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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples return to Jerusalem as instructed to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit and pray. They would need power for the task ahead.

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. (Acts 1 v12-14 NLT)

Here we read who was there at the prayer meeting. All 11 disciples are named (Judas is noteably absent). The great encouragement here is to note that Mary, the mother of Jesus is here, alongside his brothers (James, Joseph, Judas and Simon). This is a huge turnaround as we read earlier:

Mark 3 v21 The family say Jesus is out of his mind

John 7 v5 The family do not believe in Him

But now, after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension, here they are among this small band of believers.

We too may have family members that are resistant to the gospel, perhaps thinking that you too have lost your mind! You may have prayed for their salvation for years. You may have witnessed to them, living your life in a way that reflects Jesus and still they resist.

Be encouraged by these verses. Even those who were closest to Jesus were hostile towards Him, and now they believe. They were meeting together, praying together and standing shoulder to shoulder in unity.

Don’t give up praying for your family and friends but place them daily into God’s hands.

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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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Think back – how old were you when you came to faith in Jesus? I was 16.

Charles Spurgeon was 15, William Booth was 15, George Whitfield was 16, C T Studd was 16,             D L Moody was 18 and Billy Graham was 17.

Jesus was in his early 30’s and most of the disciples were aged between mid teens and early 20’s! The first youth group…they went on to turn the world upside down.

It is generally thought that the best age to be a youth leader is 20-25. The older brother or sister approach. But in Gavin Calver’s book ‘Disappointed with Jesus?’ he tells of a survey of about 200 young people asking what type of youth leaders/mentors would they like. Over 85% of them said a parent or grandparent figure! Wow! The church is full of them!

A few years ago I was told this story of a chapel in Wales who started a Youth Club where most of their youth workers were over 70! They had 16 active members, all retired. Three teenagers walked in one January to get out of the cold. They got such a good welcome that they came again.

After a month or so, the YP asked for a youth club. The local Head of Youth For Christ in the area who lived a couple of villages away agreed to run it for the chapel on condition that they helped.      2 members were present each time to welcome the children and do the refreshments, though they have been known to join in quieter games. The first volunteer to help was Beryl who was 98! The youth club needed a budget. Chapel cash-flow was a bit tight so they used the old Sunday school account which was sitting doing nothing and the members also each gave £1 a week into the youth club fund. The YFC leader later suggested that they start giving less as the money was coming in faster than she could spend it. The average youth club attendance was 6.  The youngsters then asked for cooking lessons so that they could throw a Christmas party for the old people who help run the youth club for them.

There is something dynamic in the amazing combination of the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of age.

Who are you mentoring?

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I am currently reading ’Explore’ daily bible notes from ‘The Good Book Company’. I’d like to share the opening days describing one way to check on your spiritual health as the new year begins.

They ask the following questions:

  1. Are you in love with Jesus? (Revelation 2 v1-7, 1 Corinthians 13 v4-7)
  2. Are you grateful for the cross? (1 Timothy 1 v15, Mark 15 v1-39)
  3. Are you excited about your eternal life? (Romans 8 v18-25)
  4. Are you committed to God’s people? (John 15 v9-15, Romans 12 v9-16)
  5. Are you pursuing godliness? (2 Peter 1 v1-8)

Another good question is to ask ‘How healthy is my church spiritually?’ Colossians 3 v5-17 has some pointers on how this may work in practice.

Make a point of encouraging each other regularly, sending notes of thanks to build one another up. Stand shoulder to shoulder as you journey together through this new year.

May you thrive in the new adventure God has for you in 2017.

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Let your Light Shine

In Matthew 5, Jesus was talking about believers as being salt and light.

Light is the source of all life (Gen 1 v1-3) we need light to help us to see, to make plants grow etc. We have our natural body clock, to be awake in the light and asleep in the dark. In believers, its God’s light that shines, not ours.

In John 9 v 4-5 Jesus said “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. Now he is not physically here, we are the light of the world. He described John the Baptiser like “a lamp, burning and shining” (John 5 v35). We need to let people see Jesus shining through us, keep your oil topped up!

Jesus said don’t hide your light – let it shine.

How can we hide our light?

  1. Being quiet when we should speak
  2. Going along with the crowd
  3. Denying the light
  4. Letting sin dim our light
  5. Ignoring the needs of others

The world is full of darkness, we need to shine in dark places. We used to be living in the dark, now we are in the light. That’s good news to share!

Ephesians 5 v 8-10 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

We need to fulfil our job description of salt and light – Stop talking about it, show it! Be aware that people are watching you shine (or not!). Let us reflect Jesus, we are ambassadors

Edgar A Guest wrote this (part) poem:
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are those who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Happy Christmas!

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