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Archive for March 2015

Easter 2015 - Part 2

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Easter 2015

Part 2 of 10


Today, we are going to look at Jesus’ last teaching before He goes to the cross to die.

“But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.” (John 16:5-7)

1. Disciples must bear fruit for the kingdom! (John 15:1-16)
John 15:1-2 - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”



2. Disciples will suffer for the kingdom (John 15:18-27)

John 15:18 - "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

3. Disciples will have resources in the Kingdom (John 16)

John 16:12-15 - ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’

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Easter 2015 - Part 1

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Easter 2015

Part 1 of 10


Today we start a series of looking at Jesus Christ and the events of Easter. We start by looking at Jesus' mission and His identity...

Luke 9:51 (NIV) "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."


Mission:

Luke writes in Luke 4:42-44: “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”

This is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry on earth! These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that His mission is to preach God’s Kingdom.


Identity:

Mark 8:27-33 (NIV) "Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’

They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’

‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’"


Play or download the mp3 to hear more about this fascinating man, Jesus Christ and the events of Easter!


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The Practice Of The Presence Of God:

The Best Rule Of A Holy Life

(being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence)


G’day! Welcome to Partakers! Today we continue our Sunday series, where we are reading from a book by Brother Lawrence “The Practice of the Presence of God”… This book is available for you to freely download at various websites!


Letters - Letter 1

Since you desire so earnestly that I should communicate to you the method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of GOD's Presence, which our LORD, of His mercy, has been pleased to vouchsafe to me; I must tell you, that it is with great difficulty that I am prevailed on by your importunities; and now I do it only upon the terms, that you show my letter to nobody. If I knew that you would let it be seen, all the desire that I have for your advancement would not be able to determine me to it.


The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly GOD's. This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.

(The downloadable audio continues the conversation...)

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The Big Story - Part 8

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Big Story - Act 4 Scene 3: The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus

with Roger Kirby



The most difficult part of the Big Story of the Bible to talk about is the Resurrection of Jesus. The big question is ‘did it really happen?’ All those of us who live in the modern Western world are in a culture that says it did not. The primary reason for this is that our culture says something is only true if it can be replicated. If an experiment carried out in the USA is true it must be possible to repeat it in Australia for it to be legitimate. And, of course, the return to life of the dead Son of God is the ultimate event that cannot be replicated. The assassination of Julius Caesar cannot be replicated either, but many national leaders have been assassinated in recent times so that is a near enough repetition for that ancient event to be accepted as having truly happened. But the resurrection of a man from death is another matter altogether. How do we get out of this problem?

Part of the answer is that this is not science but history. History never exactly repeats itself, either in the event or its description. We must not, and cannot, treat historical events in a scientific way. Also we have to challenge the underlying assumption that the possibility of replication is always necessary. We see a beautiful sunset and admire it but it can never be replicated. A person’s love for their spouse can be neither explained – why this person and not that person – but is none the less real and cannot be replicated. Many, if not most, of the good things in life that we enjoy are beyond replication. The attempt to say that the resurrection, the best attested of all ancient events, did not really happen is a philosopher’s trick to try to stop people believing. The Biblical attestation is complete and total. When Paul says: “Jesus appeared to 500 people at the same time”’ he was obviously implying “if you don’t believe me go and find one of them and ask them”! Those who say the resurrection was, and is, impossible have to explain what happened in or near Jerusalem to cause such an explosion of growth of a movement which did not exist in AD 1, but was thriving so well 100 years later that there are many non-Biblical references to it. Also why would those who had been close to Jesus have been prepared to die for an idea and his teaching if they knew them to be lies?

The resurrection of the Son of God is a fact. What did it mean? What did it achieve? Where and how does it fit into the over-all story? Two words used by computing people are useful here: verification and validation. You probably don’t know them. Let me explain.

Verification is the process that checks a computer program does what it should do, that is, that it fits the specification. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of Man (of Daniel’s prophecy), and the Son of God. So far he had only his good works, his healings, his exorcisms, his miracles and his words to back up that claim. His return from death 3 days later, as they counted, 2 days as we count, verified all his claims. He was the Messiah, he did fulfil prophecy, he was the representative figure of the nation that Daniel talked about; he was in some mysterious yet definite way the embodiment of the Lord God walking on this earth.

Validation is the process that shows that a computer system works, it is useful, it does what it was intended that it should do. Paul says in the last verse of Romans 4 that “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”. The first part is easy to understand – Jesus died to redeem us from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. But “raised for our justification” is not so easy. If we translate it “raised to make us righteous”, which is legitimate for justification and righteous come from the same Greek word family, different though they are in English, things become easier. If Jesus had not been raised there would have been no continuing life force available for his people. The last verse of the next chapter says that Jesus died that “grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The resurrection of Jesus has brought eternal life, the life of the Ages, to his people, life that depends on the Spirit that is the possession of all those who belong to Christ. As Romans 8: 9 says “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” . Because Jesus rose from the dead this story does not end here: there is still another Act to go: the story of the Church, including the story of you and me.

The final part of the story of Jesus on this earth is his Ascension. Only Luke tells us of it, twice, most fully in Acts 1: 9, 10 “After he said this, he was taken up before their – the apostles - very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” In so doing Luke was pointing out that Jesus had gone to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high thus having all power and all authority. Matthew says the same thing more directly in his last chapter as John does in his second last chapter when he reports Thomas calling Jesus “my Lord and my God”. (The end of Mark’s Gospel is probably lost.)

So what?


We live in the power of the resurrection interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit. We are servants/slaves of the Lord of Creation. Paul says in his letter to the Colossian church: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation”. The resurrection is the promise to us that death is not the end. There is something more to come. The Jews always expected a resurrection at the end of time. The surprise to them was that one man was raised ahead of time as the first fruits; the first fruits promised an agricultural community that the rest of the harvest would shortly come.

We may not be agricultural people living in the country but the same is true for us, town and city dwellers though we may be. Christ has risen; one day – so shall we. Yippee!



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Partakers Friday Prayers!

27 March 2015

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

A prayer of Bonaventure


Lord Jesus,
as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you,
may the same Spirit rest upon and be within us.

O Yahweh,
Grant us the gift of understanding,
by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.

O Jehovah,
Grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps
on the path of righteousness.

O Great God,
grant us courage,
by which we may ward off the Enemy’s attacks.

O Sovereign God,
grant us knowledge,
by which we can distinguish good from evil.

O Merciful God,
grant us piety,
by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.

O Holy God,
grant us fear,
by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.

O Ineffable God made known through Jesus,
grant us wisdom,
that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

For we ask this O God our Father,
In the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us
Through the Son who died and rose again!

Amen.

Based on a Prayer of Bonaventure 1221–1274

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Way of Wisdom

with Regina Sanders

Passover and Easter!



Today's Scripture readings are from the letters of the Apostle John, one of Jesus' close friends...

1 John 5:2-3, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

2 John 1: 5-6, "Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it."




To hear how Regina is helping you today from these Scriptures, please do download the mp3 using the links below or play the audio file! Come on in! Then please do make a comment to Regina using the comments section below...



Please join me next week for The Way of Wisdom with Regina Sanders. God bless you!

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