Podcasts category

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 Hall2020-07-12T17:23:22+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 Wallis2020-07-05T17:58:38+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

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

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

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

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?

Here I Am Pt 1 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [09/02/2020 AM]2020-02-10T11:51:56+10:00

Expansion Birthed Out Of Encounter – Ps Kerrin Wallis [02/02/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

When you are working your way through a crowd or at a busy restaurant and you need to get past someone, but it is a bit of a squeeze:

  • We push past a little bit and say ‘Excuse me’ and then there might be a bit of a rub against the chair or something, a little contact somewhere, but it’s not really a big deal
  • Contact happens then we both excuse the contact and get on with whatever we are doing.

Let’s compare that with someone grabbing you with intent (contact with purpose):

  • Perhaps grabbing your shoulder with bad intent or reaching out to hold you back from oncoming traffic or something
  • Grabbing your wife and planting a kiss on her lips!!
  • But the contact requires response!
  • It is intended to engage and exchange communication.

At the beginning of 2020 we wanted to give some Vision for what we are heading into this year, what we are believing God for and taking steps of faith forward as a Church.

  • As I prepared my heart and this message (with Tegan’s help) we felt that the key to everything we do, is ensuring we ‘grab a hold of God this year’ and be deliberate in not just bumping past Him with an ‘Excuse me God’
  • Be intentional on Expansion birthed out of Encounter.

We don’t want to just repeat last year! Last year was great, we broke ground and saw miracles, but God has new things!

If we continue to Encounter God, He will lead us and guide us to Expansion.

Let’s engage with God. This requires a response from us and God. It will bring breakthrough and we can forge a new season of God’s plan for us and our city.

Luke 1:5-22 (NIV)

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years (very polite man).” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

After this encounter – we see Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth give birth to John the Baptist! This is a huge change and all of a sudden Zechariah is now going to be the father of one of the greatest men in history! A forerunner of Jesus Christ! A man who would be preached about for the rest of days of this earth! Zechariah had an encounter with God and his world and influence expanded!

There are some things here that are so significant and pertinent to us as a Church for this year and further.

I want to continue this theme and idea a little for our anointing service tonight where we want to:

  • Pray for every person. Anoint them with oil – which is symbolic but powerful in being set apart for God’s purposes in 2020
  • Believe with every person for miracles and breakthrough
  • Commit together to not just be around God but engage with His power and purpose together.

We see here a man who has an encounter with God in the midst of a bunch of circumstances that we would do well to understand.

Firstly Zechariah was an old man with no kids. He was married, but he and his wife had been unable to have children. Yet despite this he was still faithful in his service to God! There is a temptation to allow disappointment or things we don’t understand, to pull us back from serving God and drawing near Him.

Everyone who has been in Church at some point has reason to: be disappointed, get disillusioned, be hurt, etc. I personally have had all of those things. But what I love about Zechariah is that he refused to give up, refused to stop serving, refused to stop praying, worshiping and trusting God. He refused to let those negative things win!

I have no doubt that the reason Zechariah has a God encounter is because he continues, despite things he wishes were different or doesn’t understand, to press into God and serve Him.

He was an old man, yet hadn’t ‘hung up the boots’ for the young ones, but continued to be a part of what God was doing.

There will be people here today and you might have things that haven’t worked out like you thought. This is disappointing and you don’t understand, but choose to serve God with intent this year!

Of even greater significance, is the fact that Zechariah had both a revelation from God and also received a promise from God while he was in a particular place.

There were possibly hundreds of people around the temple that day and they were all praying to the same God, part of the same celebration, yet one man had a revelation and received an incredible promise that expanded His world! Why?

To understand the point of this, it is first important to understand that within the Temple the Jews worshiped in at this time there was:

  • An outer court – where anyone could enter
  • An inner court – where only priests who had done certain things could enter
  • Inside the inner court was the Holy of Holies – where God’s tangible presence was – the Ark of the Covenant.

There was an outer court – where anyone could go into.

  • Anyone can come to God! We don’t need to have jumped through hoops and have cleaned up – we come to Him as we are!

In that outer area were two other symbolic things:

  • A Brass Altar – for a sacrifice
  • A Brass Laver (Bowl) – for washing.

These two things required no prior preparation or work and you could even be in the outer court without having used these two things.

It is easy to be around Church and God, come and go as you feel or please and add Him to our list of parts of our life.

It’s easy to be around God, enjoy His people and add Him to the social scene of our lives. No real commitment or change required.

People are free to come to God, but there is a difference between being around God and truly engaging God and receiving encounter and expansion in God.

Zechariah had been in the outer court, but now he came inside the inner court and he stood at something called the Altar of Incense.

The Altar of Incense was the only of all the parts of the temple that was described by God in function before directions and dimensions.

  • That is because it is about worship and God’s presence before any method, style or answer

The place where God approached man to deal with his sin (the outer court), is many times larger than the place where man approaches God to give Him honour and worship (the much smaller inner court).

  • It is much easier to get people to receive from God, than to give to God
    • Many people respond to the Gift of Salvation and then have no desire to go on in God to a life of worship, sacrifice and praise
    • They stay around God in the outer court, but never truly encounter Him
  • In the outer court everything was done for the individual, but before he could come to the inner court, he had to be involved in his own cleansing, sacrifice and preparation
    • Spiritual laziness is another factor which limits the number of those entering into a Christianity which leads to expansion through encounter of the Lord. Not just around Go, but encountering Him.

As a Church, we want people to discover moving beyond just knowing about God and being around God (a sort of ‘Excuse Me’ Christianity) or bumping into God.

  • I want God’s presence, but ‘Excuse me God I am too busy to pray… Got too much going on…’
  • I want God to be with me but, ‘Excuse me God I will just pop in and out of Church without really engaging in His presence.’
  • I want your blessing God but ‘Excuse me if I just bump past this tithing or sacrificial giving thing.’
  • I want to have God’s peace but, ‘Excuse me God while I just slip past your instruction on renewing your mind and not being transformed into the pattern of this world.’
  • ‘Excuse me God while I just do my thing and you and the radicals do your thing.’
  • ‘Excuse me God while I sit this uncomfortable challenge out and just tick the God box for a while.’
  • ‘Excuse me God while I attend your Church, but not really commit or participate .’

As your Senior Pastors, those entrusted by God to encourage, motivate and challenge you, we want more for you.

  • Our desire is that you encounter God in His fullness. We want your life and influence to expand because you were with Jesus Christ.

We dream of people:

  • Being set free by the power of God
  • Changing this city with the Gospel
  • Winning people lost in sin to eternal life in Jesus
  • Doing things together that will make our city see Jesus
  • People stepping into God’s purpose for their lives
  • People actualising the promises and plan of God for their lives
  • The Word of God being an anchor and rock for people.

People who are not just milling around the outer court around God, but powerfully experiencing God in every part of our lives!

And even more, on Vision Sunday we want to say, C’mon, let’s all go in together and encounter God in 2020 and see what He can do with our hearts when they are truly surrendered and committed to Him! – Expansion!

So what’s our Vision for 2020? We believe the focus for 2020 is that through Encounter we as a people and a Church will expand.

When we encounter God, He will lead, guide, challenge and give us promises to hold to, but if we obey then He will expand our world together.

One of our first focuses for 2020 is:

OUR NEW FACILITY!

It should come as no surprise that this is a focus for 2020.

If we wanted just to be around God, with no need to work so hard, pray, believe God, sacrificially give, because we can just be content in this building, “It’s ok.”

  • But it’s not our best, there is no faith in that, no miracle needed, no worship
  • We are seeing a miracle unfold and everyone still has a part to play!

Our facility should be finished mid September – probably by Christmas, but we are doing it not just to build a building.

This is a battle ground for expansion in 2020!

  • This is not just something that we are doing because we calculated the sums and it should work
  • This is a God move
  • A God opportunity
  • A day of stepping into God’s expansion for our Church
  • This is about a new and greater footprint for Jesus Christ in our city and regional Australia.

This current facility that we are using was birthed out of encounter and this new facility is a God move for our Church. The Faith Steps, the Favour, the Miracles, this is our battle ground for expansion birthed out of encounter with God!

To us it is so much more than a building it is about reaching more people! While ever there is a lost or broken person in Bendigo, we must remain committed to, and motivated by, God’s great commission.

Raising Champions – Building for the future – Unlocking Generosity – Reflecting God to our community.

  • Our facilities say something about God to every person before they ever come to a service, hear a worship song or listen to a message!
  • We believe that as the Church we ought to reflect God’s Glory and Brilliance to not just our own people, but those yet to find Jesus!

We are still believing and need miracles of finance, to not just build it, but to fit it out ready to serve us and the Bendigo community.

If you have made a pledge, can I please ask you continue with that and to give in faith!

  • If you haven’t yet been a part of this miracle we would ask that you go to God about your part to play
  • We have had incredible generosity and giving
  • For some their sacrifice was several hundred dollars – others have given 5K, 10K or 50K
  • But we have heard so many miraculous testimonies of what that giving has unlocked and we as a Church are stepping into an exciting and amazing miracle for our city.

To us this is a total Encounter and Expansion opportunity!

  • Right from the start we have always said – Go, encounter God and ask Him what your faith step is and simply be obedient to that!

IMPACT RECOVERY!

Impact Recovery is a therapeutic community rehabilitation program that we run as a Church helping people find life and freedom from addiction!

We have had an incredible miracle with our Impact Recovery Rehab.

  • Toni West (the CEO) stepped out in faith and with a wonderful partnership with Teen Challenge has seen us be able to move our program right into the centre of town into Temperance Hall on View Street, Bendigo!
  • We now are in a building with historical spiritual significance and are right in the heart of our city!
  • This has been something that would have been totally impossible, but God provided way more than just a facility. We have an incredible opportunity now to reach our city in new ways.

We see not only Impact Recovery operating out of Temperance Hall, but also

  • Chaplaincy
  • Youth outreaches
  • Community services all reaching our city from the new footprint right in the middle of Bendigo.

Please be praying for continued favour with this.

NEXT STEPS!

One of the challenges we’ve faced as we’ve grown is helping new people connect to our Church, find a place they fit, to serve, find friends and how to grow in their faith etc.

  • You could say this is encapsulated by the idea of discipleship – go make disciples, not converts.

We have worked incredibly hard and sought God to put together Next Steps which works on the understanding there is always a Next Step for us as believers.

  • The idea that we are static as a believer is false. We are either drawing nearer to God or further from Him, but never standing still.

So we want to encourage people to take their next step in their faith journey.

  • It could be forming Godly friendships in a Connect Group
  • It could be serving and finding a team to participate in
  • It could be learning more about God’s word – through study or a course
  • It could be helping teach others about the things of God or praying with people
  • There are so many Next Steps, but everyone has one and we want every believer to keep taking faith steps and not settle and begin drifting from God
  • Expansion through encounter.

As a part of this is Growth Steps which help people understand:

  • Who we are as a Church
  • Our Church culture, vision and our values
  • How we work and how to find a fit.

This will be a huge part of unifying and getting all our Church in alignment.

  • So from here for anyone who wants to serve will be required to do Growth Steps, so no matter what Church family they have or haven’t come from, they can know how this one works!

I would encourage everyone to do this.

  • Even if you have been here for years – our Church is not what it was and we are increasingly headed into a clear and certain vision and culture
  • So if you wish to be part of this then I would say find out who we are as a Church, and then it will help you engage and be part of the Church family.

So as a Church, I felt so impressed in my spirit to preach the message and also in regards to where we are going with Vision and I felt the two were disconnected.

  • However as I prayed I began to see that they are together because as a Church we are not happy to just be around God and doing a few churchy things
  • The ‘Excuse me God’ style of church.

We have been pressing into God, we have been praying, entering into fasting because these are not just ‘projects’, these are what we believe God is leading us into.

It will take continued pressing into God for miracles, breakthrough and His power to be upon us to do what is bigger than us.

Church our prayer is that together we encounter God and together we expand into all God has called us to do and be!

  • We can’t do it with religious activity or obligation, but with people passionately having an encounter with God, having revelation and taking steps of faith together
  • We can’t bring revival to our City, State and Nation with an ‘Excuse Me God’ Church culture – but with a culture that draws near to God, into His Holy place and has revelation from Him.

One of the amazing parts of when Jesus died on the Cross was that the veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom so that everyone could enter it and no longer just the priests.

  • It meant God’s tangible presence could be accessed by anyone
  • We didn’t need to go through a person anymore – Jesus made the way for us!

But let me point out that it didn’t make it accessible from the outer court. A person would still need to go to the inner court in order to access this special place in God’s presence – the place of the tangible presence of God.

Great understanding there!

We come to God as we are, with no requirements or hoops, just simply come to Him because He loves you.

But then there is an opportunity not just to come to be around God, but to then meet Him in the Holy Place.

  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Worship
  • Time with God

It is here we find a whole new level of a dynamic and powerful relationship with Jesus Christ!

This is why we are so committed to prayer and fasting.

  • Truly pursuing God
  • Not just bumping into Him at Church on Sunday and ‘excuse me God’ for the rest of the week.

Prayer and fasting is not about being hungry – it’s about setting other worldly things aside and reaching to engage with and encounter God.

  • So we take two weeks early in the year as a Church to do this and set up our year surrendered to God.

What can you put aside or give up over the next two weeks to give something more into your relationship with God?

  • Read your Bible instead of social media
  • Spend your coffee time reading God’s word rather than the paper
  • Take time praying instead of watching TV
  • Fast meals on the weekends and give extra time to hearing from God
  • There are so many ways to be involved.

Tonight is about coming to encounter! It is choosing to say “God set me apart for your service in 2020”.

Altar of Incense

FUNCTION

This is the only item in the Tabernacle whose function is described before dimensions. This shows the desire of God, the urgent longing of God’s heart for His people to come into this ministry of worship unto Him. Too many have concentrated on analysing and examining and specifying this aspect without ever getting involved in worship in Spirit and in Truth.

SIZE

There is significance in a comparison of the size of the Brazen Altar and the Golden Altar. The place where God approached man to deal with his sin (the Brazen Altar), is many times larger than the place where man approaches God to give Him honour and worship (the Golden Altar).

  • It is much easier to get people to receive from God rather than to give to God. Many people respond to the Gift of Salvation and then have no desire to go on in God to a life of worship and praise
  • There was no obligation to be clean in coming to the Brazen Altar. It was “come just as you are” – this is true of Salvation. However, before the priest could approach the Altar of Incense, he had to be cleansed. This is one reason why the place of worship is smaller than the place of redemption. Many are called, but few are chosen, Matthew 20:16.  The straight and narrow way gets straighter with every mile, Isaiah 40:15
  • At the Brazen Altar everything was done for the candidate, but before he could come to the Golden Altar he had to be involved in his own cleansing and preparation. Spiritual laziness is another factor which limits the number of those entering into the ministry of the Lord.

THE HORNS

Horns speak of power and authority, 1 Samuel 2:110, 2 Sam. 22:3.  This speaks of the power in Christ’s intercessory ministry on our behalf, Hebrews 7:25.  Because of His present ministry He is able to save the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.  There is also tremendous power and authority vested in the Church to intercede with God on behalf of sinful man, Job. 16:23-24.

The place of worship is the place of God’s favour.

The number of horns is not mentioned.  We may assume that like the Brazen Altar there were four, Revelation 9:13 indicates that this was so.  However the reason for this omission in the Exodus reference is to show that there is no limit to the power of prayer and praise.  Jesus said nothing shall be impossible unto you, Matthew 17:20.  No need is ever beyond answer.

Exodus 30:2 in both the Septuagint version and the Living Bible clearly show that the horns are actually part of the wooden framework of this Altar, they were not separate pieces added on.

The power in prayer and praise given to the Church cannot be divorced from the very person of Christ.  Any attempt to cultivate an interest in any of the power aspects of Jesus ministry, such as healing or miracles, without maintaining a close relationship with Him, will result in a cutting off of that power.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss how you can ‘grab a hold of God this year’
  2. Zechariah refused to give up, refused to stop serving, refused to stop praying, worshiping and trusting God. Are you able to do the same?
  3. Kerrin and Tegan want us to powerfully experience God in every part of our lives. How can you make sure this will happen?

Expansion Birthed Out Of Encounter – Ps Kerrin Wallis [02/02/2020 AM]2020-02-04T16:36:33+10:00

Who Do You Think You Are? – Ps Kerrin Wallis [26/01/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

John 8:48-53 (NIV)

48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

What a great question!

  • Others will ask this of us, but sometimes we even ask it of ourselves
  • Who are we?
  • It seems that plenty of people ask this and have a whole bunch of different ways of trying to find the answer.

However it’s an important question that if we don’t answer, we will end up on some silly quest, looking in all the wrong places because we have never done the digging to settle the question in our hearts.

But equally,

  • Others
  • Life
  • Trying challenges and difficult times
  • The devil
  • This world
  • The culture we live in
  • Popular opinion
  • Religious people will ask this question and we need to be able to answer it.

So what does Jesus respond?

John 8:54 (NIV)

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

1. It’s not about us!

Firstly, for a Christian the answer is not about them.

If I make my identity about:

  • My physical appearance
  • My achievements
  • My past wins or failures
  • My past full stop.

All of a sudden our identity is not really very sure or stable!

  • If it’s based on my physical appearance or attributes and skills, what if something happens? Then my identity is shaken or up for grabs
  • If it’s our past wins and successes then what if I fail tomorrow? I am now really unstable
  • If it’s our past, well that can be good or bad but not secure, because soon our tomorrow will be our past and we can’t predict that.

We learn from Jesus that who we are wasn’t answered by a list of any of these things. That is how people get held back by confusing their past mistakes or wins etc., for who they are!

  • I may have made a mistake, but that does not make me a failure!
  • I may have some great achievements in the past, but that does not mean I am a good person!

Gal 2:20 (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If it’s about me, then one of two things will happen!

  • I will become proud – because look what I have, what I’ve done and therefore what I am etc
  • I will become insecure – because look what I don’t have, what I haven’t done, therefore I am unworthy.

Jesus came to remind us that all we are and have, come from God. Any of these things are not really any measurement of self, or worth or purpose! Without God I am nothing!

Christianity, in dealing with identity, says it’s not found in our natural body, circumstances, past, achievements, failings, etc. It’s not where we turn.

So where is it found then?

John 8:54 (NIV)

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

God speaks to our identity.

2. God defines our identity!

This is probably not the first time we have broached this subject here, but neither will it be the last, because continually we need to be reminded not to look in the natural, but define ourselves as God defines us!

The very first point to notice is exactly what Jesus says, “God is the one who glorifies me!’

NOT:

  • ‘God is the one who pushes me down’
  • ‘God is the one who crushes me, depresses me, keeps me low and humble, wants me to stare at my failings.

God is in the business of raising people up! Glorifying people!

This is so important and it’s why we need to learn our identity isn’t about ourselves.

Because God wants to glorify us, lift us up  and if we think our identity is about us and not Him, then His glorifying us will make us proud!

1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Approach life like God is the one who will lift us up.

Provided we don’t make the mistake of thinking our identity is about us, then we can keep a humble heart before God, but He will raise us up before people!

Isaiah 45:13 (NIV)

13 I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”

Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

If we want to know who we are, then we had better know that God firstly wants to:

  • Glorify you
  • Honour you
  • Lift you up
  • Raise you up.

Our job is to call out the greatness of others.

You might be surprised to hear that, but if Galatians 2:20 is correct, then God can and will do that because:

It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus in us!

Gal 2:20 (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Who we are is about who God is in us!

Let’s look at what Jesus says about us.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus teaches that He wants our lives to be on display, to shine, to give light to others, so that people would see us and our lives and glorify God!

This means our identity as Christians must be found in who Jesus is!

  • Not what the world says
  • Not what my appearance, skill set, or bank account says
  • Not even what my self esteem and self assessment says
  • Not what other people say.

It’s about what God says!

Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV) puts it like this:

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

(Things in life working against us to try and bring us down, cause us to doubt God, His plan, His goodness, His power)

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

This year there will be all sorts of things that try to challenge you and ask – who do you think you are?

  • Life will do it with circumstances
  • The devil will do it with trials and tribulations
  • Your mind will do it
  • Our own insecurities or pride will try to rise up and ask it
  • Other people offended at Jesus in you will try.

But my hope today is that you can learn, like Jesus taught, that it’s not about you, but it’s about Him and what He says about you!

This is one of the reasons we do prayer and fasting in February each year as a Church. It is so powerful.

  • To start the year surrendered and humble ourselves before God, committing our year ahead to Him!
  • And in doing so we set ourselves and our year ahead up for the power, blessing, favour, the lifting and the glorifying of God in our lives!
  • Surrender something to God, put Him first.

But it’s also why we encourage every believer to:

  • Read the Bible – learn what God says about your identity
  • Be involved in prayer and fasting and set your mind on God. Make a commitment to Him
  • Join a Connect Group and surround yourself with others who will encourage you and build you up
  • Serve God in your community and make sure you live with His purpose and calling as your highest priority
  • Believe God for more not less
  • Have a personal experience of God
  • Let Him shape who you are.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss who you think you are?
  2. How easy is for people to get held back by confusing their past mistakes or wins etc., for who they are!
  3. Discuss why we need to remind ourselves that all we are and have, comes from God!
  4. What does it mean when it says our identity as Christians must be found in who Jesus is?

Who Do You Think You Are? – Ps Kerrin Wallis [26/01/2020 AM]2020-01-28T13:09:42+10:00

Walk Worthy Of Your Calling – Jake Blabey [19/01/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

Walk Worthy Of Your Calling – Jake Blabey [19/01/2020 AM]2020-01-21T07:32:07+10:00

The Right Question – Ps Kerrin Wallis [12/01/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

John 4:27-41 (NIV)

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.”

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

But no-one asked Jesus about the women, just the food.

  • What do you want?
  • Why are you talking to this woman?

Instead:

  • Want sesame seed bun or Turkish bread?

There are two parallel stories going on here!

  1. One is of Jesus going via a town other Jews refused to speak to a woman who he shouldn’t speak to and bringing revival and eternal change to a group of people.
  2. The other is of the disciples, who love God and are following Jesus. They head into town to get some bread and arrive in the midst of the purposes of God. They don’t see what is happening and other than it seems strange don’t ask about it – then they are concerned about dinner oblivious to the revival Jesus is bringing – the eternal purpose going on.

While they are buttering the rolls a woman of terrible reputation and with a lot of mess is bringing revival.

So what happens when we don’t ask the questions of God???

We just get on with business, life and the urgent and miss the eternal and bigger purpose!

Sadly so many Christians are living simply like the world around us except they go to Church on Sundays and try to misbehave too much!

That is not Christianity!

Christianity was radical, Holy Spirit filled, eternally focused.

  • It was about taking the love of God to a world first and foremost!
  • People gave their lives for the gospel, the word of God!
  • People gave their finance!
  • The gospel changed their whole world, life and beliefs!

Acts 2:42-47

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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This was not a Sunday gig that fitted my social life and worked around my job!

People devoted their lives to:

  • The Word of God – apostles teaching – growing in their faith.
  • To fellowship – church, building Christian friends into their life – giving their time to include and disciple people not in their world.

The reason there is v47 –

Acts 2:47

47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Is only because there is v41-46

Acts 2:42-47

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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

It is too easy not to ask God:

  • “Why am I at this workplace?”
  • “Who should I reach?”
  • “What have you called me to do?”
  • “What eternal purpose have you given me this finance and ability to make finance to give into?”
  • “Who can I reach out to?”

And instead say:

  • What are you doing for dinner this Friday night?
  • Whose place will we have the same friends over for a BBQ?
  • What is on Netflix?
  • What new Toy do I want?
  • Where is the next camping trip?

Jesus considered the disciples question totally out of line with His eternal purpose and so talked not about food, the here and now, comfort and our little circle of buddies, but He talks of the harvest!

John 4:31-38 (NIV)

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.”

Now the thing about this is that the disciples are not bad people, they are literally Jesus disciples! They Love God! They want to please Him. They honestly believe – but their focus gets out of whack.

Have you ever looked through binoculars? You adjust them and depending on what we adjust them to, is what you see clearly.

  • It is easy to have them adjusted wrong and you don’t see the object you are looking for clearly.
  • But when you get the focus right – you get the right picture.

We find that right here –

  • This isn’t about being bad people. It’s about asking if we have the right focus.
  • I would hate to spend my precious time on this planet focused on the wrong picture.

People often ask us how come you left all your family and the place you grew up?

  • Simple– because God’s call, plan, Church and the winning of souls is far more important!

Now, that by no means says that we don’t have to fight to keep asking the right questions and stop our desire from getting distracted. It’s an everyday choice!

But Church this year – at the start – let’s begin it. Let’s set it up and frame our goals and focus for it right – with the right questions and focus.

Let’s refuse to ‘do church’ and give God what’s convenient – let’s live our lives actually for God and His purposes!

Church, if our top priority is not God’s Harvest then we are not asking Him the right questions.  We need to ask:

  • What souls keep me up at night because I am desperate to see them saved?
  • God what significant sacrifice to serve God should I make?
  • What can I do to represent Jesus more in my workplace?
  • Who or what do I need to pray and fast about – serious prayer?
  • How much could I give if I really took my giving seriously and with eternal perspective?
  • How hungry am I for souls to be reached in my city?
  • God would you like us to plant a church?
  • God what ministry could I be involved in to really bring God’s presence into people’s lives?
  • God have what have you called me to and what is my next step?

2 Corinthians 12:15 (NKJV)

15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls;

Are we devoted to Jesus Christ and to the Christian life?

If we consider:

  • prayer
  • the Word of God
  • reaching the lost
  • serving the body of Christ and the Church
  • our finances
  • our relationships
  • our time and focus

Are we devoted to the things of God or inconvenienced by them?

The Right Question – Ps Kerrin Wallis [12/01/2020 AM]2020-01-18T15:39:47+10:00

Dig Deep – Ps Dave Doolan [05/01/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

Dig Deep – Ps Dave Doolan [05/01/2020 AM]2020-01-06T06:55:14+10:00

A New Song – Ps Kerrin Wallis [29/12/2019 AM]

What song will you be singing in 2020?

Episode Notes

Today we find ourselves on the edge of another new year.

Come Tuesday and we are at New Year’s Eve and so I think it’s a good time to think about that.

As we do I would like to put something on your radar, ‘What song will you sing in 2020?’

David in the Psalms, 6 times uses a phrase; “I will sing a new song…”

So many people in life get stuck in the same old song or songs and miss out on the new that God has for them.

We all know people with:

  • The same old gripe
  • The same old problem
  • The same old issue of drama
  • The same old complaints
  • The same old negativity

I think it’s no coincidence that God in His Word instructs us multiple times to sing a new song because He knows that otherwise we will just sing the old one.

So today I want to look at each of these times in the Psalms it tells us to sing a new song! Come on and join me.

1. A joyful song

Psalm 33:1-3 (NIV)

1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.

2 Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

God’s Word says – let us sing a new song and it should be joyful!

  • “It’s fitting for the upright to praise Him…”
  • In other words, it fits Godly people to have a joyful song

In our song to God, our prayers, words, thoughts, conversations – let it be filled with Joy!

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Make your song joyful.

Don’t allow it to be:

  • Melancholy
  • Complaining
  • Life is tough
  • Everything is too hard
  • What a mistake I made

Sing a joyful song – find things to thank God about and choose to sing it!

2. You choose it

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I love what David says here – “God put a new song in my mouth….”

Well that is challenging for me because it makes me ask – ‘Who or what am I allowing to put a song in my mouth?’

We allow it – We sing it – We focus on it – We remember it – We talk about it!

So then if we want the right song, we must let God be the one who instructs our song and His instruction is joyful!

If someone doesn’t have a joyful song then it’s a song, it’s just not God’s one.

Now I am not saying we haven’t all sung sad songs or faced issues in 2019, but will we keep that old song in our mouth or allow God to put his new song of joy in our mouths for 2020?

I like the personal challenge of ‘who am I letting put a song in my mouth?’

  • Let’s refuse to let last year put a song in our mouth other than joy
  • Let’s refuse to let a negative circumstance put a bad song in our mouth
  • Let’s refuse to let some hurt put the song in our mouth
  • Let’s refuse to let a disappointment put the song in our mouth
  • Let’s refuse to let a failure or mistake put a song in our mouth

Again, it’s not denying things happened, it’s simply denying their power to rule us!

Who or what are we allowing to put a song in our mouth? We choose it!

3. It’s for everyone

Psalm 96:1-4 (NIV)

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

It doesn’t say sing a new song:

  • Those with a perfect life
  • Those who are feeling it
  • Those who had a good last year
  • The rich, the poor, the middle-class
  • The ones who haven’t made a mistake

It is simply God’s wish that everyone sings a new song.

I like it because we always want to excuse ourselves with: “Yes but if you knew what I had done or faced or felt.”

But God anticipates it and says: “all the earth”

Just in case you thought this was just for the positive people – it’s not, it’s for God’s people! It is fitting for the upright to praise him.

Maybe you’re here today and wouldn’t or couldn’t describe yourself as one of God’s people, but God is simply waiting for you to respond to His love!

  • He desires more than anything for us to be His people and to come to Him.
  • Just like the Prodigal Son we come knowing we don’t deserve God’s love, but God reaches out with love and forgiveness for us.

4. Sing because of God’s marvellous works

Psalm 98:1 (NIV)

1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvellous things;

We can sing for any reason, but the Bible says to sing because of God’s marvellous works!

  • Not dwell on His confusing works
  • Not look at the miracle that hasn’t happened
  • Not think about our mistakes
  • Focus on what we don’t understand

I have found most people don’t reject the Bible for what they don’t understand, but rather not wanting to live out what they do understand!

Look and find some of God’s marvellous works that He has done and praise Him for it!

Write some down if you have to:

  • We woke up this morning – that’s a win!
  • We live in a free country – huge
  • We will have food for lunch today – some people won’t
  • There is gorgeous blue sky – wow praise God
  • There is eternity to live for
  • God created me and loves me

Decide that the part of 2019 you will bring into 2020 are the marvellous works of God!

  • Leave the other parts back in 2019!

5. Sing a new song focused on God

Psalm 144:9

I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,

Choose to have an eternal focus and perspective in 2020.

  • Let the song of our life and that we carry be one focused on God not self.

The more I do life the more I see the ugliness of self focus. However equally the more I see the joy and freedom of serving others and focusing on God brings!

Sing a song to God. Not just to a god but to MY GOD!

Make it personal to have God in your life.

God does not desire to be a:

  • Theory we hold to
  • Idea we like
  • Magical being we say is ‘out there somewhere’.

The Bible and its theme and message, is that God is looking for a personal engagement with people!

  • He created us, knows the hair on our heads
  • He has good plans for our lives
  • He has never left us or abandoned us
  • If you don’t yet know God, I would implore you to choose to get to know Him today!
  • If you are a believer, please, in 2020 choose to engage with God personally, with His Word, with Prayer –
  • Why not join us for prayer and fasting in February

6. Sing a new song surrounded with God’s People

Psalm 149:1 (NIV)

1 Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

If you want to have the right song in 2020, surround yourself with others that are singing it!

I can’t wait to do our series on the Church, because being active in and connected to God’s people, His Church is essential, not peripheral, to the Christian life according to the Bible.

There will undoubtedly be days that we don’t feel like singing a joyful song and that is exactly the time to be in Church with God’s people.

  • It’s never the time to stay away!
  • Find yourself with others that can lift you up and help carry the burden
  • Get involved in a Connect Group
  • Make Friends
  • Put effort into planting yourself and plugging in.

Psalm 92:12-15 (NIV)

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

There is a corporate blessing that comes when we worship, serve and pray together. God’s command on the new song is to do it in the assembly together!

The key here is that the promises come after being planted in the house of the Lord!

Connect we have an exciting year ahead, let’s hit it singing a new song ready for:

  • New Seasons
  • New Blessing
  • New Anointing
  • New Challenges
  • New Miracles
  • New Presence of God for 2020

 A NEW SONG!!!!

Suggestions for Discussion Questions

  1. What will be your song in 2020?
  2. Can you find some of God’s marvellous works that He has done and praise Him for it!
  3. What do you think about the statement – if someone doesn’t have a joyful song then it’s a song, it’s just not God’s one?

A New Song – Ps Kerrin Wallis [29/12/2019 AM]2019-12-30T16:44:21+10:00

Not Santa And Thank Goodness – Ps Kerrin Wallis [22/12/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

Matt 1:18-23 (NIV)

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Let’s now compare that Bible passage of Christmas with our human idea or concept of Christmas.

  • I will read the words of a song focused more on a guy called Santa and a celebration that people have called Xmas to keep the above (Jesus) guy out of it
  • Human idea and Human focused.

Santa Claus is coming to town – written by John Coots and Haven Gillespie, but made famous by Mariah Carey.

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why Santa Claus is comin’ to town. Santa Claus is comin’ to town. Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

So you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town. Santa Claus is comin’ to town. Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

I am so glad Jesus is the basis for my Christmas and not Santa and Xmas without Christ.

  • I am so glad because I think Jesus and Santa are very different and I am glad for it
  • I want Jesus in my world and life.

Let me tell you why.

  • Rather than trying to be good enough and hide our faults, Jesus came knowing them and with a desire to save us from them!

In the Bible Passage I see two amazing parts to the Christian Christmas message of Jesus in two of the phrases:

  • “For He will save His people from their sins”
  • “…and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’”
  • I think in a way when we feel God is going to ‘fine us and throw the book at us’, or like Santa – you better watch out, we have misunderstood Him
  • He is waiting to come and save us, not fine us.

Christmas happened so that we could be saved from our sins.

  • The reason the Angels sang ‘Glory to God in the Highest, Peace and Goodwill toward mankind’ was not because of a future public holiday, but the freedom from our sin.

This is perhaps one of the confronting parts of the Christian message, but it doesn’t have to be.

No one wants to own up to something if it means they will be:

  • Shamed
  • Mistreated
  • Punished
  • Unfairly judged
  • Held hostage to it.

These are common responses from people, or humans at times when someone is found to have done wrong.

Therefore when the Bible declares us ‘all sinners’ we would like to:

  • Deny it
  • Fight it
  • Say we are not that bad
  • Ignore it.

Pretty much we do anything to avoid the: shaming, mistreatment, unfair judgment, punishment and being held ransom to it.

  • We don’t want a fine
  • And we don’t want God to make a list and check it twice on us.

But that is why Christmas should bring rejoicing because the message of Christmas is that Jesus came, not to do any of those human responses, but to save us from it.

To refuse to admit our struggle with sin is just plain crazy!

  • It’s there for everyone to see!
  • We should all, with an honest and reasonable self reflection, see our propensity toward self at the cost of others
  • We should be able to see it when we look back at some of the failures we all carry.

It’s not hard to see we are far from perfect, but God didn’t come to point it out, but to save us from it.

To give us a new way of living no longer under the bondage of self and the things within that bring:

  • Destruction
  • Fear
  • Sorrow
  • Brokenness
  • Hurt.

And so much more!

The Christmas is a message that Jesus came to bring:

  • Peace
  • Life
  • Healing
  • Strength
  • Hope
  • Love.

When we understand this then it doesn’t have to be hard. So to admit my need for Him is not hard, nor is it so terrifying to admit my need for Him when I know why He has come.

Then His name also is such a reason to rejoice at Christmas.

  • ‘God with us’!

Isn’t that one of the things we value most, someone willing to ‘be there for us, or with us’?

Don’t we say that you can tell who your real friends are by looking at who’s right there with you in the bad times?

Well, Christmas came about because God chose to be ‘right there with us’.

He even came to ultimately take the rap or punishment for our sin and mistakes.

It’s one level of love to forgive someone for their wrongs, it’s another to forgive them and then take the rap for it!

The message of Christmas isn’t of a gift that we need a new upgrade of, or for the following year or a few public holidays.

The gift at the first Christmas was of a God who would never leave us or forsake us – God with us!

On our best days and on our worst days, God is right there!

He has walked this earth just like us, among us, as one of us. He is not distant, but rather He bridged the divide we could never bridge and felt the best and worst of the human experience.

Christmas tells of a God who did not want to be distant and gave beyond measure to be with us.

Whoever we are today and whatever journey we have walked, it has not been alone even if we did not realise – God was there!

  1. He saw our tears
  2. He knew our pain
  3. He was waiting, willing, ready to forgive our failures, sins and mistakes
  4. He was longing for us to let Him be with us in the midst of whatever we have faced.

We see the different responses to God’s willingness to be with us in the many and varied characters in the Christmas story.

  • Mary – willing to obey God and it says that after the birth of Jesus she treasured these things in her heart
  • Joseph – shocked, surprised and in disbelief at first, but after a dream from God, we see another open hearted to God being with him
  • The Shepherds – rejoiced at the understanding of God with them
    • Not being very well esteemed in the eyes of the community, lowly even, the shepherds seemed delighted God would include them in being close
  • The wise men from the East responded with reverence and honour that God would choose to be with us
  • Herod was filled with fear and anger the God would be with us and considered it interference and in the way of his own power and plans.

In one breath, mankind has searched ways to get ‘the gods’ to listen to them, engage with them, search them out and bless them. Yet Christmas tells us God chose to reach down to us and longs to be with us.

But seemingly the opposite is also true, mankind has tried with great persistence to push God away and out of their world and life so they could be their own god and rule to self.

  • But again Christmas shows us God’s purpose in coming to be with us was not to judge, but save – yet people still seem intent on pushing Him away

What will our response be to a God who is with us?

The first Christmas was brought about by a loving God who wished to save us and be with us. Will we accept this precious gift with rejoicing, and receive the peace and goodwill it brings to our lives?

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Christmas happened so that we could be saved from our sins. Discuss how this has affected you
  2. Discuss why it is so terrifying to admit our need for Jesus even though you know why He has come
  3. One of the things we value the most is someone willing to ‘be there for us, or with us’. Do you feel this way?

 

Not Santa And Thank Goodness – Ps Kerrin Wallis [22/12/2019 AM]2019-12-23T14:06:24+10:00

The Conundrum Of Christmas – Ps Kerrin Wallis [15/12/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

Luke 1:26-30 (NIV)

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.

It amazes me how suspicious and fearful some people get when you talk about: The Church.

What is it about the Gospel, the story of Christmas that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to pay the price for our sins and that calls us to love even our enemies, that people think is so?

  • Dangerous – communism certainly thought so.
  • Scary – people don’t want it taught in schools.
  • Horrible – that it should be kept private and personal at all costs.

Why do we as Christians sometimes get scared and respond with fear when?

  • God arrests our attention?
  • God calls us to something?
  • God challenges us to believe Him for something?
  • Why are we afraid to let Him into our lives and surrender to Him?

We are okay to go to the synagogue like Mary every week to meet with God.

We believe in Him like she clearly did, but when there is that personal God wanting our attention, a tap on the shoulder, or the call to another level of trusting God, why is there such a tendency to shy away in fear?

Luke 1:30 (NIV)

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.”

Maybe one reason we have fear is because we don’t have a conviction we have found favour with God and that He is good.

So many people think:

  • God is out to beat them up in life for their mistakes.
  • God is about making us grovel and ruining our lives.
  • God is a big kill joy in the sky who wants to take our fun away.
  • God wants to make life hard and difficult.

But the opposite is true!

Yes, Mary would have challenges from here, so would you and I, but the scripture is clear that Jesus came to bring life to people and joy to the world.

John 10:10 (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

John 10:10 (NIV) –

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The Angels announced joy to the world when Jesus was born, not woe is the world.

We need to build convictions of the goodness, kindness, mercy and blessing that God has for us! You are favoured of God!

God wants to bless you. You can know that His intention is good.

Luke 1-30-34 (NIV)

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

I wonder if perhaps another reason we respond in fear is because we don’t understand how God’s goodness can apply to us. We don’t think it is for us. We are expecting an email from God for a 1 in a million chance to be chosen.

Can God really:

  • Forgive my mess?
  • Use me with all my faults?
  • Keep His promises or will He let me down like everyone else has?
  • Bless me and why would He?
  • Provide for me – I just can’t see how?
  • Bring healing – it seems too painful?
  • Can God really do that?

Mary was looking and thinking this cannot be, I can’t understand it, why me? She was already loved and favoured by God.

Can I encourage you that God can, will and wants to use you! He often does so despite us, not because of us.

We think ‘we don’t deserve this’.

  • God knows we don’t. He doesn’t do it because we deserve it, but because He is great enough to do it anyway.

Christmas is the perfect example. He didn’t give His Son Jesus because we deserved it, but because God is:

  • Great enough.
  • Loving enough.
  • Kind enough.
  • Powerful enough.
  • Merciful enough.

I will say it again, God will do things despite us (our failings, shortcomings, lack of ability, imperfections) not because of us and how good we are!

The reasons we say He can’t, just makes Him all the greater when He does what we and others think impossible or crazy.

I say – Welcome to Christmas! He does miracles all year round!

Luke 1-35-38 (NIV)

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

This excites me so much because the power of the Holy Spirit steps in!

  • The impossible becomes possible with the Person of the Holy Spirit!

Why would God pick to have His Son born of a virgin – something that people will say – What! No way! That’s crazy! Why would God do that?

Because He can!

  • That’s what God does best!
  • Whenever the Holy Spirit is involved miracles, power and the impossible becomes possible.

This Christmas don’t miss the two greatest gifts ever to hit humanity:

  • The person of Jesus
  • The person of the Holy Spirit

If our Christianity is not exciting and challenging and has us wondering ‘How can God do that?’ perhaps we haven’t had a recent or fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit!

Christianity should be powerful, exciting and impossible.

  • Get hungry for the Holy Spirit in your life!
  • He ought to be present and powerful in our lives!

Like Mary – we may not feel qualified or we may even feel scared, but allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us, to move in our lives and to break into the power of God for our lives.

Luke 1:39-45 (NIV)

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

Who in our lives when we get around them we find there is an excitement about the things of God?

Who sees us walk in the door and say – God has been speaking to me about you!

Who in our world has something in them that leaps for joy and excitement when God births things in us of our calling, our destiny, serving God, the bigger picture, outside the box and eternity?

If we don’t have those friends and chances – we should ask why and do something about it.

Luke 1:46-56 (NIV)

46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” 56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The first Christmas is filled with praise to God.

  • Elizabeth praises God.
  • Her unborn child praises God.
  • Mary praises God.
  • The Angels praise God.
  • The Shepherds praise God.
  • The Wise men praise God.

Mary started out worried, scared and afraid, but by the end of an encounter with God and an encounter with a wonderful, faith filled friend Elizabeth – she was praising God! You won’t have the song if you don’t have the friend!

The Conundrum of it is that because of God’s plan she is:

  • A pregnant unmarried woman in a culture that would condemn that.
  • She will face the grief of her son being crucified.
  • She will experience life and pain – yet there is praise on her lips!

In the midst of real life, pain and challenges that are likely behind us and yet to come, do we understand the powerful reality of Jesus Christ this Christmas in such a way that we sing a song to God like Mary. We need to understand the truth of Christmas.

Luke 1:6-51 (NIV)

“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm.

I just so love this, the praise of God that is found in surrender!

This Christmas, let who God really is, the true message of Christmas, begin to form convictions in you and bring understanding that leads to praise!

If we don’t look at the truth of Christmas and it brings praise, somewhere, someone, something has deceived us, tricked us into a misconception of God.

It’s ok to start out a little afraid, a little unsure and a little like this doesn’t make sense, but I pray you don’t stay there! Move to a place where our response is ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’.

Allow who Jesus really is into your life!

  • We do this through surrender.
  • Mary was a little scared, unsure and couldn’t quite understand, but her response was:

Luke 2:38 (NIV)

I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Why do you think that as Christians we sometimes get scared and respond with fear when God calls us to do something?
  2. So many people have wrong thinking about God. Discuss how we can change this.
  3. Discuss why people think that God’s goodness doesn’t apply to them.
  4. Do you have faith-filled friends that you can share with?

The Conundrum Of Christmas – Ps Kerrin Wallis [15/12/2019 AM]2019-12-17T14:43:00+10:00

Connect Ministry College Graduates [08/12/2019 PM]

Jess, Nick and Natty

Episode Notes

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

Connect Ministry College Graduates [08/12/2019 PM]2019-12-14T17:26:22+10:00

What Really Matters – Ps Bruce Claridge [08/12/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

Luke 12:29-31 (NIV)

29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

The WHY

The words “What Really Matters” have been imprinted on my heart for the last couple of weeks as I prayed about this message and watched some of the things going on in our world.

As you get older one of the things you have to work out and then put your time into is “What Really Matters”. Today is the day of salvation.

South African Preacher Reinhard Bonnke passed away yesterday. He was always saying he wanted to plunder hell to populate Heaven. He has been instrumental in over 77 million people coming to the Lord in his lifetime.

Christian champions like Margaret Court know” What Really Matters” and it’s not coming into line with worldly thinking ….it is however, staying true to what really matters in God’s Word.

Andrew Thorburn, former NAB CEO- As a Believer in a corporate world he told us what really mattered to him as he takes a “Gap Year” from the corporate world to spend time with his family.

I felt challenged by these words myself but confident that I had my priorities straight until I read this true story.

Isn’t it a pain that just when you think you are doing ok and then someone “ups the ante”?

A preacher named John Harper changed all that.

John was on the ill- fated Titanic as it made its maiden and only voyage in 1912.

John Harper was on board with his 6-year-old daughter, Nina. When the ship was sinking, he got his daughter to a lifeboat. After farewelling her he proceeded to make his way back up the deck crying out “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats”.

Soon the ship started to break in half and many, including John Harper, jumped into the icy waters below. That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John was seen frantically swimming to people in the water, leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal.

One young man clinging to debris, refused the offer of salvation so John threw him his life jacket saying “Here then you need this more than I do……” and then he swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back and led that young man to Christ.

Of the 1528 people that went into that water that night only 6 were rescued by lifeboats, this young man was one of them.

Four years later at a Titanic survivor meeting this young man with tears in his eyes recounted how John Harper had led him to Christ. He told how Harper tried to swim back and help others but was lost to the frigid sea. In Canada at a separate meeting a similar story was told by another survivor. John’s last words were “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” While others were trying to buy their way into lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own live, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

John Harper knew what really mattered and lived his life accordingly.

As believers we need to ask, “Does my life really reflect, “What Really Matters?”

What really matters focuses us on what’s next, not what was!

When your “picture perfect” life meets the mess of reality it provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate what really matters and to grow through the experience.

Personally, for us as a family, the last ten years have not been a “bed of roses” in a garden of tranquillity…… From unexpected divorce in our family to cancer to massive ministry challenges and the resultant subsequent changes, to new opportunities demanding grace, humility and new paradigms, this mess called reality has been happening – your story too may also be messy.

Through this, “What Really Matters” is that you know that YOU really matter to God and He has a powerful call on your life and a purpose that, though dressed up in different clothes, is still God’s purpose for you.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Doors open and fresh ministry and other opportunities come when you keep serving in your call, keep turning up, keep crying out to God, keep believing you are called by God for a great purpose which He ordained for you before the beginning of time. (Don’t get sucked into worldly mediocrity).

Psalms 139:16 (NIV)

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God can take you from victory through seeming defeat to even greater victories and connections. The deepest level of worship is praising God.

Prioritising what really matters opens doors even in the dark!!

Hebrews 10: 35-36 (NIV)

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised”

New seasons come with greater potential than you ever dreamed of. It’s walking with God by simply putting one foot after another. It’s not super spiritual expressions giving the false idea that it is easy, or you are ok? Authenticity is always needed. Just turn up and serve.

That’s how we got here at this exciting time in the life of Connect Church.

Sports Chaplaincy Australia – Thanks to connections here through Lippy initially.

From this connection to:

  • India- Doors keep opening, others get involved- Macorna FNC, New Australian Consul General in Kolkata is a Spirit Filled Believer who is now going to one of our friends Church in Kolkata and prepared to open new doors of ministry opportunity. You need to take one step after another because what really matters is God’s call on your life
  • Bendigo Bank Pastoral Care Role – This is a miracle of God’s Favour, God’s favour follows you when you keep on going, keep on pursuing God’s call.

Even when feelings say otherwise, even when logic cries out this is not the best path keep on putting one foot after another.

Keep on doing what really matters!

Heaven, and giving people the opportunity to get there, really mattered to John Harper. He kept on doing what really mattered even as hypothermia sapped away his life.

For Paul, on the Damascus road, a life changing encounter with God really mattered.

It matters to us too.

Re-Presenting Jesus to a lost, dying and blinded world really matters.

What are some things given great worldly importance by many, that don’t really matter?

  • Your image on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t really matter. Your reflection of HIS image does though!
  • Criticisms from friends and family of you being a Christian don’t really matter…. how you represent Jesus to them does though. – Dylan’s testimony on our train trip home, representing Jesus to his (underworld) friends.
  • Going to Church doesn’t matter, but being the Church really matters and this includes being regularly gathered with your local Church family and serving others together. Make a difference in others lives.
  • What you have been hurt by doesn’t really matter, but how you respond to those hurts definitely really matters.
  • Whether you have hit the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit or not doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what happens when you get up off the floor!
  • The amount of time you spend doing devotions doesn’t really matter. What really matters is how much you allow the “Sword of the Spirit” (to “divide your soul and spirit” to such an extent that it is seen by others.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

How loud you blow the shofar (a ram’s horn) or how well you wave the worship banners doesn’t really matter. What really matters is what you do after the banners stop waving and the shofar is not heard.

How do we know what really matters?

1. Stay tuned into God’s Heart. – Lean into God.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This means a powerful prayer life flowing from Word Directed Living. (WDL, like WWJD)

What really matters most is, not just knowing the Logos of God’s Word, but responding to the Rhema that is specific to you.

Specific Rhema action not just general Logos knowledge which Pastor Kerrin spoke about last week.

2. Stay Kingdom Purposed and Heaven focused.

Philippians 3: 12-14 (NIV)

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

What really matters is how my life displays Kingdom Power and helps to populate heaven. e.g. John Harper.

Kingdom Attraction – Jesus attracted all sorts of people, we can too.

Kingdom Authenticity – being real even when you don’t sound religious.

Kingdom Authority – You have the authority given in the book of Acts; it hasn’t changed!! You can pray for the sick and you can operate Gifts of the Spirit. God may give you a Word in season.

3. Maintain a humble, willing servant heart.

1 Peter 4:9-10 (NIV)

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Whatever season you find yourself in, serve, serve and keep on serving. e.g. Head of Sports Chaplaincy NZ packing up the chairs and Andrew Thorburn speaking in a Collins St. Baptist Church Sunday School Room to 25 Sports Chaplaincy Australia Leaders when he could command thousands of dollars on the corporate circuit.

As Christians we are wrong if we say “I don’t want any of this, I have done my time”. You will know when you have finished serving in some capacity when you are greeted at Heaven’s gates with the “Well done greeting”.

Situations and physical capacities may change, but the gifts God has placed in and on your life don’t change. Just keep activating them.

These gifts don’t age with you, they may manifest themselves differently in each season, but they are still your personalised motivational gifts as outlined in Romans 12 (NIV).

4. Stick close to others who know what really matters.

You become like those you hang with. You think like those you predominantly give your ear and time to. You live like the community that you can become aligned with.

This should involve being part of a dynamic, committed faith filled, well led local Church who together enjoy the journey they are on together.

We are called to be the Church not just to come to the Church.

If you are not serving your church and your community outside of your paid employment, you need a good dose of generosity, humility and compassion. But, if you stick close to God and get Kingdom focused, you will have those traits. God will open new doors.

So, what really matters to you?

First find out what matters to God, then that’s what really matters to you.

Agape, self-sacrificing love really matters to God.

Truth matters to God- it also matters that truth is wrapped in the envelope of Grace e.g. Jesus

Genuine compassion matters to God.

Integrity and authenticity matter to God. In Dylan’s words “A congruent Life”.

Generosity matters to God.

Relationships matter to God- so Biblically fight to keep them intact.

Heaven is the ultimate thing that matters to God. His relationship with you throughout eternity, matters to God.

It mattered so much that He sent Jesus on the first Christmas, born of a Virgin in a little town called Bethlehem. Populating Heaven above all else, just like John Harper’s example, should also be what matters most to us because it matters to God.

It is what matters most right now.

Do you know that you will for certain, find yourself in that place that matters most to God?

Bruce had a prophetic Word for Kerrin and Tegan.

3 key words

You are both Called, Prepared and Resourced by God (CPR).

Called to create new paradigms of Christian expression and break old restrictions.

Prepared through your victories and your pains to face any adversity or opposition that confronts you.

Resourced to confidently take Big Audacious Faith Steps (BAFS)

BAFS that will come as you operate at a new level in the Gift of Faith.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Do you know that you really matter to God and He has a powerful call and purpose on your life?
  2. How much were you impacted by the testimony of both Reinhard Bonnke and John Harper?
  3. Discuss what it means to stay tuned to God’s Heart.
  4. How important is it stick close to others who know what matters?

What Really Matters – Ps Bruce Claridge [08/12/2019 AM]2019-12-09T21:01:23+10:00

Think Bigger – Ps Dave Doolan [01/12/2019 PM]

Episode Notes

Sorry, we do not have any notes from this message.

Think Bigger – Ps Dave Doolan [01/12/2019 PM]2019-12-05T09:47:33+10:00

The Good Book Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [01/12/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

The Bible is often referred to as ‘The Good Book’ and people seem to hold a myriad of:

  • Views on it and its authority.
  • Have so many ways of interpreting it.
  • Think it’s important but never seriously invest into knowing what it says.
  • Would like to pick and choose what they like out of it.
  • Have favourite bits, but ignore other sections.

In fact there is nothing in our faith that has been so attacked as the Bible the Word of God because the devil knows that without it Christianity ceases to exist.

Although many have relegated it to a ‘good book’ it is actually a ‘God Book’ that as Christians if it is not taken seriously we either have:

  • An immature faith.
  • A partial faith.
  • Or a faith that is not really Christian, but just a mixture.

John 1:1-4 and 14 (NIV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word of God is actually the prism or filter through which we know God!

Without God’s Word we all have a bunch of personal preferences and ideas, but there is no ultimate truth.

  • Jesus is the Word of God with skin on.
  • His life reflected what it looks like to live God’s Word here on earth.
  • Therefore HE is our ultimate example because He is God’s Word.
  • We cannot love and follow Jesus and not take the WORD of God seriously.

The previous two weeks we have considered the importance and place of the scriptures in our lives and also its practical roles in our life as believers.

This week I want to begin to unpack a little on how we read it.

Over the years I have discovered that people often know that they should read the Bible, but just don’t really know how to read it or where to start. So let’s see how we can approach this incredible and powerful book the Bible.

There are two ways of receiving God’s Word. They are connected to one another but different.

Firstly

John 1:1-4 and14 (NIV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

  • The Greek term here is Logos, and means the written Word of God that we believe is inspired by Him.
  • This is whenever you open up the Bible and read – it is God’s written word, promises and instruction for us.

Secondly

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

  • This time the Greek word is Rhema and refers to ‘an utterance, or communication, usually on a specific topic or matter’ – a revelation direct from God to us.

That is why it is possible for someone to know a lot about the Bible and even read it religiously, but never really personally know God or engage with Him because it isn’t just His written Word but having that personalised to you.

Kerrin bought Tegan a Garmin watch which was supposed to track all her physical activity. They read the general instructions and knew all about the watch, but until they contacted the company help desk, they didn’t know how to get the watch working.

Similarly with the Word of God, we might be reading it and generally applying it, but sometimes we need God to highlight something and give a personal touch to something we need to do, or believe or accept.

That takes it from being a general Word of God:

  • “Love your neighbour”

To being a specific to you and me Word from God:

  • “Love Bill your neighbour, forgive him for throwing his rubbish over your fence. He needs it now”

This becomes important for us as we endeavour to understand the Bible and make it powerful and relevant to, and in, our lives. It moves from being a text book to a living book.

2 Peter 3:16 (TPT)

“…speaking of these things in all of his letters (the Scriptures). Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”

The message translation says:

16 He consistently speaks of these things in all of his letters, even though he writes some concepts that are overwhelming to our understanding, which the unlearned and unstable love to twist to their spiritual ruin, as they do to other Scriptures.

So this is the key, because there are some things we read in the Bible that are hard or challenging to understand.  They don’t always make sense and this will help us to do it right rather than get ‘things twisted’, misunderstand or draw a wrong conclusion about .

Let me put something on the table here because God is very specific here, the wording is careful and important.

It says that ‘unstable’ people will twist and distort the Bible to their own hurt or destruction.

What is it that makes something unstable – lack of balance!

  • A three legged stool with a leg missing is unstable – no balance.
  • A person who loses their balance while walking or standing is unstable.
  • When something is stacked up and you have too much weight on one side it becomes unstable.

Likewise, if we want to get the whole truth from the Bible we need to be balanced in it.

Sadly too many believers get off on weird tangents and focuses because they lack balance therefore they fall into the very category that the Bible says will twist things to their own hurt.

  • I see it sadly all too often.
  • Lack of balance with Spiritual gifts and want to run off with the fairies.
  • Out of balance with end times and become consumed with a side issue.
  • Out of balance with mercy and grace – no truth.
  • Out of balance with law and truth – no grace in their world.
  • Out of balance with ideas on Jesus just wanting to befriend everyone and not upset anyone.
  • Out of balance with angels, demons and manifestations.
  • Out of balance with pursuing feelings and no conviction or word.
  • Out of balance not acknowledging our feelings and brokenness.

All these things can be good – but when they are out of balance, it ends up twisting things and can draw incorrect conclusions.

  • If we correctly understand the Word of God and are balanced in it – we can avoid all that.

But there are some challenging concepts in the Bible and things that need to be considered and wrestled out etc and part of doing that is:

  1. Knowing there are two types of Word of God.
  2. Secondly we need to know one will never contradict the other and this is where people miss it. They get out of balance with the Word of God.

The Logos – the written Word of God is complete and unchanging and the ultimate test for anything that comes into our lives. The Word of God is the measuring stick and our compass.

  • What others say can be tested against it.
  • What our culture or public opinion says can be measured against it.
  • What we understand to be good and right.
  • Our response in a situation.
  • Our own ideas and ‘revelation’.
  • Even our experiences are weighed against God’s eternal Word, rather than our finite limited knowledge.
    • It is often said “If we could totally figure God out, He wouldn’t be a very big God”.

The Rhema – God’s personal revelations to us. He personally invites us to know Him.

  • God will never give us a Rhema Word (personal revelation) that contradicts His Logos word of God.
    • We might have funny ideas.
    • Too much pizza can mess with our thoughts.
    • An insecurity filter.
    • A brokenness.

These may make us interpret something one way, but our measuring stick is always, what does God’s written Word say about this?

So now we begin to see that reading and understanding the written, everyday, logos Word of God is essential for anyone who want personal revelation of God.

  • In fact my observation has been that the more time a person spends in truly understanding the Logos Word of God, the more Rhema Word of God they receive. One is dependent on the other.

The more we read the Bible, the greater the opportunity for God to speak to us about our lives from it.

As believers we need both of these levels of the ‘Word of God’ in our lives.

If all we do is study God and have no revelation from Him – we know about Him but miss the most important thing and that is a relationship with Him.

We can get information about God, but we need the Rhema Word of God in our lives.

Here is what Jesus said about this:

John 5:39-40 (NLT)

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

However we also need personal revelation from the Scriptures because that is how faith comes (without which we cannot please God – Hebrews 11:6).

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Matthew 22:29 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

The Scriptures Logos and the Scriptures Rhema should both be active and operating in the life of a mature believer.

In 2020 Kerrin wants to take some classes on reading the Bible and studying the scriptures because it’s so important in our lives.

But this is where Kerrin wanted to be practical for a couple of moments.

When we read the Bible we should:

Read it regularly!

Luke 4:4 (NKJV)

But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’

If we only hear and read God’s Word when we come to Church, then we are incredibly limited in our access to God’s Word for our lives.

  • It is not the Biblical pattern God outlines.
  • We will become spiritually weak and starved. We will go out looking for other things.

Read it sequentially

  • Not Genesis to Revelation – you need to start a book and finish a book.
  • Gospels – about Jesus.
  • Proverbs and Wisdom books.
  • Psalms – personal engagement with God.
  • New Testament letters – Paul communicating life truths given Jesus and what it means for us.

The key is to not just jump around and read favourite passages and never get something in context. Work your way through each book.

Out of context equals out of line and out of balance. Don’t take things out of balance.

Ask some questions:

  • What is it talking about? This puts it into context. Chew it over and think about it.
  • What does this say about God? Bible based theology on God. It is telling you what God is like.
  • What does it say I should do or believe? Then take it to heart.
    • Forgive and love.
    • Is there a promise for me?

Read God’s Word as a Book of promises, not rules!

Most people who resist reading it do so because they don’t want to:

  • Know where they are failing.
  • Read about another task to do.
  • Feel like they don’t measure up.

Sadly these are all things that the Bible is not about – that is a religious attitude that has been passed to many.

We need to ask what the Word of God is saying to me personally.

This is where we create space for God to speak and for us to listen – the Rhema words of God come here. Ask for revelation from Him.

If we are simply reading the Bible to tick off a job we should be doing, we are missing the point. We don’t stop to listen.

Yes, we should be doing it, but the idea of the exercise is not literal reading. It’s listening to what God is saying. It’s about hearing from God and engaging with Heaven.

When we put God’s Word in the hands of religion, it becomes a big stick, but in the hands of a Spirit filled believer it becomes a torch.

A torch that illuminates:

  • God’s Promises.
  • Steps of Faith.
  • Life changes that are needed.
  • Powerful revelation about Jesus Christ.
  • Shows what is righteous. The Word of God is a bright light that leads the way to life.
  • Eternity and this life in light of that.

Journal what God is saying and doing. It will transform your life.

Final thought

The Word brought Life into the world in John 1 and it will bring Life into your world!

Without it the darkness will continue to cover our lives and the power and life of His Word will be unseen.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss the difference between the Rhema Word of God and the Logos Word of God.
  2. What takes the Bible from being general to specific?
  3. Discuss the statement – the more we read the Bible, the greater the opportunity for God to speak to us about our lives from it.
  4. Will you determine to attend classes to study the Bible in 2020?

The Good Book Pt 3 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [01/12/2019 AM]2019-12-02T16:14:37+10:00

Where Did That Come From? – Ps Kerrin Wallis [24/11/2019 PM]

Episode Notes

Acts 4:13-17 (NIV)

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

What a great record to have that these guys were turning their world upside down and people could not understand why, but they did know one thing.

They had been with Jesus.

We have to remember these guys were surrounded by:

  • Religious view
  • Different types of religion
  • Learned and intelligent people
  • Pressures of persecution.

And yet they were noted for their courage and the power of God.

I think they are great things to be known for.

But I also love the other fact that the Bible points out – which is they were ordinary and unschooled.

  • Not supermen
  • Not the ultra gifted
  • Not the perfect mix of genes
  • Not the smartest and given the most opportunity
  • Not that they are the most disciplined like Mr Super Gym.

Tonight if I can encourage you with anything it is that the call of God is not limited because of who we are not or what we don’t have!

In fact the Bible says in:

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV)

7 …. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

We are not disqualified because of weakness, but made perfect in weakness.

  • Our things that we think disqualify us, make us a perfect candidate for God to use us, because people will look and say ‘where did that come from’
  • Isn’t this untrained and ordinary – yet extraordinary?

Whatever you do, stop waiting to be perfect before you feel God could use you, because that day will never come.

  • We serve God in the midst of and despite our weakness and that is what makes it so incredible that God will use us!

I love this about Jesus!

  • Look at His disciples – rough and ready – didn’t pass the religious enough test to make the cut in their society. So God said perfect!
  • The Samaritan woman at the well – Jesus could have used anyone to reach that village – but he waits for a messed up, broken woman with 5 husbands, who is rejected by her own peers – to be the agent of revival!
    • Jesus literally altered His journey to use her!!!
  • What about the village in Luke 8:27?
    • 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town.
    • Perfect candidate for representing Jesus.
  • What about Sons of Zebedee – Sons of thunder – Crazy tempers?
    • These are the two brothers known for picking a fight.
    • At least they are passionate, these guys will do!!!

What I love is that most of these are not remembered for their weaknesses, but their courage!

  • Jesus covers our weakness and fills us with courage!

How crazy that here in Acts 4 Peter is being known for his courage – but only a few chapters ago he was too afraid to admit to a little servant girl he was a follower of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit fills us with boldness and courage.

  • So instead of being remembered for our weakness – God fills that gap and makes us known for courage!

What an amazing God we serve!

But I want to leave you with an extra thought tonight.

Because this is not the first time we see a comment like this in scripture!

  • In fact I am not surprised when we read Acts 4:13, because they got this from somewhere.

If we turn back time to a little before Jesus had sent the Holy Spirit and launched the Church, we hear something similar being said.

John 7:15 (NIV)

15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

Revelation!

Wow! This was what was said about Jesus:

People could not understand because here was a man who carried, authority, power, did miracles, knew God so well – yet was untrained.

Yep but He was full of the Holy Spirit!

  • We saw when he was baptised that the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove.

Not surprising then that these men we first read about – had both encountered Jesus and been filled with the Holy Spirit!

My observation from Scripture is that when people have truly been with Jesus it is not long until the Holy Spirit empowers their life and people are amazed at what ordinary people seem to do!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What do you think it means when the call of God is not limited because of who we are not or what we don’t have!
  2. How hard is it for you to stop waiting to be perfect before you feel God could use you?
  3. Do you think you will you be remembered for your weaknesses or your courage?

Where Did That Come From? – Ps Kerrin Wallis [24/11/2019 PM]2019-12-15T07:21:06+10:00

Not A Chance – Ps Kerrin Wallis [24/11/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

After our baptism this morning, Kerrin read another story of a man who was baptised, but this one happened in the Bible in the book of Acts.

Acts 8:26-40 (NLT)

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. 32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 33 He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. 36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.

What Kerrin loves about this story is that there is not a chance this was by accident – God intended to show Himself to someone who needed Him.

In fact God was so intent that He sent someone to tell the message personally.

The first thing we notice in the story is that God sets up this man to discover who God is.

Acts 8:26-28 (NLT)

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

This guy had gone to worship. The problem was that it was just a religious experience for him and God wants so much more for us than that.

He was going to worship a God and sit through a religious activity, but did not really know who God was or certainly didn’t personally know God.

So many people are the same with God:

  • They know ‘all about Him’
  • Have opinions on Him and what He should be like
  • Have been around Him
  • Even on occasions gone to ‘watch Him in a service or two’. It is not the same as meeting God.

But God’s Plan is that we know him personally!

However you came here this morning, Christianity is not something we watch, attend or speculate about.

It is a relationship with God where we understand we need Him and His forgiveness and so come to know Him as our Lord and Saviour.

In the midst of life which would have been complicated for this man as a eunuch:

  • He was probably castrated before puberty usually not by choice
  • His health would have suffered from less testosterone in his developing years which would have affected his health and his bones
  • He was rich and probably admired for his wealth, power and status, but judged as being less than a man by many
  • In a patriarchal and family society, he could not have a family or kids – he didn’t really fit anywhere
  • And likely this was all forced upon him and would have caused him to live in a state of personal turmoil.

Maybe this was what made the passage he read stand out to him so much.

Acts 8:32-33 (NLT)

32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 33 He was humiliated and received no justice.

Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

It was not by chance that he stumbled on this passage. It was what God intended for him to read.

Maybe today we can identify with some of this and like this man we are confused by life, God and reality.

  • Perhaps it has all left us looking in empty spaces
  • Substance abuse
  • Other’s acceptance
  • Maybe even religion.

But maybe he was wondering ‘Is there something more?’ Maybe he was confused by life’s reality.

Well the good news is that Philip was able to point to a man called Jesus who takes all that we know about God, and sometimes what we think we know about God, and flips it on its head!

  • Jesus is a radical character
  • Jesus loved when others hated
  • He forgave when others judged
  • He demanded surrender and relationship, rather than mindless ritual of religion
  • He attracted sinners, prostitutes, the outcasts and offended the religious and self righteous
  • He claimed we all fall far short of God’s intention and best and all require forgiveness and mercy from God
  • Instead of simply condemning us He came to save and rescue us
  • Instead of an earthly kingdom He came to claim an eternal kingdom
  • He doesn’t fit the boxes that we want to put Him in.

Jesus was a man like no other, because He was a man who faced all that we face, yet He was God and chose to give up all the glory of Heaven to come and walk among us. To experience all the things we experience and to show God is not distant and unconcerned with humanity, but loving and longing for us to return to the God who created us and loves us.

There was not a chance that Philip would have met this man, but God intended to show Himself to someone in need.

It is not a chance that today we have heard the stories of the changed lives of those who have been baptised and heard of God’s incredible love for us.

It is instead God’s divine plan.

God set us up to show and explain His love for us in the midst of whatever our world looks like.

And the bit I love is that after hearing about who Jesus really was and having the Gospel explained – it led him to rejoice! Peace and joy come into your life when you know Him.

The person of Jesus, who He is, His love for mankind and willingness to give His own life for our sin, means the only appropriate response is joy and rejoicing!

  • People who meet religion are tight, bound, restricted, rule focused, often talking about what they cannot do and must do
  • People that meet simply this world soon wonder if this is all there is and sadly we see much brokenness and hurt in the pursuit of making sense of it all.

But people who meet Jesus can rejoice and be glad!

  • Glad that God loves them
  • Glad He forgives us our mistakes
  • Glad He gives us a future and hope not only in this life, but for eternity. It doesn’t depend on circumstances
  • Glad that they live free from the sin and death that so plagues this world.

I am so glad Philip was willing to go out of his way to walk alongside a stranger.

  • All of us are called to walk alongside of somebody. When we do, we are to point them to Jesus so that He can change their lives and lead them to eternity
  • We do not go to work by accident, God said ‘walk next to these people’ and our role is to make sure they see Jesus
  • We are not in our family by accident
  • We should be intentional about finding the stranger and person seeking God, so that we can show them the love of their Saviour they just haven’t met yet.

It is a privilege to lead people to meet Jesus. They are waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus.

Have you met Jesus today? Are you willing to meet with Him today?

Have you realised that today He is calling you home to Himself because He loves you?

It is not by chance that you are here today. Today is the day to meet with Jesus.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. How often have you known that there is not a chance things happened by accident, but know without a doubt that God intended to show Himself to someone who needed Him?
  2. What do you think the eunuch had gone through in his life? How did that affect him?
  3. Discuss the difference between people who meet religion and people who meet Jesus.

Not A Chance – Ps Kerrin Wallis [24/11/2019 AM]2019-11-26T08:10:16+10:00

Days For Dreamers – Ps Steve Penny [17/11/2019 PM]

Episode Notes

These are the last days of time. Steve sees a leading in to God doing something great.

You want God to do something. You need to get serious in gathering people.

This is an incredible day for dreamers.

Psalm 126:1-3

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. And we said; The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.

There were two captivities – the Egyptian captivity – the people were bound in sin.

Then the Babylonian/Syria captivity – the Church was captive to the world culture.

God got them to go back to Jerusalem to make it great again.

They said it was just like we dreamt it would be.

Arise, shine for the light has come

This is the day to get a God-dream that changes your life.

Positive, happy people will bring you into the blessing.

Steve grew up as a Pastor’s son. He grew up wanting to by like his Dad who pioneered churches. Steve’s dream was coming to fruition. In 1974, Steve would practice preaching every Saturday afternoon in an empty church that held 200 people. His dream was growing.

In 1981 he pioneered his first church in Logan, Qld. They were very needy people there but there were 200 people.

Someone built a Church for 700 and Steve went to Garden City with 2000 people. His dream kept growing.

He preached to 10,000 people in Phoenix, Arizona. Just like in his dream, it was just the beginning.

Catch the God dream and you will be amazed where it will take you.

Steve was asked to preach for Hillsong Church. They broadcast simultaneously to 40 campuses about 50,000 across Sydney every Sunday. Now they broadcast on Hillsong TV around the world to millions of people.

Steve is just a little kid from Adelaide, one of 6 siblings and the second eldest who got the scrap.

He challenged us to get our God-dream because you will never know where it will take you in life

Joel 2:28

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;

Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions. And also on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my spirit in those days.”

Dreams and visions will be the evidence of the last days outpoured and we need to grab a hold of them. These are important days for you to grab a hold of your dreams and visions.

1. Know your God dream

God knows your plans. There will be a generation of God-dreamers.

Jeremiah 29:11

“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord; plans for good and not for evil; to give you a great hope (great dream) for the future.”

God knows the plans He has for you, don’t you know He wants to tell you what they are and show them to you?

There will be a generation of dreamers that will change their world for good and for God.

It is NOT a bucket list. Without a God dream, we will fill our lie with bucket list things. One of the saddest things about being a Pastor is to watch people chase their bucket list dreams.

Find His dream for your life. Your God dream is your calling.

Steve always wanted to serve God. He was called to preach and nothing else really matters. You can miss the mark if you only have bucket list dreams.

We need to be aware of three distractions:

  • Pleasure experiences
  • Possessions and
  • Position or Power.

Find out why you are on Planet Earth. You are created on purpose, for a purpose.

2. Live your God dream

Find your God dream and find it early in life. Know your calling. Don’t chase your dream, because it puts it in the future. Live your dream today,

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith – is the substance of things hoped for – the evidence of things not yet seen.

On the day of Pentecost Peter didn’t really know what was going on, but He said this is that. That is going to save the world. He was prophesying to people of all nations that this is going to come to pass.

Serve the Lord with gladness and live your dream now.

Some of you are on the brink of a life change tonight.

Live today as though you are in the midst of your God dream.

3. Believe for increase

Isaiah 9:7

Of the increase of his government and peace – there will be no end. Dreams reveal the ever increasing plan of God.

In 2003 Steve’s world was turned around when his son Andrew died of cancer at the age of 27. Steve called on God and God said if you will sow Andrew to my purposes, then I will give you a great harvest. But if you see this as a loss, you will mourn it for the rest of your life. Marion and Steve made a choice when they buried Andrew to sow him into God’s purposes.

Song of Solomon 4:4

Your neck is like the tower of David – a strong armoury upon which hang 1000 shields, all of them shields of mighty men.

God said He would give Steve sons and daughters around the world that hang their life on their influence.

Steve was very ill with a chest infection and after discovered that he had blood cancer. During his period in hospital and afterwards God spoke to him

Believe that God could still increase your dream. Your dream doesn’t stop because you get sick. The dream can change, but your dream is still alive if you will believe in God to bring it to pass. Understand the next phase of the dream.

Travel less – influence more. So he created 1000 shields ministry.

This is that – this weakness is the promise of strength.

Never despise the day of small beginnings. Dare to say this is that.

Believe God that the years ahead for you in these unbelievable days of dreaming – this is that. Something is about to break out on Planet Earth and you can be a part of it if you will only focus.

Get the call of life clear in your life. Place of obscurity learn to say – this is that. God’s hand is on my life.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Do you know your God-dream for your life?
  2. Do you understand your calling?
  3. Do you know how to live your dream?

Days For Dreamers – Ps Steve Penny [17/11/2019 PM]2019-11-18T18:19:17+10:00

Things Of The Last Days Of Time – Ps Steve Penny [17/11/2019 AM]

The God gathering has begun

Episode Notes

  • Before preaching his message, Steve Penny spoke about Kerrin and Tegan being like Joseph in Egypt where he was appointed by God. The hand of God’s favour was on Joseph.
  • Steve said that there is a seed of Revival in this Church.
  • As Connect Church goes, so goes the City. The River of God is here and the streams of the River will go out all over the City. The streets will make glad the City.
  • City council and the leaders of this City will help the Church. He said there will be some incredible times together.
  • The spark of revival will spring forth. It will be evident to all that God’s favour is on the Church. There will be pain and tears, but good times are coming.
  • There will be triumph and victory and many will rejoice with you in the good things of God.
  • People outside of this city will come to see the favour of God being poured out on this Church.

Genesis 49:10 (KJV)

 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

This passage is talking about when Jesus comes back. 

Ephesians 1:10 (NKJV)

10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 

  • Don’t be alarmed at the gathering of nations in the Middle East. God is doing the gathering.
  • These are momentous times. Get switched on in the power of the Holy Spirit and watch the God of Heaven bring about His plan for Planet Earth.
  • God is taking over the harvest. He is getting the harvest and bringing them to us.
  • We need to be a gathering Church. Open the doors to gather the harvest that God is bringing to us in these last days.
  • There will be a generation that are gatherable. The time is right for this amazing God Gathering here on Earth.

Steve is a Baby Boomer generation. We saw man walk on the moon, television, mobile phone.

The Alpha generation, those born after 2010.

A generation that is bombarded with new things, but we don’t know what they are yet. Artificial intelligence, they will grow with new things.

The Alpha and Omega generation will see the return of Jesus. A generation is 40 years.

The kids are turning back to the values of their grandparents. They are learning to knit and want picnics on the grass. They are more traditional. They want values that are real.

They are the terminal generation. They have the capacity to destroy the earth.

They are the suicide generation. They will accept anything but they are unable to handle the speed of change and all the stuff bombarding them. Mental health issues will be a disease.

They can’t handle the ease of choice.

There used to be only two genders, but today that is no longer the case. There are over 100 genders for this generation to choose from.

Death is an easy way out.

The Millennials were digital natives. They are born with an iphone in their hands.

They will become digital captives. They will sell their soul to the digital era.

The phones know everything, but this generation don’t care as long as they can take a selfie. This generation will love the mark.

They are gatherable. In Hong Kong, they will put up a gathering on their mobile phones and a million people turn up. God will use all of that to gather them to Himself.

In these days, there is a polarising effect taking place. 

Isaiah 60:1 (NKJV)

 Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen (increasing) upon you.

  • Let the glory of God arise on us and be a presence of God Church.
  • He is gathering people all over the world.
  • There will be gross darkness (a demonic darkness from hell) and militant wickedness, but there is the Glorious Power of God.
  • There is a gathering of both in these days.

Micah 4:6-8 (NKJV)

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever. And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former (first) dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”

We are seeing the fulfilment of this passage of scripture.

God promises that in that day:

  • I will assemble the lame – people like the US singer Kanye West. He has just released an album titled Jesus is King. He had 2000 people give their hearts to the Lord after one of his concerts – but he still has a limp, they are dysfunctional, but are still acceptable. We all have a limp. We need to learn to walk in the way of righteousness. We need to welcome the lame. He ain’t heavy he’s my brother!
  • I will gather the outcast – gather them in and accept them into the Church. There is no one here who hasn’t suffered rejection and felt second rate.
  • I will remake the afflicted – we are to be full of makeover artists – encourage them in the promises of God. God will make them over.
  • I will reign over my people – people under the rule and reign of Jesus who understand they live according to the Word of God. Be subject to the Will of God.
  • I will restore the first dominion – bring them back to the days of Adam and Eve where God blessed them.

FIRST DOMINION is to be:

Fruitful, Multiply, Fill the Earth, Subdue, Have Dominion

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What does it mean to be a God-gathering Church?
  2. Do you think that Connect Church is becoming a God-gathering Church?
  3. Discuss Micah 4:6-8 and do you think we are seeing the fulfilment of this passage?

Things Of The Last Days Of Time – Ps Steve Penny [17/11/2019 AM]2019-11-18T17:30:21+10:00

Who We Are Pt 2 – Ps Dave Doolan [10/11/2019 PM]

Episode Notes

Why do we do things this way? When we know the why we can create.

Generosity.

1 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.

It’s not about how much we have but the spirit behind what we give.
Our God has gone above and beyond and we give out of response to what God has done.

Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

Generosity is seeing the value in people.
Be generous with time.
Be generous with resource and finance.

Jake Blabey – Leadership

No matter who we are, or where we are, we can be leaders.

Leaders lead people where people haven’t been before.

If we are going to lead people from one place to another, we have to be different.

We can’t lead anyone if we are exactly the same as them.

Matthew 5:13-20  (NIV) – salt of the earth

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Fulfilment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

We are called to change the flavour.
To be different we have to allow God to change us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

When something isn’t ordinary or it’s new, people notice.
It’s a choice. We have to choose to be an example, to be different, to be a leader.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

We are all called to be leaders.

Who We Are Pt 2 – Ps Dave Doolan [10/11/2019 PM]2019-11-15T11:19:13+10:00

The Good Book Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [10/11/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

The Bible is often referred to as ‘The Good Book’ and people seem to hold a myriad of:

  • Views on it and its authority.
  • Have so many ways of interpreting it.
  • Feel it is irrelevant and God only cares about us knowing Him and feeling Him.
  • Think it’s important but never seriously invest into knowing what it says.
  • Would like to pick and choose what they like out of it.
  • Have favourite bits, but ignore other sections.

In fact there is nothing in our faith that has been so attacked as the Bible (the Word of God) because the devil knows that without it Christianity ceases to exist.

Although many have relegated it to a ‘good book’ it is actually a ‘God Book’ that as Christians, if it is not taken seriously, we either have:

  • An immature faith.
  • A partial faith.
  • Or a faith that is not Christian.

John 1:1-4, 14 (NIV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word of God is actually the prism or filter through which we know God!

Without God’s Word we all have a bunch of personal preferences and ideas, but there is no ultimate truth.

  • Jesus is the Word of God with skin on.
  • His life reflects what it looks like to live out God’s Word here on earth.
  • Therefore He is our ultimate example because He is God’s Word.
  • We cannot love and follow Jesus and not follow the Word of God.

If you are new to church or Christianity, it might be a surprise that we are so connected to, dependant on and committed to the Bible, Scriptures and the Word of God

All of these are interchangeable and refer to what we believe is God’s Written Word to mankind.

We will look later in our series on what this means, but today will focus on what is its role in our lives?

We are all busy and we all have multiple demands on our life, so why make space and time for God’s Word? What is its role? How does it impact our lives?

2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

I think the New Living Translation puts it best:

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

We find here some more clear explanation of the Word of God and its role in our lives.

It teaches us! We don’t teach it, it teaches us.

We looked last week at the fact that God’s Word is about His Kingdom, not our kingdom.

The Word of God teaches us about:

  • God’s ways.
  • God’s promises.
  • The way God intends us and our lives to be.

God’s Word is like that at times because it doesn’t seem normal or natural – but that’s ok because it’s not!

Kerrin used the illustration of teaching children to use a knife and fork. It is not natural we have to learn to do it. Once you are taught, it becomes natural.

The same can be said of boxing, it is not natural to hold your fists up to defend yourself, but the more you do it, the more natural it is.

God’s ways are not our ways. They are – Higher, Pure, Unselfish and Eternal.

The Word of God helps teach us His ways rather than leaving us in our own ways.

To clarify this further let’s go to the first time we see Jesus use the word ‘teaching or doctrine’ depending on your version. It teaches us more about how it works in our lives.

Matt 15:8-9 (NIV)

“‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”  This is a quote from Isaiah 29.

We begin to unpack here a concept that God’s word teaches us things but not ‘merely human rules, ideas or things’.

The Word of God is divine and supernatural. If it wasn’t then Christianity would not be an answer to this world but merely another of the many current belief or behaviour systems. God’s Word is supernatural and God inspired. It teaches us God’s ways.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It is not a natural book, a text book, a fictional story speaking of simply good human ideas!

Colossians 2:20-23 (NIV)

20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use (pointless), are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

In other words – they don’t change the heart! You can change the actions, but not the heart.

If we go on to the next verse it gives us an alternative to natural human ideas and concepts.

Colossians 3:1 (NIV)

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

So God’s Word is useful and important for teaching us the supernatural truths of God that are what we are truly seeking.

It gives us the ability to learn the ways of God that go against natural human ways but will ultimately allow us to discover the amazing life and freedom in Jesus Christ.

We ought to create space in our world for god’s word because it teaches us God’s ways to live that goes against or differs from the world’s natural ways.

Reproof – what is wrong with our lives?

This makes a lot of sense and is so important.

If you have ever had a problem, but no answer for what is wrong, it is devastating.

Sometimes you know something is wrong but just not what is wrong.

The Bible helps us know not just that something is wrong – but what is wrong!

Firstly it teaches us God’s higher ways and His promises. But secondly it explains why we are not living in these things at times!

God’s Word speaks of:

  • Blessed finances.
  • Good relationships.
  • Living without shame.
  • Living free of fear.
  • Experiencing God’s goodness.
  • Being loved by God.

But then when these things are not happening we need to know what is actually going wrong here! Often there is a problem with forgiveness. Kerrin spoke about a book by Carolyn Leith – Unforgiveness.

So God’s Word is fundamental in our lives because:

  1. It teaches us what life should look like.
  2. Then when we consider and see something not lining up, it shows us where we have gone wrong so we can fix it.

Psalm 119:36-37 (NIV)

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

If we look at Jesus teachings, the Sermon on the Mount is a description of a loving Heavenly Father and His ways that will allow us to follow His plans for our lives.

The scriptures are filled with teaching we can consider and they help us to define the areas of our life that need change.

When we find ourselves wrestling with:

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What is wrong with things that I think like that?
  • Where is this dysfunction coming from?
  • How is it that this keeps happening in my life?
  • What is with this issue that I keep having?
  • Why is it that I feel no purpose, life or joy?

This is where we need to stop and consult God’s Word for ‘What is really wrong?’

The Word of God will provide a path and the answer to all your questions. The World doesn’t have the answers, but God’s Word does.

Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

He did it all first!

If we are not regularly reading God’s Word, and allowing it to search us, it is very hard to work out and find those answers we so desperately need and are looking for.  It’s not a ‘must do’, it’s a ‘why wouldn’t you?’

Jesus is real and He is here today!

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Do you find it easy to make space and time for God’s Word? Why do you think this is not easy to do?
  2. What makes God’s Word Divine and Supernatural?
  3. How do we discover the amazing life and freedom in Jesus Christ?
  4. Do you seek God’s Word when things go wrong in your life? Do you regularly read God’s Word?

The Good Book Pt 2 – Ps Kerrin Wallis [10/11/2019 AM]2019-11-12T15:21:11+10:00

Who We Are – Ps Dave Doolan [03/11/2019 PM]

Christ centred, service and fun

Episode Notes

  • When we are somewhere else, in another culture, the things that are normal for them are strange to us. In our own culture, we don’t recognise the customs that others aren’t used to because we are so accustomed to them – they are second nature for us eg tipping. Sometimes we don’t realise what culture is until we are the outsider.
  • What is our culture?
  • We should be intentional about how we live and the things we prioritise because we are called to make a difference.

Numbers 14:24 (NIV)

24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

  • There should be something noticeable about the way we act.
  • What makes us at Connect Church different?
  • We are Christ-centred.

John 14:6 (NIV)

 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

  • We’re not just about good ideas. We are about following who Jesus is because He is the only way, the only truth and the only life.
  • He is the one who set us free.
  • The core of who we are stems from who Jesus is and following His example.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

  • People follow our example as we follow His example.
  • Everything we do comes back to Him.
  • We are passionate about the Word of God and about people, because Jesus was.
  • We believe that faith is public and we want to bring other people on the journey. The best version of us comes out in community. We do it through services, Connect Groups, ministries.
  • We are about prayer, because Jesus was.
  • A culture of service.

Matthew 20:28 (NIV)

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • We are about serving people, putting others first because Jesus did.
  • We believe we will be more blessed putting others ahead of ourselves. Serving on a team with a heart to serve God’s house.
  • Serving in our community.
  • It makes a statement because it is the opposite of the world’s thinking.
  • It is the opposite of doing whatever it takes to get ahead.
  • When we do it people will take notice.
  • Be involved in your world.
  • Find practical needs and meet them.
  • Even in the places people think the church has no place, doors can be opened because we have chosen to serve and follow Jesus example rather than pushing our own agenda.
  • It is a lifestyle, not just a Sunday thing.
  • A culture of fun, God isn’t boring.
  • We make Him boring. We make things so serious.
  • The gospel is serious and we should take it seriously.
  • But we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
  • God has come to give us life and life to the full.

I don’t know if this is the one, but do you think it will be okay?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

  • People live high stress lives. We should be joyous and happy and not super intense.
  • We choose joy. We choose life. We choose to look on the bright side. We are the people who help lighten people’s mood.
  • Life can be tough. We need to have a sense of fun.
  • For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.
  • We can do the same. There is more ahead even when times are tough.
  • Remember:
  • We get to choose to follow God, to serve Him and to have fun.
  • We don’t have to. We get to. There is a sense of freedom.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Is there something noticeable about the way we act? Discuss how we can make sure there is.
  2. The core of who we are stems from who Jesus is and following His example. Do you think we are doing this right?
  3. Are involved in your world? Do you find practical needs and meet them?