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Posts Tagged ‘passion for the lost’

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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LOVE INVESTS  #1 AMLove Invests Combined

THE MISSION FIELD CALLS

This month our theme is LOVE INVESTS. The scriptures teach us the value of considering the future generations: Prov 13:22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (NIV) Love thinks not only about the present needs but lays up in store for the future so that those following may have their needs met. Love makes provision for the future so that those you love, who come after you, will be blessed with all that God can provide for them. Love shows wisdom in not only leaving a financial blessing but providing it in a way that is most beneficial to the receivers; such as an inheritance kept until you are 18.

As Christians we are concerned not only about the material provision for future generations but about the spiritual provision also. Love sees far into the future and looks longingly for the next generation to know Jesus Christ and sees the families, cities and nations turning to God. Love invests financially for kingdom purpose into the future. That is why in this church we gather together, then we dream a dream of what the future may hold and sow a seed of finance to make the future better for others. We call this Kingdom Advance.

This year our Kingdom Advance dinner will take place on October 24th  at 7pm. You have received an invitation to that dinner today. Our focus of giving this year will be more in terms of missions giving; that means giving to evangelistic work in places outside our own local area. Our goal this coming year will be to support Destiny Rescue, Pastor Fakhry Hanna in Egypt, The INC South Pacific islands and our Church planting in Victoria.

Today I want to share with you the amazing stories of how people invested their lives in the mission field so that others future could be different.

Our first missionary is William Carey a missionary to India. Born in 1761, William Carey became a missionary to India arriving in 1793. It was extremely hard to get to India in that time because the church in England could not believe that Indian people could be saved. Carey had to work hard to convince the leadership of the church in England that Christians were called to preach the gospel in every nation and that meant going there. [a]

During the first year in Calcutta, the missionaries sought means to support themselves and a place to establish their mission. They also began to learn the Bengali language to communicate with others. At Midnapore during the first six years Carey managed an indigo plant, he completed the first revision of his Bengali New Testament and began formulating the principles upon which his missionary community would be formed, including communal living, financial self-reliance, and the training of indigenous ministers. His son Peter died of dysentery, which, along with other causes of stress, resulted in Dorothy suffering a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. Due to her debilitating mental breakdown, she had long since ceased to be an able member of the mission, and her condition was an additional burden to it. John Marshman wrote how Carey worked away on his studies and translations, “…while an insane wife, frequently wrought up to a state of most distressing excitement, was in the next room…”. She died in 1807.

After learning the language Carey began preaching gospel messages to the Indian people five nights a week. It was years until the first convert was made. Carey faced setback after setback with his workplace being swept away in flood waters more than once. An Indian Christian who helped Carey translate the bible into Sanskrit after 7 years serving with Carey backslid. On 11 March 1812, a fire in the print shop caused £10,000 in damages and lost work. Amongst the losses were many irreplaceable manuscripts, including much of Carey’s translation of Sanskrit literature and a polyglot dictionary of Sanskrit and related languages, which would have been a seminal philological work had it been completed. However, the press itself and the punches were saved, and the mission was able to continue printing in six months. In Carey’s lifetime, the mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or part in 44 languages and dialects.

After the loss of his wife and young son and backsliding of his only Indian Christian helper, one might expect that Carey could have packed up and gone home to recuperate. However a letter he penned to supporters at home during those darkest hours stated: “Though my disappointments may yet be 1000 times greater; yet I have this hope – the goodness and the faithfulness of God.” What drives a man to so surrender his life for others in the face of monumental difficulties – LOVE INVESTS. The outcome of Carey’s life was nothing short of amazing. He is known as the father of modern missions. Carey’s chief work of life was to make translation of the Scriptures and it was his joy before the close of life to see “more than 213,000 volumes of the Divine Word, in forty different languages, issue from the Serampore press.” But this was but a part of his life work.

Our next missionary was an Australian named Stanley Dale

Stanley Dale was a Australian that first visited New Guinea [b] while in the army during WWII. It was then that he first saw the high mountain ranges of the interior and set his mind that someday he would return to bring the message of God’s love to the people who lived in those remote areas. After the war he completed his Bible education, got married and began his training for his goal of reaching the unknown tribes in the highlands. He was refused by a number of missionary societies but finally was accepted to go to New Guinea. From 1947 to 1960 he worked with tribes in the lowlands. Finally in 1961 he & Bruno Leeuw made their trek into the Heluk Valley and made contact with the Yali tribe.

Stan Dale believed that even the most violent Yali cannibal had a soul worth saving because it was made in the image of God.

As the gospel was blossoming in the upper end of the valley, those in the lower end of the valley were still in darkness. Two of the young Yali Christians, Kekwara & Bengwok, went down the valley and were attacked while preaching. Neither returned. At the news of their deaths, Stan Dale went to the villages himself, and there suffered 5 arrow wounds. He was helped back to camp, then flown a mission hospital. It would be a week before they knew that Stan would survive the injuries. Two months later,

Stan Dale returned to his work among the Yali.

He was determined that the work of God must continue.

He strengthened the church in the upper Heluk valley and the new believers spread the gospel east into the next valley where it was warmly received. This angered the shamans in the lower valley and to the west and they made threats against Stan Dale should he enter their area again. After two years the burden for the salvation people in the lower valley prompted Stan Dale to try once again to reach them. On Wednesday, September 18, 1968, Stan Dale, Phil Masters and four tribal helpers began their trek into the Seng Valley. They were greeted by armed warriors when they reached the first village. The immediate crises was avoided and the next day they decided to return, but already the neighboring villages had been told and their warriors had agreed that these bearers of a strange religion would have to be killed.

The warriors were following them. Stan was at the rear. He stopped and faced them. Stan called to his Yali friend, Yemu, “Leave me,” and he raised his staff, not in anger, but as a barrier to the advancing tide of warriors. A priest of Kembu (the demonic religion) named Bereway slipped around behind Stan and at point blank range shot an arrow in under his upraised right arm. Another priest, Bunu, shot a bamboo bladed shaft into Stan’s back, just below his right shoulder.

Yemu was crying now and shouting at them to stop. As the arrows entered Stan’s flesh, he pulled them out, one by one, broke them and cast them away. Dozens of arrows were coming at him from all directions. He kept pulling them out, breaking them and dropping them at his feet until he could not keep ahead of them. Nalimo, the village chief, reached the scene after some 30 arrows had found their mark in Stan’s body.

“How can he stand there so long?” Nalimo gasped. “Why doesn’t he fall? Any one of us would have fallen long ago!” A different kind of shaft
pierced Nalimo’s own flesh – fear! “Perhaps he is immortal!” Nalimo’s normally impassive face melted with sudden emotion. Because of that emotion, Nalimo said latter, he did not shoot an arrow into Stan’s body. Stan faced his enemies, steady and unwavering except for the jolt of each new strike. Yemu ran to where Phil stood alone. Together they watched in anguish at Stan’s agony. As some 50 or more warriors detached from the main force and came toward them, Phil pushed Yemu behind him and gestured speechlessly, run! Phil seemed hardly to notice the warriors encircling him. His eyes were fixed upon Stan.

Fifty arrows – sixty! Red ribbons of blood trailed from the many wounds, but still Stan stood his ground. Nalimo saw that he was not alone in his fear. The attack had begun with hilarity, but now the warriors shot their arrows with desperation bordering on panic because Stan refused to fall. “Perhaps Kusaho was right!” Perhaps they were committing a monstrous crime against the supernatural world instead of defending it, as they intended. “Fall!: they screamed at Stan. “Die!” It was almost a plea – please die!

Yemu did not hear Phil say anything to the warriors as they aimed their arrows at him. Phil made no attempt to flee or struggle. He had faced danger many times but never certain death. But Stan had shown him how to face it, if he needed an example. That example could hardly have been followed with greater courage. One again, it was Bereway who shot the first arrow. And it took almost as many arrows to down Phil as it had Stan. Yemu and the 3 other helpers stayed only until they knew that Phil could not survive, then they turned and ran for their lives. One thought burned in Yemu’s mind, “if they kill us too, there’ll be no one left to tell their widows what happened, or where they fell.” Yemu did make it back safely to tell what happened.

Only a year later these same people were reached with the gospel of Christ  by missionaries that replaced Stan Dale and Phil Masters.

What enabled men like Stan Dale, Phil Masters and the two Yali Christians,

Kekwara & Bengwok, to risk and lose their lives in trying to take the gospel to a violent and hostile people? How were and are so many others able to spend their lives in similar tasks, forsaking the comforts of their homes to go live in foreign places with foreign people in a foreign culture?

LOVE INVESTS – Making a difference to the future of people who one day will come to know Christ.

One of the last communications received by the home office from Stanley Dale carried this significant comment—“I have a burden for these places where the way is hard. Please continue to pray for the people of the Holuk that they may break free from their fetishes and declare themselves wholly on the Lord’s side. Please continue to remember us in prayer, for we still carry some heavy burdens that are not burdens of work.”[c]

Stanley Dale had long ago determined to spread the gospel to unreached peoples, even at the expense of his own life. Because of their deep love for Jesus, Stan and Phil had a passionate desire to make Him known to all people—especially those Yali living in spiritual darkness in the Seng Valley.[d]

In the next few weeks I will be sharing how the Lord has used me to reach people in China, the Ukraine and the Pacific over the last 30 years. We have missionaries right here in this church. I want to introduce one of them to you today It’s Betsey Rasia who has a passion for her high school.

I hope that we as a local church continue to develop a deep passion for lost people the world over and that we are prepared to sacrifice our pleasures and comforts so that others may live. I hope you can come to the dinner on the 24th October and join Chris and me in pledging finances to INVEST in the lives of others.

Last year we saw about $70,000 pledged into Kingdom Advance. So far about $38,000 has been received. More finance may come through this month until the dinner when we begin a new year of fund raising. This shortfall has led me to make a much smaller goal for the coming year. I am setting a target of $40,000 which will represent about 10% of our total church income and distribute it equally among four missions projects. Destiny Rescue, Egypt, Solomon Islands and Church planting in Victoria.

If you have not completed your pledge by the time of the dinner please consider the pledge forgiven and begin anew with faith and with a more realistic pledge for the coming year. The finance we give to Kingdom Advance is not our tithe which God says comes into the storehouse to make sure there is provision in this house. Kingdom Advance giving is an offering over and above your tithe for the work of missions. Will you join with me giving so that others may live? Will you believe and trust God to provide abundantly for you over and above your normal income to allow you to give?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.  Perhaps not everyone is called ti new Guinea or India, but where are you called to?

2. The sacrifices made by these heroic missionaries inspire us, what does it make you feel?

3. Are there sacrifices you can make so that others may live?

4. Is the life of Stanley Dales given only to reach the tribes of New Guinea or was it given in order that other Christians may be inspired to give their all for Christ?

5. What is your part in the great commission to reach lost people?

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LOVE PRAYS #5   –  AM ServiceLove Prays Combined

…AND LOVING IT!   –   THIS MESSAGE IS TO ASSIST YOU TO BE INSPIRED TO PRAY AND TO ENJOY IT.

RELATIONSHIP

In a practical sense, prayer is talking to God, but of course it’s so much more than that. Prayer is an indicator of your relationship with God. Little prayer, little relationship; deep prayer, deep relationship.

The foundation of how we all live our lives as Christians is given by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NLT) Seeking His kingdom first must begin by meeting with God in prayer and listening.

How can you get inspired to pray? (Read these prayer quotes http://www.christian-prayer-quotes.christian-attorney.net/ )

Here’s some heavy Duty Prayer quotes…

  1. “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” Martin Luther.
  2. “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence
  3. When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller’s reply was, “Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming.” Source Unknown.
  4. “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick
  5. “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Charles Spurgeon
  6. “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.” Andrew Murray
  7. “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” (Robert Murray McCheyne)
  8. “One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.”

 

  1. On persevering prayer: “I look at a stone cutter hammering away at a rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101st blow it splits in two. I know it was not the one blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

When I was a younger Christian I recognised I needed some inspiration to pray. I saw a TV program about marathon runners that interviewed two of the greatest marathoners of all time; Robert De Castella and Alberto Salazar. They interviewed Robert, an Australian, and asked how often do you train? He replied that he rose every morning to run 10kms and each afternoon another 16kms. “Don’t you ever feel like sleeping in?” they asked. “Yes,” he replied, “but that’s the time I know I must rise and begin to run or I will never have that gold medal to hang around my neck.” Robert had one sleep in per year – Christmas Day!  I thought, if he can do that for a lousy Gold medal, then I can do that for the eternal value of winning lost souls! Paul shares this same idea in 1 Cor 9:24-27 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.(NLT)

INTERACTION: ASK YOUR PARTNER – DO YOU EVER FEEL INSPIRED TO PRAY? ONE MINUTE EACH, THEN BACK TO THE MESSAGE.

HOW TO PRAY

Using the “Lord’s Prayer” as a guide to pray is helpful.

PRAYER GUIDE The Lord’s Prayer Outline from Dr. Larry Lea’s “Could you not tarry?”

http://larrylea.webs.com/LordsPrayerOutline.pdf  from Matt 6:9-13

  1. OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN
  2. Picture Calvary and thank God that you can call Him “Father” by virtue of the blood of Jesus.
  3. HALLOWED BE THY NAME
  4. Praise God for Who He is and for what He has done for us.
  5. Hallow the names of God corresponding to the ­positive benefi­ts in the new covenant.
  6. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, (It’s a commanding statement) Pray for:
  7. Yourself and your family (mate, children, other family members).
  8. Your church (pastor, leadership, faithfulness of people, harvest of souls).
  9. Your nation (city, state and national political and spiritual leaders, harvest of souls).
  10. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).
  11. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
  12. Be in the will of God (prayer life, church, work habits, obedience in giving).
  13. Believe it is God’s will to prosper you.
  14. Be specific and tenacious.
  15. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
  16. Ask God to forgive you.
  17. Forgive and release others – set your will to forgive those who sin against you.
  18. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
  19. Put on the whole armour of God (Put on the Lord Jesus Christ – Ephesians 6:10-18)
  20. Loins girded about with TRUTH
  21. Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS
  22. Feet shod with the PREPARATION (READINESS) OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
  23. Shield of FAITH
  24. Helmet of SALVATION
  25. Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD
  26. Pray a hedge of protection around yourself and your family.

(The Lord is your refuge, your fortress, your God – Psalm 91:2)

  1. Because you have made the Lord your habitation
  2. Because you have set your love upon Him
  3. Because you have known His name
  4. FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER
  5. Make faith declarations, be bold in faith – God hears and answers prayer ( John 5:14-15).
  6. Return to praise.

 

BIBLE READING PLAN

It’s essential that every Christian has access to the word of God. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. – Matt 4:4.

Please convince yourself of the importance of reading God’s word at this webpage.. http://pvcoc.org.au/bible_reading_plan.php

PRAY READING THE BIBLE

Almost any verse can turn into a prayer. Let’s go to the psalms and I will show you how to pray read the bible.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.

He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

Now pray the words like this….

1 Thank you Jesus that you are my Shepherd you feed me, you guide me, and you shield me], I shall not lack.

2 Lord you make me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; you lead me beside the still and restful waters.

3 Lord you refresh and restore my life (my self); You lead me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

4 Yes Lord Jesus, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

Try Ephesians 1:4

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

Could be prayed like this..

In your love God you chose me [actually picked me out for Himself as your own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, through Jesus now I am becoming holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

INTERACTION: ASK YOUR PARTNER – WHAT WOULD HELP YOU TO BE MORE FOCUSSED TO READ THE BIBLE AND PRAY? ONE MINUTE EACH, THEN BACK TO THE MESSAGE.

JOURNALING – SOAP

Journaling is a very powerful way of connecting with God. Simply put, journaling is writing down prayer points and answers you receive. How to get started… Obtain a prayer journal notebook or use an app on your phone to record a journal entry every day (Try Pages, Notes, on iPhone or One Note on Android)

Use the SOAP Format.

S- Scripture – Write out in full one or a few verses.

O – Observation – What is this verse or passage saying to you? What is the main point of the scripture?

A – Application – How can I apply that verse and the truth of that verse to my life?

P – Prayer – Write out a prayer hat you now pray to ask God to help you apply that verse to your life.

WORSHIP

Get hold of some great Christian music and listen and sing along and love Jesus with all your heart.

RESPONSE

One of the most important prayers you will ever pray is, “Lord Jesus, forgive my sins and come into my life. I believe you died for me and I believe you rose again from the dead for me.” If you have never prayed that prayer before, will you pray it right now?

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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  #4AMLove Reaches Out 3 Screen

JOIN THE TEAM TO LOVE AND SERVE

Please follow our notes on the blog site or find it through the church facebook page.

Today we have seen an incredible promotion from the Gideons about reaching Melbourne. I know this church will be right in there supporting this call as we have exactly the same vision. To see as many Melbournites as possible experience the love of Jesus Christ. Here’s the vision statement of our church denomination or movement:  To Give every Aussie the chance to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The other take home message of this Gideon presentation is the power of reading the bible. In this church we encourage each believer to read the word of God regularly. To understand the power in this see our website at this address. It’s important to understand that we have a great confidence that the bible is God’s word and is divinely inspired and infallible cover to cover. This can be demonstrated clearly with real evidence both scientific and literary. For more information on this please check out these specific messages on our church podcast at this link.

This year we are sharing the message of LOVE across the whole year. This month our theme is Love Reaches Out. We have heard the message in week one about the reality of heaven and hell and the incredible importance of sharing our faith with others. In week two, Rhys spoke of how in this world many people have an obsession with a celebrity and they know everything about them, want to look like them and be near them. He pointed out that as real authentic Christians we are to be obsessed with Jesus and experience the same level of life changing impact. In week three we spoke about how to actually share your faith effectively, and what is the gospel message essentially.

The main message today is that reaching people with God’s love is best done in a team work approach. Let’s look at how Jesus made an impact in peoples’ lives.

Luke 9:11-17 11 But when the crowds learned of it, [they] followed Him; and He welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed restoration to health.

12 Now the day began to decline, and the Twelve came and said to Him, Dismiss the crowds and send them away, so that they may go to the neighbouring hamlets and villages and the surrounding country and find lodging and get a [b]supply of provisions, for we are here in an uninhabited (barren, solitary) place.

13 But He said to them, You [yourselves] give them [food] to eat. They said, We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all this crowd,

14 For there were about 5,000 men. And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Have them [sit down] reclining in table groups (companies) of about fifty each.

15 And they did so, and made them all recline.

16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and [praising God] gave thanks and asked Him to bless them [to their use]. Then He broke them and gave them to the disciples to place before the multitude.

17 And all the people ate and were satisfied. And they gathered up what remained over—twelve [[c]small hand] baskets of broken pieces.(AMP)

This was teamwork in action. We see that pretty much everywhere Jesus went He healed people and he also performed miracles of provision – feeding the 5000, as well as raising people from the dead. His approach to help people understand the message of the gospel, that God loved them and that they needed to be forgiven and know God, was to awaken them through the meeting of their needs. The reaction of people was huge! Mark 7:37 37 And they were overwhelmingly astonished, saying, He has done everything excellently (commendably and nobly)! He even makes the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak!(AMP)  By meeting their needs supernaturally, people who were open to God, would seek further understanding and begin to listen to Jesus as He preached the good news of the kingdom. If people were not open to God they were often offended by the miracles and became aggressive towards Him.

The same is true today. As we seek to reach people with the message of God’s love we can pray for people’s needs, be it healing or financial breakthrough or restoration of marriages or anything that concerns them. To a great extent the level of miracles we see is less than what Jesus experienced and this is due to a high level of unbelief in this nation; where people can scarcely believe that God exists let alone that He would heal them. This is not the case in many nations where ordinary believers like you and me can travel and see amazing miracles and healings right in front of our eyes.

MY UKRAINE STORY

In 1991-1993 I led three large teams into the Ukraine to do missions work. This took place immediately after the failed coup and the fall of the iron curtain. We preached on the streets with interpreters and saw hundreds of people receive Jesus Christ as their saviour and as we prayed for healing amazing miracles took place right out there in the street. This was team work in action. Some preached, some prayed, some played guitars, some shared their faith one on one with interpreters, and some translated our songs into Russian. Together we loved and served the Ukrainian people.

THE STORY OF RED FROGS

This video shares some of the story of what Red Frogs is all about. Red Frogs is a ministry of Christian young people who go to the schoolies week at 14 locations around Australia and look after tens of thousands of young school leavers who are living it up and making crazy life endangering decisions in an alcohol fuelled party at the end of their school life. The Red Frogs Crew help serve and love them to keep them safe and guide them to better decisions. This teamwork of loving and serving these young people gives them the perfect platform to share the real meaning of life as those who are open ask the red frogs team why they do what they do. Later these same Christian leaders go into the universities and serve at O week where again the alcohol culture is over the top. The Red Frogs teams keep working through the year loving and serving these future leaders of Australia (and indeed the world) and many of them end up in church because they see the love and the quality lives of the Red Froggers.

Why is the ministry of Red Frogs so successful? Here’s why…

  1. It’s focussed on a need
  2. There’s an expression of love through serving.
  3. There’s a team work approach.

In Plenty Valley Church, we use this same team work approach to love and serve people in order to gain trust and show them the love in action that stems from Jesus Christ. We do this through…

  1. Urban Connect Groups – loving and serving people in need
  2. Youth Foundation – loving and serving High schoolers
  3. Community Kitchen – loving and serving disabled, lonely, struggling and financially challenged people.
  4. The Autism Support Group – loving and serving families struggling with special needs kids.

I hope that soon we can begin a new team of passionate believers to start what’s called a Messy Church. Messy Church is a once a month church service on a Saturday afternoon that caters for young families with kids where the kids and their parents get involved in games, craft, art and singing as well as hear a message and share a meal while being all together. We will need about 7-8 new leaders to assist us to run this new outreach. If you’re interested please see one of the ministry team later.

So to summarise this month.

Every person who does not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour is lost and we care deeply that they are not going to heaven. We will do all in our power to love them and serve them and so gain their trust and share with them the good news that Jesus died for them.

  1. We can share with others through personal sharing of our faith,
  2. We can invite people to church or Urban Connect groups or youth etc.
  3. We can be part of a team that loves and serves those in need just as Jesus did to find those open to the message of the gospel so that they might be saved.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Discuss the benefits of completing a task in a team environment.

2. What are the gifts you bring to the team – what are you good at?

3. Who is the best one in your team at sharing the gospel message? Who is the best host? the best practical helps person etc?

4. Who is your team (Urban Connect group) going to reach out to? Can you identify someone in need?

5. When will you plan ways to love and serve them in Jesus name?

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LOVE REACHES OUT #4PMreaches out

YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT…

MY GOD STORY

I was not found in church growing up. I had no knowledge of the gospel. When I was twenty and studying at uni, we had a team of people from the church I am now part of come to the uni and perform some musical items and someone preached. A friend, who was studying in my course, was a Christian and he was connected to this church. When they invited me to come along I considered the invitation and decided to go to the church that coming Sunday night. As I arrived with my friend from uni I was amazed at the size of the church (about 700 people) and the friendliness of the people. I saw other amazing things. People were healed and fell over under the power of the Holy Spirit. Others told their story of how God had set them free from alcoholism, drug addiction and broken marriages. There was something going on here!

At the conclusion of the service an appeal was made for people to respond and give their lives to Christ. Although moved and compelled, I resisted as it seemed too hard for my mind to accept it all so quickly. Later a wise person said to me, “Just pray and ask Jesus to show Himself to you. If He’s real then you will know, if He’s not real nothing will happen and you can get on with the rest of your life.”

Sounded reasonable to me; so I set about asking Jesus to show Himself to me over that next week. Well some things happened. Prayers got answered and as I considered if God was real, I thought that if He was real, then I believed He would be healing people and restoring marriages as I had seen.

The next Sunday I went back to the same church with my girlfriend with me; and I received Jesus as my Lord and saviour! A new life had begun!  I was born again. Over the next little while I joined the youth street work team and began to share my faith with others. The training opened my eyes to understand the reality of heaven and hell. It was frightening to consider the horror of hell. I became more passionate about reaching lost people. My girlfriend (who is now my wife) and I served in children’s ministry then teens group, then after about three years I began working on staff as youth leader. For me there was a very deep sense of being saved from a Christless eternity, and a gratitude for being saved. I wanted to give my whole life to Christ and serve Him forever because of what He had done for me.

Has this love of God gripped your life? Are you apprehended by God for something greater? Are you called? Do you say like Paul, “My life is not my own.”

Matt 20:16  So those who [now] are last will be first [then], and those who [now] are first will be last [then]. [a]For many are called, but few chosen.(AMP)

John 15:16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as [b]presenting all that I Am], He may give it to you.(AMP)

There is a call from God, and there is a response from you. How will you respond? In the parable of the marriage feast the servant goes out to ask who will attend the supper but many refuse to attend, finally the host says to the servant, go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be full. (Luke 14:16-24.)

Has the saviour called you? How have you responded? When God has touched your heart with His great love you are marked forever. This world cannot offer the peace and the joy that serving Him can give. All this world has is temporal and will one day pass away, but what is eternal will endure forever.

With His love on board you see the world differently. Ezek 9:4 And the Lord said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in the midst of it.(AMP)  How do you see your city?

When you’re called, you have a one track mind – God’s purpose, His kingdom comes first at all times. Nothing puts you off the glorious task of serving Jesus and winning lost people to Christ. I love the single mindedness of Paul in this story in Acts 21:10-14. 10 While we were remaining there for some time, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.

11 And coming to [see] us, he took Paul’s belt and with it bound his own feet and hands and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit: The Jews at Jerusalem shall bind like this the man who owns this belt, and they shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles (heathen).

12 When we heard this, both we and the residents of that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.

13 Then Paul replied, What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart like this? For I hold myself in readiness not only to be arrested and bound and imprisoned at Jerusalem, but also [even] to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.

14 And when he would not yield to [our] persuading, we stopped [urging and imploring him], saying, The Lord’s will be done! (AMP)

Paul knows what he’s called to. The prophet was right, and Paul would indeed be bound in Rome for the gospel, but did not interpret the prophecy to mean don’t go. He had a higher purpose. He intended to take the gospel to the heart of the empire! What are you called to?

Don’t choose Role or title, choose to serve – choose to go for souls. Choose to place yourself under a teacher or mentor or coach who will help you grow.  We Australians have a very independent mindset. It’s unhelpful and anti-biblical. It stems from our nations roots in growing out of a penal colony where there was a disrespect for all in authority. You will need to push that aside if you intend to be a disciple.

Consider the call of God for your life. To what are you called? Can you see the plight of the unsaved in your world and ask what can I do about it? Would you lay down your life for God and His great passion – to reach people with the gospel?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. How do you know if you are called

2. Can you be called and not be called to a ministry such as pastor teacher etc?

3. Is your life and the result of your years to be more than just family job and pleasure?

4. What do you believe you are called to do for God?

5. What is your next step in your mission?

 

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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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