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Archive for January, 2013

Giving – The true testgiving

Boot Camp #4 – January 27, 2013

Over the last four weeks – run a spiritual boot camp.

How did you go?

Have you gained some spiritual fitness?

Why do you need to?

Your journey in life is not just physical – it’s also spiritual. How you prosper is about how you understand your spiritual journey. If you’re unfit spiritually how will you cope when spiritual challenges come?

Say: Loved one betrays you?

Lose your job?

Sickness strikes your life?

A person with false doctrine comes by to persuade you of lies?

Your spiritual fitness has eternal repercussions!!

GIVING

The big test of your spiritual fitness is your giving.

If you want to really measure yourself clearly about where your heart is at then look at your giving and your attitude to giving.

Jesus said: Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

So there’s a big link between your money and your heart.

For most people, our money, our possessions and assets define us. “I am who my money says I am” Almost all covet and desire to be rich or to have possessions or to be “comfortable.” For nearly every person comfortable is the goal and it’s always more than what they have now. (Even though in Australia, we are all among the richest 1% of the earth’s population.)

But the goal is not be comfortable. The goal is to make a difference. Remember when you gave your LIFE to Jesus. Your whole life! Was the goal to be comfortable? Or was the goal to be a child of God. To be led by the spirit?

Jesus said: Mat 10:38 And unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples.

Mat 10:39 If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it. (CEV)

HERE’S THE KEY

Luk 16:10 Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters.

Luk 16:11 If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? (CEV)

If you can get it right with money then you will really move forward with true wealth which is eternal and spiritual.

WHY?

Because it takes faith to give; and God wants you to have faith and to grow in faith. We all begin with a fixed pie mentality. More for God mean less for me. If you think this way you’re still in kindergarten spiritually. Jesus reminded the disciples, “hey when you’re with me, there always an abundance, Mat 16:8 But Jesus, aware of this, asked, Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? O you [men, how little trust you have in Me, how] little faith!

Mat 16:9 Do you not yet discern (perceive and understand)? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many [small hand] baskets you gathered?

Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many [large provision] baskets you took up? (AMP)

When you get faith you will transition to see money as seed. The more you get rid of in the right place the more you will end up with.

2Co 9:10 And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity]. [Isa. 55:10; Hos. 10:12.]

2Co 9:11 Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God.

Some people are not able to hear this message. They will go away and be unaffected by the reality of God’s spiritual program in giving and receiving. They may have great possessions on earth but as they enter into heaven there will be nothing in their pockets, no rewards.

Mat 6:19 Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal.

Mat 6:20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; (AMP)

My story.

In my first year – I gave $1000 to the church building program – Later when I got married we rented a house that everything in it down to the pegs, detergent and mower fuel. Later a gift of $3K helped buy our first house.

In 1994 we sold our home in Brisbane and gave $5K to the church building project.

(no profit) It wasn’t long before we purchased two properties.

In this church our first ever offering we gave the whole lot away, we became self sufficient in only six months.

The church one time really struggling financially – gave away our whole weeks offering at Christmas. No blessing appeared to come at first, but later when we bought the building it was a bargain price and we sold it after ten years and the church made a capital gain of $800K.

However, when you give, don’t look for the rewards, give because of the joy of giving.

We give because our hearts are moved.

Two stories about this.

Mat 26:7 A woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very precious perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table.

Mat 26:8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, For what purpose is all this waste?

Mat 26:9 For this perfume might have been sold for a large sum and the money given to the poor.

Mar 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury and saw how the crowd was casting money into the treasury. Many rich [people] were throwing in large sums.

Mar 12:42 And a widow who was poverty-stricken came and put in two copper mites [the smallest of coins], which together make half of a cent.

Mar 12:43 And He called His disciples [to Him] and said to them, Truly and surely I tell you, this widow, [she who is] poverty-stricken, has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury.

Mar 12:44 For they all threw in out of their abundance; but she, out of her deep poverty, has put in everything that she had–[even] all she had on which to live. (AMP)

We give because our hearts are grateful, we give because our hearts are moved, we give to Jesus, we give to His passion – the church. We love His church we love this house so we give. Ever since the year we were born again Chris and I have given between 10% – 20% of our gross income to the Lord. Whether we gain financially from it is never the issue, we are so thankful that He has saved us and given us a new life.

To be spiritually fit = TRUST

Php 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (AMP)

We don’t give what we can afford – that is fixed pie mentality, we give as God moves our hearts.

We give because of the joy of giving. Of course there are rewards and I am amazed at what God has done for us. We are truly blessed with assets, marriage, family and health. Be a giver, and give from the heart.

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Deep Love for God’s Wordwilliam_tyndale

Message Sunday 20 January 2013 PM

How powerful and beautiful are God’s words?

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

Psa 19:8  the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

Psa 19:9  the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

Psa 19:10  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Psa 19:11  Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

How much do you love God’s word?

Would you exchange a big lump of Gold for it?

Would you rather have a meal of Honey (Or plate of prawns, or a wagu fillet steak etc) or a serve of God’ word?

God’s word is so important that He says if anyone tries to change it they will be cursed.

Rev 22:18  I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

Rev 22:19  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Would you be prepared to die so that other people could read the bible?

Let me tell you about the life of William Tyndale

William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages; Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, English, and German that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today.

Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English one to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation, so that the grass-roots spread of Wycliffe’s Bible resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English

Tyndale said, “If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than the Roman Catholic Bishop!

In 1535, Tyndale was arrested and jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde (Filford) outside Brussels for over a year. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. His dying request that the King of England’s eyes would be opened seemed to find its fulfilment just two years later with Henry’s authorization of The Great Bible for the Church of England—which was largely Tyndale’s own work. Hence, the Tyndale Bible, as it was known, continued to play a key role in spreading Reformation ideas across the English-speaking world and eventually, on the global British Empire. His version also worked prominently into the Geneva Bible which was taken to the New World, to  Jamestown in 1607, and on the Mayflower in 1620. Notably, in 1611, the 54 independent scholars who created the King James Version, drew significantly from Tyndale, as well as translations that descended from his. One estimate suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale’s, and the Old Testament 76%.[7]

Other martyrs

In Tyndale’s time the church service throughout England was still conducted in Latin, as was the practice of the Roman church everywhere.  Colet, England’s greatest New  Testament scholar and  professor of  that  date  at  Oxford University, Tyndale’s chief teacher and bishop of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, was denounced for teaching his congregation to  recite  the  Lord’s Prayer in English.  Colet advocated also that the preaching be done in English, but this was not tolerated.  In 1539

five  Scotchmen were burned at  the stake in Edinburgh for studying,  memorizing,  and preaching from the Bible.  One of them was charged with teaching his parishion-

ers to say the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments in English. Taverner  who  published  an  English Bible  in 1539,  was  at  an  earlier time, while  a  student at  Oxford, imprisoned for  reading Tyndale’s New  Testament. Marbeck, who in 1550 published the first concordance to  the  English Bible, narrowly scaped being  put to  death. Thomas Matthew, who published  an English  Bible  in  1537,

the  year  following Tyndale’s martyrdom, was like  him burned at the stake in

1555. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/3135994.pdf?acceptTC=true

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Message Sunday 20 January 2013 AMbible

Have you completed your mini-survey?

The bible is amazing!

Most published book on earth by miles.

It is supernatural in its ability to change you.

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing  and  sifting  and  analyzing  and  judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 AMP)

When you go to sleep – your body goes into maintenance mode.

Your brain is very active when you are asleep. Your body is active in healing, restoring and growing during the sleep period.

What about your spirit, the real you, your heart, when does that restore heal and rejuvenate?

Look at what the word of God promises for your spirit man……

Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11 AMP)

Psa 119:105    Nun. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

You are cleansed  and  pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].

If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you  and  continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:3, 7 AMP)

The law of the  Lord  is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the  Lord  is  sure, making wise  the simple; (Psalms 19:7 ESV)

Lets look at a prophetic story in the Old Testament.

Ezekiel

Eze 37:1    The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.

Eze 37:2    And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.

Eze 37:3    And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”

Eze 37:4    Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

Eze 37:5    Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.

Dry bones – way past dead. – can they live?

But Israel were still a people alive and going about their daily routines.

But they were spiritually dead, why?

They had stopped their relationship with God They were worshipping idols – there were other things more important than God in their lives.

God asks – “Can these live?”

Ezekiel answers wisely…. ” You know Oh Lord”

Look what the word of The Lord does to these bones.

Eze 37:6    And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

Eze 37:7    So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

Eze 37:8    And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.

Eze 37:9    Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”

Eze 37:10    So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 

We will come alive when the word of God comes to us.

How dry are your bones?

How was your time spent in prayer this week? – Did you hear God speak to your heart about something?

Have you spent time this week reading Gods word?- is there an application of His word that you can make after reading it?

Have you been able to share your faith and testimony with people this week?  – if you abide in me and my words abide in you you shall bear much fruit.

During this time of prayer and fasting in this church from 7-27 January we have had prayer times at church every week day morning and every night.

Apart from paid staff the attendance has been between one and three.

Maybe there’s a lot of dry bones in this church.

Thanks to all those who pray and seek God at home and thanks to those who are fasting with us. But corporate prayer is vital.

One can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand to flight.

When you pray on your own – you could be distracted by worries, concerns, negative thoughts. When you pray with others you are supported and you learn how to pray. We will teach you.

I love you church but I am afraid that you have become disheartened.

Some of the most amazing people in this church are solo mums. Some of our solo mums arrive at 6am set their kids up in the play room and come in to the prayer room to seek God. Another woman in our church who has been through a deep tragedy recently came to cry out to God for others in this church.

God’s people have a capacity to change the world but only when they are vitally connected to Him.

Can these bones live? – I believe they can.

I PROPHESY OVER THIS CHURCH —   BREATH OF GOD COME FROM HEAVEN AND BLOW UPON THESE PEOPLE THAT THEY MAY ARISE AND STAND UP N THEIR FEET A MIGHTY ARMY.

Will you let the word of God heal you restore you and change you?

I believe that the bible is the word of God and it is inerrant, reliable and divinely inspired.

Here’s why…

Why not access the 8 messages on our podcast site that explain the authenticity and reliability of the bible.

  1. Evidence –

literary evidence

Prophetic evidence

Archaeological evidence

Go to :  http://pvc.podomatic.com/player/web/2010-04-09T06_14_02-07_00

2. If any part of the bible can be questioned, then how can you put your faith in any other part? How can your salvation, the most important issue in your life, rest upon a fallible text or one attributed to man or suspicious in its veracity?

Do not let popular secular myths and pseudo scientific statements shape how you believe about the word of God.

(It’s full of inconsistencies, or its changed over the centuries because of translation and copying errors.) thousands of scientists who believe in the inspiration of the bible are listed  here http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/

 

Here is a study that was done in Australia and America that looked at a list of 150 things that Christians can do to grow spiritually – and then measured it against 22 sins – to see which of the 150 were the most powerful to overcome sin. They came up with a very interesting conclusion – reading the word of God 4 or more times a week was most powerful.

In our Urban Connect Groups we teach members to read the word of God and come back to the group ready to share what God has spoken to them in that reading and how they will apply that to their lives.

Here’s the best way to read the word of God. We use the YOUVERSION Life Journal Reading plan that helps you read through the bible in a year Old Testament once and New Testament twice.

Here’s how to locate that. Go to PVCOC website. Or use the handout you received today.

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Fresh AirFresh Air is the proclaimed time for seeking God with prayer and fasting right across the Christian Outreach Centre Movement in Australia and Oceania. It’s a time when we set ourselves apart to meet with God. To seek Him out and to humble ourselves. Part of this experience is repentance.

That comes through clearly from

2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Turning from our wicked ways is repentance.

It’s not an old fashioned word, it’s not a “revival only” word, it’s not a word for the fanatics, it’s a word from the bible that simply means change your mind. Here are the two main Greek words that are translated as repentance in the new testament:

1. metanoeō (met-an-o-eh’-o)

From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

2. metanoia. met-an’-oy-ah

From G3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): – repentance.
When we spend time seeking God, we are opening up our lives, our hearts, our minds to God. We are asking , “What do I need to change God?”  When His people in the Old Testament went astray, as they did so often, He would call them back through His prophets. Return to me says the Lord. As normal human beings living in this fallen world it is so easy to find ourselves gradually changing to be like the world. Inching so surely and so gradually more and more to worldly behaviours and thinking.  For many Christians in our nation, there is little prayer in their lives, little reading of God’s word, their giving is what’s convenient, some even feel it unnecessary to attend church regularly; and fasting…. what’s that? All around us are millions of people who are on a highway to hell. Do we care? Are we heartbroken for the lost – even our own family members who are not saved yet? Do we really believe in a literal hell that every person who has not been born again will go to?

Take a look around – Australia is a very secular nation. so few are born again and many of those who are, are casual about winning the lost. The church has not just become irrelevant but is seen as part of the problem by the main stream media. OK so what do we do about it?  –  2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. I care about Australia – I want to see God rescue as any as possible from sin and unbelief. So this month I’m fasting and praying AND repenting.

The biggest obstacle to repentance is the attitude  – I’m OK its everyone else that needs to change. This is called self righteousness. The Pharisees were really good at this one.

In Luk 3:8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. – Here Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who believed that they were “OK” because they had Abraham as their father. Jesus discounted that by declaring, that is nothing… God can raise up sons of Abraham from these stones!  A little bit later in Luke we see

Luk 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
Luk 18:10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
Luk 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

Self righteousness is an obstacle for repentance. The Pharisee did not see any need to change. The tax collector saw a big need to change. The Pharisee is telling God how good he is, the Tax Collector is saying how bad he is. The Pharisee compared himself to others, but the Tax Collector compared himself with God.

When ever we say to ourselves, I’m OK; I’m not as bad as those people. Or we say I’m trying hard, I do this and that for God, we are blinded by self righteousness, we can’t repent and we don’t even realise we are poor, miserable, blind and naked.  (Rev 3:17)  If we say to ourselves I’ve been saved for so many years and I have been to so many prayer meetings and I have fasted for so many times and fail to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What needs to change in my heart today, Holy Spirit?” Then we are missing the incredible opportunity to open up our lives and our churches and our community for greatness and God’s plan.  Will you join us in seeking God, humbling ourselves, and repenting, turning away from attitudes, ideas, behaviours that the Holy Spirit shows us need to change?

2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

7-27 JANUARY 2013 – FRESH AIR

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BOOT CAMP 2 – THE POWER OF PRAYER PMufc-logo

This month we are holding boot camp. It’s a time for spiritual fitness training. Last week we learned about the value of fasting. This week we are tuning up the prayer muscles. How many prayer push-ups can you do? How long are your prayer runs. What’s your spiritual pulse rate in prayer?

There are two very important messages in the New Testament that Jesus gives His disciples about prayer.

  1. God answers prayers – just ask
  2. It’s important that you are persistent
  • Joh 15:7  If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Joh 16:23  In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

  • Luk 11:1  THEN HE was praying in a certain place; and when He stopped, one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray, [just] as John taught his disciples.

Luk 11:2  And He said to them, When you pray, say: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done [held holy and revered] on earth as it is in heaven.

Luk 11:3  Give us daily our bread [food for the morrow].

Luk 11:4  And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended us or done us wrong]. And bring us not into temptation but rescue us from evil.

Luk 11:5  And He said to them, Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and will say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread],

Luk 11:6  For a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come, and I have nothing to put before him;

Luk 11:7  And he from within will answer, Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you [with anything]?

Luk 11:8  I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

Luk 11:9  So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.

Luk 11:10  For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.

 Violence is part of our world.

There’s a fascination for violence – until you experience it yourself.

People watch UFC on television, it’s called as entertainment to watch men kick, punch stamp on each other and throw each other around. How much pain can a person endure? Our heroes are the strong, muscular, violent men who can endure anything and always overcome their opponents.

There is more violence in our own community than ever before.

In a negative way violence in many nations creates endless pain brutality; of lives lost and torture. We see on our TVs and on social media graphic depictions of horrific violence. I received an email this week that I cannot show you because it is too horrific for a public venue. It is a picture of about 150 human bodies burnt to death. They were Christians who were torched in northern Nigeria. Martyred for their faith.

This violence is physical, it’s in the natural world; but it begins in the spiritual world.

The bible says Eph 2:1  AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

Eph 2:2  In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].

Eph 2:3  Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behaviour governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.

These verses clearly show that godless people follow the prince of the power of the air; that is satan. They are under the control of an evil spirit that is still constantly at work in the children of disobedience.

The truth is the spirit world is influencing us all the time. As Christians we are to be violent in a spiritual sense and harmless in a physical sense.

Mat 11:12  And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize–a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

 When we pray we are at war spiritually.

Mat 12:29  Or how can a person go into a strong man’s house and carry off his goods (the entire equipment of his house) without first binding the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Mat 16:19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven. [Isa. 22:22.]

Eph 6:12  For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

At our prayer times this next two weeks we will be training you how to become strong in prayer. We will train you how to know your weapons and how to use them to overcome satan.

As a Christians we are called to overcome, to bind the works of the enemy and take back what was stolen. You are called to be an overcomer, Are you ready to fight in the spirit?

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Boot Camp 2 – The power of Prayerif-my-people

Read Nehemiah 1:1-6

Just in my lifetime alone there has been two times when God has moved mightily on the Australian people. In 1959 the Billy Graham Crusades in Sydney Brisbane and Melbourne reaped a harvest of lost souls that is still impacting the nation. Many people were born again and many of them continued in faith, filling so many different churches with new members. People saved during that time are now finishing heir race and passing on.

In the 1970’s  the Charismatic renewal took place in which hundreds of thousands of people were filled with the Holy Spirit and came out of dead denominational churches into new church movements like the ACC/AOG, COC, CCC, Christian Revival Crusade and the Apostolic Church. With them came a wave of new salvations and miracles and healings. Many churches and denominations accepted the baptism of the Holy Spirit and experienced renewal. The church went on TV.

Of the people who were saved in the time Chris and I were in 1977, a large percentage went on and a whole lot went into ministry. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s there was strong church growth and church planting.

Right now the church needs a time of awakening.

Large sections of the church in Australia see little or no salvations or even care that no one is saved and discipled for Christ. Large sections of the church are embracing secularisation of the society and agreeing with the godless rhetoric that evolution is true, abortion is a woman’s right, homosexuality is a valid choice, and the church’s main role is providing welfare. The church has, in Australia, not just become irrelevant but is perceived to be part of the problem in the eyes of secular media and society. So many Christians don’t see the need to go to church regularly, be baptised in water or be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The church has become what the bible calls a gazing stock.

2Ch 7:14  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

It’s our turn now. Our nation is in great need of God’s power and mercy.

When I was saved in 1977, I soon got hold of a massive vision called Australia for Christ. We prayed – at early morning prayer meetings from 5am. We went onto the streets witnessing every Friday night for years, we preached in the open air. I went and preached in the university open areas and later after Chris and I had kids and were raising a young family we transferred to Melbourne to help build our church movement in Victoria and Tasmania.

Something was birthed inside of me – Australia for Christ. It hasn’t changed. When I was a new convert I went to the early morning prayer meeting held at church on Friday mornings at 5am. I was so regular that they made me the leader of it after only a few months. A few years later when a guest speaker challenged us to seek God for His call and His mercy, I spent about 2 years rising at 4.30am every day to seek God and cry out for His work in the church and over Australia. Later as I sought to keep my life more sustainable I have come to the place where I rise at 5am every day of my life to spend time with God in prayer and His word.

A Christian who doesn’t pray is spiritually asleep. Our prayer life is an expression of relationship. What if I never talked to Chris. What if I lived in the same house and I never said a word to her. What would the relationship be like? Our prayer life is regulated by love, by relationship. Our prayer life is based in worship, love and communication, but it’s not just for me that I pray. I am not just praying for God to bless me and help me, but I am living in a city that is far from God and I cannot help but be moved to intercession for the lost all around me.

Like Isaiah I cry: Isa 6:5  Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

 

Are we moved by the ungodliness of our own Australian society all around us? Or like the frog in boiling water are we gradually changing to be like our surroundings. I remember when the Die Hard movie first came out I went and saw it and came home and repented before God because of the gratuitous violence of the movie and the way we have used it as entertainment. Now even worse scenes of graphic violence leave me unaffected. My values have been shifted from where they once were.

Have we become, as church members, casual in our attitudes about sexual immorality, smoking, drinking, not to mention the inner vices of malice, envy, jealousy, bitterness and more? How different are we from the world?

In Australia we have a census every five years. In that census the percentage of Australians calling themselves Christian has steadily dropped every year till now it is 62%. But of these barely 10% attend church regularly. How many of those are actually born again? We live in a secular and Godless society and the church, which is the answer, is asleep. It’s time to wake up!

That is why the leaders of our church movement Christian Outreach Centre a have called for a fast and a time of seeking God through this January from 7-27. It is our time to fast and pray and call on God’s mercy for our church and for Australia. It is not only for this month, but as a lifestyle. Praying like this for three weeks is not the answer, it’s a kick start.

When Nehemiah found himself in this same place, this is how he prayed:

Neh 1:3  And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its [fortified] gates are destroyed by fire.

Neh 1:4  When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven,

Neh 1:5  And I said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, Who keeps covenant, loving-kindness, and mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

Neh 1:6  Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You day and night for the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins of the Israelites which we have sinned against You. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned.

How deep is our repentance?

I heard this story recently of a couple in a church who had separated. She was unfaithful and he hung on in the church for a while. Later her new relationship failed and instead of trying reconciliation the husband started seeing someone else. The result was a broken marriage, financial ruin and the children badly affected. All through this time their pastor was working with them urging them to return to God seek His forgiveness and work at reconciliation. This couple chose not to go that way and as a result experienced more pain and ruin. At this point they are lost, perhaps that may also be the case for their kids.

I thought about how they could find answers if they would repent deeply of their sin and really press into God. He can restore and heal when we humble ourselves. I thought about how deception clouds our judgment and stops us seeing the truth clearly. I though about how we make decisions we think are the best ones for the time but we have failed to see truth.  As I began to think about them God spoke to my heart and asked me, “How deep does your repentance go?” It’s foolish to think, “I haven’t sinned in the same manner as these two people so I’m OK.”  How far short of God’s best outcome for me am I living? How have I let deception cloud my judgements? Have I let unbelief rob me of receiving and achieving God’s whole potential for my life?

Deep repentance is realising we are all in desperate need of God’s grace and His mercy. It is bringing our whole life before God and asking forgiveness for our known and unknown sins. It’s humbling our hearts and seeking Him for His forgiveness, grace and mercy. The scriptures teach that Judgement must begin at the house of the Lord. (Ezek 9:6) Nehemiah took responsibility for the errors of his people, he said, “I and my fathers have sinned.”

The greatest enemy of God’s moving is the attitude – I’m OK, it’s everyone else that needs to change.” This is how the Pharisees lived; it’s called self righteousness.

This month we are focussing on getting fit spiritually. We are proclaiming a fast from January 7-27. It’s time to devote our lives to prayer.  It’s time to give ourselves to the word of God. It’s time to make our giving speak louder than our comforts.

I’m calling you today to enter into prayer; in your own life, your own time. If you want to learn how to pray, we have times of prayer here at the church and the ministry team are leading and training people on how to seek God and find His grace presence and power. Here are the prayer times for this month:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 6pm-7pm and Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday from 7-8pm for the next 21 days. Plus weekday mornings 6-7am.

A message from the National Chairman of COC in Australia Pastor Ross Abraham says: “I ask each and every one of you – more, I challenge you – to get out of the rut and the dreary ho-hum of the everyday, and choose to step up to a new level that will set the tone for 2013 and the exciting years of success and fulfilment ahead.”

I pray that The vision Australia for Christ will burn in your hearts, that we wont be satisfied with playing church and being influenced by the world system around us but we will seek God and find His power and grace to influence our families friends and community for Christ.

 

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