easter bunnies etc…’ but I mean the message of Easter. The Message of Easter is both a story of God’s love and God’s life.

It was God’s love that led to Good Friday, and God’s life was the result that we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday.

It all began in a garden – a garden planted by God for the pinnacle of His creation – people/humankind and it’s a story of God’s love!

I want to read the very first verses in the Bible that mention people or humankind and we will take a look at it because it explains Good Friday. In fact we have to start here if today is going to be seen as good, in regards to the suffering and crucifixion of an innocent man Jesus.

Genesis 1:26-31 (NIV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Then we come to the same story, but an extension of it and it is the second time people or humankind are mentioned in the Bible.

Genesis 2:8 (NIV)

8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We find firstly God’s intent for humankind because there is an important principle when reading or understanding and interpreting the Bible called ‘the law of first mention’.

  • This states that the first time the scriptures reference something it gives context for every further mention right throughout the rest of scripture
  • It sets the scene, tone, intention for that subject

We have here the first mention of people or humankind, so what do we understand for context through the rest of the Bible from this first mention?

We find God loves us because:

1. God created us in His image to love us!

  • This speaks to us about God’s intent to have relationship in a special way with humankind
  • We are created like Him to relate to, connect with and have relationship with Him
  • We were created in His image and it is why He sees and refers to us as His children and Himself, loving Heavenly Father
  • God’s desire is for us to know Him and His love for us
  • We see this later when God walks in the cool of the evening to commune and talk with Adam and Eve
  • In fact, we see as the great theme of the Bible – God’s love for people

We see God’s love in this because:

2. We are blessed!

The first words spoken about us is ‘And He blessed them…’  God’s intent is to bless us, to give us life!

  • So contrary to what so many believe about an angry, kill joy, narcissist God who plays with humanity, or at best ignores it
  • God’s intent is not to judge, punish and restrict, but His intent is to bless
  • Why? Because God loves us

We also see the tree that gives us choice is put in the middle of the garden

  • Why not put it off to the side, or better still, outside the garden
  • Because central to God and humanity is love and the ability to choose to love or reject God
  • Central to the God and Human existence relationship is the ability to love

Is it possible to truly love without the ability to choose? That is a big question but without the ability to choose we would not have had a loving relationship with God, but a robotic one of laws and rules.

God’s intent has always been to not operate by a bunch of rules but out of love and faith.

But something happened in this beautiful setting and plan, mankind chose to disobey God and eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Sin, brokenness and death entered the world through mankind’s disobedience yet even in this we see the love of God!

Isn’t that the greatest love to value it above challenge, brokenness or failure?

God’s response was so different to what Adam and Eve expected just like so many others today.

  • God our loving Heavenly Father, came down to talk with Adam and Eve as it would seem was His custom and Adam and Eve hid because of their shame.

God did a couple of things that lead us to this Good Friday to show the love of God.

God sought them out.

  • While humankind hid, knowing their guilt, shame and wrongdoing, God took the initiative and went looking for them, He came to them.
  • But He didn’t come to punish them, He came to restore them. Just like John 3:17 says, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
  • He took an innocent animal and because of the death that had entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God covered their sin with the life of this animal.

Instead of punishing humankind – God sought to make a way we could still have His original intent – of love and relationship with us.

Then as we follow Adam and Eve out of the garden and into the big wide world and find that this story, this theme continues with Humankind continuing to choose self over God and others. Continually we fall short of God’s intent, we fail, bring shame, sin, brokenness to ourselves and the world around us.

But just like through the entire Bible, God constantly loved and pursued His people.

  • When they were slaves in Egypt, He rescued them. We see God pursuing His people.
  • They complained and groaned in the desert, disobeying Him again, so He rescued them again giving the ten commandments and a promised land
  • Through the ages He sent prophets and mighty men and women of God to help bring people back to His original intent to have relationship with and bless them.
  • It seems that over time rather than draw close to relationship with God instead, we simply came up with more rules.
  • God gave us one rule – don’t eat the fruit – trust me
  • Then gave them ten rules to try to help them
  • By the time Jesus arrived they had turned one rule into about 613 rules

But we were missing the point!

God original intent was never for us to have rules, it was love!

God’s special people always seemed stuck in their sin, selfishness and brokenness.

If you are watching online with us today we all share this trait of not seeming to be able to live up to the wonderful and beautiful existence God originally intended and so instead of blessing it brings death, breakdown of relationship, mistrust, brokenness, shame, guilt and the many things that weigh us down and cause us to run from God.

Eventually in the Bible, we come to the person of Jesus.

Having time after time after time been unable to break free of our sin, mistakes and brokenness.

  • After no animal being able to truly take away sin, guilt and shame, God took the final and most drastic of measures to bring people back to His original intent of love and relationship and blessing.

He sent Jesus His only Son, perfect, without sin, far greater than any animal sacrifice, to come and give His life for us.

We see God being consistent and He reached out to us again.

While many of us have:

  • Hidden from God
  • Tried to cover our own shame, guilt and sin with:
    • Pleasure
    • Power
    • Acquiring money and stuff
    • Perhaps even trying to do enough good deeds
  • Hoped God would just leave us alone
  • If I pretend that He isn’t real and just ignore Him, hopefully I can get by

Yet God’s original intent has never changed. What began in a Garden made to create a special creation Humankind to love and have a relationship with and to bless.

It ultimately came to another Garden – the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed “God is there another way to have your special people?”

  • For them to have access to our love
  • For them to be saved from their sin and brokenness
  • To live in the blessing that You intended

From this Garden Jesus went to the Cross and paid the price for our sin, brokenness, mistakes and failures so that once again we could be made right with God in relationship and know His love and His blessing and life.

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)

18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

Probably one of the most famous scriptures ever tells us what ultimately took Jesus to the cross.

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Today on Good Friday, it can be looked at as good only because it is not simply a story of:

  • A violent death
  • A reason we have no excuse
  • A good history lesson
  • A good moral teacher

But because God so loved the world!

Good Friday is good because it was love that brought it about.

  • God’s original intent of mankind/humankind being made in His image so he could love them and have relationship with them has never changed.

Not even anything we have done can change it:

  • God still loves us!
  • God loves you this morning!

On Resurrection Sunday we want to look at the life of Easter.

Jesus didn’t stay on the Cross and neither should we stay there!

But today, as we take communion, it is special and good because it is the evidence of God’s great love for us.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Is it possible to truly love without the ability to choose?
  2. How grateful does it make you feel to know that God loves you so much and wants to have a relationship with you?

Good Friday – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-10T15:18:39+10:00

Re-Think It – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[05/04/2020]

Episode Notes

Changing our perspective!

I think this is really going to help us re-think some things today, and if you don’t normally go to church but have tuned in, I think you will particularly be encouraged by this morning.

I want to challenge some of us today to re-think some stuff for a very good reason.

Matt 3:1-3 (NIV)

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

“In those days…”

I want to take some weeks to work through some of the early Gospel passages and messages because I believe it relates well to ‘in those days’.

This was written about AD 29… and for a few reasons I think it has bearing on today.

The Jews expected life to be one way and had centuries of living, thinking and planning how life or God’s plan for them would, should and could look only to find Jesus turn things upside down.

  • They expected a military leader to come in to attack the Romans, lead a revolt and make Israel the rulers of an earthly kingdom, but Jesus presented a different kingdom
  • They expected a God punishing people for breaking the Law
  • They expected a Saviour to follow the current religious path and system

But Jesus came and brought a whole new perspective.

Many of us perhaps have been doing life in a certain way and all of a sudden with a random circumstance we are looking at what is happening in this season and it looks so different from what the other seasons had (at least in the western world).

I think there is great cause in revisiting Jesus’ teaching, knowing that He lived ‘in those days’ and I think we too live ‘in those days’.

  • In those days being where a shift is taking place

So, in those days – John came preaching!

Matt 3:1-3 (NIV)

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

John’s job description was given to him many years before he was born by the prophet Isaiah and it is quoted – “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him…”

I hope that if you are listening today you are willing to prepare the way of the Lord for your heart, life, your family, your kids and those around you.

I want us to be willing to prepare the way for God and His love, work and plans for our lives – they are good plans.

But today I called the message, ‘re-think it’ because I think it may be a good time to re-think some things in order to prepare for what God is doing.

Preparation is important and we see this in one of the stories Jesus tells later in His ministry.

Matt 13:3-9(NIV)

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The difference here is not the seed – the Gospel…  but the soil that the seed goes into – us.

  • The difference today is not the scriptures, the circumstance, the promises of God, His Word
  • It’s the soil it goes into!
  • It’s our level of preparation for God’s Work in our lives.

If we want to see God’s fruitfulness, blessing and security in our life, the responsibility that falls on us is to prepare the soil for it!

That is what John the Baptist is called to ‘prepare the way’ for what God wants to do.

  • Prepare the way for this new season of God
  • Prepare the way for something fresh

The way had to be ‘prepared’ for Jesus because it wasn’t what everyone thought!

Maybe today God, in the midst of what is happening, wants to prepare us for His Way instead of living the life of distraction we have been.

What is John’s message that is used to prepare the soil?

Matt 3:1-3 (NIV)

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

It would seem from this that in order to prepare our lives for God’s Kingdom, God’s work, God’s blessing and God’s purposes… the ingredient is ‘to repent’.

But I don’t think it means what we have often associated it with.

From two Greek words and by definition, repent is to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction).

Repent – stop, turn 180 deg.

  • I would put to every person today that repentance requires us to re-think things in order to get there
  • If you repent you turn the other way and that requires a different perspective!
  • If I am facing this way and now face this way – it is looking at things differently. I am seeing things differently – literally
  • To repent without seeing things differently is impossible.

Perhaps today we need to look at things differently and consider or re-think:

  • Purpose
  • Eternity
  • The reality and existence of a God
  • God’s love
  • Sin, whether it rules in our life or not
  • God’s plan for our lives
  • What God’s blessing looks like

If you don’t believe me it may be a good time to re-think. Let me give some perspective here:

  • There would be many people in our communities who were financially secure, some quite wealthy, some doing jobs that they had done for 15 or 20 years and were well paid
  • Many of those listening to this will have been living here in Bendigo or at least Australia in a free country where you had everything you needed, and would certainly not be told you can’t interact with your own grand kids, meet with your friends in a park, go to the beach etc.

But somewhere in China, it is suspected (according to what we could find) an animal of sorts, likely a bat, infected a chicken or fish with a virus, which was sold in a wet market in the back blocks of Wuhan, a place most people had probably never heard of … now life for us is different!

  • It has affected international finances, caused entire nations to be locked down and taken freedoms, financial securities, jobs we would never have considered we would not have

If that cannot convince people of the fickleness of life, the futility of trusting this world’s systems, riches or current situation – I don’t know what will!

When John the Baptist was preparing for God’s work on the planet, his key, first message, was – repent meaning “look at things differently!”

What we find is when we look at things differently, it then leads us to a place of where all people who come to God must find themselves – realising their desperate need of God.

But until we look at things from a different perspective, or consider things we haven’t considered before, it is impossible to see the need for change.

As a kid I think back to some of the names we called other kids and ways we left them out of things and excluded them.

  • But now as a parent of little kids and knowing the fragile little hearts, I have a different perspective

We did what we did and had intent about it given how we were looking at things.

  • But when we saw another perspective, all of a sudden we wished we hadn’t done what we did, or at least had done things differently – it’s called repentance

I think all of us ‘Do life the best we can or at least we think…’ given the way we are looking at it.

  • But maybe God has a different way of seeing things for us

As I see our current situation, I can’t help but think – this is a good time to re-think some things and to get a new perspective!

How?

  • Ask different questions. Jesus looked at the real questions that people didn’t want to ask – motives, truth, surrender, true love.

Maybe we need to ask some different questions of our lives, motives, actions, relationships, priorities right now.

John 8:3-8 (NIV)

3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

When freedom and finances are turned upside down and people are gripped with fear because of a random event overseas, we can see how fickle and unimportant some of the things that consume so much of our life were.

Maybe we have always asked ‘What do I want – what do others need?’

We saw this with all the panic buying and how little consideration some people gave others, maybe there is a better way to do life?

  • Maybe in our marriage or with our kids we have been living selfishly trying to get what we want out of it and wondering why it is all falling apart – And today is a good chance to re-think and ask what ‘The spouse needs, the kids need
  • We might just find that asking that question changes things for the good
  • What is easiest – what is best

Perhaps we have lived a life of convenience rather than conviction only to see it can be taken in a moment.

  • Convenience rarely leads to good decisions.
  • What do I feel like – what does God’s word say?

Perhaps I have always acted on my feelings rather than God’s Word and now, if I do that, life will be really uncertain and scary.

But with God’s Word as an anchor there is confidence, hope, life and purpose.

  • Stand in a different position- (Jesus came from the position of the Son of God having left a throne and going back to one. He had intimate relationship with the Father)
  • From an earthly perspective rather than an Eternal perspective

I think we see this with all the panic and fear – if there is no God and eternal plan, and right now is all there is, I get it. So perhaps it’s a good time to rethink Eternity, Life, Death, Meaning and Purpose from a different position of maybe what you see and touch isn’t all there is!

  • A place of surrender instead of independence

Perhaps we have never really surrendered to God but tried to dictate Him our terms of agreement – but it seems our terms really don’t matter that much.

That is not the Christianity of the Bible. People who try to fit God into their plans soon get disillusioned, disappointed and will never see the blessing of a life of surrendered obedience.

Most people who have a problem with the idea of surrender to God is because of their perspective of who God is. Some think He is Nasty and a Dictator.

But He is a loving God who sent His Son for us!

We need to be in a place of God’s presence rather than this world’s fear, indulgence and worldly confidence.

I think if anything today’s situation shows the uncertainty of riches, this earthly life, government or science!

  • I see a lot of fearful people whose trust is in those things, because they are realising and seeing just how un-sure they are
  • I also see people who truly trust God who are not naïve but also not dominated by fear or worry – but have confidence in Him

That’s because some trust the scriptures:

Psalm 23(NIV) The Lord is my Shepherd

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 37:3,23 (NIV)

3 Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him, though he stumble he will not fall, the Lord upholds him with His hand

Perhaps today we can stand in:

  • A place of trust, instead of doubt
  • A place of faith, instead of fear
  • Confidence with God, rather than doubt or insecurity
  • Go to different voices (Jesus spoke with a voice the disciples and people had not heard… authority, purity, love, conviction and power – the scribes and Pharisees didn’t have that)

Mark 1:22 (NIV)

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Matt 5:43,44 (NIV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

A new voice!

Can I encourage you particularly in this time to be careful of the voices you listen to? There is so much rubbish out there and to be honest I don’t understand why people would even allow it in their life.

Tegan did a great Instagram post about this.

In order for us to be repentant and rethink so God can work in our lives, we need to stop listening to some voices and start listening to others.

  • What does God say, rather than circumstances or social media?
  • What do faith filled believers say, not my backslidden mates or work colleagues?
  • What do people with great fruit in their lives say?
  • What do I not want to hear or what do I need to hear and who will tell me?
  • The voice of God and His Word, rather than the voice of circumstance, fear, insecurity, the crowd or the media

Rev 3:20 (NIV)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

When we consider these things, it puts us in a place to re-think and it is from here God can work in our lives and bring us to true repentance that changes our lives.

Only a few verses down John states:

Matt 3:8(NIV)

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”.

Repentance isn’t a tickbox, it is re-thinking things that leads to real change and the fruit of change in our lives.

Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

According to the Bible, God is looking for a constant heart of repentance because He is always looking to do new things in our lives which requires:

  • Re-thinking and
  • Heart adjustment
  • To stay close to Him and walk in His new blessing and purpose for our lives.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What things in your life do you need to re-think?
  2. Discuss the statement: If we want to see God’s fruitfulness, blessing and security in our life, the responsibility that falls on us is to prepare the soil for it!
  3. What ‘different voices’ are you prepared to listen to, or not listen to?

Re-Think It – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-06T15:35:06+10:00

It’s Not What You Know – Ps Kerrin Wallis

[29/03/2020]

Episode Notes

Perhaps you have heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters…’

I couldn’t agree more when it comes to living the life of faith as a Christian.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1. Great High Priest… who ascended to Heaven!

It is times like this when we need to truly believe in the greatness of our God.

It doesn’t say we have a:

  • Limited high priest
  • Average high priest
  • Subject to global sickness high priest
  • Ruled by economic pressures high priest.

It can be easy at times like this to limit God to what we see going on around us, but it is exactly times like this when we need our focus to be on God’s greatness!

I was speaking with a friend of mine this week and his comment was:

  • “I can’t believe how small people think God is… as if this has caught Him by surprise or He is not sure what He will do…”

Our God is great!

  • He stretched out the heavens
  • Put in place the boundaries of the roaring Ocean
  • I love looking at snow covered mountains and the vastness of it and thinking God made this!
  • Our God speaks and His words supersede this earth and its physical laws
  • He can speak to a storm and it will be still
  • He rose from the dead and conquered death, sin, sickness and brokenness.

The first reminder we find in this passage is a statement on God’s Greatness.

Not only is He great, but it’s also where He lives.

Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God.

He lives way above us!

We live in this dust filled, broken world, but His kingdom is eternal, all powerful, ruled through empires, ages, centuries.

  • Wars haven’t stopped it
  • Plagues haven’t halted it
  • Global crises never ended it
  • Times of prosperity and famine.

God’s kingdom never stopped!

  • His rule never ended
  • He sits above all of this and His eternal plan continues to roll out.

I think if anything, the constant need to remind ourselves of Eternity and what really matters, is at hand.

  • God’s Word, His Kingdom, His plans and purposes, His promises, His power – He is great and lives far above!

Refuse to let what we see and hear, the uncertainty, the fear of the world, define our God!

We must choose to dwell with Him Above.

  • Yes, we need our feet in the dust, but our prayer time, worship, holding onto God’s word and promise is about getting our spirit up where God lives and seeing His eternal perspective.

2. Hold firmly our faith!

Hebrews 4 doesn’t say hold on to:

  • Your fear
  • The media doomsday predictions
  • Your prepping skills
  • Your masks and gloves
  • Your toilet paper – that could be gross
  • Don’t hold onto some YouTube prophecy or random self-proclaimed prophet
  • Don’t hold onto your news articles.

Hold on to your faith!

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen!
  • Isn’t that important right now!

Can I also just give you a tip to holding onto your faith… be careful what you look for.

I know two camps right now living in the same time and facing the same situation.

  • One looks at doom, gloom, fear, bad news, bad reports, panic
  • The other looks at the opportunity for kindness, God’s goodness and provision, that God will use this to build His kingdom, God’s promises.

Pick the right camp Church!

Hold onto God!

  • Keep a firm grip on faith in times like this and refuse to let fear grip your life…
  • we talked on his last week so if you missed it, go back and listen to fear vs faith – it will encourage our spirit!

But I love this next bit… v15

3. He has been tempted in every way…He understands!

In life it is easy for us to feel like:

  • No-one understands
  • Our case is different
  • No one really knows.

While we live in what is shaping up to be some really challenging days, Jesus has felt all the things we will feel in the midst of it!

Jesus has felt the things we have felt in our past or current no matter what caused it.

  • Fear
  • Sickness
  • Pain
  • Uncertainty
  • Loss
  • Betrayal
  • Isolation
  • Hurt.

Yet, in the middle of it all, He chose not to sin – allowing these to overcome Him… turn Him away from God or obeying Him!

Even if we just look at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was about to face the crucifixion, He felt it – so much so that the stress caused his body to sweat drops of blood!

  • Yet He chose to obey God
  • Chose to trust God
  • Didn’t abandon His faith in God
  • Didn’t abandon the call of God.

Whatever we feel today and for whatever reason, Jesus understands… more than that – He has been there!

  • Jesus has faced it all
  • He understands.

His peace isn’t token or shallow, but from a place of having walked through the valley of the shadow of all these things.

His promises of peace are sure, certain and incredible.

  • He has faced what we are facing. He has brought help, strength, comfort, even joy in all those things we face – even today.

That is what I love about Jesus!

  • He isn’t some distant deity
  • He isn’t the cosmic clock maker who made this world and is now watching on passively, disconnected to our suffering.

He instead personally came, walked in our shoes!

  • He suffered all we have.

Every emotion, feeling, struggle, battle – He has faced them as a human being like us.

  • He knows, understands, can empathise.

That is the God we pray to!

4. Let us approach God’s throne of grace!

One of the things with our current situation is that Christians/believers who may have slipped into:

  • Just doing Church without engaging with God personally
  • Perhaps that were just ticking boxes of Christianity
  • Caught in crowd following

Now EVERY believer must be taking personal responsibility to connect with God.

In our own homes we need to take responsibility for reading the word, leading our kids in God’s ways, worship, prayer.

  • Let us approach God’s throne.

Not let the pastor.

Not let your husband or wife.

Not let a podcast.

Not let your friend–but let us!

Can I encourage you at this time to personally reach out to God and engage with Him? You lead your family and kids in prayer, scripture, faith.

It says, let us approach God’s Throne!

It’s easy to approach:

  • The headlines
  • Social media
  • Anxiety
  • ‘Self-proclaimed’ prophets or doomsday naysayers
  • Self-reliance
  • Self-pity
  • Just plain ignoring reality
  • Or escapism with the many forms of our entertainment.

I have had a couple of these try to force their way into my life this week, but I choose to go to God!

  • Go to His throne room
  • Pray to the Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper.

Take some time to get alone with God and hear His voice, through prayer, the word, His presence.

  • Put on some worship and sit, allow the Holy Spirit and God’s presence to bring peace and courage to your heart and spirit!
  • Pray as a family, read God’s word, let worship fill your home!

This is the time, and while we can’t gather in the physical, let’s gather as we can online, but then personally seek God at this time.

  • It uses the word confidence to describe how we should approach God’s throne and His presence.

Be confident God wants to engage with you, your family, your home, bless you, bless your finances, bless your relationships, reveal His promises.

5. Receive God’s Grace and Mercy in time of need!

We have some very real challenges right now in front of us and I know people personally that have already been hugely affected by it in the many ways this is impacting our nation.

Whether however it was this current situation or another thing in the future, we all need the grace and mercy of God.

It’s not about our own strength, discipline, focus and ability to just keep going.

We all need the grace of God:

  • To get through a challenge
  • To face tough times
  • To stand strong and lead our families and others
  • To keep believing when I can’t see it
  • To trust God in the midst of the storm
  • To put us together when life seems to break us
  • To make us strong when we are weak
  • To forgive us when we fail
  • To pick us up when we fall.

I am so glad the Scripture says come to His throne where we will receive grace and mercy in time of need.

Because, if not today it will be another day.

  • We all have times of need.
  • God is right there with us in whatever time of need we find ourselves.

I would say today we are surrounded by need, by people experiencing all kinds of challenges, fears, loss’s, realities of their life being impacted in a way we didn’t expect.

  • Can I encourage you? Jesus understands and if you will go to Him you will find the grace and mercy you need at this time.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.

Be a person who knows Jesus and His eternal life!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the statement – it is exactly times like this when we need our focus to be on God’s greatness!
  2. How hard is it to refuse to let what we see and hear, the uncertainty, the fear of the world in these challenging times, define our God?
  3. We all need the Grace and Mercy of God in these times. How hard is it for you to completely rely on Him when the world is in such turmoil?

It’s Not What You Know – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-01T14:28:29+10:00

Faith vs Fear – Ps Kerrin Wallis

Episode Notes

Isaiah 41:10 – seems like a great place to start today with all that is going on in our world.

“10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (NLT)

You don’t have to look far this week to see people being affected by, living in, giving into, being held captive to fear!

  • Social Media – is full of fear.
  • The regular media is doing its best to fill people with fear.
  • Going to Woolworths this week was an eye opener to just how fear has gripped people’s lives in this current situation.

The great news for us as believers in Jesus is that we don’t have to live that way!

2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

“7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Fear is not God’s plan for our lives and in fact it directly opposes God’s intent for our lives which is that we should live with and by Faith! Fear and faith are in direct opposition to one another!

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

At a time when the world and those around us are filled with, affected by, and living in fear, this is exactly the time for believers in Jesus to demonstrate a life of faith and trust in God.

With instability all around us and people confused, wondering and unsure, we can show stability and have confidence in our rock, our strong refuge, in Jesus Christ!

There are so many differences between Fear and Faith, but this morning let me give you a few that I feel at this time are important to note.

1. Fear wants you to panic – Faith uses wisdom!

Again, you don’t have to look far right now to see people allowing fear to cause them to panic!

But panic never leads to good decisions. Panic causes people to make terrible decisions and leads to selfishness.

If we let fear rule in our lives it will lead to panic and bad decisions.

  • People will get into bad relationships because they are panicking that they will be left on the shelf.
  • I have seen people make terrible relationship decisions because they are afraid of being left on the shelf, no-one will love me, I need a relationship now!
  • People cause huge financial problems when they act in fear of not having, or missing out, or panic of what others think.
  • People leave jobs and run away from challenges because they allow fear and panic into their lives.

But if we embrace faith it causes us to use wisdom!

2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV)

“7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

(NLT)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

A sound mind! A mind that considers things, weighs them, has insight, gets good counsel, applies self-discipline – these are the things that lead to wise decision making!

Faith allows us to remove fear and so consider and weigh things against:

  • The Word and Promises of God.
  • The power of God who supplies ALL our needs, heals, rescues, is our strength
  • The proven history of Gods faithfulness.
  • All of these things then, mean we can live boldly, confidently and securely in God.

“Fear not, for I am with you, says the Lord…”

David talks about it in Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to his name.

4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Verse 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

When we find ourselves in a darkest valley, even a valley of the shadow of death, if we allow fear to set in and panic:

  • Panic will cause you to run away from God in hysteria and freak out, but then you have just run from the very thing that will protect and comfort you!
  • It is only faith in God, that keeps us close to the God who is the one offering protection and comfort.

If you find yourself in a valley or facing one, don’t run away in panic from the God who will keep and protect you. Stay close to Him!

Even at this time, don’t abandon your prayer, worship, giving, fellowship, but keep it up, keep close to God and His people and we can live lives of faith and wisdom regardless of what is going on around us.

2. Fear wants you to be ruled – Faith wants you to rule!

Fear never stays in one area of our life, but its plan is to take over, to rule, to dominate your life!

We give it an inch and allow fear of what people say about us into our lives,

  • Then before you know it, we are also afraid of what people aren’t saying about us!
  • Even worse if anyone says anything – we think it is about us!
  • Now even good things that people say we start looking for negativity in them and before you know it, allowing that one fear into our lives it now moves in and dominates our thinking!

But faith wants the opposite – faith wants us to rule in life!

Fear wants to hold you to the mercy of circumstances, opinions, negativity, surroundings, sometimes even totally imagined yet hasn’t even happened yet!

Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Jesus says in Matthew 10:28-31 (NLT)

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

God’s plan is that we live not ruled by fear, but that we should rule it!

The only way however to rule fear is with faith!

It takes faith to:

  • Look at an impossible situation and say I will trust God anyway.
  • Faith to face sickness, but trust God is in control.
  • Faith to be surrounded by challenge, but worship God anyway.
  • Faith to face financial challenges but continue to be generous
  • Faith to keep going another day, when you feel like you cannot.
  • Faith to refuse to give into negativity and doubt regardless of what we see.
  • Faith to trust God with our marriage when it seems too difficult.

All those things want to rule you, dominate your thoughts, take your courage, rob you of God’s blessing but God’s plan is that through faith you can rule over it!

It’s not that faith refuses to acknowledge reality, or circumstances, it just chooses not to be ruled by them!

And faith isn’t just about ruling fear, it’s about living a victorious life.

  • It’s about seeing the goodness of God, living with His blessing, believing for the impossible!

God is not some survival expert He is a generous, benevolent, faithful, powerful God who has plans for your life beyond what you can imagine!

Fear wants to rule you, but faith wants you to rule in life!

3. Fear wants you to be selfish – Faith wants you to be selfless!

If you take a look around you, you can see how when fear grips people. They panic, allow fear to rule them and it turns them into selfish people!

  • Again, the fact that perfectly healthy and capable people went and needlessly stockpiled with no thought to others, or particularly the vulnerable, that reveals to me unthinkable selfishness!

But that’s what fear does!

Wouldn’t you think that in a time of possible lack, people would do the opposite and choose less for themselves so that those in need, and the vulnerable could be cared for and looked after?

I think it’s a sad indictment on some of the prevailing selfish attitudes of people when our Prime Minister has to tell people to stop being so selfish and consider laws about it, rather than having people so rally around one another that we have more than enough!

But to me it’s simple, if you are ruled by fear, it wants you to be selfish and dominated by your own needs and possible lack – it drives people to horrible selfishness.

Faith, however, in a God who provides and a trust in the principles of generosity in God’s word, means we as believers can be:

  • Generous
  • Give to others first
  • Put others first
  • Sacrifice for others.

Know that God is our provider, not a supermarket chain, circumstance or this world!

1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Particularly at a time like this, let’s be the Church of Jesus with love and not fear!

Let’s go out of our way to make sure:

People are cared for.

People are looked out for.

We find those who are isolated or vulnerable and do what we can.

Let’s be the first to give up for others.

I honestly believe that we are in a unique set of circumstances that allow us a unique opportunity to show God’s love and power in amazing ways!

If we can choose not to fear, but to rise and live with faith in Jesus I believe we can reach many with God’s love and power in just such a time as this.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the statement that says fear and faith are in direct opposition to one another!
  2. Share examples of your experiences of seeing this in operation.
  3. Discuss how we as believers in Jesus can demonstrate a life of faith and trust in God.
  4. How will your lives change as a result of what is happening in our country today?

Faith vs Fear – Ps Kerrin Wallis2020-04-02T18:01:27+10:00

Backward Momentum – Ps Richard Kobakian

Episode Notes

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Backward Momentum – Ps Richard Kobakian2020-04-03T07:35:47+10:00

The Lion And The Lamb – Ps Richard Kobakian

Episode Notes

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The Lion And The Lamb – Ps Richard Kobakian2020-04-03T07:35:38+10:00

Dave’s Summer Grill – Ps Dave Doolan

Episode Notes

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Dave’s Summer Grill – Ps Dave Doolan2020-04-03T07:36:30+10:00

Where Is The Joy In This? – Nathan Hulls

How Do We Get Through The Journey?

Episode Notes

2019 was a cracker of a year!

We started the year with a new adventure of launching a new business.

We felt like God had a new season for us as a family, with our ministry, as well as practically setting up a business locally which would allow me to be home more, travel less and build a foundation for our income that didn’t rely on me speaking.

We launched into the year full of faith, full of anticipation for the new season ahead.

We even had a sense that God was calling us into a new season.

Specifically, we felt God had spoken to us about a new season of influence, authority and prosperity.

We were excited…

We were full of anticipation.

If you know me and we have a conversation you’ll know before long that I’m a dreamer. I love to think big, see the possibilities, take steps of faith.

But what we had envisioned was a new season of influence – being a positive influence and having a greater impact in the lives of people in our community and our city.

What we had envisioned was a new season of authority – being in positions of leadership being able to create change.

What we had envisioned was a new season of prosperity – creating wealth, being blessed to be a blessing.

But it soon looked more like a season of stress, anxiety and plain old hard work!

  • Working 70-80 hours a week.
  • Starting at 8am – finishing at 9pm.
  • Not seeing my family.
  • Some mornings being in such a negative space in my mental health that I wasn’t able to get out of bed.
  • Being overcome by fear and anxiety in a way that I had never experienced in my life.

The promise for us was a season of influence, authority and prosperity, yet the reality I was experiencing was one of stress, anxiety and battle.

I don’t know if you’ve been there – when the promise you’ve received from God looks nothing like the reality you’re currently experiencing.

A number of years ago I bought a chair from IKEA, but I didn’t follow the instructions properly and it didn’t function as it should.

The title of my message this morning is based on a passage of scripture I had vowed I would never preach from, because I didn’t like it, let alone understand it.

It’s one of those scriptures that I think most Christians wish wasn’t in the Bible, so let’s turn to the Bible and see where we’re headed.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 (THE MESSAGE)

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

The title of my message today is “Where’s the joy in this?!”

The overarching theme of the message is how important it is to have the right perspective and focus in times of struggle.

Even the message title can be taken in multiple ways.

Some people will read that title and you find some validation in the way that you’re currently feeling about a trial or a struggle you’re facing – as if it’s saying “There’s no joy in this!”?

The alternative way to read the title is one of curiosity as if to say: “Where can I find joy in this?”

As we went through the year the challenges of:

  • finance and cash flow
  • long hours
  • stretching beyond my comfort zone
  • managing staff and members
  • the uncertainty of whether the business would be successful
  • pressures on marriage and family due to the long hours and lack of quality time
  • having to deal with people who weren’t always in a great mental state themselves
  • anxiety, stress, fear

These challenges were evident and sometimes overwhelming, but in order to get through the year, it became clear that I had to take control of my focus and my perspective on what I was experiencing.

Circumstance plus Perspective equals Reality.

How we see our circumstances, our perspective on them, will determine our reality and in turn our ability to influence them or get through them.

It’s easy to look at where you want to be, where you believe God has called you to be, the promises you are believing for and see your current reality and get disheartened, overwhelmed and give up.

I could choose to see the challenges I was facing as negative issues which were getting on top of me, I could see them as problems or as we read in

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

“Consider it a sheer gift” “Count it all joy!”

Our perspective and our focus – how we see what we are looking at will determine how well we are positioned to be able to engage with and essentially overcome those challenges.

The perfect example we have is Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

“2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.

The promise was you and I – relationship, salvation, eternity.

The reality for Jesus was death on a cross, shame, humiliation.

The journey to the promise rarely looks like the promise itself.

And how we see the challenges we face along the journey will determine how well we are positioned to be able to engage with them and overcome them – to step into the promise and see all that God has for us become our reality.

So with the theme of the title I want us to look at five questions to ask yourself when you face trials and challenges.

When you find yourself in a wilderness season which looks nothing like the promise.

Because the path to the promise often looks like the backside of a desert and as we see with the Children of Israel, because of their perspective and their focus, what should have been an eleven day journey became a 40 year journey and they never encountered the promise.

Why five questions?

The questions you ask yourself on a day to day basis dictate your focus.

And the quality of the questions you ask yourself, will determine the quality of the answers.

A low-quality question would be “Why does my life suck so much?” or “Why does bad stuff always happen to me?”

The reality is, your brain will always find an answer – the brain does not like unanswered questions, and there are always answers to those questions.

We all make poor choices, we all do dumb things, and if the question is not a resourceful one, you will not get a resourceful answer.

There are five questions to ask yourself to gain a healthy perspective plus focus to move through the challenges you face.

1. Where’s the joy in this?

RESET YOUR FOCUS

No matter how bad life is, there are always things we have which will bring us joy – things to be grateful for.

What do you have? (life, air, clothes, a home, food, family and gratitude).

There were twin boys, one was an optimist and the other pessimist. Their only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist.

Just to see what would happen, on the twins’ birthday their father loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure.

That night the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly. “Why are you crying?” the father asked. “Because my friends will be jealous, I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I’ll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken.” answered the pessimist twin.

Passing the optimist twin’s room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. “What are you so happy about?” he asked. To which his optimist twin replied, “With a pile of manure this high there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Perspective will determine how we approach our circumstances and see our reality. Beyond basic gratitude, start to look for ways to reframe the circumstances you’re facing.

  • Problems or Opportunities
  • What muscles are you developing? New skills? New abilities?
  • What are you learning?
  • How far have you come?

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

“knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

The joy is in knowing that the struggle you’re in right now will grow you, your patience, your stamina, your perseverance, your strength, your skills and that building of your character is in essence for you to become complete.

2. Where is God in this?

RECALIBRATE AND FIND STABILITY

Mark 4:37-39 (NKJV)

Jesus was asleep in the boat during the storm.

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

The disciples were afraid, thinking that they were going to die – their focus was on the storm, on the waves and the water coming into the boat. Jesus was in the boat sleeping, he wasn’t concerned.

It’s important for us to recalibrate – to see where God is. Have we moved away from God? Is He there with us, but because we’re focussing on the challenges we face, we are unaware of His presence?

But we also need to ask God – “where are You in this?”, to regain a sense of stability and security.

3. What does God say about this?

DISCERN TRUTH

He knows what the end result will be.

Are our fears founded on truth? Or are we partnering with lies from the enemy?

Along the journey of starting this new business we had a number of scenarios where we needed to come up with money we didn’t have – each time both Kate and I felt God spoke and said specifically that “the money will come in”.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)

 20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

God’s promises are like a cheque which requires two signatures.

God has already signed, but it requires our agreement, our “Amen” for us to partner with those promises.

Other promises which I have held firm to, to re-align my perspective are:

  • God as Jehovah Jirah “Our provider”.
  • God as the God of Breakthrough.
  • God as Creator of everything.
  • “God did not lead me here to leave me here”.

4. Did God lead me here?

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

Is it God or is it me?

Being honest about whether I am facing this challenge due to following God’s leading, or due to my own poor choices.

I hate the cliché which says “everything happens for a reason”.

It’s true to an extent, but it’s not Biblical from the perspective that God doesn’t make everything that happens happen.

Sometimes the things that happen are due to our own poor choices – so we need to identify them and ask am I facing this challenge because God led me to this place, or because I made a dumb decision?

5. Have I been here before?

MAKE NECESSARY CHANGES

Einstein is quoted as saying “the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over but expect a different result”.

If I can see any recurring patterns what do I need to change?

Are there specific areas I need to develop and grow in?

What we do on a daily basis becomes a habit and our habits create our reality.

Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Let us lay aside every weight – things that are not helping us and sin – things which are not God’s best for us, which cause us to fall short of God’s design for our lives.

God has a plan for all of us! The form doesn’t always look like we expect.

Provision looks like poverty.

Promises don’t look like the challenge.

Learn to love the struggle.

Allow God to shape you and learn to walk through the challenges.

Have you found yourself in a wilderness, but hearing this you realise that it’s because you’re far from God – either you’ve made decisions to go your own way, or you’ve never known what it is to be in relationship with God?

Our team would love to connect with you, give you a Bible and pray for you

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Have you expected a season of prosperity and influence, but life has been nothing like what you expected?
  2. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  3. How has the five questions that Nathan spoke about influenced you?

Where Is The Joy In This? – Nathan Hulls2020-04-03T07:36:37+10:00

Pain Killers – Ps Dave Doolan

Episode Notes

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Pain Killers – Ps Dave Doolan2020-04-03T07:36:45+10:00

The Holy Spirit Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge

Understanding, Encountering and Being Empowered by the Holy Spirit - Encountering

Episode Notes

Throughout our lives, certain significant events change us forever.

Some can be great celebratory events; others can be tragic events, but whatever form they take they change us; we are never the same

After Jesus’ crucifixion resurrection and subsequent Ascension into Heaven, a certain supernatural experience changed a bunch of spiritual cowards into world changers.

The experience changed a person like Peter, from someone who wouldn’t confess to knowing Jesus, to a dynamic world-changing preacher and leader.

Acts 2:37 (NIV)

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

It changed disillusioned and defeated disciples into firebrands for God.

This supernatural experience happened on a special feast day in the Jewish calendar, the feast of Pentecost, when many Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem for this celebration of their faith.

It happened when, though feeling confused and even defeated, Jesus’ disciples were obedient to his final instruction to wait in Jerusalem together.

This same experience transformed a nation called Wales some 1900 years later and at around the same time birthed a Pentecostal movement of Churches in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California that now covers the globe.

This experience then and now involves a person, an equal part of the Trinity with the Father and the Son and He is here right now because we gather in the Name of Jesus.

This is the person of the Holy Spirit, who we learned about last week.

He is our teacher, our guide, our comforter and our counsellor.

He convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgement to come, but we also learned from Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome that was formed when some of these Jews returned from Pentecost celebrations in Jerusalem, that if we choose to suppress the truth  that He convicts us of, He will not impose himself on us, but leave us to the consequences of our choices while all the time loving us dearly and still providing the way to a victorious life.

Romans 1:18-25 (NIV) – Suppressed Truth.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

He is of course The Holy Spirit who also empowers us today as he did the first disciples.

How though, did these “spiritual cowards” become world changers who were all prepared to die for their faith? Men upon whose shoulders the Church was to be built.

What experience transformed them?

To answer this let’s read:

John 20:19-23 (NIV)

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

 Luke 24:46-53 (NIV)

46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 2: 1-4 (NIV)

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

These disillusioned, fear-filled disciples huddled together, probably totally confused, now have a ghost like figure appear and tell them “Peace guys, It’s me, Jesus”!

We often read scripture as if the characters are larger than life, power men and women, but they are just human beings like us facing a life of trauma, disillusion, fear of persecution and now, a ghost!!!

A Double Whammy…. no wonder Jesus’ first words are “Peace be with you”.

He even repeats his entry for an unbelieving “Doubting Thomas” a week later in the same house, the same locked doors and doesn’t rebuke Thomas at all for his doubts. That’s good news for any of us who doubt at times!

John 20:26-28 (NIV)

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus breathed resurrection life into His disciples.

John 20:22 (NIV)

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Their hearts were transformed, they were born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.

But Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for a further experience of this Holy Spirit which he called “Dunamis power”, as the Holy Spirit this time comes upon them.

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

These were his last words to them before he was taken up to heaven

Acts 1:9 (NIV)

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Two experiences: an infilling of this Holy Spirit and now the promise of this same Spirit coming upon them. They were born again and then empowered by the Holy Spirit to change the world.

What happened next?

The now empowered Peter preaches and 3000+ were saved.

Miracles happen!

Acts 2:43 (NIV)

43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.

Acts 3:1-10 (NIV)

3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 5:12 (NIV)

12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.

What does this mean for us today?

It means Church gatherings should never be boring! It should be a sense of awe!

It means we should come together with a high level of expectation! What’s going to happen today. Faith!

It means the Church should be making good headlines daily! Good News about life in Jesus!

It means our priority should be encountering God, not just wanting a good message and a good bunch of likeminded people to do life with. This is always the danger of being in a loving, comfortable Church. We lose our sense of awe and expectation. Our reason to be, our purpose!

As these truths started to penetrate my structured, scientific mind in the early days of understanding these realities, in the late 70’s things started to happen!

I saw transformed lives, friends becoming hungry for God! Cynics became faith filled believers. Inexplicable things started to happen when you prayed for people – some fell over in the power of the Holy Spirit!!!  Conservative family and friends began to speak in tongues and miracles happened. A woman was healed of a tumour.

History tells of Revivals that resulted in regions and even nations being transformed. For example, during the Welsh revival of 1904 pubs closed down. Magistrates had no cases to hear so they wore white gloves to the bench as a sign of this. People wouldn’t leave Church services. Donkeys in the mines of Wales had to be “retrained” after the handlers no longer swore at them, and a sports loving nation turned from attending Rugby Games to attending Revival meetings! The fire of the Holy Spirit went around the world.

Is this for now?……..

Acts 2:38-39 (NIV)

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

It seems so from reading the Bible!

Can I receive this gift today?    Definitely – you are called, I am called.

Are miracles and healings available today? Mark’s Gospel seems to indicate this.

Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

What do I need to do? Come in Faith! Be open to God and trust Him to be true to His Word.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Have you experienced a supernatural experience? Share with the group if you can.
  2. Do you come to Church with a high level of expectation each Sunday, expecting the Holy Spirit to move?
  3. Is your priority encountering God every time?
  4. Are you open to God and trust Him to be true to His Word?

The Holy Spirit Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge2020-04-03T07:36:53+10:00

God’s Promise Is A Promise – Jake Blabey [23/02/2020 PM]

Episode Notes

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God’s Promise Is A Promise – Jake Blabey [23/02/2020 PM]2020-02-25T09:43:09+10:00

The Holy Spirit Pt 1 – Ps Bruce Claridge [23/02/2020 AM]

Understanding, Encountering and Being Empowered by the Holy Spirit - Understanding

Episode Notes

On Vision Sunday Pastor Kerrin brought a great message on encountering God and not just casually brushing past Him as you would a person amongst a crowd.

It made me think about how I treat God at times as I rush even to do Christian duties.

I wonder have I missed powerful encounters with God because of even Christian busyness?

This analogy has stuck with me and was an excellent encouragement and lead in as we fasted and prayed as a Church.

In talking of the power of prayer and fasting, Jentzen Franklin says “Physical Obedience releases supernatural favour”.

He points out that acts like the raising of hands, fasting, walking forward for prayer and tangible acts of generosity and kindness release something in the Heavenlies. An example is God’s promises concerning tithing in Malachi 3:10 (NIV). There is something released when we do something.

The Holy Spirit is always ready to meet with us, but are we willing to let Him, to slow down and experience all that He has for us?

As a young man the Holy Spirit both intrigued and confused me. My Methodist upbringing had given me an understanding of the Father and then, from Godly teachers, I learned to love Jesus, but the Holy Spirit was confusing to me!

Salvation as a teenager probably introduced me to the Holy Spirit without me really knowing it was Him who kept convicting me and Him also who eventually got through to me that I didn’t have to “get saved” every time an altar call was given.

As I look back the Holy Spirit was at work in my life, but I didn’t know it.

Over these next 2 weeks I believe God wants to bring us greater understanding of the person of the Holy Spirit, to a greater personal encounter with the Holy Spirit leading us to a greater empowerment by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

The Christian life is “not in Word only but in demonstration and power”.

To start let’s answer some questions often posed about The Holy Spirit.

1. Who is the Holy Spirit?

Luke 11:11-13 (NIV) – He is a gift freely given from the Father

John 15:5-15 (NIV) – He is the Counsellor, the Spirit of Truth

John 14:25-27 (NIV) – He teaches us and reminds us of all that Jesus has said.

He demonstrates His presence in the lives of believers through the gifts of the Holy Spirit

He was there at Creation. Genesis 1 (NIV). He is here now.

He is the third person of the Trinity, He is a person, co-existent, co-eternal with the Father and the Son. He is God. He is present here because we gather in the name of Jesus.

2. What does He do?

He gives us the power to be His witnesses through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 and 2:37-39 (NIV)

He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come. John 16: 8-11 (NIV)

If He is doing this all over the world and here right now why then aren’t more people saved?

Why aren’t Christians more urgent about judgment to come and rescuing others from that judgment?

If we believe Jesus is coming again why don’t we declare it more?

Romans 1 explains this “it’s called suppression of the truth” Romans 1: 18-25 (NIV)

An explanation of suppressing truth:

“It’s a lot like when we play hide and seek with a little child, we know they are hiding in their world, but really, come on, sitting in full view in the middle of the room covered by a blanket with eyes shut to add effect does not constitute a good hiding place where no sighted adult will ever find you – yet knowing where they obviously are, we suppress this truth and diligently look in many different hiding place options when all we have to do is stop suppressing the truth and we will find what we are looking for. Wouldn’t it save a lot of time by saying to the child – stupid hiding place, found you, game over?

In the same way Christians justify sin despite having knowledge of and access to the Word, in the centre of their world and therefore access to the truth, they search in other places when what they are looking for is right in front of them, as obvious as a child hiding in the middle of a room, or a Bible right in front of them!

Yet, so often we would rather play the game called life and waste years in foolish searches than let God’s truth direct us.

We live in a society that more and more and in many different ways “suppresses truth by their wickedness” Romans 1: 18 (NIV)

Consider current irrational thinking concerning gender. The Truth says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he made him; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Suppressed truth introduces other options because it leads to irrational thinking.

Suppressed truth has us looking in the wrong places, when the Holy Spirit is trying to guide us.

Suppressed truth prevents the Truth from being discovered.

Suppressed truth does not allow us to experience and encounter the Person and Power of the Holy Spirit.

What suppresses the truth in our lives?

It can be many things from self-focused religion to worldly options to truth, carnal thoughts and actions, unforgiveness, selfishness, unhealthy relationships and so many other different “hiding places’’ when the truth is waiting for us in the centre of our lives. His name is Jesus. He offers all that only truth can offer. Martin Luther’s reformation was because the truth was suppressed!

3. How do I encounter Him?

Seek Him, from His Word. Our Journey in late ‘70’s, a journey that came from searching His Word for truth, the Holy Spirit revealed truth to us as we searched the scriptures even when confusion from extreme teachings came along the way, but we eventually found our way to a Godly Pentecostal Church. It was a Church that opened the way for us to encounter the person and power of the Holy Spirit, because “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV).

We encounter Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit when we open up our hearts to Him and earnestly seek Him with all our heart, when we are prepared to no longer suppress truth by our chosen method and surrender our lives, in all their sin filled ways, to Him and His Word. The Holy Spirit will speak into our lives.

The Holy Spirit is here right now. What truth of God’s Word are you suppressing, what promise? Push in and pursue it. Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 (NIV)

We all do it at times, but in this atmosphere of faith it’s an opportunity to identify it and deal with it.

Maybe through the pain of deep hurt, the truth of forgiveness is being suppressed.

Maybe through difficult relationship times, the truth of God’s unconditional love to you has been suppressed.

Maybe during financial hardship, the truth of God as your provider has been suppressed by fear of lack.

Today, identify what aspect of God’s character, God’s love, His promises to you have been suppressed and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you again to Truth, to be your comforter and your empowerer, to face whatever comes your way.

Let the Holy Spirit do His Work and introduce you to Jesus today!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss what you think Jentzen Franklin meant when he said “physical obedience releases supernatural favour”?
  2. Are you ready to receive greater empowerment by the Holy Spirit in your daily lives?
  3. What do you think suppresses Truth in our lives?

The Holy Spirit Pt 1 – Ps Bruce Claridge [23/02/2020 AM]2020-02-25T09:43:03+10:00

Behind The Scenes – Ps Dave Doolan [16/02/2020 PM]

Episode Notes

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Behind The Scenes – Ps Dave Doolan [16/02/2020 PM]2020-02-18T11:02:45+10:00

Here I Am Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [16/02/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV)

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

I was brought back to this passage recently and felt stirred to go through this passage and see what God wants to say to us.

We preached last week on:

1) Moses was in desolate place – yet God had not finished.

  • In fact it was in this desolate place that God calls to and speaks to Moses.

2) God got Moses attention and Moses gave two important responses:

  • He turned aside to see what God wanted.
  • His response to God’s call or voice was – here I am. He surrendered.

3) The place where Moses stood was Holy Ground!

  • It was Holy not because of the ground, dirt or rocks, but because of God’s presence.
  • Our desolate place, challenge, struggle, or where we are right now, these can become Holy Ground if we bring God’s presence to it.
  • Don’t look for new ground, you are on Holy Ground, you are on it!

Today I would like to give some final thoughts to the passage that I believe will speak to people.

Exodus 3:7-11 (NKJV)

4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

We find here the first instance of this description introducing God:

  • “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”
  • In Genesis 50 they are listed in regards to an oath or promise of God, but not a reference point for Him.

We may have heard these names before, perhaps we are familiar with them, but this is significant in God meeting with Moses.

What I love about this is that God meets Moses right where he is at.

  • Moses would have understood this name.
  • He would have known the reference point and it was a way God met Moses right where he was at.

God does not introduce Himself or show Himself in some way to confuse Moses.

  • We see this right through the Gospels with Jesus. He constantly met people where they were at.

You might be here this morning and not yet know God, but let me tell you, God is not asking you to jump through a bunch of hoops or get to a certain knowledge level, or attain some level of living – He wants to meet you personally, right where you are at!

He will reveal Himself in a way you can understand.

  • Jesus met the disciples down by the water at their workplace.
  • Jesus met Nicodemus at night because Nicodemus was afraid to be seen with Him in the day.
  • Jesus meets a very messed up woman at a well in a place other Jews avoided at a time of day that was most uncomfortable – it is where she was at.
  • He met a man possessed by demons in the tombs.
  • He met a lady caught in adultery, naked in the dust and guilty and set her free.
  • He met a man Zacchaeus – hated by his own people as a traitor and leech, by stopping under the tree he had climbed and called him by name.

God will meet you right where you are at, if you will just turn to Him and say here I am!

The one thing God does ask for is a response!

Acts 2:37-38 (NKJV)

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Here Peter has just preached the first sermon of the early church and people have God revealed to them.

  • They respond with ‘What do we do?’ – Here we are.
  • Repent and be baptised.
  • Surrender to God.

This surrender never changes and while ever we have that repentant, surrendered heart and response of here we are, God will meet us right there!

But God doesn’t want to stop at a first meeting.

What is incredible is that when Moses takes the faith steps asked of him and responds to God, then God reveals even more of Himself, in line with how Moses needs to see God work in his situation.

Exodus 5:22 – 6:1-3 (NKJV)

22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”

6 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” 2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.

Moses went out and did what God asked, but it didn’t turn out like he thought or like God said, so with frustration and disappointment he goes back to God and says: “What the???”

God then goes on to reveal Himself in new ways to Moses to give him the faith and courage to keep following His call and purpose.

Exodus 6:2-3 (NKJV)

2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord (Jehovah) I was not known to them.

Even if you have known God for many years, I believe God has a new faith challenge for you this year and it will require you to press into God and pursue Him in:

  • New ways.
  • New connection and intimacy.
  • New levels of faith and passion.
  • You will need to rediscover God and His new revelations for the faith steps ahead.

That is why there is no such thing as standing still as a believer!

We are either tapping into fresh understanding of God, or choosing to drift away from Him.

Let’s keep reading.

Exodus 3:7-11 (NKJV)

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

God says, I have seen all the problems and heard the prayers – I will answer by sending you!

“But God… You said You will answer!”

  • “I know, my answer is you go!”

How many times have we prayed for God to do something and He says; “Great, off you go then…”

  • “But God I thought You would answer, what will You do.”
  • “But what’s the Church going to do about it God”
  • “You are the Church, now let’s make it happen…”
  • God will do miracles when we are the answer and step out in faith, not comfortable on our couch.

Perhaps too often we are praying for someone else to go when God says – “You go!”

Have we considered that we or you might be the answer to someone’s prayers!

  • Our willingness to go, to respond, to give, to pray, to share – could be the answer to someone crying out to God.
  • I believe as a church one of the parts of our destiny is to go and plant churches
  • To bring the gospel, hope, power and love of God to towns without it.

Then we go to Moses next question, “Who am I God?” The perfect Candidate!

If we follow the story, Moses came up with reasons why:

  • He couldn’t go.
  • He shouldn’t go.
  • I am sure there were people further qualified.

But God in His incredible ‘Higher ways than ours’ chose Moses and he made a difference I would think he could never have imagined.

I can just imagine God today saying:

  • I have heard Bendigo’s prayers.
  • I have heard your families’ prayers.
  • I have heard the communities’ prayers.
  • I have heard the prayers of a town with no life-giving church.
  • I have heard the prayers of the lost and broken and I will send you!

It sounds really familiar to a couple of other passages in the New Testament.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Where is God sending you for 2020?

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss how God reveals Himself in ways we can understand.
  2. Do you believe that God will meet you right where you are at, if you will just turn to Him and say here I am?
  3. Do you believe God has a new faith challenge for you this year? Are you prepared to press into God and pursue Him to meet these challenges?

Here I Am Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [16/02/2020 AM]2020-02-18T11:06:38+10:00

Here I Am Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [09/02/2020 AM]

Look Again

Episode Notes

Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV)

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

I was brought back to this passage this week and felt stirred to go through this passage and see what God wants to say to us.

The first thing I noted was in the opening verses.

Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV)

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.

  • Moses had been raised as royalty in Egypt and at 40 he kills an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. He intends to help but people misunderstand and accuse him and he has to flee Egypt and run. Huge sense of failure!
  • Then at 80ish finds himself in the backside of the desert in a place called Mt Horeb – which is from a word meaning ‘desolate’
  • But what a place to find yourself! Failed in the backside of a desolate place at 80!
  • Now he is simply going through the motions and looking after some sheep!

Surely many of us can relate to feeling:

  • Like we have missed our go
  • Messed up too bad
  • Got burned and that is that
  • Am just stuck in a rut
  • Life feels desolate or without purpose.

Yet it is in that place that God meets with Moses!

I want to do a series of what God does at Mt Horeb – the desolate places of our life and why God chose those mountains to be referred to as ‘The mountain of God’.

I want to encourage you today, that you might feel those things, but God still has a plan and there is still a reason to believe for a new day! Regardless of the mistakes you have made. But God steps in!

Exodus 3:3-4 (NKJV)

3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

I have heard people preach on the fact that given particular plants and the heat out there they can burst into flame etc. and it was only the fact it wasn’t consumed that grabbed his attention.

  • But, there isn’t solid evidence scripturally, it doesn’t define the plant and so it would simply be speculation and Jewish tradition seems to more consistently say it was a thorn bush
  • So who cares!

I don’t think there is any need to worry because the key is: God got Moses’ attention and knew how to do it. And then two things happened!

  • Moses was willing to turn aside to it
  • Moses said “Here I am God”.

In his ordinary life and circumstances Moses could recognise something was up and:

  • He turned aside.
  • But he turned and said ‘Here I am God’.

How many times do we know something is up, but we never take time to turn aside?

  • There is a stirring in our heart about something.
  • We are unsatisfied with life – but we don’t pause to turn and ask why.
  • There is something going on with our marriage or kids, but we are too busy to turn.
  • There is something going on with God’s Kingdom, but we are too busy to turn, but instead say, “I will get serious with God next year” or “when I have more time”.
  • Maybe it’s a problem we encounter or challenging situation and we turn away from it rather than we turn aside to it.
  • Something we see that stirs our heart or passion yet we tell ourselves life is too full or we are too busy to turn aside.

I think God sometimes is trying to get our attention but we never stop to turn aside!

But even more powerful is Moses’ response, ‘Here I am’.

  • Are we available for God?
  • Are we open to what He wants to use us for?

I think one of the great purposes of prayer and fasting is to say:

  • God, here I am.
  • To lay our lives before God and humbly take the posture of a servant before our King. Ask what it is You want.
  • To choose His plans and prioritise His direction.

Proverbs 5:5-6 (NIV) puts it like this:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Sometime we expect God to make our:

  • Disobedient ways straight
  • Selfish ways straight
  • Comfortable ways straight
  • Our casual ways straight.

God will make our way straight when it is submitted to Him… not self!

Moses doesn’t respond:

  • God here is my schedule, how will you fit?
  • God here is my plan, can you work within that?
  • God this is my leisure plan, my time, my own space – will this be convenient?
  • How long will it take?? Are we there yet??

But Moses says ‘Here I am’!

Our response should be:

  • I am not perfect
  • I am not probably ready
  • I do not have all my ducks lined up
  • I am not sure how this all goes,

But here I am!

From scripture we see God certainly isn’t looking for perfect, or got it all together – look at the characters He uses!

  • But He is looking for available! – Here I am!

Exodus 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Then He (GOD) said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

Moses thought he was just standing around a burning bush.

  • He had his marshmallows out
  • He was thinking of mixing some damper
  • It was dusty
  • It was likely hot
  • It didn’t look Holy.

But God saw it as Holy Ground, not because of the ground, the dirt and rocks but because of His presence in it!

Our messed up situation, our daily grind, our something is up that is stirring, our challenging circumstance is Holy Ground when we bring God to it!

Too many people are looking for God somewhere else when He says, “I am right here right now, this is Holy – where you are!”

The story of Jacob in Genesis 28 where he is:

  • fleeing his brother who wants to kill him,
  • he has a rock for a pillow,
  • he has stolen something that wasn’t his,
  • he is leaving everything he knew,

Talk about ‘Desolate Place…’!

But then he has a God encounter … then we read v16:

Genesis 28:16-17 (NIV)

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

God is here now, this is Holy Ground. Let’s seek God for where He is in our situation right now. Look for God in everything and every place.

  • Let’s not write it off but look for God in it
  • Turn rocks and dirt of challenge into Holy ground
  • Let’s be available. He is hovering over us now!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. God has a plan and there is still a reason to believe for a new day! Regardless of the mistakes you have made, can you believe in God’s plan for your life?
  2. Can God get your attention? If so, how easy is it to turn towards Him?
  3. God will make our way straight when it is submitted to Him. Can you believe in Him?