Archive for June, 2013

Preaching message – REALationships # 4 – 30June13AMREALationship

Conflict in life is inevitable. Have you seen how many TV shows are about conflict?  One in particular that’s really popular at present is called Revenge! People are fascinated by conflict as long as it doesn’t include them. Remember the school fights, how fast people come running to see who’s fighting who? In many of our famous sporting events there is actually a debate about whether we should allow the biff. For example State of Origin Rugby League.

Jesus said Mat 18:7  Woe to the world because of offenses! For it is necessary that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! He was referring to the conflict that inevitably arises to challenge every child of God because of the unrighteousness of man.

In families, the workplace, your neighbourhood, and in church there will be conflict.


Because we as human beings, Have opinions, Like to see things our way, Don’t like to be told when we are wrong, Don’t like to say sorry, Think everyone should just listen to us, Feel we are more important than others; in short we are selfish and fallen creatures. The goal in life for any believer is to grow to become more like Christ and that means maturity and a way to handle conflict. Jesus was the master at handling conflict we can learn from Him. Yet he was never weak or afraid.

You can argue that a piece of paper is black and someone else says it’s white. You can argue all day but maybe you’re just seeing different side of the same paper.

In Matthew 18 there are clear instructions about how to handle conflict, but here’s how some people handle it…

  1. Get angry and upset. – escalates the problem
  2. Blame the other person, the church and maybe even God for not caring.
  3. Tell everyone about what happened – gossip. – escalates the problem
  4. Leave the church because “No one should ever be treated like that”

When people do this, they are like a person who, when sitting for an exam at Uni, sits down and doesn’t like the look of the questions, so they storm out of the exam room. This kind of reaction has a big impact on your future. Life is a test. Church life is a series of growth challenges because God is growing an army not a complaints bureau.

Let’s look at how Matthew 18 says to handle it. Matt 18:15-17

Firstly it’s about relationships – it’s not about who’s right!

Secondly –   when the basis is humility then Conflict Resolution is easy.

  1. Go to the one who offended you, not to everyone else. – If someone ever comes to you to complain about anyone else; please say, “You realise you’re talking about my brother/sister? Let’s go talk it over with them.”
  2. If he/she doesn’t listen – take someone with you who understands your position. This person needs to have wisdom and maturity.
  3. If he/she still doesn’t listen – go to the church.  (As I have done leadership over the last 30 years I have found that the church is best represented by the senior leadership of the church.) (1 Cor 6:5)

For many step 1 is too hard for these reasons:

  1. They feel intimidated
  2. They don’t know what to say

In this case you need an advocate. That is someone who will come with you and articulate your case. (Paul in 1 Cor 6:5 warns this should not be a non-Christian)

So here’s your game plan. This is our churches conflict resolution policy.

  1. You experience Conflict – Rejoice – it’s exam time!! You get to move up if you handle this well
  2. You can choose to forgive, forget and move on. Never bringing it up again to ANYONE.
  3. You can’t forget it, so go to the person who offended you and talk it over. If that’s too intimidating take a wise and Godly leader with you. All the Pastoral Staff are ready willing and able to assist you in this matter. If you’re complaint is against me – go to Ps John first and if you are unsatisfied you can go to my leader Ps Ross Abraham.  It’s OK to be wrong; it’s not OK to be belligerent.
  4. Determine in your heart that it’s about relationship, not proving who’s right. You’re happy to be wrong, you’re happy to compromise, you’re happy to be right and not have that recognised. You just want to heal a relationship.
  5. Be ready to forgive genuinely from the heart.
  6. If He/she won’t listen then take another one or two to stand with you.
  7. If he/she still won’t listen, then go before the church leadership team and state your case. If he/she still won’t respond, then Matthew 18 advises to treat them as a non-Christian. In other words we endeavour to win them to Christ.


  1. Why are we fascinated by watching others in conflict? Discuss.
  2. What does Jesus expect of us when we are in conflict with a brother or sister?
  3. Why is it hard to make the goal, restoring the relationship, rather than just proving who is right or wrong?
  4. Is it ever OK to raise your voice when trying to resolve conflict?
  5. What damage does gossip do to a church?

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REALationships  # 3 PM 23 June 2013Boy Meets Girl 2


We have spoken in week one about Gods great passion to have a people of His own.

God is firstly a Father and He longs for children to walk with Him.


“But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!” (Hosea 1:10, 11 MSG)

“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She’ll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt. (Hosea 2:14, 15 MSG)

 PICTURE – God as the jilted lover, Israel as the unfaithful partner.  God, broken hearted keeps promising restoration if she will return.


 1. The fruit of the tree you shall not eat… You want what you can’t have.

2. The grass is greener scenario.

 In Australia http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Cheating-hearts/2004/12/22/1103391840011.html?oneclick=true

Depending on which study you believe, between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of people in long-term relationships have been unfaithful, and, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, infidelity is cited as the main provocation in 20 per cent of divorce cases.

In the 2005 Global sex survey taken by the condom company Durex; Australia rated second highest nation on earth for the number of sexual partners respondents had. An average of 13.3.

 But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 MSG)

 Broken lives, sin soaked hearts, believing that you have to make it all happen yourself. Thinking God is not going to take care of you, wont keep his promise. He has promised to take care of you and provide everything for your needs. Your need for relationships is clear to Him.

  THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 AMP)

 So how does one build a great relationship with others especially someone who you want to share your life with – a life long partner?

  1. Put God first in your relationships. – intimacy with God brings life.
  2. Stop talking about yourself! Show interest in others.
  3. Sow what you want to reap – do unto others.
  4. Become the right person instead of looking for the right person.

  Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! (1 Corinthians 6:12, 13 MSG)

 There’s two needs women and men experience – intimacy and sex.

Within a marriage a woman will put up with sex to gain intimacy, and a man will put up with itimacy to gain sex.

 But before marriage God has a plan…

 Discover God and learn about people.

1Co 7:32  I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.

1Co 7:33  Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse,

1Co 7:34  leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.

1Co 7:35  I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.

 Building great relationships is different today than in past times.

When your grandparents grew up it was most common fro a young man to court a young woman for a couple of years and they would decide to marry.

 Of course you have needs for companionship and for sex. The world says take what you need, the religion says deny what you need, but the answer is  acknowledge your need yield yourself to God.

 In my pre married days I had to make that transition from regular sexual involvement to celebacy as I became a Christian.  Its a high calling. Think of our grandfathers in th trenches in WW1.

 In my generation young couples met at parties and sometimes clubs and decided to go out. Later couples were connecting through mutual contact through school UNI and the workplace. Often groups of young adults hung out together and made relationship building a group affair.

 Things have changed a lot – in one episode of Jerry Seinfeld he’s dating a girl but can’t remember her name, he gets into all kinds of trouble trying to find out out what it is but can’t ask her because they are already sleeping together. This episode is dated over 10 years ago!!

 These days a fair percentage of couples get together through relationship and dating services.

When the Internet first began I married several couple who met someone through the Internet chat rooms and I was at first horrified. I thought for sure that these virtual relationships wouldn’t last, however I was surprised how many cof these coupes stayed together.



Australian members: Two million – the most popular online dating site, according to recent figures. Who’s on it: Roughly 50/50 female and male; 48% of members are aged between 26 and 40, while 34% are between 41 and 60


Australian members: More than a million, according to an eHarmony spokesperson Who’s on it: About 51% males and 49% females; most members are aged in their 20s and 30s, but there are also a large number of older users

 Oasis Active

Australian members: About 1.6 million Cost: Free Who’s on it: Roughly 60% of members are male and 40% female; 64% are aged between 18 and 35, while 27% are between 36 and 50

 Some people may still feel a bit uncomfortable about connecting through an online dating service,  however if you use one you will more than likely have more success than if you didn’t use one. And why is that?

 Relationships are hard because people are time poor, expectations have changed a great deal and online communications have taken away genuine intimacy.

The reason these online services have a good strike rate is the extensive profiling of each  person that takes place before they meet. To apply you must give a complete review of all your personality, background and experience. They website computer program’s select people with similar values so that the potential for conflict is reduced.


Do you look at a relationship and ask, “Will this relationship meet my needs?”

Then you may experience a lot of disappointment in relationships.

What makes a great relationship is the task of making someone else’s life beautiful.

 What makes a great relationship is what you give into a relationship.

Relationships are not 50/50 – It’s 100%

Are you looking for Mr. right or Miss Right? Or are you working on becoming Mr. Right or miss Right?

 Being needy or insecure in a relationship is going to make that relationship difficult. If the threat of ending a relationship brings fear to you then you may compromise your values to keep it. It’s not worth it.

 Here’s two great promises for you.

  1. God has planned your life. Jer 29:11  I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (MESS) – Tina’s story
  2. God knows your needs –  Mat 6:7  “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.  Mat 6:8  Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. (MESS)


  1. Do you believe that a person’s relationship with God can be so fulfilling that they don’t need a partner? Discuss.
  2. Discuss how online communication such as facebook has removed a lot of the real intimacy in relationships.
  3. Discuss the differences in how young men and young women experience the challenges of singleness.
  4. If you are always talking about yourself, what does that do to your relationships?
  5. When people think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, they are often getting the wrong perspective. Discuss.

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REALationships # 2 –  16th June 2013 AM – LOVE FLOWS DOWNREALationship

This month the theme is – REALationships

In APRIL we spoke about being baptised with, filled with the Holy Spirit. Then later in MAY we continued that theme by sharing what it means to be led by the spirit. During that theme, we spoke about walking in the Spirit which means our behaviour follows the nature and character of God and of course the way we treat others is guided by how we love each other as Jesus loves us. This month JUNE we are expanding on that theme and focusing on REALationships.

Last week we spoke about the Divine Embrace, which is God’s great passion to have a people. 11 times in the bible He says about His people, “I will be their God and they will be my people.” What a blessing to host a real wedding right here in the service last Sunday to illustrate the great love Christ has for the Church amply demonstrated in every marriage as a type of Christ and the Church.

Being SPIRIT FILLED means being SPIRIT LED, and to be a really great church, we will love one another unconditionally. Our relationships will be a picture to others of the love of God that is shed abroad into our hearts. For us as DISCIPLES OF JESUS – IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME! When we are born again we have a new perspective (Phil 2:5) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. That is the way of humility and serving others. Our joy comes from serving others because we have a new heart, and we are filled with a servant heart and a desire live for others. If we are ever offended we look to Jesus to heal us; and then to the offender and wonder, “How has the enemy or the destructive paths of life messed this person up, so that they are reacting badly to my detriment.” We love and forgive, and duly consider how we may be in error in some way or maybe we have not seen a need that needs to be met.

When you and I receive a Revelation of the love with which He loved us, then we are filled with that love, it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) and we are full of the love that overflows and enables me to love my enemy, love the unloveable (which I was to God) and forgive my brother.



In this story the King who is owed a vast amount of money calls the steward who owes him and says, “Pay up!” The servant has no money so he begs for more time. The repayment is impossible, so the King makes a hugely gracious gift of forgiving the debt totally and wiping it out! (Do you get it?) The forgiven steward then goes out and accosts another steward who owes him a mere pittance and demands he pay up! When he to asks for more time, the first steward says, “No.” and puts him in jail! When the King hears of this he is rightly indignant and asks of the first steward, “Could you not have had mercy on your fellow steward as did for you?” and he casts the first steward into jail until he will pay out the reconstituted debt that he originally owed!!

The punch line is verse 35 where Jesus says that God will do likewise to us if we do not forgive our brother his trespasses. READ Vs 35 – Mat 18:35  So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses. (Matt 6:15; Mar 11:26.)

IMAGINE Your shock when, after you die, having lived a life as a Christian – you’re in hell and you realise that your enemy is in heaven!  Why? Because you did not forgive your brother his trespasses, and he, having trespassed against you, he is actually forgiven because he found Christ and held no grudges against his brethren.

Notice that your forgiving of your brother is “from your heart” so it’s not enough to mouth the words or even try to live above it, you must deep in your heart forgive, let go and love your brother who has sinned against you.

The IDEA is NOT that we all become perfect, BUT that we all become mature.

Mat 5:48  You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Lev. 19:2, 18.] The word Perfect in the Greek language of the Original New Testament is – G5046 – Telios = Complete, of full age, like a machine having all the parts for effective working.

MATURITY – means loving one another despite our imperfections. In fact we reach maturity by practicing forgiveness.


Joh 13:34  I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

Joh 13:35  By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

God’s plan is for your development (Ephes 4:14-16). He allows, even plans offences, to see if you can forgive and love. One story that illustrates this is Jesus and John Baptist in John 11. John asks, “Are you the one?” I suppose that John may have expected Jesus to visit him in jail since He expected others to do the same. (Matt 25:44) Jesus replies, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me.”

In Matt 18:21 Peter asks a question that we all wonder about, “How many times do I have to forgive my brother? 7 times?” Jesus replies, “Not 7 times; 70X7.” We need to understand what kind of love we are filled with.

If we are SPIRIT FILLED then let us go on and be SPIRIT LED and as the HOLY SPIRIT leads us He will enable us to WALK IN THE SPIRIT, which produces the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – LOVE, KINDNESS, PATIENCE, LONG SUFFEREINNG, SELF CONTROL.

These are all essential elements for loving one another.

WHY should we love one another?

–         By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples – it’s the way to win lost people.

–         Being in One accord means The Holy Spirit moves – He is the spirit of unity. Ps 133 – Unity blessing commanded. Acts 4:24 When the church were in one accord the place where they were praying was shaken. Shaking is no big deal but it demonstrates that God shows up big time when His people dwell together in unity.


  1. Have you ever stopped to consider just how much you have been forgiven of?
  2. The parable of the two stewards in Matt 18 gives us the very clear message: Although our sins are great, God freely forgives them and the offences committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small – discuss this.
  3. Can you as a Christian hold any grudge or bitterness or unforgiveness against anyone and still be forgiven yourself?
  4. How can one forgive when they are deeply hurting from an offence?
  5. Discuss how sinners view the church when it practices loving one another.

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REALationships #1 PM  –  Sunday 9th June 2013  – Sex and the singleboy meets girl

There’s no doubt that sex can be a wonderful experience! It can also be a negative experience and even a soul destroying experience.

I lost my virginity when I was 17. That’s not very early these days. More about me later.

The common experience of non-Christians in Australia today is around

33% year 10 students; and 60 % year 12 students report having oral sex.

25% year 10 and around 50% year 12 report vaginal sexual intercourse.

Rates for young men over the last six years have remained stable or fallen slightly, while for young women, rates have increased particularly among year 12 girls, rising from 46% to 61%. (2008 figures)

For more info go to:


Of course the world is sex mad and if you’re not doing it – there’s something wrong with you. The amount of sex on TV and in all forms of entertainment is ridiculous!

But what does the designer have to say about it? It’s not cool to have sex with someone you’re not committed to for life.


Chris and I got together in Year 11 at high school. Neither of us were Christians.

We began a sexual relationship in Year 12 at school when we were 17 years of age and had that kind of relationship for 3 years. Then something happened.

We were both born again when we were 20 years of age.

As we came to Christ it was such a powerful experience. We were born again and Jesus became so real to us. We were born again about two months when Chris said to me I think it’s wrong that we keep on having sex now that we are saved. I said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that, but yes it has been on my mind too.”

We stopped having sex. And we stayed apart sexually for 18 months till we got married.

Some singles might say to me – it’s difficult! How can you stop? For us it was easy.

We changed our values. We didn’t spend 18 months struggling with lustful passions. We changed the way we did life. During those 18 months we saw each other a few times every week but it was almost always in the company of others. We had great fun as we joined into a young adults group that was part of the church.

Chris lived for most of that time in a youth house with live in house parents. We were quite happy to be alone with each other but not behind closed doors. We could spend time talking about stuff in rooms with open doors that afforded privacy but without secrecy. In any event we didn’t want to get worked up and have unfulfilled desires. Love was about spending time together getting to know one another better and now that we were saved, talking lots about what life held for us now.

So what are God’s thoughts about sex and the single life?

1Co 7:1  NOW AS to the matters of which you wrote me. It is well [and by that I mean advantageous, expedient, profitable, and wholesome] for a man not to touch a woman [to cohabit with her] but to remain unmarried.

1Co 7:2  But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.

1Co 7:7  I wish that all men were like I myself am [in this matter of self-control]. But each has his own special gift from God, one of this kind and one of another.

1Co 7:8  But to the unmarried people and to the widows, I declare that it is well (good, advantageous, expedient, and wholesome) for them to remain [single] even as I do.

1Co 7:9  But if they have not self-control (restraint of their passions), they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame [with passion and tortured continually with ungratified desire]. (AMP)

Eph 5:5  For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]–for he [in effect] is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (AMP)

Listen to God’s wisdom, because sex has the power to create new life, that new life, in God’s mind, has a right to a good home with a mum and dad who are committed to each other and will bring that child up in the ways of God.

God is looking for covenant to be in place before the mystery of sex is released.

1Co 6:15  Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.

1Co 6:16  There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.”

1Co 6:17  Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever–the kind of sex that can never “become one.”  (MESS)

Listen to some godly wisdom about the sex act and how different it is for men and women…

Go to: http://youtu.be/jL1l9ZtGC2w    Listen to the first 2:50 minutes.

Here’s the value changers.

  1. Hang with groups. Meet lots of people. Develop lots of different relationships as brothers and sisters. Don’t be quick to establish the “One and only”
  2. When you’re alone with a person of the opposite sex, put yourself out of the way of temptation. Be in a house with others, go out to a coffee shop, keep open doors between you and others.
  3. When you enter a love relationship, tell each other your boundaries and make an agreement to hold each other accountable to those boundaries.
  4. Develop your passions for God’s work, don’t let the world beguile you into thinking that sex is a measure of your happiness; or that you are missing out on something.
  5. Put the call of God first. That relationship is a seek first the kingdom one and God will add all these things to you.

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REALationships # 1  –  Sunday 9th June 2013 AM –  The Divine EmbraceREALationship

Have you ever fallen in love?

Do you remember the feeling of life and excitement that surges through your heart and emotions as you see someone in a different light to everyone else in your life?

God designed you to fall in love like that.

Have you ever broken up with someone, whether it was your decision or theirs and you literally feel like you’re going to die?

That’s because God designed you to have someone beside you.

God designed every single human being for REALationship.

Gen 2:18  The LORD God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” (CEV)

You are made for relationship. You are designed to have another close to you and share your life with you.

My heart truly goes out to people who have lost their partner. I pray that over time they will find someone to share their life with. This is one of the most difficult challenges in life, losing your partner. My mum lost her husband and my father when she was only 36 and I was only seven years old. I saw how brave she was to build a family and look after a disabled daughter and her son as a single mother. I am a much richer person for her exceptionally positive outlook on life.

So let’s go back to the thought that you are designed for relationship. Where does that originate from? It’s from God Himself.

Eleven times God says in the bible, “I will be their God,” referring to His people and, “they shall be my people.”


2Co 6:16  And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Deep in the heart of God He desires to have a relationship with people. With you! In the bible account of creation, God makes man and woman. It says Gen 3:8  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The first man and woman were used to having conversation with God and time with Him in the cool of the day. When they choose to disobey Him and take from the tree of Good and Evil, God was forced to drive them out of their first home in the Garden and into the wilderness to till the ground, so that they will not reach out and take the tree of life and live forever in this fallen state.

I can imagine it broke God’s heart to drive His friends away from the peace and joy they had known. Can you see how God knows the pain of separation?  That break in relationship causes real pain. If you are suffering pain today because of loss of relationship, God knows your pain, He cares for you, He has an answer for you.

God longs for relationship with you. We are created in His image and after His likeness so that we can walk with Him in relationship where we share our lives with each other. This is so far from religion it’s not funny! Religion is keeping a form and ceremony. It’s following a set tradition, a ritual of observance and there’s no deep conversation with the one you love, it’s all about going through the motions because that’s how you were taught to do it.

Religion is a bit like a marriage that lost its spark a long time ago; and now you’re just going through the motions because it’s too painful to do anything else. If you have been stuck in religion for some time, God has an answer for you… To fall in love with Jesus.

Do you have any idea how much God loves you? Do you have any idea how deeply He desires to be there for you and be your companion? Let me show you how God sees it.

Eph 5:31  As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother to get married, and he becomes like one person with his wife.”

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery, but I understand it to mean Christ and his church. (CEV)

The most intimate relationship on earth is the marriage union between a man and a woman. When you see that relationship at its best you see a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. Can there be a more intimate relationship than that?

God invented marriage and He wants us to see it in all its glory and splendour and see that’s how God wants it with us.

Eph 5:22  A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord.

Eph 5:23  A husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body.

Eph 5:24  Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first.

Eph 5:25  A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

Today we are going to witness a real marriage. Right here, right now a young couple are going to be married. I want you to see this marriage as a picture of the love that God has for you and the devotion that you can have for God.



In every wedding you witness a picture of the love, intimacy, hopes and joy of companionship that God desires to have with you.

To come to this place of true commitment Both Robert and Rebecca had to forgive each other for things they had done wrong. That allowed them to give themselves fully to each other in trust and commitment expecting that they can now build a future together.

In the same way to come to God we must be forgiven of things we have done that have prevented the relationship between you and God. God loves you. He desired so much to receive you as His son or daughter that he sent Jesus to die for you. Jesus was punished for your sins and my sins on the cross. This was so that he could satisfy God’s justice for all sins to be punished. We have sinned and the punishment we rightly deserve has been given to Jesus who stood in our place. Now that’s love and that’s commitment. Even before we responded God already sent Jesus to die for us.

He’s asking you today will you take me as your God and saviour. Will you give your life to me?


1. Discuss what it may have felt like for God to drive Adam and Eve from the garden following their disobedience.

2. Eleven Times God says, “I will be their God and They shall be my people” Discuss how much God longs for a people to be His own.

3.  If a marriage is a picture of Christ and His church, describe how a relationship with God should look from God’s point of view.

4. What does intimacy look like in a spiritual relationship between God and  believer?

5. How do you feel about your level of Intimacy with God in your own life?

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Today I am bringing you a report of what this church has accomplished in the last year and what challenges we face and where do we go from here.

This local church was founded by myself and my family in 1994.

This church is part of the Pentecostal Movement of churches known as Christian Outreach Centre of which we are one of 130 in Australia and several thousand in 40 other nations globally.

The premise by which we came to Melbourne from Brisbane having worked for Christian Outreach Centre there for fourteen years was to establish and spread the impact of the COC movement throughout Victoria.

Later today we will present our Annual General Meeting in the Kid Town Room at 12.30pm where we will conduct the business of presentation of financial figures and elect representatives to administrate our finances and business over the coming twelve months.


This video presentation I have for you this morning shows many of the accomplishments of this church over the last twelve months.




Reaching high schoolers for God – growth of students to 80 members in 2013

RED FROGS – Uni outreach work


COMMUNITY KITCHEN – approx 5200 meals in 2012

Providing a place of love and acceptance for broken, lonely and disabled people in this local community.


DESTINY RESCUE – donations $17,000 in 2012

SOLOMON ISLANDS – This church has just recently taken up the vision of the COC Movement for the South Pacific. In the early days of this local church we supported many bible college students at the Solomon Islands who went on to pastor churches right throughout the south Pacific. Now we are recommencing our support there. I will be lecturing at the Solomon Islands bible school in July for one week.

– Donations $1400 so far this year

EGYPT COC – donations $1100 in 2012

VIETNAM OUTREACH – supporting a local church in Vietnam – donations $600 in 2012


Three churches planted in 2012

South Yarra – AJ & Bronnie Masefau – donations of $16,000 in 2012 (7 people from PVC)

Kinglake – Ps Eric Abolins – (8 people from PVC)

Keilor East – Ps Pevise & Kirita Lui (11 people from PVC)


Overall the vision of this church is to grow large to impact our local community.



We expect to make a significant contribution to reducing the incidence of family violence over the next ten years.



We will buy land and build a community resourcing venue to seat 500 and conduct a range of strategies to impact the culture and needs of our local community.

The establishment of our BibleCollege – Plenty Valley Training Institute is an important step to realising many of our goals.


As the State leaders our long term 20 year vision is to plant and resource 100 churches in Victoria.



We have two big challenges.

  1. We must reach more lost people.
  2. We must lift our income.

In the last two years we have seen more people saved and baptised than in all our previous years. This is truly wonderful, however we are only operating on about one cylinder out of 8. The potential within us to reach lost people is far greater.

Our strategies to reach people are clear.

We have three key strategies

  1. Invite, invite, invite. The power of an invitation. Using the printed cards available.
  2. Go into all the world – reaching demographic groups. – Children, Youth, Young adults, young mums, Police, business,
  3. Discipling lost people to become disciple makers. Through our Urban Connect Groups


Invite someone to church every week, if you’re in an urban connect group, get ten invitation cards from your UC leader and letterbox ten homes every week.

Support a demographic leader who is reaching kids or youth or young mums or women or guys etc. attend and invite someone to go with you.

Be part of an Urban Connect group where you will pray for lost friends and include them in special outreach events like dinners, picnics or movie nights etc. Let the team work of the UC work it’s influence to reach lost people then disciple them in the group.



Our goal is to lift income to $5000 a week. We can do it! I believe our capacity is much bigger than what we give today.

 Speak to the Mountain.

Such financial needs are not uncommon to growing churches. All the natural factors play a part such as the economy etc. but in the end this is a spiritual battle, a faith battle, and God is expecting us to rise to the new challenge and overcome. That means not just breaking even but overflowing finances so that we can buy land and build in the future. This year I have received this verse as our declaration for the year…  Gen 18:14  Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord?



I ask the members of this church to rise in faith with me to believe for increase and to lift our giving. Let us receive miracle finance and financial victories in our own personal lives and in the church. Giving is always about faith. Our goal is to achieve giving of $5000 per week on average. Even in times of so called economic downturn – God promises His people to provide for them if they walk in faith


  • Isaac planted in a time of famine and received 100 fold increase.
  • One day 5000 people sat on a hillside starving hungry. Jesus asked His disciples to feed them. They didn’t have enough so they did the smart thing – they gave what they had to Jesus and He multiplied it.
  • Our COC Church in Bulgaria was 90% gypsies who are extremely poor people, but when called upon to rise up in Faith, they took out their gold fillings from their teeth and paid for their church building with cash.

You may not be a financial contributor to this church – why not start today? Think of what you get out of this church. Your life is blessed coming here; you hear the word of God preached here, you see this church is making a difference in the lives of people in this community; so of course you want to support a Godly vision.

It’s time to rise up and choose to make a big difference in your own community.

What can you bring to Jesus today and every week?

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