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Archive for November, 2012

WHITE RIBBON SUNDAY

Watch this clip – http://youtu.be/_ghqblX8kxM  (Warning: This clip contains disturbing scenes)

What is the White Ribbon Foundation?

http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/

This is a world wide organisation to work for prevention of violence against women.

Plenty Valley Church’s stand against Family Violence.

Culture Changers – Christians in a sick society

Our calling is to change the culture we live in – to be salt and light (Matt 5:13-16); to influence for righteousness. An example of this was Daniel.

The story of Daniel was how he brought change to Babylon and King Darius

Daniel 6:25-28

In the modern day we have examples like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. These were Christians who stood for righteousness and worked to change the prevailing culture of their own society.

The effectiveness of their stand varies, but the fact that they stood up for righteousness against the ungodliness of their surroundings is a result of their Christianity being outworked.

Christians have stood for change, for righteousness in many different arenas. Often it is a tiny voice against an ocean of unrighteousness. Their results can be:

  1. A standard marker to set direction for righteousness for the generation (Mother Theresa)
  2. The movement creator who led massive change (Nelson Mandela)
  3. A Martyr who’s presence and unjust death galvanised the forces for good into action. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.)

We are called to be salt and light, to be culture changers.

In our local area family violence is a major force. It is the enemy.

Stats and figures are showing an increase 288% in 10 years.

More stats see – http://tinyurl.com/8jzzu53

Explain Family Violence:

It often begins with Violence against women, and includes abuse of children.

Violence against women is understood to occur on a continuum from psychological, economic and emotional abuse through to physical and sexual violence.

It refers to ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life’.   (United Nations 1993)

Forms of violence against women

• Physical: hitting, slapping, choking, stabbing, murder, murder-suicide…

• Sexual: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual abuse…

• Emotional and verbal: put-downs, insults, deliberately undermining confidence, humiliating, degrading, threats of violence or punishment, manipulation…

• Social: controlling and isolating, smothering, abusing in public

• Economic: controlling/denying money…

• Spiritual: eroding a women’s cultural or religious beliefs…

Family Violence also includes bullying and harassment

Violence against children includes most of these forms of abuse as well as witnessing the abuse of their mothers.

How we are going to fight it?

  1. Prayer
  2. Self-awareness in the church
    1. be different
    2. be salt and light
  3. Network with other groups and work together
  4. Offer resources to assist families
    1. Marriage counselling and enrichment.
    2. Budget counselling
    3. Assisting Teens issues
    4. Men’s groups
  5. Pull together community leaders to create cultural change.

Violence in the home is wrong. Violence is out of place in the world except as self defence. The home is for love, acceptance and nurture.

Usually it is men behaving badly. Why do men commit violence?

It is learned culture.

–         Violence begins at a young age with video games, cartoons, television and movies.

–         This leads to bullying at primary school which leads to bullying at high school

–         Leads to family violence when adulthood is reached.

When men feel impotent and powerless they act out. They choose violence to affirm their manhood. This is in part caused by:

–         No affirming fathers

–         No celebration on the sporting field, as more and more young boys turn from active sport to sedentary digital screens for recreation.

–         No healthy initiation into manhood.

ANSWER – EQUALITY

The foundation of the home is love and respect. While the bible clearly teaches that the man should be the leader in the home, this role is to nurture, protect and provide.

God calls men and women to equality.

Gal 3:28  In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (MESS)

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

In the workplace, street, school or uni God calls us to honour love and respect one another regardless of gender, race or age.

Rom 12:10  Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honour to one another. (AMP)

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR VIOLENCE IN OUR HOMES OR IN SOCIETY.

The only righteous place for violence is self defence. In law this must be demonstrated at a lesser level than the attacker’s violence.

Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. [Prov. 3:7.]

Rom 12:17  Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. [Prov. 20:22.]

Rom 12:18  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Rom 12:19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. [Deut. 32:35.]

Rom 12:20  But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. [Prov. 25:21, 22.]

Rom 12:21  Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good. (AMP)

When we witness violence we must

  1. Protect the vulnerable
  2. Speak up
  3. Call for help

MEN ARE OFTEN THE PERPETRATORS, MEN MUST LEAD THE WAY IN CULTURAL CHANGE.

ACTION PLAN

  1. Pray against the spirit of violence.
  2. Eliminate Family Violence in our homes
  3. Men –  take a stand – take the pledge – speak up
  4. Take every opportunity to be salt and light in your workplace, Street, school, uni.

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What was Australia like 30 years ago? 

Our youth group, did street work, 60-90 teens and young adults on the street every Friday night. We saw from 2 to about 25 saved very time.

God called me to preach at the Uni. QLD uni.  Street preaching.

The church grew from people pouring out of the denominational scene.

Tent Crusades, country evangelism team.

This church was planted in 1994.

There was a Holy Spirit outpouring with laughter, visions and drunkenness.

When we came here to Melbourne we were one family husband-and-wife with four young children but we were God dependent. We knew no one in the city we had one couple with us and a young woman who played keyboard. The church in Brisbane gave us support money for rent of our building and rent of our house

 

We still had a house in Brisbane that wouldn’t sell we had to pay the mortgage there and no rent income but at that time we chose not to work secular jobs. The first Sunday offering we received $318 and we gave the whole lot away to another COC as a first fruits offering.

We came with a goal and a vision to build up COC in Victoria

Our Vision today

Vision: five

500 in five years

five souls a week

$5000 in the offering

We have a big vision, our vision is 100 churches in 20 years

Now vision is to build a new church complex on the hill over the next seven years.

 

Australia is changing is undergoing secularisation. Issues like same-sex marriage forcing a new agenda in Australia. There is a strong movement against Christianity. Now we see a new atheism has arisen; it is defined by Peter Pilt as not just a belief that there is no God, but aggressively working to wipe out Christianity.

Here’s some issues that will test the church over the next 20 years…

  1. Normalising of Homosexual behaviour. Pastors charged with a crime for not marrying same sex couples.
  2. Schools forced to teach Homosexuality is another option and normal
  3. ChristianSchools forced to provide condoms to students.
  4. Outlawing of the teaching of creation.
  5. Doctors in Victoria who refuse to perform an abortion when requested by a woman are charged with a crime.
  6. The over-sexualisation of the culture
  7. Legalisation of drugs.
  8. Accommodation of Islamic values in Australian Culture.

 

At the same time the Catholic Church has not helped the cause of the church here in Australia was so much paedophilia taking place through the priesthood. There is a changing mood in the society of Australia to see the church as outdated irrelevant and even part of the problem.

 

Young people in our schools universities you will come up against opposition to your face.

Will you be able to stand? How do you stand when it appears that your enemy seems right in their thinking? Or if you can’t answer their questions or criticisms.

Listen to me; it’s no difference to Christians in the communist nations who have been persecuted for their faith. Their captors seemed right in their criticism of those Christians too.

What are you going to do about it?

There is a strategy of the secularised system. The approach is:

  1. Ridicule all belief in God
  2. Prove it is outdated
  3. Don’t allow a Christian voice
  4. Blame Christianity for all social problems.

The Answer:

  1. Fire of God                 Luk_3:16  John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
  2. Decision to stand for God no matter what. Are you fully persuaded? One example is brother Yun from China.              1Pe 4:14  If you are censured and suffer abuse [because you bear] the name of Christ, blessed [are you–happy, fortunate, to be envied, with life-joy, and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition], because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. [Isa. 11:2.]
  3. Get educated:
    1. Read the bible
    2. Read apologetics
    3. Read issues   –    1Pe 3:15  But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. [Isa. 8:12, 13.]

4. Don’t fight secularism; fight the devil by loving people; serving people; praying for people. Jesus is the answer for the world.

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THE THEME THIS MONTH IS OTHERS

National others week (29 October – 4 November) was a COC initiative that was celebrated Australia wide. We are extending that theme for the whole month of November.

The goal is to show kindness to others, thereby demonstrating the kindness and the love of God.

Treat One Another with Kindness

Here’s some examples of kindness shown through our church and shared on our own facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30066992358/

  1. As National Others Month continues, looking for what I can do, my part this week was to mow my neighbours lawn. What can you do?
  2. My effort to be kind today was to drive 2 hours to see a pastor that needed some encouragement. He and his family have been through some difficult times.
  3. We gave a bunch of flowers to the staff at Degani’s Cafe as they are experiencing a sad time because one of their staff is very ill. (We will be following up on the staff member too)
  4. I got a text from my cousin just then. Dante has improved miraculously overnight. No more spasms, MRI clear and just started walking again. So happy! Thank you to all who prayed!

Here are some stories on the National Others Week facebook page from around Australia: https://www.facebook.com/NationalOthersWeek?fref=ts

  1. The fellas from the Year 7&8 Youth Life Group chipped in & bought supplies for the homeless / needy in the Toowoomba area
  2. Loving ‘National Others Week’ One lady from Church has put together a beautiful basket of NutriMetics for prize draw tonight at venue 101 Cafe. Money dropped off at Venue 101 Cafe by 2 people to bless customers by paying for their coffee and cakes. Jesse and I have been having a wonderful time surprising random customers by saying ‘Someone has anonymously paid for your order.’ Another lady rode her bike 5km to bless someone by weeding their garden in 30c. Awesome 🙂 From Julie Kelly – Casey COC
  3. Ladies in Bundaberg, giving out pot plants to their neighbours as part of National Others Week.
  4. Charleville Christian Outreach Centre held a morning tea for the staff at the local hospital as an act of appreciation:- National Others Week.

If you need some ideas about what you can do to randomly bless people and show acts of kindness, then checkout this list of 50 suggestions you received at the door this morning. Also available here:  http://alturl.com/ijgia

 The Story of Paul

The story of Saul who became Paul is a remarkable story of Gods Kindness.

Act 9:1  MEANWHILE SAUL, still drawing his breath hard from threatening and murderous desire against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

Act 9:2  And requested of him letters to the synagogues at Damascus [authorizing him], so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way [of life as determined by faith in Jesus Christ], he might bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem.

Act 9:3  Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him,

Act 9:4  And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]?

Act 9:5  And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].

Act 9:6  Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do? The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.

Act 9:7  The men who were accompanying him were unable to speak [for terror], hearing the voice but seeing no one.

Act 9:8  Then Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

Act 9:9  And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank [anything].

Act 9:10  Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he answered, Here am I, Lord.

Act 9:11  And the Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying [there].

Act 9:12  And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias enter and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.

Act 9:13  But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and what great suffering he has brought on Your saints at Jerusalem;

Act 9:14  Now he is here and has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call upon Your name.

Act 9:15  But the Lord said to him, Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the descendants of Israel;

Act 9:16  For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name’s sake.

Act 9:17  So Ananias left and went into the house. And he laid his hands on Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you along the way by which you came here, has sent me that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Act 9:18  And instantly something like scales fell from [Saul’s] eyes, and he recovered his sight. Then he arose and was baptized,

Act 9:19  And after he took some food, he was strengthened. For several days [afterward] he remained with the disciples at Damascus.

Act 9:20  And immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, saying, He is the Son of God!

Act 9:21  And all who heard him were amazed and said, Is not this the very man who harassed and overthrew and destroyed in Jerusalem those who called upon this Name? And he has come here for the express purpose of arresting them and bringing them in chains before the chief priests.

Let’s look at the believer called Ananias who heard from God about showing kindness to someone who he believed was not deserving of the kindness and blessing of God.

How reluctant must Ananias have felt when God asked him to go and pray for the murderer Saul? He must have been fearful for his own life and also for the lives of so many others who could one day be the victims of this religious persecutor who destroyed the lives and families of Christians.

Saul/Paul was a persecutor of the church.

Act_22:4  [Yes] I harassed (troubled, molested, and persecuted) this Way [of the Lord] to the death, putting in chains and committing to prison both men and women,

Gal_1:13  You have heard of my earlier career and former manner of life in the Jewish religion (Judaism), how I persecuted and abused the church of God furiously and extensively, and [with fanatical zeal did my best] to make havoc of it and destroy it.

When is justice done? God’s mercy and loving kindness means that Jesus was the one to bear the penalty for all Paul’s sins. Paul would feel he deserved to be punished, but he accepted God’s mercy. 1Ti_1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

When we see perpetrators; people who act badly, immorally, illegally, we want to see them punished; but for ourselves we want mercy. Could you show kindness to a totally undeserving person?

1Th_5:15  See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.

When we feel aggrieved so we want justice, but when we are the perpetrator we call for mercy. Could you show mercy and give kindness to a person who you believed was totally undeserving of it?

What if in so doing you opened their understanding to God and they became a Christian and turned around their life?

Heb_13:16  Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy [of the church as embodiment and proof of fellowship], for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

2Co_9:9  As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever! [Ps. 112:9.]

Maybe your boss seems undeserving?

Maybe your grumpy neighbour seems really undeserving?

Perhaps your atheist uncle who always ridicules you at family functions seems totally undeserving?

Are you ready to shock them with an act of no strings attached kindness?

Saul/Paul was shocked by Jesus approach to him and Ananias was shocked by God’s request of him…. But look at the fruit of that kindness.

Let’s be kind to others; and let us know what happened.

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