Archive for the 'WOW Word' Category

WOW Word 23 - Giving

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Giving

 

A story - King's Cross to Caledonian Road. And what happened when...

Time, possessions and money

Giving is seemingly one of the three forbidden subjects for Christians to discuss in the 21st century! The other two being sex and power. Jesus talked about all three often!

Every person has in differing quantities: time, talent, possessions and money. In relationship to giving, the Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members. This applies not only to the local church, but also at a national and international level as well.

Too often, even as Christian Disciples we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our world and local communities. Too often we keep our time and talents selfishly to ourselves instead of giving them to others in need.

Spiritual Growth Indicator

Perhaps the greatest indicator of spiritual growth in the Christian Disciple concerns their giving – particularly financial giving. Paul writing to the Corinthians commands that giving is to be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). WOW! For the Christian Disciple, it is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive and attitude behind the giving. All of our money, time, talents and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this. Giving is to be done out of love for God. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 16:2 a three-point system for giving financially: regularly, methodically and proportionately.

Failure to give back to God's work what He has given the Christian Disciple in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3:8). The reason it robs is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. As a result of giving, the Christian Disciple will be blessed (Malachi 3:10) and have their needs satisfied (Philippians 4:19).

Old Testament
In the Old Testament, Widows were important to God, because justice is important to God as He is a God of perfect justice and consummate mercy. In the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses, God commanded provision for those who were widows, oppressed or uncared for.

The 12 Apostles would have known about God caring for the widows and through Jesus’ teaching about justice for the poor and the oppressed. We know this because if you read the Book of Acts, people were selling and sharing possessions and ensuring that all people within the Christian community were being looked after and cared for. This included making sure that everyone got fed, particularly those who had no family to care for them. And it was not just for those within the church – but from the wider community!

New Testament
The New Testament church made sure that financial giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of. People working fulltime for the Lord, were given recompense by others for their efforts. People gave. Paul in Romans 12:6-8 places giving as a spiritual gift! I wonder how many people have asked specifically for that particular gift. Perhaps it’s the least asked for gift; after all it isn’t one of the supposedly spectacular ones!

You and I
How are you doing? How is your giving of your time, your talents, your possessions and your money on a local, national and international level? The get out clause for a lot of Christians is that it would not be good stewardship to give to that person or that cause. Or they say the passages in the book of Acts are only descriptive of that particular time and have no relevance for us today.
Each of us has in varying quantities: time, talents, possessions and money. How is your giving of those to others doing? God gave everything so that you and I may have life and life in abundance. So by giving generously of your time, your talents, your possessions and your finances, you are reflecting that. Just as God gave and gives generously, and gave His Son as a ransom for sin. If you have run out of ideas about how to give what you have, ask God to show you and give you some creative ideas! Go live! Go give!

How’s that for a WOW word?

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WOW Word 18 - Goal

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The Goal Of Being A Christian

Our WOW Word today is Goal! As in the goal of being a disciple of Jesus Christ!

I wonder what you think the goal of being a Disciple of Jesus Christ is to be. Is it just a means to get to heaven? Maybe it is praying a lot? Perhaps it is reading and memorizing the whole Bible? Doing lots of evangelism or doing lots of work for the church? As admirable as those things are, they are not what is to be the goal for those who claim to be Disciples of Jesus Christ. The ultimate goal for any Christian Disciple is to be found in these verses from 1 John 2:3-6 - “We know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

According to the Apostle John, the goal of being a Christian Disciple is to walk and live as Jesus did and to follow the commands of Jesus. That doesn’t mean walking around in sandals, wearing white clothes and traversing the terrain where Jesus Himself walked. The Apostle John means that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to be radical, holy and living lives worthy of that of Jesus.

How can we be radical and holy?

04 Jean Calvin said that “Denying oneself and relying on God for all things is the goal of the Christian life.” This can only be attained by total submission to the Holy Spirit and a life of constantly “dealing with God” in all matters. That is how Christian Disciples are to be radical, holy and endeavouring to reach the goal of being Jesus to others! This is done by a constant renewing of the mind (Ephesians 4:23) and having a heart willing to be transformed. It is by loving others in such a way, that the end of a Disciple’s generosity is only when the resources have expired.

A Christian Disciple is to live and walk as Jesus did. There is no better way for a Disciple to fulfil this goal, than by imitating Jesus and obeying his command from Luke 9:23 to “…take up their cross daily and follow me.” This is seen as a higher challenge for the mind! Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented that “Discipleship of Jesus Christ, leads to death for all who follow Christ; either as a physical death or in being ostracized from the wider community.”

For the first century Christians, just as in some parts of today’s world, persecution and martyrdom were, and are, reality. A biblical example is that of Stephen recorded for us in Acts 7. Yet it also means enduring suffering, for this is how a Christian Disciple maintains a “communion with Christ”. For it is through suffering, that we share with the crucified Jesus. The bitterness of our cross is made sweeter, the more we dwell on the sufferings of Jesus and our enabled fellowship with Him.

As Christian Disciples, we are linked together in a Christian community through rebirth, and our relationship exists only through our relationship with Christ. There is no such thing as an individual member of the radical Christian community. Members are to be interdependent upon one another, bound by a corporate and inclusive personality. The church community is to be dynamic by nature, and individualism is not coherent with New Testament teaching. Remember these words, the world will know we are God’s possession and people, if we exhibit and demonstrate love toward one another. How about that for being radical and holy? That is the goal for the Christian Disciple. We as Christians have a goal to be radical and holy. We are to be obedient to Jesus in loving God and loving others - including those who are our enemies. How can we do and be that? If we try that in our own strength we will fail. It is only through the power, strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, that you can do this! How is that for a WOW Word?

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WOW Word 47 - Holiness

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Holiness

I wonder what the biggest fence, wall or barrier is that you have either seen or that you know about! Perhaps one of the biggest walls in the world is the Great Wall of China. It is seen from space and is over 4000 miles long, about 25 feet high and up to 30 feet thick! It is huge and enormous!! It was built to keep out invaders – for that is what walls and barriers do: Keep out enemies!

Holy Barrier

However big the Great Wall of China is, there is one barrier that is even bigger! I wonder if you know what it is!! The biggest barrier to exist is the one, which separates God from all His creation. This barrier is holiness, for God is a holy God. Ezekiel 1:27-28 gives us a vivid picture of the holiness of God and is seen in the fire, light, radiance, full of glory and majesty.

What is holiness?

Holiness is what separates God from all His creation. For God alone is holy and full of glory. Exodus 15:2 “Who is like you, O God, glorious in holiness!” Or Isaiah 60:25 “To whom will you liken me, or shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Holiness is also a moral attribute of God, of purity and freedom from the stain of ALL sin. Habakkuk 1:13 “of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon sin. Holiness is still more than that! It is in fact the sum of all His attributes! God is holiness and holiness is God!

Holy People:

Perfect holiness, while to us is inconceivable, has been revealed; revealed in the sinless man, Jesus Christ. As a Christian, you also are declared holy! That is because of what Jesus did on the cross… He has broken down the barrier between God and man. And if you are a Christian, you are declared holy, and therefore you are to live a holy life worthy of Jesus Christ.! As a Christian, the Holy Spirit is transforming you into the very image of the holy one, Jesus Christ. As a Christian, you are no longer an enemy of God but a friend of God and belong to God! So live out your faith and live your Christian Discipleship in holiness.

 

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WOW Word 46 - Faith

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Faith

People always say that faith is blind! However the Bible says that faith is a total confidence in God’s faithfulness, which leads to reliance, trust and total obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6). We see this faith in the Godly obedience of those around us and from the Bible and church history.

Faith in Salvation

For salvation, faith is a voluntary change of mind and heart in the sinner in which the person turns to God, relying on and accepting His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.

  1. Mind - recognition of your need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on your behalf and your need of forgiveness.
  2. Emotional (Heart) – your personal assent to the gospel. You ask yourself, “What must I do to be saved?” and then you agree to make salvation a part of your life.
  3. Will - Personal trust in Jesus Christ.

Now as a follower of Jesus, you are to continue having faith in Him. Four things at least you are to have faith in Him for:

By faith - He is praying for you

Jesus Christ is making intercessions for His followers (Romans 8:34). He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows your troubles now. He feels your cares and knows what you are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).

By faith - He will come to you

Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned. However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him. Jesus always comes to you through difficult times, although He may not come in the time you think He should come, because He knows when you need Him most.

By faith - He will help you grow

When the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33), the purpose of this incident was to show that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. Peter wrote later on in his life, “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12).

By faith, He will see you through

At the same event, Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him. This must have encouraged the other disciples, for upon seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles you are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus will see you through.

By faith, you have salvation. By faith Jesus is praying, will come to you, grow you and help you through troubles. By being obedient to God, you are showing others your salvation and showing that faith, is not blind, but active!

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Partake!

Today's WOW Word is Partake! So come see and hear what Alfie the WOWChurch Cat has to say about the Christian being a Partaker! To partake, or to be a partaker of something, can mean at least three things!

  1. having the qualities or attributes of something
  2. having, giving or receiving something
  3. to consume

Jesus Christ was a Partaker! Did you know that? He was a Partaker, in so much as that when He became human, He adorned human flesh and blood! WOW!

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word - Growing as a Christian

 

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Today Alfie talks about the WOW Word - Growing!

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Galatians 5:16-26 - "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

What is the response of a Christian to be to these words of Jesus?

Let Alphy the WOWChurch cat explain to you!

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