Posts Tagged ‘COC’


Your world is about to change – but only if you let God get involved.

I want to put you into a certain frame of mind to get you ready for the message this morning. I want you to picture church people a little differently today. I want you to see a picture as I paint it for you, that church people here today are something like this:

It’s late at night; and there’s nothing on TV, you are as bored as anything and now like a pack of restless teenagers you are wandering around town looking for trouble. There’s a kind of crowd confidence that overcomes normal inhibitions, anything can happen. You will follow a leader if that person shows any sort of confidence. You might end up wet or covered in dirt or miles from home, but one thing’s for sure you will have a story to tell for the next few years. And what’s more it’s been a heck of a lot more interesting than staying home and doing nothing.

Think like a bored teenager for the next hour. Think about how much you want to experience life and energy and change. Think about how much you have let caution, shyness, fear and playing it safe, keep you limited for the last few years. When was the last time you were outrageous? When was the last time you sang Karaoke? When was the last time you did something for the first time? – Hold that thought. Hold that mindset.



Read 1 Sam 14:1-16, (MESS)

1Sa 14:1  Later that day, Jonathan, Saul’s son, said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the Philistine garrison patrol on the other side of the pass.” But he didn’t tell his father.

1Sa 14:2  Meanwhile, Saul was taking it easy under the pomegranate tree at the threshing floor on the edge of town at Geba (Gibeah). There were about six hundred men with him.

1Sa 14:3  Ahijah, wearing the priestly Ephod, was also there. (Ahijah was the son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod, son of Phinehas, who was the son of Eli the priest of GOD at Shiloh.) No one there knew that Jonathan had gone off.

1Sa 14:4  The pass that Jonathan was planning to cross over to the Philistine garrison was flanked on either side by sharp rock outcroppings, cliffs named Bozez and Seneh.

1Sa 14:5  The cliff to the north faced Micmash; the cliff to the south faced Geba (Gibeah).

1Sa 14:6  Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on now, let’s go across to these uncircumcised pagans. Maybe GOD will work for us. There’s no rule that says God can only deliver by using a big army. No one can stop GOD from saving when he sets his mind to it.”

1Sa 14:7  His armor bearer said, “Go ahead. Do what you think best. I’m with you all the way.”

1Sa 14:8  Jonathan said, “Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll cross over the pass and let the men see we’re there.

1Sa 14:9  If they say, ‘Halt! Don’t move until we check you out,’ we’ll stay put and not go up.

1Sa 14:10  But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ we’ll go right up–and we’ll know GOD has given them to us. That will be our sign.”

1Sa 14:11  So they did it, the two of them. They stepped into the open where they could be seen by the Philistine garrison. The Philistines shouted out, “Look at that! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!”

1Sa 14:12  Then they yelled down to Jonathan and his armor bearer, “Come on up here! We’ve got a thing or two to show you!”

1Sa 14:13  Jonathan shouted to his armor bearer, “Up! Follow me! GOD has turned them over to Israel!” Jonathan scrambled up on all fours, his armor bearer right on his heels. When the Philistines came running up to them, he knocked them flat, his armor bearer right behind finishing them off, bashing their heads in with stones.

1Sa 14:14  In this first bloody encounter, Jonathan and his armor bearer killed about twenty men.

1Sa 14:15  That set off a terrific upheaval in both camp and field, the soldiers in the garrison and the raiding squad badly shaken up, the ground itself shuddering–panic like you’ve never seen before!

1Sa 14:16  Saul’s sentries posted back at Geba (Gibeah) in Benjamin saw the confusion and turmoil raging in the camp.

1Sa 14:20  Saul immediately called his army together and they went straight to the battle. When they got there they found total confusion–Philistines swinging their swords wildly, killing each other.

1Sa 14:21  Hebrews who had earlier defected to the Philistine camp came back. They now wanted to be with Israel under Saul and Jonathan.

1Sa 14:22  Not only that, but when all the Israelites who had been hiding out in the backwoods of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were running for their lives, they came out and joined the chase.

1Sa 14:23  GOD saved Israel! What a day! The fighting moved on to Beth Aven. The whole army was behind Saul now–ten thousand strong!–with the fighting scattering into all the towns throughout the hills of Ephraim.


Here’s the background to the story.

King Saul had been king for a while and not doing a very good job at all. He disobeys God and offers animals as sacrifice when he should waited for the prophet Samuel. Jonathan his son is a bit of a hothead, but he wants to make some progress. Saul started off with three companies of soldiers but most of them left him in fear and he has now only 600 left and they don’t have spears or swords. Sounds like a crack fighting force right?


Now Jonathan thinks, “I’ve gotta do something!” He decides to pick a fight with the Philistines. Something has got to change! Somebody has got to move out and do something, and that person may as well be me!

He takes his armour bearer with him – just two of them. They go right up to a garrison of the enemy and this is their unique strategy: Let the enemy dictate the terms of the battle – that way we know God is in it!!

Think like a teenager now: He’s off on his own, he hasn’t consulted the king, his father, but look at this boldness, this seemingly misplaced confidence! There’s initiative, there’s a bit of craziness, there’s thinking outside the box; but above all there’s an expectation on God!! Jonathan says God can save by many or by few (Vs 6) This is the key to his outrageous adventure.

He decided – GO PICK A FIGHT WITH A PROBLEM – but believes God is with him no matter what!

What have you done different this month? What have you changed or applied or given up to create momentum in your situation? Have you given God something to work with to give you your Spring Breakthrough? If nothing changes then nothing will change.

Are you doers of the word or are you just hearers only? Will we be a powerhouse church that is so passionate about God’s word that we listen to the word preached and we apply it straight away? Are we built on Rock or sand?

Here’s your check point….

In August our theme was Living Word. – How much change took place in your life so far to build the word of God in because of those messages?

Don’t fool yourself that you can just come along to church every week and listen to messages as though they were just interesting information and not change and expect to be an effective Christian. God is looking for His people to be salt and light, that’s influence. Standing out not blending in.

We need a Spring breakthrough, the church needs a Spring Breakthrough and Melbourne needs a Spring Breakthrough! We probably judge ourselves too kindly. It’s just too easy for all of us to say, “I’m a good Christian!” But we measure things like being honest, loving others and being good. When God is doing the measuring He looks from heaven and says,

Eze 9:4  “Walk through the city of Jerusalem and mark the forehead of anyone who is truly upset and sad about the disgusting things that are being done here.” (CEV)

And this: Mat 28:19  Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

If we want to reach our city of Whittlesea for God and we keep going at the rate we are going it will never happen! The church here and elsewhere looks a lot like Saul and his army, not making any headway and not having any weapons of substance. But it can all change with one bold move from a person of faith.


1Sa 13:15  At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him–a mere six hundred!

1Sa 13:22  So when the battle of Micmash was joined, there wasn’t a sword or spear to be found anywhere in Israel–except for Saul and his son Jonathan; they were both well-armed.



1Sa 14:23  GOD saved Israel! What a day! The fighting moved on to Beth Aven. The whole army was behind Saul now–ten thousand strong!–with the fighting scattering into all the towns throughout the hills of Ephraim.


Come on you reckless teenagers, bored with hum drum life. What will your move be?

For Carole  – it was to obey the voice in her heart that said share your faith with your father again even though he’s been antagonistic for years.

For Andrew  – the bold move was to continue to believe God for a job long past the due season for answers.

What about you?

What’s your bold move to create an opportunity for God? What does it look like? Ask the Holy Spirit. Step out and obey God. Pray and seek Him.


1. What inspires you about Jonathan in this story?

2. Describe how he talks about faith in this story.

3. How are you going with being a doer of the word and not just a hearer only?

4. If our church has a vision to impact the local area, then what kind of activity is required from the members?

5. What will your bold move be?


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In my back yard I have a paved area. Sometimes weeds grow in between the paving stones. When I looked at my paving this week it seemed as though they grew up overnight, but in reality I didn’t notice them growing over the last few weeks. Isn’t it true that sometimes undesirable things creep ever so slowly up around us and it’s not until something jolts us that we realise that things have changed and we must take action to remedy the situation?

Let’s take a look at this interesting story in the Old Testament.

READ 2 Kings 6:24-25 & 7:3-9

2Ki 6:24  Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria.

2Ki 6:25  And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.


2Ki 7:3  Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?

2Ki 7:4  If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.”

2Ki 7:5  So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there.

2Ki 7:6  For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.”

2Ki 7:7  So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives.

2Ki 7:8  And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.

2Ki 7:9  Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” (ESV)


The King of Syria besieges Samaria resulting in famine.

A donkey’s head sells for 80 shekels of silver and Dove’s dung (Could be translated a bowl of greens) for 5 shekels of silver.

Each day got worse as the famine continued.

At first people looked out and saw the enemy surrounding them, and wondered what would happen. Gradually things began to change. Prices started going up. Pressure started to mount. People began to get short with one another. Finally they were fighting over tiny amounts of food.

People got used to having less. At times over the next few moths life took on a form of normality – This is how it is now. The new normal.


Have you grown used to not having all that God has promised to you? Do you live in a place of lack that you have come to call normal? What’s your situation? Do you have sickness that won’t go away? Financial Constrictions that you have put up with now for too long – That’s just the way it is…

What about those broken relationships that you’ve tried to fix over and over all to no avail. What about reaching that loved one with the gospel, you know, the one you have shared with over and over again.

Look outside the walls, the enemy is still waiting there.

When I look at our church – I see we need a Spring Breakthrough. The vision is clear, it’s 500 in 5 years. That’s the breakthrough. To accomplish that we need to see more people coming, more visitors, more people being saved, more life change, more finance pouring in. The enemy wants to besiege you and this church.

He wants to stop the supplies getting in or out. We can get used to seeing what we see now and it becomes the new normal. But God has so much more for us.

Like the 4 lepers, we must take action. The 4 lepers were 4 people robbed of life. Living in less than what God had for them.

At least they were at the city gate. They could see God’s people coming and going. And they can see the enemy. They had awareness and they had perspective. These were possibly the 4 most unlikely men to deliver the city from the enemy.

They make a great statement: Why should we sit here until we die?

Why should we just sit here in the midst of a problem and do nothing. If we sit here we die, if we go inside the city we die (of starvation), if we go down to the enemy camp then they may give us food or if they kill us we will only die.

Look at this wisdom in the 4 leprous men.

  1. They realised the gravity of the situation
  2. They decided to do something to change
  3. They faced their fears and took action.
  4. God took over and did the rest.

Here’s a great example of that this week – let me read out this testimony from Carol one of our members who lives in Flowerdale:

“I had to ring my Dad as he’s going in to hospital today and so many times he is not interested in God or religion – it’s for those who need it or he tells me some jokes about Jesus or religion that are downright offensive and not really funny at all. So I was reluctant to bring it up again having been met with so many knock backs and “no” answers but something kept pressing on me… The conversation went like this.

After an hour of talking and feeling that pressing need to ask but not wanting to hear a negative “So before I say goodbye Dad, have you thought about giving your heart to Jesus” – “Yes”
I shook the phone and tapped it to make sure it was receiving the signal right. “Would you like to give your heart to Jesus now?” – “Yes”
So he did hear me! And that’s 2 yes’s.
“I have this thing to read out to you and you repeat it after me word for word and you give yourself to Jesus” – “Yes”.
That was 3 yes’s and what’s more, when I had been tidying up on Saturday, I found the card, left over from John Mellor’s visit, with the words to give your heart to Jesus on it and put it over our Bible so I knew where to find it. God knew that I would need it.
Dad repeated the words after me and gave his heart to Jesus right there and then. Wow, what a breakthrough and I wasn’t even thinking of Dad when we were praying. And what’s more, If I hadn’t of asked him if he wanted to give his heart to Jesus, we would have just said our goodbyes and missed the opportunity but as I say, I kept feeling pressed to ask that whole one hour conversation and wanted to put it off but kept being pressed.”

Spring Breakthrough is about you breaking through personally, and it’s about the church breaking through too. Do you have an appetite for change?

Why sit here till we die?

Have you put up with the new normal? The enemy wants to close you down, and shut down the church vision too. We are at the gate, it’s the place of perspective, we see what’s going on, what will you do to bring change?

Will you face your fears and take action. Here’s what I’m doing…

I’m fasting 2 or 3 days every week in spring. I’m finding new times to pray and seek God, I’m reassessing all that I do to chuck out activity that is not producing; I’m reaching out to people and inviting more than ever.

What will you do to create change and give God something to work with?


  1. What three things have you decided that you want to believe God to do for you this Spring?
  2. What changes will you make to your normal routine to give God something to work with?
  3. What price would you pay for change? For example, fasting? Give up some time wasting activity? Leave unhealthy relationships that pull you down?
  4. Write down your three goals. Read them every morning and night. Now find a picture that illustrates them if possible. And look at them every morning and night.
  5. How will you hold yourself accountable for change?

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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH #2PM Spring Breakthrough

You can have religion….   OR     You can have a God Encounter.

Jesus reacted strongly against religious people.

–         you know, the people who put on a good show.  (God show)

The message bible puts it so well …

Mat 3:7  When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference?

Mat 3:8  It’s your life that must change, not your skin!

Mat 3:9  And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen.

Mat 3:10  What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.

Or what about this one….

Mat 6:5  “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

It gets better, look at this….

Mat 15:7  Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:

Mat 15:8  These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.

Mat 15:9  They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy.” (MESS)

Jacob the grandson of Abraham in the book of Genesis had a God Encounter.

Gen 32:24  And Jacob was left alone, and a Man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Gen 32:25  And when [the Man] saw that He did not prevail against [Jacob], He touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with Him.

Gen 32:26  Then He said, Let Me go, for day is breaking. But [Jacob] said, I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing upon me.

Gen 32:27  [The Man] asked him, What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]!

Gen 32:28  And He said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob [supplanter], but Israel [contender with God]; for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed. [Hos. 12:3-4.]

Gen 32:29  Then Jacob asked Him, Tell me, I pray You, what [in contrast] is Your name? But He said, Why is it that you ask My name? And [the Angel of God declared] a blessing on [Jacob] there.

Gen 32:30  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God], saying, For I have seen God face to face, and my life is spared and not snatched away.

Gen 32:31  And as he passed Penuel [Peniel], the sun rose upon him, and he was limping because of his thigh. (AMP)


Jacob had cheated his brother out of his father’s inheritance. After being away in another country for a long time Jacob was forced to come back to his home town; and that meant facing his brother. Jacob knew his brother would be very angry to see him. Faced by that fear he took off to be alone.

The true test of a man’s soul is when he is alone with God.

He wrestled with God, this is about prayer. It’s the anguish of calling on God in time of great stress and asking for His help, because no one on earth can help you.

Jacob had purpose – he wanted to find assurance of safety for all that he had; wives, children and possessions.

He had determination – I will not let you go till you bless me.

He had an Encounter – a realisation of who he really was, and God changed him (his name).

He walked differently from then on – everyone could see on the outside what had happened on the inside due to that limp.

Every person needs a God Encounter. – That’s what SPRING BREAKTHROUGH is all about.

In a God Encounter – God changes you.

In being religious, you’re putting on a show for others, but on the inside you’re no different.

Mat 23:27  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything impure.

Mat 23:28  Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretence and lawlessness and iniquity. [Ps. 5:9.] (AMP)

Some Politicians think they can put on a good show. They show 10/10 for rhetoric, but 0/10 for character. In the end character shows through – that’s authentic.

What I read about Gen Y and younger is that they are seeking real, authentic leaders and churches.


You need a God Encounter to change you. You see – God knows who you really are on the inside. Jesus died to bring you forgiveness and to break the power of sin that messes you up on the inside.

What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]!

Jacob sought God. Fear drove him to find an answer because of the future that lay before him. The fear of confronting his failure took him to desperation and desperation is the door to a God Encounter. See you there!


  1. How much do you personally feel you need a God Encounter in your life?
  2. Can a person have more than one God Encounter in their life?
  3. Where would you go and how would you seek God in this God Encounter?
  4. Ask yourself privately, “What is it that you need God to change in you?”
  5. When will you make the quality decision to seek God for an Encounter?

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Anybody want to live a long life?

Well there’s a promise God has made to you that if you do one thing, you will live a long life. Here it is:

Eph 6:2  Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother–this is the first commandment with a promise–[Exod. 20:12.]

Exo_20:12  Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you.

When you honour your Father and Mother you open up God’s authority to bless you.

The principle of Honour in the bible is very important. In each place where honour was missing there is a corresponding lack of God’s favour and provision.

For example, When Jesus visited His own home town we read.

Mar 6:1  JESUS WENT away from there and came to His [own] country and hometown [Nazareth], and His disciples followed [with] Him.

Mar 6:2  And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who listened to Him were utterly astonished, saying, Where did this Man acquire all this? What is the wisdom [the broad and full intelligence which has been] given to Him? What mighty works and exhibitions of power are wrought by His hands!

Mar 6:3  Is not this the Carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here among us? And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him, and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority] and they were caused to stumble and fall.

Mar 6:4  But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor (deference, reverence) except in his [own] country and among [his] relatives and in his [own] house.

Mar 6:5  And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.

Mar 6:6  And He marvelled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him). And He went about among the surrounding villages and continued teaching. (amp)

Familiarity is the first step away from honour. Then comes contempt, then judgement then dishonour. Where there is no honour there is no divinely established authority for blessing and favour. God says a lot about Honour in the word.

Exo_20:12  Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you.

Psa 105:15  Saying, Touch not My anointed, and do My prophets no harm. [I Chron. 16:8-22.]

Rom 13:7  Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due. (AMP)

The Lord extends the principle of honor found in the Ten Commandments to other God-created relationships. In the name of the Lord, we are commanded to honor the king (I Peter 2:17), employers (I Timothy 6:1), shepherds (I Timothy 5:17), the elderly (Leviticus 19:32), and widows (I Timothy 5:3). In fact, our mouths are to be filled with honor and praise all the day (Psalm 71:8).

What does Honour do?

Honour recognises God at work. Honour recognises the rightful place of God’s authority and His flow of command. The picture that God conveys of honour and authority in the family is clear:

1Co 11:3  But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.

In God’s house the principle of Honour is also clear: Heb 13:17  Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].

The man of God must walk in humility, so he may never ask for Honour, for it is not demanded but given by obedience to revelation. Where there is dishonour the purpose blessing and favour of God is blocked.

When Ham did not honour his father Noah his punishment fell upon his son Caanan.

In 2 Kings 1 when King Ahaziah of Israel dishonoured the prophet Elijah 100 of his best soldiers died in a rain of fire.

When Absalom, David’s son dishonoured his father he was killed by David’s captain while hanging by his beautiful hair in a tree.

The first call to honour for all of us is to honour our father and mother. It may seem to be hard to honour your father if you believe he has not acted honourably. What are we to do about this? Honour is defined in the New Testament as: to value, to prize, to revere, glory, to esteem in the highest degree, to hold in the highest regard, to show respect. This is not respect for what our father does or did, but respect for who they are. When God commanded us to honour our fathers, surely you must believe that He was aware that many fathers would live far from perfect lives.

When we give honour to our fathers it empowers them. When we honour our fathers we give place to God’s ordained path of blessing and authority. Lack of honour for fathers and for leaders is very disempowering. Very few men are strong enough to stand in the face of contempt, judgement and dishonour for long periods.

What would happen if you honoured your father and other God appointed leaders in your life? You would be saying to God, I accept your leadership of me through these godly appointed leaders. David honoured King Saul even when Saul was backslidden, far from God, consulting witches and physically threatening David’s life. David’s mindset was, “Saul is King, God made him King and if anything is going to change, God will be the one to do it, not me. For me, I will not touch the Lord’s anointed.” In other words, God is in control no matter what it looks like on the outside. That is giving God control and access and leadership.

Today I want to inspire you to honour your father. Whether he has done right or not. Whether he is inspiring or not.  To honour is to refuse to criticise, to speak with respect, to obey them when the command does not cause you to disobey scripture. To honour is to recognise that God has appointed them to lead you. That God is ultimately in control when you go with His plan.

  1. If your father has passed on, and you believe you dishonoured him in any way – it’s time now to repent and ask God to forgive you. Now speak well of your father for whatever good was in his life.
  2. If your father is alive, speak to him respectfully; ask forgiveness if you have shown dishonour over time.
  3. If your father has deeply hurt you, seek God for the strength to forgive and refuse to speak evil of him any longer. If you are able, speak respectfully to him and seek God to bring healing of this relationship.

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Welcome to Spring here in Australia. Welcome to the season of new life and growth. The old deadwood of winter is past and the temperature is rising and the son seems stronger. It’s time to put away the cloak of winter and come out from our hibernation due to cold and low level of light.

I’m tired of status quo. I want to break free of the ordinary and mundane. It’s not that I’ve backslidden or anything like that; I just know that there is so much more that I have not enjoyed yet in terms of God’s promises and power. Like the Jews who waited for centuries for their Messiah, there was a time when He came and everything changed. I’m seeking God for a change. The change must come in me. I want to take up God’s challenge when He said: Deu 4:29  But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life. (AMP)

I love God, but it’s been a long time since I was broken in His presence, receiving revelation about how wonderful He is or how I have not obeyed Him in some way. I have led people to Christ recently but I want to see so much more Holy Spirit power in witnessing to people who are far from God. I need financial breakthrough, healing in my body, restoration of relationships and so much more. This is not a selfish cry for more things for me but a cry of surrender to the fullness of what God has planned and promised to me through His word. The world all around me is so lost and ignorant of the wonder of my Jesus, I am not satisfied with the lack of power in my life. It’s not OK that so many people without Jesus in my city are on a trajectory to hell. I am not satisfied. God has put a burr in my undies. Please God not another five or ten years of ten percent Christianity. I want and I need to experience all that you have for me.

Enough dull boring hum drum Christianity. Enough of the same ol’ same ol’! What we have is wonderful and we are grateful, but there is so much more for us!

In the Arab world something has been happening over the last three years.

The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي ‎, ar-rabīˁ al-ˁarabī) is a term for the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests(both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010.

To date, rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia,[1] Egypt (twice),[2] Libya,[3] and Yemen;[4] civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain[5] and Syria;[6] major protests have broken out   in Algeria,[7] Iraq,[8] Jordan,[9] Kuwait,[10] Morocco,[11] andSudan;[12] and minor protests have occurred in Mauritania,[13] Oman,[14] Saudi Arabia,[15] Djibouti,[16] Western Sahara[17]and the Palestinian Authority.

The Arab spring is widely believed to have been instigated by dissatisfaction with the rule of local governments.


The people have been dissatisfied with status quo and know that what they are living can be improved. People have been willing to lay down their lives for that desire for freedom. They are sick of being ruled over by powers that make themselves rich at the people’s expense.


In just the same way that people have risen up in these Arab counties to seek a better life; I want to my own spring breakthrough! I want to seek God and humble myself and call upon God to experience more of a God Encounter. I need to break off the despotic rule of unbelief and fear and find the power of God in a greater dimension.  DO YOU WANT THAT?

Over the next three months in this church I am going on a journey to find God in a powerful new way. I am challenging you to join me. If you want to stay the same, that’s up to you, but if you believe God has more for you than what you’re experiencing right now then come on, roll up your sleeves, and join me in an awesome journey of embracing a bigger God Encounter.


This is how we begin. It’s time to take stock. You can’t go to any location anywhere if you don’t know your starting point. Let’s see where are we at right now spiritually? Answer these next few simple questions and evaluate your starting point. Add up the points in brackets from your answer.

  1. Length of time since salvation? 0-2 years (10); 2-5 years (5); 5 or more years(0)
  2. Length of time since you experienced a personal revelation from God that impacted your life enough to tell someone else about it? 0-6 months (10); 6-12 months (5); 12months or more (0).
  3. My relationship with the Holy Spirit: I am full of the Holy Spirit and sense His work in my life daily (10); I Know about the Holy Spirit but I want to experience His life more (5); I am not sure if I am filled with the Holy Spirit (0).
  4. How long since you shared your faith with another non-Christian? 0-6 months (10); 6-12 months (5); more than one year (0).
  5. How long since you prayed with someone to receive Jesus as their saviour? 0-2 years (10); 2-5 years (5); more than 5 years or never (0)
  6. For you prayer is: a vital part of my day (10); something I do as a regular task (5); Something I do when I have a need (0);
  7. When I read God’s word : I am impacted by the conversation I have with God (10); I find it tedious or dull (5); I don’t read it very much(0)
  8. In terms of my physical health: I am feeling well and God answers my prayers for strength and healing (10); I have experienced healing in the past but I need some help at the moment (5); I have never asked God to heal me of anything, and I need to experience a miracle healing(0)
  9. My finances are: in  great shape and I see value in tithing and giving (10); I need a breakthrough in finances even though I am a giver (5); I need a financial miracle and I am not a tither or giver (0)
  10. My relationships – family and friends : are strong and stable, working through forgiveness and healing (10); I have some tension in relationships and it seems uncomfortable (5); I am estranged form people I should be in relationship with (0).


Count up your points

  • 100 – Your Jesus, right?
  • 70-100 – Can you please come and coach and mentor others who need a God Encounter?
  • 50-70 – There’s so much more for you, jump in!
  • 20-50 – Please join in this journey we will walk beside you.
  • 0-20 – You have the greatest potential for growth – be excited and come on this marvellous journey to find God in a powerful way.


We will be referring to our teaching series this year as each month we have unpacked the big themes that make for great disciples, for example:

January – Boot Camp – Prayer, authority, word and giving.

February – You fit here – Finding your place in the Body.

March – Crazy Love – Discover how much God truly loves you

April – You’re Full of it – Being filled with and baptised in the Holy Spirit.

May – Led by the Spirit – How to let the Holy Spirit guide and lead you.

June – REALationships – Making sure your relationships with people are healthy

July – Tuned in – Powerful prayer experience.

August – Living Word – making sure you are getting the word of God into your life.


1. Take the survey and discuss how ready for change are you?

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Can you say if you have ever heard God speaking? Or have you known the supernatural way God leads you?

God is speaking all the time – is anyone listening?

Psa 19:1  To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. THE HEAVENS declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. [Rom. 1:20, 21.]

Psa 19:2  Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge.

Psa 19:3  There is no speech nor spoken word [from the stars]; their voice is not heard.

Psa 19:4  Yet their voice [in evidence] goes out through all the earth, their sayings to the end of the world. Of the heavens has God made a tent for the sun, [Rom. 10:18.]

Psa 19:5  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; and it rejoices as a strong man to run his course.

Psa 19:6  Its going forth is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the ends of it; and nothing [yes, no one] is hidden from the heat of it.

God speaks through the creation. Just look around at this world in all its beauty!

And yet many don’t recognise God’s handiwork, or refuse to acknowledge His reality and power. It may seem like it’s all about your cognitive reasonable thought process, but no, the fact is, that what is in your heart can prevent you or enable you to hear spiritual truth. Like the emperors new cloths you may be convinced you know that God is not real while all the while the evidence all around you is complete.

What you hear is affected by what’s in your heart.

Rom 1:20  For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], [Ps. 19: 1-4.]

Rom 1:21  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. (AMP)

Also God also speaks to us through His word.

Psa 19:7  The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Psa 19:8  The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes.

 Again what you hear is affected by what’s in your heart.

 Mar 4:9  “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

Mar 4:10  When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories.

Mar 4:11  He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom–you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight.

Mar 4:12  These are people– Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing, Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word, Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.” (MESS)

Psa 19:7  The law of the Lord is perfect

God’s word is perfect. No errors. No translation difficulties – listen to the Ahmanson Lectures. http://pvc.podomatic.com/entry/2012-03-03T13_07_53-08_00

If you have any doubts about the trustworthiness of the bible at all, then I ask you, what are you doing about that? If you doubt the truth of the bible, you may feel that you can ignore it; but what if you’re wrong? Will you place your eternal destiny in a feeling? Have you thoroughly studied the subject? Do you know absolutely that it’s only a book? If your eternal destiny depends on what you believe about its contents, why wouldn’t you investigate?

When we read God’s word – it rejoices the heart. The person who has an open heart and desires truth experiences an internal sense of agreement when they hear or read God’s word. Listen to this scary verse…

2Th 2:9  The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,

2Th 2:10  and use every kind of wicked deceit on those who will perish. They will perish because they did not welcome and love the truth so as to be saved.

2Th 2:11  And so God sends the power of error to work in them so that they believe what is false.

2Th 2:12  The result is that all who have not believed the truth, but have taken pleasure in sin, will be condemned. (GNB)

God’s word is highly valuable.

Psa 19:9  The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

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

The taste of the word is sweet. If you’re hungry for God, the word is food and nourishment.

Pro 27:7  He who is satiated [with sensual pleasures] loathes and treads underfoot a honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. (AMP)

Do you seek great reward?

Psa 19:11  Moreover, by them is Your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward.

His word keeps us from error

Psa 19:12  Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults.

Psa 19:13  Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression.

Psa 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer. (AMP)



1. Can you share a time when the word of God has deeply impacted your life?

2. What was the reason the Children of Israel couldn’t hear the word of God? (Mark 4:9-12)

3. How can you prepare your heart to be able to hear from God?

4. If someone is really hungry for the word of God how will they act? What will they do?

5. Is there a way to increase your hunger for God’s word?

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Living WordIn this series of preaching here at Plenty Valley Church our purpose is to inspire you & empower you to value, read and apply God’s word. In this church we believe that the bible is divinely inspired and infallible from cover to cover – If you would like more information about that please go to our podsite: http://pvc.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-09T06_14_02-07_00

REVISION –    August 4th – What ever He says to you – do it. We shared the story of the Wedding in Cana. You must hear the word and do it – then you build your house on the rock and not on the sand because the storms of life will surely come to everyone, but if we have built in the word of God then our house (life) can stand.

–         # 2 – August 11th – The Word is alive and powerful, but only if it’s IN YOU! Not just on the printed page.


1Th 2:13  And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].


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


Jesus is called the word –  the Logos in John chapter one.

Joh 1:1  IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. [Isa. 9:6.]


In the Old Testament we read that the Children of Israel we feed with supernatural food called manna which appeared to them each morning like hoarfrost on the ground. Even back then God had in mind to teach His children that the bread from heaven was supernatural and it represented God’s word.

Deu 8:2  And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

Deu 8:3  And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

This same truth is repeated in Luke 4:4 and also Matt 4:4 man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.



The chapter opens with the story of feeding of the 5000. At this first part of the chapter we see the mention of bread that is supernaturally supplied from Jesus.

Joh 6:5  Jesus looked up then, and seeing that a vast multitude was coming toward Him, He said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread, so that all these people may eat?

Joh 6:6  But He said this to prove (test) him, for He well knew what He was about to do.

Joh 6:7  Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennies’ (forty dollars) worth of bread is not enough that everyone may receive even a little.

People followed Jesus the next day, because they wanted more bread, they were searching for the physical sustenance. But Jesus warned them that they needed spiritual sustenance, not just physical.

Joh 6:26  Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, you have been searching for Me, not because you saw the miracles and signs but because you were fed with the loaves and were filled and satisfied.

Joh 6:27  Stop toiling and doing and producing for the food that perishes and decomposes [in the using], but strive and work and produce rather for the [lasting] food which endures [continually] unto life eternal; the Son of Man will give (furnish) you that, for God the Father has authorized and certified Him and put His seal of endorsement upon Him.

Here Jesus makes it plain that the food he spoke of was God’s word and it was for the giving of life. Jesus told them plainly – I am the bread of life.

Joh 6:35  Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).

The Jews said Moses gave us bread from Heaven in the wilderness.  Jesus replied, “No that wasn’t the bread of Heaven, I am the bread of Heaven.”


Let’s look at what happened when God gave the manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Exo 16:14  And when the dew had gone, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a fine, round and flakelike thing, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground.

Exo 16:15  When the Israelites saw it, they said one to another, Manna [What is it?]. For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. [John 6:31, 33.]

Exo 16:16  This is what the Lord has commanded: Let every man gather of it as much as he will need, an omer for each person, according to the number of your persons; take it, every man for those in his tent.

Exo 16:17  The [people] did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

Exo 16:18  When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to his need.

Exo 16:19  Moses said, Let none of it be left until morning.

Exo 16:20  But they did not listen to Moses; some of them left of it until morning, and it bred worms, became foul, and stank; and Moses was angry with them.

Exo 16:21  They gathered it every morning, each as much as he needed, for when the sun became hot it melted.

This picture of the manna is a picture of God’s provision for us in His word.

Manna came to them daily; and it sustained them for 40 years. God’s word is for a lifetime.

–         We need today’s word, not yesterday’s word – fresh revelation.

–         For the Children of Israel it became boring – they detested it. – often we seek stimulation; but we need spiritual food.

Another picture of the word in the Old Testament is the Table of shewbread in the Tabernacle of Moses. It is called the bread of the presence, and consisted of 12 loaves, one for each tribe. This speaks of the communion around the word for every believer.

What ever we eat becomes a part of us. We are to become partakers of the Divine nature through partaking of the bread of life.




This beautiful testimony from one of God’s modern day heroes shows how the word of God sustained him. Brother Yun was imprisoned by the Chinese authorities because of his faith.




  1. CRAIG – At times of disappointment that arise from not seeing the results that I long to see in people saved, lives changed, church growth and churches planted – I am seeking the Lord and many verses come to mind to strengthen me. One that I have found to be very encouraging is Ephes 3:16

Eph 3:16  May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].


It’s you reading the word of God daily that gives you life, to feed your faith, to build a reservoir of His word inside you so that you can draw on it at all times.

In our Urban Connect groups that’s why we don’t do a teaching – a bible study in our small groups – we want to promote your reading of Gods word for yourself, You must learn to feed yourself.

PICTURE – For a person in hospital in critical care a Naso-gastic tube keeps them alive but you can’t live like that! Similarly getting the word of God through preaching and attending church can keep you alive, but you can’t live like that! God wants you to feed yourself.


Joh 6:57  Just as the living Father sent Me and I live by (through, because of) the Father, even so whoever continues to feed on Me [whoever takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me] shall [in his turn] live through and because of Me.

Joh 6:58  This is the Bread that came down from heaven. It is not like the manna which our forefathers ate, and yet died; he who takes this Bread for his food shall live forever.


  1. Try the reading plan – Go to http://pvcoc.org.au/bible_reading_plan.php
  2. Read the word daily even if it’s one verse.
  3. Memorise the word. Say it over and over till you can memorize it.
  4. In this world we are dominated by the pervading world view which is secular humanism. It is feeding you all day every day through the mass media and it is drip feeding us it’s own godless values – it is imperative that we feed on the life of Jesus through His word every day.


1. Why is it so hard to read the word of God daily?

2. What is the best translation for you?

3. When is the best time of the day to read the word for you?

4. Is the reading plan working for you? Is there a better way for you to read the word of God?

5. What is your goal for reading God’s word over the next two weeks?

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LIVING WORD # 1AM – 4 AUGUST 2013  Living Word


Here is the message for Sunday 4th August 2013 at Plenty Valley Church.

The PURPOSE – Inspire you and empower you to value, read and apply God’s word.


In this church we believe that the bible is divinely inspired and infallible from cover to cover – If you would like more information about that please go to our podsite: http://pvc.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-09T06_14_02-07_00

There will be a later blog just focussed on the reliability and authenticity of the Bible.

The Bible has came to us through the laying down of many lives as the martyrs that fought for the right to read the bible, translate the bible and publish the bible died for their work through persecution. This book is so very precious!


What will you wear?  – Give out invitations… (Jesus is coming, that should be a big draw card)

READ – JOHN 2:1-11

Joh 2:1  ON THE third day there was a wedding at Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

Joh 2:2  Jesus also was invited with His disciples to the wedding.

Joh 2:3  And when the wine was all gone, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no more wine!

Joh 2:4  Jesus said to her, [Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? [What do we have in common? Leave it to Me.] My time (hour to act) has not yet come. [Eccl. 3:1.]

Joh 2:5  His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it.

Joh 2:6  Now there were six waterpots of stone standing there, as the Jewish custom of purification (ceremonial washing) demanded, holding twenty to thirty gallons apiece.

Joh 2:7  Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. So they filled them up to the brim.

Joh 2:8  Then He said to them, Draw some out now and take it to the manager of the feast [to the one presiding, the superintendent of the banquet]. So they took him some.

Joh 2:9  And when the manager tasted the water just now turned into wine, not knowing where it came from–though the servants who had drawn the water knew–he called the bridegroom

Joh 2:10  And said to him, Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now!

Joh 2:11  This, the first of His signs (miracles, wonderworks), Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory [by it He displayed His greatness and His power openly], and His disciples believed in Him [adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Him]. [Deut. 5:24; Ps. 72:19.]


It was a big day; so much preparation was involved. Also there was joy and expectation. At a wedding it’s always such a great time for the family to show off. What they are really saying is – this is who we are.

Then suddenly they ran out of wine. What a horror. “We will look bad! Cheap! This is more than an error; it’s a crisis!”

Mary is the key in this story. She knows Jesus can do something about it. She knows Him best. Do you know Him? Hey Jesus – We have a problem! – His response was not rude but more like “Take it easy Mum … I have not failed to recognise the need and the opportunity.” Jesus and His disciples had no doubt had some wine to drink and were at least partly responsible for the wine running out… So Jesus was not about to leave this issue unattended.

(To take a tangent – MY STANCE ON ALCOHOL)

I was a very heavy drinker in my teens and till I got saved at 20. I chose to give up drinking totally. It is my personal choice. I will tell you why I made that choice. It is because in Australia abuse of alcohol is the leading cause of Family Violence and road trauma and teenage binge drinking. I am not associated with the problem, I am associated with the answer. In this church we needed a value and a culture about alcohol and this is how we arrived at it. I called all my young adults together because they were drinking at church functions and some were offended by that.

We had a debate – passionate arguments for both sides to drink or not to drink included clear scriptural advice. So we formed a church policy and value.

  1. To be drunk is a sin and not tolerated.
  2. To drink alcohol in ones own personal time is up to the individual.
  3. At any church function organised by the church – no alcohol should be offered or taken along.

Now back to the Story.

Jesus and His disciples had no doubt had some wine to drink and were at least partly responsible for the wine running out…

Jesus will never be in your debt for very long, He has a plan to bless you.

He sees provision where you don’t – the water pots.


Who knew of this first miracle? Mary, the host, the disciples? – Who benefited? – Everyone there! When you obey Jesus – not everybody will know what’s really going on… but everybody benefits.

THERE IS A RISK TOO. There was a risk in obeying Jesus.  – Take this water to the Governor of the feast. WHAT RISK IS THERE FOR YOU TO OBEY JESUS’ COMMANDS?


  1. I come to faith as a uni student in 1977 at age 20. The words that I heard and remembered that impacted my life were. “Joh 6:37  All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.”  There was RISK: That is: To be rejected by my peers
  2. Later when I felt called into full time ministry, God’s word came to me again. – This time God spoke to my heart confirming what I had read in the scriptures many times. “What good is an arrow that never flies, what good is a fire that never burns, what good is wind that does not blow? This is your hour and for this I have chosen you.”  There was RISK: In working for the church I had no earthly security, job, money, provision.
  3. Many years later our family knew God had called us to leave Brisbane and plant a new church in Melbourne. – God’s word came again and said “You shall lead the 12 tribes.” Referring to the many different nationalities that make their home in Melbourne. There was risk now too: RISK = Leave all our supports, family, friends, jobs, home, school, reputation.
  4. Some years later when I was in a dark place, I came under depression, and suicidal feelings. I measured the wrong things, but God’s word came and rescued me – God showed me, “You’re a rich man and your reward is for obeying me, not achieving success as measured by men.  Again there was RISK = I may have to be content with less OR I may not reach my real potential.



Will you build your house on the rock or on the sand?

Matt 7:24-27

Mat 7:24  So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock.

Mat 7:25  And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

Mat 7:26  And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand.

Mat 7:27  And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell–and great and complete was the fall of it.



What’s He saying to you?  – Just do it!


If you read the word but don’t apply it – your house will fall. The message is storms come no matter how you build your house. If you don’t read it – you can’t apply it!


  1. Do the reading plan
  2. Apply what you read – live it every day
  3. What is Jesus saying to you right now? – DO IT! Surrender your life to Jesus today.


1. Who is using a reading plan? How is that going for you?

2. What are the advantages of regular reading of God’s word?

3. Can you share a message that you received when reading the bible that greatly encouraged you?

4. How could you find an answer to a life question in the bible?

5. Choose a single verse to memorize for the next meeting.

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These stories are relevant for today. This is still how people react to Jesus in a crisis.


We remind Jesus of how much He loves us or the one who is sick.

So the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, he whom You love [so well] is sick. (John 11:3 AMP)

John 11:6

Jesus loved Martha and Mary THEREFORE He stayed two more days…..

Jesus has a plan for your miracle, will you trust Him for it? It may look like its not working out the way you planned. Sometimes Jesus will do the opposite of what you think should happen.

If its got to be today… Maybe that’s your timetable. You need to trust Jesus. Enter the TRUST ZONE.


Waiting is tough! You don’t know what to think. You feel like telling Jesus, hey don’t you realise?

John 11:8

The disciples don’t know what is going on. Most Christians don’t know what God is up to.

The disciples point out the dangers of the trip to Judea. By now they should know that Jesus is not afraid of crowds, storms, demon possessed men, Pharisees, or death!

John 11:15

Jesus told them, it’s good that we were WE WERE NOT there to heal Lazarus because it will help you to believe. Every miracle we see, as a disciple, is more evidence that Jesus is willing and able to do miracles for us. We must learn to trust Him.

John 11:16

Thomas the doubter. His expectation was so negative. We are all with Jesus but we are all going to die! Some Christians just keep on expecting the worst….. Thank God this time Jesus wasn’t limited by Thomas’s expectation.

John 11:20

Mary and Martha represent two different believers….

Martha has hope but no faith.

Mary is offended that jesus would take so long.

When god doesn’t do exactly what we expect him to do many of us are philosophical about it…. Oh well God has His plan, it will all work out in the end….

But others are upset and angry at God because we believe that the current circumstances show us that God is wrong, or doesn’t care or deliberately worked to hurt us.

Martha expresses hope that what Jesus asks – God will do. But when Jesus says plainly that Lazarus will rise she’s still thinking future at the resurrection.

Jesus says I AM the resurrection and the life.

He gives her the important opportunity to voice her faith. Do you believe this Martha?

However she qualified her believing – she says a general faith statement, not a personal answer to her immediate problem.

John 11:28

Martha says something to Mary that’s not true….. He’s asking before you. She wants Mary to get involved by overcoming her offences. She knows Jesus can help her to think straight.

Mary is prostrate in prayer, sobbing and truly upset but she’s not in faith, she’s angry at Jesus. He is deeply moved with compassion because of His love for them. He doesn’t agree with their position but although He knows Lazarus will rise soon, He is hurting because they are hurting.

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. (Hebrews 4:15 AMP)

Crowd reaction: why didn’t Jesus do it, heal him. To question God is to doubt God.

Martha cries out, not in faith but in doubt, no it’s not going to work, trying to believe will create a worse outcome….. He stinks by now.

Jesus reminds her that if she would believe she will see the glory of God right now in her immediate circumstances. We need to be reminded of the word of God and have an expectation of the miraculous right in the midst of our need.

Hope you have a miraculous week!  (For discussion questions see the previous blog)

Blessings, Craig.

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TUNED IN # 4 AM – 28 JULY 2013       Why would men pray?prayer


I want you to imagine a scenario…

Our land is invaded. From the north, hundreds of thousands of troops are flooding in.

They take over all infrastructure, electricity, water, gas, hospitals an schools.

Our army is overthrown quickly by sheer numbers. Our police are vastly outnumbered. There is a new rulership – a new law has come in.

You can’t move around anywhere you want. Roads are blocked. There’s no flights. Communications are cut there’s no internet. All phones are down. Television is commandeered, only propaganda is televised. No newspapers are printed. Coastlines are patrolled no boats are getting out. The nation is locked down.

Some people still try and go to work just like they used to, desperately clinging to some form of normal existence. Others resist! What would you do?

Who will take up arms? Who will fight? Who loves their nation enough to fight for it?

I’ve got news for you…

It’s already happened!

Our nation is taken over spiritually by an enemy.

2Co 10:3  For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.

2Co 10:4  For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

While church attendance is dropping all over Australia we see society disintegrating and suffering with people struggling to find answers.

Our political leaders are known for deceit and lying.

Domestic Violence is tearing families apart with the result that violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness in women and has an economic impact in 2009 of $13 Billion to the Australian economy.(1)

With binge drinking in our high school age youth reaching alarming levels A study by La Trobe University found that for year 12 females having five or six drinks in a day. The percentage increased from 16.9% of year 12 female students in 2002, to 32.1% by 2008.(2)

Police, doctors and nurses in Hospital casualty wards and ambulance drivers are routinely attacked by drunken youths who create mayhem every weekend in our city.

Teachers are leaving the profession in droves because they cannot cope with the violence and disrespect in the classroom. Nearly two-thirds of Australian teachers are considering quitting their jobs for a new career.  Principals experience violence in the workplace at a rate six time higher than in the general workforce. (3)

In Australia, the number of children who do not reach the age of 15 in an intact family with both of their biological parents has almost doubled within a generation. While the chances of a marriage ending in divorce have been increasing in the last 25 years, the increase in children experiencing parental separation is largely a consequence of the rapid rise in the numbers of children born into de facto relationships, which subsequently break down. There has also been an increase in the number of women giving birth to a child without having a cohabiting partner. In 2009, 35% of all births were outside marriage. (2)

Overall, 40 per cent of young people 16-24 years have experienced a mental disorder at some point in their lives. (2)

Mental illness is in epidemic proportions in our nation Beyond Blue reports that one in five Australians will suffer from Depression at some point in their life. (4)

It took me 30 minutes to compile these figures with complete references. I could go on to say so much more. But what does all this mean to you, to me?

Are we more than alarmed by these results?

While the church struggles to address some of the symptoms of these broken and hurting people, who is attacking the cause?

Our enemy is spiritual. The enemy is the forces of darkness, demonic influences in the world. Where godlessness and spiritual apathy prevails the devil has a heyday.

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

The church is asleep. While our nation falls apart morally and socially, we the church put up with the decline as inevitable. Has unbelief so robbed us of a clear perspective that we consider that this great decline in health of our people is expected, unchangeable, or worse; not our problem?

What does Jesus say?

Mat 16:18  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

God’s view of the church is an overcoming power. This is spiritual power and its released in prayer! This kind of prayer does not list out to God our personal needs only but declares and demands the Kingdom Come the Lord’s will be done as He has taught us to pray.

It’s time to wake up the mighty men!

It’s time to pray! How much this real scenario affects us is directly proportional to the light we have spiritually, the revelation of truth concerning the gospel and how lost people without Jesus truly are.

Rom 13:11  Besides this you know what [a critical] hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). For salvation (final deliverance) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ, the Messiah).

What moves you? If our nation was invaded by a military force as I described earlier how would you react? Will you now be like the frog in the kettle that slowly adjusts to the changing climate of our age and accepts the vast decline in godliness and health as normal. That’s just life?

Or will we pray? Will we call upon God?

2Ch 7:14  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.

Don’t think this is a quick fix. This will take years. But shall we do nothing? Shall we continue to act as if we are powerless and have no obligation?

Let me read to you what happened in Scotland when a few in number prayed and reacted against the ungodliness of their society.

This story is about the revival in the Hebrides in 1948-52.





When William Booth started the Salvation Army in 1865 he was not asleep but he saw that warfare was called for due to the plight of the society he lived in. this is what he said:

“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, as they do now,  I’ll fight While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left,  While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, While there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!”

His weapon was he Gospel and so well did he preach it that most converts to the Salvation Army who were often come out of prison, drunkards, prostitutes and criminals were totally transformed and went on the serve God for their whole lives. (5)

Is the world of Melbourne any different to the town of Stornaway in Scotland? Do we carry the same burden for the ungodliness of our generation? Can we affect a change as great as they did simply by praying?

The answer to this lies only in your own heart.

For me, I will pray. I will seek God every morning here at 6am, at pre-service prayer meetings, at HUB prayer meeting once a month and within our Urban Connect groups.

If anyone is willing to pray consistently at any other time- I will join you. Every church has an opportunity to change its community. Every church can be a catalyst for change if they put their trust in God an call upon His name humbling their hearts before Him.

What shall we do? How shall we respond? Instead of a huge blast of commitment for a few days and then back to normal life as if nothing happened; can we gradually build up prayer in our personal prayer lives and in our corporate prayer lives so that over the next few years we see a great weight of prayer poured out for our city?

Make no mistake this can never be carried by a prayerless church and this can never be carried by personal prayer alone; it must include corporate prayer.


  1. Preventing Violence Against Women – Short course – Vic Health
  2. For Kids Sake – Research Report – Prof. Patrick Parkinson AM, Uni. Of Sydney
  3. http://www.badapplebullies.com/research.htm
  4. http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
  5. The General Next to God – Collier – Penguin press.


1. Does the scenario of an invasion of Australia by a military force have any similarities with the spiritual decline and ill health of our nation? Discuss.

2. What things do you see in Australia that cause you deep concern for our nation?

3. How effective is the faith filled prayers of God’s people?

4. How shall we pray to make a difference?

5. When and where can we pray as individuals and as a corporate group?

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