Aug 4, 2014

Think Spot 4 August 2014

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Think Spot - 4th August 2014

Is the Church Failing Single Parents? God’s plan is for a man and a woman to meet, marry, have kids and stay together “till death do we part”. That is God’s plan, and that is the best plan. For many reasons this model works best. Studies show that children thrive better in a loving home where Mommy and Daddy are committed to each other. Life (which we all know is not easy) is easier when there are 2 parents to share the load of parenting. As Christians we have been called by God, by our Lord, to set the example, to show the world that marriages can last 50+ years and be blessed and joyful, be full of romance and fun.

 It doesn’t always happen. We live in a culture where divorce is rampant. We live in a time when women get pregnant before they get married. There are a lot of single moms out there, a lot of single dads too. The singleness happens for a variety of reasons, each single parent has a story. Maybe the mom was raped. Maybe the dad is a widower. Maybe Mom did everything right, she was married and then Dad for whatever reason, abandoned his family. Maybe they are a military family and Mom or Dad was transferred and then deployed right away, so all you see is 1 parent bringing the kid(s) to church.

What is the church doing to reach out to single parents? To make us feel just as welcome, just as loved, just as valuable as everyone else? Sadly, not nearly enough.

Too often the single parent is judged. The single parent feels like he/she is walking around with a scarlet letter. We are the lower class of the church. We see the looks, we hear the whispers, we strive to fit in, but we don’t. We don’t go to the couples classes, but we are parents so we don’t feel like we fit in with the childless singles. Finding the right Sunday School class is hard!

Then, there is service. We sit there alone, surrounded by families. We are doing our best to teach our kids to sit quietly and be proper worshipers during service and before Children’s Church. What do we do when our toddler needs to use the rest room? Do we make the others come with us (and disrupt everyone around us as we get up), or leave them? Logistics are hard when there is just 1 parent and multiple young kids.

We’d love to come to mid week Bible studies, but our budget is TIGHT and affording a sitter is a luxury.

There are easy fixes the church could do to be the church to single parents.

Be friendly! Don’t judge. I know it is hard to give up judging, to let God do that. Take the time to get to know us. Ask us our story. Chances are we haven’t had many people take the time to listen. If you do you will probably find out we are not harlots. Even if we did choose to have sex outside of marriage and we have a child that does not give you a right to judge & treat us differently. You sin too! Jesus went to the cross for you too. This is the biggest thing the church needs to do. LOVE US!

Have a Sunday School class for parents or even for single parents. Meet our needs. We want to grow in our relationship with Jesus. We want our kids to grow up to love Jesus, to serve Him and have compassion for others. To do that, we need to have our spiritual needs met, we need to be fed. We need a safe place where we can share our lives with others. That is what Sunday School should be.

If you offer mid week services or Bible studies, offer free child care. There may be married couples that need this as well as the single parents.

Celebrate the single parent. They doing something that is very hard for married couples, and single parents are doing it alone. We love our kids, but our job is often without praise. We are hesitant about Mother’s/Father’s Day. We feel weird buying something for ourselves, so take our kids and help them! Buy Mom pizza once in awhile, and have a picnic with her. Take Dad and the kids fishing.

The Church exists to show Jesus to world, to lift up and encourage Believers. We each have a personal journey. We made the attempt and we are at church. Now, it is up to each member to be lift each other up. To look beyond the situation and see the soul, see what Jesus sees and love as Jesus loves. Every member (single, married, whatever) needs to feel loved, welcomed and at home in church.

Let’s do better for our single parents, let’s be their safe, loving, helpful place. Let’s end the judgment and be Jesus to them. Single parents should look forward to church, to the chance to be loved, to worship freely, to be fed and encouraged.

How is your church doing? How are YOU doing?

Love,
Jessie

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Jul 28, 2014

Think Spot 28 July 2014

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Think Spot - 28th July 2014

Revelation 22:12-13 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Do you believe this? Do you really believe this? If you do, then how are you doing at telling and showing others the gospel of grace of Jesus Christ?

~

I was in London recently. A busy place! But I did notice something. The only people I saw doing any kind of outreach, were members of the Jehovah Witnesses cult. They do it out of slavish obedience to the Jehovah Witnesses Governing body. It is not out of love for others as we as Christians are to! But… Where were the Christians? For sure they were operating the foodbanks, looking after the homeless and others in need. Practical evangelism and outreach – and rightly so. But where was the verbal witness of Christians? We are commanded to go and tell – so evangelism is not just looking after the physical needs of people but also telling them verbally. Two days in London and we didn’t see one Christian evangelising. Where I live in the UK, I have lived in our current location 4 years and not once have I been presented with the Gospel. Why? I would suggest apathy. A sense of loss of urgency in the UK church today.

~

As the church, God’s representative body, here on earth, we have a mission. The church is all those who call Jesus Lord and let Him be master over there life. We have a mission. Our mission is to tell other people about a God of love and that this God of love wants people to come into a relationship of love with Him. God is a missionary God! The Father sent the Son on a mission! The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit on a mission! We are to emulate the God we claim to love, by being on a mission to tell others about this amazing God of love who wants all people to be in relationship with Himself. If you don’t tell that person, who will? They may not get another opportunity to hear! The church as a whole, particularly in the West, seems to have lost its sense of urgency to tell and show others this missionary God of love.

~

Why urgency? Because Jesus, who is the Lord of the Christian and Lord of the Church, is coming back again. Coming back to gather to Himself all those who are engaged in a loving and dynamic relationship with Himself. Coming back soon. Could be today! Could be tomorrow, this week, this month, this year, this decade, this century! Nobody knows! But Jesus is coming back. Be ready for when He does and I hope there is at least one other person there because you took a risk and told somebody about Jesus.

~

As the church, as Christians, we have this message of life, and yet so often we neglect to take the opportunities to tell and show others. When was the last time you said to somebody “God loves you. Will you love Him back?” We are, by all means possible, to get this message out. Go. Tell. Show. The Gospel. GodLuvsYou.com Go into this week and tell at least one person somewhere & somehow about God’s love. Thank you.

~

O Father God, I pray that this week, each of us will do all we can to tell and show the Good news of your Son. Enable us through your Holy Ghost who lives within us, to see the opportunities to tell others that you love them and want them to be in relationship with you, O Loving God! Help us through the power and wisdom of the Holy Ghost to tell about the love mission done by your Son two thousand years ago. I ask this O God my Father, through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have a relationship with you. Amen

~

Thanks for listening! Come back every day to Partakers where you will find resources to help you live the Christian life where you are.

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Jul 21, 2014

Think Spot 21 July 2014

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Think Spot - 21st July 2014

G'day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 21st July 2014!

God's love in the Bible is seen as unfailing, everlasting, intimate, sacrificial, unbreakable, all-conquering, personal, great, immeasurable and all-knowing. This is seen supremely in the Cross of Jesus Christ, when He died for the sins of the world. Supreme love overcoming all that is not love. Even when great acts of evil are committed in the world, love is all around. Love continues despite such acts.

How are Christians to respond to this love of God?

The apostle John writes in 1 John 4v15-16 - If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Our motivation as Christians is to love and to be love. This is a love, which is sacrificial and self-less. It is tough love which is of service to other people.

Loving and serving others, are the primary ways of showing you love God! It is easiest to love your friends. But Jesus commanded that his followers also love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)! Now that is very radical and can be difficult! We see constantly in the media and elsewhere, that regards our enemies, we are to be confrontational or at best to just ignore them!

Love and serve everyone

How is it possible to love our enemies? It is only with the help of God and His abundant grace towards us! We depend on the Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians to empower and guide! To only love those who love you is what is expected by people everywhere as normal behaviour. But as a Christian, you are to do more! You are to be seen to love more than other people. You don't have to like others as friends, but you do have to love them as fellow human beings!

Go!

Go into this week, being prepared to show your love of Jesus Christ, remaining close to Him and serving other people generously with abundant grace-filled love!  By loving and serving others, you become God's arms and legs in a physical world.  One of the greatest limitations you face in loving and serving other people is a severe lack of imagination! So as you go into this week, ask God to expand your imagination to love and serve; as well as asking for the opportunities to do them. Loving and serving are hallmarks of an authentic Christian life.  Love continues even amidst chaos and turmoil all around. Go and be part of the continuing of love.  Thank you.

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Jul 14, 2014

Think Spot 14 July 2014

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Think Spot 14 July 2014


G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

~

We have the start of a new week! Its Monday! If you are a Christian, Jesus Christ 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 following 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. Those areas of your life which God calls sinful, but you call it your right, your nature, just the way you are. God wants all of you for Himself! You can hand all things over to Him and if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you, it will be done much easier and with less struggle than if you try to do it in your own strength! Go into this new week, determined to be living for God in all facets of life, and then you will be salt and light for God in your community.

~

Father, I pray that You would help us to trust in You and that You would help us to love You and others more fully, handing over to you those areas of our life which we are keeping our hands on! I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

~

Listen to and/or download the mp3 file below to hear this short podcast to help you into this new week!



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Jul 7, 2014

Think Spot 7 July 2014

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Think Spot 7 July 2014

G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

We have the start of a new week! Its Monday! How and in what circumstances are you going to be trusting God this week? How did Jesus Christ trust in the Father? Jesus knew that the Father was going to bring Him back to life after his death on the cross. Jesus trusted the Father in this area of His life, just as he did in all aspects of his life. How are you doing? Do you have concerns and areas of your life where you need an assurance that God the Father will help you?

Here are some simple steps which may help you maintain a trust in God.

  • Pray, casting all anxiety on God. He cares for you because you are His personal concern (The great apostle Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends wrote this in 1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”)

  • Accept and thank God that His peace has filled that area (Another great apostle, Paul, wrote this in Philippians 4:7 says “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”)
  • Learn to be content whatever your circumstances are, resting in God (Paul goes on in Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”)
  • Allow the Spirit to control your mind for life and peace (and again from the pen of the apostle Paul, this time in Romans 8:6 “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”)
  • Trust God to fulfil your every need (Matthew records these words of Jesus in Matthew 6:32-33 “but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” )
  • Obey and follow God's commands to love God and love others (Jesus is recorded in Matthew 22:37-40 “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”)
  • Finally, be prepared to be obedient to the Father, in supplying the needs of others you meet and therefore showing you love God and other people! One way to show you are trusting and loving God is to be the answer to the prayers of somebody else and showing that love to them! Ask God to show you, how you can help somebody else in need this week and showing your love.

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing God is worthy of your trust! God will take care of you, but not always in the way you expect! Expect Him to allow circumstances and situations to arise where you are to trust Him fully! He will help you if you ask! After all, He knows you better than anybody! And don’t be afraid to help somebody else because by doing that, you show you are loving and trusting in God!

Father, I pray that You would help us to trust in You and that You would supply our needs, calm our concerns and help us to love You and others more fully. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen


Listen to and/or download the mp3 file below to hear this short podcast to help you into this new week!



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Jun 30, 2014

Think Spot 30 June 2014

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Think Spot 30 June 2014


This week I ask how you are heeding the words of Jesus and issue a challenge to you about loving others! Come hear how you can make a difference in the world - not in your own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit!

The apostle John writes in 1 John 3:16-18 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

He continues in 1 John 4:15-16

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."


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Jun 23, 2014

Think Spot 23 June 2014

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Think Spot 23 June 2014

G’day and welcome to Partakers Think Spot on Monday 23rd June 2014.

This week I ask how you are heeding the words of Jesus and issue another challenge to you! Come hear how you can make a difference in the world - not in your own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Listen to and/or download the mp3 file below to hear this short podcast to help you into this new week!

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Jun 16, 2014

Think Spot 16 June 2014

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Think Spot 16 June 2014

G’day and welcome to Partakers Think Spot on Monday 16th June 2014.

This week I ask 3 questions to help you to continue serving God in every aspect of your life – this week and beyond - online and offline!


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Jun 9, 2014

Think Spot 9 June 2014

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Think Spot 9 June 2014

Today to help you into the new week, we hear about London, painted nails, high heels, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims and the Gospel! Listen to the Podcast to find out how they fit together!


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Jun 2, 2014

Think Spot 2014 06 02

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Think Spot 2 June 2014

Today to help you into the new we look at being radical! How radical? Listen to the Podcast to find out!

Mark 12:28-31: "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one” answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.""


1 John 4:20 “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”


Listen to and/or download the mp3 file to hear this challenge to the Church in the 21st century! It will help you into this new week and see your Christ-light shining out!

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