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YOUR PLACE IN THE NATION – 3 JULY 2016 AM banner_PRAY4AUS_web_1200x628_1605

Today we begin a series on prayer through July 2016. I would like to open by reading Winston Churchill’s speech from the Second World War. Winston Churchill’s speech ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’ is one of the defining speeches during the second world war. It uses the technique of repetition to very good effect.

Winston Churchill – 4 June 1940

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,

we shall fight on the seas and oceans,

we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,

we shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

The context was war. The threat is very real and very serious. This is how we as Christians here in Australia must perceive and understand the situation within our own nation. Think about the spiritual condition of the nation. We are at war with satan, with spiritual forces that want to remove the gospel and the power of God from the nation and reduce Christianity to a powerless religion. Is that what you want? If not then this is a rallying cry for all of us and for anyone who will hear.

The result of this speech of Winston Churchill was to unite the people of Great Britain to call them to action and to give them a belief that the victory as achievable.

There is no complaining in this time of focus, no focus on the small things that seem inconvenient. The focus is now on the main thing that really matters. They understood the threat, they knew their job, and they chose to never give up.

There is a spirit realm, and we live in it we are surrounded by it. It is always active and always talking to us. We must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Many Christian’s live their daily lives oblivious to the activity of the spirit realm around them. Powerless to recognise it, and powerless to shift it or change situations and circumstances affected by it. Instead God calls us to rule and reign with Him in it! We are people of authority! Do you wield that authority?

Ephes 6:12 AMP

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 AMP

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.

There is an enemy. A decline in the power and effectiveness of Christianity in Australia shows that the enemy has won some victories. The church needs a renewal, a boost to revive the life and power of the church. Godlessness abounds through the efforts of some to redefine marriage, promote the extremely ungodly Safe Schools Program and understanding that in Victoria we have the worst Abortion laws in the western world.

Your job or role is to influence the spirit realm not to let it influence you. HOW?

We must pray! Never feel that your prayers are powerless or worthless. You can move mountains when you pray. What convinces you? Satan’s message that prayer is boring, irrelevant and powerless OR God’s prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life saying, “All men aught always to pray and not give up!”  God calls us to pray.

2 Chron 7:14 AMP

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

ONE Thing I want you to know – YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS

Through Worship – Remember the story of Jehoshaphat. Through declaration – Say to this mountain – Mark 11:23 AMP

Think about your family today, is it where it should be?  If not do not despair, it can change. It’s time to pray, and to pray with a real belief that you can make a difference and things will change. This month we will be seeking to inspire you the ray and to discover the power that you have in prayer.

Think about your church. It’s time to pray for revival. To pray for souls, miracles and money. To have a passion for the church as a whole and your church here at Plenty Valley. What we long to see is many people coming to Christ. Pray for the people you know and are close to. Pray for this local area.

Think about your nation. Pray for the rise of the church. That Christianity will be leading and influencing in this land. That we will experience righteousness in the land.

ONE thing that I believe we can do as a result of this message is – PRAY – In your world – Make time – For example think how you would make time if you had a kid sick in Hospital. Pray with others   –  Get together in UC Groups, at Church Mon-Fri 6-7am, at Church – Sunday 31st 12.30 – 1 hour.

Listen to the words of Jesus today, “Will you not watch (pray) with me one hour?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Describe your prayer practice in an average week.
  2. Why do we feel inadequate in prayer sometimes?
  3. What can we do to overcome the reluctance to pray?
  4. Work out a positive plan to pray in the UC group each time you meet.
  5. What goal can you set to pray in your own personal time between now and next time you meet at UC group?

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TWO WORDS TO TAKE HOME. Matt & Jacqui with Craig

I do a lot of weddings. As I stand at the top of the aisle, looking at the bride and groom, I see that real sparkle in each eye, I see the smile on her face as she thinks about the protection this man will give her over the next few decades. She dreams of growing old together, she thinks about the children they will have, she remembers the feel of his strong arms wrapped around her to comfort her. He is gobsmacked with her beauty. She reminds him of some movie star. He thinks about the love making tonight and right through the honeymoon. He sees something magical in that sparkle in her eye. He knows she can be a handful at times but he loves the challenge of working through the issues and coming out with answers.

Fast forward any amount of time you like, six months, two years, ten years. Now she feels unprotected from his hurtful words, she’s not sure she wants to grow old with him, the kids just drain all her energy, she wonders if he has any arms. At this time he still thinks she’s gorgeous but seems like she’s off limits a lot! That sparkle has turned into “the look”, he feels like when they talk they never seem to resolve anything and right now the bills, the mortgage and the conflict at work feel like they are crushing him.

What happened?

Unmet expectations! Is this your marriage? Don’t despair. I can help you. This picture can turn around. Things will be better. I just want you to remember two words from today’s message – Cherish and Respect. Can you write those down somewhere?

I have counselled a lot of marriages, I have been to a ton of marriage seminars. I have taught on marriage and most importantly I have been married for 37 years! The couples who make it long term in marriage have learned how to work at it and work through it. There are two words that when applied will really help you build your marriage stronger. Are you ready?

CHERISH – THE WORD FOR THE GUYS.

OK guys don’t tune out right now. This is the moment to tune in big time! Just think right now… I’m going to tell you who will win the grand final this year, how to make a million dollars in one month and how to look buff while eating anything you want…. Are you listening?

Imagine you are the father of a little girl, she’s about say 5 years old and she is about to be attacked by a stranger. Your precious little princess is in danger, she is so innocent, so vulnerable, so unprotected, so what do you do? You spring into warrior mode! You’re going to protect her at all costs! You’re going to save, protect, rescue, comfort, hold secure, and kiss away the tears until that little girl feels safe once more.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT!!

That’s how to treat your wife every day. The number one need our wives have is security. Listen, they may come across tough, they may have a few choice things to say about those other tuckshop mothers. They may be able to bite the head off a klutz that cuts them off in traffic, BUT, to you she is your little ewe lamb! She wants to held, to be understood, to be embraced, to be comforted, to be protected every day. Ask your wife to give you a photo of her as a little girl. Keep it in your wallet.  I guarantee she will find one for you in ten minutes flat when you get home. Girls if you ask your hubby to find a photo of you for his wallet it may take about 15 years!!

Listen to this story about the ewe lamb.

2 Sam 12:1-7 (ESV)

12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Guys, if you can get this, it will really help your marriage. Underneath the surface of every great woman who can hold her own in any argument, rage at unrighteousness, terrify the kids, and build a global corporation there is a little girl who will only be vulnerable to you and only if you become that warrior protector.

IT’S CALLED CHERISH.

Ephes 5:25-30 ESV

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

How to Cherish.

See her as that little girl that needs your protection. Hold her. Look into her eyes and be amazed, tell her that you love her at least once every day. Bring home flowers to surprise her. Write a note and hide it in the kitchen somewhere expressing you devotion. Plan a honeymoon weekend once a year. Ring up from work with no other agenda than to say, “I was thinking about you.” Listen when she talks, look into her eyes when she’s talking to you. Write a list of ten things you love about her, leave it lying around the house. When you’re in bed at night hold her tight just for the embrace of intimacy, not every hug will end in sex. Intimacy is more about adoring and cherishing. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty! It’s a generalisation but women endure sex to obtain intimacy, men endure intimacy to obtain sex.

NOW IT’S THE GIRL’S TURN.

Respect your man. You will never be able to fathom the fact that your man at times feels truly inadequate. The toughest of us, and we will never show it, even to our wives, but we often feel like a failure. We often feel like we should have done better. We often feel that we have let ourselves down and didn’t become what we should have become. Unless we are one of the very few sporting heroes or multimillionaire overachievers we won’t be entirely satisfied with life. We will often carry deep regrets of how we could have made better decisions. It feels like not very many people really look up to us and really respect us. So when we come home, it’s supposed to be a safe place, but if we are disrespected there, it’s crushing.  But we will never show it even to those closest to us. We will either tune out to the pain by watching the footy, or we will get mad and go ape about little things. Some guys drink, some guys do porn, some become workaholics, and some just give up and go missing.

Watch this great video – https://youtu.be/J7FNn_FuT6Q

Maybe you feel like telling us to grow up, get some guts; but it doesn’t help, we’ve been trying that for years. Just like you, very deep down inside of us is that little boy who has very big dreams and just needs someone to believe in them. Who will do it if you don’t? With all our faults and failings, we still really want to succeed and sometimes we just don’t know how. The responsibility is on us to lead and provide and be the strong one, and if that isn’t happening we can find it very tough, but we will never tell you!

How to respect your man.

Just simply say, “I believe in you honey” Pray for your man. Tell someone else how amazing he is for something he did, not just because he has great buns or guns. Tell your kids they have the best dad ever. When there’s trouble at work, financial pressure, or any kind of struggle for him, let him know you have confidence in him to overcome. You know he can do it! We all need a little help from time to time but if we live with criticism we will become broken down or we will leave. You didn’t marry Mr.  perfect, you married “Mr. right for you.” Every time you build him up he becomes the better man you always wanted. Listen to what Jesus says to you.

Colossians 3:18(AMP)

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord.

Ephes 5:33b AMP

and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].

Press the reset button.

Learn to press the reset button

Building great relationships is a task for courageous people. Great relationships are built on love. Love is often accompanied by wonderful feelings of joy, life, and energy. But love is not always practiced in a time of positive feelings.

Love is kind and patient. Sometimes I don’t feel kind and patient! Sometimes I feel like telling someone off or I feel like walking away because I’m sick of waiting. When I have chosen love, I remember what love is, and I choose to practice love at a time when my feelings are not positive.  If I don’t feel loving – it’s not that I don’t love, it’s that my feelings are telling me one thing and my values are telling me something different.

Love is the value and the commitment we have to do the highest good for this person. Whether I feel like it or not I choose kindness, patience and trust. Love is choosing to act the best way, no matter how I feel in my emotions.

Of course there are times when we fail and let one another down. A courageous person says sorry. A courageous partner says I forgive, and we press the reset button. Start over with a fresh motivation to continue in love.

Today I pray you both choose love and be courageous in saying sorry and forgiving one another. I believe then you will build a strong marriage.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How much do you think your childhood and upbringing have an effect on the way you do relationships?
  2. Have you ever thought deeply about what your partner may have lived through on the journey to adulthood?
  3. How can two broken people do life together?
  4. Husbands, when was the last time you felt really loved and admired by your wife? Share with her.
  5. Wives when was the time you most felt cherished and adored by your husband? Share with him.

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Truth.truth

Have you ever told a lie and got away with it? How did you feel?

Truth is a very important subject.

To study truth involves understanding philosophy and theories of truth that are very complex and too deep for a church sermon.

But how do you know you have the truth?

Basic truth often referred to as the correspondence theory of truth is that something is true if it can be proven by already known truth.

For example, Is it true that I am the oldest person in the room? To know whether that is true you would need to know the ages of every person in the room at a given time. It may be true today but what about tomorrow?

Another example is. Is it true that there is a kind of star called a black hole?

There are many theories and calculations that lead to that proposition but it can’t be objectively seen or proven.

What about Jesus is God?

Whether this statement is true or false is of great importance.

How can you know if such things are true or not?

  1. The evidence
  2. The Possibility of deception
  3. The knowledge through revelation.

The Evidence.

To some people no amount of evidence will be sufficient to prove to them that Jesus is God. But to many the scientific, literary and logical evidence is welcome and helpful. Two examples of writers who cover this topic well are Lee StrobelThe Case for Faith and William Lane Craig Is Jesus the Son of God?

The same evidence has led tens of thousands of scientists to believe in the biblical account of creation and the same evidence had led thousands of other scientists to have an atheistic view of the world.

Evidence that Jesus is God can be found here and here.

The possibility of deception.

Any person can be deceived. How can you know that you are thinking in a clear and coherent manner? How can you know that you are seeing and hearing evidence in the same way another person receives it?

Prov 16:2 AMP

All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions], But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].

 

Mark 4:24-25

Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides.

25 For whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a yearning for truth], even what he has will be taken away from him.”

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 The coming of the [Antichrist, the lawless] one is through the activity of Satan, [attended] with great power [all kinds of counterfeit miracles] and [deceptive] signs and false wonders [all of them lies], 10 and by unlimited seduction to evil and with all the deception of wickedness for those who are perishing, because they did not welcome the love of the truth [of the gospel] so as to be saved [they were spiritually blind, and rejected the truth that would have saved them]. 11 Because of this God will send upon them a misleading influence, [an activity of error and deception] so they will believe the lie,

Knowledge through revelation

The understanding that things can be known in a spiritual sense of knowing as separate from an intellectual sense is the basis of faith. The scripture in Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]., shows the existence of evidence not conveyed through the five senses. In examining (St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 1) he asks, “Without grace can any man know truth?” He answers by saying, “Yes, there is some truth which comes by natural light and there is some truth which comes as act of sanctifying grace.” I would say that Faith is not primarily intellectual but is spiritual and is accessed through the intellect.

If you believe that Jesus is God then that becomes true for you when you receive that knowledge by faith. You may be convinced intellectually but then later you could be dissuaded by an higher intellectual argument or deception.

You need to hear the evidence from the Spirit of God.

Jesus said John 8:32 AMP – And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].”

John 14:6 AMP Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How would you define truth?
  2. How important is it to you that your faith rests on provable facts?
  3. Do you have a “knowledge of God” in your heart?
  4. How would you go about finding evidence of truth about the bible?
  5. How would you find revelation knowledge from God?

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A Mother’s Day Message for Men.

Building Great families – May 2016great families

Violence has always been with us. Has there been more or less violence now than in the past? It’s impossible to tell, however from the earliest history we know that war took millions of lives and the same thing is taking place all over the world today. Violence is ugly, it’s repugnant, but we can’t get away from it as part of the nature of man. Here’s what God says about man in the days leading up to the flood of Noah. Gen 6:5-6 AMP  The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. 6 The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. Things haven’t changed much since then. We say we live a civilised society, yet we see even in this land of peace and safety, acts of terrorism, gang violence and family violence such that one woman is killed on average every week through current or former partner violence.

Some would say that God is pretty violent Himself because throughout the Old Testament, God instructs Israel to wipe out nations, killing millions of people including women and children. These commands were always to execute judgement. God is a righteous and just God and His sixth commandment is Ex 20:13 AMP  “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).”

However God is a capital punishment advocate who deals out the death penalty for a number of crimes including cursing your parents. In the events of the Old Testament God uses Israel to execute His justice upon the heathen nations of Canaan who were extremely violent themselves. Their own practice of sacrificing their children in the fire to their gods was specifically mentioned by God as one reason for this judgement. Deut 12:29-31 ESV “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” The Old Testament shows the judgement of God against sin to be unavoidable. However we see this, the clear message of the Old Testament is that God is a holy God who judges all manner of sin and His justice is without compromise. Even Israel received this judgement when they too also strayed into idolatry and evil practices.

War has continued throughout the centuries with World War I being the “war to end all wars” yet sadly it was not so. World War II and subsequent wars like the Vietnam War and the war of Desert Storm in Iraq have continued unabated. We have seen genocide committed over and over again in examples like Pol Pot’s regime where millions died in Cambodia; such as the genocide in Rwanda and the Congo where still today life is cheap. In a short digression often non-Christian critic will say that religious wars have killed more people than any other wars. But this is a complete myth.

In our Australian culture of egalitarianism and giving everyone a fair go, still we have a great deal of violence. The statistics for family violence have risen steadily for many years. This is due to increased reporting as well as increase in prevalence. Christian or not Christian, the community view has begun to change in the way that we see violence as being unacceptable especially in the home. Yet as much as we dislike it and protest about it, we see it continues relentlessly. Violence is perpetrated mostly by men. Men from every ethnic background and every socioeconomic background. So men need to be part of the answer.

There’s a job to do for all of us men here today. – Ensure the next generation does not make violence their choice in resolving conflict. We have a responsibility to raise our families without violence and to work for an end to violence in our community.

The culture that men carry either implicit or explicit is that women are somehow less than men. This ingrained cultural norm stems not just from the woman being the weaker sex physically, but from the traditional roles men play in terms of being driven by achievement and women by nurture.

The underlying foundation of violence against women is gender inequity.

Gender equity is a very important concept and is supported by the bible view that men and women are of equal value but have different roles. The White Ribbon Organisation in Australia is an organisation of men who believe that violence against women is wrong and they want to do something about it. I am a White Ribbon Ambassador which means that I am authorised to speak on behalf of White Ribbon and for the cause of ending violence against women. This local church has held four annual White Ribbon Dinners over the last four years and sought to bring awareness and resources to the community around us to work on the prevention aspect of this important initiative.  Also I serve on a non-church committee to organise the empowering of White Ribbon Ambassadors across the State. IMG_4331

Violence in this community.

This Whittlesea Local Government region each year has the worst or second worst statistics for family violence in the State of Victoria. My role as Police Chaplain has given me a deeper understanding of this issue as I seek to care for the Police members in this local area. It may surprise you to know that around 50% of our local police effort goes into addressing family violence. We want to be part of the answer and we want to impact our own local community so that over time we see a reduction in this type of crime. If we are going to make a difference, here’s how you and I can make a difference.

  1. Review your past. How has violence characterised your behaviour? Did you grow up in a violent home? Were you a victim of violence? For some men who were victims of violence they learn from an early age that the way to deal with conflict is to hit out physically. This is how you get your own way. Violence is not only physical – it is verbal, sexual, economic, emotional, and more. Recognise what your past has taught you in terms of your values. Do you use any form of violence to get your own way? Do you hit, yell, withhold finances, denigrate, or in any way hurt your partner or children or anyone else? How does one change? Face yourself and your past. Ask forgiveness. Seek counsel and help from supportive people.
  2. Submit your life to Christ. It’s hard to change your habits especially if they are long standing from childhood. Yet in Christ we have a life changing power of handing our life over to God. The power of Christianity is not just forgiveness but power over sin because God gives a repentant sinner a new heart. Jesus was not violent, but He absorbed violence. Think about the cross, and how He endured violence against Himself. Jesus view of violence was simple: Matthew 26:52 (AMP) Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who habitually draw the sword will die by the sword. Change in an individual’s life is extremely difficult unless God gives you a new heart, so make it your determined purpose to surrender your life to Christ and become a new man.
  3. Review your values. Do you see women as less in any way? From an early age we say to a little girl, “How beautiful she is.” And to a little boy, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” By this we build into women the value judgement of appearance and to men the value judgement of achievement. As children grow we must be so careful about our language. Do we use statements like, “crying like a girl, or hitting like a girl.” to chastise a boy and reinforce the stereotype that girls are weak or inferior?
  4. Raise your kids without violence. Children must see mother and father loving each other and resolving conflict without violence, because they will learn from watching. It is not acceptable for any woman or child to feel fear from an angry man. Smacking is an important subject and is promoted in the scriptures. Smacking is an important tool for a wise parent to bring about a small amount of pain to a child to avoid a life time of far greater pain. Smacking is effective in very young children who are not able to reason yet. Smacking must never be done in anger and must be balanced with loving and accepting touch when a child is sorry or behaves well. Video games in particular are often violent and program a child’s mind to see violence as a strategy to gain power or pleasure. Be careful about what your children watch on games, television and movies.
  5. Champion gender equity. Men and women are of equal value. They have different roles, women are not all the same. Men are not all the same. Some women are properly suited to career and leadership, others for nurture and motherhood. No one gender stereotype is of greater value than another. Men who choose homemaking roles are less numerous but not less important or valuable. Think about how women are treated in your home, your family group. Get rid of sexist jokes, put downs based on gender.
  6. In your associations speak up for gender equity and respect for women. In your church, your workplace, your sporting club, are women treated with respect? In a committee meeting do women get an equal share of the time when asked to speak? Remember that even in 2016 in Australia women are paid 18% less than men for the same jobs. This is an example of gender inequity.

Conclusions

As godly men in this local community we can make a difference. It’s important that we become aware of the issue and review our inner core belief systems about how we think about women. You may not be violent but do you promote the unhealthy stereotypes of thinking and behaviour that are so prevalent in Australia? Let’s speak up for respect and equity. Lets’ take the pledge at White Ribbon.

I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.

Go to http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/myoath-popup

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What family environment did you grow up in? was there violence?
  2. How did this affect you?
  3. What values do you want your kids to hold regarding violence?
  4. How will you influence them?
  5. How can you influence your workplace for gender equity?

 

 

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Value 1 – Build honour into your family. (Sunday 1st May 2016 AM)great families

This month our theme is building great families. Your family is precious and valuable in this church. This month we will be ministering and praying for families so that each family is strengthened and blessed so that it lasts and provides a foundation for effective Christian lives and community building. Building a great atmosphere of love and joy and contentment in your family home is vital. Would you like me to share with you how to create that culture in your home?

This morning I want to draw your attention to a huge issue that is wrecking families and wrecking our Australian community. – No honour! The one thing I want you to know this morning is the power of honour.

There’s something wrong with how we do life here in Australia. No respect, no honour. In our schools, students give no respect or honour to teachers.  I would not like to be a teacher in the State system these days. Apart from the lack of respect, there is actually danger of physical violence for many teachers. Not just from students but from their parents also. Police are treated as the enemy. We see gang warfare growing in our streets of the kind we saw at Moomba. The culture of most Australians is to sling off at and vilify all politicians. The old fashioned values of respect and honour for those in authority are disappearing.

Honour is a value taught at home. If there is no honour in the home, then the family will be weakened. As husband and wife we must honour one another. If not children grow up disrespectful and prideful acting like brats right through into adulthood. We must teach our children to honour their mother and father. This value is pretty high up in God’s agenda as the fifth commandment and the first commandment with promise. Here’s a question for you, how well did you honour your parents? If your response is to tell me how bad they were, then you’ve missed the whole point of the commandment. Honour is about recognising the order of things that God has set in place. When we fail to honour we are standing against God.

I have watched my sons discipline their children. They are very strict about the way the children treat their mother. If a rude word is spoken, or if a request is disobeyed they take the youngster aside and talk straight to them and if there’s a repeat then a smack soon brings them back into line. Teaching children to honour their parents is something we must begin at an early age and if it’s not there by age 7, there will be a tough road ahead. Husbands, how you speak to your wife will show your children how to behave. There’s no room for disrespect. Wives, honour your husbands and speak well of them, show your kids how to honour with your words.

We are part of a Kingdom. Jesus our King is building His kingdom on earth, and we are living with Kingdom values. Jesus asked us to pray; your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.(Matt 6:10 AMP) One of the values operating in the Kingdom is Honour. So what is Honour? Honour means to value, to give weight, to esteem, to count as precious, to give worth and recognition to. The Kingdom runs on Honour. Without honour there is a big blockage in the flow of life and blessings in the kingdom. The one thing I want you to know this morning is the power of honour!

To contrast to that, dishonour means to be familiar, to take for granted, to count as being worth less, to ignore and to be rude. In our Ausssie culture sometimes dishonour is an art form. “Hey Morrie, you’re late for the BBQ, where have ya been ya dirty bludger?” This is not kingdom stuff.

God calls us to give honour where honour is due (Rom 13:7 AMP) So where is honour due?

Honour is due to the godly appointed people who have purpose in the kingdom. We give honour to those in authority, to one another, and God honours us when we walk in humility and love. Sometimes it becomes very common for all of us to have attitude toward one another. We snipe and backbite and complain about each other. The reason is fear stress and anxiety. We are not coping with pressure and we neglect the virtues we know are important. When we lose respect, and choose dishonour we reduce the power of God to bless.

Firstly see how Jesus honours the Father; Jesus answered, I am not possessed by a demon. On the contrary, I honour and reverence My Father and you dishonour (despise, vilify, and scorn) Me.(John 8:49)

The Father Honours the Son; For when He was invested with honour and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight, (2 Peter 1:17)

Holy Spirit Honours Jesus; He will honour and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:14)

Honour in the church and the home works up, down and sideways.

Honour your father and mother Ephesians 6:2 AMP Honour [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise—

Honour wife and husbandEphesians 5:33 AMP –  3 However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behaviour worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honouring him, and holding him dear].

We are to honour those over us in the Lord. Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honour [and of adequate [a]financial support], especially those who labour faithfully in preaching and teaching.(1Tim 5:17)

We honour one another; Show respect for all men [treat them honourably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honour the emperor.(1 Peter 2:17)

As leaders we honour those under us; I warn and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honour and splendour) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded):

Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonourably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;

Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).

And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the [a]conqueror’s crown of glory.(1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

Be careful not to give dishonour to one another and to leaders; because when we do we shut down God’s flow of favour and blessings.

And coming to His own country [Nazareth], He taught in their synagogue so that they were amazed with bewildered wonder, and said, Where did this [u]Man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?

55 Is not this the carpenter’s Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

56 And do not all His sisters live here among us? Where then did this Man get all this?

57 And they took offense at Him [they were repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority, and caused to stumble]. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.

58 And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith [v]in the divine mission of Jesus).(Matt 13:54-58)

Let’s take note here, no honour – no favour – no miracles.

Respect is earned but honour is given and is not about the person as an individual but is about who they represent.

Here’s the one thing I would love you to do following this message: Build a culture of honour in your home.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What kind of things do we sometimes say in the home to each other that are giving honour
  2. What kind of things do we sometimes say in the home to each other that are giving dishonour?
  3. How do you feel when someone honours you?
  4. How do you feel when someone dishonours you?
  5. How can you change the practice of honour in your home in a positive direction?

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jesus-on-the-cross

An encounter with Jesus will change your life.

Right now at this Easter time is the best time to encounter the Son of God.

Good Friday marks the day when Jesus died on the cross. He gave His life up willingly so that He could show His love for you. His death was planned for ages past by God the Father as judgement of sin. Jesus, who was completely innocent willingly gave up His life to accept the penalty of sins committed by you and I and all mankind.

Let’s look at three different people who encountered Jesus.

The cynical thief.

Luke 23:39 NLT

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

One of the thieves who was crucified beside Jesus encountered Jesus but was not changed. One can hardly imagine the agony of the cross and to think that anyone could bear to speak through their pain is amazing. This man has some knowledge of Jesus and the claim that He was the messiah. Obviously not a believer and yet being at the very point of death he decides that Jesus can offer him nothing and scoffs at His claim to be the messiah and save anyone even Himself.

The penitent thief

Luke 23:40-43 NLT

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

While on the cross Jesus prays for those who crucified Him, Forgive them Father.” Being in agony Jesus cried out for others. The criminals who were crucified one either side of Him were there by divine appointment. Both deserving of their death, yet the timing and the place of their death is a story set for you and I to read and see the two ways in which people respond to the death of Jesus. How do you respond to the death of Jesus Christ?

This man is impacted by an encounter with Jesus because he has heard about Jesus and he has heard the claims made about Him, that He was the Messiah and that He had healed people and performed miracles. He has seen no miracles and seen nothing supernatural but he believes in who Jesus is on the testimony of others.

The gospel is preached everywhere all over the world today. It is a testimony of who Jesus is and what He has done. If you choose to believe in the gospel then you will have an encounter with Jesus just as this criminal did. It was a life changing encounter and ushered him into heaven despite a life of crime.

The Roman Soldier

Matt 45:54 NLT

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

 47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

This man was impacted by an encounter with Jesus because of the supernatural nature of the episode. As this soldier, a leader of 100 Roman soldiers, watched the death of Jesus he saw darkness fall across the land from noon until 3pm, an earthquake took place and rocks slit apart all around them. All that they saw at the time led them to make the conclusion that “This man truly was the Son of God.”

There are plenty of miracles taking place around here. People are receiving healings, prayers are answered and lives changed as people reach out to God. If you want to see the supernatural evidence of Jesus Christ, just come along to your local church and see the hand of God touching lives.

Whether you believe in Jesus because of the the gospel story or whether you believe because you have seen the power of God at work, either way let your choice be to encounter Jesus this Easter.  This is a life changing encounter. You will never be the same and you will be grateful throughout all of eternity for the day you decided to believe in Jesus Christ.

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jesus on crossDEEPER THINGS – THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS

Sunday 20th March 2016 AM service.

Leading up to Easter the message of the cross is vital to every person both Christian and non-Christian alike. What is the cross all about? What is the message or the preaching of the cross telling me?

1 Corinthians 1:18 (AMP)

For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God.

All over the world in almost every place the symbol of the cross is universal in its recognition as the symbol of Christianity. Many people have a cross around their necks, others tattooed on their bodies, and still others have a form of it on their walls or carved into woodwork.

The cross is an instrument of death. It is a cruel and grotesque example of torturous, grizzly and bloody scene of death that the Romans used extensively, but was invented by the Persians around 500 BC. The torturous death by crucifixion was such a despised form of cruelty that usually only slaves were crucified and not Roman citizens unless they had committed serious crimes against the state such as high treason.

The scene of the crucifixion of Jesus was a problem for the early church because it showed a picture of the central figure of the faith being the subject of the most humiliating and degrading death. Cicero for example, described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears.”  How could someone honour and revere Jesus after such a humiliating death? How can a Jew or Gentile, who both have cultural reasons for rejecting Jesus, accept that He is one to be followed, worshipped and adored after that kind of grizzly end?

We see Paul’s response to this objection shows in the verse above as he declares that the preaching of the cross has a double meaning. For those who are perishing through lack of revelation, it is foolishness, but to those who have been enlightened through revelation of the necessity of the cross, it is a message of life. He found it such a compelling subject that he wrote, “for I made the decision to know nothing [that is, to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions while] among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified [and the meaning of His redemptive, substitutionary death and His resurrection]. I Cor 2:2 AMP

Even today the scene of the cross, so bloody and so cruel forces people to see Jesus as the victim of mindless cruelty; perhaps a case of a righteous man struggling against oppression. The Jesus that most people want to follow is the one that was kind to others, spoke of love and accepted the unacceptable. Yet the modern world equally has a difficulty with accepting the death of one so right and so good. Why was this necessary? Is it just another case of shooting the messenger? While the cross is a symbol of the Christian faith, little is understood of its true meaning as part of God’s plan in rescuing mankind and setting them free from the crushing effects of sin on the individual and on the society.

What is the cross to you?  Is it any more than the way Jesus died?

God our heavenly father planned for the crucifixion of Jesus long ago. The Old Testament reference in Deut 21:22 AMP refers to anyone that is hung upon a tree is cursed, is picked up by Paul in Galatians when he recalls that “Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs [crucified] on a tree (cross)Gal 3:13 AMP

From the beginning Jesus death was the plan of God. There had to be the shedding of blood, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. This is so because God says the life is in the blood, be it animal or man. Jesus could not have been strangled, or met with any death other than by the loss of blood.

Jesus death was a substitutionary death because He was the Lamb which takes away the sins of the world.  This title of Jesus was clear to any Jew and now to any student of the bible that the lamb was a substitute in the exodus story. Either the lamb died and its blood was placed over the door of the home or the angel of death came and killed the first born. Then right through the Old Testament a lamb was an animal of sacrifice whose blood was shed to atone for the sins of the bearer of the lamb.

And so Jesus died and shed His blood, but not just any death, He died in a way that’s described as the worst of the worst. Is was so bad that good roman citizens wouldn’t discuss it because it was so barbaric. It was for the torture and annihilation of slaves and only the very worst of criminals.  It was a humiliating death because the subject is stripped naked and the death is long and extremely painful. Jesus was humiliated – He was brought low as Isaiah says “despised and rejected by men.” And took upon Himself the form of a servant. Jesus who was the king, the creator of the universe was humbled so totally and so completely at the cross because there was no limits to His love, His gift His giving of Himself. This level of suffering and humiliation corresponds to the depth of depravity of mankind in rebellion against God.(Galli 2016) It shows just how bad things really are with us. Can we behold the cross and not say, “He did it for me”?

The cross is confronting. Can anyone of us dare say there’s nothing wrong with mankind? Can we dare say there’s only love and kindness in the world? Are we so proud and blinded to reality that we say like some prideful individuals, “There’s plenty of evil men in the world, but I am not one of them!”  Could any one of us open all our lives and our inner thoughts to the whole world for scrutiny and not be ashamed of some part of it? The bible is brief but kind when it says, “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”

When we behold the cross and see it for what it truly is. The sentence of death that we all deserve and by His great love, it is the death of Jesus as my substitute that means I can go free; fully pardoned because my sins have been punished and paid for in Jesus. If I believe in Jesus Christ and humble my heart in repentance, I can receive forgiveness and be saved from my sins.

When we see the cross, it moves us, and we long to sing as Isaac Watts wrote in 1707:

   When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

   Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

   See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

   Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

But the cross is so much more than atonement and forgiveness of sin as wonderful as that is. The cross is the power over sin. It is the victory God gave us to conquer sin. Not just a constant washing away of sins, but the doing away with the body of sin, the destruction of the inner nature of sin leaving us with a totally new nature. Becoming a new creation.

Let’s look carefully at Romans 6:6-13 AMP

6 We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. 7 For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin.

 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live [together] with Him, 9 because we know [the self-evident truth] that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin [ending its power and paying the sinner’s debt] once and for all; and the life that He lives, He lives to [glorify] God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. 11 Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin [and your relationship to it broken], but alive to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions.

What does the cross mean to you? It means the forgiveness of sin and pardon from the just penalty due to me. It is also the instrument of the death of my old life, by which I leave behind my sinful ways and desires and so begin a new life. The cross gives me power over sin and it is the doorway to a new kind of life now living as a new creation becoming more like Jesus every day.

We pray that God gives us a revelation of the cross and all that it means. We pray that we understand our total lostness without Christ. We pray that we understand how broken and how far from God each and every person is without Christ. We pray that we all come to understand that the gift of love God gave us in sending His own Son to the cross is mind-blowing and so significant and shows us His amazing love. We pray that we all fully enter into that revelation that the old life we had before we met Jesus was rubbish and God crucified it in Jesus on the same cross so that we might die to sin and not live any longer in it.

In this week leading up to Easter, Read Romans 6, pray on it and ask for revelation; and tell others how great and how vast is the love God has for them and how they can have a new life in Jesus.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Why do you think the preaching of the cross is foolishness to people who are not believers?
  2. what are two important points you got from this message?
  3. Is you old life dead now or does it still try and rise from the dead to control you?
  4. How do we “reckon ourselves dead” as Romans 6:11 says?
  5. How would you pray about the cross when applying this truth of overcoming sin through the cross?

GALLI, M 2016, ‘WHY THE CROSS’, Christianity Today, 60, 2, pp. 34-39, Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 March 2016.

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