google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2016 June

Archive for June 2016

POD - Psalm 7

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podintro.gifPsalm 7

(as read by Richard A)

A meditation by David, which he sang to Yahweh,
concerning the words of Cush, the Benjamite.


7:1 Yahweh, my God,
I take refuge in you.
Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me,
7:2 lest they tear apart my soul like a lion,
ripping it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
7:3 Yahweh, my God, if I have done this,
if there is iniquity in my hands,
7:4 if I have rewarded evil to him who was at peace with me
(yes, if I have delivered him who without cause was my adversary),
7:5 let the enemy pursue my soul, and overtake it;
yes, let him tread my life down to the earth,
and lay my glory in the dust.

Selah.

7:6 Arise, Yahweh, in your anger.
Lift up yourself against the rage of my adversaries.
Awake for me. You have commanded judgement.
7:7 Let the congregation of the peoples surround you.
Rule over them on high.
7:8 Yahweh administers judgement to the peoples.
Judge me, Yahweh, according to my righteousness,
and to my integrity that is in me.
7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous;
their minds and hearts are searched by the righteous God.
7:10 My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
7:11 God is a righteous judge,
yes, a God who has indignation every day.
7:12 If a man doesn’t relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he has bent and strung his bow.
7:13 He has also prepared for himself the instruments of death.
He makes ready his flaming arrows.
7:14 Behold, he travails with iniquity.
Yes, he has conceived mischief,
and brought forth falsehood.
7:15 He has dug a hole,
and has fallen into the pit which he made.
7:16 The trouble he causes shall return to his own head.
His violence shall come down on the crown of his own head.
7:17 I will give thanks to Yahweh according to his righteousness,
and will sing praise to the name of Yahweh Most High.

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Think Spot 27 june 2016

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Think Spot - 27th June 2016
Be Authentic

"Such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present." (2 Corinthians 10:11)

For those of us who engage in social media, writing letters or emails to people or as we talk to people on phones are we the same person then as when we are with people face to face? Is your behaviour with people when not physically with them the same as your behaviour when you are physically with them?

That is how the great Apostle Paul was with people - the same in their presence or away from them. That is what he urged his readers, the Corinth church, to be like... God wants the same from us - authenticity and relying on Him to help us be authentic Christians living in what is often an unauthentic world...


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Sermon - How not to be a Chocolate Christian

Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven't, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt! If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don't melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith! Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life!

At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are!

Perhaps this is you?

  • Interested observer but not a committed Christian
  • Not bothered
  • Not good enough
  • Just want to be left alone
  • Don't know how to be involved
  • Don't know why being involved is important
  • Too busy

But why should you be involved?

Why? You have talents to be used!!

When Jesus said to His apostles "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14v12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14v17), and the impartation of Spiritual Gifts that His words were fulfilled.

The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4v12), for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12v7, 14v12) and "so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4v12).

These three reasons signify that God wants Christians to be active in service and not still like stagnant water. That is why we have been given gifts and if these gifts are not used for God's purposes, then they are utterly useless and meaningless. And the gifts are not just the supposedly spectacular gifts but also the supposedly mundane! Cleaning is as much a spiritual gift as preaching is!



As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christians neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gifts into flame (2 Timothy1v6). Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire! To do this, as Christians, we are to employ the gifts faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and for opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14v1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others!

Why? We are dependent on each other

As Christians, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part. That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God. As all Christians have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4v14)! God has called Christians and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected! You are a member of the body of Jesus Christ the church! If you are not being active that means the Church body is affected aversely! Its like a part of your body failing to do as it should!

Why? Improve your serve!

They are opportunities for Christians to serve other people. Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit's empowerment alone.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus intimates that those who follow Him, will be judged according to all that they have been given stewardship of! This includes things such as Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12v1-10), acts of service (Galatians 5v13) and material possessions (2 Corinthians 9v6-8)! These are used to accomplish three other items of Stewardship: mission, message and people.

Why? To follow Jesus

The Christian life is not to be static or inactive - it was never meant to be! The Christian life is to be dynamic! It is to be active. The word servant is key in Scripture. It is used at least 500 times in its various derivatives. When a Christian serves, God's honour is released. This is done because service shows the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ to those being served and to those watching. That is to be our motive for service. Serving is never to be about what you and I can get out of it. When that is the motive, God is not glorified. God's glory, honour and supremacy are to be the goal of a Christian's life. Spiritual growth comes from serving rather than being served. This is because what ever is given in service of God and others, your faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 25v15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless. Serving others is a sign that you are trusting in and having faith in God. It's a visible aspect of your invisible faith. Service is the outward expression of your inner beliefs. Serving is an outward expression of your inner faith - an external working out of your inner salvation. Serving God and others is the mark of a spiritually mature (or spiritually maturing) Christian and through service, the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ, is reflected in our lives. "For Jesus Christ, came to serve and give his very life for others" (Mark 10v45). As Christians we are to be as Jesus Christ (Romans 8v28; Philippians 2v5) and to serve. Yet if we are honest, we sometimes feel incapable, just as Moses did (Exodus 3). When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail and be built up.

GO!

So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there! Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God's greater glory because of your acts of service and worship.

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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 36 - John 8:23, 28 & 58
I AM… I AM… I AM…


No fewer than three times in this chapter John records that Jesus used the personal name of God, ‘ego eimi’ in Greek. John has them carefully lined up, two in rapid succession, then the third one later at the end of his discussion with the group of leading Jews he has been with for some time. In fact that third one brings the discussion to a rapid end.

Let me imagine something of what the reaction to what he said must have been of one of his hearers? It must have gone something like this: first he said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Our typical hearer will scarcely have noticed that his reply included the words I AM. As we noticed before the words he used could equally mean ‘It’s me’ or as they are translated in the NIV ‘I am he’. So all that happened was that they said to him, “Who are you?” Good question. It has been asked over and over again ever since. The answer is much the same as it has always been, I am who I have always told you I am but you are listening but not hearing.

So the conversation continues and Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”

Again there is the phrase ‘I am he’ in the middle of that statement, a little more obviously this time. Whether our typical listener will have thought that an odd thing to say is hard to say. We might imagine him turning to his neighbour and saying something like: “did you hear what he said there? ‘lifted up’ sounds very like what Isaiah said about the servant ‘my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted’. I find that a bit much to take. He is getting well above himself. He thinks he is going to be high – does that mean sitting on a throne? - and being exalted! And then he sneaked in the phrase I AM. I don’t like it – I don’t like him. Things are getting a bit much.”

The conversation goes on for some time, another 30 verses in our Bibles, with the crowd and Jesus getting more and more at cross purposes with each other. The crowd is clearly understanding less and less of what Jesus is telling them or, perhaps, accepting less and less of what he is saying. They say he is demon possessed; he says they belong to their father the devil. They probably argued more forcefully in those days than we are prepared to do these days, but that is strong stuff. Then we are told that Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

That does it. He has quite clearly said that he was around before Abraham and then uses the critical words ‘ego eimi’, I AM, of himself so he is saying both ‘It’s me’ and I have the name of God.

Our imaginary guy is likely to have said at this point something like ‘hand me that stone!’ with the distinct intention of throwing it at Jesus to knock him down and kill him. But such is the power of the personality of Jesus that he is able to disappear in the crowd and slip away.

John has been hammering away at just one point. I used to have a colleague who liked to say good lecturing was ‘tell ‘em what you are going to tell ‘em; tell ‘em; then tell them what you have told ‘em’. John clearly had the same philosophy.

Have you got it very firmly into your head JESUS was GOD. If not read it all again, and again …


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Church Leadership

Session 12:

What can God do with a leadership team

that is totally committed to Him?

Welcome to the final session in this series on Church Leadership. I trust they have all been a blessing to you and helpful as you continue on in your walk with God. I want to end on a positive note and look at what God can do when leadership teams are totally committed to Him and united in their service for the Boss – the Head of the Church.

In the book, The Trellis and the Vine (Marshall and Payne (Matthias Media 2009) – ISBN: 978 1 921441 58 5), the writers compare the work of planting, watering, fertilising and tending the vine to that of Christian ministry. ‘The basic work’, they continue, ‘of any Christian ministry is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit, and to see people converted, changed and grow to maturity in that gospel’.

However, they also acknowledge the essential need to tend and maintain some sort of framework to help the vine grow. The authors put it this way: ‘as the ministry grows, the trellis also needs attention. Management, finances, infrastructure, organisation, and governance – these all become more important and more complex as the vine grows.’ The book provides a balanced perspective on these two sometimes competing demands on leaders.

Let us be encouraged to keep in mind our ultimate goal – to see men, women and children won to faith in Christ. But at the same time, let’s not forget to tend, repair, watch over and maintain the trellis, or the vine will have nothing to grow on.

Today, in our churches, are we achieving this ultimate goal? Are we, on a regular basis, seeing people converted, changed and grow to maturity in that gospel?

Do those of you who are leaders have a vision of what God, by the power of His Spirit and in the Name of Jesus can achieve in His church in your community?

A Senior Pastor asked his leadership team three questions when they were considering the impact of future growth:

  1. Can you see it?

  2. Do you want it?

  3. Are you prepared to do everything it takes to achieve it?

Powerful questions! Do we have such a vision from the Head of the Church that we are gripped by the prospect of many coming to faith in Christ, that we will go to any lengths to make sure it happens? Of vital importance is that the vision is from God – a “God idea” not just a “good idea”. More than once we read in Acts that, after the church had prayed about a particular matter, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” Incidentally, when was the last time, after you have prayed, “the place where [you] were meeting was shaken. And [you] were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31)?

God gave dominion to the human race and He is longing for us, through redemption and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, to enter once again into that creation purpose. Jesus promises that the power of the Holy Spirit will result in our words having the same authority and wisdom as His own. Just think for a moment of what such a vision means to Jesus. He sees us - His own Body in the future exercising all of this and doing it to a greater extent than He could possibly do in His own human body. So after His resurrection, Jesus commissions the disciples. The promise of Jesus is: 'Your proclamation will be validated by signs and wonders that accompany it.' So those who refuse to believe will have no excuse. They will be condemned. (This raises questions about the nature of our own gospel proclamation in these days – but we don’t have time to discuss that now).

Like the early disciples we are called to go to the ends of the earth and for us, seeing the suffering that there is throughout the world, it is even more imperative than for them, that we should go to the ends of the earth and proclaim the good news of Jesus. Only then will the end come and our Lord return.

We have been placed on this earth to fulfil the destiny that God has for us, that we should exercise His authority and through the exercise of that authority, through His praise and worship and His power in our lives, we should bring down the powers of darkness and see satan's kingdom finally destroyed and the Lord's return set in train.

All this is ours! If that does not produce a 'Wow!' in your spirit then there must be something wrong with you. “Rejoice little flock. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” – Jesus said (Luke 12:32).

Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3: 14 – 21)

I can do more that repeat that prayer for you and the churches where you serve.


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Think Spot 20 june 2016

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Think Spot - 20th June 2016

Yesterday in the UK & USA it was Fathers Day - a day to honour our fathers... My father has been dead now for 23 years. I still remember the phone call I got from my mother saying he had passed on. What is the best way that I can remember my earthly father? The best way I can keep the memory of my dad alive, is to show love to others. After all, he loved me at my worst (and that was pretty bad, albeit a long time ago)! Sure it can be risky, but it pays off more than it doesn't...

A similar picture to the love that God has for me - sacrificial and practical...

‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:34-35


Christians are commanded to love others - all others and without exception... We are to love others as God loves - sacrifically and practically... As we love other people practically, God's love is shown and revealed...

Go into this new week, to love others. If you don't know how to love a particular person, ask God to show you and tell you - He will do so if you ask!

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