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DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE – WEEK 4  25/3/18 10AM

 

INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS EVERYWHERE

STORY – Imagine walking along and finding a mobile phone lying on the ground – did it form from years of weather acting on a piece of rock?

Ephesians 1:1-11 AMPC

1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the divine will (the purpose and the choice of God) to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones) at Ephesus who are also faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus:

2 May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!

4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[b]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

6 [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor,

8 Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence),

9 Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him,

10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.

11 In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,

WHAT ARE YOU DESIGNED FOR?

The whole purpose of God’s calling in your life is that you would know Him, represent Him and serve Him.

Saved from what? – Do you have a revelation of what you’re saved from?

What if I saved your life? Could you walk away and forget me?

Going to a meeting on Sundays and getting on with the rest of your life….. is that engaging with His purpose for your life?

STORY – coming to Melbourne – asked to go… but to what? Prophecy… you shall reach the ten tribes.

What you are designed for is different to all others. Think bigger than just being a steward on Sundays or being a door greeter at church. Your purpose is all about how God wants to change this world through your life.

EXAMPLEpeople within the church who have discovered their purpose

WHAT ARE YOU DESIGNED FOR?

ONE THING TO KNOW – FOR YOU TO KNOW WHAT IS GOD’S CALL AND MISSION FOR YOUR LIFE.

THE PATHWAY AT INFINITY CHURCH…

KNOW GOD, FIND FREEDOM, DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE, MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Everybody needs God, to know Him is essential, amazing and life changing. Know Him takes a lifetime but the first steps are Salvation, water baptism and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Once you meet Jesus, your next step is finding freedom. Freedom from effects of living in this sin soaked fallen world. Breaking free from the power of sin, from the bondages of fear, anger, insecurity, sexual uncleanness, unforgiveness, low self-image etc. etc.

Now your next step is to discover your purpose…. Think bigger than singing in the music team or being a Christian at work.

DESIGN IS ABOUT PURPOSE. You are created and called to BE – be like Jesus wherever you go. AND You are called to DO – do something specific that God designed you for that no one else is called to do.

Romans 8:28 AMPC

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

 Ephesians 5:15 AMPC

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

 2 Thess 1:11 AMPC

With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that [a]leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).

WHAT ARE YOU DESIGNED FOR?

Many of you have discovered your purpose already and you are already making a difference. Making a difference happens when you are part of the dream team – that is serving Jesus in the ways He has designed you for – both within the church and within your vocation and life. Being in the dream team means you’re getting coached or mentored to empower you for fulfillment and achievement.

If you’re not sure what your purpose is, I will help you discover your purpose. At the training block on April 10,17,24,May 1, you can engage with the journey of discovery. I will share with you about God’s plan for us as a team in Infinity Church and how to discover where you fit in that plan. Discovering your gifts and abilities is the key to serving Jesus for in ways that bring fulfillment and life to you and the Kingdom of God. I will help you discover your calling and how to serve Jesus and join the dream team to outwork God’s purpose in your life.

ONE THING TO DO – WRITE DOWN GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. IF YOU NEED HELP WITH THAT, COME ALONG TO THE DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE CLASS AT THE FIRST TRAINING BLOCK.

 

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March – week 2 – 11 March  10AM – Craig –

DO YOU KNOW GOD?

STORY – the moment I believed….

Know God – what was it like for you?

Listen to these stories of first contact….

Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Philosopher, Theologian

The tempest in my breast hurried me out into [the] garden, where no one might interrupt the fiery struggle in which I was engaged with myself, knowing what evil thing I was, but not knowing what good thing I was so shortly to become.

I flung myself down under a fig tree and gave free course to my tears. I cried to Thee: “And Thou, O Lord, how long? Wilt Thou be angry forever? Oh, remember not against us our former iniquities.”

Suddenly I heard the voice of a boy or a girl coming from the neighboring house, chanting over and over again, “Pick it up, read it; pick it up, read it.” Damming the torrent of my tears, I got to my feet, for I could not but think that this was a divine command to open the Bible and read the first passage I should light upon.

So I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, nor in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.

John Bunyan (1628-88) Writer, Preacher, “Pilgrim”

One morning [as] I was again at prayer and trembling under the fear that no word of God could help me, that piece of a sentence darted in upon me, “My grace is sufficient.” By these words I was sustained, yet not without exceeding conflicts. Therefore, I did still pray to God, that He would come in with His Scripture more fully on my heart.

One day, as I was passing into the field, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, “Thy righteousness is in heaven,” and I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness. So that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, “the same yesterday, today and forever.” Now went I also home rejoicing.

John Wesley (1703-91) English Cleric and Theologian

My father pressed me to enter into holy orders. I began to set in earnest upon a new life. I set apart an hour or two a day for religious retirement. I watched against all sin, whether in word or deed. I began to aim at, and pray for, inward holiness. Being ignorant of the righteousness of Christ, which, by a living faith in Him, bringeth salvation “to everyone that believeth,” I sought to establish my own righteousness. I was now properly “under the law.” Every day I was constrained to cry out, “What I do, I allow not: for what I would, I do not; but what I hate, that I do.”

[On May 24, 1738] in the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the epistle to the Romans. While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Saint Paul (A.D. 5-67) Apostle and New Test Writer

As I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied.

“What shall I do, Lord?” I asked.

“Get up,” the Lord said, “and go to Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.”

We have a pathway in this church…

KNOWING GOD, FINDING FREEDOM, DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Why a pathway? – because becoming a Christian is not an event but a journey. It is called discipleship.

From the moment you believe, no, from the moment you are open to discover…. Till you reach heaven you are continuously learning.

WHY TERMS FOR CONNECT AND WHY BLOCK TRAINING?

MINISTRY TEAM – met last year, how can we lead our church better? Last year was a year of decline in this church, we needed to do a better job of reaching people and keeping people.  Critical for finances to hold strong – we did it! – Now we must reach next gen – January Generations.

Also we must train and develop our dream team – that’s you! Our connect groups were doing a great job of pastoral care and discipleship but not meeting the training need to develop people – so training blocks – groups meet for 8 weeks then 4 weeks of training.

KNOWING GOD – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

FINDING FREEDOM – LAST MONTH’S THEME

THE NEXT STEP IS DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE.

Just as God spoke to Saul/Paul and said, “you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” There is a purpose for every life surrendered to Jesus.

IMAGO DEI

Basic foundation: Each of us is made in the image of God. This is a fundamental truth that underpins all our belief systems. It’s referred to by the Latin term Imago Dei which simply means Image of God.

Genesis 1:26-28 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

26 God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth.

27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.

 

Unpacking this can be life changing. It includes discovering who we are as spiritual beings and how we relate to God now that we are redeemed and in relationship with the Father. It also includes the purpose of man which is to have dominion. Man is created to rule and reign under Christ, in honour to one another and in complete victory over sin and death. We all are created with gifts abilities and callings to fit into one grand symphony of purpose that God has designed. It begins with the gospel and (never) ends in eternity serving and living with God.

Key aspects of discover your purpose.

  1. The church is the most significant organisation on earth
  2. God has a purpose for you in mind when He created you – even in your mother’s womb.
  3. Living out your purpose is the best way to enjoy God and live a fulfilling and rewarding life.
  4. Being saved means being redeemed or bought back from sin and brokenness for a purpose, our life is not our own and what He has done for us means we desire with all our hearts to yield.
  5. No one can do what you do. You are needed and wanted in this church. Your gift and ability is an essential part of the whole.
  6. Don’t wait until you become perfect or healed or “better” before you start serving. As you go on your way you will be healed.
  7. Don’t let fear stop you. Realise that you can serve anywhere and change to something else later if you need to, if it doesn’t work for you.

 

One thing to do – discover your purpose – many of you have already discovered your purpose – and as a result you are serving in a role or task in this church. Others of you need to let us help you discover your purpose. So… attend the training nights April 10,17,24,May 1. What it means to be a member, Gift survey, leadership skills and joining the dream team.

 

 

 

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FAVOUR #2    14/8/16amgods-favor-st-pats-550x320

Joshua’s long day

Joshua 10:12-13 AMP 12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord handed over the Amorites to the sons of Israel, and Joshua said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, And moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13  So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation [of Israel] took vengeance upon their enemies.

 

Some days God moves heaven and earth for one of His sons! What qualified Joshua for this outstanding miracle?

The story…

5 Kings attacked Gibeon – They were afraid of Israel and because Gibeon had surrendered to Israel they went after them in revenge. The Gibeonites ask Joshua for help and he takes his men up to Gibeon. The Lord said I have given them to you, do not fear.  Joshua went up all night to march on them. They fought all day and God threw down great hail stones upon them. More died from the hail than from the sword of Israel. The Joshua asked God for something big. Sun standstill. They had already been awake 36 hours when the request was made for another 24 – that’s passion.

Whose side do you want to be on?

I want to be on the Lord’s side. That’s the winning side. When you are on the Lord’s side you get the favour of God on your life. Supernatural help so that you can accomplish His purpose.

WE ARE IN A SEASON OF GOD’S FAVOUR

What is God’s Favour?

It is the loving kindness of God, it is His help and blessings. Favour is God working with you to help you and give you victory in a supernatural way. Grace is the New Testament word for favour. It means unmerited favour or goodness. Do you want the favour of God on your life? Can I share with you how to obtain it?

God is no respecter of persons. That means He doesn’t have favourites. His blessings are available to all. But there is a way to receive. We receive by faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. He that doubts is like the wave tossed to and fro, let not that man thing he will receive anything from the Lord. He loves all equally, He has no favourites but He gives favour to anyone who qualifies for it. So what qualifies us for favour?

You can position yourself for favour. There are two things that position you for God’s favour: passion for His purpose and putting God first in everything.

Joshua obtained extraordinary favour. You can see his passion to fulfil God’s purpose to take the Promised Land and occupy the land God had promised to Israel. If he can march all night, fight all day and still ask for another 24 hours then I can see he has passion; and what for, to see the enemies of Israel routed. When you have a passion for your own To Do list and God’s purpose is on the bottom or non-existent, then you are not going to be seeing the favour of God. We can often live our lives as if God’s work and His purpose are for someone else. We think that we are not qualified or we don’t have a passion for what He loves.

The second criteria to position yourself for God’s favour is to put Him first in everything.

Ps 1:1-3 AMP

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night. 3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].

You can position yourself for God’s favour. In Psalm 1 we see the man under favour has sought Gods law above the advice of sinners. He has valued God’s ways above the ways of scoffers and those who ridicule. You can position yourself for God’s favour. Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, hang with the scoffers, but instead delight in God’s law. This is talking about the focus of your life, your values, your passion for the things of God, His ways and His wisdom.

Putting God first in everything we do positions us for favour.

Here’s the big thought for today… There is favour for you if you want it.

Psalm 2:12 …favoured by God are all those who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 84:4 …favoured are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence.

Psalm 84:5… favoured is the man whose strength is in You. In whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Psalm 84:12 …favoured is the man whose strength is in You. [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].

Think about what we put first in our lives. A report came out this week that the average Aussie puts 46 hours into screen time per week, and only 6 hours into face to face relationships. That’s a lot of discretionary time!!  We say we are too busy for this and that, too busy to spend time with people we love. The result may well be a lack of connection and unhealthy relationships.  Others say I’m too busy for prayer, too busy for reading God’s word and too busy to get to church; but the average person spends 46 hours a week looking at a screen! And folks that doesn’t include work screen time.

Favour comes when we put God first in our possessions. When we give our tithe, the first tenth of our gross income, it’s just that – the first tenth. It’s not the last tenth or even the second tenth. Tithing is a principle that God gave His people. It is a demonstration that God is first in our possessions and our living and our income. The first commandment was to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, in the New Testament He asks for first love, when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan the first city was for God – Jericho. He calls for first fruits of every harvest, He says seek first the kingdom then all these things will be added unto you. If you can get this principle: God wants to be first in your life in everything. If in anything He is second that’s idolatry. He specifically says that the first tithe belongs to Him and is for the house and for the ministry. It’s so that there is meat in His house to meet every need. But it’s not without reward. Here is His favour! His promise is for open heavens, for abundance and so if our attitude is faith, there’s a joy in bringing God that which is His, but if there’s unbelief, then there is a sorrow for something lost.

We are in a season of Gods favour. You can position yourself for His favour by having a passion for His purpose and by walking the Psalm 1 road, putting the kingdom first in your life. Perhaps you’re asking what I can do.

If there’s a take away goal from this message it’s this: Renew your passion for God and put Him first in everything and watch what happens.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. If you thought about what deep passions you have in your life – what are they?
  2. How many of those passions are the ones God has set for your life?
  3.  What are your priorities – whats most important to you in your life?
  4. Is God first in every area?
  5. What can you do to change today – to follow His passions and put Him first in everything?

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hearts-on-fire-intercessory-prayer

One day many years ago I prayed for a young man called Ross who had decided to move back to Townsville from Brisbane. I could see in him such potential. I prayed for him and I asked God if He would bring him back to Brisbane to serve in our church again. He did come back and He made a great impact for God in our movement. What might have happened if I never prayed that prayer?

Luke 18:1 (AMP) Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart,

Prayer is the power of God in your mouth. Prayer is your lifeline to heaven. Every Christian believer has a relationship with the God of the impossible. If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to His children. You and I are not standing afar off asking a reticent God for His favour. We are His adopted children. We are His offspring the apple of His eye and joint heirs with Jesus. Will He not answer our prayers when we call upon Him?

Some Christians may be put off prayer because they think it’s boring or they find no answers. But the truth is they haven’t entered into the deep relationship that comes with knowing Jesus intimately. How can I not converse with the one I love? It’s not at first about getting something from God but it’s all about relationship with Him.

To be born again is to be in relationship with Him; we are now sons and daughters of the most high God. Now once you have relationship, then His heart is transferred to you and you have now got His desires and His passion for this world. To make His love known and to bring His kingdom to earth. Now we become His co-labourers and engaged in the work of the kingdom – to be about our Father’s business.

So why pray? – It’s life giving, it’s effective and it changes your future for the better.

If there is one thing I want you to know from this message today it is this – You have the power to change the world through your prayer.

1 Samuel 1:1-19 (ESV)

1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

 3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.[a] 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.

Here is a prayer that changed the world! Hannah prays for a son and his future is to be a prophet in Israel. Samuel was one of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament. He guided Israel and established the reign of King David and walked in honour and integrity all the days of his life. Will your prayers change the world?

YES THEY WILL!         YES THEY WILL!       YES THEY WILL!

Why should we pray? It’s life giving, it’s effective and it changes your future for the better. Prayer invades everything we do. Here in this Church we have a high value on prayer. We see prayer requests answered all the time. Last week we prayed for a man with a bad back and this week he told us how his back is completely healed and the physio gave him a good report. Lots of prayer requests go up on our facebook page every week and people are praying for one another. Prayer takes place in our small groups. Believers pray for each other, for the loved ones we know who need a miracle and for the church, the government and world affairs.

We meet for prayer in the Kid Town room every weekday morning from 6-7 am. Everyone is welcome. This has been our practice for about 20 years. That’s a lot of prayers. Look at the prayer discipleship that has occurred through this time as we have mentored and developed people who came to pray and seek God with us.

At HUB leaders meeting we pray, teach on prayer and form a teamwork that is powerful. At certain times we call the church together to pray as a whole. In this corporate prayer environment we storm the heavens and we make ground for the Kingdom. Such a prayer tie will take place today right after lunch at 12.30-1.30 here in the Auditorium.

Let’s go back to 1 Samuel and learn about prayer…

Hannah had a good husband. She was blessed. She lived in a healthy environment; but she had no kids! It’s normal to want to have children. In this time when Hannah lived, a woman’s worth was enhanced by her ability to bear children for her husband. Although so many things were good in her life there was one thing that was not good. A big gap existed in her life experience and she was not happy! She wanted to reproduce. As believers we want to reproduce too! We want to see others come to faith. Yet countless Christian believers live their whole life and never lead another person to Christ. And yet someone led them to Christ or at least prayed for them. They long to reproduce but nothing is happening. The one big difference between them and Hannah is that Hannah prayed!

It gets worse! She was taunted by the other wife, Peninnah. As if it wasn’t hard enough being childless, now she must endure ridicule from fatso! But actually who’s the problem here? Look at verse six, the Lord had closed her womb! Thanks a lot God!! As is life isn’t hard enough here, you have to come along and close my womb for fun so can watch the Hannah and fatso show for a few laughs!

However, God had a plan. He always does, and we, of course, are NOT smarter than God and we don’t know everything. He needed a breakthrough in Israel. He needed a good man to bring the God life back to this backslidden nation. But where would he find a good man? It had to be birthed in passion and desire.

Why don’t you be honest – your life is not that bad! There’s a lot of things working for you. You live in the best nation on earth, you live in the most liveable city on the planet, voted for 5 years running! Furthermore for most of us count our blessings in our health and our family life. BUT… there’s something in your world not working for you. There’s something that you long for and it’s not just a selfish request – this is something really important. Have you considered two things?

  1. God created the problem.
  2. In solving it there’s a much bigger purpose behind it.

God wants your heart first, He wants to hear from you. He has a covenant with you, you’re His son, daughter, agent, and soldier. But there something bigger at stake too. There’s purpose in this prayer request you’re going to make. It had wider implications. If God is behind this lack, this need, this gap in your life – then He has plans. HE WANTS YOUR ATTENTION!! Are you going to pray or whinge?

Hannah prayed!

Here’s seven things about Hannah’s prayer you must know…

  1. Hannah goes to pray (Vs 9) she is compelled by passion. Prayer isn’t a ritual or a duty but it is fuelled by passion.
  2. Did you know that desire is the volume knob of prayer? Making a loud noise doesn’t impress God but intense desire breaks through every barrier. Mark 11:24 (ESV) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. This word “ask” means to crave for, to desire. It has a strong sense of meaning. It’s not casual, it means to make a demand!
  3. Hannah makes a vow. This is not a bargain. This is not Hannah saying, “If you do this I will do this.” This is surrender! Hannah is saying, this is going to cost me something. I’m committed to the outcome. I’m willing to pay the price, and all I get, it’s not for me, I acknowledge it all belongs to you. In the Kingdom, if we can get this… God wants the first part. First commandment, First love. First tenth of your income. Seek first the kingdom and then all these things shall be added. Are you getting it?
  4. Hannah was misunderstood. Eli thought she was drunk! Passionate pray-ers will be misunderstood. Just pray quietly people will say to you. Don’t go overboard. Pray with dignity and properness, pray with decorum! Religious prayers, words without meaning, dribble without passion never moved the hand of God. Hannah prayed with bitterness of soul. Look at Verse 10 and 16 “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. All along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Sounds like a deep prayer that’s meant for Gods ears not people.
  5. Hannah found agreement. Eli listened and he heard her cry and his immediate response was, “Lord grant this prayer.” There is power in agreement. When you can find someone to listen then share that big passion and pray together.
  6. Hannah found immediate peace. That is an evidence of faith. Hannah was greatly distressed but after the prayer with Eli she had peace.
  7. Hannah received her answer. Nine months later she had a son and called him Samuel and He was mighty for God. She gave him up to the Lord to serve in the house of God but soon God gave her five other children after that, three sons and two daughters. (! Sam 2:21)

Now it’s your turn to pray. What do you need changed? Will you pray with passion? Will you come into agreement? Will you know when you have broken through? It’s time to change our City and our Nation. The need is great and the power is in your mouth. Let’s pray with power confidence and passion and se God’s hand move through us. If there is one thing I would say to do from this message it would be – change one thing this week to give yourself more to prayer.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Are you a “pray as you go” person or do you need to get alone with God behind closed doors?
  2. Tell us about your prayer journey.
  3. How can we know how much prayer is enough prayer?
  4. What makes you want to pray?
  5. What stops you praying?

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YOUR PLACE IN THE NATION – 3 JULY 2016 AM banner_PRAY4AUS_web_1200x628_1605

Today we begin a series on prayer through July 2016. I would like to open by reading Winston Churchill’s speech from the Second World War. Winston Churchill’s speech ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’ is one of the defining speeches during the second world war. It uses the technique of repetition to very good effect.

Winston Churchill – 4 June 1940

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,

we shall fight on the seas and oceans,

we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,

we shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

The context was war. The threat is very real and very serious. This is how we as Christians here in Australia must perceive and understand the situation within our own nation. Think about the spiritual condition of the nation. We are at war with satan, with spiritual forces that want to remove the gospel and the power of God from the nation and reduce Christianity to a powerless religion. Is that what you want? If not then this is a rallying cry for all of us and for anyone who will hear.

The result of this speech of Winston Churchill was to unite the people of Great Britain to call them to action and to give them a belief that the victory as achievable.

There is no complaining in this time of focus, no focus on the small things that seem inconvenient. The focus is now on the main thing that really matters. They understood the threat, they knew their job, and they chose to never give up.

There is a spirit realm, and we live in it we are surrounded by it. It is always active and always talking to us. We must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Many Christian’s live their daily lives oblivious to the activity of the spirit realm around them. Powerless to recognise it, and powerless to shift it or change situations and circumstances affected by it. Instead God calls us to rule and reign with Him in it! We are people of authority! Do you wield that authority?

Ephes 6:12 AMP

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

Luke 10:19 AMP

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

There is an enemy. A decline in the power and effectiveness of Christianity in Australia shows that the enemy has won some victories. The church needs a renewal, a boost to revive the life and power of the church. Godlessness abounds through the efforts of some to redefine marriage, promote the extremely ungodly Safe Schools Program and understanding that in Victoria we have the worst Abortion laws in the western world.

Your job or role is to influence the spirit realm not to let it influence you. HOW?

We must pray! Never feel that your prayers are powerless or worthless. You can move mountains when you pray. What convinces you? Satan’s message that prayer is boring, irrelevant and powerless OR God’s prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life saying, “All men aught always to pray and not give up!”  God calls us to pray.

2 Chron 7:14 AMP

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

ONE Thing I want you to know – YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS

Through Worship – Remember the story of Jehoshaphat. Through declaration – Say to this mountain – Mark 11:23 AMP

Think about your family today, is it where it should be?  If not do not despair, it can change. It’s time to pray, and to pray with a real belief that you can make a difference and things will change. This month we will be seeking to inspire you the ray and to discover the power that you have in prayer.

Think about your church. It’s time to pray for revival. To pray for souls, miracles and money. To have a passion for the church as a whole and your church here at Plenty Valley. What we long to see is many people coming to Christ. Pray for the people you know and are close to. Pray for this local area.

Think about your nation. Pray for the rise of the church. That Christianity will be leading and influencing in this land. That we will experience righteousness in the land.

ONE thing that I believe we can do as a result of this message is – PRAY – In your world – Make time – For example think how you would make time if you had a kid sick in Hospital. Pray with others   –  Get together in UC Groups, at Church Mon-Fri 6-7am, at Church – Sunday 31st 12.30 – 1 hour.

Listen to the words of Jesus today, “Will you not watch (pray) with me one hour?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Describe your prayer practice in an average week.
  2. Why do we feel inadequate in prayer sometimes?
  3. What can we do to overcome the reluctance to pray?
  4. Work out a positive plan to pray in the UC group each time you meet.
  5. What goal can you set to pray in your own personal time between now and next time you meet at UC group?

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A Mother’s Day Message for Men.

Building Great families – May 2016great families

Violence has always been with us. Has there been more or less violence now than in the past? It’s impossible to tell, however from the earliest history we know that war took millions of lives and the same thing is taking place all over the world today. Violence is ugly, it’s repugnant, but we can’t get away from it as part of the nature of man. Here’s what God says about man in the days leading up to the flood of Noah. Gen 6:5-6 AMP  The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. 6 The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. Things haven’t changed much since then. We say we live a civilised society, yet we see even in this land of peace and safety, acts of terrorism, gang violence and family violence such that one woman is killed on average every week through current or former partner violence.

Some would say that God is pretty violent Himself because throughout the Old Testament, God instructs Israel to wipe out nations, killing millions of people including women and children. These commands were always to execute judgement. God is a righteous and just God and His sixth commandment is Ex 20:13 AMP  “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).”

However God is a capital punishment advocate who deals out the death penalty for a number of crimes including cursing your parents. In the events of the Old Testament God uses Israel to execute His justice upon the heathen nations of Canaan who were extremely violent themselves. Their own practice of sacrificing their children in the fire to their gods was specifically mentioned by God as one reason for this judgement. Deut 12:29-31 ESV “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” The Old Testament shows the judgement of God against sin to be unavoidable. However we see this, the clear message of the Old Testament is that God is a holy God who judges all manner of sin and His justice is without compromise. Even Israel received this judgement when they too also strayed into idolatry and evil practices.

War has continued throughout the centuries with World War I being the “war to end all wars” yet sadly it was not so. World War II and subsequent wars like the Vietnam War and the war of Desert Storm in Iraq have continued unabated. We have seen genocide committed over and over again in examples like Pol Pot’s regime where millions died in Cambodia; such as the genocide in Rwanda and the Congo where still today life is cheap. In a short digression often non-Christian critic will say that religious wars have killed more people than any other wars. But this is a complete myth.

In our Australian culture of egalitarianism and giving everyone a fair go, still we have a great deal of violence. The statistics for family violence have risen steadily for many years. This is due to increased reporting as well as increase in prevalence. Christian or not Christian, the community view has begun to change in the way that we see violence as being unacceptable especially in the home. Yet as much as we dislike it and protest about it, we see it continues relentlessly. Violence is perpetrated mostly by men. Men from every ethnic background and every socioeconomic background. So men need to be part of the answer.

There’s a job to do for all of us men here today. – Ensure the next generation does not make violence their choice in resolving conflict. We have a responsibility to raise our families without violence and to work for an end to violence in our community.

The culture that men carry either implicit or explicit is that women are somehow less than men. This ingrained cultural norm stems not just from the woman being the weaker sex physically, but from the traditional roles men play in terms of being driven by achievement and women by nurture.

The underlying foundation of violence against women is gender inequity.

Gender equity is a very important concept and is supported by the bible view that men and women are of equal value but have different roles. The White Ribbon Organisation in Australia is an organisation of men who believe that violence against women is wrong and they want to do something about it. I am a White Ribbon Ambassador which means that I am authorised to speak on behalf of White Ribbon and for the cause of ending violence against women. This local church has held four annual White Ribbon Dinners over the last four years and sought to bring awareness and resources to the community around us to work on the prevention aspect of this important initiative.  Also I serve on a non-church committee to organise the empowering of White Ribbon Ambassadors across the State. IMG_4331

Violence in this community.

This Whittlesea Local Government region each year has the worst or second worst statistics for family violence in the State of Victoria. My role as Police Chaplain has given me a deeper understanding of this issue as I seek to care for the Police members in this local area. It may surprise you to know that around 50% of our local police effort goes into addressing family violence. We want to be part of the answer and we want to impact our own local community so that over time we see a reduction in this type of crime. If we are going to make a difference, here’s how you and I can make a difference.

  1. Review your past. How has violence characterised your behaviour? Did you grow up in a violent home? Were you a victim of violence? For some men who were victims of violence they learn from an early age that the way to deal with conflict is to hit out physically. This is how you get your own way. Violence is not only physical – it is verbal, sexual, economic, emotional, and more. Recognise what your past has taught you in terms of your values. Do you use any form of violence to get your own way? Do you hit, yell, withhold finances, denigrate, or in any way hurt your partner or children or anyone else? How does one change? Face yourself and your past. Ask forgiveness. Seek counsel and help from supportive people.
  2. Submit your life to Christ. It’s hard to change your habits especially if they are long standing from childhood. Yet in Christ we have a life changing power of handing our life over to God. The power of Christianity is not just forgiveness but power over sin because God gives a repentant sinner a new heart. Jesus was not violent, but He absorbed violence. Think about the cross, and how He endured violence against Himself. Jesus view of violence was simple: Matthew 26:52 (AMP) Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who habitually draw the sword will die by the sword. Change in an individual’s life is extremely difficult unless God gives you a new heart, so make it your determined purpose to surrender your life to Christ and become a new man.
  3. Review your values. Do you see women as less in any way? From an early age we say to a little girl, “How beautiful she is.” And to a little boy, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” By this we build into women the value judgement of appearance and to men the value judgement of achievement. As children grow we must be so careful about our language. Do we use statements like, “crying like a girl, or hitting like a girl.” to chastise a boy and reinforce the stereotype that girls are weak or inferior?
  4. Raise your kids without violence. Children must see mother and father loving each other and resolving conflict without violence, because they will learn from watching. It is not acceptable for any woman or child to feel fear from an angry man. Smacking is an important subject and is promoted in the scriptures. Smacking is an important tool for a wise parent to bring about a small amount of pain to a child to avoid a life time of far greater pain. Smacking is effective in very young children who are not able to reason yet. Smacking must never be done in anger and must be balanced with loving and accepting touch when a child is sorry or behaves well. Video games in particular are often violent and program a child’s mind to see violence as a strategy to gain power or pleasure. Be careful about what your children watch on games, television and movies.
  5. Champion gender equity. Men and women are of equal value. They have different roles, women are not all the same. Men are not all the same. Some women are properly suited to career and leadership, others for nurture and motherhood. No one gender stereotype is of greater value than another. Men who choose homemaking roles are less numerous but not less important or valuable. Think about how women are treated in your home, your family group. Get rid of sexist jokes, put downs based on gender.
  6. In your associations speak up for gender equity and respect for women. In your church, your workplace, your sporting club, are women treated with respect? In a committee meeting do women get an equal share of the time when asked to speak? Remember that even in 2016 in Australia women are paid 18% less than men for the same jobs. This is an example of gender inequity.

Conclusions

As godly men in this local community we can make a difference. It’s important that we become aware of the issue and review our inner core belief systems about how we think about women. You may not be violent but do you promote the unhealthy stereotypes of thinking and behaviour that are so prevalent in Australia? Let’s speak up for respect and equity. Lets’ take the pledge at White Ribbon.

I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.

Go to http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/myoath-popup

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What family environment did you grow up in? was there violence?
  2. How did this affect you?
  3. What values do you want your kids to hold regarding violence?
  4. How will you influence them?
  5. How can you influence your workplace for gender equity?

 

 

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Value 1 – Build honour into your family. (Sunday 1st May 2016 AM)great families

This month our theme is building great families. Your family is precious and valuable in this church. This month we will be ministering and praying for families so that each family is strengthened and blessed so that it lasts and provides a foundation for effective Christian lives and community building. Building a great atmosphere of love and joy and contentment in your family home is vital. Would you like me to share with you how to create that culture in your home?

This morning I want to draw your attention to a huge issue that is wrecking families and wrecking our Australian community. – No honour! The one thing I want you to know this morning is the power of honour.

There’s something wrong with how we do life here in Australia. No respect, no honour. In our schools, students give no respect or honour to teachers.  I would not like to be a teacher in the State system these days. Apart from the lack of respect, there is actually danger of physical violence for many teachers. Not just from students but from their parents also. Police are treated as the enemy. We see gang warfare growing in our streets of the kind we saw at Moomba. The culture of most Australians is to sling off at and vilify all politicians. The old fashioned values of respect and honour for those in authority are disappearing.

Honour is a value taught at home. If there is no honour in the home, then the family will be weakened. As husband and wife we must honour one another. If not children grow up disrespectful and prideful acting like brats right through into adulthood. We must teach our children to honour their mother and father. This value is pretty high up in God’s agenda as the fifth commandment and the first commandment with promise. Here’s a question for you, how well did you honour your parents? If your response is to tell me how bad they were, then you’ve missed the whole point of the commandment. Honour is about recognising the order of things that God has set in place. When we fail to honour we are standing against God.

I have watched my sons discipline their children. They are very strict about the way the children treat their mother. If a rude word is spoken, or if a request is disobeyed they take the youngster aside and talk straight to them and if there’s a repeat then a smack soon brings them back into line. Teaching children to honour their parents is something we must begin at an early age and if it’s not there by age 7, there will be a tough road ahead. Husbands, how you speak to your wife will show your children how to behave. There’s no room for disrespect. Wives, honour your husbands and speak well of them, show your kids how to honour with your words.

We are part of a Kingdom. Jesus our King is building His kingdom on earth, and we are living with Kingdom values. Jesus asked us to pray; your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.(Matt 6:10 AMP) One of the values operating in the Kingdom is Honour. So what is Honour? Honour means to value, to give weight, to esteem, to count as precious, to give worth and recognition to. The Kingdom runs on Honour. Without honour there is a big blockage in the flow of life and blessings in the kingdom. The one thing I want you to know this morning is the power of honour!

To contrast to that, dishonour means to be familiar, to take for granted, to count as being worth less, to ignore and to be rude. In our Ausssie culture sometimes dishonour is an art form. “Hey Morrie, you’re late for the BBQ, where have ya been ya dirty bludger?” This is not kingdom stuff.

God calls us to give honour where honour is due (Rom 13:7 AMP) So where is honour due?

Honour is due to the godly appointed people who have purpose in the kingdom. We give honour to those in authority, to one another, and God honours us when we walk in humility and love. Sometimes it becomes very common for all of us to have attitude toward one another. We snipe and backbite and complain about each other. The reason is fear stress and anxiety. We are not coping with pressure and we neglect the virtues we know are important. When we lose respect, and choose dishonour we reduce the power of God to bless.

Firstly see how Jesus honours the Father; Jesus answered, I am not possessed by a demon. On the contrary, I honour and reverence My Father and you dishonour (despise, vilify, and scorn) Me.(John 8:49)

The Father Honours the Son; For when He was invested with honour and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight, (2 Peter 1:17)

Holy Spirit Honours Jesus; He will honour and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:14)

Honour in the church and the home works up, down and sideways.

Honour your father and mother Ephesians 6:2 AMP Honour [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise—

Honour wife and husbandEphesians 5:33 AMP –  3 However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behaviour worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honouring him, and holding him dear].

We are to honour those over us in the Lord. Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honour [and of adequate [a]financial support], especially those who labour faithfully in preaching and teaching.(1Tim 5:17)

We honour one another; Show respect for all men [treat them honourably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honour the emperor.(1 Peter 2:17)

As leaders we honour those under us; I warn and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honour and splendour) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded):

Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonourably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;

Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).

And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the [a]conqueror’s crown of glory.(1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

Be careful not to give dishonour to one another and to leaders; because when we do we shut down God’s flow of favour and blessings.

And coming to His own country [Nazareth], He taught in their synagogue so that they were amazed with bewildered wonder, and said, Where did this [u]Man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?

55 Is not this the carpenter’s Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

56 And do not all His sisters live here among us? Where then did this Man get all this?

57 And they took offense at Him [they were repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority, and caused to stumble]. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.

58 And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith [v]in the divine mission of Jesus).(Matt 13:54-58)

Let’s take note here, no honour – no favour – no miracles.

Respect is earned but honour is given and is not about the person as an individual but is about who they represent.

Here’s the one thing I would love you to do following this message: Build a culture of honour in your home.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What kind of things do we sometimes say in the home to each other that are giving honour
  2. What kind of things do we sometimes say in the home to each other that are giving dishonour?
  3. How do you feel when someone honours you?
  4. How do you feel when someone dishonours you?
  5. How can you change the practice of honour in your home in a positive direction?

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