I Hate Change Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge [13/10/2019 AM]
The voices of transition
Even after Pastor Kerrin’s confession of not noticing changes in Tegan’s hairstyle, I was ready for any change in Jan’s hair, BUT I missed it in true male style!
I should have been more alert because change in its many different forms for us has seen some radical hair changes for both Jan and I – a couple unplanned and unwanted!
Let’s recap on last week’s sermon. For a start let’s read:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
3 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Last week we looked at:
- The Voice of Faith: This is better said as the voice of faith in God’s Faithfulness.Steadfast when the change you are going through brings darkness and confusion. Believing God’s promises when all this change has brought is pain, confusion and disruption to your usual normal.Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV) tells us that sometimes this faithfulness takes us to answers beyond our earthly journey that we will only understand in Heaven.Only when we listen to the voice of faith do we stretch our faith muscle.
During change, the voice of faith can have us stepping into areas we would never have previously considered. Opening new doors that then lift others into new realms of ministry.
e.g The India AFL and Mominpore Story (Ang and Maddie representing Impact in January 2020), SCA Role and opportunities for gifts to be released in people like Geoff Scown and Erik Werps, and then Bendigo Bank opening the door to Christian Pastoral Care as God’s representatives.
- The Voice of Foundations: I loved this aspect of Kerrin’s message as it took me back to my early foundations of Faith, my healthy fear of God that probably saved me from some dumb peer influenced decisions. A way of doing life instilled into me by a mum and a strong Methodist Church family. Sunday Church a non- contested part of life. You can imagine the challenge to my foundations when Sunday sport became a reality!!The Deeper the foundations the less the building moves in a storm of change.People in my Youth and young adult years, the Saints who are all now enjoying their heavenly rewards are people involved in helping build foundations in my life.
- The Voice of Friends: Proverbs 27:5-6 (NIV).Every Thursday morning I have from 4-10 wise voices advising me on ministry and life issues…..the voice of wisdom in a multitude of counsellors….some of the wisdom in less important subjects is debateable but in the real life issues its essential, the key is transparency, authenticity and genuine agape love.The Voice of Friends in a time of change is essential BUT choose carefully!!
Today I want to add 3 more voices to listen to in a time of Change.
1. The Voice Of Servanthood
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
You have been created to serve. In our current culture it is tempting to think that we were created to find a Church or a podcast that feeds us with spiritual food by the way of messages and programs to help us grow as a person, a better person rather than a “deader” person. Yet we are called to die to self not to feed self with prominence.
Actually the role of the local Church is to equip you for ministry (Ephesians 4) and to help you represent Christ to a lost and dying world by displaying the nature of Christ as outlined in the Kenosis, the following passage:
Philippians 2: 5-8 (NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
1 Peter 4: 8-10 (NIV)
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 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.
Peter, as an aged experienced Apostle, had seen many changes in his life and ministry but his instructions to a Church, about to suffer massive change due to persecution, was to focus on loving and serving one another!
Note, he doesn’t simply speak encouraging motivational messages of hope, he says keep serving, keep loving, keep going.
Paul in Galatians 2:20 says “It’s no longer I who live but Christ……” serving without fuss displays the Christ in us.
Personally through the dramatic changes in ministry that we have experienced over the past 10 years serving in each new season opened the door to the next thing that “God prepared in advance for us to do”.
2. The Voice of Purpose
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.”
Luke 10:1-9 (NIV)
10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
When change comes, often with relentless disruption and severe pain, the voice of purpose, my ”reason for being” must always be heard clearly.
In every season and through every change in life our purpose to glorify God in all we do never changes.
The WESTMINISTER Confession says in answer to the question:
“What is the Chief end of Man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
From this flows the outworking of the answer for us to live as Kingdom of God Ambassadors, to see His Kingdom grow, to see people freed from the Kingdom they were born into and enter, by faith in Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God.
The Voice of Purpose asks the questions:
Are your responses to change glorifying God?
Does what you are doing cause Kingdom Growth?
If you have a gift such as leadership are you outworking it in the new context change has taken you into? (The voice of service sets you up to hear the voice of purpose).
Are you living for Christ in such a way that people in your new setting are more likely to be saved by observing you?
Your purpose never changes even if your circumstances do.
The voice of purpose keeps you on track to fruitfully adapt to your change.
3. The Voice of Eternity
Colossians 3: 1-4 (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. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
This is the loudest voice of all.
This is the “calling you home” voice of Heaven.
This is the voice of the Ultimate prize.
The “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant” voice of Jesus.
The voice of the place where, as a believer, you will experience the greatest change for the longest time – all of Eternity.
The Apostle Paul continually heard the voice of Heaven as he fulfilled his purpose and served his people.
He said to the Philippian Christians
Philipians 1:21-24 (NIV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
We are still here and not in heaven for the sake of others.
If being here didn’t have a great God ordained purpose for you then HEAVEN would be your home NOW.
This is also the voice of Reunion – Reunion with loved ones who have gone before us.
Meeting those heroes of faith that we have heard about who finished their earthly assignment before us.
The prayer warriors and those who no one knows about but who quietly stretched their faith muscle faithfully during their earthly assignment.
BUT ABOVE ALL THAT, SEEING JESUS!
Quote Page 20 from the Book “A Place Called Heaven”
This voice of Heaven had a powerful impact on the salvation of our Youth Pastor, Jake Blabey. The voice of Heaven turned Jake from being a believer into one who wants to influence people for Christ in Eternity.
So in conclusion we can see that change is certain!
So far, we have 6 voices to listen to:
The Voice of Faith, rather than the voice of doubt.
The Voice of Foundations, rather than the voice of current morality.
The Voice of Friends, rather than the voice of the world.
The Voice of Servanthood, rather than the voice of selfishness.
The Voice of Purpose, rather than the voice of entertainment.
The loudest and most important motivator through tough times of change:
The Voice of Heaven.
Do you know the reality of this voice, the certainty of your eternal home?
The Holy Spirit is speaking to you right now and telling you that He loves you so you can have that certainty of salvation.