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Archive for July 2013

WOW Word 27

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WOW Word 27

Serving


The WOW Word today is Serving!

Serving God and serving other people is the mark of a spiritually mature Christian Disciple. Did you know that? For it is through serving, that the Christian Disciple reflects the greatest servant of all - Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ came to serve and to give his life for others.



Mark 10:45 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.

Philippians 2:5-8 - In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!



As followers and partakers of Jesus, Christian Disciples are to be as Jesus Christ and to serve. Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable. That is because we forget that God the Holy Spirit is within us to empower us to obediently serve God and serve others.

So why and how do we serve? Play the video to hear Alphy explain more!

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Think Spot

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Think Spot

29th July 2013

Welcome to Partakers Think Spot!

Tucked away in the ancient book of Leviticus is this command:

Leviticus 19:18 ‘“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.

Further on in the same chapter is:

Leviticus 19:33-34 ‘“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not ill-treat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

In fact the whole chapter is about loving others as you would want to be loved by others if you were in those situations. The whole law itself is about loving God and loving others.



Jesus exemplified this of course. Speaking in Matthew 5:43-45 ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

Then later on his ministry, Jesus and taught the Jewish teachers of the law about it. We read in Matthew 22:34-40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’



As Christians in the 21st century we are commanded to love.

To love God and to show we love God by loving all others – yes including those who hate us and those who mock, vilify and persecute us. Yet every day I see examples in the media, including the Christian media, of just the opposite. Christians hating on others, including other Christians. That doesn’t meant we are to condone the sinning of other Christians, but we can help lovingly restore them.

Jesus loved others and yet gently restored and guided people to go sin no more. Such as the woman caught in adultery and bought before Him in John 8.



Is it easy to love our enemies and our persecutors? No. It can be difficult. Difficult if we try to do it in our own strength. But… But if we ask the Holy Spirit who lives within us to help us love all others as we would want to be loved, then it is possible. We ask Him for help and listen to His guidance. We are to either do as He says to do or we are to not do as He says not to do.

As the church, and as individual parts of the church, we are to mirror and reflect the God we proclaim to serve and worship. God is love. God is trinity. The Father loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Perfect and matchless love for eternity. God loves humanity, hence the Son entering into the time and space of humanity and loved sacrificially.



Let’s go into this week determined to be obedient to the Holy Spirit in loving all others we meet – in our words, thoughts and actions. If those outside the Kingdom see you loving others, they will see that you love your God! How amazing is that! Ask the Holy Spirit to show you each morning, how you can love others every day. When you feel like you are going seek revenge or bear a grudge, or you are going to ill treat anybody in anyway, ask the Holy Spirit to help you not to do those things and for a way in which you can show love to that person!

That’s all for today!



Here is a brief prayer to help us to start using our words and thoughts wisely starting today.



Father, help us this week to love others as we would like to be loved. May we as your church reflect you and show our of you by loving all others... Help me Holy Spirit to show love to all others, including those who mock and scorn me. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Sunday Worship

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Open The Eyes Of My Heart, Lord

Acts 26:15-18 Then Paul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied. “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart!
I want to see You!
I want to see You!

To see You high and lifted up!
Shinin' in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

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HAHA 16

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HAHA Part 16


Debates! Decretals! Donation! Doctrinal Disputes

G’day and welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century.


Today on HAHA, we will look very briefly at debates, decretals, a donation and doctrinal disputes! All of which help to make up what makes Church History so fascinating!



Debates!


Use of images and pictures - During the 8th century, there was intense debate over the use of images and pictures to aid in worship. Pope Gregory 1 had allowed them to stimulate worship, but was very clear in that they were not to be objects of worship or adoration. However, they quickly became objects of worship and adoration, with the Eastern Church eventually allowed salutation and honorific worship of images, which in turn led to the strong use of images. This practise is still alive in the Orthodox churches today. The Roman Church however, have resisted their use.



The False Decretals


In about the year 850, documents, which we know to be decretals or papal orders, purporting to go back to the 1st century, were discovered. These documents, or Decretals, contained decisions and laws of the Roman bishop, the Pope, and designed to elevate the power of the Papacy. This was an attempt to prove the original power of the Pope and the bishops against the metropolitan and secular authorities.

These documents mainly consisted of material plagiarised from older writings, including genuine documents, and pieced together. The excerpts were freely altered, and at times concluded differently to the originals. Chiefly, these False Decretals safeguarded the privileges and choices of the bishops, because the bishops were the pillars of the Christian church. Therefore they deserved protection from the laity and other bishops. They were later found to be forgeries in the 15th century, but by that time they had already been well used by the Papacy. These were discovered to be a forgery in the 15th century by an Italian Catholic priest Lorenzo Valla.



Donation of Constantine

Part of these False Decretals was the Donation of Constantine, quite possibly the most famous of the Decretals. This forged document claimed that Constantine presented the Pope with the insignia of the Western Empire, giving him authority over all the Empire. However, there had been some doubt over their authenticity since the 11th century.



Here is an excerpt: Emperor Constantine yielded his crown, and all his royal prerogatives in the city of Rome, and in Italy, and in western parts to the Apostolic See. … The Emperor Constantine the fourth day after his baptism conferred this privilege on the Pontiff of the Roman church, that in the whole Roman world priests should regard him as their head, as judges do the king.

We-together with all our satraps, and the whole senate and my nobles, and also all the people subject to the government of glorious Rome-considered it advisable, that as the Blessed Peter is seen to have been constituted vicar of the Son of God on the earth, so the Pontiffs who are the representatives of that same chief of the apostles, should obtain from us and our empire the power of a supremacy greater than the clemency of our earthly imperial serenity is seen to have conceded to it, choosing that same chief of the apostles and his vicars to be our constant intercessors with God.



And to the extent of our earthly imperial power, we have decreed that his holy Roman church shall be honoured with veneration, and that more than our empire and earthly throne the most sacred seat of the Blessed Peter shall be gloriously exalted, we giving to it power, and dignity of glory, and vigour, and honour imperial.

The Pontiff, who at the time shall be at the head of the holy Roman church itself, shall be more exalted than, and chief over, all the priests of the whole world, and according to his judgment everything which is provided for the service of God and for the stability of the faith of Christians is to be administered.



Doctrinal Disputes

Eastern & Western Church Moves Apart - During this period there was also upheaval within the churches. The Eastern and Western churches moved even further apart during this period.

What were some of the differences between the Eastern and Western churches?



Language – Eastern church spoke Greek, and the West church therefore spoke Latin.



Theology - There was debate over the role of the Holy Spirit. The Eastern Church believed that the Holy Spirit was sent from the Father through the Son. The Western Church believed that the Holy Spirit was sent from the Father and the Son.



Transubstantiation - Paschasius Radbertus wrote a treatise in 831 'on the Body and Blood of the Lord' defining the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This was accepted as official doctrine at the Lutheran Council in 1215.

Confession
- popularised during the 8th century, and first commanded by the bishop in 763.



Priesthood - the priesthood was considerably elevated by now with the priests becoming a class of mediators between 'man and God'.



Next time we will look at the Papacy at its very height! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers, where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.

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Friday Prayers

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

26th July 2013!

We pray together and when Christians pray together, including across the internet and from different times, different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity!

Today we pray a Morning Prayer from the Syrian Clementine Liturgy. This Liturgy, which dates from the 4th century, was celebrated in Syria and throughout the Church of Antioch. It is the oldest model known in Antioch, and is a liturgy is related to the Apostle James. Come pray!


A Morning Prayer from the 4th Century Syrian Clementine Liturgy

O God,

You are the unsearchable abyss of peace,

the ineffable sea of love,

the fountain of blessings,

and the bestower of affection.

~~~~~

O God,

You who sends peace to those that receive it;

open to us this day the sea of Your love,

and water us with the plenteous streams

from the riches of Your grace.

~~~~~

Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.

Kindle in us the fire of Your love;

sow in us Your fear;

strengthen our weakness by Your power!

~~~~~

Bind us closely to You

and to each other

in one firm bond of unity;

for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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WOW Word 26

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WOW Word 26

Idolatry


Romans 1:18-25 - The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

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POD - Psalm 126

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Psalm 126


A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

1 When the Lord brought back

his exiles to Jerusalem,

it was like a dream!

2 We were filled with laughter,

and we sang for joy.

And the other nations said,

"What amazing things the Lord has done for them."

3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!

What joy!

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,

as streams renew the desert.

5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with

shouts of joy.

6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,

but they sing as they return with the harvest.

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Think Spot

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Think Spot

22nd July 2013

Welcome to Partakers Think Spot!

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 to start using our words and thoughts wisely starting today.



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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Sunday Worship

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Bible Quiz 02

Partakers Bible Quiz! 5 questions from the Bible in 1 minute! How will you do? When you play the video, let me know how well you do in this little quiz! We would love to hear from you! .


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HAHA 15

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HAHA Part 15


United we fall?

G’day and welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century.

In Europe, various barbarian factions ruled yet many held the unity of the Roman Empire in their imagination. The barbarous factions were often at war with one another, yet there was an underlying yearning that one day Europe would once again be united under a new Roman Empire! In all of this there came a time when a new centre of power arose from within the landlord aristocracy, as power was greedily gobbled up and transferred to them. Amidst this, one central figure arose the “mayor of the palace.”

The first of these we will look at is Charles Martel.

Charles Martel

The family of Charles Martel were a rising political force in France and Europe in the 8th & 9th centuries. Charles Martel had been successive in his battles against the invading Islamists, form which he got the name “Martel”, which means “The hammer”. He had hammered the Islamists from central Europe back to the Iberian peninsula.

Charles Martel had performed as well as allowed great acts of violence against the church. He did however change and sought to set about restoring the rights of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. In 723, Boniface was protected by Charles Martel, which Boniface later exuded that without such an act, he could not govern the church, prevent idolatrous worship or defend the clergy.



When Charles’ son Pepin rose to power he made a pact with the Roman Catholic church, which stipulated that whoever was in actual power should be the actual ruler. Pepin was duly appointed King of the Franks and declared himself the “Chosen of the Lord.”

Under the guidance of Boniface, the church was reformed, there was a revival of religion and education; and they became the "protectors of Rome". More was to come with the advent of Charles Martel’s grandson however.

Charlemagne (Charles the great).


The next person we look at is perhaps one of the most famous in both secular and religious European history of this period: Charlemagne. When Pepin died in 768, his realm was divided between his two sons, Charlemagne and Carloman. Charlemagne became sole ruler when Carloman died suddenly in 771.

On Christmas day 800, in St Peter in Rome, Pope Leo III, crowned as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the King of France, Charlemagne.

When Charlemagne came to power, he had 3 goals in mind: military power to crush his opponents; religious power to direct his people’s religion and intellectual power to guide their intellect and minds.

The church & state were to work hand in hand, but there was a continuous struggle between emperor and pope, over who was the final authority. Charlemagne duly returned the lost provinces to the Pope. Charlemagne died after about 13 years as emperor in the year 814, but his influence remains.

His empire was vast and he had succeeded in ensuring that, at least nominally, Christianity survived. Charlemagne successors lacked the will, imagination and drive to continue in his footsteps and the empire soon descended back into chaos. Both the current German and French monarchies consider themselves to descendants of the empire of Charlemagne.

As for the church, the Holy Roman Empire, barely outlived Charlemagne, but it has, as we shall see, had a lasting influence in the revival of religion and education within Europe.



Next time in our series HAHA, we will look at a debate, Decretal and a donation! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers, where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.

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Friday Prayers

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Friday Prayers



Today we pray for all those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones... Come and pray!

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Think Spot

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Think Spot - 15th July 2013


What we say as Christians is very important. The Bible is very clear on that.

1 Peter 2:1 "Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind."

James 4:11-12 "Brothers do not slander one another...who are you to judge your neighbour?"

The definition of slander is words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another or an abusive attack on a person's character or good name or to  attack the good name and reputation of someone.

So next time you go to say anything negative about someone or to criticise their actions, think again, you might be disobeying God  and breaking a command.



James 3:3-8 powerfully shows how a small thing such as the tongue is able to cause much damage. He says that the tongue is a world of evil that corrupts the whole person ...and is itself set on fire by hell.

Mark 7:20-22 states Jesus talking about words "What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit and slander. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean."

Most of us would not consider telling a lie, as serious sin as murder but Jesus clearly does not separate them, he labels them both evil.

Again in Romans 1:29 - 32 the seriousness of slander , gossip and lying are clearly stated. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of deceit and they are gossips, slanderers. Although they know God's righteous  decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do such things but also approve of those whom practice them.



Christians are very good at gossiping but disguising it as prayerful concern. We pass on a juicy bit of information about someone and then ask the person to pray about the situation. As Christians we should not pass on any information about anyone else unless the person concerned has asked us to. It is not our place to do so even if it is for prayer.



Philippians 2:14 "Do everything without complaining or arguing. " There is nothing confusing about that command. How often do we complain about our jobs or our spouses? Or the weather? We are disobeying God when we do. God does not take disobedience lightly.

The excuse 'Everyone does it' does not wash with God when we see him face to face and He asks us why we complained so often and about so many things everyone else did it will pot be an acceptable reason. 

Our jobs, our spouses and the weather are all gifts from God, we should be thanking Him for them not grumbling about them!

1 Thessalonians 5:8 says give thanks in all circumstances it does not say give thanks in some and complain in others! So then before you say anything, think "Is what I am about to say pleasing to God.?"

Prayers

Now, a prayer to help you into this new week.

Father, we thank you for words! We thank you that we can communicate words of life to other people! Help us to use words wisely as we interact, communicate and deal with other people, especially our loved ones and work colleagues. May the Holy Spirit, guide, rebuke and counsel, as we use the amazing gift of words to us, as we seeks to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Amen!



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