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Posts Tagged ‘GOD’

We all probably know the verse from Hebrews 13 v 8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever”. God does not change and the gospel message does not change. God is still in the business of changing lives.

However, society has changed over our lifetimes and is still changing at an ever-increasing rate. The way we communicate the gospel has to change so it is relevant in our time.

Another well-known verse John 3 v16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life”.

Notice who the invitation is to …’the world’. That’s you and me and everyone else on this planet. So who should be offered salvation? Everyone.

We find interesting examples of unlikely people welcomed by God in both the Old and New Testament. Here are a few:

Ruth – a Moabite woman (Moab were longstanding enemies of Israel) Ruth 1 v1-4

Rahab – a prostitute living in Jericho – Joshua 2, 6 v22-25

A Roman centurion whose servant was healed by Jesus – Matthew 8 v5-13

A Samaritan woman – John 4 v1-42

Is anyone so bad, lost, lonely, addicted, abused, confused with identity…..that they are outside the love of God and His desire to rescue them from darkness to light? From death to life? NO!

When God saves us, He takes us as we are. However, He sees our potential to be more than we are and He loves us too much to leave us as we are.

Here’s the challenge – As we welcome new Christians into the kingdom, do we make them aware that life changes are expected by God? How much of this do we tell them before they commit? What happens when God expects them to change at a slower pace than we think is appropriate?  What happens when someone who has a substance abuse issue is unable to maintain abstinence?  What happens when a serial philanderer is unable to stop flirting? (We will explore this further in the next blog.)

The changes come with God’s help (and ours) and with LOVE as the motive. We the church, are all on a journey together, not one is perfect. Let’s support one and prayer for one another on the way

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Life is changing at a rapid pace and seems more complicated than it used to. People are fragile, many are broken and realising that they are broken, are seeking help and answers. Some are coming to church, needing wholeness, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and restoration. Salvation through the cross of Jesus is the starting point and God works the rest out over time.

When broken people come to our churches (a high number into our smaller churches), what do they find? What kind of welcome do they receive?

Men and women, young people and children are bringing their live issues to God and to us, many of which we may not be familiar with or have experience of. How do we react?

We in the church must of course, acknowledge that we are all broken in some way or another. We all have issues that we need God to fix. Some are obvious from the outside but God sees the hidden inside issues too. It’s not a new problem, Paul wrote to churches about their issues…

Colossians 3 v5-10

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behaviour, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 12 v20-21

For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarrelling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behaviour. (NLT)

Has God highlighted any of these for you today? Bring it to Him today.

Hallelujah that God is still in the business of changing lives and the words of the song below are true.

‘In Your Kingdom, broken lives are made new. You make all things new.’ (Praise is rising by Paul Baloche https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAaQ5EEXidc)

Praise His name! No-one is outside His love

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When visiting a church recently, I was powerfully reminded again by the word about God’s love for mankind in general (how Jesus came to earth, a radical and extreme action by God to bring us back into a relationship with Him) and Christians in particular.

We all live lives which are a mixture of highs and lows and plateaus. The mountain top experiences of God are awesome – to celebrate with great joy, to be overwhelmed by love and bubbling over with the gospel.

Most of our lives, to be honest, are walking along the plateau, in a daily routine where we know His reassuring presence, to hear His voice in the everyday stuff of life and faithfulness to His word.

However, there are those valley moments that seem dark and you wonder where God is. Valleys are often a place of battle, isolation, no sun, no warmth. BUT it is in the valley where the most fertile soil is. It is a place of growth, a place where we have to rely on God because we are at the end of ourselves.  In Psalm 23, it speaks of walking through the valley, but with no fear and knowing Gods protection. We are not to stay in the valley, to set up camp and stay there, we are to walk through and out the other side. We need to keep moving, we are on a pilgrimage with heaven as our goal.

Enjoy God on the mountain, but depend on Him in the valley.

I commend this song to you – Walking around these walls (Do it Again) by Elevation Worship (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU)

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Bible in 50 words

I came across this recently and thought it was pretty good at summing up the Bible. I wonder which words you would choose? Try it out!

God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split

Joseph ruled, Jacob fooled, Bush talked, Moses balked

Pharaoh plagued, People walked, Sea divided, Tablets guided

Promise landed, Saul freaked, David peaked, Prophets warned

Jesus born, God walked, Love talked, Anger crucified, Hope died

Love rose, Spirit flamed, Word spread, God remained.

Anon.

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Many people look at how many people come to church and judge the ‘success’ on that. But church is not about numbers – it’s about health. Healthy things grow, unhealthy things wither and die.

How do we measure health? Here is one idea.

A TRIANGLE that has 3 equal sides – UP, IN and OUT.

Matt 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. (UP) Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (OUT) Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. (IN) And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (UP)

UP – relate to God – worship, prayer, reading the Bible, listening, obeying, relying on God John 3 v16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

IN – relate to God’s people in the church – meet, share life, love, support, use gifts & talents, serve, study, eat, laugh together, meet with other churches, joint projects

OUT – relate to the world – reach out, love, talk, serve, be friends, share the good news of Jesus

How many people do you come into contact within a week? Quite a number probably. Who is God calling you to speak to, serve, be a friend to?

HEALTH equals the 3 in balance – The triangle is one with 3 sides – all affect each other

Micah 6:8 The Lord has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: To act justly (OUT), and to love mercy (IN), and to walk humbly with God (UP)

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At a recent conference on prophetic preaching, there were many golden nuggets which I will work on, but a phrase that jumped out was:

“The preparation of the messenger is as crucial as the preparation of the message”

This may sound obvious, but do we practice this? A recent survey found that about 20% of the ministers questioned don’t have a regular pattern of Bible reading, never mind study. The speaker at the conference said he spends roughly 10-12 hours a week preparing his sermon, asking ‘What is it Lord that you want to say to the church this week?’ and delving into the scriptures.

Preaching is imparting truth – we are heralds delivering a message on behalf of someone else (God), so we have to be sure it’s His message and not ours. We not only need a prophetic edge to our preaching, but be teaching in such a way that the hearers understand and it enriches their lives.

In these days of issues, conflicts and tragedy, the church needs to have a voice. We need to be looking at these events in the light of scripture and, as Rev Malcom Duncan says ‘wrestle with scripture until scripture wins.’ The church needs the tools to be able to answer the big questions that are asked of us.

This means we have to know the Bible, listen to God daily and be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

2 Tim 3:16-17 – Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. AMP

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Praying on your own is a vital and healthy habit. However, it is important to pray with other Christians. Why? Well…

  1. We follow the example of scripture
  2. It increases our faith
  3. God delights in unity
  4. We are enriched by our different understanding and practices of prayer
  5. It helps us to better discern God’s will
  6. It draws more people into becoming the answer to our prayers
  7. We encourage other people to pray

“The prayer meeting is the powerhouse of the church” – how is your church doing? It is interesting that people turn out for all sorts of events and activities in all weathers yet the prayer meeting is often the gathering with the lowest numbers. Surely this is the place where we together hear God’s direction and purpose for our activity?

Image result for prayer image

A few verses to ponder…

1 Peter 4:7-8 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. NLT

Acts 1:14 They (the disciples) all met together and were constantly united in prayer NLT

John 15:7-8 But if you remain in me (Jesus) and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! NLT

(With thanks to Chris Band, author of ‘On our Knees’)

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