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Posts Tagged ‘passion’

hearts-on-fire-intercessory-prayer

One day many years ago I prayed for a young man called Ross who had decided to move back to Townsville from Brisbane. I could see in him such potential. I prayed for him and I asked God if He would bring him back to Brisbane to serve in our church again. He did come back and He made a great impact for God in our movement. What might have happened if I never prayed that prayer?

Luke 18:1 (AMP) Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart,

Prayer is the power of God in your mouth. Prayer is your lifeline to heaven. Every Christian believer has a relationship with the God of the impossible. If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to His children. You and I are not standing afar off asking a reticent God for His favour. We are His adopted children. We are His offspring the apple of His eye and joint heirs with Jesus. Will He not answer our prayers when we call upon Him?

Some Christians may be put off prayer because they think it’s boring or they find no answers. But the truth is they haven’t entered into the deep relationship that comes with knowing Jesus intimately. How can I not converse with the one I love? It’s not at first about getting something from God but it’s all about relationship with Him.

To be born again is to be in relationship with Him; we are now sons and daughters of the most high God. Now once you have relationship, then His heart is transferred to you and you have now got His desires and His passion for this world. To make His love known and to bring His kingdom to earth. Now we become His co-labourers and engaged in the work of the kingdom – to be about our Father’s business.

So why pray? – It’s life giving, it’s effective and it changes your future for the better.

If there is one thing I want you to know from this message today it is this – You have the power to change the world through your prayer.

1 Samuel 1:1-19 (ESV)

1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

 3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.[a] 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.

Here is a prayer that changed the world! Hannah prays for a son and his future is to be a prophet in Israel. Samuel was one of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament. He guided Israel and established the reign of King David and walked in honour and integrity all the days of his life. Will your prayers change the world?

YES THEY WILL!         YES THEY WILL!       YES THEY WILL!

Why should we pray? It’s life giving, it’s effective and it changes your future for the better. Prayer invades everything we do. Here in this Church we have a high value on prayer. We see prayer requests answered all the time. Last week we prayed for a man with a bad back and this week he told us how his back is completely healed and the physio gave him a good report. Lots of prayer requests go up on our facebook page every week and people are praying for one another. Prayer takes place in our small groups. Believers pray for each other, for the loved ones we know who need a miracle and for the church, the government and world affairs.

We meet for prayer in the Kid Town room every weekday morning from 6-7 am. Everyone is welcome. This has been our practice for about 20 years. That’s a lot of prayers. Look at the prayer discipleship that has occurred through this time as we have mentored and developed people who came to pray and seek God with us.

At HUB leaders meeting we pray, teach on prayer and form a teamwork that is powerful. At certain times we call the church together to pray as a whole. In this corporate prayer environment we storm the heavens and we make ground for the Kingdom. Such a prayer tie will take place today right after lunch at 12.30-1.30 here in the Auditorium.

Let’s go back to 1 Samuel and learn about prayer…

Hannah had a good husband. She was blessed. She lived in a healthy environment; but she had no kids! It’s normal to want to have children. In this time when Hannah lived, a woman’s worth was enhanced by her ability to bear children for her husband. Although so many things were good in her life there was one thing that was not good. A big gap existed in her life experience and she was not happy! She wanted to reproduce. As believers we want to reproduce too! We want to see others come to faith. Yet countless Christian believers live their whole life and never lead another person to Christ. And yet someone led them to Christ or at least prayed for them. They long to reproduce but nothing is happening. The one big difference between them and Hannah is that Hannah prayed!

It gets worse! She was taunted by the other wife, Peninnah. As if it wasn’t hard enough being childless, now she must endure ridicule from fatso! But actually who’s the problem here? Look at verse six, the Lord had closed her womb! Thanks a lot God!! As is life isn’t hard enough here, you have to come along and close my womb for fun so can watch the Hannah and fatso show for a few laughs!

However, God had a plan. He always does, and we, of course, are NOT smarter than God and we don’t know everything. He needed a breakthrough in Israel. He needed a good man to bring the God life back to this backslidden nation. But where would he find a good man? It had to be birthed in passion and desire.

Why don’t you be honest – your life is not that bad! There’s a lot of things working for you. You live in the best nation on earth, you live in the most liveable city on the planet, voted for 5 years running! Furthermore for most of us count our blessings in our health and our family life. BUT… there’s something in your world not working for you. There’s something that you long for and it’s not just a selfish request – this is something really important. Have you considered two things?

  1. God created the problem.
  2. In solving it there’s a much bigger purpose behind it.

God wants your heart first, He wants to hear from you. He has a covenant with you, you’re His son, daughter, agent, and soldier. But there something bigger at stake too. There’s purpose in this prayer request you’re going to make. It had wider implications. If God is behind this lack, this need, this gap in your life – then He has plans. HE WANTS YOUR ATTENTION!! Are you going to pray or whinge?

Hannah prayed!

Here’s seven things about Hannah’s prayer you must know…

  1. Hannah goes to pray (Vs 9) she is compelled by passion. Prayer isn’t a ritual or a duty but it is fuelled by passion.
  2. Did you know that desire is the volume knob of prayer? Making a loud noise doesn’t impress God but intense desire breaks through every barrier. Mark 11:24 (ESV) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. This word “ask” means to crave for, to desire. It has a strong sense of meaning. It’s not casual, it means to make a demand!
  3. Hannah makes a vow. This is not a bargain. This is not Hannah saying, “If you do this I will do this.” This is surrender! Hannah is saying, this is going to cost me something. I’m committed to the outcome. I’m willing to pay the price, and all I get, it’s not for me, I acknowledge it all belongs to you. In the Kingdom, if we can get this… God wants the first part. First commandment, First love. First tenth of your income. Seek first the kingdom and then all these things shall be added. Are you getting it?
  4. Hannah was misunderstood. Eli thought she was drunk! Passionate pray-ers will be misunderstood. Just pray quietly people will say to you. Don’t go overboard. Pray with dignity and properness, pray with decorum! Religious prayers, words without meaning, dribble without passion never moved the hand of God. Hannah prayed with bitterness of soul. Look at Verse 10 and 16 “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. All along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Sounds like a deep prayer that’s meant for Gods ears not people.
  5. Hannah found agreement. Eli listened and he heard her cry and his immediate response was, “Lord grant this prayer.” There is power in agreement. When you can find someone to listen then share that big passion and pray together.
  6. Hannah found immediate peace. That is an evidence of faith. Hannah was greatly distressed but after the prayer with Eli she had peace.
  7. Hannah received her answer. Nine months later she had a son and called him Samuel and He was mighty for God. She gave him up to the Lord to serve in the house of God but soon God gave her five other children after that, three sons and two daughters. (! Sam 2:21)

Now it’s your turn to pray. What do you need changed? Will you pray with passion? Will you come into agreement? Will you know when you have broken through? It’s time to change our City and our Nation. The need is great and the power is in your mouth. Let’s pray with power confidence and passion and se God’s hand move through us. If there is one thing I would say to do from this message it would be – change one thing this week to give yourself more to prayer.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Are you a “pray as you go” person or do you need to get alone with God behind closed doors?
  2. Tell us about your prayer journey.
  3. How can we know how much prayer is enough prayer?
  4. What makes you want to pray?
  5. What stops you praying?

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FAITH ACTIVATION   #1AM Activate Faith

This year we have been sharing about faith the whole year. I hope it has been a year of growth for you. Have you noticed that your faith is growing? Have you activated your faith? How do you actually tell if your faith is activated?

Remember the story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water? I hope that sometimes you feel like Peter as he stepped out onto the water that day. The feeling of sheer panic, exhilaration and bold courage all mixed in together that makes you feel truly alive!!!!!!

That’s stepping out in faith and activating your faith. Maybe for you it looks like speaking up boldly and sharing your faith in the office where you work even though you are fearful of repercussions. Maybe for you it’s choosing to be a giver even when money is tight because you have a confidence that God will supply all your needs.

Here’s a story about faith activation.

Mark 2:1-5 ESV

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus seeing their faith…

Did you know God sees everything? He’s what’s called Omnipresent. He’s everywhere. He’s watching over you all the time. There’s never a moment in your life where God is not present with you in reality. God is never far away.

“Jesus seeing their faith” – faith is something you can see!!!

CAN PEOPLE SEE YOUR FAITH? – How would they see it?

Is your faith activated?

About four years ago Chris and I decided to go to the gym. We did this because wanted to be healthy, to be fit and to not loose muscle mass as we age. We have been going an average of 3 times a week for four years. See Tas for evidence. Tas sees all!!! If I said I want to be fit, but then never went to the gym, then I would just be full of hot air!! There would be no evidence that I really want to be fit. But if you see me physically present at the gym then you know I actually believe that I want to get fit.

Do you get it?

My actions show what I truly believe, better than what I say.

The truth is I also want to be “faith-fit” I want to develop my faith so that it grows and gets “pecs”! But can I get more faith, or grow in faith, just by talking about it? No, I must do something to show my faith.

Do you believe that the bible is divinely inspired and the infallible word of God? If the answer is, yes, and you actually believe that, then you would demonstrate that by reading the bible lots! So your record of bible reading is the evidence of how much you believe that it’s the word of life and how hungry you are to receive that life.

All throughout your life you are acting and behaving in ways that demonstrate what you really believe deep down on the inside. What you really have as values in your heart will be shown by your actions.

So if you want to be faith fit, what does that look like?

Maybe it would look like this…

  1. You would be active in inviting people to one of the 5 services for Christmas in December.
  2. You will come to the Kingdom Advance dinner this Saturday night and sow financially into the missions projects of our church.
  3. You are praying for the people you love around you.
  4. You head off to your UC group because you believe you have a place to love give and serve one another there.

When you have faith it shows!

James 2:14-26 ESV

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Faith without works is dead – it’s all talk!!

Abraham showed by his amazing actions that he truly believed what God had spoken to him. He believed that his son would be the beginning of countless offspring. So when God asked him to sacrifice his son, he just believed that somehow he would live! He would either be raised or God would let him live.

THAT’S EXTREME FAITH – BETTER MAKE SURE YOU HEARD FROM GOD!

Abraham could have said I believe in God and what He said, but that would not have been sufficient. God said, “Show me.”

Rahab the harlot lived in the wall if the city of Jericho. She heard about Israel and decided “I know whose side I want to be on!” and she hid the spies that came to scout the land. They made her a promise. When we come back with our army we will spare you and anyone in your family (same promise today) if you hang a scarlet thread out the window to indicate that this is where you live. She obeyed – she showed her faith by her works.

Some years ago Chris and I met a great young man in one of the restaurants here at Plenty Valley Town Centre. His name was Nick. We shared our faith with him. Then over the years we kept on bumping into him often in the shopping centre. He had changed jobs but we saw him every six months or so and had a short chat.

Then about two weeks ago we bumped into him again this time shopping in Woolworths. He had a story to tell about how he felt God was trying to reach out to him. I shared with him that Jesus loved him and wanted to reach into his life and gave him a card with the church address. Then only last Thursday he showed up at church unannounced. (Often I’m not here on a Thursday) and he asked me an important question. Within 15 minutes he had invited Jesus into his heart.

Faith without works is dead. If you believe that Jesus died for each person you meet, then you take action and share with them the good news.

So let’s have a passion to get fit!! Faith fit!! You can get faith fit by…

  1. Reading your bible regularly.
  2. Listening to the podcasts of all the faith messages.
  3. Decide to step out of the boat and act in faith.

Here’s a way to take action to show your growing faith….

  1. Invite people to come this Christmas to one of the services where we have a special Christmas presentation every Sunday morning and night in December.
  2. Give financially to the Kingdom Advance Dinner this Saturday night.
  3. If you haven’t done so yet – give your life to Christ.

May each of us experience faith activation now and on into the future.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever had that feeling that Peter might have had when he tried to step out of the boat and walk on the water? A kind of feeling of sheer panic, exhilaration and bold courage all mixed in together that makes you feel truly alive? If so what was your challenge?
  2. What holds you back to step out in faith?
  3. Are there some areas of life where you have faith and other areas where you find it hard to have faith?
  4. How do you decide to step out in faith?
  5. In what ways can you build and increase your faith?

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tag - born for more - portrait - pos_renamed_26541

Psalm 72:19 Blessed be His glorious name forever; let the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen!

Psalm 47:8 AMP

God reigns over the nations; God sits upon His holy throne.

God is the creator and mover of nations.

He is big and he is able to change the destiny of nations.

At some point in the future Jesus will return to earth and all nations will bow to Him. He will reign on earth for 1000 years and those who have obeyed Him will reign with Him. God wants to give you a revelation that you are part of the biggest movement and events on earth – the church. The church is not small, impotent or insignificant, it is His bride and central focus – Jesus will use the church to bring His will to pass on earth. God can change nations in short periods of time. He puts one up and takes another down. God moves on nations according to His mercy and He hears the cry of His people.

God’s people, the Israelites, were living in Egypt after the time when Jacob and Joseph and the family went down to Egypt after the selling of Joseph into slavery. After many years a new Pharaoh arose and forgot the good that Joseph and his people did for Egypt. Now they were oppressed into slavery. And soon their cry arose to heaven. God help us. It was time for a deliverer.

Ex 2:23AMP  However, after a long time [nearly forty years] the king of Egypt died; and the Israelites were sighing and groaning because of the bondage. They kept crying, and their cry because of slavery ascended to God.

God raises up a deliverer. Who will He raise up in Australia? He is looking for people like you to lead others out of oppression and into the Promised Land. There’s a call going out. Can you hear it? Often young people hear it because they haven’t got the loud voices of mortgages, broken marriages, troubled teenage children and disappointment speaking to them. It’s been a pleasure to give up a career in Electrical Engineering and serve Jesus in the church. What will matter in 100 years from now?

In 1991, 1992, 1993, INC sent teams into Kiev in the Ukraine, to preach the gospel. We found a people crying out for God. For 70 years Communism had dominated the former Soviet Union, saying there is no God. The result was oppression, poverty, and millions of broken lives. Now they were ready for the answer – the gospel.

We preached the word and God was changing the city and the nation.

Is there a cry? Will God hear from us, from you, about this nation? Do we cry out to God about our nation? Does it bother us that Australia has largely abandoned faith in God? Does it concern you that the church is ridiculed by Main Stream Media? Does it touch your heart when family Violence rises continually, when ICE addiction threatens countless lives, when the State government bans religious education is schools?

What do you want for your life? Is your life focussed on happiness or getting things, or having a dream job, or living in a place where you desire to be? What dreams and goals fill your mind and heart? Essentially, what are you living for?

I’m living for Australia for Christ. It’s a focus for life. I want to be a part of Jesus’ plan for this nation. Think big about who our God is, don’t be or feel oppressed by lack, ungodliness, ungodly humanity around us, for God has big plans for the whole earth and for Australia.

So how should we respond?

  1. Let God know…. I surrender my whole life to you, everything I am, everything I’ve got
  2. Serve Him wholeheartedly walk away from sin, pray, read your bible, go to church every chance you get,
  3. Be part of a UC group, serve others.
  4. Study and seek to grow as a leader.
  5. Find your gift and calling.
  6. Work hard, live a passionate life, never give up.

What’s your Price? What will you sell out for? What will take your attention, occupy your mind, steal your focus away from the call of God?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. List all the things that you think stop you from serving God wholeheartedly.
  2. Now ask each other who in the bible had similar objections to serving God?
  3. In a hundred years from now, what will be the most important things to you? (Yes you’re dead and you’re in heaven)
  4. Can you hear a cry in Australia?
  5. What is tour gift or calling to serve God?

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Nation Changing Faith

Here’s a story about Nation Changing Faith.

1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT

32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”

33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Here we see David had a passion for Israel so he reflected on the past, attended to the present and prospected the future. God changed the nation through him.  We will come back to this later.

Two weeks ago I shared about Australia For Christ. I spoke of how I got saved and grew up hearing a great vision and seeing where I could fit into that master plan that God has for Australia. As a church planting movement we have a faith in God that believes for a national revival. A nation changing impact of the gospel. The motivation I received to engage with this great vision was understanding the truth about heaven and hell. I read and studied verses like Mark 16:16  Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. (NLT)  I could see the disastrous future awaiting the people who refused to believe the gospel. Hell really is terrible place. If I love people, I must feel a passion to do everything in my power to warn them and show them the truth about Jesus.

Church, listen carefully, heaven is real, hell is real. God’s kindness is that He sent Jesus to die in our place. People don’t go to heaven because they are nice people! Only born again people go to heaven. It’s only people who have repented of their sin and chosen to follow Christ who will avoid an eternity in hell. Some Australians may think this message an unpopular or outdated one but the gospel hasn’t changed from the days of Jesus till now. Is there a growing passion inside you for reaching lost people?

Two weeks ago I spoke about Daniel and his experience in the lion’s den and how that impacted on the entire nation of Medes and Persians. I asked you to respond by saying will you believe? If you believe, will you pray? If you believe, will you serve the Lord? If the vision of Australia for Christ has touched your heart, then respond by doing these things:

  1. Live wholeheartedly for God
  2. Be in church every week and participate in UC groups.
  3. Give generously to the vision.
  4. Share your faith with everyone around you.
  5. Consider the call of God on your life to serve in ministry. Some are called to plant churches, some to assist pastors as support ministries.
  6. Be trained for the ministry in HUB, church training, and Bible College.

Can you see the possibilities of a church that grows and impacts its local area? Can you see the planting of many more churches making an impact on the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria? Can you see how our vision must include training of leaders, ministries and church planters? What is our vision here at Plenty Valley Church? Let me read this statement to you; and put your imagination to work as I read it.

PLENTY VALLEY CHURCH VISION – CLEAR PICTURE OF A PREFERRED FUTURE

We see the church of 500 members and it is buzzing with life and excitement and expectation. People love God and love each other and they have a tremendous confidence in God to answer their prayers. We have lots of God stories every week of changed lives.

We are very integrated into the community and individual members pray for their family, friends, neighbours and workmates and see God answer by miracles, healing and salvation. Each Urban Connect group has deep community where real needs are met and new people come in and find belonging, care and significance.

Every weekend church meetings are inspiring with powerful worship, life application preaching, and great response. People are saved, healed and set free. A majority of our church are part of an Urban Connect Group.

The church has different avenues giving help into the community where people from the church interact with people in the community who have specific needs. God inspires us to love and serve people and through the gifts and talents he’s given us, we find ways of serving people in the community.

As new people come into the church they find their place of belonging; they are inspired to serve Jesus, and they love to be trained so that they can become more effective for God. Some of the people who are trained will grow into leaders that will become church planters. We see a Bible College with internships and other kinds of study that prepares people for leadership roles in the kingdom.

As we grow we see our church requiring a new place in which to do ministry and have community impact. We see a facility that is centrally located in the Whittlesea region to which people can come from the community and have their needs met and experience a community of love and acceptance which will point many of them to a commitment to Jesus Christ.

We are passionate people; passionate to serve Jesus Christ; passionate to love each other; passionate to make a significant impact into our own local community; and also we are passionate about raising up leaders who can multiply this kind of effectiveness across the city of Melbourne, the state of Victoria and into other places in Australia. Our vision is five. 500 members 5 people saved each week and $5000 in our giving each week.

To make a solid impact in our community and reach our vision to plant churches we need a better facility. This building is adequate for the present needs but we are leasing this building and to create a permanent and effective impact in Whittlesea we need our own place and one which contains more space for community programs and for training. It seems like a long journey to arrive at that facility. We are talking millions of dollars. Ten years ago we looked at land on the hill behind this location. The deal was multi-million dollars and it didn’t go ahead because it was much too high a risk. Even as little as two months ago we were offered a deal to buy land and a building exactly same size as this one on that hill but the asking price was overpriced for what it was. Still ringing in my spiritual ears is the word God spoke to me seven years ago when He said “You speak to Me about the land.”

When it looks impossible, that’s when God feels most comfortable and we feel most uncomfortable. This is what we believe: Mark 9:23 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” If we all agree and believe for great things, God will provide for us. What is your internal motivation? It’s a deep desire to make a difference, to make a significant contribution with your life. Listen to what Paul says about this.

Phil 3:13-15 AMP

13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

15 So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.

What am I doing to press toward the goal?

It’s finding your place in the vision that is most important. Where do you fit? What is your role? My role obviously is to lead this church and also the churches of INC in the State in this vision. That’s my role as a leader. But also I want to live an example of how this nation changing faith is outworking in my life. So I serve as a Police Chaplain. This week I have been attending a three day Police Chaplains Conference at the Police academy where I was awarded a Police service medal for 10 years’ service to VICPOL as a volunteer Police Chaplain. I have also started a Business Action Group in the community that seeks to unite business people who have a passion for community development to gather together and inspire each other to make a difference in Whittlesea. I do that so that I can meet and engage with business people and share my faith with them so that I can win them to Christ.

What is your part? Here’s how to find it. Like David in the bible passage we read earlier, you need to reflect on your past, attend to the present and prospect the future. David saw the overwhelming problem of Goliath. He was a giant. He was intimidating Israel. Everyone was fearful and defeated. David saw something different, he saw opportunity. Our giant is overcoming resistance to the gospel. Seeing people become hungry to know God and have their lives changed. David considered his situation and he:

  1. Reflected on his past – he killed a lion and a bear
  2. He attended to his present – he chose 5 stones and rejected Saul’s armour
  3. He prospected his future – what shall happen to the man who kills this giant? – I will feed this Philistine to the birds of the air and we will defeat our enemies.

When you reflect on your past, think of how you got saved and who led you to Christ. Think about how moved you were and how God touched your heart. Think of all the dreams and words you have received about serving Jesus. God can stir you and reignite these flames of passion and commitment. When you attend to the present, see the people all around you that are in need. See the broken families, the people messed up with ICE the drug epidemic and tragedy of family violence. See the people in your sphere of influence who are needing God’s love. When you prospect the future, you’re dreaming of what will be as God answers your prayers. Lives changed, people saved and healed and the church growing and impacting or community.  Dream of becoming a leader, perhaps an Urban Connect Leader, a Youth leader, a Kid Town leader, a business leader, etc.  As God moves through us we get a sense that we are a part of something very special. God have your way in this city and nation. We choose to have Nation Changing faith.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Can you reflect on your past and find significant memories of how God impacted your life to lead to your salvation?
  2. What are the needs in the community that you see all around you right now as you attend to the present?
  3. What can you see/visualise what our church looks like in the future?
  4. What part do you think you can play in the vision God has for us?
  5. Do you see your self in a leadership role of any kind?

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NATION CHANGING FAITH #2PMSmall Nation Changing

John 3:36 NLT

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

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

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

Luke 24:47-49 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a life changing experience at salvation.

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

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

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

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

There’s a motivation to serve Him.

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

There was an ethic to work hard.

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

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LOVE PRAYS #2PMLove Prays Combined

YOU HAVE ENORMOUS POWER

STORY – Read Josh 10: 6-15

Joshua 10:6-15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, Do not relax your hand from your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.

So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the warriors with him and all the mighty men of valor.

And the Lord said to Joshua, Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hand; there shall not a man of them stand before you.

So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having gone up from Gilgal all night.

10 And the Lord caused [the enemies] to panic before Israel, who slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon and chased them along the way that goes up to Beth-horon and smote them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

11 As they fled before Israel, while they were descending [the pass] to Beth-horon, the Lord cast great stones from the heavens on them as far as Azekah, killing them. More died because of the hailstones than the Israelites slew with the sword.

12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, be silent and stand still at Gibeon, and you, moon, in the Valley of Ajalon!

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

14 There was no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man. For the Lord fought for Israel.

15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

 

Joshua represents the new generation. He is a man who has been prepared for leading under the leadership of Moses. Now his turn to walk the stage of life has come. Joshua is about 80, yet he has the stamina of any young man.

After the children of Israel cross the Jordan and conquer Jericho, they falter briefly at Ai then keep going. One city decides to surrender to Israel instead of being killed. Gibeon and its King make peace with Israel and say we will become your servants. They would rather be living servants than dead heroes!

But the surrounding kings are outraged that Gibeon would surrender and five kings and their armies decide to go up and wipe out Gibeon, just to teach them a lesson. So the Gibeonites call out to Joshua and say, help us!

Joshua immediately gathers his army and leaves where they are. Straight away Joshua hears from God.

 Lesson 1. Be about God’s business and you’re going to hear from Him in prayer. God is wanting to encourage you that He is with you. Over and over again in the bible God is committing to us that He is with us, and this is because we are about his business.

The Gibeonites go up to Joshua on day one to tell him they are about to be attacked and Joshua travels all night from that time to arrive early the next morning to attack the five kings with their armies.

He fights all day against them, and God is with him to overcome so much that God sends hailstones down to kill the enemy and the hailstones wipe out more than the sword. The miracle here is that the hailstones don’t fall on the Israelite army!

Lesson 2 What God is doing for you behind the scenes will ensure your victory, so don’t sweat the dark clouds with hail because God’s got something powerful in mind.

Joshua realises that he is not going to have enough time to overcome all the enemies in the day before the sun goes down, so he prays the boldest prayer ever prayed on earth. Sun stand still! And God answers him with a massive miracle.

Lesson 3 Never underestimate the power you have in prayer.

You may easily say – Yes but that’s Joshua. I’m me and that’s different! However God is looking for great men and women of God to rise up and have faith. God is no respecter of persons; that means He has no favourites. We let ourselves off the hook too easily, by saying; I can’t do that and self-disqualify. But God’s word clearly says to all believers. Mark 11:23  Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

Joshua has been awake all of day one, then travels through the night to attack the kings at dawn. Then he fights that day; so that’s 30 hours so far that Joshua and his men have been awake until about midday (Sun was stayed in the midst of the heavens). So now he asks for another day (12 hours) of sunshine so at the end of the battle Joshua and his men have been sustained approximately 42 hours.

Lesson 4 when God is moving don’t slack off in prayer. Keep going until the victory is complete.

At the close of the story we see Joshua bring all his top leaders together and place their foot on the necks of these defeated kings. What was that all about? The power of visualisation. The next 100 battles for these leaders was going to be fought out with the image firmly planted in their minds – this is how it turns out for me when God is on my side.

Lesson 5 Use your imagination to see the outcome you want in prayer. Prayer and walking with the Holy Spirit uses the language of dreams and visions.

Prayer changes things and you need to know that you have massive power in prayer when you believe. Learn to wage war in the spiritual realm by understanding your authority over all the power of the enemy.

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

Luke 10:19 Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Prayer is not a function of time but it is a function of authority. The factor of time comes into play when we need to spend time with God and His word so that we receive faith building revelation about who we are and what he has promised. We have a big job on our hands to reach the lost people of our city. It’s vital that we have faith and stand in our authority and pray so that the enemy’s power is broken and the Grace of God is released to touch the multitudes in this city.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. How often do we think that our prayers won’t really change things?

2. If that is the case who benefits from that kind of thinking?

3. Do we often search for physical and emotional proofs of the prayers being answered?

4. What things would encourage you to continue in prayer until an answer comes?

5. Would it encourage you to hear of prayers being answered for those in your circle of friends?

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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 #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 #2PM Love Reaches Out 3 Screen

EVERY WORD A SEED

In 1996 Two members of this church and I travelled to China to preach the gospel. It was my second trip to China. That was a tough job as we didn’t speak Chinese. But we had thousands and thousands of gospel tracts. So as we went from city to city doing what was illegal in that country, we placed tracts in letterboxes, on car windshields, on top of walls, in bicycle carry baskets etc. until we got rid of about 5000 every night. Then one night we got caught, the police interrogated us and detained us under house arrest in our shabby motel for two days. Finally they deported us with stern warnings.

Still in spite of being caught we distributed multi thousands of gospel messages in the language of the readers. I wonder how many people read a tract and heard the gospel and found Jesus Christ? In China today, this is what is happening: The Nation has 1.3 billion people living there, The Christian population of this strongly communist nation is approximately 12% or 163 million. There are now more Christians in China than in the United States, and the growth rate is 5% per annum.

EVERY WORD IS A SEED

VIDEO TESTIMONY – JULIE MELLOR

When you leave a bible, a tract, a testimony, a conversation with someone who is not saved; it is a seed and that seed has power to grow.

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

Mark 4:26-29

26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

One night in Brisbane we were witnessing on the street and we approached an aboriginal man who unleashed a tirade of swear words at us. Just then two plain clothes police came along and arrested him for indecent language and took him away. We could have thought that that was strange and the event was over, nothing was accomplished. However one of our team, Brian, was of aboriginal decent and he happened to come across this man some weeks later and asked, “What was all that about?” The first man explained that his four year old son had just died and he felt anger and pain and blamed God. Brian explained what we were trying to say that Jesus is the answer to this kind of pain and this man received Christ as his Lord and saviour.  Sometimes your attempts to share your faith may seem fruitless, but every word is a seed and it may bear fruit later.

Drop seeds into conversations, if people react negatively don’t feel you have to argue the point. Spend time with hungry open people. If people are belligerent and offensive just keep the conversations brief and do acts of kindness.

My neighbour across the street was resistant to the gospel, I began sharing with him 12 years ago. He followed a religion practiced by Native American Indians. I would take him meals my wife had cooked. Sometimes I went over and mowed his lawn. He would get mad and say stop mowing my lawn and try and pay me back with a box of chocolates. So when I knew he was away I would mow his lawn anyway. If he never came to Christ I would still love and serve him – it would not matter if he thought I was just a sucker doing his work for him; to me it was a seed of love. However recently when he became very sick we visited him in hospital and shared the gospel with him. We prayed for his healing and he also prayed to receive Jesus as his saviour. His response was amazing!

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

In my very first outreach I organised as a new Christian, I ran a coffee night at uni where I was studying. It was a Friday night and I had about half a dozen Christian friends from church come along and we served free coffee to students and shared our faith with them. At the end of the night I was a bit disappointed as no one seemed to get saved. Being a new Christian I was really into instant results!! Later as I was chatting to one of the friends from Church, Vincent Bonici, He said he had prayed with a guy called Rob and led him to Christ. Get an address? No! How can I find him to help him grow in God? I don’t know God will look after him I guess. I was a bit annoyed. All I knew was Rob was a mechanical Engineering student and he was Malaysian born. I waited outside the Mechanical Engineering building every lunchtime for weeks to try and catch someone who looked like Rob. Guess what? I found him! Later he came to church. Now he’s an INC pastor in Adelaide Hills. But the story doesn’t end there!

Rob led a friend to Christ who is Mark Hands, later Mark became part of our youth ministry in Brisbane (as did Rob) and later again Mark became the principal of one of the INC Christian schools and now has a Christian business and coaching ministry at the Gold Coast. Mark led Andrew to Christ who became a big part of our youth ministry in Brisbane also. These are just the ones we know about….. I wonder who has been saved and touched by God’s love through all these people who have experienced major life change because of the coffee night that I thought wasn’t very successful.

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

What are you going to do this week to reach out to people who need Jesus?

Sometimes we have all given up trying to share about Jesus because we got a negative response or we just thought it’s all too hard. One time I when I was new Christian I drove past a man who I knew was a father of my school mate loading up a trailer with furniture at his office. I heard he was going bankrupt. It was midnight and I was tired and I sped off home. God prompted me to go back and tell him Jesus loved him, but I was too tired and it was late. The next day he committed suicide! It took me a long time and many tears to get over that one.

Listen to the Holy Spirit and try real hard to obey Him.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever felt like giving up when it comes to sharing your faith?
  2. Have you ever thought your sharing about Jesus was a complete waste of time?
  3. After hearing some of these stories and learning about seeds from God’s word do you think any differently now?
  4. Will this change the way you approach sharing your faith?
  5. Did you ever think how many lost opportunities you have missed?

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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH – INFINITY#3AM – 20 OCT 13Infinity 1

Last weekend, in the message, we discovered the amazing truth of memorial prayer where Cornelius’ prayer was mixed with giving and God heard his prayer. In fact his prayer became a fixture in the mind of God through his giving. This resulted in a breakthrough for Cornelius’ family as they all received salvation and were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues; but more than that, this was a breakthrough moment for all Gentiles because for the first time in the New Testament, the gospel was sent to the Gentiles.

Spring breakthrough is over half way now. It’s time to press in and seek God for a real change in your circumstances. It’s time to turbo-charge your prayer requests with your extravagant giving.

Have you ever felt like you have prayed for ages and not received anything from God? Does it seem like your circumstances are immoveable? Do you want to see a breakthrough but seem to have come to a dead end? Then listen to this amazing story of a woman who moved the hand of God with her giving.

READ 1 Sam 1:1-11

1Sa 1:1  There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.

1Sa 1:2  He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1Sa 1:3  Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD.

1Sa 1:4  On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.

1Sa 1:5  But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb.

1Sa 1:6  And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.

1Sa 1:7  So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

1Sa 1:8  And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

1Sa 1:9  After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.

1Sa 1:10  She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.

1Sa 1:11  And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

Here’s the story.

Hannah was a godly woman. She longed for a baby, but she was barren. Her prayer to God had been requested for years. Look at 1Sa 1:7  So it went on year by year.

She so wanted to be a mother. She cried out to God and received no answer for years. Her rival, Peninnah, who had children, provoked her and devalued her because the purpose of her life was not fulfilled. She despaired for an answer. Why didn’t all her prayers reach God’s ears so He would do something about it? She was part of a godly family that worshipped every year. Everything seemed right and in place, yet no answer. Hannah needed a breakthrough. What was the trigger for her miracle?

When Hannah’s pain of barrenness reached its peak she changed the way she had been praying. She did something different. She turbo charged her prayer request to God. Sometimes you know that your prayers; as good as they are; and as right as they are; just do not bring the result that you long for, and you’re sick of soul searching for some illusive answer or reason why God seems to be ignoring you. It’s time to get violent with prayer and accost the throne of heaven with some serious holy attention seeking!

Hannah’s prayer broke through, Hannah got Gods attention. Hannah received her miracle and this breakthrough was not only amazing for her, it was amazing for all of Israel. So how did she turbo charge her prayer? What did she do to breach the stony silence of heaven? It isn’t that God doesn’t care, but is He looking for something more from you. Don’t get me wrong; in this story we are not saying God is hard of hearing, or that He’s hard to please or difficult to get along with. We see a developing passion in Hannah in this story. We see that God has something in mind to deliver Israel. But there came a tipping point. What was the defining moment? What was it that made the difference and released the answer for Hannah?

If you find this answer, you will breakthrough in your own life. Can you say like Hannah that you have prayed for ages and received no answer? Can you commiserate with Hannah and declare that God seems to be silent when you need Him to say, “YES” What if I told you the answer and you just outright rejected it? Will you stand in the ranks of  people who say, “I did it all the right way but no answer”; or will you be open to do something different and actually getting a breakthrough with God?

Do you want to hear what made the difference for Hannah? Do you have the ears to hear what Hannah wants to preach to you this morning? Listen to this part of her prayer, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me.” Do you want God to remember you and your prayer request?

Are you sure you want to know the answer for getting God’s attention? Do you think you are ready to hear it? OK then listen to this promise…

1Sa 1:11  And she vowed a vow and said, … remember me …  give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

Hannah promises to give something to God.

Hannah moves from just asking God for a miracle, to mixing her request with giving.

Hannah promises not just a gift to God but a gift of the single most important thing in her life that she truly desires. – THAT’S BIG GIVING!

It’s not that God forgets, for He knows all things, however there’s a kind of giving that brings to His remembrance the prayer that you have made. Look how fast God moved in her life following this promise of giving.

1Sa 1:19  They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.

Straight away the Lord remembered her!

So let’s look at the breakthrough.

  1. Hannah receives a child, a boy, to answer her long held prayers and release her from her agony of barrenness and failure to produce a son for her husband to say nothing of the ending of the torment from the Peninnah.
  1. The Lord multiplies the answer further in that Hannah eventually has seven children. 1Sa 2:1  And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. 1Sa 2:5  Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.
  1. Israel receives a leader and a deliverer in Samuel, Hannah’s first born. One of the few men in the bible against who is recoded no fault.

Can you see how great a breakthrough was achieved through Hannah’s bold move to be a giver? The big question always remains, “How much do you want it?”

I haven’t yet told you the most amazing part of this story.

I have told you that giving mixed with faith turbo charges your prayer request.

I have shared with you that giving causes a memorial or remembrance to stand before God about your needs. I have explained that after years of fruitless prayer the only thing that created a breakthrough for Hannah was extravagant giving.

But here is the most amazing part of the story.

Hannah promised a gift that she didn’t even have yet!

 However, don’t get the idea that this is easy giving, to give away something that you don’t have yet. God knew the intense desire that Hannah had to have a child of her own, so to open her arms again with no promise of any further children and lose what she had now received and longed for was no cheap promise!!!

I can’t tell you about the number of times well meaning people have made a promise like this to God; and received their miracle; and then gone back on their word and failed to deliver what they promised to God.

But if she did that, Israel would not have a deliverer and there would be no more of those six children she later had for fulfilling her promise to God.

So let’s recap. Hannah prayed for many years without a breakthrough.

She did everything right, but God was at work to produce a greater outcome than what Hannah imagined. The key to her breakthrough was an extravagant gift that caused God to remember her. Her passion for God and His blessings exceeded even her desire for a son, but God multiplied and blessed her anyway with six other children. Her giving mixed with prayer turbo charged her request to God, and straight away He answered her cry.

Every year, people from this church work together to raise a sum of money for the advancement of our vision. In two weeks time at our Infinity Dinner on November 2nd, we will all have an opportunity to bring a gift or make a promise to God about our Kingdom Advance giving for the year. If you made a pledge last year, come October 31 this year, what ever you were unable to complete, is forgiven. Begin a new faith journey to bring to God an extravagant gift for this coming year. Like Hannah you can promise to God what you don’t have yet!

To turbo charge your own spring breakthrough, you can decide to give to God at this time, pledging your gift to the Kingdom Advance Offering on November the 2nd or 3rd. When you mix your prayer request with your giving, you will be like Hannah who obtained a tremendous breakthrough. You are all invited to the Infinity Dinner. Please see one of these table captains for a ticket. You cannot come to the dinner without a ticket. There is no cost, however, please come to the dinner prepared to make a donation or a pledge.

To obtain a ticket please see one of these table captains:

  1. Craig Anderson
  2. John Matthews
  3. Dan & Meg Power
  4. Bob & Rita Ireland
  5. Ross and Kim Parker
  6. Puna & Natasha Ngarua
  7. Rhys & Mira Anderson
  8. Alex Fabiani & Yas Barber
  9. Santo and Remi Pandolfo
  10. Chris & Alicia Duncan

Here is a list of the gaols we are giving towards for this coming year:

This is the Vision for which we are giving to make an infinite impact.

  1. Youth and Young Adults Ministry – Part time wage – $20,000
  2. Destiny Rescue – Rescuing kids from sexual slavery – $10,000
  3. Local Outreach – Community Kitchen, Family Violence initiatives. – $10,000
  4. Facility Upgrade – New equipment for sound and video image production – $20,000

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Discuss with your group about the kind of grief and pain Hannah went through as she waited to have a baby and was tormented by Peninnah.

2. She didn’t give up but prayed for years without an answer. Has anyone in the group experienced this kind of thing?

3. Finally she made a vow to God. She promised to give her son back to God if God would grant her a son. Discuss how big a gift this was for Hannah.

4. Giving doesn’t just attract God’s attention but it sets up a memorial in God’s mind as a constant fixture of your need.  Has anyone ever practised this kind of giving?

5. If you need a breakthrough discuss how likely you are to mix giving with your prayer request.

 

 

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