google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2011 October

Archive for October 2011

Think Spot

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Think Spot

31st October 2011

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G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 31st of October 2011.

As part of our living as followers of Jesus, here is something which has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.

Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew 12:36-37 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Jesus took words and thoughts extremely seriously! Jesus' words encouraged others gently towards paths of right living.  He spoke words of love, kindness, rebuke, forgiveness, encouragement and blessing upon and to others! Jesus is to be our guide and Master in the use of thoughts and words.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder! Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage! Improper attitudes, words and thoughts can lead you and I to sin if we don't stop their destructive use quickly! May the words we communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus - "full of grace".  How is your WOW factor of Jesus now?

When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and be committed to only Him. Jesus calls you and I, to love God and be totally committed to Him.

Here is a brief prayer to help us into the new week.

Father, help us this week to be totally committed to you in all aspects of our lives. May those we live with, work with and interact with, know we are your child by the words we speak. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Friday Prayers

28 October 2011!

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Order of Service!

G'day and welcome to Partakers Friday Prayers on the 7th of October, 2011.

1. Milly (USA) - Welcome

2. Jeanette (Australia) - Opening prayer

3. Eugene (UK) - Prayer for unemployed

4. Sharon (USA) - Prayers for imprisoned

5. James (UK) - Prayers for healing (Kathy, Chrissie, Denise, Hannah, Claire, Joy, Donna), comfort (family of Doug) and guidance (Charlene, Hannah and Donna)

6. Lorraine (UK) - Prayers for aftermath of Turkish Earthquake.

7. Jeanette (Australia) - Closing Prayer

8. Milly (USA) - Bye!

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Worship Wednesday

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G'day! Welcome to Partakers Wednesday Worship on the 26th of October 2011.

Order of Service

Song: Father God, We Come

Father God, we come with confidence through faith. Father God, we stand before your throne of grace. We can only come, stand before your throne, because Christ has made the way; shed his precious blood as our sacrifice, so we offer you our praise.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! The way is open to the Father, hallelujah!

Father God, we come, invited to draw near. Father God, we stand before you without fear. We are welcomed in, to your presence, Lord, as the Spirit leads the way. We will join with Christ, we will join with heav'n,

as we offer you our praise. Father God, we come, hallelujah.

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© Andy Irons / RESOUNDworship.org, Administered by The Jubilate Group 4 Thorne Park Road, Torquay TQ2 6RX, UK copyrightmanager@jubilate.co.uk

Bible readings

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Bible Talk - Dean Roberts ( www.deanroberts.net )

Prayer

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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Think Spot

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Think Spot

24th October 2011

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G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 24th of October 2011.

Jesus wants to be number one in the life of all those who choose to follow him! Jesus wants supremacy over everything in our lives, including family, friends, and possessions!! Alas, that's a cost too high for some! Within the Gospels, there is the story told of Jesus' encounter with a man, who we shall call, Basil.  Basil runs up to Jesus and wants eternal life, wants it now and asks Jesus about how to get it. He has fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus.

However when Jesus said to Basil that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth and possessions in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, Basil leaves disconsolate and shattered. The life of Basil, this rich young ruler, reflected a life of absorption with his own self-interest and self-importance!.

It was a step too far for Basil. He wanted his riches and also everlasting life, but Jesus said he couldn't have both. He remains the only person that we know of, who left Jesus' presence sorrowful, and that due to putting his trust in himself, his riches and wealth alone. Now riches, in and of themselves, are not necessarily wrong! But for Basil, well, he was not willing to make the sacrifice required to follow Jesus.  He couldn't count the cost of following Jesus- it was too high a price for him to pay!

What have you given up in and as a result of your decision to follow Jesus? Making sacrifices to follow Jesus is all part of the WOW factor of Jesus. Jesus demands His being number one and supreme over everything else in your life - yourself, family, others and material goods including money and possessions. How's your WOW Factor about Jesus now? What have you had to give up to follow Jesus Christ and make in number one in your life?

Followed by the Lord's Prayer...

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Friday Prayers

21 October 2011!

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Order of Service!

G'day and welcome to Partakers Friday Prayers on the 7th of October, 2011.

1. Welcome

2. Opening prayer

3. Time for confession

4. Prayers for churches worldwide

5. Prayers for individuals: Kathy, Chrissie, Denise, Hannah, Peter, Bruce, Joy, Ruth and Lucie

6. Time for your own petitions and prayer

7. Benediction

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The Art of Tickling

Or Using New Media in a Traditional Church

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G'day!

This session addresses the question of "How can traditional churches and those with older congregations use new media without excluding people?"

What is New Media?

Now you may well be asking what is this New Media or Social Media as it is also known. It is Websites, Blogs, Mobile Applications, Video, Audio and Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter!

At the conference, we were given the opportunities to investigate how to do those 8 things, to a greater degree of skill! This session is about putting that knowledge into practise!

To use New Media is to Tickle!

Now instead of using our question each time I want to address, I have summed it up into one word - Tickle!  Here is what Tickle stands for!

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So by the time this short series is over, hopefully we will have learnt a bit more about the art of Tickling and how to get people using it!

Why Tickle?

However, before we know how to tickle, there are two questions to answer. Our first question is why. You may well be here and not know why you should be using new media and tickle! Why do we want to know how to use New Media and include everybody?

The church of the New Testament had the 3 r's! There were seen as radical! There were seen to take risks as led by the Holy Spirit! There were seen to be relevant to their communities! How far from this has your church gone?

  • It can shows church acting as a community!
  • Gives the excluded and elderly an opportunity to know they are loved, valued and included.
  • Gives those same people, the chance to use their talents and spiritual gifts!
  • Further along those lines it gives them an opportunity to further enhance and be trained in the use of their talents and knowledge!

So that's why!

Who are the excluded?

But now a second question remains before we get to how. That question is: Who are we excluding - either deliberately or accidentally?

Here are the kinds of people, in our churches, who I think are generally excluded from participating:

  • Elderly
  • Home confined & isolated
  • Disabled
  • Homeless
  • Unemployed
  • Poor - financially and technologically
  • Disinterested and self-excluded

Me!

So what about me? How have I used and encouraged others to use New Media?

I think that everybody has some measure of talent that can be used, including those who would ordinarily be dismissed from having any input into Christian worship and thinking, such as the elderly and those we earlier identified as being from the excluded group! Now here is very brief example of this!

That was the autistic daughter of a friend of mine, who has so far blessed hundreds of people! She is very precocious! That was a way to include somebody who sadly wouldn't normally be included in majority of church services, let alone New Media.

In this case her voice was recorded, and we made a very simple video to go with it! The photographs were those of an elderly friend in Canada. So we managed to combine the both! So can you!

Here are some other examples of people I have helped, who ordinarily wouldn't use New Media.

R - retired lecturer who has written in-depth studies of the book of Luke for use in Home Groups. We are working at putting them online by way of audio and YouTube.

Jim - retired - We were able to use his writings and put them online! He hadn't a clue how to do it before hand and now he is a regular contributor on my site.

Visit an example of his work by listening to the audio player above or by clicking here:

Pauline - has a degenerative illness. We had her do some podcasting and now she regularly gives bible talks in her church as a result!

Visit an example of her work by viewing the YouTube video above or by clicking here:

We have to use people's talents, knowledge and wisdom, whatever it maybe, and whoever they maybe, and put them online using New Media!

We need to use those 8 methods: Websites, Blogs, Mobile Applications, Facebook, Twitter, Video and Audio.

Make sure they are safe! Don't disclose too much personal information about them!

Also ensure they get some measure of feedback, because that will encourage them to do more!

Things that can be put on with New Media are photography, poetry, bible talks, testimonies, hobbies, interests and short stories. We could make an impact using New Media!

Where I attend Church in the New Forest, the ladies there have amazing recipes which I am hoping to garner and put online - with photographic evidence and taste tests!  Another way we can include those who wouldn't necessarily want to be involved in New Media!

Pray!

Another idea of how to include people in this new media is to get them to pray for people you tickle and interact with online! Facebook and Twitter are rife with prayer requests from people! Take those prayer requests and sensitively get members of your church to pray! Get them interested! What a great way to include them! Do ask however the person needing prayer if you can ask others though, as some people may not want you to! You don't need to give names or even initials!

Get Beside Them!

Somebody could get beside them regularly and help them - building community! For example, they could record several podcasts or videos at one time and then distributed over a long period of time.  Or it could be once a month or whatever!

Have regular monthly spots on your church blog so that on the 5th of each month, people know who will be on!

For example, on the 5th of November Marjory shares a short poem she has written! This particular poem was recorded by George who can't get out much but has a fine strong voice still.

Somebody has taken the time to be with these two people, has taken the poem written by Marjory, had it recorded by George on a smart phone and put it online! How about that for a bit of tickling?

New Media Activity Days!

Another idea is New Media Days at your church, or churches together! You could hold a regular event, say quarterly, at your church where people can come and contribute something using New Media. For want of a better name call it a New Media Activity Day or something like that.  It would be a good way to get the younger members of the church to interact with the slightly less young members of the church! Using New Media to build and encourage the church.

Use People's skills!

The elderly, in particular, have a lot of knowledge and wisdom which can be distributed. The retired company chairman has invaluable advice she could give in regards to how the unemployed people in your church and community could do better to make them more employable.  Writing interview and application tips for example!

No Technology - No Problem!

For those without access to technology, there is the use of facilities in most libraries. Where I live, the libraries run courses for those wanting to know more about being online! Whatever the person's interest is, it can be put online!

Or how about this! Passing on older technology for people to use! We all upgrade at some point, so why not give on the obsolete technology to those who maybe able to use it! And even help them to use it!

My passion, as you may have guessed, is to help people develop themselves and use New Media to do it.  Many churches have many talented people able to do many things. Yet it seems, at least in my limited scope, that in most churches it's the few that does the most. After all, there are only a limited number of people who can prepare leading a service or deliver a bible talk. But these two things at least in part, for example, can be done within digital space using New Media. I do that for my site using Wednesday Worship and Friday prayers. Those are examples of what people can do as part of a New Media training programme within a church.

So:

Get people to pray for those you interact with using New Media!

Get those people to pray for YOU as you use and develop New Media.

Get beside people and get them using New Media!

Have regular New Media Activity Days!

We can do it!

You!

Now, you may well be here representing a large church! Go for it - you have the numbers! What is stopping you?

Or you may be here representing a small church. You can go tickling with New Media as well...

Whatever church you represent, here is a bit of a radical idea. How about getting churches to work together in some way as a New Media expression within your local community?

Use your blogs and other New Media to reach out into your local communities.

Be willing to participate in New Media activities of your community. Large numbers of local communities are represented on Facebook. Instead of starting a new page there, be willing contributors there!

Now... Here is where the rubber hits the road! Let's get practical!

Are there any examples from your own churches?  We may as well help each other out! Let's brainstorm together of how we can include those ordinarily excluded!

Go!

Let's go tickle!! Let's be determined to include as many people as we can in our social media endeavours!

Use New Media: Blogs, Video and Audio, Mobile Apps, Facebook and Twitter.

Use your local community New Media resources to reach out into your local community.

Using wisdom, get people to pray for those you interact with using New Media!

Get those people to pray for YOU as you use and develop New Media.

Get beside people and get them using New Media!

Have regular New Media Activity Days!

Let's go Tickle with New Media!

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Jesus Comes To Town!

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When Jesus Comes To Town!

Sermon based on Revelation 21 & 22

(Recorded at Bishopsdown Church, Salisbury)

Revelation 21v4 - "God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away."

The audio MP3 file for this sermon can be downloaded by right mouse clicking here.

Introduction

Today I want to do two things on our subject of heaven as given to us in Revelation 21.  Firstly I want to give a big picture view of this chapter, which gives just a snapshot of heaven - the place where God radiates His glory and Jesus is the city light, the streets are made of purest gold and where we shall serve and honour Jesus in all His glory.  Then secondly, I have picked out just 3 brief vignettes for this morning, as we contemplate together our eternal home.

The book of Revelation is the book where the bride of Jesus are consummated in marriage to Him.   It is where, we the church, the bride of Christ are finally joined with Jesus as One. In Revelation, God's programme of redemption, starting all the way back in Genesis, comes to fruition and God's holy and majestic name is vindicated before all creation.  Here Jesus is seen in all His glory, to judge the earth and to rule it with righteousness.

The writer is the Apostle John, now approaching 100 years of age and almost blind.  John was in exile on Patmos, put there by the Romans due to his effective witness for Christ.  Patmos was where the Romans banished criminals and political offenders.  There was open persecution of Christians at the time.  This is the same John, who was the apostle Jesus loved.  John saw Jesus walk on the water.  He seen and heard Jesus command a storm to cease! He saw Jesus both weeping.  He saw Jesus in righteous anger clearing the Temple courts.  He seen Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead.  He himself had been there with Jesus when Jesus had cast out demons.  He had been there when Jesus miraculously fed the 5000 with 2 loaves and 5 fish.  He had his feet washed by Jesus.  He saw Jesus transfigured.  He saw Jesus torn and bloody on the cross as Jesus died.   Three days later he ran to survey the empty tomb.  He saw Christ risen again and ascend into heaven.  And in verse 14, John reads his name written on the foundations of heaven.  As John was taken up in the Spirit (v.10) to view this majestic image, I wonder if John looked back and remembered the sufferings he had endured for the sake of Christ.  His torment at the hands of his persecutors for the sake of Christ.   I wonder if he thought to himself, "it was all worth it and no matter what I endured for the sake of the gospel and for the glory of my Lord and Master."

What is the purpose of heaven - for the eternal worship and glorification of God.  We shall serve Him (22:3).  Its inhabitants are saved (v3); satisfied (v6);  and overcomers (v7).

Panoramic vista

(v.6-7) God's people possess it!!  They are thirsty for Jesus, and drinking from the fountain of the water of life. God's people have overcome!  Overcoming doubts, trials and persecution because of their reliance upon Jesus.  God's people inherit it.  God will be their God and they will be His people.  An echo back to the time when God called the nation of Israel to Himself.  It is composed of people from all nations (v.24),p echoing again that promise God made to Abraham all those years ago about Abraham being a blessing to ALL nations.  It is a secure and promised place (v.5-6) God has said it, it will be done!!  Also nobody can enter if they don't trust and obey Jesus.  If somebody's name isn't written in the Lamb's Book of Life, they wont be entering (v.27).  Will your name be in there?

You may have noticed the frequent use of the number 12 by John.  12 is the symbol of the church - both in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, hence its unifying, continuing significance here.  The number 12 is God's choice to show completeness and perfection.  This can be seen in the 12 gates mentioned in our passage - 12 gates is enough for all!!  And for us, this leads and gives us confidence in a God who longs for all to live with Him eternally.

  • (v.12) 12 gates and 12 angels with the 12 tribes of Israel written on them.
  • (v.16) A perfect cube - 12000 furlongs high, wide and deep. That is about the same distance as Edinburgh to Rome.  It is symbolic of the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple, where the priest could only enter once a year.  This whole city is a temple, where we encounter God face to face, not just one day a year, but all the time!
  • (v.17) each wall is 144 cubits.  Twelve square is 144.
  • (v.19-20) 12 stones symbolises the 12 stones around the high priests breastplate to signify the 12 tribes of Israel.
  • (v.22-24)  God's glory radiates through the city!!  His glory, radiating in purity, to make it a sacred place so that God is accessible to all.  Jesus The Lamb is the light of the city.  There is no sun or moon.

1.  Prepared place

Jesus said (John 14:1-4)

One of the most beautiful buildings in the world is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.  It was built by a Muslim emperor in memory of his wife, of whom he had only known 19 years.  It took 20,000 workers a day and 21 years to complete.  In Britain today, it would cost about 2,200,000,000 pounds and made of the purest marble sitting on a red sandstone base and adorned with precious jewels.  Now if a pagan Indian prince can make this beautiful building for somebody he had known for only 19 years, how much more beautiful than that, is our new home going to be.  Jesus has been working on it almost 2000 years to this point in time!!   Heaven is a beautiful place, prepared for you and me, to live forever and ever!

At the moment, I live in Christchurch and my wife temporary lives in our London flat. But when I get home to London, I know I am expected and loved.  She has my favourite meal prepared.  The heater on.  Everything I like, that makes it a home is done for me, by her!  The first week I was showered with balloons and all manner of things, because I was expected and she loves me!!

When we got married ten years ago, we had a wedding here in England and 3 days later she flew to her home country to prepare for our wedding there, which was to be 6 weeks later.  I had no idea what was going to happen when I flew there for the wedding.  But, when I landed there, every detail was prepared and ready.

Similarly, when we go home, Jesus has prepared a place for those of us who love Him, trust Him and obey Him.  Jesus is waiting for us!  He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us.  We know He loves us now, but that is only in part.  When we are with Him eternally, we shall have the full picture of Jesus.  He is with us now in Spirit, but then we shall be with Him physically. Heaven is a prepared place of extraordinary beauty.  John tries to portray it for us, building up layer upon layer of words, just as painters paint a picture.  Laying on the colour, as they paint until finally the painting is finished.

2.  Purity (v.4)

We all suffer in some way.  For myself in the recent past, I have suffered with a brain haemorrhage.  I went to bed on a Saturday evening and woke up in intensive care on a Tuesday afternoon.  I have lost three days, I will never regain.  I continue to take medication for blood pressure and  hypothyroidism in the morning and in the evening I take anti-convulsants.  With the medication, come all manner of side effects.   I find it difficult doing certain activities.  In childhood, I had to overcome the suffering of childhood asthma that almost took my life several times.  Sometimes my entire body aches and groans in protest at my actions.  We suffer, don't we.  My father suffered for years under a misdiagnosis when the doctors originally thought he had emphysema, before they found out too late that it was actually a hiatus hernia, where the stomach acid comes back up and enters the lungs and burns them internally.  My mother suffers with arthritis and hyperthyroidism.  We suffer don't we? One day soon, we will have perfect bodies and full health.  We only have to look at the news on TV or read the papers to see global suffering. There will be no more terrorism, missiles, guns, wars or bombs.  No more will man's inhumanity to man be allowed.  No more torture, rapes, muggings or robberies.  No more poverty or famine.  No more religion, idols or icons.  No more gossip, fornication, adultery, lying or debauchery.  No more cowardice.  No more pain.  No more death.  No more suffering. No more sin.

Suffering of any kind leaves some sort of scar or mark.  Do you have scars?  Physical, emotional or mental scars due to sickness, somebody else sinning against you or as a result of your own sins?  Scars come as a result of human life.  Much like a house that has been lived in.  Scratches in the paintwork.  Dents and knocks in the wood.  Our human bodies are the same, yet...  Yet, one day they will be gone!! Vanished!!  A pure body you will have!! And I will have! No need for annoying spectacles.  There will be no Specsavers or Stannah stair-lifts in heaven!!  No more wheelchairs.  No more walking sticks or frames.  No more hearing-aids.  No more braces.  No more doctors or dentists!! Perfection attained and it is to the glory of God and His majestic doing, that this will occur.  Do you believe it? Do you live it?

Are you suffering today from sickness?  Are you suffering today because of somebody else??  Well one day, one glorious day, all suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him.  Read with me verse 4, "God will wipe away our tears.  There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away." Take that verse to heart.  What a glorious day it will be for those of us who love Him now.  God Himself, wiping away our tears...  It will be a place where we will live the fruit of the spirit for eternity.  A place where "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are permanent and universal." (Gal.5:22-23).  What a day, that will be!!  We will enter those gates, thanking Jesus, looking back at how we suffered.  Not only medically, but also for His sake and saying with John "It was worth it all.  The sufferings I endured  and overcame for the sake of Jesus, was all worth it, so as to be here eternally."

3.  Pearly gates (v.21)

Heaven is prepared and pure.  Do you know how a pearl is formed?  When an oyster gets an irritating grain of sand within its shell, it covers it over with layers of mother-of-pearl until the irritation and the suffering is no longer felt.  Now what could the suffering have been with these giant pearls that are the gates (v21)?  I think they are to remind us of the cross and the suffering and pain that Jesus endured.  People denigrate the cross.  I have had people say that "the cross doesn't matter and your religion is as good as my religion thank you very much.  Because all religions lead to heaven, don't they?".  However the very gates of heaven tells us that  is wrong.  It tells us that it is only through the cross, that we get to pass through the gates to enjoy heaven in worship and service of God.  Only through the pain, the agony and the suffering that Jesus endured, culminating in His crying "My God! My God!  Why have You forsaken me?"  God Himself has suffered for us, so that we may enjoy His company forever and ever, if we only trust and obey Him now and placed our faith in Him while we are here.  We know in part now, but then we will know in full.

This makes the sins that we commit while we are here on earth trying to follow Him, even more serious.  Sometimes we take a rather blasé attitude to sin.  We excuse it as only a little sin and it doesn't really matter.  Each time we sin as believers, it is as if we are spitting in the very face of Jesus.  Our desire should be, to be Jesus and to be like Him.  I long to be perfect.  When I make a mistake and sin, I cry out in frustration to be perfect now!  However, I also know that God is taking off my rough edges to continue making me purer, more like His Son Jesus, each day under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.

I won't be entering heaven because I am Australian.  Although I consider that a very close second.  You won't even be able to claim your entry into heaven by showing your passport that shows you are a British citizen, let alone a member of the European community.  Even more surprising to some across the Atlantic I am sure, is that if you are American, your passport wont even let you in!! No, we can only enter heaven, our new home, through the cross.  When we first decided for Jesus and turned over our lives to him, that is when our eternal life with Him commenced.

Conclusion

Be encouraged, heaven is for you if you are trusting and obeying Jesus and have him as Lord of your life!  Are you suffering?  Suffering will soon be gone.  When you sin against God, keep a short account and ask for forgiveness as soon as you recognise that you have sinned and the Holy Spirit has convicted you of it.  We long to be with Him for ever and ever.  We are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth.  We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use.  Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound that we are not tied to Jesus in our eternal home.  Go tell somebody.  Won't you go tell somebody this week, this message.  Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this town, this county, this nation and this world to enter through one of those twelve gates!  Go and share this good news with somebody this very week.

What now can we say?  Chapter 22.  (v.14, 17) - Trust Him! (v.8-9, 15) Live a life worthy of Him!  (v.7, 12, 16, 20) Look for his coming! He is coming back for us soon!

I conclude with this quote from CS Lewis'  last book of the Narnia Tales - "The Last Battle" : "But the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.  And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.  But for them it was only the beginning of the real story ....which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

To which we unite with John, and say "Come Lord Jesus.  Come..." (22:20)

The sermon as a audio MP3 file, you can download by right mouse clicking here.

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DigiSem

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DigiSem - Whats it all about?

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What is Digital Space all about?

Digital Space encompasses technologies and innovations within computation, data transfer, and data-enabled devices. The most direct examples being your computer, your laptop, the internet, virtual reality and mobile phones.

Technology is increasingly being integrated into our lives. Digital Space was once more of an accessory, like a hat that we might put on from time to time. Now, it's much more pervasive. It is as if we've created a digital atmosphere that we rely on to navigate our lives. And soon, as we continue to breathe in this digital atmosphere, the Digital Space will be closer to tissue, a part of our flesh and bone.

Church needs to be there!

As the church, the Body of Christ, we need to be at the centre of this growth and being involved in Digital Space for the glory of God!  It means more than just having a website! As the church we need to be using this technology to further the Kingdom of God, if only to show we are relevant to the society and community we live in.  If the people out there won't come to us - then we can go to them! If people outside the church view the church as irrelevant, then we could become increasingly redundant, irrelevant and at best a curiosity.  Similar to how the Church would be, if as some wanted to, not use the printing press when it was first invented!

Please do vies the video below to see further what it is all about! (If the video below doesnt work for some reason, you can click here to view it on YouTtube)

If you would like more information about this seminar do contact us here at Partake! Ministires...  You could be a church or a small group of interested Christians, we would love to help you!

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Thank you!

DigiSem is copyright of Dave G Roberts 2010

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Four Portraits of Jesus

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Four Portraits of Jesus

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In the New Testament, we have four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ which are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are called Gospels. But what is a Gospel, how are the four accounts different or similar and what were the main points each writer sought to communicate.

What the Gospels are!

Firstly they are called Gospels, because they gave substance to the Gospel or Good News as described by Paul in Romans 1v16 (The Message): “this extraordinary Message of God's powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!”

We know Jesus Christ during his time on earth wrote nothing yet the stories about him were preserved and passed on by Christian teachers and evangelists. For the first thirty years or so, these stories were possibly collated and stored together. That would explain the similarity in the four accounts of Jesus’ life. They are not an exhaustive biographical detail of all that Jesus did. Similarly they are also not diaries reflecting a daily account of Jesus’ life. Rather they are selective accounts of His life, and were probably factual illustrations used by His disciples when preaching about Him. Therefore they would represent the theology of the disciples, as each story about is Jesus is told. That is why they are trustworthy accounts as well as rooting Jesus’ life in first century Judaism and the Greco-Roman world.

The first three of our Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are what are called the synoptic Gospels. This is based on their great similarity and possibly use of a common source. Mark is probably the first Gospel as it is shorter in length than Matthew or Luke and it would appear that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a guide and elaborated where required. Mark wrote none of the great discourses of Matthew, such as the Sermon on the Mount nor does Mark show the great parables that Luke recorded, such as the Good Samaritan. Surely if Mark had used either the accounts of Matthew or Luke, he would have used those two examples! Matthew is closer in similarity to Mark than Luke. Luke does share large portions of Mark and quite often verbatim, and with a greater use of the Greek language.

John on the other hand, while still telling about Jesus’ ministry, has a vastly different story content. Whereas in the synoptic Gospels Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God frequently, in the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about Himself much more often, as in the seven I AM statements. For this reason, John was probably written later than the synoptic Gospels.

Four Different Portraits

Mark

Mark presents Jesus as the Suffering Servant of the Lord, coming in fulfilment of the Old Testament. Jesus offers His credentials, gathers His disciples, offers the Kingdom of God and its message. Jesus’ teaching is seen in short parables, which hide the truth from those hardened against Him, yet prepares and instructs those responsive to Him. Overall Jesus calls those who follow him to serve others and to deny themselves by taking up their own cross, just as He took. Early tradition states that Mark’s Gospel had a connection with the Apostle Peter, and was therefore written to preserve some of Peter’s memories before his death.

Mark 8v34 - "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mark 10v45 - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Luke

Luke 1v3-4 -Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 19v10 -For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Luke presents Jesus as the God-Man, as a saviour for the entire world, writing primarily to Gentiles. He does this from a broad vantage point that is compatible with the fact that he is a Greek. Luke traces the incarnation, Christ's introduction, ministry, rejection, subsequent teaching in view of His rejection, the cross, resurrection and ascension. Even though a Gentile, Luke emphasizes the kingdom program with Israel's place in the kingdom. This Gospel is not complete in itself, but is rather the first for two parts, with the Book of Acts being the second section. Both are addressed to Theophilus (Luke 1v1-4 & Acts 1v1). The author is probably the Luke as identified by Paul as a doctor, and was one of Paul’s travelling companions (Colossians 4v14; Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4v11). The style and language use is that of a native Greek speaker.

Matthew

Matthew 16v16 - Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Matthew 28v18 -Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. "

Matthew wrote primarily to Jews who knew the Old Testament. He wrote to present Jesus as the Messiah to Israel. He also records Israel’s attitude towards Him as Messiah. Throughout this Gospel, Matthew gives us the genealogy, presentation, and the authentification of Jesus as the Christ Messiah. Matthew then shows the nation of Israel's opposition to and rejection of Jesus as the Christ followed by Jesus' rejection of Israel due to her unbelief. He then records the death and resurrection of Christ. He concludes with Christ commissioning the disciples. Throughout this Gospel is a well ordered and balanced account

John

John 1v9 & 12: The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world… Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God John 20v31 - These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John presents the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ so that mankind would believe in Him as the Son of God, Messiah, and Saviour of the world. His selective argument portrays Christ as the God-Man. John records miracles and messages that affirm the deity and humanity of Christ. John builds his record around the public ministry of Christ, the private ministry, the cross, and the resurrection.

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Who Needs Words

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Richard Littledale - Who Needs Words

Today we have a special guest who is going to introduce his latest book...

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Yusef

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LATEST: Verdict on Pastor #Nadarkhani’s case has been referred to Iran’s supreme leader. Keep praying & taking action http://www.csw.org.uk/nadarkhani

G'day and welcome to Partakers! Today, we are joining Christians from around the world today, praying for Pastor Yusef Nadarkhani being held in Lakan Prison in Rasht, Iran!

He was originally charged with apostasy by the Iranian authorities but they have actually changed the charge against Yusef to one of rape and security offences such as Zionism or spying for Israel.

Prayer for Yusef

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers and petitions concerning our brother, Yusef. May our brother know your presence with him as he is held in Lakan Prison in Rasht, Iran.  Encourage, bless and maintain him as he seeks to trust in you!

Prayers for his family and church

Be also with his wife, his children and the group of believers under his charge! We pray against the decision of the Iranian authorities and ask that from your wellspring of mercy that a reprieve would be given and his life spared! For we ask this in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, whom we have fellowship with Youcef in prison. Amen.

Prayers for Iranian Christians

Now prayers for our Christian family in Iran.  O Father, continue to embolden them with wisdom and courage. Lord Jesus, may their love of you, shine through their actions towards each other and their enemies, just as you commanded in the Written Word, the Bible.  Holy Spirit, who indwells them, endow them with peace and strength as only you can give!

Help them to trust fully in you and be wise in their dealings with the authorities.  Father, we ask these things in the name of your son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You can take action here: http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=88&ea.campaign.id=12209

You can view a letter he wrote to the group of believers he pastors. http://presenttruthmn.com/blog/iran/letter-youcef-nadarkhani/

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Friday Prayers!

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Order of Service!

G'day and welcome to Partakers Friday Prayers on the 7th of October, 2011.

1. Welcome

2. Opening prayer

3. Time for you to offer praise

4. Prayers for the world

5. Prayers for individuals: Pete, Jane, Joy, Ruth, Doug, Denise, Sandra, Sarah, Nicola and Kathy.

6. Time for your own petitions

7. Prayers for church services worldwide

8. Benediction

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