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Posts Tagged ‘passion for the lost’

Mission Impossible #2amMission Impossible 1

To say that God is a miracle working God is pretty obvious right? After all He created the heavens and the earth. That’s about the biggest miracle of them all. The question that we are most interested in is; will God provide a miracle for me? Our own need of a miracle is maybe a little lower of the scale of impossible compared with creating the heavens and the earth but nevertheless it’s still impossible for us to achieve on our own and so we need God’s help.

I remember the first miracle I ever saw was when as a brand new Christian I was about 20 years of age and while doing my own car repairs I was really frustrated, which happened a lot to me!!! I was fixing my brakes on the car and having taken off a brake line with attached nut I had made the mistake of cross threading the nut and ruining the thread. Thus meant buying a whole new brake line and nut, expensive, hard to find and delaying. So after a few expletives I “told God” to fix it if He was so powerful!! Well He did! And after washing the nut in petrol and looking again there was a fresh new thread on the nut. I was amazed and humbled and quickly apologized to God for my impatient outburst.

Once you have seen a real unexplainable miracle, you’re spoiled for life. You can’t go back to normal living anymore. You are now in the realm of expecting a lifetime of miracles from your amazing heavenly Father. Now I can tell you about lots I miracles that I didn’t receive as well as many that I did receive. The exciting thing is that as with everything in God, there is not secret formula for getting prayer answered, it’s about faith. It’s about getting faith and maintaining faith.

My first big failure in asking for a miracle was as a Youth Pastor in Brisbane, we had planned a massive outdoor concert in the King George square in the middle of Brisbane city one Saturday. It was to be an outdoor concert to use music and testimonies to preach the gospel and see many souls won for Christ. The weather forecast was not good and we started to pray early, a few days out. The more we prayed the more the clouds came and the more the rain set in. On the day “in faith” we even set up all the staging and sound equipment in the rain in expectation of a miracle that the weather would clear and we could miraculously go ahead. It never happened. Right up until the start time it was literally bucketing down rain and we had to dismantle the stage and remove all the equipment in the pouring rain. I was deeply disappointed because we had lost an opportunity to preach to lost people, we had seemingly not received from God a miracle that was obviously in tune with His will and purpose and we had worked hard in the pouring rain in difficult circumstances for no gain. I informed all our youth that we would meet at church that night instead and have the concert there. It’s funny how God has a different idea of what we need and that afternoon despite being deeply disappointed I prepared a new message to preach at the concert that night at church. Some of the singers and people sharing made awkward comments about the disappointing morning we had witnessed; but God had a plan and God really helped me turn it around into a big challenge for our youth people to press into God no matter what the outcome or experience that we faced.

The biggest miracles I have ever seen are salvation miracles, where lives are changed by the grace of God and people’s lives are turned around by God. Some of those miracles are sitting here today. This month our theme is Mission Impossible. It’s a focus on how to receive a miracle from God. To receive a miracle you need miracle faith. It’s having that audacious faith that against all odds you believe that God has a miracle for you. You never stop to think whether you deserve it; you never try and figure out if you have enough faith, you just charge the gates of heaven for a massive miracle that you demand from God!

Here’s a great example of that kind of faith from God’s word. The background of this story is that the people of Israel had crossed over the Jordan River and now are beginning to invade the land of Canaan. They have had one defeat at Ai and many victories like Jericho. The next big city to fall was Gibeon. These mighty warriors knew what was good for them and decided to surrender rather than die and became Israel’s slaves. The surrounding Canaanite kings weren’t very impressed with that and decided to attack Gibeon and teach them a lesson.

Joshua 10:1-15(NLT)

1Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed Ai and killed its king, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and were now their allies. 2 He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.

3 So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. 4 “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” 5 So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.

6 The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”

7 So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. 8 “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”

9 Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,

“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,

and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!

15 Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.

Lessons from Joshua’s miracle.

  1. Joshua was going about the task of completing God’s will and purpose when the need for this miracle arose. He didn’t need a miracle to defend the Gibeonites. He set out to defend them as a natural course of action that continued the Israelite journey to conquer the land of Canaan and take over all the cities. It wasn’t until the middle of the battle that he realized he need more daylight hours to complete the task. Let’s be about God’s business. What has He asked of you? What is your calling and the task He has given you in this vineyard? When you are about the Father’s business there’s a bigger expectation that you can call upon the Father’s resources.
  2. Joshua heard from God straight away. God said “Go up I have given them into your hand.” Hearing from God is so helpful in moving forward. Be in His word and listening in prayer, He will be speaking to you as God is always speaking, we just need to make the time to be still and know that He is God and hear the instructions we need from Him.
  3. Joshua was passionate. He and his army left one afternoon and travelled all night to reach Gibeon and then began the fight. You can be tired but if you have passion then your energy comes and you can do amazing things. You will be amazed at what you can achieve when you have passion. Laziness, apathy and “she’ll be right” attitude will rob you of energy and determination to see great things take place for you and your family.
  4. The first miracle showed God was with them. As they gave chase to the enemy, God rained down hailstones upon them and God killed more of the enemy with hailstones than Joshua did with the sword. When you are believing for a miracle God will show you He is at work around you. Look for the evidences no matter how small that God is working for you. Let an attitude of thankfulness surround your thinking.
  5. You’ve received one miracle keep going and believe for another. The hailstones were a huge miracle for Joshua and a great victory was obtained by them. Joshua could have been content with that and waited until the next day to continue the battle. After all they were already been awake 36 hours in this battle, so a night’s sleep would not have been out of the question. However this is where Joshua shines as a great leader. He lifts his vision for something much greater when any other leader would have settled for less and he asks for the biggest miracle since creation. Moon stand still and Sun stand still. It’s time to stretch that 36 hours into 60 hours for victory! Don’t stop at victory when you’re believing God, you’re on a roll keep on going and ask really big. Ask God for an even bigger miracle, now is the time when your faith is the biggest it has ever been.

What is the miracle you need today? Determine that you are going after it. It may take a moment or it may take a long time. No matter, God delights in showing Himself strong on your behalf. Read this story through and gain encouragement from it. Realise that God is on your side and He will be working for you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Can anyone in your Urban Connect group share about miracles that have happened to them?

2. What about sharing also about miracles that didn’t happen.

3. What kind of lessons do we learn when the miracles don’t happen?

4. What kind of lessons do we learn when the miracles do happen?

5. List all the miracles needed in your group, write them down, begin to pray and thank God for these miracles. Remember to tell everyone when prayer is answered. tick them off one buy one.

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SHARING FAITH #3PM04032011-share-your-faith  – March 15, 2015

One day I came home and across the road from where I live I saw smoke curling up from the roof of the house opposite our place. There were already a few neighbours on the street running around and calling 000 and thinking about what to do next. The house was obviously on fire and everyone wondered what to do next. One guy drove past the house just before I arrived home and saw the smoke and stopped. He banged on the door to see if anyone was home but no one answered. He could have walked away but he peered through the front window and saw a person moving around inside. So he banged harder on the door.

Eventually a young boy came out and this man was able to say “Get out, your house is on fire!” The boy’s grandmother was also in the back of the house. They both got out safely. The boy had been instructed by his parents, “Don’t answer the door if anyone comes.” It was stranger danger fear, but it almost cost two lives!

Did you know that every person you know who hasn’t trusted in Jesus Christ as their saviour is sitting in a smouldering house! They too are in great danger and they need someone to bang on the door with some important news.

Like this boy in the story – they have been given incomplete information. Like the grandmother and boy in this story – they were in danger but didn’t know it.

John 3:36 And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]

You may ask, “Why is it so critical to share my Christian faith with others? Isn’t faith only a matter of choice? Aren’t there many choices of what to believe?”

The verse above gives no alternative. One must believe in Jesus Christ or miss out on eternal life. Jesus really is the only way to heaven. Acts 4:12  And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.

If there was any other way to get to heaven without believing in Jesus, then Jesus did not need to come from heaven and die a horrendous death on the cross!

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

Faith is the confident assurance that God’s word is true. It’s backed up by your own life changing experience of God’s love. Your story of how God revealed Himself to you is called your testimony. It is the real life current evidence that God is real to you! Paul gave great value to the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit as a proof of God’s truth. 1 Cor 2:4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],

Do you believe that Jesus really is the only way to eternal life? If so how does that impact how you treat people?

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

When your faith is strong:

  • You know your Salvation is so real. You have incredible joy, and you know that you have passed from death to life and from living in darkness to light!
  • You know that hell is a real place and to be avoided at all cost. The bridge is out and people are driving towards it. What will you do?
  • You love people because everyone is precious to God, you see them as lost and outside God’s protection. Would you go the extra mile to help someone find Jesus?
  • You are passionate to do His will. He has specifically asked you to share the gospel with everyone you know. Matt 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

HOW DO YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH SO THAT YOU CAN SHARE IT?

  1.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and fill you. You need supernatural help.
  2. Learn more about this amazing salvation we have. Read your bible as much as you can.
  3. Just start. – Tell your story to someone today.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Can we expect to have assurance of our salvation?

2. What are we actually saved from?

3. If God’s love reached out to us to seek and save us then how would that impact how we act towards others?

4. What if someone doesn’t want to know about Jesus?

5.  What is the role of the Holy Spirit in your faith sharing?

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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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SALVATION FAITH # 3AMWho is Jesus That’s a great question! Lots of people never actually ask that question, but if you hang around Christians long enough, then somewhere you will hear about being “saved”. It’s a term that doesn’t come into the vernacular of regular folks unless you’re talking about being saved from the surf or a burning building; but saved from… er  hell? – That’s different!   It’s about understanding the human condition. You will have a world view on that. You will have a perspective of how you see the world and people. Consider this from a bible perspective just for a moment …. Humour me!

  1. There’s a lot of evil in the world, like ISIS for example. Or even the brutal slaying of Jill Meagher
  2. The concept of judgement falls easily onto the human mind. We all feel comfortable with the concept that such evil will be judged and should be judged. In most movies the bad guy gets it in the end – right?
  3. Now importantly, recognise the natural tendency of human pride. The tendency of us all to say, “I’m alright though. I’m good!” We see ourselves as being naturally on the side of good. We often say, “He’s a good guy, or she’s a really good person.” Jesus actually says, “There is none good but God.” (Matt 19:17) Probably we really mean that a person has a soft heart or a proud heart rather than a good heart/bad heart. Even as Christians we use this terminology frequently, but what we mean is that person has a soft heart as compared to a proud heart.
  4. Judgement is universal. The truth is God is perfect and no wrong will go unpunished. God is infinite in His capacity to know all and see all; and He is just which means He cannot overlook any wrong doing. Being just, He will reward all wrong with punishment and all good with reward.
  5. Now the trouble is, we have all (Rom 3:23) Come on! You surely must admit you have told the occasional lie – right? You have used the Lord’s name in vain? You have committed adultery in your mind at least? Stolen anything at all in your life? I could go on… So if God is just and holy then you and I will be judged. Therefore you need saving!

The most commonly held belief in Australia is this…. There is a God. (78%) These people mostly believe God judges by their own standards. So really evil people will go to hell (Belief in hell 29%) People such as Hitler, murderers like the bloke who killed Jill Meagher, rapists, paedophiles, and terrorists. All the rest, including me of course, will go to heaven (belief in heaven). At almost every funeral in Australia, we see the use of church facilities or a chapel with a priest, pastor, or religious leader speaking and giving the assumption that the dear departed is in heaven now, with their life described in glowing terms. Of those who die though, only 17% of those Australians had actually attended church. Perhaps even less had a faith in Jesus Christ. For some people there is a discovery. A light goes on. It’s the light of the gospel. I am a sinner. I need to be saved. God gives that revelation. The vehicle by which people receive that revelation is the gospel. The motivation is Grace (God’s love). He way we receive it is Faith. Saving faith. Look how it happened to Peter in the bible… Matt 16:1-4, 13-18 Matthew 16:1-4 Amplified Bible (AMP) 16 Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up to Jesus, and they asked Him to show them a sign (spectacular miracle) from heaven [attesting His divine authority]. 2 He replied to them, When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, 3 And in the morning, It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and has a gloomy and threatening look. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and morally unfaithful generation craves a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Then He left them and went away. Matthew 16:13-18 Amplified Bible (AMP) 13 Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? 14 And they answered, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am? 16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. Peter spoke up and said, “Jesus, you are the Christ, (which means Messiah) the son of the Living God.” He had been following Jesus for about 2 years. So he had plenty of time to observe and understand who Jesus really was. (In surveys conducted by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association they discovered that people hear the gospel about an average of 3.5 times before they come to faith.) He received a revelation of Jesus, that Jesus said came to Peter directly from heaven, from the Father God. Who do you say Jesus is? He referred to himself as the son of God. (John 19:7) That is either true or false. If it’s true then we must believe it. If it’s false then Jesus was either insane, a lunatic, or He was lying deliberately. Any historian worth his salt would say Jesus teachings were profound and enlightening and do not exhibit the marks of a lunatic at all. To claim that He deliberately lied is also a stretch considering His moral teachings and the strength of His influence across history. This choice of Jesus as Lord, Liar or Lunatic is a simple one. Which will you choose? Jesus said that Peter’s statement was such a profound and important one that He would build His church on this same revelation, that Jesus was the Son of the living God. Your salvation depends on what you believe about Jesus. If you believe He is the Son of the Living God, if that truth and revelation has come to you from above and you are convicted by it then you are saved. There are sceptics and Jesus dealt with them in the early part of the chapter. He spoke of the Pharisees and those who seek a sign. Many people look for proof of who Jesus is. He said he would not give them proof then and there because they would only be given the sign of Jonah. Sceptics look for proof. Seekers look for God. This is the example of the proud heart and the soft heart. The sceptic asks for proof on his own terms, but if you are talking to God surely proof comes on His terms not ours. The sceptic says “if you will do this… then I will do that” Is any proof really ever enough? The answer is no. Jesus said the wicked seek a sign. Jesus simple asks – “Who do you say I am?” What do you say? DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Do you consider yourself to be saved? 2. Who do you believe Jesus really is? 3. What did Jesus say He would build His church on the revelation that He is the Son of the living God? 4. When a sceptic seeks a sign – are they really looking for proof? 5. Discuss the proud heart verses soft heart idea.

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SALVATION FAITH  #2am  faith blocks

PERSPECTIVE

This year we are sharing the theme of faith, and this month the theme is on faith for salvation. The most important subject on earth.

And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 AMP)

Jesus really is the only way to heaven.

MY STORY

My salvation. I was brought up without any religious experience. Neither of my parents were believers or attended church. While in university, I witnessed a church outreach where Christians sang and witnessed their faith and a preacher shared a gospel message. When one of the group came over to me to speak about their faith and invited me to church, I considered the invitation and went along, encouraged by a friend who also attended this church.

At the church I was very surprised by what I witnessed, seeing miracles, healings, and testimonies of lives changed from alcohol addiction, drug addiction and broken marriage.  I did not accept Christ at that time but I went home and began to think about what I had experienced.  Over the next few days I considered the message and began to pray to God asking Him to show himself to me if He were real.  It was a interesting week. The following Sunday I went back to the church and made a decision to accept Christ. Right away I knew something supernatural had happened to me.

The witness at uni. – light comes. When you hear the gospel, you are hearing truth and the knowledge received is light.  Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life. (John 8:12 AMP)

Attend church – knowledge comes. Hearing again the message of the gospel makes the light even brighter, the call more clear. All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. (Matthew 11:27 AMP)

Thinking it through – assent.  There comes a point where we have opportunity to respond and then a person makes a choice to agree or not that I must be saved.  But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name–[Isa. 56:5.] (John 1:12 AMP)

Going to Church a second time and responding to an invitation – Trust –  The decision to agree and then respond to the gospel if followed by placing ones trust in Jesus Christ. Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all]. (Luke 18:17 AMP)

Salvation comes through faith alone, and the simple process of how it works is knowledge, assent, then trust. There must be a knowledge of ones need for salvation and also of the offer of pardon granted through Jesus Christ. Secondly there must be assent, you agree that you need Jesus. You agree that you are lost without hope. After that there is a decision to trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation.

Repentance, a word that simply means to change your mind, and faith are two sides of the one coin. It’s not important to analyse which comes first or if there is any time factor involved at all; however at the time when one is saved faith is enabled by God, faith to believe the promise of salvation. Repentance is granted by God to change ones mind. That means to turn to Christ and to turn away from the old way of life. Repentance is a whole sale change of heart and means humility acknowledging that you were previously lost and were in enmity with God.

Faith isn’t hope. Faith is knowledge spiritually acquired and comes by way of revelation.

One doesn’t simply hope that by believing in God and attending church that God will accept you when you die. That is a vain hope. It’s religion really. Faith is a knowledge that you have got it! You have an assurance that you have Christ on the inside, you already are a child of the living God and you are adopted into the family of God.

TENETS OF FAITH

Tenets of faith means the important statements that express what we believe about these important topics.

  1. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus Christ, the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as He died a substitutionary death for all mankind and not by any works a man can do.
  2. All mankind is in need of salvation
  3. Only through Jesus Christ can a person obtain salvation.
  4. Salvation is available to all who turn to Christ calling on His name.
  5. God is sovereign in His choosing of who will be saved and this is known as predestination.

THE STORY OF ABRAHAM

Reading Gen 12:1-4

12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,  and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

Abraham was called. God communicated to him and asked him to do something in obedience.

GOD CALLS US – IT MAYBE IN OUR YOUTH OR LATER IN LIFE. IT’S A CALL TO GO; TO OBEY HIM.

A journey began, this part of Abraham’s life was a challenge and a promise. The challenge to go, obey and trust, and a promise of blessing and also to be part of Gods great plan to bless the whole earth with His salvation.

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU – THERE’S SOMETHING TO LEAVE AND YOU ARE CALLED TO TRUST AND ALSO THERE IS PROMISE OF BLESSING AND ALSO TO BE PART OF HIS GREAT PLAN. THE GOSPEL TO GO TO THE WHOLE EARTH.

Abraham began the Journey with no clear picture of where he would end up.

THE SAME FOR US.

While he began in faith, there was mixture in Abraham’s life, fear, lying, trying to accomplish Gods will in his own way etc.

THE FAITH JOURNEY IS NOT WITHOUT UPS AND DOWNS. WE SOMETIMES FAIL AND TAKE BACKWARD STEPS. BUT GOD IS PLEASED WITH FAITH AND HE WILL WORK WITHIN YOU TO ENCOURAGE INSPIRE AND ENABLE YOU TO WALK IN FAITH. YOU WILL GRADUALLY TRANSITION FROM TRUSTING IN YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN WAYS TO TRUSTING IN GOD COMPLETELY.

Initially Abraham experienced blessings even before God gave him his own son.

ALONG THE WAY IN OUR JOURNEY WE EXPERIENCE ANSWERS TO PRAYER AND GODS PROVISION TO TEACH US HE IS TRUSTWORTHY.

In Gen 15:1 God reveals Himself in a new way, as El Shaddai the all sufficient one.

Abraham immediately asks for the impossible. – a son.

It’s a big ask but God says yes and promises even bigger, not just a son but nations shall come out of you!

Right then Abraham has knowledge of Gods ability, he gives assent to His will and trusts that God will do as He has promised. Abraham believes God and God accounts to him righteousness.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR FAITH, IS PLEASED WITH FAITH, AND IS PASSIONATE ABOUT JOINING US INTO HIS PLAN.

HOW DO I KNOW I’M SAVED?

There’s been a life change.

A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. (Matthew 7:18 AMP)

There’s fruit of repentance in your life.

Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with [your] repentance [that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin]. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up descendants for Abraham. (Luke 3:8 AMP)

You have an assurance that you belong to Him and you’re going there.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Have some members of the group share the story of how they came to be a Christian – your testimony.

2. Can anyone identify the steps of their salvation as knowledge, assent, trust?

3. What was your experience in terms of how you life changed after committing your life to Christ.

4. Now that you are a Christian, how do you feel about being part of His plan and purpose?

5. How can you share His plan for salvation to others?

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LOVE CONQUERS  #2PMLove Conquers Combined 150 ppi

PETER DO YOU LOVE ME?

Ever been put on the spot? I have. After I had been saved only about 7 weeks after I had given my heart to Jesus, I was asked in front of all my drinking buddies, “Will you go and represent the University student union at the Licencing Commission hearing so we ca have a pub on campus?” Only thing is, I’m saved now and I don’t believe we should have a pub on campus. So, I said so and told them I’m a born again Christian now!! The jaws dropped!

John 21:15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”  “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.  16Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”  “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.  17A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

Ever been put on the spot? Asked a question that probes the very depth of your heart while everyone is watching. Peter had failed, no doubt, and everybody knew it. Jesus told him, “You will deny me three times”. And Jesus was wrong how many times with His predictions?  Peter was asked a question that pulls out what’s inside and makes him realise what it’s all about really. Yes you failed, but where are you at right now on the inside? Do you love me?

I’m asking you the same question here tonight. Do you love Jesus?

What will keep you going for Jesus through the years? Some Christians who have done the journey with me over the years have fallen away from the faith. Others have stopped going to church and have retained the faith but become unproductive. All they do is criticise the church and all that that they believe is wrong with it; all the time not realising they are pulling down the bride for whom Jesus died.

What will keep you hot for God no matter what happens?

I’m going to make a statement to you right now that it would pay you to never forget. Your love for Jesus is the only thing that will keep you from being lost between now and when you met Jesus in heaven. LOVE CONQUERS!

Jesus foretold what Peter would face as a believer… Luke 22:31 31 Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,

32 But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.

The same for all of us too, satan desires to sift us as wheat; to shake us up. Only what cannot be shaken shall remain. Heb 12:26-29 (NLT)

26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.   28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.

We are in the last days. That is the time period immediately before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This period will not be a Sunday picnic. Listen to how Jesus describes it…

Jesus predicts what happens in the last days just before His return..

Matt 24:3-8 (NLT)

3Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”4Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

He also says…

Matt 24:9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.  (NLT)

These are some of the things that real followers of Jesus will face.

  1. Insult, Vilification, Persecution, and violence. (The article about schools in the USA http://freedomsback.com/michelle-malkin/one-nation-under-godlessness/) The proposed legislation under the Labour Party in Victoria strengthening the anti-discrimination laws to work against Christian Schools. (http://www.acl.org.au/2014/11/why-labors-policy-will-hurt-christian-schools/)
  2. Financial isolation and the confiscating of money and possessions.
  3. Opposition of family, friends and people who once were Christians. Mark 13:12  “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
  4. The temptation of offences – to live in unforgiveness.

 

HE THAT ENDURES TILL THE END SHALL BE SAVED

Matt 10:22 (NLT) And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.

IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES SHALL COME

2 Tim 3:1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.(NLT)

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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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