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Posts Tagged ‘pay the cost’

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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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elevation Baptism 3Water baptism is one of the most exciting experiences for a Christian. It’s a declaration that you have decided to follow Jesus, but more than that it is a supernatural experience of separating from your old life.

Let’s take a look at these verses in 1 Cor 10:1-2  For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (ESV)

In many ways the events described in the Old Testament are examples of what our new life in Christ is all about. In fact Paul says the same in 1 Cor 10:11  Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period). (AMP)

Many things in the Old Testament are types or shadows of the spiritual realities unveiled in the New Testament. As one famous preacher once said, “the New is in the Old Concealed and the Old is in the New revealed.” For example when the Israelites took a Passover lamb and slew it to place the blood on the door of their homes in Egypt just before the Exodus, this is a type or shadow of Jesus Christ becoming our Passover lamb and shedding His blood to cover our lives in order that death would pass over us and we would be saved from it.

In this picture, Egypt represents the world and slavery and bondage to sin. The Promised Land represents our new life of following Jesus and Passover is a picture of salvation.

Now back to the verse we first read – the children of Israel were baptised into Moses in the Red Sea. What does that mean?  In this story we understand that for 400 years the people of Israel had been living in the land of Egypt and away from their own land that God had promised them. Over the time that they were there, the Egyptians had become taskmasters over the Israelites and turned them into slaves. Their slavery had become harder and harder and the people of Israel began to cry out to the Lord for release. They had even forgotten that they were promised a new land through God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In the same way mankind has been living under the bondage of sin and death and the slavery of sin has been getting harder and harder. Think about the issue of the drug Ice for a moment. Its ravaging influence is destroying the lives of users, their families and many others who are victim of the users actions in crime and in hospitals etc. That’s just one issue, there are so many ways that sin and death are cruel taskmasters over people who are crying out for release.

God raised up a deliverer, Moses, who is a picture of Jesus. Moses went before Pharaoh, who represents the devil and says you must let my people go. God shows His mighty hand through many miracles signs and wonders and brings the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness on the way to a promised land flowing with milk and honey.

At the time of Passover, the lamb slain to place the blood on the door posts and lintel of each home where Israelites lived represents Jesus. His blood was shed for us to cover us and the angel of death must pass over us. What happens next is God says to the Israelite people pack up everything you’ve got and leave. Travel into the wilderness. Start your journey into the Promised Land. But the Egyptian army followed them. They represent the old life, the power of sin and bondage that you were once under before you were a Christian. They also represent the devil and his demons who have lost their power over you and want to get you back.

As the people of Israel cry out to God, He leads them to the Red Sea and as Moses lifts his staff (Representing authority) the waters part and the Israelites go through on dry ground. The Red Sea represents water baptism. As the Egyptians (representing all that is worldly and part of your old life) tried to follow Israel into the water; the Red Sea closed up over them and they were destroyed.

This gives us the picture that when you go through the waters of baptism the power of your old life to dominate you is destroyed. But more than that, now there is a great separation between Egypt and Israel. A Red Sea that cannot be crossed! The Red Sea represented separation from the old life, from bondage and from poverty. The water was life and victory for the people of Israel who had been saved by blood and it represented death and separation to the Egyptians, the old life of sin and bondage.

No wonder the Israelites sang and danced and rejoiced when they were safely on the other side and saw the Egyptian Army drowned. Ex 15:1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider or its chariot has He thrown into the sea.(AMP)

What’s more is that the verse we read at first says “baptised into Moses” which is a picture of the body of Christ, as revealed in this New Testament verse that aligns with this statement. 1 Cor 12:13 For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit. (AMP)

If I haven’t been baptised in water yet – what should I do?

Be baptised by immersion as soon as possible. It is a glorious victory for you to leave the old life behind and be separated from the power of sin and the bondage of the old life.

If I have been already baptised since I believed, – what should I do? Exercise your faith. No need to be baptised again. Begin to believe that you are free, now separated from your old life and the powers of sin and temptation.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Do you think that your life as a Christian should be marked by supernatural experiences?

2. Why do you think it is necessary to be baptised by full immersion? (Hint see Romans 6:1-4)

3. Why is Jesus referred to as “The Lamb of God”?

4. What kind of things from “your old life” would you rather be set free from?

5. Can you believe that you are now free and delivered from your old life and the bondage of sin through your water baptism? Discuss.

 

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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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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH – INFINITY #4AM – WHY WE GIVE TO VISION

INFINITY – THE MESSAGE SO FAR stewardship_wheat

This quarter is Spring Breakthrough. It’s a time when we as pastors are challenging us all to press into God and seek a breakthrough in our lives and our walk with God.

This month the theme is Infinity. We can see that giving to stewardship is a way that our gifts keep on making a difference over and over again onto infinity. Giving to The youth and young adults ministry in this church will see young people saved. Some of them will go onto serve God in ministry. Their fruit will see other young people come to Christ and in turn they will lead others to Christ. It keeps on going on and on.

What is stewardship? The bible teaches stewardship. Through the New Testament, Jesus teaches that we are stewards or managers of wealth that truly belongs to God. Even when we give an offering to God, we are actually distributing what really belongs to Him and keeping what He directs we need for yourselves. A disciple is one who knows by revelation that his life and his possessions are not his own but God owns all things.

This months messages are about how to make giving a tool to give you a breakthrough.

The power to see miracles and enable the hand of God to move in your life is greatly increased as a person makes a faith step to give to God as they pray and seek Him. This financial gift is called a memorial offering. I encourage you to listen to the last two Sunday morning messages where we shared about Cornelius and then Hannah who mixed giving with prayer to see enormous breakthroughs in their lives. I know you want to see God do great things in your life and give you miracles. Don’t discount this powerful way of giving as a way to experience God’s answers.

Every year we invest our resources into the kingdom for ministry and for facilities. It is a privilege for God’s people to give. Unless a church has no vision it must create finance to bring forth the vision God has called it to.

We have no fear in asking God’s people to give towards Kingdom Purpose because there can be no higher cause. There is nothing greater than the kingdom of God. There is no more significant cause than the local church. It is the forefront of God’s work in the earth. While some short sighted Christians walk away from local church – Jesus says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18)

In teaching about giving, we not only develop the godly quality of generosity which leads to changed lives, but we empower people to develop faith to receive supernaturally from God allowing them to give and actually increase in their net worth.

Here are eight reasons why we give to vision in this church.

1.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY TRUST THE LEADERSHIP.

John 10:1-11 says, “The sheep listen to the shepherd’s voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice but they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run from him. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd.” Studies have shown that in the hierarchy of giving, people give first of all to people they believe in. Then they give to purposes. Finally they give to programs. That means that the most essential elements in considering your giving are relational, not functional.

Chris and I have been the senior pastors of this local church for 19 years, State directors of our church movement called inc (formerly COC) for 12 years. We have seen this church grow to 250 members, plant other churches and make a significant community impact. We have invited you, the congregation, to participate in financial management; and each year we have had our books audited externally, and hold an AGM where we publish our financial figures and invite questions and scrutiny. More than that, all the staff have at times willingly taken pay cuts to ensure the financial strength and viability of this local church into the future. I believe you can trust the leadership of this local church.

2.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY CATCH A VISION, NOT WHEN THEY SEE A NEED.

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Often the more successful a church is, the more people will feel comfortable about giving to it. Why? People give to success. They give to vision. They see the proven track record. They don’t give to needs.  People give when they catch a vision and they get the big picture. How can we together make a difference?

We must be very clear about what our vision is. At PlentyValleyChurch, rather than have a vision for a building, we have a vision for what the building can help us do. We emphasize the lives that will be changed as people give – the marriages that will be saved, the broken people that are going to be put back together, the people who will break addictions, the changed lives that will happen. That’s the vision! Reaching out – Changing lives.

Here is a list of the goals 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

3.  PEOPLE GIVE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GENEROSITY.

It feels good to give generously – it really does. A person who doesn’t understand that has never given generously. The happiest people in the world are the most giving people. There are three main kinds of motivation to give. Love, Fear and guilt. Love is the nature of God. He so loved the world that He gave. (John 3:16) Fear causes you to give to avoid a problem or a negative outcome, there’s no joy in that. Guilt is used to motivate people by men without vision; it’s the lowest level motivation. We recognise the joy of giving. It is a joy to give and make a difference in lives for God’s purpose even if that means sacrificial giving.

In this church we do not teach that God wants everybody to be rich. However in teaching on faith and helping people believe God that they can make a difference, they are blessed.  The fact is, there are more promises in the Bible related to giving than any other subject. You cannot out-give God. If you’re going to be Christlike you will learn to give.

4.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INSPIRED BY OTHERS.

We learn best by watching role-models. That’s why a testimony about giving is a thousand times more effective than a sermon on giving. Those who lead, motivate us. Giving is contagious. So I encourage you to write down and send me your testimonies, how you decided to give, and what you are giving.

Examples:

(A) Marita – Scholarship money received this week.

(B) Lach – gave 500 in year 12, and at age 22, he was able to purchase his second house.

(C) Dan Power – great giver, just received a promotion and pay rise in this spring breakthrough period.

(D) Each year, over the last 19 years, Chris and I have been the biggest or second biggest givers in the church to Stewardship and Kingdom Advance giving every year. We don’t advertise how much we give because that’s not our reward but you can ask John as we are accountable to him in our giving. God has blessed us and looked after us.

5.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INVOLVED.

Paul told the Philippians, “I thank God because of your partnership in the gospel.”  The fact is those who are most passionate about the goals will be those who sacrifice the most. The more a person or family has roots down, and the more they are actively engaged in paddling the boat forward, the more they are likely to give. It may seem strange but the biggest givers are not the highest earners but they are the ones with the biggest passion.

6.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN YOU ASK THEM TO GIVE.

James says, “You have not because you ask not.” The Bible says ask and seek and knock. God asks people to give. The fact is we’re doing you a favour when we ask you to give because you will grow in faith, you will grow in love, you will grow in sacrifice, you will grow in commitment, and you will grow in character as you learn to give. You will be blessed in return. I have learned to ask everybody, even those who have nothing, because I have seen over and over that when anyone makes a step of faith to give, it’s the key to their financial freedom.

7.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN WE MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GIVE.

2 Corinthians 8 says, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” That means we will make it possible for you to give in as many different ways as possible. Such as cash donations, pledges, regular credit card giving, direct debits, paypal etc.

We will help you understand you can either give by reason or by revelation. Giving by reason means this – I look at what I have, I figure out what’s reasonable and I commit that amount. It doesn’t take any faith to give by reason. I just figure out what can I afford to give. Giving by revelation means I determine my gift by praying “Lord, what do You want to give through me?” This requires faith. When you give by revelation, you’re committing an act of worship and saying, “How much am I willing to trust God?”

8.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE APPRECIATED.

The whole book of Philippians is just a thank you letter from Paul for their offering, for their financial support. Each year as people give, we do our best to say thanks, here at church, with letters, with dinners and other ways. We truly appreciate your love, your giving and your sacrifice.

HOW OUR GIVING WILL TAKE PLACE

Next Saturday night we will be holding the Infinity Dinner. You are invited. It is a fund raising dinner. All this month we have been sharing the vision and inspiring our members to give towards the vision. On the dinner night we will show you the vision with video presentations. We have Simone Anderson singing, and we have Pastor Geoff Woodward speaking. On that night we will give you a giving card and ask you to donate or pledge over the next 12 months a figure that you believe God is saying to you that you can give. On Sunday those who were not able to make it to the dinner will have an opportunity to give also. This is not just a free dinner. Please don’t invite people to come just because it is an awesome night with free food, please make it clear that we are asking them to give big towards a compelling vision.

If you have committed to give last year, and for what ever reason, you were not able to complete your promise; please consider your promise forgiven. Seek God for a new goal and begin again to make a fresh impact. Only those people who have a ticket can attend this dinner. If you just roll up on the night we will not have catered for you.

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

(Parts of this message were inspired by Pastor Rick Warren at pastors.com)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Discuss what you believe this local church could conceivably achieve in the next 5 years.

2. What level of finances would it take to accomplish that vision?

3. Where will that finance actually come from?

4. What i God’s purpose in our giving?

5. Can God actually bless you in your giving so that at the end of the giving period you have more even though you have given?

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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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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH – INFINITY #2AM – 13 OCT 13Infinity 1

 GIVING OPENS DOORS

 I am going to share with you today one of the most amazing stories of world changing events in the entirety of human history. This is a change that came about because of one man’s generosity. We read about this story in Acts 10:1-4.

Act 10:1  At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort,

Act 10:2  a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

Act 10:3  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”

Act 10:4  And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. (ESV)

 Here’s the story.

The gospel has only ever been preached to the Jewish people until this time. However Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations. It sounds simple to us, but to the Jewish mind this was unpalatable. Gentiles were to be avoided. As Peter says in this story; Jews are not supposed to even eat with Gentiles! This new directive from God required a new mindset, a whole change in the way they saw the world! So God had to get the ball rolling. God looked for a Gentile who was open and desiring God – He found Cornelius.

 Cornelius’ CV reads like this:

A military leader, A devout man – Godly. He feared God, he gave generously to the poor. He prayed constantly.

Now all these good things were commendable, and certainly attracted God’s attention, but, Cornelius was not saved and could not be saved until he had believed the gospel; and for that to happen, he needed to hear a preacher of the gospel, so God sent Peter.

 It’s exactly the same today. It doesn’t matter how good a person may be, how devout, how good and how prayerful they are; a person can only be saved when they believe the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ.

 Step 1 – God sends an angel to Cornelius.

The angel says to Cornelius, “Go find a man called Simon Peter. The angel explains why God has chosen to speak to Cornelius through this angel.

Act 10:4  And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

Without realising it Cornelius has made a way to constantly remind God of his needs. This word “memorial” means a fixture in the mind, to bear in mind, to recollect, to be mindful of. Would you like to have God mindful of your needs?

 You see Cornelius’s gifts and offerings caused God to be constantly reminded of Cornelius’s prayers. Prayer mixed with giving strengthens and prolongs the effect of prayer. Our prayers and offerings when mixed together create a greater impact than just prayers or giving on their own. Think of the example of cement and water mixed. Separately they have little strength, but place them together and they have enormous strength.

 Step 2 – God sends a vision to Peter. Three times God shows Peter a vision of all kinds of different animals and asks Peter to rise, kill and eat. Because some of these animals were “unclean” to a Jewish person, Peter at first refused to obey God. It was hard for Peter because he honoured God’s word but now God was trying to shake up Peter’s mindset. These animals remained unclean to Jews, but Gentiles were not to be viewed as unclean.

Step 3 – The Holy Spirit speaks to Peter. The Holy Spirit says three men are seeking you, go with them. Peter ends up with Cornelius and all his relatives and friends. He preaches the gospel to them and they all receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues showing Peter that God has certainly accepted their faith and saved them and filled them just He did with the disciples on the day of Pentecost.

 This is the first time in history that God’s plan of salvation has been offered to the Gentiles. This opens the door for the gospel to go to all nations. God had to break some mindsets to move His master plan forward and He did it through the generosity of a man who desired God and prayed. The impact is infinite! Now today Gentiles from all over the world are hearing the gospel and receiving Christ until billions of people will know the salvation given through Jesus Christ.

 What sort of mindsets need to be broken off our lives to release God’s master plan in this city?

 Will generosity on our part create a remembrance before God so that He hears our prayers and moves mightily to continually impact the generations to come?

 Giving opens so many doors in your future and the future of others.

 Your giving this month through Kingdom Advance offering mixed with prayer will create a memorial before God, keeping Him in remembrance of your need.

 This quarter we are encouraging everyone to seek God for a Spring Breakthrough.

September, October and November are our months to break out of every limiting mindset and habit. This is our time to call on God and believe for answers to prayer, miracles, breakthrough and personal liberation in our walk with God.

 What have you done so far to enter into a change in your world? Have you been praying differently? Have you been fasting? Have you been reading His word and seeking for answers? Have you challenged God to change you? Have you asked for His mercy to set you free, renew your first love and come into something fresh in God?

 If none of those things interest you, today will you give your life to Jesus? As Tim preached last Sunday morning our motivation for Spring Breakthrough is because we need more of Jesus!  

Let me give you a huge key to personal breakthrough. Choose to give to God an offering that is an evidence of your commitment to change. At Kingdom Advance Dinner on November 2nd make a gift or a pledge that will keep on making a difference to infinity.

As we do every year, all pledges from last year not completed by 31 October are forgiven. Start afresh and plan to give 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

 Now is the time to pray and seek God for His leading. Plan to attend the Infinity Dinner on Saturday night 2nd November with Guest speaker Geoff Woodward from MetroChurch in Perth.

Here are the table captains from whom you can get tickets. Tickets are free and anyone can be invited, however it is for the purposes of fundraising not just to have a free dinner.

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

 Please see one of these people for a ticket today and plan to attend the dinner on Saturday night 2nd November. This will be your breakthrough night!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Try to imagine how hard it was for the Jewish preachers to consider going to the Gentiles with a word of mercy and forgiveness – discuss.

2. What kind of mindsets might we have that are actually stopping the work of God through our lives?

3. Discuss how generosity might change our hearts and open us up for more of an encounter with God.

4. Discuss the idea of a memorial Offering that cause God to remember our prayer requests.

5. How much do you think that Cornelius realised how significant his conversion was for the rest of the Gentile world? Similarly when we give we may not realise the impact our giving with have long term.

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I am going to swim upstream all my life!

Jesus said,

Mat 7:14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. [Deut. 30:19; Jer. 21:8.] (AMP)

So it looks like the way to life has some pressure, some obstacles, some challenges.

Many Christians don’t want to live a life of pressure. They are longing for an easy life a life without the slog.

But that is the wrong way to look at it.  The salmon loves the swim upstream to the spawning grounds. It’s hazardous and strenuous but only the salmon that swim upstream get to reproduce.

You can look at life as a constant struggle or you can decide that you love the challenge – it’s a new mindset. Like the athlete who trains every day for fitness and to become better at their sport, we enjoy staying on top of their game. There’s invigorating life and strength that comes from doing the journey well. We press into God and obtain His presence and inner strength (Ephes 3:16 AMP) We delight in seeing lives changed and know that we have been part of the amazing plan God has for their lives. We see the future of God’s Kingdom coming into it’s fullness and the earth being filled with His glory.

The Flourishing Christian life is one that swims upstream of course. We are constantly opposed by spiritual forces and persecution. In Australia persecution comes as a  constant flow of ridicule for anyone who believes in the bible and Godly values. It’s portrayed as intolerant, negative, discriminatory, and outdated. But God’s word and His kingdom are life to us.

2Co 2:15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:
2Co 2:16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?](AMP)

If you want to swim upstream then every day you choose to live God’s way in spite of temptations, opposition, spiritual oppression and personal attack…… AND LOVING IT!!!!

 

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