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Posts Tagged ‘abundance’

FAITH FOR FINANCES – #3AM Faith For Finances

We serve a great and a terrible God. What does that mean? He is very great, powerful and strong, and also He is not to be trifled with. We are utterly dependent on Him in every way. Men are proud when they think they can build a life without Him but suddenly when their health takes a setback they realise how powerless they truly are. Not even your next breath is guaranteed!

To become a Christian, we come at the very first place in our walk with God to His requirements of this amazing relationship with Him…

Exodus 20:3 (AMP) 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. Or Deut 6:5 AMP, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and souls and all that is within you.”

God wants to be the first place in your life, after all He gave us Jesus, His only Son to die for us – it’s mutual, right? His first commandment to man is Love the Lord your God with all your heart, not just part of it. The commandments go on…

Exodus 20:4-6 (AMP)

4 “You shall not make for yourself any idol, or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship]. 5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing graciousness and steadfast lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

In the New Testament Jesus affirms this first place of all our affections and purpose when He states:

Matthew 22:34-37 (AMP)

34 Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 One of them, a lawyer [an expert in Mosaic Law], asked Jesus a question, to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 And Jesus replied to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

And again Jesus says, Matthew 6:33(AMP)

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

IS GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE?

Is He first in your time?

Is He first in your emotions?

Is He first in your money?

Imagine a wedding scene where the groom says in his vows, “I will love you almost as much as I love this other girl.” –  This is what we are saying when we love someone or something more than we love God.

The principle of “first” in the bible is a theme that illustrates God’s singlemindedness, His single focus of love toward us and His expectation of the same from us. Let’s look at some ways God uses the first to teach us something.

The firstborn

Exodus 13 (AMP)

13 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Sanctify to Me [that is, set apart for My purpose] every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal; it is Mine.”

The first fruits.

Leviticus 23:10(AMP)

10 “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am giving you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the [a]sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

This verse shows us the promise and outcome attached to the first fruits giving.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (AMP)

9 Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your crops (income); 10 Then your barns will be abundantly filled And your vats will overflow with new wine.

The first City – Jericho is God’s not Israel’s.

Joshua 6:17-19 (AMP)

17 The city and everything that is in it shall be under the ban [that is, designated to be destroyed as a form of tribute] to the Lord; only Rahab the prostitute and all [the people] who are with her in her house shall [be allowed to] live, because she hid and protected the messengers (scouts) whom we sent. 18 But as for you, keep yourselves [away] from the things under the ban [which are to be destroyed], so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban [for personal gain], and put the camp of Israel under the ban (doomed to destruction), and bring disaster upon it. 19 All the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy (consecrated) to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

The first tenth

How do we put God first in our money? By giving Him the first tenth of our gross income. If God is truly first in our lives, then we make the decision to honour God before we pay for our own needs, or anything else. Giving God what’s left over when have paid all our bills means we are putting Him last. Paying God when we feel “led to do it” isn’t putting God first, it’s making our commitment and dedication to Him a thing based on feelings. Does your partner want your first affections or your second or sixth affections? Can you imagine God being satisfied with your second best? How do you show God your best, your first love? Do you finances not have everything to do with your heart? The bible says so… Matthew 6:21(AMP)

21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centres] will be also.

It’s hard to give for some people. Why? Because of a lack of faith. They wrongly assume, more for God (the church) means less for me. This completely ignores all of God’s promises to generously and abundantly meet your needs. (2 Cor 9:8; Phil 4:19, Rom 8:32)

God is looking at our hearts, and how can He tell if we have given our whole hearts to serve Him? He watches what we do. What has most value to us? What do we put most value on? Our life is displayed by how we spend our time, our emotions and our money.

Leviticus 27:30-33 (AMP)

30 ‘And all the tithe (tenth part) of the land, whether the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wishes to redeem any part of his tithe, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 For every tithe of the herd or flock, whatever passes under the [shepherd’s] staff, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 The man is not to be concerned whether the animal is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it. But if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy; it shall not be redeemed.’”

The principle of the tithe is that the first releases the rest.

Putting God first releases the provision of God – Matthew 6:33(AMP)

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Let’s talk motives.

Firstly thank you for being a giving and generous church. There are people who have been sacrificial givers and I know that they are like that because they are choosing to honour God. It is a matter of faith for them. If people are reluctant to give, I find that the main reason is worry that they will not have enough. So again faith is the issue. Trusting in God to provide for you is as much a part of salvation as trusting Him for your forgiveness of sins. (2 Cor 8:9 AMP)

My desire for you is that you are blessed, so I have no fears in asking you to be a tither and a giver of offerings. I have seen over the years people have experienced increase, promotions and favour from God when they put God first in their finances. You may think that you are struggling financially and cannot afford to give. In the USA today the average per head giving of Christians is currently 2.5%, yet during the great depression when food was hard to get and many had no work, the giving was 3.3% per head. It’s not our circumstances that regulate our giving, it is our faith. Don’t let fear, or wrong thinking rob you of a prosperous life. When we have faith and confidence in God we prosper. 3 John 2(AMP) 2 Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].

You can be comfortable in giving to your local church because…

  1. We have a strong and Godly vision. When you give it makes a difference.
  2. We are accountable to you through our finance committee.
  3. The church finances are audited yearly by an external auditor and the report presented to the church AGM.
  4. My motive in promoting generous giving is for your blessing and also to enable the vision God has given us to reach people with the gospel.
  5. You have pastors who are long term mature ministries with a good record of leadership, financial integrity and personal sacrifice.

Faith for finances. Put your trust in the Lord that he will provide for you and look after you. Test Him in this giving, He asks you to – Malachi 3:8-10 (AMP)

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10 Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.  

The storehouse (church) is the place for tithes, so that there’s meat in the storehouse, what meat is God referring to? The provision for the ministry so that the people will have access to God through the priesthood.

Have faith for finances, put God first in your finances. Trust that God will provide for you. Imagine the fruit of your giving in the future. Lives changed, people in heaven, communities impacted.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What would be your motivation to give to the Lord?
  2. What would be the kind of things that stop you giving?
  3. Review all these ideas and decide which of them are impacted by faith.
  4. In a million years from now what will matter the most to you?
  5. Does your giving today make a difference in eternity?

 

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Faith For Finances

As Christian believers we live by faith every day. The life of faith is a life in relationship with God through Jesus and trusting Him for all things in your life.

We cannot be saved without faith. Faith is a trust in God that He will do what He has promised, to forgive your sins as you turn to Him in repentance. We need faith to receive anything from God, healing, peace, provision or anything.

This preaching series is aimed at inspiring you to have faith for financial blessing and increase so that you can have your own needs met and give generously to others for kingdom purpose.

Today I want to speak about this important question: Does God want you to be rich?

First of all how do we define rich?

Being rich is relevant to where you live, The poverty line in Australia is just under $1000 per week for a couple with two kids. Yet in much of the underdeveloped world 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day.

Compared to the rest of the world anyone in Australia is rich, however housing in Australia can be a minimum of $500 a week if you’re in Sydney or $200 if you live in a country town. So you need hundreds of dollars a week just to survive in this rich modern country.

So does God want you rich? If being rich means you have more than the say 90% of the rest, then God has some warnings for the rich, and it’s all about where you place your trust.

1 Tim 6:6-10; 17-19 (AMP)

6 But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God]. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so [it is clear that] we cannot take anything out of it, either. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who [are not financially ethical and] crave to get rich [with a compulsive, greedy longing for wealth] fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction [leading to personal misery]. 10 For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.

17 As for the rich in this present world, instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share [with others]. 19 In this way storing up for themselves the enduring riches of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Verse 17 instructs the rich to have hope in God and not in their riches. This is vital for the Christian. If your confidence is in what you own, then it’s not in God. Faith for finances begins with a trust that God is your source; that He will provide for you. Your trust and your confidence is in God. This is what God wants for you. He wants to be the source of all your life, joy, peace, salvation and provision. When we lean on something else, when we trust in something else then this is really idolatry

Being rich is really all about comparison. We compare with others and we compare with ourselves in the past. Probably no one here today would consider themselves rich, but compared with people in other nations we are rich and compared with our parent’s generation we are rich. Probably a better way of looking at this issue is to say, have I got enough to do God’s will and prosper?

Will God bless you with all you need to serve Him? And the answer is a resounding YES!

Let’s look at the Character of God the father first.

God is merciful, Luke 6:36 (AMP) Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.

God is generous, Romans 8:32 (AMP)

32 He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

God is abundant. 2 Cor 9:8 (AMP)

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.

He wants to do good to His children.

Matthew 7:11(AMP)

11 If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.

The church in the west has struggled with this idea for the last century.

The church has held doctrines of poverty and prosperity

Through the centuries sections of the Catholic Church have taken vows of poverty believing that being poor made you closer to God. The limitations of this doctrine are that the church has no resources to bring relief and healing to those who are poor.

The prosperity doctrine of the church primarily in the west and mostly in USA says that God wants to bring the wealth of the wicked into the hands of the just and having faith means you will be very prosperous. The limitations of this doctrine is that greed has a part to play and some people will desire riches for their own pleasures apart from God’s purpose.

Both of these extremes are unhealthy. Instead God promises that He will abundantly supply all your needs and that you will have an excess for all charitable purposes.

Philippians 4:19 (AMP)

19 And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Cor 9:8 (AMP)

8 And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.

You and I need faith to believe for and receive blessing from God. What are you called to do for God? Then God will supply. I am called to build a significant church in Melbourne and plant churches throughout Melbourne and Victoria. Many will choose to join me in that great vision and together we will pray for provision and receive all that is necessary. There will always be great needs and we are called to give and make a difference. A walk of faith is not saying I can’t afford to give, a walk of faith is asking God, “What do you want me to give?” and the believing that God will supply you bread for eating and seed for sowing.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Can you share a story of God’s miraculous provision in your life?
  2. We are called to live by faith, what does that look like in terms of provision and money?
  3. Is giving necessary for a Christian who lives by faith?
  4. Should we give according to feelings or according to principle?
  5. Should we believe for more so we can do more for God?

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LOVE INVESTS #4AMLove Invests Combined

This month our theme is LOVE INVESTS. The scriptures teach us the value of considering the future generations: Prov 13:22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (NIV) Love thinks not only about the present needs but lays up in store for the future so that those following may have their needs met. Love makes provision for the future so that those you love, who come after you, will be blessed with all that God can provide for them. Love shows wisdom in not only leaving a financial blessing but providing it in a way that is most beneficial to the receivers; such as an inheritance kept until you are 18.

As Christians we are concerned not only about the material provision for future generations but about the spiritual provision also. Love sees far into the future and looks longingly for the next generation to know Jesus Christ and sees the families, cities and nations turning to God. Love invests financially for kingdom purpose into the future. That is why in this church we gather together, then we dream a dream of what the future may hold and sow a seed of finance to make the future better for others. We call this Kingdom Advance.

What you gave last year made a difference!

YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS

Last Friday night we had 82 youth at the Foundation including a small number from two other churches. Right now we have 12 trained youth leaders with 6 UC’s in church and homes and 6 more operating in the schools themselves.

We have 7 Young Adults leaders with Red Frogs ministry taking place in four locations at Latrobe Uni and NMIT. There are 3 UC’s operating with Young Adults.

Yesterday we had training for the state youth leadership. Of the 15 or so there 11 of them were from this church.

These leaders are the future church planters and leaders of our movement into the next three decades.

BECAUSE YOU GAVE LAST YEAR THERE ARE MORE AND BETTER EQUIPPED YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS LEADERS TO TAKE OUR MOVEMENT FORWARD

DESTINY RESCUE

On the video message last night Jenni Kirwan shared about an amazing young woman who was terribly abused in a brothel for a long period. She was angry and much damaged, but Jesus changed her life. She was transformed. Later she trained and became a hairdresser and has moved out to own her own business. Saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.

BECAUSE YOU GAVE LAST YEAR MORE GIRLS LIKE THIS ONE HAVE BEEN RESCUED AND THEIR LIVES TURNED AROUND FOR GOD.

COMMUNITY KITCHEN

Every week on a Tuesday, this church feeds about 100 people at the Community Kitchen. Not just food but also love is provided to a multitude of people who are lost and lonely, the disabled, the elderly, the carers, those suffering with mental illness and the poor. Together we are doing what Jesus asked us to do when He said, in Luke 14:12-14  Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbours. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” (NLT)

BECAUSE YOU GAVE LAST YEAR WE WERE ABLE TO FEED THESE PRECIOUS PEOPLE AND PROVIDE THEM WITH LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE.

The local City Council CEO spoke glowingly about our local church to people who are not part of this church because we are making an impact in our community.

COMMUNITY IMPACT EVENTS – FAMILY VIOLENCE

In the last 12 months this local church has run a White Ribbon Dinner and participated in community events to assist in the prevention of Family Violence. Changing the culture of a large community is a long range and difficult task, but this church is firmly located in the being part of the answer side of the issue.

BECAUSE YOU GAVE MORE PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THE FAMILY VIOLENCE ISSUE AND WE ARE CLOSER TO SEEING A REDUCTION IN FAMILY VIOLENCE.

REFURBISH MEDIA, SOUND AND STAGE.

Now that we have occupied this building for four and a half years, it’s important to upgrade those resources that wear out, grow old and stop working. It’ also important to stay relevant with the best sound and vision equipment so that we can communicate more effectively with the people coming to our church.

BECAUSE YOU GAVE LAST YEAR WE WERE ABLE TO UPGRADE OUR COMPUTER SYSTEM FOR WIDE SCREEN AND INCREASE OUR SCREEN SIZE, ADD NEW MICROPHONES AND PAINT SOME AREAS OF THE CHURCH AND PURCHASE MORE FURNITURE.

Over the last twelve months, the givers made a difference.

I bought a bible and changed a nation

Until the last half of the Twentieth Century, Korea was one of the most resistant nations in the world to the message of the gospel. A deeply Buddhist and shamanistic culture, Korea was known to the world as the “Hermit Kingdom.” The first Christian mission to Korea came when Catholic missionaries arrived in 1784, but these Catholic missionaries met mostly resistance in the form of indifference, persecution and even martyrdom. Anti-Catholic persecution climaxed in the infamous 1866 massacre when 10,000 bishops, priests and Korean converts were martyred for their faith. (1)

A century after the Catholics arrived the first Protestant missionaries landed at Inchon near the city of Seoul. In 1865, an abortive landing had been made by the Welsh missionary Robert Thomas who was beaten to death by anti-foreign Koreans but not before he had thrown a bundle of Bibles to the watching crowds. Although most of the Bibles were burned, a few were saved and were used to convert to Christ the very man who had murdered Thomas. Later the way had been prepared during the 1870’s when John Ross, succeeded in translating the New Testament into the Korean language. Coming from America in 1884 were Horace Underwood, a Presbyterian, and Henry Appenzeller, a Methodist. Both men were from the Student volunteer movement and came together on the same ship. Since the Presbyterians sent more missionaries to Korea than the Methodists, Presbyterianism soon became the largest Christian movement in the country, with the Methodists and Catholics growing more slowly. Progress was difficult for all Christian churches for the first century. By 1900, Korean Christians numbered only .4% of the population. In many ways, Korea was like Japan which still has a similar tiny proportion of Christians.

By the end of the century, it was clear that South Korea was well on its way towards becoming a Christian nation. By 2012 the percentage of Christians in the population of the nation stood at 47.7%. From small beginnings in the early years of the century, the Korean pentecostals added their spiritual fervor and organizational skills to the massive growth of the church in the nation. By 1995, the Pentecostals had grown to be the third largest church in South Korea with almost 2,000,000 members. The record of Korean church growth was unparalleled in any other part of the globe. The growth from a tiny persecuted minority to an almost certain majority of the population is a quantum leap that can only be explained in spiritual and supernatural terms. The pentecostals and charismatics, with their gifts and zeal have led the way in Korea as they have in many other parts of the world.

The bible that missionary Robert Thomas brought to Korea was paid for by church people in Ireland. That bible was a seed that started a change that impacted a whole nation. What you do for God in giving, praying and going to the mission field is a seed that will have multiplied effective results over the years to come.

In last year’s giving, we set a goal to raise $60,000 and received pledges for approximately $70,000. Of this amount $45,000 has been received. The reasons for this shortfall are not clear, but what is more important moving forward is that all last year’s giving is completed. If you have not completed your pledge, that amount is forgiven. A new season of giving is now about to begin. This year let’s set a more achievable goal and seek to raise $40,000 for the year to be divided evenly over the four projects.

This giving represents a little over 10% of our total income and all of this will go outside our own local church to the work of God further afield. The work of Youth Young Adults and Community Kitchen will all continue through 2015, but will be funded out of our tithes and offerings income.

Here’s how to give.

This giving is over and above your normal tithes and offerings. That finance provides for the church to function with wages, rent, electricity, catering, travel, and many other things. This giving is a faith pledge. It’s partnering with God to believe that He will show you an amount to give. You will be in faith that God will provide for you over and above your normal income in unexpected ways. It could a pay rise or a gift you receive, starting a small business or any number of unusual circumstances that will enable you to give what you pledged and at the end of the year you are better off than when you started.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. In world wide terms where would Australians rank in the world’s richest to poorest people groups?

2. Does your eternal perspective change the way you value money and people?

3. How does it feel to give and make a difference with your giving?

4. Is it about how much you give or is it about listening to God and obeying what He has asked you to do ?

5. How can we hear God’s voice in the task of giving?

 

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LOVE OF THE FATHER #2AMLove of the Father Individual

You have a father in heaven.

No matter how big and strong you are, there’s many times in your life when you need the resources of one who loves you totally, continuously and in spite of your mistakes. Last week we shared the story of the prodigal son. In today’s message I want to show you what the Father gave the son on his return.

Luke 15:22

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. (NLT)

The robe

Picture the son returning home. He is ashamed, filthy and smelly. He has old and dirty clothes. After the Father embraces him he calls for the best or finest robe to be placed upon him. Imagine what this says to the son! What belongs to the Father is freely given to the son. This robe covers over the old and smelly clothes. This robe speaks of what is the best and finest of what the father has; the richness of his provision. When we want to know what meaning is carried in a term such as this we need only look at what God says about the robe in other places in the scripture. For example the righteousness of Christ which is often compared to a robe, or garment, Isaiah 61:10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.(NLT) and Rev 19:8 She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white—for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people).(AMP)

The robe clothes over whatever clothing lies under it; whatever dirt or smell may lie beneath, and having then an outward appearance of cleanliness, wealth and position as befitting the Father. In the same manner the robe of righteousness covers over all our past and God looks upon us as His son or daughter who belong to Him and live within His family. All He sees when He looks at us is this robe of righteousness and our past is completely covered and is no longer viewed by our heavenly Father. This is the love of the Father.

Application: Does your past haunt you? Does the past speak to you about your unworthiness? Religion tells us we need to earn God’s love. This only brings bondage. Throw off your past. You are redeemed and set free by God’s love. You past has been forgotten and you are a new creation in God’s sight.

Example: Paul started his ministry life by killing Christians. If anyone has a past hat they regretted it was Paul. He counted himself as the “Chiefest of sinners” yet Paul found complete restoration in Christ seeing himself as a new creation in Christ.

The ring

This prodigal lad only wanted to be placed in the position of a slave, but his father said, ‘Put a ring on his finger.’ The ring is an emblem of wealth, position, honour. It is a sign of delegated authority and of representative character; as when Joseph was exalted to be the second man in Egypt, and Pharaoh’s signet ring was plucked off and placed upon his finger. When the son received this ring, no doubt he felt it was undeserved. He would have preferred a probation period where he could prove himself and show his father that he was truly sorry and a changed man – but that’s religion! The father welcomes back the son and immediately gives him the same equal authority he had before as a son of the father, a man of authority, one who represented all that the father was. The immediacy of this gift shows that the restoration was a matter of relationship not works.

Application: Maybe others can point the finger and say you don’t represent the Father after all you’ve done, but let the Father determine that. He gave you the ring of authority. You have His authority over all the power of the enemy. It’s not determined by you own achievements but by the Father’s conferral of his own authority upon you.

Example: When Pharaoh placed his ring on Joseph’s finger, Joseph became prime minister of Egypt. No one questioned his past coming from gaol. He carried Pharaoh’s power and authority and was unquestionably standing in his place.

The Sandals

The servants walked barefoot in their service and this prodigal son came home barefoot, not only because he intended to become as one of my father’s hired servants, but also he had suffered the loss of all his money and had nothing to eat and certainly nothing of finery to wear. In all the metaphors of footwear, we can see the meaning of our walk with God and our ongoing preparation to walk out the life before us, an equipping for the journey of life. But this gift of sandals is primarily another picture of a return to sonship and not servanthood. The father provides for the Son the sandals that mark the apparel of a son. This provision the Father gives freely and generously is the provision our loving heavenly Father has provided for us. Provision that removes us from poverty, and provision that befits the son of a wealthy Father.

Application: Now you have God’s provision. All that he has is yours. He will provide for you as befitting a son, not a servant. It’s now time to believe for God’s abundant provision in your life.

Example: When Jesus finished using the disciple’s boat to preach a message from, He said now push out and let down your nets for a catch. It seemed like a crazy idea as they had tried to fish all night and caught nothing. However on obeying his word they caught a massive haul and their boats were sinking under the weight of their catch. What a great provision.

The Fatted Calf

The fatted calf is the centre of celebration. It’s the centre point of feasting that shows the pinnacle of joy, celebration and love. When you have received the best news you could ever receive, you call all your family together and you feast. The usual word for “kill” in the NT is the Greek word apokteino. However, the word used for “kill” used of killing the fatted calf is thuo. This word means “to sacrifice”. This word was used of sacrificing the Passover lamb. The fatted calf is referred to not a fatted calf, there was just one, in the same way Jesus was the Father’s only sacrifice for sin. The robe, ring and sandals were paid for by the sacrifice of the fatted calf. Sin wasn’t forgotten or ignored, it was paid for by the offering of a sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God. And who paid for it? The Father! This is the love of the father.

Application: Celebrate your new life with God. Rejoice that your name is written down the book of life. Where better to celebrate but in church. Recognise all that has been given to you and live a new life of joy and thankfulness.

Example: The disciples rejoiced that people were healed when they prayed for them and that devils were cast out. Jesus encouraged them to rejoice in that but even more to rejoice that their names were written down in the book of life.

Now imagine a scene where a brother or sister has sinned against you and hurt you deeply. Later they come to you and ask forgiveness for what they have done. What’s your reaction? Most likely you receive them with joy, if you’re a mature Christian! You accept them and you rejoice in the restored relationship. But do you go the extra mile and kill the fatted calf? Do you spend money to celebrate and give gifts to the brother or sister who once offended you? Now think about this love of the Father. How generous and how complete is His gift of restoration and acceptance?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Have you felt the Father’s embrace?

2. What thoughts go through your mind that stop you from receiving or enjoying God’s love and acceptance?

3. Can you imagine yourself clothed with a robe God gave you? How do you feel?

4. Think about having his authority as conveyed by the ring. What will you do now?

5. How can you enjoy and celebrate your salvation at this feasting time with the fatted calf?

 

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LOVE OF THE FATHER   #1 AMLove of the Father Individual

Today is Father’s day and this month is the theme LOVE OF THE FATHER. I want you to know that this month we are not talking about bad fathers, we are going to celebrate the great fathers in the house. Today we celebrate all the fathers. Each Sunday we will be speaking about the Love of our Heavenly Father; how strong it is, how unending it is, how much we need it. When any person receives a revelation of the Love of the Father, they will find healing, they will find wholeness, they will find acceptance, and they will find their rightful place in life. But first we need to talk about separation.

STORY

I have four sons and as pastor I have had the privilege of marrying them to their sweethearts. One of the most emotional times I have ever experienced was conducting my first son’s wedding. I think I cried more than the mother of the bride! One of the biggest hits that I wasn’t prepared for was the moment when, after the reception was over, the first son drove away with his new bride to begin their new life together. I broke down. It was a real sense of loss, a sense of – this boy is now out of my life forever. Twenty-one years of raising him and now he’s gone.

I remember way back to the time when Chris was pregnant with our first child. I began to think about what we were in for being a parent. I asked myself the question, “Will I be a good parent? Will I be able to provide for my family? Will I be able to raise my children with wisdom?” The responsibility seemed daunting.

It is a big change when you move from manhood to Fatherhood. Fatherhood now means you’re responsible for more than just yourself and your wife; you are now bringing a new life into this world, and you are responsible for their welfare and success and there seems to be a lot of things that can go wrong. The child you’re raising can make choices too. That child can choose to do wrong, they can choose to walk away; and although you want the very best for them, as a father you cannot always control the outcome.

When your son or daughter walks away, that’s a pain that no father can bear. Let’s look at the pain of one father in the bible. Luke 15:11-24.

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. (NLT)

Sometimes sons or daughters walk away. The pain of that experience for a Father is intense. It’s a nightmare for the Mother too, and she worries overtime about what will happen to them. The Father will question himself, was I a good parent? Was I firm enough? Did I give them enough wisdom and instruction? Did I train them up to face life?

Let’s look at the Father in this story. He is gracious, he lets the son go, even though he knows full well that it’s a foolish move; but there’s some things you’ve got to learn the hard way. There’s two really powerful thoughts in this story.  The father saw the son coming home “a long way off” – that proves he was waiting and watching for him to come, there was hope. Secondly the father ran to meet him. This speaks of passion, acceptance and joy.

No matter what you have done in your life, no matter what mess you got yourself into, no matter how stupid you were, no matter how many people hate you and reject you; there’s a heavenly Father who is waiting for you to come home. There’s someone who loves you unconditionally. Look and see and feel the Father’s heart today as you watch this Father stand at the farm gate waiting for the lost son to come home. There’s hope in that father’s heart for restoration and moving right back to full sonship. Did he deserve it? – No! But here’s the power of the Father’s love: He made a way for you to come back and find forgiveness.

When you have “come to your senses” like this prodigal son; God’s love for you is total acceptance! His generosity is complete with restoration to full sonship, inclusion in the family and bountiful provision. This great story illustrates the LOVE OF THE FATHER. All that is required to receive that love is the attitude the Prodigal Son had – he came to his senses, or as it says in another translation, “he came to himself” it’s that realisation that I cannot make it on my own, I need the Father. Consider the restoration from the father which we will unpack in coming weeks. He gave the Son the robe which speaks of righteousness – being in right standing or right relationship with God. He gave him the ring which speaks of sonship and authority. Not a hired hand but a full son of the father. He gave him sandals which speak of provision because servants have bare feet but sons have sandals provided. He gave the son a fatted calf which speaks of the sacrifice that is pleasing to God and the highest form of celebration. Not only that but it shows the preparation of the calf over time as though the father was expecting the son to one day return. As we unpack these ideas later I am praying that you will experience from God a revelation of His righteousness, His gift of sonship, His provision and His joy of celebration over your salvation and acceptance by the Father.

This story is dear to God’s heart because he lived through it in times past.

Listen to this passage, Gen 3:22-24

22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.(NLT)

Imagine the pain of God the Father as He forced Adam and Eve to leave the Garden of Eden on that tragic day when Adam chose to disobey God and brought upon himself the result of sin – separation from God. However a plan was in place from before the foundations of the earth that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, would choose to come and die on the cross and receive the judgement due to us all. By standing in our place He suffered and died for us that we may be pardoned and be forgiven if we too would come to ourselves and realise our great need of God.

The LOVE OF THE FATHER is life changing and healing. He has made a way for you and me to come home to Him, to be forgiven and completely restored to full sonship. Of course we don’t deserve it, but so great is His love to save and forgive and heal that if we will only turn to Him we can receive everything.

Will you begin the journey today?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Why did the son leave and take his inheritance money?

2. What was it that made him come to his senses?

3. Do you think many people come to their senses like that?

4. What did the Father restore to him when he arrived home?

5. How much of those things do you feel you have received from God yourself?

 

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PLENTYVALLEYCHURCH REVEALEDbig picture

TODAY IS THE “STATE OF THE UNION” ADDRESS

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.

WHAT WE CELEBRATE

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

HOW THIS CHURCH IMPACTS THE WORLD

LOCAL COMMUNITY OUTREACH

FOUNDATION YOUTH

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

RED FROGS – Uni outreach work

YOUNG MUMS PLAY GROUPS –

COMMUNITY KITCHEN – approx 5200 meals in 2012

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

MISSIONS WORK

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

CHURCH PLANTING

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)

THE BIG PICTURE

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

STORY – JAMES BAPTISM

STORY – JADE’S TESTIMONY

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

STORY – 100 INFLUENTIAL MEN

STORY – ART COMPETITION

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.

STORY – OUR INTERNS ARE GROWING AND CHANGING

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

STORY – IDENTIFIED 13 CHURCH PLANTER COUPLES IN VICTORIA.

THE CHALLENGES

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

WHAT AM I ASKING YOU TO DO?

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.

STORY – A YOUNG MAN CAME TO MY OFFICE – I NEED JESUS

OUR SECOND CHALLENGE IS FINANCE

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?

Giving

WHAT AM I ASKING YOU TO DO?

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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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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Image

IMPRINTS # 4   Sunday 28th October 2012

I have promised – Now what?

The results of the fund raising dinner and pledge giving last week are:

As a local church we have raised $65,000 for the vision we shared last week.

Thanks for your generosity!

You can still give or pledge today and be part of the whole team who are giving.

Now that you have planned to give towards a Kingdom Project what is the next step?

Sow a seed to kick start your flow.

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].

God says He gives to you the seed and the bread. He gives you seed for sowing.

As any farmer knows, seed in the barn is not producing anything, it’s only seed in the ground that is multiplying.

It is so very important hat you begin your pledge giving by putting some of it into the ground of Kingdom purpose right away. Every year some people think, “When I get some spare money I will put a chunk of it into the Kingdom Advance giving.” But as the year goes by that just never seems to happen, and when the end of the year comes there’s no opportunity to complete the giving pledge.

Ecc 11:4  If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything. (GNB)

If your seed is in the ground, something is working, you can’t see it yet, but something is happening.

Mar 4:26  And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground,

Mar 4:27  And then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and increases–he knows not how.

Mar 4:28  The earth produces [acting] by itself–first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

Mar 4:29  But when the grain is ripe and permits, immediately he sends forth [the reapers] and puts in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.

Something’s going on in that soil, the seed is at work, it’s a law of nature, but you must be patient.

Pray over your seed

Just like the seed growing in the ground needs rain, so your seed needs to be watered with faith. Your expectation of the blessing of God is going to nourish and tend the miracle growing in the ground. If you are thinking all the time, “It’s hard times, I never have enough, I wish I didn’t give that money.” Then you will be making room for crop failure. God has promised to multiply your seed, so imagine it and see the vision fulfilled.

Mat 9:28  When He reached the house and went in, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, Yes, Lord.

Mat 9:29  Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith and trust and reliance [on the power invested in Me] be it done to you;

Rejoice that you have given to God

We rejoice in the opportunity to give to God. It is our love for God even more than our passion for the vision that inspired us to give. We are so happy that our gifts make a big difference to the lives of others, but it is our hearts to desire to show our love and appreciation to God for all that He has done for us, and so we give above and beyond.

2Co 9:7  Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. [Prov. 22:9.](AMP)

2Co 9:13  This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. (MESS)

Expect an Abundant blessing

2Co 9:7  Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. [Prov. 22:9.]

2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace (every favour and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

Isaac sowed in a time of famine and reaped 100 fold.

Gen 26:1  AND THERE was a famine in the land, other than the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines.

Gen 26:12  Then Isaac sowed seed in that land and received in the same year a hundred times as much as he had planted, and the Lord favoured him with blessings.

In this season of the Australian economy where the future seems uncertain, you have decided to be generous. Your faith makes room for God to sustain and bless you through what ever comes your way.

We have an attitude that by faith we war a good warfare over our seed. WE are strong in faith believing that the promise of God is for His people to experience abundance. This promise is received by faith like every other promise. At times there are obstacles and challenges to faith, but we hold fast the confidence of our faith steadfast till the end.

Asking God for His provision is making a demand upon His ability.

Mar 11:24  For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. (AMP)

Just look with me for a moment at the word “ask” and what it really means in this verse….

The word “Ask” in the original Greek language G154 αἰτέω   aiteō   ahee-teh’-o

Of uncertain derivation; to ask (in generally): – ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require. Compare G4441. (That is looking at other times words are translated as “ask” in English)

 G4441- to question, that is, ascertain by inquiry (as a matter of information merely; and thus differing from

G2065, which properly means a request as a favour; and from

G154, which is strictly a demand of something due; as well as from (That’s the one from this verse)

G2212, which implies a search for something hidden; and from

G1189, which involves the idea of urgent need); by implication to learn (by casual intelligence): – ask, demand, enquire, understand.

Thus in this verse Jesus is saying make a demand of something due. To ask here implies great desire, even craving, as well as making a demand for something.

This is not “If it be thy will, Lord” kind of prayers. This is storming the gates of heaven type prayers and “not taking no for an answer” type prayers.

We are in for a season of financial strength and great blessing. Let’s rejoice in the Lord for His goodness.

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Preaching 7 October 2012 AM

Across the sands of time walk the men and women of greatness, leaving behind them their imprints on changed lives.

You too can leave behind you the effects of your work and generosity in the form of changed lives.

Sir Fred Hollows

Sir Fred Hollows, left behind an imprint of thousands of lives changed through provision of sight. Fred Hollows, was an ophthalmologist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries. It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows, the most notable example being The Fred Hollows Foundation. When people give to the foundation – lives are changed.

Andy Gourley

Andy Gourley has taken Red Frogs as an organisation around the world. This Chaplaincy Organisation that began in Christian Outreach Centre reaches out to year 12 students at Schoolies week and then later at University O week activities. They are the chaplains that serve with love to protect the brightest and best youth of today, our future leaders from harm due to binge drinking and dangerous behaviour at schoolies week. With many young people becoming Christians at schoolies week and then also later at uni campuses Australia’s future will see the imprint of the work of Red Frogs in people who’s lives took a turn for the better because of Andy Gourley. When people give to Red Frogs – lives are changed.             http://au.redfrogs.com/

Tony Kirwan

Tony and Jenni Kirwan who started Destiny Rescue in this local church, lead a massive team of people now operating in six nations, building over 30 orphanages and rescuing this year alone 150 young girls from brothels. Their work will leave an imprint in the lives of tens of thousands of young women whose destiny has been changed though vision and giving. When people give to Destiny Rescue – lives are changed.      www.destinyrescue.org

Have you considered how your life can leave an imprint in the lives of others?

Can you see behind you the imprints left behind because of where you have been with generosity and service?

This church has embarked upon a mission to leave a vast imprint in the lives of Melburnians. Through our work with Primary School mentoring, High School outreach, Community Kitchen, Police Chaplaincy, and Family Violence reduction we intend to leave behind a significant imprint in the lives of many people in this city.

 

I am inviting you this month to be a part of that imprint into the lives of others.

National Others week

http://nationalothersweek.com/

In this local church the whole month of November will be an others focussed month, culminating in Hero Day where we celebrate people who have gone unrecognised in the community for their selfless work.

This month of October is our month when we focus on making a difference in the lives of others – leaving behind an Imprint!

Last year we raised $60,000 in pledges which has created huge impact in Destiny Rescue’s vision, the planting of a new local church into south Yarra with AJ and Bronnie Masefau and the increased impact of the Community Kitchen in this local area – in fact that was a local, national and international impact that was achieved through your giving.

This year your giving will be directed towards these three initiatives:

  1. Raising the next generation of leaders – The establishing of the internships program in our bible college next year.
  2. Destiny Rescue – Continuing our support
  3. Facility upgrade – After nearly three years our church building needs upgrading internally to refresh and improve to meet our needs.

I want to invite you to our Fundraising Dinner to be held this year on Saturday night 20th October here at church. This year our theme is Imprints. The dinner is free and at the dinner we will be asking you to pledge an amount towards the vision as I just outlined. For a ticket Please see one of these ten people:

Craig, John, Bob, Santo, Yas/Alex, Ken, Tas, Eric, Ed, Jess,

At our dinner we will be having a guest speaker Pastor John Morgan an Australian from Indiana in the USA and a guest singer Heidi Popp who has been here before.

Here’s how to make a huge difference with your life!

Let generosity become your foundation.

Jesus said: Luk 6:38  Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back–given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”[MESS]

Giving is inherent in God’s nature, and becomes part of our own nature too as we follow Jesus Christ.

But also Giving takes faith! Faith that God is your provider.

In the world economic environment right now, we have no end of doom and gloom stories about hard times ahead. China is reducing its use of your primary products like coal and iron ore. The European economic zone is a basket case with most counties experiencing national debt that exceeds their GDP.  If you don’t have faith in God as your foundation and provision then there’s not much positive news for you.

But God has a word for you this morning: Isa 35:4  Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

And: Gen 15:1  AFTER THESE things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great.

God wants to show up for you, but it is accessed through faith.

You will never receive by worrying.

You will never receive by complaining.

You will never receive by comparing with others.

You will receive by trusting in God.

Last month we spoke about getting gout of the boat. The Christian life is all about getting out of the boat. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  – Heb 11:6 [ESV]

Living by faith is essential for true Christians. It is how we normally live. The Just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17) Everyday we practice our faith by prayer, ceasing to worry, sharing our faith, and trusting for His provision amongst other things.

Do you trust him for provision? Is God your provider or is your job? Your investments? Your government benefit? Your parents? Tell me, which of those is completely reliable?

The bible warns us not to trust uncertain riches. The only certain thing is God’s promise to you and to me.

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.

This promise was given to the Philippians church who gave to Paul’s ministry.

Your faith is demonstrated in your regular faithful giving every week. If you gave only when you had plenty, no faith is required. If you gave only when you felt led by the spirit of God you may have trouble discerning between the voice of the Spirit and your own fears and concerns.

If you give as a matter of principle then your faith is activated and you will be a position to walk on water and grow in faith regularly. Let me tell you …. You want that, because that is the way to grow and achieve much greater things.

God sets a goal for all His people to demonstrate the principle of “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33)  It’s called Tithing.

Tithing is giving God the FIRST tenth of all your income.

“Honour the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income.”    – Proverbs 3:9-10

This is how he puts it:

Mal 3:10  Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Mal. 2:2.]

When we bring in the tithe or the first tenth of our income – that is a tenth of all the increase we have received this week we are acknowledging that God is the source of all our needs. Giving a tenth means that you realize you didn’t do this all by yourself, God has blessed you and is constantly providing for you.

It also comes with a promise that God will pour out the blessing upon you.

For some people, this step is not seen as a faith step, one of learning to trust God, but as an imposition. Some may say that this is only an Old Testament law and so is not applicable today. To those we must ask, then what is applicable today. To give less? Surely not? We now serve under a better covenant, now we are commanded to recognise that God owns all things and we are but stewards or managers of all that we possess.

Tithing is the base level of Giving and God wants to supply enough for you to bring the tithe into the storehouse – His church and also have enough to give to every charitable need.

2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace (every favour and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. [AMP]

If you wish to make an imprint in the lives of others then begin by being a tither into your local church. Chris and I have done this continually ever since we became Christians. Every year we give away between 10% and 20 % of our total income

What is the tithe for?

In the Old Testament the tithe was for the inheritance of the priestly tribe of Levi. (In other words the people called to do ministry) They did not inherit any land in the promised land. God said He was their inheritance but He commanded the whole nation of Israel to tithe and this would maintain the income and provision for he tribe of Levi so they could focus on the House of God.

Num 18:23  But the Levites shall do the [menial] service of the Tent of Meeting, and they shall bear and remove the iniquity of the people [that is, be answerable for the legal pollutions of the holy things and offer the necessary atonements for unintentional offenses in these matters]. It shall be a statute forever in all your generations, that among the Israelites the Levites have no inheritance [of land].

Num 18:24  But the tithes of the Israelites, which they present as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit; therefore I have said to them, Among the Israelites they shall have no inheritance. [They have homes and cities and pasturage to use but not to possess as their personal inheritance.] (AMP)

In the New Testament God says we give to support the ministry in the body of Christ

1Co 9:13  Do you not know that those men who are employed in the services of the temple get their food from the temple? And that those who tend the altar share with the altar [in the offerings brought]? [Deut. 18:1.]

1Co 9:14  [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel. (AMP)

Of Tithing in His day Jesus said “These things ought to be done” – Matt 23:23

In our local church an anonymous survey reveals that about 64% of the members practice tithing. This is high in comparison to many churches. Our desire in bringing to you an inspiration to tithe is simply because that is what God has commanded.

Furthermore, it is for your blessing which we long to see; and lastly it is essential for the vision of the local church to prosper that we may complete all that God has given us to do.

Will you be a tither? Continue in this good work if you have already begun. Start this walk of faith if you haven’t done so yet. By doing this you can prove God as Malachi 3:10 says.

This month is about leaving an imprint on this world by our generosity and service.

It begins with Tithing and follows on with giving to Kingdom Advance which will take place at our Imprints Dinner on Saturday night October 20th.

Please consider becoming or continuing as a tither so that we can all together make a significant imprint on the lives of others. Also please pray and ask God what you can pledge to this vision over and above your tithe.

Pray for the spirit of faith.

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