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Posts Tagged ‘Urban Connect Group’

YOUR PLACE IN THE NATION – 3 JULY 2016 AM banner_PRAY4AUS_web_1200x628_1605

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

Winston Churchill – 4 June 1940

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

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

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

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

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

we shall fight on the seas and oceans,

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

we shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

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

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

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

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

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

Ephes 6:12 AMP

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

Luke 10:19 AMP

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

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

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

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

2 Chron 7:14 AMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

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FAITH ACTIVATION #4AMPresentation1

The Twelve Sent Out  – Mark 6:7-13 AMP

7 And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for the journey except a mere walking stick—no bread, no [traveler’s] bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals; and [He told them] not to wear two tunics. 10 And He told them, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 Any place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet as a testimony against them [breaking all ties with them because they rejected My message].” 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.

Firstly these disciples were called, that means they were selected and appointed to go and do God’s work. The same applies to us. It’s good to get some training. Then Jesus sent them out. We are meant to be sent. Our Christianity doesn’t stop at the church door, we carry it out in to the places where we live. Next Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits. That means He taught them that as His representatives they had power. When Jesus says, “I give you power.” Then you have power. You have been activated! This means power over all sickness and all disease.

Matthew 10:1 AMP  Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority and power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

It’s also power over spirits like unbelief, doubt, fear, anger, you name it! These are all unclean. There is only one clean spirit – the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them, “Take nothing for the journey.” Why? He wanted them to believe for their supply to be met through their faith. Jesus expected that as they prayed and ministered to people those people would look after the disciples for food and shelter. He said to the disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.” And same applied to the people they went to. We don’t charge for prayer or healing or miracles.

Jesus recognised that there would be people who gladly welcomed the message and there would be those who rejected the message. It’s the same today. If people accept you and the message you bring stay with them and keep feeding the word to them. The hungrier people are the more you can teach them. If people are not interested then Jesus said move on. Go to others who will be open to the message. Shak the dust off your feet simply means to move on – to leave behind the previous uninterested parties and have no more to do with them. Don’t give it a second thought might be a good translation.  If the ones rejecting the message are your own loved ones that doesn’t apply. You can keep praying for them for God to soften their hearts. This is what happened with my wife’s father, who received Christ in his last year of life after ejecting Jesus all his life.

It doesn’t always go well. Sometimes we have prayed for people and the result wasn’t very exciting at all.

STORY
I visited man in his home who had a bad knee problem. God healed him miraculously and he could walk normally. So we went out into the lounge room and told the rest of the family about this significant miracle. They just kept on watching TV! It was bizarre!

Very occasionally people may be influenced by a demonic spirit. Never be afraid of these. As a born again believer you have complete authority over them. Many times evil spirits will leave peoples’ lives as you pray for them without any fuss at all.

STORY

Another man I went to visit had a drinking problem and as I began to pray for him he started to growl. I knew that was a demon spirit within him so I told him to sit still and not move until I came back. I went away and came back with another brother and we entered the house to pray for him. While I was away his elderly parents came home from grocery shopping and wondered why he wouldn’t get off the couch to help them bring in the groceries from the car. When we got there we said to him come with us and we went to his own room and the two of us prayed for him and within a couple of minutes he was set free from a demonic spirit.

STORY
A young Christian I met was a girl who has worked in an illegal casino as a roulette wheel girl. She would see spiritual things very easily including a light coming upon people when we prayed for them. At Church she explained how she was woken up in the night by strange noises, doors slamming and dark figures walking around in the house. So I taught her how to pray in the house and take authority over evil spirits. She had no more trouble.

The most important thing is to have a go!!

Just start praying for people. Be brave enough to pray and fail 20 times for the one time that a miracle happens. But my guess is you won’t need to try that many times before a prayer is answered.

STORY

One of the policemen that I met in the police station locally had injured his knee on the job. He was chasing a criminal and jumped over a fence and landed awkwardly on his feet and damaged his knee. He took a long time to recover and he could only do a desk job for a while. He was really disappointed and wanted to go back to active duty but the doctor was doubtful that would ever happen. So I asked him if I could pray for him. He said he didn’t really believe in that but I said it’s ok I’ll just put my hand on your shoulder and pray a quick prayer. I didn’t see him for a while after that but the next time I saw him he was back inactive duty and loving it.

Do you realize how powerful your prayers are? The devil can’t stop a prayer from working – he can only try and stop you praying.

John 14:12-14 (AMP)

12 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it.

STORY
The biggest miracle so far with the police guys is when one office was on holidays and his youngest boy (aged about 3) drowned in a lake. The police office found him and applied CPR until an ambulance arrived. The air ambulance took the boy to Royal Prince Alfred where he was on life support and in an induced coma. The Officer in charge of the Epping Station was a Christian and called me, “Please pray for the boy we need a miracle.” This church prayed. After a week they brought him out of the coma and he was unresponsive, so they placed him back into a coma. We prayed all that next week. Then a second time they brought him out of the coma and he was totally normal. I have seen this boy and he is every bit totally normal. His dad was an atheist when I first met him but now he is a born again Christian and has been to our church many times.

Pray for each other in church as the first step. Then later pray for others outside the church. This gospel has power. Many people have heard about Jesus and lots of other religions, but very few have experienced the supernatural power of God. When they get a miracle they will either get mad or glad. There’s no middle ground. This verse teaches us just how powerful prayer is.

James 5:16 (AMP)

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].

This what we are called to. To pray for one another. It’s part of our love contract.

1 Peter 3:9 (AMP)

9 and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Tell your story about when you prayed for someone – whether it went well or not so well. It’s ok to have a laugh!
  2. Now what did you learn from that experience?
  3. Does anyone in the group feel they have a gift of healing? of Faith? of Miracles?
  4. Who can the group pray for right now for God’s answer in people’s lives?
  5. Which ones could be prayed for personally by going to them and laying on hands?

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Presentation1

FAITH ACTIVATION #3 AM

Welcome to your commissioning briefing.  I have called you all in here this morning for a very important reason. You have been selected for activation by the highest authority to fulfil the mission that you have been trained for since you were reprogrammed. At this initiation point you will be given the activation trigger code to unlock the infiltration skills to enable you to do maximum danger the enemy’s assets both here in Australia and overseas.  You are now in full activation phase. Your life is not your own, you are now active agents on assignment with no turning back. Your mission is chosen, your training is complete and I will now read the activation code.

Matthew 28:19-20 (AMP)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”

WATCH THIS VIDEO

Every committed Christian is an embedded agent. Living as part of the culture in which they will be released to bring kingdom outcomes for God’s purpose. Some Christian’s wrongly believe they are sleeper agents just waiting, sometimes for many years, before being activated for their ultimate purpose. There are no sleeper agents in God’s kingdom; only the trained and equipped agents who are embedded into every corner of the society to release the power of God’s love and His message to the nation.

For three years the disciples lived with Jesus, walked where he walked and learned the skills of ministry. It wasn’t hard, but it required faith because they were called upon to do impossible things; to change people’s lives and to engage a supernatural enemy. It wasn’t very long before their first assignment.

The Twelve Sent Out  – Mark 6:7-13 AMP

7 And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for the journey except a mere walking stick—no bread, no [traveler’s] bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals; and [He told them] not to wear [d]two tunics. 10 And He told them, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 Any place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, [e]shake the dust off the soles of your feet as a testimony against them [breaking all ties with them because they rejected My message].” 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.

The Seventy Sent Out – Luke 10:1-12 AMP

10 Now after this the Lord appointed [a]seventy others, and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every city and place where He was about to go. 2 He was saying to them, “The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few. Therefore, [prayerfully] ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; listen carefully: I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not carry a money belt, a provision bag, or [extra] sandals; and do not [b]greet anyone along the way [who would delay you]. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘[c]Peace [that is, a blessing of well-being and prosperity, the favor of God] to this house.’ 6 And if anyone of peace is there [someone who is sweet-spirited and hospitable], your [blessing of] peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not move from house to house. 8 Whenever you go into a city and they welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 and heal those in it who are sick [authenticating your message], and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you [breaking all ties]; yet understand this, that the kingdom of God has come near [and you rejected it].’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable in that day [of judgment] for Sodom than for that city.

Your assignment is to bring visitors to this December’s Sunday meetings. You have eight opportunities in December to invite and bring along people you know and people you don’t know to listen to the most powerful love story ever told.  Four Sundays plus Christmas day service (No night meeting on 27th December)

You have three weapons, Specific invites, General invites and witnessing tracts.

You have the power of the Holy Spirit. Now all you need is the boldness and excitement to begin your assignment. The old spy movies used to say at this point, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it is…” But we cannot say that because you accepted the mission a long time ago when you gave your life to Christ.

Let’s see what happened when the disciples went out on their first mission.

The Joyous Results – Luke 10:17-22 AMP

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like [a flash of] lightning. 19 Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on [d]serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

21 In that very hour He was overjoyed and rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and He said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things [relating to salvation] from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants [the childlike and untaught]. Yes, Father, for this way was [Your gracious will and choice, and was] well-pleasing in Your sight. 22 All things have been transferred and turned over to Me by My Father and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.”

Imagine Jesus being overjoyed as you fulfil your mission?

Here are your key ignition point tools, the phrases you can use to bring people to church for Christmas.

  1. “Will you come over to my place for Christmas”
  2. Can I pray for you? (At the time when they speak about a difficulty they have)
  3. You like love stories?
  4. Have you ever been to a church where very new person received a gift?

The time for your release has come. You are full of the Holy Spirit. Believe for God to move when you pray for people. Ask for miracles, and expect great things.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What do you believe your assignment is?
  2. Do you know about the power you have from the Holy Spirit?
  3. Everyone feels afraid when they begin, so how will you overcome that?
  4. Have you got the materials for making an invitation? (Church invites, tracts etc)
  5. Will you come back next meeting and share what happened when you invited people to the Christmas services?

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Heroes of Faith Middle

The theme this month is Heroes of the Faith. We all need heroes. People, both men and women, who inspire us and show us the way so we can be great for God. This world needs you to be a hero to others. Your life is already inspiring and there is room for more. This month we want to inspire you with stories from God’s word and also from contemporary leaders who have overcome obstacles and achieved greatness with their lives so that you can feel that strength on the inside of your heart to rise up and overcome and do great things using your faith. Today being Father’s Day we want to inspire our fathers and celebrate heroes among us.

Everyone has a father, but not everyone has a hero. A hero is someone, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. My Dad was only around for the first seven years of my life. He passed away very young as a result of a heart condition. In terms of being a hero, what I love about my dad is that he was a home handyman type of guy and he had a workshop. When he died it became my workshop! I became a home handyman kind of guy too. My greatest achievement was building our own home in 1989 in Brisbane. Watch this Hero Dad video with me for a moment.

I hope your dad was your hero; but if he wasn’t, I hope you had a hero who inspired you to be great. Today I want to inspire every male in the place to be a hero for their kids and also for someone else’s kids. My youngest son encouraged me recently. He is the assistant pastor at the Liberty INC church in Epping. The church was showing a men’s ministry video called Wild at Heart and lots of men shared about their lives and the things they had to overcome, often because of a father who was absent or violent or abusive. My son said, “I felt I couldn’t relate to these stories because all through my childhood I can’t remember one time of being abused, neglected or being unloved. Thanks for being a good dad to me.” One day someone is going to come to you and say thanks for being my hero. Are you ready to make the changes so that will happen?

You’re a hero when you choose to follow Jesus Christ.

In a day when it’s not cool or popular to follow Jesus (was it ever?) for a man to stand up for Christ and be counted in the face of ridicule, persecution or violence; if you make a stand for Jesus and cheerfully and boldly proclaim your faith, you are an inspiration to many young people. It’s not easy to follow Jesus and seeing you do it with joy and showing how you accept the consequences with courage and expect God to bless you for it is heroic. Talk about the time you had to make your stand and how you felt. Share the story because they will be there too if they haven’t already. There’s a lot to be said for sitting at the dinner table and telling those stories as father or grandfather.

You’re a hero when you love your wife unconditionally.

When you love your wife, you’re showing a great example of love for your kids and for others. It’s seeing the example that teaches the best. In this world there are a lot of messed up people. So often the cause is absent or bad behaving dads. When a messed up person becomes a father themselves, they haven’t got a role model to go by. They don’t know how to love unconditionally or how to parent with courage, and so the cycle begins again and this time it’s compounded. When a man decides to break the mould and act out the values that they didn’t experience – they are a hero. When I marry people as a wedding celebrant, I see the sparkle in their eyes. That passion of love and devotion that makes that day so special. Later it’s tested and the culture of this world says, “It didn’t work, move on, find someone else.” God calls us husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the church. That’s a self-sacrificing love. When you decide you’re not living for yourself but for others and it starts with your wife and kids then you’re showing Christ-like love and kids will the better for it. For every man there are temptations to live for yourself. There’s temptations to be unfaithful, temptations to avoid responsibility, temptations to live selfish. But every time there is someone watching. Someone will be impacted when we behave badly.

You’re a hero when you banish violence from your life.

A real man never commits, condones or remains silent about violence against women. There is so much aggression in our society and some men feel that you’re not a man if you don’t use your fists to make your point.  But real men have self-control, they don’t act out the violence they see in video games and movies, they figured out that world is different from their world. You’re a hero if you show your kids and others that your frustrations and troubles have non violent solutions. If you’re all worked up and have to let off steam – do a hundred push-ups, or go for a run. Take the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.  Never fall for the new age, pop culture, neo-psychology statement that smacking kids is violence. If you love your kids, then as they are growing up a smack is delivering your child from a future that has a lot more pain than the small smack just delivered. Make sure you never discipline in anger.

You’re a hero when you live and teach servanthood.

The me generation failed. The decade of greed delivered pain. Even the ungodly world system now champions volunteerism, crowd funding and making a difference for others. You’re a hero when you volunteer at church, serve your community, mow your neighbour’s lawn, give generously to others. There’s so many in need in this world and we can live with the attitude that we can life better for others no matter how much we have or what we have been through. The courage that faith adds is powerful. Luke 6:35-36 (MSG) “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

Guys we need you to stand up, be a hero for your kids and for other kids. We need you to live this big life of loving and serving others. It’s not easy, but if you follow Jesus wholeheartedly you can do it with strength and courage. It’s not a weight to say that someone is counting on you – it’s a privilege. Leadership begins with the everyday man like you and me as we make great decisions in each day to follow Jesus; to live without fear. 1 Corinthians 11:1(NLT)  And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Maybe your father was not your hero, but is there something you can thank him for?
  2. If you find it hard to relate to your natural father, does that make it hard to relate to your heavenly father?
  3. If you hold any resentment against your natural father can you make a decision to forgive him?
  4. Do you think of yourself as a hero for others to learn from?
  5. How does your life/behaviour affect others?

 

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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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SHARING FAITH # 1PM  Share your faith 1

Share your faith – don’t ever be afraid!

When I was a very new Christian, one of the first experiences I had was joining our youth street witnessing team. What a great experience that was! First we learned what the gospel was, and why we needed to share with people about the love of Jesus. We learned that all men had sinned and that the wages of sin is death, Hell is really bad and awaits every person who has not decided to follow Jesus. We learned about how the Holy Spirit is within us and how His power changes lives when we share the love of God. Then off we went into the city to share God’s love. For many years the youth group ran a coffee shop in the city in an underground location. We would go out into the street share our faith with people, and then invite them down into the coffee shop for a free coffee. We saw hundreds of people saved over many years.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Not long after I became a Christian when I was studying at Uni I would ride the bus to Uni every day. Each day I would feel the prompting of the Lord to speak to anyone and everyone about Jesus, but I was so scared. My heart would be beating so hard in my chest I wondered if someone else could hear it! I put it off for weeks but finally I summed up the courage to say to a young man I was sitting next to, “Hi I’m Craig and would love to share with you about Jesus!” To which he replied, “Oh wow. I’m a Christian too, that’s great!”

I was so relived not to be rejected, but disappointed that I still hadn’t witnessed my faith to anyone. Was God just showing me, don’t be afraid it’s not that scary?

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

At university I joined the Christian group and pretty soon I was leading it because they were not too excited about Jesus and I certainly was. It helps when you are full of the Holy Spirit. So we would arrange for the team to go out witnessing once a week at lunchtimes on the Uni campus. We would give out tracts and share with people. One time we ran a coffee shop at Uni in O week and one young man received Christ who is now the INC Pastor at Mt. Barker in the Adelaide hills.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Another time in O week we showed an awesome surfing movie that was produced by a Christian film group and it contained cracking footage of surfing huge waves and also contained an interview with different surfers who shared their story about following Jesus. At the end of the movie I jumped up and preached in the theatre to about 400 young Uni hopefuls about how Jesus had changed my life! Some walked out, some stayed and a couple lingered to ask more about Jesus.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

That kind of outreach was what we now call bait and switch. You offer something that looks wild, cool, exciting and appealing and then at the end you pull out the gospel. It’s not wrong, but some people may feel tricked. It’s not as effective as love and serve the people you want to reach like we do in Red Frogs.  Actually Jesus pulled a kind of Bait and Switch every day when He fed the five thousand and then healed lots of people which is pretty attractive then began to preach saying, “Unless you believe you shall all likewise perish.”  Listen to this…. Every kind of evangelism is valid. There are an infinite number of ways to reach lost people, just go out and do it!

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Here’s what Red frogs do today. At schoolies the people who are volunteers, look after year 12 students who are bent on drinking themselves into oblivion at the Gold Coast. The Red Frogs team surround them with care, look after them and bring a safety net under their crazy antics so that this generation can survive the schoolies mayhem. In and through that process they get to share the gospel with people who are ready to listen. Lots of young people receive Christ every year.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

One good friend of mine, Brian, was doing life tough before he was saved and he called the church office to ask for help. Suicidal and drug affected, he came to Christ and was deeply impacted. He went well for a while and later slipped back into old habits and ways. A couple of years later I saw him in the city, drunk, sitting on the footpath and swigging on a bottle of beer. I went over to him and told him we loved him and asked if we could help him. Later when he came through in Jesus to a very powerful life lived for God he told me, “You remember that night you found me on the street drunk? Well I was going to smash that beer bottle over your head, but something stopped me.”

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

Ask you friend beside you right now, “What would stop you sharing your faith?”

Not long after that when Brian was going great for God, we had the youth street witnessing team in the city and we were singing on the streets in the city mall. From behind us came a spray of water, which turned out to be beer. Another man who was drunk was spraying his beer bottle contents over the Christian singers and when we approached him he was swearing a lot, and very angry. Just then two plain clothes police arrested him and took him away. It seemed like a non-event. However later when Brian caught up with this man that was arrested, he knew him and he found out that the reason he was drunk and so mad at Christians was that his three year old son had just died. He was heartbroken and angry at God. Brian knew Jesus now and reached into his heart and showed him God’s great love and that man gave his heart to Christ

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

You can share you faith with strangers on the street, as I have done by street preaching, or you can share your faith with your friends and neighbours by serving and loving. Both are valid and important. By loving and serving our neighbour Albert we led a man to Christ, who was former bikie and was dying of liver failure in hospital.

Share your faith. Don’t ever be afraid.

When Jesus said, Matthew 28:19 (AMP)

19 Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It means we have a job to do. Do not think of it as “I should do this, I should do that.” It’s time to believe, so pray like this, “God open doors for me to share my faith with the people you select to bring across my path.” Let your witnessing be led by the Spirit. BUT, be ready to obey when He shows you – “that’s the one.” You need faith to share your faith.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Please discuss the full meaning of Acts 1:8 in your group.

2. If you ever felt like it was a duty to share your faith, what should you do?

3. Tell some stories about times when you have shared your faith.

4. What’s your testimony? – Your story of how you met Jesus and how you know He’s real?

5.  Practice sharing your testimonies in the group.

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SALVATION FAITH  #2am  faith blocks

PERSPECTIVE

This year we are sharing the theme of faith, and this month the theme is on faith for salvation. The most important subject on earth.

And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 AMP)

Jesus really is the only way to heaven.

MY STORY

My salvation. I was brought up without any religious experience. Neither of my parents were believers or attended church. While in university, I witnessed a church outreach where Christians sang and witnessed their faith and a preacher shared a gospel message. When one of the group came over to me to speak about their faith and invited me to church, I considered the invitation and went along, encouraged by a friend who also attended this church.

At the church I was very surprised by what I witnessed, seeing miracles, healings, and testimonies of lives changed from alcohol addiction, drug addiction and broken marriage.  I did not accept Christ at that time but I went home and began to think about what I had experienced.  Over the next few days I considered the message and began to pray to God asking Him to show himself to me if He were real.  It was a interesting week. The following Sunday I went back to the church and made a decision to accept Christ. Right away I knew something supernatural had happened to me.

The witness at uni. – light comes. When you hear the gospel, you are hearing truth and the knowledge received is light.  Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life. (John 8:12 AMP)

Attend church – knowledge comes. Hearing again the message of the gospel makes the light even brighter, the call more clear. All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. (Matthew 11:27 AMP)

Thinking it through – assent.  There comes a point where we have opportunity to respond and then a person makes a choice to agree or not that I must be saved.  But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name–[Isa. 56:5.] (John 1:12 AMP)

Going to Church a second time and responding to an invitation – Trust –  The decision to agree and then respond to the gospel if followed by placing ones trust in Jesus Christ. Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all]. (Luke 18:17 AMP)

Salvation comes through faith alone, and the simple process of how it works is knowledge, assent, then trust. There must be a knowledge of ones need for salvation and also of the offer of pardon granted through Jesus Christ. Secondly there must be assent, you agree that you need Jesus. You agree that you are lost without hope. After that there is a decision to trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation.

Repentance, a word that simply means to change your mind, and faith are two sides of the one coin. It’s not important to analyse which comes first or if there is any time factor involved at all; however at the time when one is saved faith is enabled by God, faith to believe the promise of salvation. Repentance is granted by God to change ones mind. That means to turn to Christ and to turn away from the old way of life. Repentance is a whole sale change of heart and means humility acknowledging that you were previously lost and were in enmity with God.

Faith isn’t hope. Faith is knowledge spiritually acquired and comes by way of revelation.

One doesn’t simply hope that by believing in God and attending church that God will accept you when you die. That is a vain hope. It’s religion really. Faith is a knowledge that you have got it! You have an assurance that you have Christ on the inside, you already are a child of the living God and you are adopted into the family of God.

TENETS OF FAITH

Tenets of faith means the important statements that express what we believe about these important topics.

  1. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus Christ, the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as He died a substitutionary death for all mankind and not by any works a man can do.
  2. All mankind is in need of salvation
  3. Only through Jesus Christ can a person obtain salvation.
  4. Salvation is available to all who turn to Christ calling on His name.
  5. God is sovereign in His choosing of who will be saved and this is known as predestination.

THE STORY OF ABRAHAM

Reading Gen 12:1-4

12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,  and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

Abraham was called. God communicated to him and asked him to do something in obedience.

GOD CALLS US – IT MAYBE IN OUR YOUTH OR LATER IN LIFE. IT’S A CALL TO GO; TO OBEY HIM.

A journey began, this part of Abraham’s life was a challenge and a promise. The challenge to go, obey and trust, and a promise of blessing and also to be part of Gods great plan to bless the whole earth with His salvation.

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU – THERE’S SOMETHING TO LEAVE AND YOU ARE CALLED TO TRUST AND ALSO THERE IS PROMISE OF BLESSING AND ALSO TO BE PART OF HIS GREAT PLAN. THE GOSPEL TO GO TO THE WHOLE EARTH.

Abraham began the Journey with no clear picture of where he would end up.

THE SAME FOR US.

While he began in faith, there was mixture in Abraham’s life, fear, lying, trying to accomplish Gods will in his own way etc.

THE FAITH JOURNEY IS NOT WITHOUT UPS AND DOWNS. WE SOMETIMES FAIL AND TAKE BACKWARD STEPS. BUT GOD IS PLEASED WITH FAITH AND HE WILL WORK WITHIN YOU TO ENCOURAGE INSPIRE AND ENABLE YOU TO WALK IN FAITH. YOU WILL GRADUALLY TRANSITION FROM TRUSTING IN YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN WAYS TO TRUSTING IN GOD COMPLETELY.

Initially Abraham experienced blessings even before God gave him his own son.

ALONG THE WAY IN OUR JOURNEY WE EXPERIENCE ANSWERS TO PRAYER AND GODS PROVISION TO TEACH US HE IS TRUSTWORTHY.

In Gen 15:1 God reveals Himself in a new way, as El Shaddai the all sufficient one.

Abraham immediately asks for the impossible. – a son.

It’s a big ask but God says yes and promises even bigger, not just a son but nations shall come out of you!

Right then Abraham has knowledge of Gods ability, he gives assent to His will and trusts that God will do as He has promised. Abraham believes God and God accounts to him righteousness.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR FAITH, IS PLEASED WITH FAITH, AND IS PASSIONATE ABOUT JOINING US INTO HIS PLAN.

HOW DO I KNOW I’M SAVED?

There’s been a life change.

A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. (Matthew 7:18 AMP)

There’s fruit of repentance in your life.

Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with [your] repentance [that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin]. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up descendants for Abraham. (Luke 3:8 AMP)

You have an assurance that you belong to Him and you’re going there.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Have some members of the group share the story of how they came to be a Christian – your testimony.

2. Can anyone identify the steps of their salvation as knowledge, assent, trust?

3. What was your experience in terms of how you life changed after committing your life to Christ.

4. Now that you are a Christian, how do you feel about being part of His plan and purpose?

5. How can you share His plan for salvation to others?

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