Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Craig Anderson’

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

WATCH THIS VIDEO FIRSTgreat families

The heart of Dick Hoyt was to do something so amazing for his son. The key thought that motivated this dad was that his son felt that when he was in the race with his dad, he felt like he had no disability. To do this for his son was to do something hard that cost him a lot but what it gave him back was the joy of doing something amazing for his son. This is the Heart of the father. Dick Hoyt has inspired millions of people around the world with his feat of super human endurance motivated by love. (Now over 91 marathons or triathlons)

1 John 3:1 (AMP)  See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

This morning I am inviting you on a journey to discover the heart of the Father. What is God’s heart like? Our God is a Father, how He loves and How He treats us is a revelation every person needs. Secondly, as a Father I hope that with His help I can become like Him.

Jesus came to reveal the Father, in the Old Testament God is only referred to as Father one time, by King David, a man ahead of his time in terms of relationship with God. God was always referred to as Elohim (God) or Yawey (Covenant God)

When Jesus came he revealed God as Father.

Romans 8:15 (AMP)

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “[a]Abba! Father!”

Footnotes:

Romans 8:15 An Aramaic word used by young children when addressing their fathers, but not used by Jews in prayer because it implies a sense of familiarity. Jesus’ use of the word emphasized his Father-Son relationship with God.

Jesus referred to God as “Your Father” 31 times in the gospels, giving His disciples a new revelation that God was their Father not just His.

But what is the heart of the Father?

Three pictures.

  1. He desired to have children.

Genesis 1:26 (AMP)

Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.”

Abraham longed for a son, someone to whom he could leave everything. He was passionate about having a son, yet he was well advanced in years. He called on God to provide a son, and in so doing set up a picture of the Son of God being sacrificed by the Father.

When we decided to have children as a young couple I can remember thinking, Jesus will be coming back soon, is it responsible to have children? Another reason for hesitancy was the fact that my father and grandfather had died young and I wondered if the same fate awaited me. Would I leave these children without a father?  What if I die? Can I provide financially for them? In the end we choose to have children because we longed to have children of our own.

Some fathers gave a wrong message to their kids, I never wanted you. I wish you had never been born! You were a mistake! NO – You’re not a mistake, God knew you before you were born. God planned for you to come to Him and know Him and be restored. Let the love of the father restore you today.

  1. He desires the best for His children.

Luke 12:32 AMP  Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Ezekiel 39:25-29 (MSG)

25-29 “But now I will return Jacob back from exile, I’ll be compassionate with all the people of Israel, and I’ll be zealous for my holy name. Eventually the memory will fade, the memory of their shame over their betrayals of me when they lived securely in their own land, safe and unafraid. Once I’ve brought them back from foreign parts, gathered them in from enemy territories, I’ll use them to demonstrate my holiness with all the nations watching. Then they’ll realize for sure that I am their God, for even though I sent them off into exile, I will gather them back to their own land, leaving not one soul behind. After I’ve poured my Spirit on Israel, filled them with my life, I’ll no longer turn away. I’ll look them full in the face. Decree of God, the Master.”

Cheering them on from the sidelines. The basketball story.

Sometimes our fathers have failed us, perhaps as a father I have failed my kids. God restores. He restores the hearts of the fathers to the children and hearts of the children to the fathers. Mal 4:6 In God there is healing and forgiveness.

  1. He loves and forgives and restores.

Matthew 23:37 (AMP)

“[a]O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who murders the prophets and stones [to death] those [messengers] who are sent to her [by God]! How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

The picture of the prodigal son is a beautiful picture of God forgiving and restoring a son.

Over the years there have been broken relationships with people who have served under my leadership. Sometimes it deeply hurts when people walk away. But we hold an open door policy. Restoration is always possible. Humility love and forgiveness on both sides makes restoration possible.

Have you walked away from God? Have you walked away from a father? Come back to God today. If your father is still alive call him today, restore relationship.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. When you picture the heavenly Father, what pictures come to mind?
  2. What pictures of the Father does Jesus give us in the gospels?
  3. Does your perception of the heavenly Father need to change at all?
  4. Has your own father created pain in your life?
  5. Can you allow your heavenly Father to restore and heal you?

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

TWO WORDS TO TAKE HOME. Matt & Jacqui with Craig

I do a lot of weddings. As I stand at the top of the aisle, looking at the bride and groom, I see that real sparkle in each eye, I see the smile on her face as she thinks about the protection this man will give her over the next few decades. She dreams of growing old together, she thinks about the children they will have, she remembers the feel of his strong arms wrapped around her to comfort her. He is gobsmacked with her beauty. She reminds him of some movie star. He thinks about the love making tonight and right through the honeymoon. He sees something magical in that sparkle in her eye. He knows she can be a handful at times but he loves the challenge of working through the issues and coming out with answers.

Fast forward any amount of time you like, six months, two years, ten years. Now she feels unprotected from his hurtful words, she’s not sure she wants to grow old with him, the kids just drain all her energy, she wonders if he has any arms. At this time he still thinks she’s gorgeous but seems like she’s off limits a lot! That sparkle has turned into “the look”, he feels like when they talk they never seem to resolve anything and right now the bills, the mortgage and the conflict at work feel like they are crushing him.

What happened?

Unmet expectations! Is this your marriage? Don’t despair. I can help you. This picture can turn around. Things will be better. I just want you to remember two words from today’s message – Cherish and Respect. Can you write those down somewhere?

I have counselled a lot of marriages, I have been to a ton of marriage seminars. I have taught on marriage and most importantly I have been married for 37 years! The couples who make it long term in marriage have learned how to work at it and work through it. There are two words that when applied will really help you build your marriage stronger. Are you ready?

CHERISH – THE WORD FOR THE GUYS.

OK guys don’t tune out right now. This is the moment to tune in big time! Just think right now… I’m going to tell you who will win the grand final this year, how to make a million dollars in one month and how to look buff while eating anything you want…. Are you listening?

Imagine you are the father of a little girl, she’s about say 5 years old and she is about to be attacked by a stranger. Your precious little princess is in danger, she is so innocent, so vulnerable, so unprotected, so what do you do? You spring into warrior mode! You’re going to protect her at all costs! You’re going to save, protect, rescue, comfort, hold secure, and kiss away the tears until that little girl feels safe once more.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT!!

That’s how to treat your wife every day. The number one need our wives have is security. Listen, they may come across tough, they may have a few choice things to say about those other tuckshop mothers. They may be able to bite the head off a klutz that cuts them off in traffic, BUT, to you she is your little ewe lamb! She wants to held, to be understood, to be embraced, to be comforted, to be protected every day. Ask your wife to give you a photo of her as a little girl. Keep it in your wallet.  I guarantee she will find one for you in ten minutes flat when you get home. Girls if you ask your hubby to find a photo of you for his wallet it may take about 15 years!!

Listen to this story about the ewe lamb.

2 Sam 12:1-7 (ESV)

12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Guys, if you can get this, it will really help your marriage. Underneath the surface of every great woman who can hold her own in any argument, rage at unrighteousness, terrify the kids, and build a global corporation there is a little girl who will only be vulnerable to you and only if you become that warrior protector.

IT’S CALLED CHERISH.

Ephes 5:25-30 ESV

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

How to Cherish.

See her as that little girl that needs your protection. Hold her. Look into her eyes and be amazed, tell her that you love her at least once every day. Bring home flowers to surprise her. Write a note and hide it in the kitchen somewhere expressing you devotion. Plan a honeymoon weekend once a year. Ring up from work with no other agenda than to say, “I was thinking about you.” Listen when she talks, look into her eyes when she’s talking to you. Write a list of ten things you love about her, leave it lying around the house. When you’re in bed at night hold her tight just for the embrace of intimacy, not every hug will end in sex. Intimacy is more about adoring and cherishing. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty! It’s a generalisation but women endure sex to obtain intimacy, men endure intimacy to obtain sex.

NOW IT’S THE GIRL’S TURN.

Respect your man. You will never be able to fathom the fact that your man at times feels truly inadequate. The toughest of us, and we will never show it, even to our wives, but we often feel like a failure. We often feel like we should have done better. We often feel that we have let ourselves down and didn’t become what we should have become. Unless we are one of the very few sporting heroes or multimillionaire overachievers we won’t be entirely satisfied with life. We will often carry deep regrets of how we could have made better decisions. It feels like not very many people really look up to us and really respect us. So when we come home, it’s supposed to be a safe place, but if we are disrespected there, it’s crushing.  But we will never show it even to those closest to us. We will either tune out to the pain by watching the footy, or we will get mad and go ape about little things. Some guys drink, some guys do porn, some become workaholics, and some just give up and go missing.

Watch this great video – https://youtu.be/J7FNn_FuT6Q

Maybe you feel like telling us to grow up, get some guts; but it doesn’t help, we’ve been trying that for years. Just like you, very deep down inside of us is that little boy who has very big dreams and just needs someone to believe in them. Who will do it if you don’t? With all our faults and failings, we still really want to succeed and sometimes we just don’t know how. The responsibility is on us to lead and provide and be the strong one, and if that isn’t happening we can find it very tough, but we will never tell you!

How to respect your man.

Just simply say, “I believe in you honey” Pray for your man. Tell someone else how amazing he is for something he did, not just because he has great buns or guns. Tell your kids they have the best dad ever. When there’s trouble at work, financial pressure, or any kind of struggle for him, let him know you have confidence in him to overcome. You know he can do it! We all need a little help from time to time but if we live with criticism we will become broken down or we will leave. You didn’t marry Mr.  perfect, you married “Mr. right for you.” Every time you build him up he becomes the better man you always wanted. Listen to what Jesus says to you.

Colossians 3:18(AMP)

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord.

Ephes 5:33b AMP

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, honoring him, and holding him dear].

Press the reset button.

Learn to press the reset button

Building great relationships is a task for courageous people. Great relationships are built on love. Love is often accompanied by wonderful feelings of joy, life, and energy. But love is not always practiced in a time of positive feelings.

Love is kind and patient. Sometimes I don’t feel kind and patient! Sometimes I feel like telling someone off or I feel like walking away because I’m sick of waiting. When I have chosen love, I remember what love is, and I choose to practice love at a time when my feelings are not positive.  If I don’t feel loving – it’s not that I don’t love, it’s that my feelings are telling me one thing and my values are telling me something different.

Love is the value and the commitment we have to do the highest good for this person. Whether I feel like it or not I choose kindness, patience and trust. Love is choosing to act the best way, no matter how I feel in my emotions.

Of course there are times when we fail and let one another down. A courageous person says sorry. A courageous partner says I forgive, and we press the reset button. Start over with a fresh motivation to continue in love.

Today I pray you both choose love and be courageous in saying sorry and forgiving one another. I believe then you will build a strong marriage.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How much do you think your childhood and upbringing have an effect on the way you do relationships?
  2. Have you ever thought deeply about what your partner may have lived through on the journey to adulthood?
  3. How can two broken people do life together?
  4. Husbands, when was the last time you felt really loved and admired by your wife? Share with her.
  5. Wives when was the time you most felt cherished and adored by your husband? Share with him.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »