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Archive for July, 2012

The End Times or the Last Days Church

Days of Increase

There are two views of the last day’s church that the church has held.

  1. A picture of a strong and church triumphant in the midst of persecution.
  2. A weakened church grimly hanging on until the end when the Jesus comes to save her

The first picture is the one I believe is the scriptural one.

The second picture is drawn from verses like these:

Mat 24:10  And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. AMP

Luk 21:25  “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,

Luk 21:26  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. ESV

In the last days all things increaseThe power of God and also unrighteousness and difficult times.

God’s plan is to fill the earth with His glory

Num_14:21  But truly as I live and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, [Isa. 6:3; 11:9.]

In the last days the righteous and the unrighteous will rise together…

Jesus painted a picture of the kingdom as the last days approach.

Mat 13:24  Another parable He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Mat 13:25  But while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed also darnel (weeds resembling wheat) among the wheat, and went on his way.

Mat 13:26  So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the darnel (weeds) appeared also.

Mat 13:27  And the servants of the owner came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it?

Mat 13:28  He replied to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and weed them out?

Mat 13:29  But he said, No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it.

Mat 13:30  Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.

The disciples asked – What is this parable all about?

Mat 13:36  Then He left the throngs and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, Explain to us the parable of the darnel in the field.

Mat 13:37  He answered, He Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.

Mat 13:38  The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one,

Mat 13:39  And the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels.

Mat 13:40  Just as the darnel (weeds resembling wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age.

Mat 13:41  The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense [persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin] and all who do iniquity and act wickedly,

Mat 13:42  And will cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.

Mat 13:43  Then will the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears [to hear] be listening, and let him consider and perceive and understand by hearing. [Dan. 12:3.]

In these last days the unrighteous will grow up with the righteous side by side as Jesus said He will allow this…

This teaching from Jesus allows us to see that within the church there are the true believers and then there are the pretenders.

Normally people do not see themselves as pretenders but when persecution comes they will not be able to stand.

Here is the sequence historically of the church, which at first was Israel and then the Gentiles were grafted in to the same olive tree.

God at the first preached the gospel to Abraham saying: In you shall the nations of the earth be blessed. Every Nation shall see the Glory of God and the Salvation of the Lord.

Jesus confirmed this when He commanded His disciples to go into all the world.

And then said, when the gospel has been published in EVERY nation then shall the end come. (Matt 24:14)

The Gospels give predictions about the church of the last days and what things will happen. See the whole of Matt 24, and the whole of Luke 21.

Summary of last times:

  1. Be on your guard – there will be false Christs arise.
  2. There will be wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences.
  3. You will be persecuted, betrayed, hated
  4. Earthly Sign of second coming is armies surrounding Jerusalem
  5. Heavenly signs of His coming is in the sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth

Old testament prophecies of the last days

In Acts, Peter says we are in the last days and the signs are:

Act_2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams. AMP

Peter is quoting the prophet Joel

Joe 2:28  And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

Joe 2:29  Even upon the menservants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out My Spirit.

Joe 2:30  And I will show signs and wonders in the heavens, and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.

Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. [Isa. 13:6, 9-11; 24:21-23; Ezek. 32:7-10; Matt. 24:29, 30; Rev. 6:12-17.]

Joe 2:32  And whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered and saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the remnant [of survivors] shall be those whom the Lord calls. [Acts 2:17-21; Rom. 10:13.] AMP

This pouring out of Gods Spirit was to be in the last days, which Peter declares to be at the time he preached at Pentecost. That was the beginning of the last days. The time we are in is the end of the last days.

This picture contains two parts:

  1. The pouring out of God’s Spirit – a significant world changing impact
  2. The signs to be expected in the heavenlies

The fact that these two pictures are linked in the one prophecy gives us the timing of the events as being together

God wants us to see the church as He sees it…. Strong, Holy, Godly, Powerful and overcoming, because it represents Him. There is mixture in the church; the wheat and the tares are growing up together but the humble in heart will have discernment and will see the true believers, and will cling to God’s mercy.

 Latter rain

Principle – Ecc_7:8  Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. AMP

Eg. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, first adam, better covenant, wine at wedding

The former Versus the Latter

Joe_2:23  Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.

Hag_2:9  The latter glory of this house [with its successor, to which Jesus came] shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace and prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.

Isa 2:2  It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be [firmly] established as the highest of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it.

These verses prophesy that these last of the last days will be more glorious than the former days such as the times of the early church.

The last days church in our times and continuing to the second coming of Jesus is a better and more powerful church than even the book of acts church.

Revelation gives us a picture of the church triumphant.

Rev 6:9  When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne.

Rev 6:10  They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth? [Gen. 4:10; Ps. 79:5; Zech. 1:12.]

Rev 6:11  Then they were each given a long and flowing and festive white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little while longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

Rev 6:12  When He [the Lamb] broke open the sixth seal, I looked, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun grew black as sackcloth of hair, [the full disc of] the moon became like blood. [Joel 2:10, 31.]

Rev 7:9  After this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count, [gathered out] of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. These stood before the throne and before the Lamb; they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.

Rev 7:13  Then, addressing me, one of the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] said, Who are these [people] clothed in the long white robes? And from where have they come?

Rev 7:14  I replied, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation (persecution), and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. [Gen. 49:11; Dan. 12:1.] AMP

Here again we see the signs in the heavens linked with the multitude of God’s outpouring of salvation in the earth.

The church of the last days as described in the Epistles

A Church without spot or wrinkle

Eph 5:24  As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph 5:26  So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,

Eph 5:27  That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].

God is at work in the church to perfect her, and make her ready for His son the bridegroom.

At the same time the devil is at work to prevent the church from becoming that pure bride.

Eph 4:12  His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),

Eph 4:13  [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

 Paul warns that perilous times shall come:

 2Ti 3:1  BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

2Ti 3:2  For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.

2Ti 3:3  [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.

2Ti 3:4  [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.

2Ti 3:5  For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

2Ti 3:13  But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves. AMP

There are many warnings that ungodly people will get worse in the last days

1Ti 4:1  BUT THE [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach,

1Ti 4:2  Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized),

2Pe_3:3  To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires

1Jn 2:18  Boys (lads), it is the last time (hour, the end of this age). And as you have heard that the antichrist [he who will oppose Christ in the guise of Christ] is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen, which confirms our belief that it is the final (the end) time.

1Jn 2:19  They went out from our number, but they did not [really] belong to us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But [they withdrew] that it might be plain that they all are not of us.

Jud_1:18  They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions. AMP

Conclusions

The last day’s church will be powerful and glorious.

The result will be huge multitudes of people coming into the kingdom.

Joh 14:12  I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

At the same time there will be great persecution. This persecution God allows to sort out the true believers from the pretenders.

How should we then live?

What are the requirements of the people in this last day’s church.

  1. Don’t be deceived, because deception will rise – SO Be filled with the Holy Spirit of truth and love truth.
  2. Don’t be afraid because calamities must occur. – SO walk in faith.
  3. Persecution will rise – SO Trust in God’s protection and His voice.
  4. Worldliness will rise – SO Stay pure and walk in righteousness.
  5.  Be ready because the Jesus is coming back at an hour when you do not expect Him. – SO stay close to Jesus, keep short accounts with God

 

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What a Leader looks like. – THE STANDARD

DEMOGRAPHIC & CORE LEADERS

Any person who leads a group of leaders in reaching a section of society such as youth or young mums is a demographic leader. Any person who is leading two or more individuals in a small group, whether an Urban Connect group or ministry group or administrative group will be part of the Core leaders group. These people have influence over other church members and are leading by example though their lives and conduct.

A Leader in Plenty Valley Church is identified by

Character

  • Has an obvious love for Jesus and His church.
  • Practices the fruit of the Spirit from Gal 5:22
  • Practices servanthood as a value
  • Is accountable for their life and witness
  • Is teachable

Competence

  • Actively seeking to win people to Christ.
  • Practicing the competencies described in DNA and Purple Book.
DNA Competencies

  • State the church vision.
  • Connect to an Urban Connect Group.
  • Find your Gift and a place to serve.
  • Be baptized in water.
  • Commit to belonging to the local church.
Purple Book Competencies

  • Commit to regular bible reading and prayer.
  • Commit to tithing.
  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit

Displays ownership through

  • Attending Regularly
  • Warmly greeting newcomers and helping link them into relationships
  • Seeking opportunities to pray with others.
  • Discipling at least 1 other with a view to encourage them in their walk with God. (multiply yourself)
  • Seeking to build bridges with unchurched people.

Connections

  •  Is in a Urban Connect group for Discipleship Purposes
  •  Has a mentor/coach OR
  •  Is part of a prayer group (could be just two or three people)
  •  Is mentoring/coaching/discipling others.

Chemistry

  • Has a passion to develop and improve their people skills so that they contribute to healthy church relationships.
  • Practices conflict resolution wherever possible.

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URBAN CONNECT GROUP LEADERS TRAINING

JULY-AUGUST 2012

FOR NEW LEADERS

Goal – to train new leaders so they are ready to participate in an Urban Connect group with a leader who will model the healthy group life that we are seeking.

Vision – How does this help the vision of the church?

Urban Connect groups are vital to the vision of the church and are a big part of assisting us to accomplish what our vision is.

For many of you – you are becoming a leader by taking this training.

It’s taking a step up. Choosing to be different. You will choose to act differently, to have different values, to take responsibility.

Becoming a leader happens when:

  1. You believe you are called.
  2. You receive inspiration from a visionary leader.
  3. You are discipled to help you grow.

You are here today because we have invited you to become a leader.

How is a leader different to another person in the church?

What are the behaviours of a leader?

List them out on the White Board

WEEK 1

What is leadership? – Influence.

Luk 9:57  And it occurred that as they were going along the road, a man said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.

Luk 9:58  And Jesus told him, Foxes have lurking holes and the birds of the air have roosts and nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.

Luk 9:59  And He said to another, Become My disciple, side with My party, and accompany Me! But he replied, Lord, permit me first to go and bury (await the death of) my father.

Luk 9:60  But Jesus said to him, Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and publish abroad throughout all regions the kingdom of God.

Luk 9:61  Another also said, I will follow You, Lord, and become Your disciple and side with Your party; but let me first say good-bye to those at my home.

Luk 9:62  Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.

These people became disciples, that’s not even being a leader.

What did you learn from these verses about what Jesus asks of you?

If you choose to become a leader in this church by taking the role of Urban Connect leader there are some important choices we will ask you to make.

  1. Receive inspiration from the visionary leader – come to HUB
  2. Work on becoming a soul winner
  3. Your financial giving reflects your passion for the vision.

Why do churches have small groups?

List on the White Board

WEEK 2

The main thing is the main thing – soul winning.

What we believe in this church:

  • The power of an invitation
  • Go into all the world – reaching demographic groups
  • Discipling lost people to become disciple makers.

WEEK 3

The role of the Visionary Leader, Demographic Leader and Core Leader.

Your role as a core leader = Urban Connect Group Leader.

WEEK 4

What happens in an Urban Connect Group meeting?

How to run a meeting. Learning in the classroom and on the job.

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  1. We must decide on the form of the debate. If the form is to be based in logic or in rhetoric or in chaos/humour then it should only take one form, not mixed.
    1. Logic drives towards proving a truth
    2. Rhetoric drives at persuasion by values
    3. Chaos/ humour is an exercise in entertainment
  2. A subject should be agreed upon and tangents must be mutually agreed.
  3. Each proponent must exercise patience and good nature.
  4. Listening to your opponent creates value in the argument.
  5. Each proponent must suppose that his opponent has a world view that is different from his own and therefore will see all facts from that perspective.
  6. Argument is allowed to be persuasive.
  7. The goal is to understand your opponent’s viewpoint, not necessarily agree with it.
  8. Each proponent speaks for his side and it is the listeners who must decide which one they agree with.
  9. Speaking over the other proponent or interrupting cheapens the debate.
  10. If one speaker goes too long the other one has a right to call time. Time should be mutually agreed.
  11. Debate can be verbal, or by writing, through whatever media is agreed upon.
  12. The debate may be limited by the proponents to the two beginners or they may allow others comment by initial agreement.

Please tell me what you think…

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ImageThe Most Amazing Church on Earth

Have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations?

 Sometimes people may have pointed to all the different denominations or parts of Christianity and used this fact as an example of the lack of credibility of the Christian faith.

 But today you will see Gods’ unfolding plan to impact the whole earth with His Church.

 It is no surprise to God that so many denominations exist or that the church is so varied and often in disagreement with one another.

God’s plan for the church is coming to fruition. His purpose is to maximise the number of people who will become part of His eternal Kingdom.

 The purpose of these messages about the most amazing church on earth is for you to see the big picture of what you are part of. To see the work of God on a world wide scale and choose to participate in His wonderful purpose and plan.

 Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18) Sounds like the church is a formidable, powerful, enduring and overcoming force in the earth.

 Is that how you see the church? Or do you see it as the secular media presents it…. As the irrelevant, powerless, bigoted, self destroying organisation that can never agree with itself and only makes life hard for people.

 He who pays the piper calls the tune.

 What the media never report is the world changing revivals of Christianity that are sweeping the world right now where we see for example…

  • In Sub SaharanAfrica– over 50% of the population are Born again Christians
  • Christianity has been estimated to be growing rapidly in South America, Africa, andAsia. In Africa, for instance, in 1900, there were only 8.7 million adherents of Christianity; now there are 390 million, and it is expected by 2025 there will be 600 million Christians inAfrica. 
  • The US Department of State estimates that Protestant Christianity may have grown 600% over the last decade in Vietnam
  • The Christian population of the Kandhamal district in Orissa was 117,950 in 2001, an increase from 75,597 in 1991, or a 66% growth, higher than the overall population at 18.6%. 42,353 converted to Christianity between 1991 and 2001, and two of them converted back to Hinduism
  • From the period between 2000 and 2005, Pentecostalism experienced a global growth rate of 488% expanding from 115 million to 588.5 million[12] global adherents. This classes Pentecostalism as the fastest growing religion world wide.

 Why doesn’t the media report about strong Christian movements? Because they are secular and this is about world domination.

 So why is the church so diverse?

 Of those who claim to be Christians the various groups there are thousands of different groups and denominations however the main groups are:

Denomination             Date of commencement

Catholic                             350AD

Orthodox                           370AD

Lutheran                            1516

Reformed/Presbyterian        1535

Baptist                               1550

Anglican                             1570

Methodist/Evangelical          1725

Salvation Army                   1865

Pentecostal                         1908

Charismatic                         1945

 The following groups sometimes thought of as Christian denominations, should be viewed as cults an should be avoided because they do not adhere to the bible as their only source of revelation;

 Mormons

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Christian Science

 A study of Church history from a point of view of revelation gives us a great perspective into God’s plan for His church.

 The beginnings

The church began in a blast of revival, the whole of the then known world was impacted by Christianity in the first 3 centuries after the crucifixion.

The church was strong in faith and true to the doctrines of the apostles at the start.

The fruit was

  • Massive numbers of conversions
  • Accompanied by signs and wonders and healings.
  • City changing and nation changing impact

 Gradually, as the apostles died out, different doctrines began to creep into the church. And as the church became more influenced by philosophies of men the results were less converts, and a dying out of signs and wonders and healing.

 In the year 313 Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had a vision of the cross and believed that God had shown him that the religion of the empire was to be Christianity. The persecution of the church byRomeceased and people were converted by the edge of the sword instead of a heart change. This created the beginning of the dark ages where the church became enmeshed with government and more of a political force than life changing force.

 The Catholic Church has its beginnings at this time and the orthodox churches grew up beside the Catholic Church until the eleventh century when they formally split.

 Through the period 300AD to 1500 AD the church was far from the power and effectiveness of the early church. It was full of ungodly behaviour, idolatry and heresy.

 But God’s plans were about to unfold.

 In 1516 Martin Luther a Catholic Priest wrote his 95 points thesis and nailed it onto the door of the cathedral where he lived in Wittenberg in Germany. Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge. Those who identify with Luther’s teachings are called Lutherans

This was the restoration of revelation that Jesus spoke to Peter the apostle that upon this rock (His confession that Jesus was the Christ) Jesus would build his church. The true church, the most amazing church on earth is not built on good works or trying to please God, but it is built on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the Cross.

The next big step of revelation was the Anabaptists who began to teach that people who professed faith in Jesus Christ must be baptised in water. This was an evidence of a changed life and not a ritual for babies. Through he 1500’s these Anabaptists were persecuted by the Lutherans and others who did not believe this strange new doctrine. The Baptist denomination and others can trace their roots to this movement.

 It was almost universal that each move of God would be rejected by the past move of God. People cling so tightly to hard won victories against unrighteousness and heresy that when the next step to freedom takes place they are too suspicious of it.

 As the move of God went on John Wesley came along and his life showed the truths of salvation through faith in God, but also preached sanctification. This was the belief that when someone comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ then they will experience change in their life and put away sin. Sanctification means being separated. John Wesley also brought the church to a stand of evangelical fervour. He was the first to preach to thousands in the outdoors with as many as 20,000 people attending his sermons and many professing a faith in Christ after his message.

 This evangelicalism was a restoration of the revelation of the command of Jesus to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature. John Wesley was also to champion the use of small groups meeting from house to house to build a church to which eventually one third ofEnglandbelonged. This great move of God spawned the Methodist church and all its offshoots that is still a string force in the earth today. During this period the work of missionaries began with William Carey going toIndia.

 In the late 1800’s God raised up William Booth an Anglican priest who was thrown out of the Anglican Church for bringing in lost and derelict people into church. Booth started the Salvation Army who saw incredible results of salvation and changed lives. The majority of their converts in the early years were straight out of jail, or ex prostitutes and the poor who found life in Christ. Booth opened up the church to all men not just the educated or the rich. He made it a church for all men.  This passion for social justice still exists today in the Salvation Army however their passion to win souls to Christ has been watered down to a large extent.

 In the early 1900’s the next major revelation to hit the church was healing. Famous Men of God such as John G Lake, AB Simpson, Smith Wigglesworth, brought back to the church the revelation that Jesus not only died for our sins but also he carried our sicknesses on the cross. There are two parts to the Lord’s Supper – The Wine and the Bread. The wine speaks of His blood to atone for our sin and the Bread speaks of His body broken for us to we could be made whole.

 Early in the 1900’s also the Pentecostal Movement began.

This was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and restored the baptism of the Holy Spirit which has been almost unknown for the whole of Church history since the early church in the book of acts.

 This movement believed in salvation through faith water baptism of believers and sanctification and reach out to all the world, but now added that only though the power of the Holy Spirit was this made possible. One of the evidences that believers had been filled with the Holy Spirit was their ability to speak in other tongues.

 This movement created the Assembly of God denomination known in Australias the ACC Australian Christian Churches, as well as a host of other Pentecostal denominations.

 In 1960 there was another outpouring of Gods spirit in the Charismatic movement – this was a restoration of praise and worship in a biblical manner with singing, shouting, clapping hands and the song of the spirit – that is, singing in tongues. This move of God also restored the gifts of the Holy Spirit to ordinary believers not just trained clergy. The gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, faith, discerning of evil spirits were all given prominence.  This movement took place within many existing denominations but of course was not universally accepted by all.

 Over the last 50 years since then we have seen the church world wide experience fresh new outpourings of God’s spirit in restoring such distinctives as:

  • The rise and prominence of the prophet to guide and correct the church
  • The rise of the apostolic ministry to influence regions or even nations through strong leadership and church planting.
  • The rise of Church planting organizations.
  • And now the rise again of the community impacting church that does great deal of work in impacting local communities with the gospel through social justice and demographic evangelism.

 What lies ahead for the church? The last days church will be greater in power and effectiveness that the early church. I will speak about this last days church on Sunday in two weeks.

 What lessons can we learn from church history?

  1. God is always moving. He is speaking to who ever will listen
  2. We must remain open and reachable to hear what God is saying in present day truth. For may have been left behind in a dead denomination that failed to embrace change and fresh revelation.
  3. The plan God has is to restore the church to all its former glory as in the book of Acts and more
  4. The church is the bride of Christ and is being washed by the water of the word so that she will become a bride without any spot or wrinkle.

 Are you open, hungry, teachable?

Are you dedicated to the plan God has for the church? To bring the gospel to every nation and the end will come?

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The most important question a church or ministry can ask about their online presence is this:

Who is in charge of the website?

If you can answer this, you’re light years ahead of most organizations. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not.

What ends up happening in most ministries and churches is that no one is in charge. Or everyone’s in charge. The debate is still raging for which one is worse, but I’m pretty sure Dante’s seventh circle of hell is reserved for website administration discussions.

http://pastors.com/whos-in-charge-of-your-church-website/ 

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How we treat Homosexuals in this church. Message Sunday July 8th 2012. This subject is different to what we say about Gay Marriage although we will make mention of it later. This subject is about our attitude towards gay people. It’s about how we treat people who are openly gay and how we relate to them in every day life and also how we relate to them as they come along to this church. The gay issue is in the news constantly now over the last 20 years or so. This is because there is a part of the culture made up of the strong rights demanding gay community who want to see the homosexual lifestyle and practice recognised and legitimised as being normal and just another sexual preference. For that to happen, the general population must make the huge transition over the belief that there is something either sinful or unnatural about having sex with a person of the same sex. The Gay community according to most surveys constitutes about 2-3% of the population. However the gay rights lobby constantly affirm its 10% or more. I believe that because the gay rights lobby is so strong in the media and famous people like Katy Perry sing songs like “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked it”  Then a huge number of teens and youth are experimenting with Homosexuality and this may swell the numbers in proportions that are hard to quantify. The gay community contains some people who feel trapped in their homosexual urges and orientation and are not sure that they want to make it a public issue. Some are openly gay and proud it and some are strongly pushing the gay lobby agenda. Firstly we want to ask, what does the bible say about it? OT Gen_13:13  Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. Gen_18:20  Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, Gen 19:5  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Gen 19:6  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, Gen 19:7  and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (NIV) NT Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom 1:22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, Rom 1:23  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Rom 1:24  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Rom 1:25  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Rom 1:26  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; Rom 1:27  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (NIV). Jud_1:7  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. The Christian response The gay lobby has done an excellent job in controlling the rhetoric in the media about gay rights. Pretty much the media is on board about their demands. The church has responded in two unhealthy ways. Some denominations have abandoned their scriptural foundations and have ordained openly homosexual clergy and have approved gay marriage. Other right wing or extreme conservative denominations have come out as Gay haters, marching in the streets with offensive placards reading things like “God hates Fags” No wonder the community is confused about where the church stands. Many Christians like to stay out of the issue altogether because they lack the knowledge and understanding to say why they believe as they do; and maybe lack the courage to stand up to the debate that casts them as judgemental, narrow minded and intolerant. However it’s no good ignoring cultural issues. The church gets sidelined and becomes irrelevant if we don’t take a leadership role and clearly represent the mind of God and the practice that brings about health and life for others. Can we have solid moral and intellectual grounds to oppose homosexuality and let still love the homosexual as Christ loves them. Surely our job is to defend the biblical stand concerning homosexuality, engaging the public debate on Homosexuality and interacting with homosexuals on a one to one basis in a loving and Christ honouring way. Sexual Sin It seems clear that homosexuality is condemned in the bible. But is it a worse sin than some others? Equally the bible condemns fornication – sexual relations before marriage, it condemns adultery – the practice of have sex with someone you’re not married to when you are married, or when you are single and they are married. Bestiality is condemned. Paedophilia is not mentioned in the bible, however as the bible clearly says that sex is for the confines of marriage then sex with a child is condemned also. Masturbation is not addressed in the bible. It is probably very likely that people who come to this church are involved in these sinful practices. Furthermore that many people also struggle with pornography. Many sins are condemned in the bible as outlined in the law of the old testament and confirmed in the new testament such idolatry, theft, greed, drunkenness, revilers, swindlers. Even sins like hatred, anger, violence, jealousy, doubt, and unbelief are clearly condemned in scripture. However concerning any kind of sexual sin listen to what the apostle Paul says about that category of sin… 1Co 6:18  Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1Co 6:19  Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, This illustrates how God sees our bodies as being a holy thing and designed ultimately for his Spirit to dwell within once we become a Christian. Another issue is that almost all sexual sin involves more than one person. It also can be a betrayal as in adultery and it can be leading another person astray as in seduction. This makes sexual sin more impacting than other sins, however homosexuality is not condemned any more severely than adultery or fornication in the New Testament. How should we treat homosexuals? When we as Christians meet any person who is not a Christian, surely our attitude is the same no matter what their beliefs or practices? They are someone Christ died for. I have a duty and obligation to share with them the words of life, the message of the gospel with my testimony and encourage them to consider the claims of Christ. If I meet an openly gay person, biblically they are no different to an adulterer or a fornicator as far as my response is concerned. Jesus showed His response to the woman caught in adultery was to rescue her from misplaced judgement, show her he did not condemn her and commanded her to sin no more. Joh 8:3  When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him. Joh 8:4  Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Joh 8:5  Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women–offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her–what is Your sentence]? [Deut. 22:22-24.] Joh 8:6  This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. Joh 8:7  However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. Joh 8:8  Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger. Joh 8:9  They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court. Joh 8:10  When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? Joh 8:11  She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more. In this story Jesus is directly confronted with sin exposed and must deal with it. The challenge for him was from the Pharisees who knew the law commanded that his woman be stoned to death. Jesus agreed with the law, but brought in mercy to allow the judgement to be averted (since He would pay the price himself at the cross) if the woman would respond to Christ’s offer of mercy. When people attend our church as a homosexual, or adulterer, or fornicator, we do not condemn them, we love them, accept them and introduce them to Jesus Christ. Our attitude is one that is wholeheartedly accepting and merciful, knowing that every one of us came to Christ as children of disobedience and He showed us mercy that we did not deserve. Furthermore as Galatians 6:1 says Gal 6:1  BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. We do not take temptation lightly but walk soberly, and in love and assist people to find Jesus. Our main job is to point people to Jesus. When I came to Christ, Chris and I had been sexually active for three years. No one came to us and said, “Hey you need to stop sinning.” We came to that decision over the first two months of our Christian walk and stopped sleeping together for the next 18 months till we got married. As Christians, whether in the family, the workplace, the school, the university or in the church I believe our job is to love people, accept them and show them Jesus by our words and actions. Don’t preach against their sin of homosexuality only, but preach about how all sin takes away from God, preach the gospel; we must believe in Jesus, and in the cross and what He accomplished for us. Being a homosexual will keep you out of heaven, but not believing in Jesus will also keep you out of heaven. If people ask what the bible says on these issues then we tell them, without condemnation. But let the Holy Spirit work in someone’s life for a little while before you try to get that spec out of their eye. So what about the public debate? Should we stand up for righteousness? Should we make our voices heard?  The media is full of articles about Gay marriage right now. It is a hot topic. Furthermore it raises all the other debates about the rightness of homosexual lifestyle and gay couples adopting children and many other issues. The Gay lobby has done an excellent job in painting this issue as a human rights issue and painting the church as a judgmental old fashioned and out of date irrelevant organisation. Some Christians and churches have buckled under this and come out in support of Gay rights. As we have seen this is only possible when the church ignores the scriptures. Perhaps we won’t pick a fight, but let’s be ready, be prepared, be knowledgeable about the truth so we can defend the position we hold to be true. If you need information about why gay marriage is not a good idea please go to the Australian Christian Lobby website: www.acl.org.au Are homosexuals born that way? This claim has really been pushed had in the media. My reviewing of research articles on this shows that there is no hard evidence of the Gay Gene. Myths and Misconceptions About Behavioral Genetics And Homosexuality “Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired,” Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head Of The Human Genome Project By A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D, MBA, MPH April 4, 2007 – Dr. Francis S. Collins, one of the world’s leading scientists who works at the cutting edge of DNA, concluded that “there is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive.” Everyone has opinions. Most people are very happy to tell you what  theirs is and for the most part it represents only what hey think. Surely you have a right to say what you think? Some others may be able to quote a learned person or study to back up their claims. For you as a Christian you have the bible as your basis for belief. Even when people say they don’t believe in the bible, the fact is most don’t have any basis for their opinion. If you want studies and research and hard evidence for your opinions then go to a website like the Australian Christian Lobby and learn about the facts so you can debate intelligently. Remember you win more arguments with an attitude of gentleness, consideration and careful listening than you do with belligerence, hatred and sweeping statements. If you want to know any more information please message me below

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