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Archive for the 'WOW Word' Category

WOW Word 51 - Justification

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WOW Word 51 - Justification

 

Today, Alphy the WOWChurch cat shares with us about Justification - what it is, what it is not, who, why, where? Come see and hear Alphy the WOWChurch Cat explain more!!

 

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)

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WOW Word 64 - Government

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Living Water

the WOW Word Government!

 

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In the UK, when we have a General Election, that is where people vote for their political representatives. After all the votes are counted there will be a government elected! This of course, is not unique to the UK! All people all over the world live under some from of leadership or government.  That government may be democratically elected, a monarchy or even an oppressive dictatorship. 

Whatever kind of government we find ourselves with, we have one!  If there was not a government in place, as hard as it is to imagine, total chaos would reign and people would just do whatever pleases them, regardless of consequences and regardless of other people.  Therefore, regardless of whatever government we live under, what does the Bible say should be our reaction and attitude to the government. 

By government, I mean all levels of government and authority - from local authority to federal government. 

But first of all, lets look at what the Bible has to say about the function of human government, before going on to look at our responsibility to Government and our community.

The Function of Human Government

Paul writing in Romans 13 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour."

Here Paul indicates that there are at least three functions of a human government: protection, punishment and promotion.

  • Protection: From the moment Adam sinned, it was plainly obvious that human civilizations would need some form of restraint and law, in order to protect their citizens - form themselves and others.  We see this clearly in Acts 21, where the Roman soldiers step in to save Paul from being killed by other people in Jerusalem. 
  • Punishment: Paul stipulates that duly appointed government officials and servants are to be considered as servants of God (even if they don't believe in God!) 
  • Promotion: Human government, as thought by Paul, was to promote the broad-spectrum welfare of all the community and not just select groups, where its laws are in effect.

 

Christian Response to Human Government

 

Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 writes: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,"

The Apostle Peter goes further when writing in 1 Peter 2v13-17 "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king."

From these passages of Scripture we see that it is clearly impossible to be simultaneously a solid Christian and a poor citizen.  As Christians we have responsibilities to our government.

  • Firstly we have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge that God ordains the Government. We see that from Paul's writing in Romans 13 and Paul was writing when the Emperor Nero was in power and systematically persecuting and torturing Christians!  We also see this thinking in the passage from 1 Peter. There is no authority except as given by God.  Even to the most sadistic, dictatorial or atheist governments - they have power only because God has allowed them.  So we are to obey our government!  But it is not to be slavish obedience regardless of what laws are decreed! No!   The exception to this is where obedience to the Government would require the Christian to actively or passively disobey God.  For we read in Acts 4v18-20 that the believer is to live in obedience to God rather than man.
  • Secondly, as much as we probably hate to, we are commanded to pay taxes to the government!  For by doing so, the government can set about ensuring, for example, that the weaker and more vulnerable sections of the community are cared for and protected!
  • Thirdly, and quite possibly, most importantly, Christians are to pray for their leaders, governments and those in authority!  Both Peter and Paul command and recommend it!  To pray for them is to love them and it is also a way for God to shine into the lives of people.  One of the things we are to pray for, is that the government governs righteously, honourably, honestly and with integrity. The Christian, as a citizen, is free to be law-abiding, conscious that they are under submission to Almighty God. It also means giving respect to all members of society from the lowest to the highest!  As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to our Government and be living lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ. This may indeed win some for God, win the recognition of their government as well as influencing Government policy and law.  Whatever government you find yourself under, pray for your leaders even if you thoroughly disagree with some or all of their actions.  They are in power, only because our God has allowed them.  They will answer to Him one day for what they have done with the power given to them by God alone.  God is in control, and He is on the ultimate throne and is the definitive power!

 

Community Responsibility

But just as we have responsibility to our Government, we also have a responsibility for those in our community - both local and global.  We are also to work for social justice and be involved in social action - that's part of our loving of other people.  The oppression and persecution of people is to be anathema to us as Christians, just as it is to our God!  Where a minority is maltreated and discriminated we should be at the forefront of demanding justice for all!  We are to be promoting civil rights and using all aspects of the law to do so.  We are to be working to ensure the poorest members of our community, both local and global, are cared for and the oppressed freed! In your country, this could mean peaceful demonstrations and interacting with your political representatives! 

Look at some of the great reformers or social activists of the past: Wilberforce helping to abolish slavery; or Martin Luther King Jr. at the forefront of ending segregation and racism.  May each one of us, on both a local and international scale, play some small part in ending prejudice, suffering, racism, poverty, bigotry, abuse, oppression and other injustices. 

As John Stott once said: "The reason for our acceptance of social responsibility... is simple uncomplicated compassion.  Love has no need to justify itself. It merely expresses itself in service wherever it sees need."

As Jesus of Nazareth once said: "Love God and love other people."

Some questions to help your thinking!

    1. In what way can I influence and encourage my government to promote justice, free the oppressed and take care of the poor?
    2. How can I help my government authorities to protect, punish and promote?
    3. When was the last time I actively prayed for those in authority over me, whether Christian or secular? Thank you.

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WOW Word 12 - Disciple

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word - Disciple

 

Today Alphie talks about being a disciple of Jesus Christ!

Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

 

What is a Disciple? How are you doing at being an active disciple or follower of Jesus Christ some 2000 years after he said those words? Come and listen to hear answers to these questions and more.

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WOW Word 61 - Worship

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Worship


I wonder what you think worship is! Is your view of worship too small? Worship is giving God alone (Psalm 19:2), the glory due His name in the beauty of His holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29), with reverence. “Yes, ascribe to the Lord! The glory due his name! Bring an offering and come before him; Worship the Lord when clothed with holiness!”

Worship is where through the use of the mind and the senses, honour and respect are directed towards God, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24)! Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’

Worshipping in Spirit involves the whole person – mind, body and will. Worshipping in truth means that all true worship reflects God’s character.

The Christian Church has 2000 years of worship resources, all of which can be used in modern Church services, and not just the latest songs! Worship in a church service should be an intimate, dynamic and holy encounter with God. How often does that happen in your church today? (Silence!)

Why worship?

Firstly, we worship God because God commands it! 1 Chronicles 16:29 reminds us “Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour”. God deserves worshipping for He alone personifies goodness (Psalm 100:4-5), mercy (Exodus 4:31), holiness (Psalm 99:5,9) and power (Revelation 4:11).

God is to be worshipped in obedience to Him as creator (Revelation 4:11), Saviour and Lord (Habakkuk 3:18). Worship brings exuberant satisfaction (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:24). When was the last time you had worship like that!!

Worship is more!

Worshipping with others in a church is worship! But it is only part of worship, and certainly not the full meaning of worship! Worship is to include obedience and submission to God! Does that surprise you? Worship is not just on the Sunday, or individual acts during the rest of the week! Worship for the Christian is to be in an active dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking a life of total obedience and submission to Him.

True worship of the living God involves total obedience to His ways and not just singing songs. For the ancient Israelites, sacrifices were an innate part of their life and worship structure. Yet as Samuel said: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) What he is saying is that God prefers life obedience rather than acts of worship.

Obedience and submission to God is true worship of Him! By seeking to obey Him and submit your life to Him, that is true worship of Him. Worship is to be to God alone! Yet sometimes preachers and other church leaders are raised to an unhealthy status of reverence which is unbiblical. It is as if they are being worshipped, rather than God, to whom you are exhorted to obey and submit to.

So lets go! Go obey and submit your life to God and make your whole life an act of worship to Him!

 

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WOW Word 07 - Partaker

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Partake

Today's WOW Word is 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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WOW Word 36 - Prayer of Dave

Today's WOW Word is about a Prayer of King David from 1 Chronicles 29:10-20  Together we find out some keys about prayer from King David - Israel's greatest King and known as a man after God's own heart! Meee-WOW!!

 

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WOW Word 03 - Peace

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WOW Word

Peace

The world we live in, wants peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. God's peace, however, comes regardless of circumstances. Peace Definition: 'Shalom' was the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament. It means a wholeness of well-being & mind; the total absence of conflict and turmoil evidenced by an untroubled mind and a heart that does not fear! It is total harmony with God, man, circumstances & self. That is true peace!

 

History of Peace

The end of peace was when Adam sinned and fellowship was broken with God and between humans. God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23). and the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9v6). As a Christian Disciples, you have peace with God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! There are three scopes of peace.

Peace with God

As a Christian Disciple, you have peace with God because you are justified by faith. This peace gives you access into God's grace and blessings (Romans 5:1-2). Jesus Christ is your bridge of peace between God & yourself. Jesus is also the peace between other people and you, and all hostility has been removed (Romans 2:13-18).

Peace with Others

You are to live at peace with everyone and not to be proud or vengeful (Romans 12vv17-20). You are to do what is right in the eyes of other people and exhibit positive goodness. You are to make every effort to do what leads to peace & mutual edification Romans 14:13-19, and not place stumbling blocks in front of others!

Peace within

As a Christian Disciple, you have the gift of peace with God, from the God of peace (Philippians 4:4-9) given to you by Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace! (John 14:27). You are to be a peacemaker, by having internal peace, this shows the fruit of the Spirit. When faced with troubled times & a troubled world, you can have peace through an untroubled, unfearful heart & mind (John 16:33).

How do you gain peace within?

As you live a life in obedience to Jesus, you bear the fruit of righteousness, which is peace, quietness and confidence (Isaiah 32:17). A mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of peace gives a life of peace and total trust in God! (Isaiah 26:3; Romans 8:6). Lastly, when you are content whatever the situation , this enables the peace of God to guard your heart & mind (Philippians 4:11-12). Go, and be at peace with God, others and yourself!

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WOW Word - Forgiveness

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Forgiveness

True forgiveness is not just saying sorry!! Forgiveness is to include penitence and also a desire never to do that same thing again. Forgiveness of course is a major part of Christianity, both in the way that God forgives when approached in penitence and repentance, but also in the way Christians forgive others and themselves! In both giving and receiving forgiveness, consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness. Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-14 that forgiveness is part of the being in God’s family of Christians! If God forgave you for all that you have done wrong, then you also should forgive others, regardless of how difficult that might be to do. Nobody said it would always be easy though! Forgiveness enables you to have the same openness toward the person after they offend you, as you did before the event – if not more! When you truly forgive the person who has wronged you, any hurt you have will diminish.

Receiving and Giving Forgiveness

But why do we need to both receive and give forgiveness? Apart from being commanded to, a vast number of emotional and psychological problems are caused by failure to either give or to receive forgiveness.

  • There is a failure to receive forgiveness. Many people try to pay for their sin by trying to punish themselves for they're past sins. These people should let go, because God has forgiven them, just as they asked!
  • There is a failure to give forgiveness. When forgiveness is not offered to a person who has done you wrong, bitterness, resentment and anger may spring up in your life. There are parents who hurt; siblings who fail; and close friends who betray and reject. Yet forgive is the command, and it can only be done as the Holy Spirit and His power is relied upon.

By receiving and giving forgiveness, you will find an ability to love God more and love others more openly. Don’t let bitter unforgiveness destroy you and others, but rather let love & forgiveness build and strengthen.

God and Forgiveness

God’s ultimate concern is your holiness and not just your happiness, as you are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ! God is concerned not just about what is happening to you, but also what you are learning and how you are responding in His workshop of life, as you are being transformed. This involves both giving and receiving forgiveness.

Tests to see if there is someone I need to forgive:

  • Resentment test - Is there anyone you resent?
  • Responsibility test - Do you find yourself thinking, "If only this other person or persons had done this, things would have been different!" and therefore blaming others?
  • Reminder/reaction test - Do you find yourself reacting negatively against a person because they remind you of someone else?

    To discover more about the WOW Word, Forgiveness, download the mp3 using the links.

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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?

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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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Spiritual Armor

 

Today Alphy has a special guest, the Reverend Sammy!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV)

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To help His people resist satan and to fight spiritual warfare, God has designed spiritual armor for Christians to wear during our constant battle with temptation, sin & also with the evil one. That’s what the Apostle Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 6! This armour is what God wears according to Isaiah 59:17, when He goes out to battle! The hallmarks of this Armor are: Truth, Righteousness, Gospel, Faith, Salvation, the Scriptures and Prayer.

To discover more about the Spiritual Armor, download the mp3 using the links below.
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