Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spring breakthrough’

Heroes of Faith Full

HEROES OF THE FAITH #2AM – OVERCOMING THE ODDS

 

 

Today I want to speak to you about this powerful truth – Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

Tough situations face people all day every day. We know we have life pretty good here in Australia as we live in a place where average household income is among the highest in the world, we do not experience war and displacement like some do at present and for us in Melbourne, it’s now four years in a row that our city has been ranked the most liveable city in the world! In contrast imagine the pain experienced by families fleeing Syria or those affected by war in Africa, poverty in South Sudan or many other places. We are blessed and secure, for sure.

However, that doesn’t mean every person experiences delight every day. There is pain in life for many. Challenges that make giving up seem attractive. One precious family in this church has five children and four of them are on the Autism spectrum. That’s a challenging life, and for that couple both mum and dad are full time carers for the family. These challenges are never chosen but thrust upon a person by life. It takes faith to choose to endure, to rejoice and to make a difference for others when you have your own mountain to climb.

Listen to this story of heartbreak in the bible:

2 Kings 4:1-7 (AMP) Now one of the wives of a man of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha [for help], saying “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant [reverently] feared the Lord; but the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves [in payment for a loan].” 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers from all your neighbours, empty containers—and not just a few. 4 Then you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out [the oil you have] into all these containers, and you shall set aside each one when it is full.” 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing her the containers as she poured [the oil]. 6 When the containers were all full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” And he said to her, “There is not a one left.” Then the oil stopped [multiplying]. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Disaster has struck! A young dad dies in his prime. The grief would be sky high! But there’s worse to come! He was in debt – up to the eyeballs! A young deeply religious family torn apart by loss and grief now facing removal of young boys as slaves. This woman was in a very desperate situation. Let’s look a bit deeper into this situation. This is Israel and there’s some pretty strong safeguards around people’s economic wellbeing here. Every seven years all debts are cancelled, people get to start over. More than that in Israel God commanded people to loan without charging interest to your brothers.  Being a son of the prophets meant that this man was supported by the religious community as a man of God, possibly even as an employee of Elisha himself. No doubt they would have experienced miracles of provision and seen God’s hand of supply often – yet for all this the man of God was in debt!

Perhaps some unwise decisions, perhaps some negative circumstances, perhaps the father was unfaithful to God in his administration of duties – we don’t know. What we do know is that this young wife is now in very deep trouble. When the odds are stacked against you, what do you do? You go to God! You go to the man of God. It would be so easy for this young widow to see God as the problem. She cries out to Elisha, “My husband is dead, you know he reverently feared the Lord.” In other words, Elisha, my husband should not be dead! He was a good man, more than that a godly man! My husband served you as a prophet and what good did it do him? God why did you take his life? Yes he borrowed but had he lived, he had a plan to repay over so many years. We had it all worked out!!

Life takes a turn and things change even when you are a believer, a person who trusts in God, yet events can change in your life in ways that you just were not prepared for.  You can get mad, you can tell God off, you can choose to run away; but in the end, your hope is in God. When the chips are down this verse holds me strong in faith: Romans 8:32 (AMP)

32 He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

There is not a few stories of a mother coming to God with a big ask. This young mother was in deep trouble and she went looking for the man of God – Elisha. If there was going to be a miracle it would come through the man of God. When your heart is breaking and there seems to be no answer, choose faith! When it seems like God doesn’t care, choose faith; or that things don’t make sense, choose faith! When the odds are stacked against you – choose faith!

This young mum came to Elisha and asked for help. He straight away asked her, “What do you have of value?”  There is always a seed in your house somewhere that God can multiply. Find the seed and give it to God. She knew there was some oil, it wasn’t much but God didn’t need a lot, just something that could be placed in His hands for multiplication. The oil multiplied and the miracle only stopped when they ran out of vessels to pour it into. The answer came because this young mum chose to hang onto God. She was a hero of the faith.

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

I want to share with you the story of William Carey who took the gospel to India.

In the late 1700’s William Carey a Baptist minister in Northamptonshire in England got a vision to take the gospel to the remote parts of the earth and was the founder of the Baptist Missionary Society. He took many years to convince church leaders that people in lands like India could even be saved, such was the ignorance of the population at that time they were seen by some as less than human and not capable for being saved.  In 1800 Carey set sail for India and only made it to the Isle of White, where the captain refused to take him further. Later a Dutch captain was persuaded to take him the rest of the way. After a few years there Carey’s wife went insane and one of his children died. He had great trouble converting Hindus to the gospel. Even after preaching five nights a week for many years not a single man was converted. He had one local man who had been converted to Christianity and assisted Carey in translating the bible into Sanskrit. After seven years of working with Carey and seeing no converts this Indian convert backslid and turned away from God. Later floods twice destroyed his plantation that Carey managed so that he could raise funds for the work there, things seemed very very bleak indeed. Listen to what Carey says when he writes back to the church leaders in England about his plight, “Though my disappointments may yet be 1000 time greater, yet I have this hope – the goodness and the faithfulness of God.”

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

 When things get you down, choose faith. When you want to give up, choose faith. When it seems like nothing makes sense anymore, chose faith. Heroes of the faith choose faith when the odds are stacked against them. This church is full of people who chose faith. Their stories are theirs to tell. When you need inspiration to overcome great difficulties read about the heroes of faith in the bible and in church history. When you need inspiration to keep going look around you. There’s people right here who have overcome.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Would you agree that everyone suffers a set back at some time in their life and feels like giving up?
  2. Do you think its strange that we live in such a great nation and have so much and yet we all still experience challenging times?
  3. Compare your own challenges with those of say a refugee from Syria trying to flee war.
  4. How do you know God cares about you when your stuck in an impossible situation?
  5. What would help you to make a decision to never give up but keep pressing into God?

Read Full Post »

 

Nation Changing Faith

Here’s a story about Nation Changing Faith.

1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLENTY VALLEY CHURCH VISION – CLEAR PICTURE OF A PREFERRED FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phil 3:13-15 AMP

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

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

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

What am I doing to press toward the goal?

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

LOVE PRAYS #2PMLove Prays Combined

YOU HAVE ENORMOUS POWER

STORY – Read Josh 10: 6-15

Joshua 10:6-15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson 3 Never underestimate the power you have in prayer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

But how are you really? Sunday Night 10th November – Theme = Heal the Broken Hearted

Jesus came to heal the broken hearted.

Luke 4:18psalm-147-3-he-heals-shattered-hearts

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (NKJV)

Humanity is broken.

Many lives are wounded, forgotten, alone, sick, abused, depressed, sad – I could go on and on. Of course there are happy people everywhere, there are people who are achievers and people who are serving others and making life better for someone else.

But in every life there is some brokenness.

Who is there who has never faced rejection? Never faced loss? Never faced physical pain or illness.

 As Jesus walked among us, he encountered:

Jairus whose daughter had just died.

Blind Bartimeus who was born blind.

The man by the pool of Bethesda who was paralysed.

The woman at Samaria who had 5 husbands.

Zachaeus up in the tree, who every one hated.

 Jesus met them and turned their lives around. He heals the broken hearted.

I looked in the paper today…

A young man was killed by a drunk youth with one punch. The youth will now go to jail. Parents are broken, both sets. Girlfriends are broken, the man in jail is broken.

Typhoon Hayan in the Philippines killed hundreds and left millions homeless.

The story about domestic violence in PNG which has possibly the worst level for that crime  in the world

There is so much brokenness in the world.

Right here in our own city, every night people taking the drug “ice” are messing their lives and making life hard for staff at the Emergency Department at the hospitals. Family violence affects hundreds of families in this local area every year. Some people are losing their jobs. Someone just found out they have terminal cancer today.

Everywhere there is brokenness. We get on with life but deep inside there is pain for so many people.

I want to look at two particular men in the bible tonight who were broken people.

It’s the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus.

These two men were once little babies. Their mothers carried them around and had great dreams for them. They imagined their sons perhaps having a family of their own, or building a business or keeping sheep or maybe even being a religious leader.

But something went wrong. No mother ever plans for her son to commit a crime and be arrested. No mother plans to see her son executed for his crimes. Yet here we are two men being crucified beside Jesus.  One thief abused Jesus and called on Him to come down from the cross. The other asked for mercy.

Luke 23:39-43

39 One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us [[m]from death]!

40 But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty?

41 And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing [n]strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable].

42 Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come [o]in Your kingly glory!

43 And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise. (AMP)

Two thieves. Two broken people. Two people who had lost their way and missed their true destinies.

One thief was broken hearted, the other was just broken.

For some, Jesus can be right beside you and you just don’t get it.

Is Jesus someone to criticise or someone to help you?

Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, that means those who are not hard hearted. One thief met Jesus in paradise that day. He didn’t deserve it, but because of God’s great love and His mercy He forgave the man whose heart was broken and open to God. Today is your opportunity to open your heart to God.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.(AMP)

Whatever your need, whatever your pain, whatever your facing Jesus will make a difference and you can receive life and healing and strength. Will you open your heart to Him?

Pray this prayer with me: “Jesus, I come to you. My life is a mess. I have no answers. I need you. You are my only hope. I open my heart to you and I ask you to come inside by your Spirit and forgive me for all my wrongs and heal my wounded heart. I surrender to you Jesus. Help me walk with you and learn your ways”

Please keep talking to Jesus and find a good church to go to that loves Jesus and teaches God’s word. Try and hang out with other Christians and read the bible (start with the New Testament) Please leave a comment below if you prayed that prayer.

Watch this clip with me today… http://youtu.be/hHOG2Ktqoe0

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Is there anyone who has no pain, no brokenness?
  2. Why is it that some people reject Jesus and others run to Him for help?
  3. Describe God’s love and mercy as He reaches out to a person who is calling upon Him for help.
  4. If the answer a person needs is a practical assistance who will be the one to help them?
  5. Is there someone you know with a broken heart? Can you reach out to them with God’s love?

Read Full Post »

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

INFINITY – THE MESSAGE SO FAR stewardship_wheat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY TRUST THE LEADERSHIP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  PEOPLE GIVE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GENEROSITY.

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

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

4.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INSPIRED BY OTHERS.

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

Examples:

(A) Marita – Scholarship money received this week.

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

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

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

5.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INVOLVED.

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

6.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN YOU ASK THEM TO GIVE.

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

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

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

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

8.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE APPRECIATED.

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

HOW OUR GIVING WILL TAKE PLACE

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

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

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

3. Where will that finance actually come from?

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

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

Read Full Post »

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

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

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

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

READ 1 Sam 1:1-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hannah promises to give something to God.

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

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

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

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

Straight away the Lord remembered her!

So let’s look at the breakthrough.

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

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

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

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

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

But here is the most amazing part of the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »