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Posts Tagged ‘Led by the spirit’

PREACHING 3-1-16 AMkid and plane no inc

God has plans for your life. Being a Christian is inherently about doing life with God who of course is much bigger and smarter than you or me. He has always demonstrated that He is a God of purpose and plan. Life with God is not some random series of events unrelated to any deeper direction or purpose. Life is a constant discovery of growth and maturity as we will discover in today’s message.

Jer 29:10-14 ESV

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

God had plans for Israel, and God has plans for your life. The New Testament reveals God’s plan hidden from the ages was revealed in and through Jesus Christ and we get to play a part in that enormous and overarching plan that culminates in the second coming of Jesus when all things are gathered together in Him for eternity.

Ephes 1:3-10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[b] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insightmaking known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

It’s a calling, you’re not an “also ran”. Every day you get up out of bed as a Christian you are on mission. You are under the control and instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord means “Master Controller”. It’s not only a journey of subjugation but Jesus describes it as a yoke, where He is the main power in the relationship. He describes it as being joint heirs with Him and also as being in partnership. He calls us His friends and that’s a lot more than a slave relationship, it’s Sonship! Yet there is this overriding sense of destiny and purpose in all that we do with Him. Our life is not our own, we are bought with a price and we willingly receive His direction and listen for His instruction about what to do next and how to live. Some may think that this is a moment by moment waiting for instruction where we never know quite what to do from one minute till the next; but we know what to do, and how to live so the instructions are usually serendipitous in the sense that each day God has some detours or diversions for us to pay attention to in the midst of the normal pathway that is well known and thought through, because God has given us His leading in times past. Yet here is still this moment by moment relationship with Him. There is this “pray without ceasing” lifestyle that marks the Spirit led life where we find the relationship with the Holy Spirit to be fresh, real and connected as we walk with our best friend.

Some people don’t believe in destiny. One day a famous Australian Peter Daniels published a book about reaching your life goals; and in it he tells how he researched the lives of thousands of people who achieved greatness and read their biographies. He shows how the one overriding attribute they had in common was a sense of destiny. He recounts the life of Winston Churchill who being elected as Prime Minister of Great Britain early in World War II who declares to his wife Clementine, “I believe I was born for this hour”.

What were you born for? The tag line of our INC church movement is “Born for more” because we believe every person is born for more than what they experience right now and the way to achieve that is to walk hand in hand with Jesus Christ. For me, before I met Jesus as my Lord and saviour, I was a person without any direction. My high school and early days at university were random times of experience with no plan and no direction. I wasn’t even sure about why I chose to study engineering as I did. When I was born again, the very first thing I discovered was a sense being in God’s hands now and that meant purpose! The realm of the eternal was opened up and now I could see what God’s plan for the world and for me was. I was no longer a random being and directionless. I was now birthed into a divine plan and process of bringing the gospel to the world and filing heaven in preparation for His soon coming.

God took me on a journey of learning as I experienced kid’s ministry, teenager’s ministry, youth ministry then pastoring a geographical section of the church. We went through good times and bad. There were hardships, but through every experience, it is a journey with Jesus where you learn about Him and about how His kingdom works. Through these many experiences I discovered three important things.

  1. What is important in life.
  2. Who’s in control in my life.
  3. The journey is about preparation.

God is preparing you for eternity. You’re going to live with Him forever and there are things He has prepared for you in eternity. So there is much to learn down here on the way through. This is your testing ground, your Spirit University. So everything you experience here in this life can be preparatory if you let God guide you through the process. If we complain about the journey we can’t enjoy the journey and we won’t get the most out of it and become prepared. One of God’s pictures of doing life with us is the potter and the clay. (Jer 18:1-17)   This year is for you. It’s a year to discover the plan and purpose for God in your life.

It’s time to consider leadership. I want to encourage everyone to consider acting like a leader. Everyone one of us is leading someone and we can learn how to lead more effectively as we grow through this journey with God. In the early part of this year we are offering leadership training on six Monday nights from February 8th until March 21st. This opportunity is for anyone who has a passion to be more available to God and better equipped to serve Him this year. Also our HUB leadership training is quarterly now and the first HUB night will be on Wednesday February 3rd and everyone is welcome to attend this Leader’s Engagement night.

To assist in preparing you for Gods plan and purpose this year our preaching will go to a new level. We will have four Preaching pathways this year.

  1. Matters of the heart – preparing your heart for victory
  2. The deeper things – Going deeper in the word with specific teaching.
  3. Logos injection – working through the book of Ephesians.
  4. A changed life – a testimony preach from someone who has an impacting life change story. This will be our opportunity to invite new people to come along and hear a message that will give answers to them and help them come to faith in Jesus Christ.

This will also be a year of deepening your prayer life. In the month of February we will be holding the “Fresh Air” time of prayer and fasting. As we seek God for our own lives and for this community we will open the door for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives and our church.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Why is it important to consider the year ahead as you enter this new year?
  2. What do you believe God has planned for you this year?
  3. How can you express leadership as a Christian in your own situation.
  4. Are you willing to be trained and equipped for leadership?
  5. If not, why not?

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NATION CHANGING FAITH #2PMSmall Nation Changing

John 3:36 NLT

36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.

What does this verse mean to you? The up side is that if I believe in Jesus I have eternal life. That’s truly great! The down side is that anyone who does not obey the Son of God, that’s Jesus, will never experience eternal life – ever! That’s confronting! I can think of a lot of people who don’t obey the Lord Jesus Christ. All around us are people who don’t know Jesus. Couple this with knowledge that each verse is divinely inspired and infallible (See here for evidence). All around us people are perishing! If you are truly saved that is disturbing for you and creates a compassion for those who don’t know Jesus and drives us to want to reach them effectively with the message of Jesus love.

With this in mind Jesus gathered His disciples together as He was about to leave planet earth and He gave them instructions, what to do next.

Luke 24:47-49 NLT

47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.

49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Jesus asked them to go to the nations. They went….

Every disciple of the 12 went to preach the gospel and 10 of the 12 were martyred for their faith.

My story starts as a uni student in QLD when I was studying Electrical Engineering in my second year. People from the INC church in Brisbane came down to the uni and sang in a band and someone preached. I just happened to be in the same room as that which took place from the church.

My life was full of waisted energy, getting drunk a lot and leading the Engineering Student Association which was mostly about booze ups and blue movies. Since school I had failed a few subjects and was repeating them all without even a clue whether I wanted to be an engineer. But then Jesus touched my life. He became to very real to me and I changed my whole outlook on life when I was born again.

There was a life changing experience at salvation.

Right away I got involved in the church and youth work and serving in Kids Church. I gave up drinking, swearing and sleeping around because Jesus was so real to me and I was very grateful that He had died for me and rescued me from hell. We studied the bible and we could see the reality of heaven and hell.

Hell was real and so many people were going there. I read scriptures like this:

Rev 14:10-11 NLT   10 must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.”

That sounds horrific and if that’s real then I need to do all I can to stop people going there.

There’s a motivation to serve Him.

Even though I was studying at Uni, I still managed to get to  the church twice every Sunday and Wednesday night for bible study, the early morning prayer meeting at 5am every Friday morning, then go out on the streets every Friday night to share the gospel with people until 12-am – 2am when we would drive home exhausted. There was youth meetings every Saturday, Uni Study and of course time with my girlfriend. No wonder my poor old mum got upset with me for not mowing the lawn sometimes.

There was an ethic to work hard.

For the disciples, the call of Jesus was to be with Him. The lawyers and Pharisees of the day took note that the disciples had been “with Him”. Maybe you didn’t hear an audible voice, maybe nothing really that dramatic has happened to you. But I want to ask you this question?

Did Jesus really touch your life? Have you got a compassion for the lost people all around you? Then all the motivation you need is to see the reality of heaven and hell and commit to hard work for the most important task on earth. That’s the call of God to be with Him and serve Jesus with all you’ve got.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Are you a patriot? Do you love Australia… Its people I mean?
  2. What would you do to win them to Christ?
  3. What if you were lost and you were counting on someone from Plenty Valley Church to tell you about Jesus?
  4. How many Aussies will end up in heaven?
  5. What;’s your philosophy of life concerning enjoying life and making a difference in eternity?

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FAITH PRAYS #4 AMFaith Prays-final-02

Acts 2:1-13  MESSAGE BIBLE

A Sound Like a Strong Wind

2 1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

5-11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?

Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs! “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”

12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”

13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”

Today is Pentecost Sunday, what does that mean? That means it is the day of the year when we celebrate the day of Pentecost when the early church was baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost was 50 days after Passover which is our Easter time.

If you have faith then you will pray. AS Jesus departed the earth physically he left his disciples with one instruction, “stay here in Jerusalem until you are filled with power form the Holy Spirit.” They waited in the upper room, about 120 of them. They began to pray and wait on God. Just think what that must have been like. They experienced the trauma of watching the cruel death of Jesus on the cross, the elation of his resurrection and then 40 days of teaching about the kingdom of God. The bible says nothing about that 40 days of teaching. What did he speak about? We don’t know but this one thing I know it would have been inspiring!!! So they were now in the upper room praying for 10 days.

Could you pray for 10 days? After the roller coast ride of the last six weeks it was probably hard to concentrate. Perhaps it was a time of reflection and considering what the rest of their lives would be like.  The next few years were going to be intense, life changing and world changing.

What they didn’t have but they desperately needed was the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes they had spent three and a half years with Jesus, witnessed thousands of miracles and seen the dead raised over and over again, yet Jesus was very clear, “Don’t leave Jerusalem until you are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.”  We cannot do Gods will and God’s work if we don’t have God’s power. In fact you were designed to have God’s power resident in you.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was with them and would be in them. This was to take place after the resurrection.

Christianity without being filled with the Holy Spirit is hard work. We are meant to live Spirit filled lives, thoroughly filled and flooded with God himself. If Jesus warned His disciples not to leave without it, and think what kind of preparation they had; then all the more we should need this.

How do I know if I have been filled? It’s an experience. You will know for sure if you have received this power. It’s power!

Can I be filled and not speak in tongues. Yes, tongues is the overflow. It is the one sure sign that you have been filled. If you don’t want tongues, ask yourself why? Sometimes I have met Christians who have a take it or leave it attitude about tongues and often that is because they tried to receive it and nothing happened and so now they are resigned to life without it.

Paul said I speak in tongues more than you all. Seems like it was high value to the greatest apostle of all, so it will be high value for me. Being a Pentecostal isn’t just that I speak with tongues, it is that I have a spirit led life. What are the marks of a spirit led life?

  1. I love prayer, I talk to God through the day, I converse with the Father with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.
  2. I read God’s word and I get more than information. I receive revelation. I see things written in it that lead me in understanding God’s will in my life at this present moment.
  3. I hear God’s voice in my heart. Being Spirit led is sensing the urging of the Holy Spirit to act and obey Him in certain ways. (Bought lunch for a pastor from Hawaii)
  4. I have a passion to witness, to share God’s love with others.
  5. I have a sense of eternity that makes me a pilgrim in the earth because I have a home in heaven

These signs are for being spirit filled not just being a tongue talker. We need to be filled daily. Right through the book of Acts the disciples were filled and filled again with the Holy Spirit.

The kind of Christianity that the disciples lived was fuelled by a world changing faith. It was a nation changing team of people who were not interested in the pleasures of this world but were focussed on the kingdom of God and bringing life and hope to a dying world.

Somehow tongues and being baptised in the Holy Spirit has become an optional extra in the lives of some Australian church goers. It’s like a sunroof for your car, it’s cool and useful, but you don’t need it for effective driving experience. The truth is the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like the engine in the car. People without it are pushing their car everywhere and if there’s a big hill to go up many people just put the brake on and camp there for the rest of their life. Some even roll back to where they started and complain, “This new Christian model car is a lemon man, it’s not what I was told it was going to be!”

You’re a Spirit first not a body first. You’re a Spirit first not a mind first. In this western world we live in many people do not even know a spirit realm exists. The education system we have champions reason and excludes evidence outside the realm of empirical scientific measurable facts. However in 75% of countries around the world where the education system includes a spiritual education, the spirit world is very real people live and die by spiritual realities.

For example in Australia the Coory population live with a awareness of spirit realm. To them the dreamtime is more than a story, they have connection with ancestors. Point the bone works for them. Walkabout is spiritual.

When Jesus sent His disciples out to do the work of ministry He commanded them to Preach, heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. All those tasks require the supernatural power of God. So He gave them the power of the Holy Spirit to equip them. If they needed it then, certainly we need it now. Let’s make our goal this year to be baptised in the Holy Spirit, filled with His power and receive the gift of speaking in tongues. Let’s be determined to seek God for this power so that we can do the work of ministry just as the disciples did.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. If you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit share your story of how that happened and what it felt like.

2. What are the benefits of being baptised in the Holy Spirit? (Acts 1:8)

3. What kind of things do you need power for in your Christina life?

4. What is the value of Tongues? (1 Cor 14:4; Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

5. Why are some Christians content to go without the tongues experience?

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SHARING FAITH # 1PM  Share your faith 1

Share your faith – don’t ever be afraid!

When I was a very new Christian, one of the first experiences I had was joining our youth street witnessing team. What a great experience that was! First we learned what the gospel was, and why we needed to share with people about the love of Jesus. We learned that all men had sinned and that the wages of sin is death, Hell is really bad and awaits every person who has not decided to follow Jesus. We learned about how the Holy Spirit is within us and how His power changes lives when we share the love of God. Then off we went into the city to share God’s love. For many years the youth group ran a coffee shop in the city in an underground location. We would go out into the street share our faith with people, and then invite them down into the coffee shop for a free coffee. We saw hundreds of people saved over many years.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Not long after I became a Christian when I was studying at Uni I would ride the bus to Uni every day. Each day I would feel the prompting of the Lord to speak to anyone and everyone about Jesus, but I was so scared. My heart would be beating so hard in my chest I wondered if someone else could hear it! I put it off for weeks but finally I summed up the courage to say to a young man I was sitting next to, “Hi I’m Craig and would love to share with you about Jesus!” To which he replied, “Oh wow. I’m a Christian too, that’s great!”

I was so relived not to be rejected, but disappointed that I still hadn’t witnessed my faith to anyone. Was God just showing me, don’t be afraid it’s not that scary?

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

At university I joined the Christian group and pretty soon I was leading it because they were not too excited about Jesus and I certainly was. It helps when you are full of the Holy Spirit. So we would arrange for the team to go out witnessing once a week at lunchtimes on the Uni campus. We would give out tracts and share with people. One time we ran a coffee shop at Uni in O week and one young man received Christ who is now the INC Pastor at Mt. Barker in the Adelaide hills.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Another time in O week we showed an awesome surfing movie that was produced by a Christian film group and it contained cracking footage of surfing huge waves and also contained an interview with different surfers who shared their story about following Jesus. At the end of the movie I jumped up and preached in the theatre to about 400 young Uni hopefuls about how Jesus had changed my life! Some walked out, some stayed and a couple lingered to ask more about Jesus.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

That kind of outreach was what we now call bait and switch. You offer something that looks wild, cool, exciting and appealing and then at the end you pull out the gospel. It’s not wrong, but some people may feel tricked. It’s not as effective as love and serve the people you want to reach like we do in Red Frogs.  Actually Jesus pulled a kind of Bait and Switch every day when He fed the five thousand and then healed lots of people which is pretty attractive then began to preach saying, “Unless you believe you shall all likewise perish.”  Listen to this…. Every kind of evangelism is valid. There are an infinite number of ways to reach lost people, just go out and do it!

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Here’s what Red frogs do today. At schoolies the people who are volunteers, look after year 12 students who are bent on drinking themselves into oblivion at the Gold Coast. The Red Frogs team surround them with care, look after them and bring a safety net under their crazy antics so that this generation can survive the schoolies mayhem. In and through that process they get to share the gospel with people who are ready to listen. Lots of young people receive Christ every year.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

One good friend of mine, Brian, was doing life tough before he was saved and he called the church office to ask for help. Suicidal and drug affected, he came to Christ and was deeply impacted. He went well for a while and later slipped back into old habits and ways. A couple of years later I saw him in the city, drunk, sitting on the footpath and swigging on a bottle of beer. I went over to him and told him we loved him and asked if we could help him. Later when he came through in Jesus to a very powerful life lived for God he told me, “You remember that night you found me on the street drunk? Well I was going to smash that beer bottle over your head, but something stopped me.”

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Ask you friend beside you right now, “What would stop you sharing your faith?”

Not long after that when Brian was going great for God, we had the youth street witnessing team in the city and we were singing on the streets in the city mall. From behind us came a spray of water, which turned out to be beer. Another man who was drunk was spraying his beer bottle contents over the Christian singers and when we approached him he was swearing a lot, and very angry. Just then two plain clothes police arrested him and took him away. It seemed like a non-event. However later when Brian caught up with this man that was arrested, he knew him and he found out that the reason he was drunk and so mad at Christians was that his three year old son had just died. He was heartbroken and angry at God. Brian knew Jesus now and reached into his heart and showed him God’s great love and that man gave his heart to Christ

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

You can share you faith with strangers on the street, as I have done by street preaching, or you can share your faith with your friends and neighbours by serving and loving. Both are valid and important. By loving and serving our neighbour Albert we led a man to Christ, who was former bikie and was dying of liver failure in hospital.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

When Jesus said, Matthew 28:19 (AMP)

19 Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It means we have a job to do. Do not think of it as “I should do this, I should do that.” It’s time to believe, so pray like this, “God open doors for me to share my faith with the people you select to bring across my path.” Let your witnessing be led by the Spirit. BUT, be ready to obey when He shows you – “that’s the one.” You need faith to share your faith.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Please discuss the full meaning of Acts 1:8 in your group.

2. If you ever felt like it was a duty to share your faith, what should you do?

3. Tell some stories about times when you have shared your faith.

4. What’s your testimony? – Your story of how you met Jesus and how you know He’s real?

5.  Practice sharing your testimonies in the group.

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LOVE INVESTS #4PMJim_Elliot

This month we have been preaching on Love Invests. It’s about making provision for the future so that others may live. Your money is your life. When you give financially you are giving part of your life. When someone loses faith and starts to move away from church, the very first thing that stops is their giving.

In our church 53 % of our congregation are tithers. That is, they give 10% or more of their finance to God through the church. In the Late Service only 23% of the congregation are tithers. Some more revelation needed there.

The greatest investment of all – you own life.

Matt 16:24-26  Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[p]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].

26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [q]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [r]life [in the kingdom of God]? (AMP)

Matt 16:24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?(MESS)

The Jim Elliott Story

Jim” Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador.  The Elliot’s parents encouraged their children to be adventurous, and encouraged them to “live for Christ”.[4] While at Camp Wycliffe, The missionaries told him of the Huaorani – also called the “Auca”, the Quichua word for “savage” – a group of Ecuadorian indigenous people considered violent and dangerous to outsiders. Elliot remained unsure about whether to go to Ecuador or India until July. His parents and friends wondered if he might instead be more effective in youth ministry in the United States, but considering the home church “well-fed”, he felt that international missions should take precedence.[12]

Elliot and Fleming arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952, with the purpose of evangelizing Ecuador’s Quechua Indians. They first stayed in Quito, and then moved to the jungle. They took up residence at the Shandia mission station. On October 8, 1953, he married fellow Wheaton alumna and missionary Elisabeth Howard. Their only child, Valerie, was born February 27, 1955. While working with Quechua Indians, Elliot began preparing to reach the Huaorani.

Elliot and four other missionaries – Ed McCullyRoger YouderianPete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint – made contact from their airplane with the Huaorani using a loudspeaker and a basket to pass down gifts. After several months, the men decided to build a base a short distance from the Indian village, along the Curaray River. There they were approached one time by a small group of Huaorani and even gave an airplane ride to one curious Huaorani whom they called “George” (his real name was Naenkiwi). Encouraged by these friendly encounters, they began plans to visit the Huaorani, without knowing that Naenkiwi had lied to the others about the missionaries’ intentions.[1] Their plans were preempted by the arrival of a larger group of about 10 Huaorani warriors, who killed Elliot and his four companions on January 8, 1956. Elliot’s body was found downstream, along with those of the other men, except that of Ed McCully which was found even farther downstream.

His journal entry for October 28, 1949, expresses his belief that work dedicated to Jesus was more important than his life (see Luke 9:24 in the Bible). “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This is the quote that is most often attributed to Elliot.

You can Go to church, you can pray to Jesus and ask forgiveness of your sins, but Jesus is looking for true disciples who will lay down their life for Him. Some in death, others in life long service. What will it be for you?

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LOVE PRAYS  # 1  amhearts-on-fire-intercessory-prayer

Why pray?

Have you ever felt powerless? Have you ever felt like you desperately wanted to change the unchangeable? Have you longed for a friend or loved one to come to Christ but your sharing of faith falls on deaf ears? Then you need to learn to pray and become confident in prayer.

MY UNCLE

Talk about saved from the fire!

My great uncle was so anti Jesus that he told me when I got saved, “Don’t ever mention that name in my house ever.” But my great aunt got saved watching the TV program that our church ran in the late 70’s. Then one day my great uncle had a stroke. He went to hospital and was in a bad way with one side of his body paralysed. I went to see him and all the family came. He was about 76. Two days later his wife dies in her sleep. Wow, if my great uncle finds out that she’s gone he has nothing to live for, surely he will breath his last. I prayed. All the family left me alone as I told him. He was very visibly shaken. I told him if you ever want to see you darling wife again the only way is to ask Jesus to forgive you and save you, if that’s what you want then squeeze my hand. He did! I prayed a prayer with him and ten hours later he died and went to glory. That’s cutting a bit fine! I prayed a desperate prayer because LOVE PRAYS.

When my kids were very small, they would get sick with things like tonsillitis and some nights Chris and I would be up for hours as they cried and were very distressed. They wouldn’t go to sleep so we took turns and paced the floor with them in our arms and we prayed. Were we tired? – yes! Did we want to go to bed? – Yes. But LOVE PRAYS.

As a youth leader in Brisbane one of my larrikin youth contracted a melanoma cancer and he had a brain tumour. He had an operation but another tumour grew back. He was desperately ill and I stayed up all night at the hospital praying for him in his final hours. He literally died in my arms. I didn’t enjoy being there, I didn’t see the victory I wanted, I didn’t see his mates there, it was just his mum and dad and me. I prayed because LOVE PRAYS.

We went through some really tough days in the Brisbane church. At the time I was the Assistant pastor and the senior pastor fell into adultery. I began to pray in earnest for the church and for the sheep. I could see the great damage that could be caused and how the devil could have a field day with this situation. It even went to the newspapers. At the time I rose early to pray for the church and God showed me a picture of a great tower similar to the high voltage power line towers that had been broken down. It represented the church and as I prayed over the next three years I watched it grow back up to its former strength. Jesus loves His church and I love what He loves so I prayed. I prayed for a long time because LOVE PRAYS.

At one point the church in Brisbane was deeply struggling, I was deeply struggling too and I knew that working with the staff of the church would be so much easier and more effective if a couple who had been posted overseas to New Zealand could come back to the Brisbane staff. It was impossible as they were senior pastors of a church in Auckland. But I stood on the beach at the Sunshine Coast one night and looked over to the far distant land of New Zealand over the horizon and I prayed a prayer of desperation. I shouted to God, “Send this couple back to help me.” Two months later they were back on staff in Brisbane. I loved the church and wanted to see it flourish and grow. I prayed because LOVE PRAYS.

When I came back from Thailand this year on June 16 I felt God calling me to separate myself to pray for the city. I have felt His call to do this for a long time, but finally I obeyed and since June 16 I have been in this church at 5am each week day to pray for two hours. I love the lost people of this city so I pray for the people of this city. I pray because LOVE PRAYS.

Jesus Prayed for the church, for us. John 17: 9,20,21.

9 I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You.

20 Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching,

21 That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. (AMP)

In Ephes 5:25 it tells us husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church. Jesus prayed for the church because LOVE PRAYS.

LOVE wants the best, wants the answer, wants to see breakthrough. However we realise that we can’t do anything in our own strength, so we pray because prayer releases God’s strength and power.

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

Matt 7:7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.(AMP)

Prayer connects you to eternity.

Prayer connects you to impossibilities.

Prayer connects you to the divine.

Prayer makes the impossible possible.

Prayer is unavoidable if you’re hoping for more.

Prayer is like breathing to a Healthy believer.

Prayer lets you live in the future of hopes fulfilled.

Prayer sets you down beside God and makes you part of His team.

Prayer is lifeline to all your resources.

Prayer is a conversation with eternity.

Prayer opens your heart to God, your eyes to the spirit and your ears to hear his voice.

Prayer is more than words.

Leonard Ravenhill says “The ministry of prayer is open to all.  It is the highest of all human offices.  The spiritual adolescents say ‘I’ll not go out tonight, it’s only the prayer meeting.’  It may be that satan has little cause to fear most preaching.  Yet past experiences sting him to rally all his infernal army to fight against God’s people praying.”

Jesus was in His greatest moment of need, the garden. See this clip…

http://youtu.be/bsHH0HYgmSs    Also see Matt 26:36-45.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, Sit down here while I go over yonder and pray. And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed. Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me. And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire. And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, What! Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour? All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again a second time He went away and prayed, My Father, if this cannot pass by unless I drink it, Your will be done. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were weighed down with sleep. So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, using the same words. Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of especially wicked sinners [whose way or nature it is to act in opposition to God]. (Matthew 26:36-45 AMP)

In His moment of agony, He cried out to His disciples, will you not watch with me one hour? So great the need; yet so lacking the response. It did change later when these men were filled with the Holy Spirit! At Jesus moment of terror He needed someone to stand with him and intercede. He needed the support of men who were with Him in the battle, but perhaps God ordained that He faced all that alone, so that He could carry your lack of support and offer you the answer that you are never alone because he was alone for you.

Now that Jesus work is complete in terms of atonement he sits at the right hand of the Father on high. And now He has a great need again and he asks for your support. Once again He needs someone to stand for Him and intercede. He needs the support of men who are with Him in the battle. Will the church fail Him and fall asleep again as the early disciples did? Will He receive the team and the support He longed for and lacked back then in this current quest He so passionately leads. Here is His quest; His great commission…

Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples and teaching all things I have shown you. Praying for all men everywhere, because I desire that none should perish, but that all may come to repentance. (Matt 28:19-20; 1Tim 2:1-4; 2 Peter 3:9)

The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who not believe lest they should see the light of the glorious gospel. (2 Cor 4:4) but we have power over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

It’s our turn now. If we love the ones God has given us, we will pray. If we love the people of this city, we will pray. If we care for our nation, we will pray.

Because LOVE PRAYS.

Here’s what to do now…

  1. Pray for your lost friends and relatives in your own time. Make a record of your prayer times in the Prayer Tally website.
  2. Find a way to pray with others. Here’s some ways to do that…
    1. Find a friend and pray together.
    2. Pray at UC group
    3. Pray at church Sunday morning 9:30-9:50am
    4. Pray at early morning prayer times at Kid Town Room 6-7am weekdays.
    5. Plan to be at the prayer storm event August 30 7-9pm.
  3. Learn to pray by praying with others, reading books, listening to the podcasts.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. List the things/people you love in descending order – Do you pray most for he ones you love most?

2. Do you find that you pray most when things are not as they should be – when there’s trouble?

3. Do you have a confidence that God hears you when you pray?

4. Consider deeply the lost people around you. Do you love them?

5. Will you pray for God’s mercy to be extended toward them and draw them to the Father?

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LOVE REACHES OUT #3AM Love Reaches Out 3 Screen

What do I say?

Right through this year we have been sharing about God’s love. It’s the biggest subject of all! We have been made aware of His loving kindness, His intense desire to forgive, restore, heal and bless those in covenant with Him. That’s you, if you have bowed you heart and your knee to Jesus Christ. But this great love isn’t just for those who currently know Him. The harvest is ripe Jesus said, and we must go out into the highways and byways and tell them of His love.1 Listen, what if no one bothered to tell you? Then where would you end up? Yes, just like anyone who has not turned to Jesus with all their heart; you would be lost for all eternity in hell.

Week one we shared about the reality of heaven and hell. The stark cold hard facts about the horror of hell must surely motivate us to do all we can to save others from the fire.2 As the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon said “If you care not that others are not saved, then you are not saved, be sure of that.” 3

Week two Rhys shared about the great obsession – a love for Christ so large we can’t help share it. His passion for the lost was very evident. Today I want to answer the question – What do I say? What is it that we are to share with others about Jesus? How must one convey the gospel? – I’m glad you asked….

The first thing is that we must have a heart for the lost. I have been praying much for us that God will pour out His fire upon us and He did to the early church.4 Having a heart for the lost is the most sensible thought you will ever have. After all if you have been saved from a burning building, wouldn’t you want to save others if you are able?

Secondly we must be led by the Spirit. Listen to Jesus’ advice the day He departed from the disciples and leave them with the task of filling the whole earth with this message: Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.(NLT)     So often in our insecurity we worry about what to say. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t know the answers to tough questions? This insecurity is out of place. If you were about to rescue someone from a burning building, would you worry about what to say? There are no end of methods employed by people. So many tracts, formulas and so called fool proof methods about how to witness; but Jesus said when you receive the Holy Spirit, then you will be my witnesses. So church, be led by the spirit. What does that mean? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you; then when you are with people, say what comes to your heart. The more you do this the more you will learn what His voice sounds like.

Here is some great wisdom.

  1. Share your God story. We used to call it your testimony, but that word seems old fashioned now. This is your story about what Jesus means to you. It’s the story of how you know Jesus is real and/or what He has done for you. Never be ashamed of your story. It is your eyewitness account and it’s irrefutable! Some people may say they don’t believe the bible but very few people will ever say to you that they don’t believe your story.
  2. Ask questions. Ask people, “What do you think about Jesus?” or “Why don’t people go to church?” Then Listen. Really Listen. You value people when you listen to them. Then they will give you permission to speak to them and they will listen. Listen for the personal stories. When people share their pain, you know you’re on the right track. They are opening up. You care about them and you have the answer! Jesus is always the answer.
  3. What is the Gospel message? In one word – Jesus. In one sentence: Jesus died for you. In one brief explanation it is this: God is Holy. That means He is perfect in every way, without any sin or wrong doing. Also He is just and that means He must make a judgement to punish any and all wrong doing. Imagine if an earthly judge were to let someone off from murder because they had done good things as well. It’s unthinkable, and so we see that God being good and just must punish us also for the wrongs we have committed. Romans 3:23 says we have all sinned and come short of the glory (standard) of God. And further more Romans 6:23 says the wages (or the penalty) of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. But God so loved mankind that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die in our place, instead of us so that our penalty would be carried by another.  At his point it’s helpful to share a metaphor – a story in modern context to illustrate how this works. – For example. Say you went through a red light and you received a ticket in the mail and your fine was $300. But you don’t have the money, and so you might be forced to go to gaol. Then I come over to your house and I notice the ticket and I take a note of the number. Later I call the Police or Fines Victoria and pay the fine for you without you knowing. Later again, you call the Police and ask is there any way to pay off the fine and you are told, “No, it’s paid! Someone called Craig came and paid the fine for you. You’re free to go. Now you’re happy! You were guilty and you didn’t pay. Craig was innocent of that crime and he did pay. It’s like that with Jesus.    Repentance is an old fashioned word that means a change of mind. A person must have a change of mind first before they can believe in Jesus. They must change from saying, “I don’t need God.” to “I am a sinner and I need God’s forgiveness.” There must be a realisation that I can’t make it on my own. Without Jesus I am done for. This realisation is a free gift of God as a revelation and is granted to people in order that they can believe. We must pray for people we are sharing with, that God will touch them with His grace and give them this gift. The message of the gospel must include the advice that only by faith can this free gift of salvation be received. A person must believe that Jesus died for them and that He rose again.5 When a person has changed their mind, then encourage them to believe that Jesus died for them, and lead them in a prayer surrendering to Jesus. The words are not as crucial as the intent of their heart to leave the old life and come to Jesus and begin a new life.
  4. In general sharing with others may graduate through these various kinds of communication:
    1. Use teasers. For example, drop into a conversation statements like, “My pastor is a tremendous communicator.” Or “Have you ever wondered how some people can be so evil like these ones that shot down the Malaysian plane?” or “No I can’t go to that event on Sunday, I’m going to the most exciting place in town.”
    2. Give the gift of prayer. “Can I pray for you?” Whenever a person shares a problem or trouble or pain, then ask this very innocuous question.
    3. Use tracts. There’s one we have given out to day and it’s also available on the website and the face book page.
    4. Use an invitation card. Be inventive and use those in lots of different ways.
    5. Tell your God story. Tell it often, tell it in short and long forms.
    6. Share the gospel message as outlined above.

Next month we will be sharing about prayer. It is so very important to pray for your lost friends and loved ones. It is God’s work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to the Father. Yet here must be a preacher to communicate His message. This month is all about communicating this message and next month will be about praying for them.

How are these messages affecting you? You are either moved or unmoved. I am praying for you and for myself that God moves us to reach this community around us because the majority of them are truly lost. Will you join me?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Does the plight of lost people get to you?

2. Have you ever felt like you were not getting through to someone? What can you do about that?

3. How much are you relying on the Holy Spirit to assist you?

4. Still it does take a long time for some; right?

5. How much is God’s work and how much is our work?

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