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Posts Tagged ‘plenty valley church’

SUNDAY MESSAGE 21ST JUNE 2105 AM

Faith speaks WEBImagine the beginning of time when God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:1 NLT In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

6 Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” 7 And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8 God called the space “sky.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.

 24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.”

As you can see when God speaks things happen!

God creates things simply by speaking, He operates in faith voicing His will and purpose and His words convey the power necessary to create what He speaks. In Hebrews this verse describes who Jesus is.

Heb 1:3 AMP He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,

Now consider that God has created man to be like Himself, made a little lower than the angels (Ps 8:5) yet truly a little lower than God. Man made a spirit being after the image and likeness of God and called to Subdue, replenish the earth and fill it. (Gen 1:28) Are we not to create also by our words? Has God not spoken to us about using our words to create and change things?

Consider Jesus commands to His disciples. Mark 11:23 AMP Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

The power of your words is through a believing heart. Rom 10:9-10 ESV  9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

And again Jesus says, for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 amp)

I think perhaps we have failed to realise the power in our words as born again believers. The Church is the assembly of those Born again, born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God, born from above, who are called now to subdue fill the earth and conquer it. Jesus gave us the example when He spoke to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand.” The command to do the impossible, followed by a miracle. Later Peter James and John enter into the same experience saying to the cripple at the gate Beautiful in Acts 3, “Rise up and walk!” And he did!

Just simply saying these words conveyed the power necessary to create a miracle. However, not words only but a believing heart expressed through those words.

In fact, now that we are born again and living in right relationship with God, He expects of us to live at a higher level of revelation and power. Jesus had high expectations of His disciples as He instructs them, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 amp)

As believers we pray now not so much prayers of supplication, “God will you do this and that.” But prayers of declaration, “Be healed, in Jesus Name.” If we are to do the works of Jesus and greater then we will need to do those works as He did them by speaking the miracle, by declaring the outcome we want to see because we have faith in our heart and we speak words of creative power from our mouth.

One of my earliest examples of using this kind of praying was as a new Christian I drove past an old picture theatre every day on my way to Uni and this theatre showed pornographic movies. As a new Christian I was incensed that this filth was pouring into the community so I cursed the picture theatre and a few days later it burned to the ground in the middle of the night with no loss of life. I was shocked by the power of my words and a bit scared about the responsibility of how we should use this power.

Mostly we use this power to bring about healing, life and answers. There are thousands of cases of where we have prayed and spoken words of faith to command sickness to leave, pain to go, tumours to disappear and have seen many many healing miracles. We declare answers for peoples’ lives as they experience trouble and difficulties. When a couple faces marriage stress we pray life and peace over that marriage, when a person goes though financial hardship we declare the blessing of God over them. Answers come through the application of God’s word through a faith filled heart.

If you want to know whether you have a faith filled heart, just listen to what comes out of your mouth. If the words coming out of your mouth are filled with despair and negativity, then fear and doubt are filling your heart, but if the words coming out of your mouth are speaking the answer and speaking the miracle outcome you seek then you know your faith is at work. Don’t wait for some feeling of faith to roll up and bite you! You may feel overwhelmed at the start when things go wrong, but faith doesn’t look at feelings and circumstances, faith looks at what God’s word says. We must emulate God in calling those things that are not as though they already are. (Rom 4:17)

You can pray reactive prayers that address problems that arise, but are we praying prayers of declaration that are aimed at creating a better future for us and for God’s purpose. Add to you prayer life, after praying for the miracles to overcome present problems, the declaration of the better future that you want to see.

Right now in this church we need to see an increase in financial flow. So this is what I pray: The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favour) to you; The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquillity of heart and life continually). And they shall put My name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:24-27 AMP)

Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4:10 AMP)

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. (Psalm 1:3 AMP)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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FAITH SPEAKS  #1AMFaith speaks WEB   Following the death of a member of our community; let me share with you all about how to grieve and how to comfort others who are grieving. Grief is a normal human process we will all go through at some point in our lives. When we are grieving we may feel a wide range of emotions from sadness to anger, to resentment to depression to acceptance.  You can’t hurry the grieving process, it takes time, but you can comfort one another and pray for one another. Jesus is the one who heals the broken-hearted. As Christians we have a huge advantage over non-Christians because we have hope. Our faith is enables us to see that the loved one is now comforted and at peace.   For our loved one who dies in the Lord we know that there is no more sickness and pain is gone and they are rejoicing in the presence of God with total joy and life and peace. Not only that, but we know we will see them again when we pass from this life.  We grieve because of loss but there is hope which gives us very real comfort. Grief is helped by being together and supporting one another. Grief is made harder by isolation. The human touch is vital. How do talk to someone who is grieving?  If someone has lost a loved one you may feel like you don’t know what to say. You may be afraid to say something that makes the person feel worse or reminds them of the loss and so you may be tempted to not approach or not say anything. Here’s what God says to do: Rom 12:15 AMP  Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. When you see someone in grief, at your earliest opportunity, go to them and be present. Minister the appropriate touch, which may be a hug, a kiss on the cheek, clasping hands, a touch of your hand on their shoulder. For close friends just holding a person can minister tremendous comfort. The words we can share are, “I love you. I care about you. I’m here for you. I’m sad because you are sad.” Probably avoid the obvious clichés like, “At least they are in heaven now. You’ll get over it. There’s better days ahead.” It helps to say sweet memories of the person who has passed, remembering beautiful times and funny times you had with them. For those who are not close friends we can add comfort by just saying, “I’m very sad for your loss, I will be thinking about you and praying for you.” Can we spend some time just now greeting one another and praying for each other. Some will want to give a hug and comfort to someone who is grieving. Others may be content to just chat to each other. This morning we begin our theme of Faith Speaks. Faith has got something to say. It’s not timid, it’s not shy, its’ not weak, it’s strong, and it’s passionate and it’s alive. The scripture teaches that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Faith is convinced! Faith knows that the word of God is true! Faith doesn’t wait for conditions to improve to say what it wants to say. Faith lives in the future of answered prayer. Oh how we wish that life had no pain. But without pain there is no cry for help and there would be no finding of the answer. Into every life comes tragedy and heartache. Faith has something to say about that too. Psalm 61:2 AMP From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [yes, a rock that is too high for me]. Faith isn’t always saying, today is a great day, today I am a winner. Some days are dark days, but faith has something mighty to say of those day days. Faith says, “my God is with me, He is able when it all gets too much for me.” This week at HUB the leaders have been praying through Psalm 18. Let me encourage you to pray through this psalm. In this Psalm David who is yet to become King over Israel, is running from King Saul and from the Philistine enemies. He has been pursued and nearly dies his friends are few and treacherous! But he has one great friend. Listen to David’s prayer. Psalm 18 AMP 2 The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. 3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. 4 The cords or bands of death surrounded me, and the streams of ungodliness and the torrents of ruin terrified me. 5 The cords of Sheol (the place of the dead) surrounded me; the snares of death confronted and came upon me. 6 In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, into His [very] ears. Notice how he describes his feelings when everything is going wrong. “the torrents of ruin terrified me” When tragedy strikes we know the pain and the storm of emotions that flood over us. It can all seem too much. When we have faith, what comes out of our mouth is creating answers and leading us to help. Out of our humanity we will say, “It’s all too much, Why God? It’s not fair. I want to die.” We have all been there. If you haven’t just wait a while! But when we have faith we say like David, “I feel really bad BUT God is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge. We will go through it sometimes, but don’t go through it alone. God loves you and He wants to be there for you. He is the great healer. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. God is never the source of our pain, He is always the answer, the rescuer. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What kind of circumstances are a challenge to your faith? 2. How can the body of believers around you be a help to you at a time like that? 3. Is it normal to have doubts at times? 4. What do you think Paul meant when he said Fight the good fight of faith? 1 Tim 6:12 5. Is your faith grounded in God’s word AND connection to the body of believers?

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FAITH PRAYS # 5 PMFaith Prays-final-02

Sometimes in life things go wrong.

There’s a lot of difference between a hiccup and a disaster. A hiccup might be, you go out to get in the car and you have a flat tire. Or maybe you arrive at your fav café and there’s no tables left.

Then there’s some moderately annoying situations like, girls, you arrive at a high class function and someone else is wearing your dress! Or guys, you go to the fridge to get that last piece of pizza left over from last night to have for breakfast and your mum fed it to the dog. – Devastation!

But sometimes the news is all bad and at that moment you feel powerless.

How do you pray?

How do you pray when the doctor says, I have some bad news for you?

How do you pray when your life long partner says I’m leaving you?

How do you pray when your loved one has passed away?

How do you pray when you’re facing financial disaster?

When you have faith – you pray.

Whether you have faith or not your feelings are the same.

You feel powerless and you feel as though God has abandoned you. Your experience of loss impacts your emotions greatly.

When King David went through that time he said: Ps 10:1 AMP

Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself, [veiling Your eyes] in times of trouble (distress and desperation)?

Whether we are a small child or a grown man, when things get really bad what we truly want is someone to come and put their arms around us and tell us it’s going to be alright.

When you have those feelings, in spite of those feelings, you pray and you push into God. When you have faith you pray because you know God cares for you. He has the biggest arms to wrap around you.

This is how King David prays in times of distress. Ps 18:1-6 AMP

To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

1 I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.

2 The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.

3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

4 The cords or bands of death surrounded me, and the streams of ungodliness and the torrents of ruin terrified me.

5 The cords of Sheol (the place of the dead) surrounded me; the snares of death confronted and came upon me.

6 In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, into His [very] ears.

All the same feelings are there. The “torrents of ruin terrified me” but he prays nevertheless. He knows who his God is. How does he know who God is? He has read the word and his heart has embraced the one who was there to rescue Noah, was there to rescue Abraham, was there to rescue Joseph. David trusted in God and he went through trials and tests to prove the faithfulness of God.

1 Samuel 17:33-37 AMP

33 And Saul said to David, You are not able to go to fight against this Philistine. You are only an adolescent, and he has been a warrior from his youth.

34 And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father’s sheep. And when there came a lion or again a bear and took a lamb out of the flock,

35 I went out after it and smote it and delivered the lamb out of its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard and smote it and killed it.

36 Your servant killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God!

37 David said, The Lord Who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Go, and the Lord be with you!

In life when you go through small troubles, it’s a time to learn faith and see God’s hand deliver you and be there for you. Then later when bigger troubles hit you, you are ready, you know your God is for you and will deliver you.

When you go through deep waters you pray because God cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Have you been through deep waters? Your emotions may have been going crazy, but what was coming out of your mouth? Maybe you start out saying like David… Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself, [veiling Your eyes] in times of trouble (distress and desperation)? But very quickly, if you are a person of faith you start saying, The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.

God wants to show Himself strong on your behalf, but He needs you to walk in faith in order to make a way for Him to move. In this story a father has a disaster on his hands because his son is possessed by an evil spirit, and he cries out to Jesus for help.

Mark 9:22-24 AMP

22 And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.

23 And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!

24 At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!

Faith is the constant expectation that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He will do. Faith is confidence in God and trust that He is good.

When things go wrong, you pray, and you trust that God is there for you and He cares for you. If God be for you who can be against you?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. When things go wrong, your emotions can go go crazy – is this normal?

2.  Can you pray when your emotions are going crazy with worry and stress?

3. What do you think God is feeling when you are in distress?

4. It may feel like God has abandoned you but what is the real picture?

5. Make this prayer something you can find easily when you need it… Psalm 61:2

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FAITH PRAYS #4 AMFaith Prays-final-02

Acts 2:1-13  MESSAGE BIBLE

A Sound Like a Strong Wind

2 1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

5-11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?

Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs! “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”

12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”

13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”

Today is Pentecost Sunday, what does that mean? That means it is the day of the year when we celebrate the day of Pentecost when the early church was baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost was 50 days after Passover which is our Easter time.

If you have faith then you will pray. AS Jesus departed the earth physically he left his disciples with one instruction, “stay here in Jerusalem until you are filled with power form the Holy Spirit.” They waited in the upper room, about 120 of them. They began to pray and wait on God. Just think what that must have been like. They experienced the trauma of watching the cruel death of Jesus on the cross, the elation of his resurrection and then 40 days of teaching about the kingdom of God. The bible says nothing about that 40 days of teaching. What did he speak about? We don’t know but this one thing I know it would have been inspiring!!! So they were now in the upper room praying for 10 days.

Could you pray for 10 days? After the roller coast ride of the last six weeks it was probably hard to concentrate. Perhaps it was a time of reflection and considering what the rest of their lives would be like.  The next few years were going to be intense, life changing and world changing.

What they didn’t have but they desperately needed was the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes they had spent three and a half years with Jesus, witnessed thousands of miracles and seen the dead raised over and over again, yet Jesus was very clear, “Don’t leave Jerusalem until you are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.”  We cannot do Gods will and God’s work if we don’t have God’s power. In fact you were designed to have God’s power resident in you.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was with them and would be in them. This was to take place after the resurrection.

Christianity without being filled with the Holy Spirit is hard work. We are meant to live Spirit filled lives, thoroughly filled and flooded with God himself. If Jesus warned His disciples not to leave without it, and think what kind of preparation they had; then all the more we should need this.

How do I know if I have been filled? It’s an experience. You will know for sure if you have received this power. It’s power!

Can I be filled and not speak in tongues. Yes, tongues is the overflow. It is the one sure sign that you have been filled. If you don’t want tongues, ask yourself why? Sometimes I have met Christians who have a take it or leave it attitude about tongues and often that is because they tried to receive it and nothing happened and so now they are resigned to life without it.

Paul said I speak in tongues more than you all. Seems like it was high value to the greatest apostle of all, so it will be high value for me. Being a Pentecostal isn’t just that I speak with tongues, it is that I have a spirit led life. What are the marks of a spirit led life?

  1. I love prayer, I talk to God through the day, I converse with the Father with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.
  2. I read God’s word and I get more than information. I receive revelation. I see things written in it that lead me in understanding God’s will in my life at this present moment.
  3. I hear God’s voice in my heart. Being Spirit led is sensing the urging of the Holy Spirit to act and obey Him in certain ways. (Bought lunch for a pastor from Hawaii)
  4. I have a passion to witness, to share God’s love with others.
  5. I have a sense of eternity that makes me a pilgrim in the earth because I have a home in heaven

These signs are for being spirit filled not just being a tongue talker. We need to be filled daily. Right through the book of Acts the disciples were filled and filled again with the Holy Spirit.

The kind of Christianity that the disciples lived was fuelled by a world changing faith. It was a nation changing team of people who were not interested in the pleasures of this world but were focussed on the kingdom of God and bringing life and hope to a dying world.

Somehow tongues and being baptised in the Holy Spirit has become an optional extra in the lives of some Australian church goers. It’s like a sunroof for your car, it’s cool and useful, but you don’t need it for effective driving experience. The truth is the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like the engine in the car. People without it are pushing their car everywhere and if there’s a big hill to go up many people just put the brake on and camp there for the rest of their life. Some even roll back to where they started and complain, “This new Christian model car is a lemon man, it’s not what I was told it was going to be!”

You’re a Spirit first not a body first. You’re a Spirit first not a mind first. In this western world we live in many people do not even know a spirit realm exists. The education system we have champions reason and excludes evidence outside the realm of empirical scientific measurable facts. However in 75% of countries around the world where the education system includes a spiritual education, the spirit world is very real people live and die by spiritual realities.

For example in Australia the Coory population live with a awareness of spirit realm. To them the dreamtime is more than a story, they have connection with ancestors. Point the bone works for them. Walkabout is spiritual.

When Jesus sent His disciples out to do the work of ministry He commanded them to Preach, heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. All those tasks require the supernatural power of God. So He gave them the power of the Holy Spirit to equip them. If they needed it then, certainly we need it now. Let’s make our goal this year to be baptised in the Holy Spirit, filled with His power and receive the gift of speaking in tongues. Let’s be determined to seek God for this power so that we can do the work of ministry just as the disciples did.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. If you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit share your story of how that happened and what it felt like.

2. What are the benefits of being baptised in the Holy Spirit? (Acts 1:8)

3. What kind of things do you need power for in your Christina life?

4. What is the value of Tongues? (1 Cor 14:4; Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

5. Why are some Christians content to go without the tongues experience?

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FAITH PRAYS – MEN PRAY – A message for Men on Mother’s day Faith Prays-final-02

Men, do you want to be part of God’s ultimate purpose that will dominate and fill the earth? Is your world a big one? Is your world described by interacting with something that will change history and bring life and answers to humanity?

Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!

That sounds like a very powerful force in the earth to me. I want to part of it. I hope you want to be a part of it. I hope you want to lead your family in being a part of it. Bring your family to church men! Lead your wife and kids to Jesus and to the body of Christ, the church that He has planned will overcome and fill the earth.

Young men, listen to the old men and grow up well and wisely. Be devoted to Christ and live wholeheartedly for Him. Be a pray-er and treat all women with respect. Pray for your future wife.  Married men, learn leadership, understand that headship is leadership not dominance. Demonstrate respectful relationships to your children. Take your family to church. Ensure your children find Jesus and as they grow into teens; lead by example. Be in church, pray for your family, lead with humility, be the same in church as you are at home, no hypocrisy. Keep your teens in church and youth group or you may lose them out of the kingdom. Older men, pray for the church. Don’t abdicate your role as the leaders and the wisdom of the body. God says, honour the old men.  Your age brings experience and wisdom. Lead Urban Connect Groups, love the families, lead by example and guide the young men.

If we are going to be great men of all ages, we will be pray-ers. Prayer is not optional if we are going to be part of the church of the living God.

Let’s see what Jesus has to say to men about prayer.

Luke 18:1-8 AMP Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).

2 He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man.

3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary.

4 And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man,

5 Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me.

6 Then the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says!

7 And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?

8 I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?

Jesus wanted to empower His own men to pray and not give up, or lose heart. So He told them a story about a widow woman.

Why?

Why tell a story about a woman to men to try and inspire men to do anything. Wouldn’t it be better to tell a story about David? Or about any man. Aren’t we men going to be more inspired about great men and what they have achieved than hearing about what a woman has achieved?

In this story the man is the problem! What’s Jesus saying here? What is He trying to achieve?

This is a story about power! The woman apparently has no power. Men may be reluctant to admit powerlessness. Perhaps a woman more readily feels powerless because they are so often dominated by men. This woman is even more powerless being a widow and having no husband to protect her. As men, are we sometimes guilty of saying, She’ll be right. I’ll fix it! It will buff out! Don’t worry about it.” This woman demonstrated that in the midst of powerlessness, she found power. The secret of her power is persistence not strength! It’s not ingenuity that wins the day, it’s persistence. It’s not the rightness of her cause that wins the day, it’s persistence! It’s not anything else but persistence.

Men ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). Come on, how many men here have fallen victim to the persistence of a woman?

Learn from the master young grasshopper!

The power this woman has is in her persistent asking. Jesus makes it clear that she won the day because she did not give up. Even in the face of unrighteous judge, she won, how much more will we win when we go to a righteous God in heaven with our plea? Jesus says we will be speedily avenged, but we still must be persistent.

We give up too soon. When we are praying, we stop before the answer leaves heaven. Sometimes we don’t start because we think we can fix it ourselves. We procrastinate or we don’t see the need. Praying men have changed the world!

Acknowledging your powerlessness is key to receiving from God. He says, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. (John 15:5 AMP)

Paul experienced powerlessness and he learned how to overcome in it.

7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.

8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;

9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Cor 12:7-9 AMP)

When he felt weak, then he knew he was strongest because Christ’s strength is made perfect in weakness. When we run out of our own answers we turn to God for His answers. Men, young men, older men, pray! Don’t give up, keep on praying! Pray until you receive an answer.

When I was first married my wife and I had some disagreements and we would argue. I would feel frustrated and we would often preach at each other, trying to score points. What I learned to do was thank God for my wife. I couldn’t change her. I could try and change myself, and that was hard. But the real power lay in thanksgiving. When I thanked God for Chris, He began to work in our lives. It was important that I prayed.

Pray for your wife and kids (if you’re single pray for your extended family)

Learn the power of headship. 1 Cor 11:3 AMP But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God. Spiritual Authority flows down. Headship is leadership not dominance. When you pray for your wife you have power spiritually, God and satan recognise you are the legitimate head and you are the one in authority. If you stand in the gap between your wife and kids and the spirit realm then that spirit realm must recognise your authority over them because God says you are the head over the wife and she over the kids.

How do you pray for your family?

Bless your wife and children. Your words are powerful! Declare blessing over them.

Numbers 6:22-27 The Message (MSG)

The Aaronic Blessing

22-23 God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them,

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face and make you prosper.

27 In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel—

I will confirm it by blessing them.”

Pray for your wife, thanking God for her. Pray for God to give her mercy, strength, and revelation. Declare the covering of God’s presence over her and ask for the angels to surround her. Pray for your children, blessing them, declaring protection over them. Guard them in the spirit by asking for God’s protection over them. Stand against principalities and powers that oppose God’s purpose in their lives.

Spiritually you are the covering and the protection over your family. Guard your home. Demonstrate and promote respectful relationships in your home. There must never be family violence in your home. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear. In this church we are making a stand against family violence. Men we ask you to swear an oath on the White Ribbon website: Swear

I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

This is my oath.

If there is violence or disrespectful relationships in your home, don’t be ashamed, seek help, come and see me and I will help you. You can change and become the godly man that you were called to be.

Guard your home against unhealthy internet invasion. Teach your children about dangers of internet porn. 85% of 16 year olds are exposed to porn. Approximately 15% are addicted to porn. Any amount of exposure is harmful. As fathers we must protect our children from this great harm. It has the potential to destroy their sexuality and ruin them for healthy married life.

How?

  1. Talk to your kids about porn from about 8 or 9 years old and onwards regularly.
  2. Use filters in your home wifi. For example: See here.
  3. Use screens in open areas like lounge/dinning or study room not in bedrooms.
  4. Limit screen time per day. Create active living and sport.

If you struggle with porn yourself seek help. Come and see me and begin the process of change. Lead by example.

Pray for your wife and children. Stand in Faith for their salvation and security. It will take a determined effort on your part but eternity will reward you for it.

Let’s pray!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What time of the day do you find is most workable for you to pray?

2. What motivates you to pray?

3. What answers to prayer can you tell us about?

4. What things stop you or try and stop you praying?

5.  How can you overcome those things?

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FAITH PRAYS  Faith Prays-final-02When I first became a Christian I was 20, single, living at home and each night before bed I would talk to God for a while as I looked out my bedroom window over the lights of the neighbourhood. I think I got involved in prayer early in my walk with God simply because I was thankful that Jesus had saved me. Soon I prayed more because I began to imagine talking to people about Jesus and what I would say and what I imagined they might say in response. It was imagining how I might preach to an individual or a small group of people. From this scenario I would pray and talk to God about my day and my world and it wasn’t hard to let 30 minutes or even an hour slip by. Question: What motivates you to pray and talk to God? Prayer is a product of relationship. Maybe for some it begins with need. You may feel helpless and so you reach out to God for help and you begin to talk to Him. However, what truly motivates us is love, we pray because we love Jesus. When you have faith, you pray! When you have faith you know and understand the realities of your spiritual life. You fully understand that you were lost and now you are heaven bound. The realisation of that causes you to feel the great sense of gratitude for Jesus and what He has done for you. Faith enables you to know and trust that God loves you and wants to heal you and provide for you. Faith is the belief that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb 11:6)  So prayer begins with praise and thanks. It flows into asking and believing for those things you need God to do for you. It deepens with meditating on God’s word and seeking His presence and power. It closes with thanks and commitment, yet it never truly closes because our whole day can be filled with prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to show them how to pray He responded with what we call the Lord’s Prayer, which is really the disciple’s prayer. Matt 6:9-13. You see and understand that your life is so small compared to the world and the Kingdom and yet being linked up to God makes you a key player in the purposes and plans of God that He has ordained. When Peter James and John left their nets to follow Jesus, they left behind a small world of fishing and selling their catch to a whole new world of impacting the entire planet with God’s plan of love and the preaching of the gospel. Today 2000 years later we are still talking about them and learning life lessons from them through the scriptures.  Luke 5:1-10 David was an amazing pray-er. As we read the Psalms we see a man of relationship, a man who talked much to God and thankfully he wrote many of his prayers down as the Psalms. Psalm 27:8 You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. (AMP) Perhaps you feel your vital need is something to eat or the next episode of your favourite mini-series, but your vital need is what you have been mediating on – what you have been thinking a lot about. If you have not felt a desire to pray, then simply take some time to think. There’s plenty of time if you decide to turn off screens. Think deeply, it’s called reflective thinking, about what Jesus has done for you. Imagine sitting down with Him sitting opposite you and thinking about what you might say to Him and what He might say back. Question. Estimate the average time each day that you watching a screen, other than for work. Faith Prays. There’s the natural dimension of your life. And there’s the spiritual dimension. The spiritual dimension is by far the largest. It’s the part of your life focussed on eternity. You can focus on the natural world 100%, but the natural world is influenced by the spiritual world.  You can live a bigger life when you focus on the spiritual world all around you. You can live with God, work with Him and see changes take place in the natural world because you apply faith. Will you decide you’re going to live a bigger life? Will you switch of the screens sometimes and just interact with God, give Him your undivided attention? Make prayer a vital part of your day and your life. CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE ABOUT SCREEN TIME… http://www.mychristiandaily.com/index.php/fp-left-menu/14250-jesus-vs-netflix DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Is prayer a vital part of a Christian’s life? 2. How much time do Christians pray nowadays compared to say bible times in the new testament? 3. Estimate the amount of screen time each day apart for work related. 4. Is there value in limiting screen time so that you can focus on prayer? 5. What would you like to pray about today?

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Faith in God CombinedYOU NEED FAITH TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE THE BIG THINGS YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE. YOU CAN LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT FAITH BUT – IT WILL BE A SMALLER LIFE THAN ONE LIVED WITH FAITH.

Do you need a miracle?

Do you need something to change in your circumstances?

Do you need a breakthrough in your life in some way? Maybe your health has some immoveable issues? Maybe you are sick of your ho-hum job and you want to do something different? Maybe you have struggled financially for far too long? Perhaps you have some deep fears or you have wrestled with doubts in your mind for far too long.

Then today you need to tune in really well!!!

You love God, but you’re looking for more. You’re looking for a significant shift, you’re sick of believing for the same miracles and increase but not seeing it as you hoped. You’re at a tipping point, it’s time to change up and create some momentum.

I’m going to give you an answer.

Abraham met with God

Gen 15:1-5

God I want an heir! Essentially Abraham was saying, – It’s my turn now!

You’ve just told me how you are El-Shaddai, the all sufficient one, I know you’re able, but right now I don’t’ have a son! I WANT YOU TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME!

Is that selfish? Of course not!  Jesus said: And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive. Matt 21:22

God answers Abraham, not just YES; but wait a minute Abraham, I will give you offspring that number as the stars. He believed.

 ROADBLOCK –  Abraham was old.

He made a demand of God and God answered so fast it he nearly missed it and     the answer was far greater than the demand by miles!

God loves faith!  Bold faith pursues God for undeserved answers.

While others wait around for the moving of the water, Jesus is asking you, “What do you want?”

He is waiting for someone to stand up and shout – “It’s my turn now!”

STORY 2 – Naaman the leper 2 Kings 5

He was outside the covenant. He was an enemy of God’s people, but he came and asked big for a miracle. He humbled himself and obeyed God’s direction through the prophet.

It’s my turn now!

ROADBLOCK – He was outside the covenant, he had been an enemy.

When we see other people, pastors, churches being blessed, – we rejoice of course but it’s time to stand up and shout to God, It’s my turn now!

STORY 3 – The Syro-Phenician woman. Mark 7:25-30

She came to Jesus. She’s no Israelite. She’s not entitled to covenant promises but she pushed through every doctrinal, legal, cultural and sexist barrier and shouted, It’s my turn now.

ROADBLOCK – She was outside God’s plan and purpose.

This isn’t an arrogant or selfish demand, this is a call that springs from a faith filled heart that knows God is able, and He is gracious and good and I need His help.

STORY 4 – Blind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52

He called out “Son of David have mercy on me” In effect he was saying, “It’s my turn now!”

ROADBLOCK – the crowd stood in the way, be quiet they said, you’re annoying!

But Jesus told them to bring him here. What do you want he asked? Bold faith stands up and says God, it’s my turn now!

It’s my turn for a healing.

It’s my turn for a financial miracle.

It’s my turn for a salvation miracle.

It’s my turn for a Church growth

It’s my turn for a personal breakthrough.

It’s time some believers and leaders decided, we are not just plodding along doing all things well, and hoping for good things to happen, and yet not seeing the big breakthroughs and advances that we truly desire.

We have decided to stand up and make a demand in faith, just like Jacob who said “I won’t let you go until you bless me”

It’s my turn now!

It’s my turn now!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What is the biggest faith challenge you have ever faced?
  2. What did doubt say to your mind about that challenge?
  3. What did/does faith say to you about that challenge?
  4. Can you accept that God really wants to bless, heal and prosper you?
  5. Can you get past any sense of it being selfish to ask God for answers to your needs?

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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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WATER BAPTISM – WILL YOU FOLLOW THE LORD? elevation Baptism 5

The story of Jesus being baptised in water goes like this. The whole of Matthew chapter three.

This was the beginning of Jesus ministry years. It began with the Father speaking audibly about His Son at His baptism, and culminated with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus some three and a half years later. Jesus set a pattern for us to follow Him.

Will you follow the Lord in the waters of baptism?

My story.

I was born again at the age of 20 and about seven weeks later I was baptised by immersion in water. This was a beautiful experience for me and a time when I also desired to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a great opportunity to witness this reality to all your family and friends.

What does baptism mean? What is it for?

When John the Baptist baptised people is was in response to his call for people to repent, confess their sins and heartily amend their ways. It was a public demonstration that a person had made a new start in life to walk in righteousness, and leave the past behind. It showed the picture of a washing away of the old life.

Later water baptism took on a new and added meaning after Christ was raised from the dead as an identification with Christ of His death burial and resurrection.

For each of us Water Baptism certainly is an outward sign of an inward life change. It is an important declaration to all our friends, family and brothers and sisters that I have chosen to follow Christ. But it is a whole lot more than that too.

It is a spiritually powerful experience that prepares you for a victorious life walking with Jesus. Let’s see how Paul saw water baptism.

Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?

2 Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?

3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4 We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

When you were born again, you became a new person, a new creation, your old life ceased and a new life began. You were crucified with Christ. Rom 6:6 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

What do we do with a dead body? We bury it! And so in water baptism we bury the old life in the waters of baptism and rise up out of the waters just as Jesus was raised from the dead.

Think of it like this: Jesus died and you died (your old life); Jesus was buried and you were buried (in the waters of baptism); Jesus was raised, and you were raised into newness of life. So in this way you truly identify with Jesus.

Water baptism represents the reality of what takes place in your new birth. It is an outward sign that you are following Jesus; but much more than that it is following Jesus and partaking in the fullness of your own resurrection to new life in Christ. Far more than just a declaration, it delivers the power of God to you for real life change.

Look at his verse with me;

Rom 6:4

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.(AMP)

This verse says Jesus was raised up from the dead by the glorious power of the Father and JUST THE SAME way you are raised walk in newness of life. When you come up out of the water after going under it, you can believe that the power of God comes upon you to raise you spiritually into a new life. – That’s powerful!

Does Water baptism help me now?

The truth and application of the reality of water baptism is something that helps you every day of your new Christian life. The apostle Peter shows us this truth when he says in 1 Peter 3:19-21

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.(NLT)

In other words the water of Noah’s flood is a picture of water baptism. How so? Noah enters into the Ark which represents God, the ark having three levels, the top one being one with windows to let in light (Father Son and Holy Spirit). The rain comes and the water which represented judgement rose up and the Ark floated on the waters. The waters separated the ungodliness of the world whom God judged from Noah and his family.

In this same way the waters of baptism now separate us from the ungodly past now we are in Christ (Our ark).  So to apply this great truth, whenever you are tempted to sin remember your water baptism and invest faith in your experience of God’s power and truth in that you are now a new creation and the water of your baptism has separated you form the ungodly temptation coming against you.

It’s a believer’s baptism. Maybe you are saying, “I was baptised as a baby, so I don’t need to be baptised again.” The idea of baptising babies came into the church centuries ago because of fear. Fear that babies that died at a young age would not go to heaven. However baptism does not save, as we have learned in February’s theme (faith for salvation) – only through faith in Jesus Christ is a person saved. Jesus commanded is disciples, let the little children come to me. Salvation for children below the age of understanding is secure in His mercy and acceptance. After the age of understanding children easily receive Christ, but they must be led to Christ.

In all cases in the New Testament people were baptised after they believed. In Acts 2 as Peter preaches the first sermon to the early church they are moved to respond and they said what shall we do? His response was Repent, be baptised and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In Mark’s gospel he states, Mark 16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.(ESV). Baptism does not save but it’s so closely linked to our salvation and path to follow Christ that it is included here in the scripture describing followers of Christ.

Another objection some people have is “It’s embarrassing to get wet while everyone is looking at me! My hair will look a mess, people might see my legs, what would I wear? It’s too cold! Etc. etc.” I’m sure there’s a thousand questions that relate to our sense of self consciousness, but all I can say is talk it through with a leader and overcome these things so that you can obey God and be baptised. We will be having a water baptism service on April 26th both morning and night.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What are some common objections to being baptised?

2. Describe, imagine the scene of the first mass water baptism as described in Acts 2:37-41

3. Can some of the group share testimonies of being baptised?

4. How has baptism helped you, changed you, affected you?

5. What would you say to anyone considering being baptised?

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FAITH SHARING #4AM Faith-440x330

Having studied at university, I had a confidence to be in that space and a desire to reach other uni students with the gospel. So when I was first on staff as a youth pastor in Brisbane in my early ministry days I felt God leading me to go the QLD Uni and do some outdoor preaching. This seemed like quite a challenge for me, but I really felt compelled by God to do it. So I went to case out the joint. I saw that lots of students ate their lunch outside sitting in the sun on grassy areas and also the uni refectory (Café) was a great place with an outdoor section that would lend itself to some preaching opportunities. So I rolled up one Tuesday lunch time and decided I’m going to preach at 1pm in the refectory. Well 1pm came and went and I was still sitting nervously at a table. 1.15pm came and went – same thing. Right through until I jumped up onto a table and began to preach about Jesus at about 1.50pm.

The most amazing thing about that experience is that my fear and nerves completely disappeared when I actually stood on that table and began to speak. I had to overcome fear because I had faith and I knew the reality of heaven and hell.

 When your faith is strong, you want to tell others about the gospel.

When your faith is strong you know God has changed your life and it’s so good that you want to tell others about it – just like this leper in Mark 1:40-45

40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.(KJV)

When I was first saved Chris (now my wife) and I joined the youth street witnessing team. We went in to the city every Friday night to share our faith with anyone we met on the streets. Over the years we must have shared our faith with thousands of people. Having faith means that the reality of your salvation completely dominates your life and eternal aspects overshadow temporary ones.

  1.  When your faith is strong, you want to tell others about the gospel.

Luke 14:21-23 21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.(NLT)

When our church was in the Mill Park location, we did quite a lot of door knocking in the Mill Park area. The methodology was to take a survey and go door to door on a Saturday afternoon and ask people questions like, “What do you see as the greatest needs in this local area.” And “How can the church be part of the answer to that need?” If people were open to chatting about these things you could take the questions further and ask about their faith and then share you own faith experience.

One thing I noticed about this task was that the results were greatly affected by what you believe. If I went with confidence that God was with me, and these people would be open and receptive, I had a great time and many people allowed me to share my faith with them; but if I went with fear and trepidation expecting to be punched in the face at every door, then I had knock back after knock back and a miserable day.

It matters what you believe!

2. When your faith is strong, you believe that the harvest is ripe.

 

John 4:35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.(NLT)

 

Sometimes the people you share you faith with reject the message at first. One of the police guys I spoke to many years ago was pretty confident in his atheism. He had it all figured out. Although he was raised as a catholic, he had no ongoing faith. I shared a couple of times with him and it seemed there was no real headway being made. Then a situation arose where his young son was almost drowned and was in hospital ICU in an induced coma. The station sergeant asked me and the church to pray. I believe God did a miracle and the boy survived unscathed.

 

In sharing with the policeman later he was able to explain the great outcome in natural terms and seemed unaffected in his faith. But God was at work, and after many opportunities to share faith with him and the added impact of another policeman who was a believer also sharing with him, he came to faith and was baptised last April.

 

  1. When you’re strong in faith you believe that the word is at work in people’s lives.

 

You don’t fear failure, because you believe God is in control. A person’s immediate response is pretty much irrelevant – the words you speak when sharing your faith are like seeds that rest in their heart and it begins a work to change them. When you’re a person of faith you know that it’s God’s timing not yours and you’re at peace with His process. Our only responsibility is just to shine the light.

 

One of our regular coffee spots is in the Plenty Valley Town Centre. We have been going there now for years and we know all the waiters and waitresses very well. It’s like we do life with them. We share their highs and lows and tell them about our lives as well. One of the waitresses contracted bowel cancer and passed away a couple of years ago. Before she passed it was an opportunity for Chris to go and visit her in her home with her family and pray with her during her illness. She opened up her heart to Jesus and was assured of her salvation. These and other people could see the love and peace of God through us as we did life with them, and trust was built.

 

  1. When you’re faith is strong, you approach life with hope and joy and it shows.

 

2 Cor 2:15-16   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:

16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odour, 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)

 

On Friday it was time to do a phone changeover so I went down to the Telstra store in Plenty Valley Town Centre and sat with a young man who was pretty quiet in his manner, so after he completed all the paperwork to hand over my new phone I asked him about his faith in God. He explained he was brought up catholic but had no ongoing faith. I shared how I had experienced Jesus’ reality, and invited him to come along to the church here whenever he could, and gave him a card.

 

  1. When your faith is strong, you believe God is organising your day and He creates opportunities.

 

Every day you live, God is at work with you in designing your day. He walks with you and you walk with him. Nothing is wasted, nothing is frivolous. All things work together for good to those that love God and called according to His purpose.

 

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].(AMP)

 

Have a bigger expectation of God. Be confident that He is leading you every day, life isn’t random, it’s planned.

 

God has planned your day, because He knows all things and His design is for you to know Christ and be forgiven. Let today be a day when you experience God’s reality through the love of Jesus.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Within your group can you make a list of all the day to day things we do that are more important than sharing your faith?

2. Is there anyone in the group who had another person share the gospel with them before they became a Christian?

3. What if that person had chickened out and not shared with you?

4. How can we strengthen our faith so that sharing it is our great passion?

5. Do you believe the harvest is ripe? What does that mean?

 

 

 

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