WHAT IS A NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN?

I wrote recently that it is  sad and unfortunate that a local church has to give itself a name, that either highlights  the Denomination’s founder e.g. Luther, Wesley, or its form of Church Government, e.g. Presbyterian, Congregational, or Episcopal, or its particular Doctrinal emphasis, e.g. Baptist, Reformed, Holiness, or Pentecostal/Charismatic,  I know I am an idealist but why can’t it simply be “YOUR LOCAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH”?. Sadly I guess this will never happen.

Then I began to think  of  my personal church roots, gloriously saved in the Salvation Army, then exposed to the Pentecostal teaching of being filled with the  Holy Spirit and introduced to the Gifts of the Spirit. I will thank God throughout eternity for the journey He has led me on, and that I am alive in 2018 and see what God is doing in the earth today.

But what am I  ? if I say I am a Pentecostal, this conjures up a thousand often incorrect pictures of beliefs and practices and behavior many of which I would strongly  disassociate myself from. If I say I am an Evangelical, I again put myself in a  particular “camp”. There are simply so many “types” and “camps” of Christians, I could go on and list them for hours.

Do I dare ask the question WHAT IS A NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN?  I would like to suggest he is one who holds to the statement:

IN ESSENTIALS UNITY,IN NON-ESSENTIALS LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS CHARITY

These are the words of St Augustine the 4th Century Theologian & Philosopher and Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. I personally love this statement as there are some essential truths which we will mention in a moment, but there are other though important truths that are non-essential in say to our relationship with the Lord and our Christian brothers. I do not want people when they think of me to immediately think of some particular doctrine and truth that they know I hold. I confess in the past I have proclaimed from the rooftops particular truths, (which I am convinced are clearly taught in the Word of God)  but God helping me in future my priority is going to simply  let  PEOPLE SEE JESUS IN ME, (to be Christ centred NOT doctrine centred) and will seek to do everything in my power both to show true charity (AGAPE LOVE) to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, (whatever “camp” they belong too) and will not break fellowship with them because they don’t believe what I believe, and trust they won’t break with me, but are surely committed to the essentials.

So what are the essential truths as declared in Augustine’s statement? Whatever I say here I guess there will be those who will disagree. I want to suggest that we look at the Reformation and see what truths God has seen necessary to restore to the Church (since then), I will just spell out  the Truth:

  1. Justification by Faith, (we MUST be born again)
  2. Believer’s Baptism
  3. Sanctification/Holiness in the life of the Believer
  4. Priesthood of all Believers
  5. Fulfilling the Great Commission (Aggressive Evangelism)
  6. Divine Healing
  7. Being filled with the Holy Spirit and embracing His gifts

As I understand it, these are the major truths that have been restored to the Church from the days of the Reformation, and if God felt they were essential then so do I.

So much of what we argue about is really our own personal preferences, and practices, church styles and emphases and interpretations. As far as I am concerned I am committed to the 7 essentials above, my attitude is simply expressed in the statement below, and therefore on these I WILL NOT ARGUE.

GOD SAID IT I  BELIEVE IT, THAT SETTLES IT

So what is a New Testament Christian? someone who is truly born again, and seeks to live the Spirit filled life and is practically committed to the essentials and seeing them fulfilled, and will not break fellowship with his fellows believers over the non-essentials.

I DECLARE TODAY I BELONG TO THE JESUS ‘”CAMP”

I trust my readers may respond, I would love to hear from you.

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A CONFESSION OF A HYPOCRITE

There is not one new or different teaching in this blog today, although I pray that as in my own experience in the last 24 hours INFORMATION (teaching) will become revelation and bring about change in our lives, that simple 18 inch drop from head to heart. I was shaken up yesterday afresh when I realised how easy it is for a Preacher/Teacher can become such a hypocrite, saying one thing but not PRACTICING WHAT HE PREACHES.

We visited a close family member yesterday who is in Care facility as she has been diagnosed with a fast moving debilitating Neurological disease, that has already effected her movements, her speech and ability to swallow etc. We have felt strongly NOT to pray for her healing but that she would know the GRACE of God in her awful experience, as we have noted recently for example in the lives of Fanny Crosby and Annie Johnson Flint, and that she would be a blessing to others. The Lord has and is wonderfully answering our prayer as we saw and heard so dramatically  yesterday. With her struggling speech she said something like “when I look around I see the maddening crowd, and literally problems everywhere, but when I look up I see JESUS”.

Her statement so blessed us as she shared what the Lord is doing in and through her life, but very soon, I became strongly convicted by the Holy Spirit, because in at least one area I was a hypocrite.

In a few months I turn 77, and especially in the last 12 months have become very aware of the AGING PROCESS with its aches and pains, and difficulties and sometimes impossibilities of doing certain things, and the many other side effects  that come with this process. (I do not have to list them)  and I confess I have been complaining MUCH  about all these things.

You know I major on importance of Prayer in the Believer’s life, and the importance of clearing the decks of any unconfessed sin when we begin our time of prayer. I became very aware of 2 areas of sin (for me at least). The Apostle Paul says WHAT IS NOT FROM FAITH IS SIN, (Romans 14:23) and I have been confessing fear and unbelief and negativity relative to this aging process, by God’s grace I am determined I WILL NO LONGER CONFESS THESE THINGS.

I am also reminded of to truth that to know to do something and NOT do it, it is sin (the sin of Omission (James 4:17) There are a number of things in relation to the aging process I with the Lord’s help will now do. for example:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV IN everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. The AMP Translation says Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Paul writing to the Ephesians in 5:20 NKJV giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

I must develop more my THANKFUL HEART, (and an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE) and recognise that in EVERY situation our God is ALWAYS  worthy of my praise. Here in Ephesians Paul says we can and should give thanks IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, thank God for the power and authority we have in that Name that is above EVERY  name. PLUS  develop a constant attitude of SUBMISSION to the people the Lord brings into my life. It is interesting how Paul has combined THANKFULNESS TO GOD, AND SUBMISSION ON THE HORIZONTAL !!!

I must learn to maintain a GOOD & POSITIVE CONFESSION the writer to Hebrews in 4:14 (AMP) tells us Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].  The Word tells us OUR GOD DOES ALL THINGS WELL, it may not be the way we want it or like but our Sovereign God knows what he is doing. Solomon the wisest man in all the world told us in Proverbs 18:21  NKJV Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. the MESSAGE put it this way Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit -you choose   wow, the stuff that was coming out of my mouth regarding the aging process was POISON.  By God’s grace THIS WILL STOP.

Paul’s well known words in Romans 8:28 N KJV are ringing in my heart And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose  The PASSION Translation expresses it this way :
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.  The MESSAGE says this That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Our God is not surprised by anything as HE KNOWS EVERYTHING and if we are walking in the Light, and seeking to live for Him, He permits things even like the aging process to be a part of our life for a PURPOSE, both for ourselves and maybe for us to help others, I am sure it is a PRUNING & SANCTIFYING PROCESS  to help us respond to these DEALINGS to make us more like Jesus.

In the last 24 hours I have learnt a VALUABLE & PAINFUL  lesson, will you pray with me please, that I will learn from this lesson, and with the Lord’s help not let this be a part of my life again.

I have written this blog primarily for myself and am not laying anything on any of my readers, but I would encourage you to let the Holy Spirit speak to you, may this blog be a blessing to many for thre Glory of God.

 

 

WHO IS DOING WHAT?

I now want to write a blog relating to another Hymn/Poem written by Annie Johnson Flint. Before I do, I need to clearly say our God is:

  • OMNIPOTENT  He is all powerful
  • OMNIPRESENT He is everywhere present ALL  the time
  • OMNISCIENT He is all-seeing and all-knowing

Our God is SOVEREIGN, and can do whatever He wants to do, in any way He wants to do it, and at anytime He wants to do something.

I now spell out this beautiful poem:

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?
—Annie Johnston Flint

My Mentor constantly reminded me that in all our teaching and believing we must maintain BALANCE, Church History is replete with stories of ministries, that took verses out of context, and truths to extreme, and potentially a truth taken to an extreme can become a heresy.

I just want to give one example of the truth I see here, as many of my readers, are Church Planters, and other Ministries involved in Church work.

The best example I can find in the Gospels is Christ’s response to Peter’s revelation in Matthew 16:16-19NKJV Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The Passion translation says: Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God!”
Jesus replied, “You are favored and privileged Simeon, son of Jonah! For you didn’t discover this on your own, but my Father in heaven has supernaturally revealed it to you. I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church—my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it! I will give you the keys of heaven’s kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.” 

Jesus said upon this REVELATION/CONFESSION  (That Christ is the3 Son of the Living God) I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, and sadly there are Christians everywhere, who say, I choose to sit down and “watch” Jesus build the Church. This is a very poor interpretation of Christ’s words. Let me give you what I believe is a balanced correct interpretation of the Lord’s statement:

“I have given you the KEYS and the PATTERN and the empowering of the Holy Spirit now GO and build my Church”

In these very verses Jesus says I give you a set of keys to unlock my Kingdom to the world. Prophetically, God said in the Old Testament, we must build according to the pattern which He gives so clearly in the Word, and the result will be THE GLORY OF GOD comes.

A very practical illustration of this is found in Acts 4:23-31 NKJV. After the initial burst of blessing in the early Church, persecution broke out we read: And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done,

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

We see some important keys here:

  • Prayer
  • Preaching the Word of God with boldness
  • Healings, Signs & Wonders
  • Fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit

What major truths should be FOUNDATIONAL?  I suggest the truths restored since the Reformation:

  • Justification by Faith
  • Water Baptism
  • Sanctification/Victorious Living
  • Aggressive Evangelism
  • Being filled with the Holy Spirit and experiencing the Gifts of the Spirit.

I love the statement COMMITMENT ON THE ESSENTIALS AND LIBERTY ON THE NON ESSENTIALS. As a Bible teacher I am so aware it is easy to be caught up  with some teachings that can become divisionary, and take us away from the essentials. Sadly this is often reflected in very titles of the churches.

  • The Founder e.g. Luther or Wesley
  • The Form of Government e.g. Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopal
  • The central doctrine/s e.g. Reformed, Pentecostal or Charismatic.

With the Lord’s help. let us try and keep it simple and take the keys and build a New Testament pattern Church for the glory of God.

My Catholic friends may be aware of the below words penned by Teresa of Avila, echoing Annie Johnson Flint words:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

THE GRACE OF GOD

Most Evangelical Christians have heard the name of the prolific Hymn  writer and poet Fanny Crosby,who at six weeks old as a result of poor treatment totally lost her sight, but whose hymns have blest millions of Believers over the years, but how many have heard of Annie Johnson Flint, who lost her mother  when she was just three, her mother died giving birth to a second daughter, her father had an incurable disease, so she was adopted by the Flint family who were Baptists. At age 10 she came to faith in a Revival meeting, when she finished school she trained as a school teacher, but after a few short years she became so crippled with Arthritis that she could not walk and became confined to a wheel chair, and like Fanny she began to write poems and hymns some you may know but were not aware of the author. I am wring two blogs regarding two of her well known hymns and commenting on them. The first hymn is the hymn  HE GIVETH MORE GRACE

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

The main Greek word translated GRACE  is Charis (Strongs 5485) and is defined as

THE DIVINE INFLUENCE ON THE HEART

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God. AMP. Here the Amplified translation describes GRACE  as the unmerited (undeserved) favour of God,

All mankind deserved was the wrath of God because of Adam’s disobedience, but Jesus took that wrath upon Himself plus all the sins and sicknesses of the world, all for us.

But, that was just the start, as from the day we are born again, we NEED the Grace of God. I guess my favourite verse is Hebrews 4:16 NKJV Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. AMP I love this translation, we can come :

  • FEARLESSLY
  • CONFIDENT
  • BOLDLY           why?  Romans 5:2 NKJV Christ, through whom also we have ACCESS by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God

WE HAVE ACCESS 24/7 TO THE THRONE OF GRACE

Which ACTUALLY MEANS we do not have one excuse for any situation we face in this life, the challenge is, we MUST utterly reject the whispers of the evil one, who says we are unworthy  BY HIS GRACE WE HAVE BEEN MADE WORTHY. let me encourage you to MEDITATE much of this verse, let the Logos become a RHEMA, let the Holy Spirit TURN THE LIGHT ON.

The write to Hebrews says to come “in time of need” and without sounding negative, life is full of constant “times of need” and we must learn to FALL upon the grace of God continually, it may not be a temptation problem. it may not be a mind problem, it may not be a motives problem, it may not be a health problem or an aging problem, let us be convinced:

WITHOUT HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING

Don’t even try and contend with the situation in your own strength, but FALL .UPON THE GRACE OF GOD, we don’t have to do face the challenge in our own strength but letting Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit work in us  we can say with the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13 NKJV I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  The Amp. says I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me  The Passion translation says I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.

WITH CHRIST WE CAN DO ALL THINGS

By God’s grace we can come to that place where we can say with the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:37 NKJV Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us  The AMP says Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

NOT JUST CONQUERERS BUT MORE THAN CONQUERERS

Some scholars suggest the picture in the Greek text is this:

WE CAN COME THROUGH THE BATTLE WITHOUT A SCRATCH

This is my prayer, “Lord increase my understanding of what your GRACE means for me, and that in EVERY situation help me to throw myself upon your grace for I want it the Man of God you have called me to be” AMEN

 

 

I BELIEVE THE LORD WANTS TO TALK TO US

I am reminded at this time as I ponder on the fact that next Sunday, the Western church will celebrate  PENTECOST SUNDAY of the first verse of an old hymn

Thou Christ of burning cleansing flame

send the fire, send the fire, send the fire

Thy blood bought gift today we claim, send the fire, send the fire, send the fire

Look down and see this waiting host, send us the promised Holy Ghost,

We want another PENTECOST, send the fire, send the fire, send fire.

Many of my readers know I love Church History, and am so happy that I was born on this side of the Reformation, to see the Lord RESTORE all the major truths that had been lost to the Church through the dark ages, I also notice, that in almost every generation  there has come a fresh emphasis, (I believe by the Holy Spirit) as I guess a REMINDER TO THE CHURCH,  to not to stray away from these truths, or to even  lose again  these ESSENTIAL TRUTHS.

As we celebrate PENTECOST SUNDAY, let us give some thought to the above.

It is now so POPULAR  to be a Charismatic/Pentecostal and often with little emphasis on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, or on the Sanctifying FIRE of the Spirit that purges out so much of the world and sinful desires in us. We live in a day where standards have been so lowered, (perhaps in reaction to the legalisms of the past)  that swearing, and drinking, and immorality is sadly becoming common and accepted lifestyle amongst Evangelicals & Pentecostals.

I wonder whether the HOLY SPIRIT WANTS TO TALK TO US at this time, so we “clean up our act”. I am reminded that we read the words to Jeremiah and Jonah for example;

Jeremiah 1:13 NKJV And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, “What do you see?”

Jonah 3:1 NKJV Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying

And without adding to Scripture,, He can  come a third time and a fourth time etc.

I am not saying I am a Prophet, but sincerely feel we need to sit down, and HAVE AN EAR TO WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH

John the Baptist had prophesied about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and FIRE, we need to let the “Refining Fire of the Holy Spirit work in us like never before.

From the Day of Pentecost there sprung AGRESSIVE EVENGELISM , that resulted in thousands repenting and being born again of the Spirit of God,   do you think we need to return to aggressive Evangelism?????????

Acts 2:42-47 NKJV tells us And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

There was a hunger for Discipleship and Truth

They wanted to fellowship and share their lives together

They loved to have Holy Communion together regularly, as well as eating together,

An awesome fear of God fell upon the early Church

The early Church was a PRAYING CHURCH

There was a GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT

The early Church was a praising and worshipping church

The non believer could see God was in their midst

Growth was natural normal and exciting.

I think the Lord wants to talk to us, let us make the time and effort to sit down and COUNT THE COST, and get back to the Holy Spirit pattern we see in the Book of Acts,

Hebrews 4:16 NKJV tells us Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When we recognise we have a need, we can come BOLDLY, CONFIDENTLY FEARLESSLY and the Lord promises to meet all our needs  ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY AMEN.

 

 

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE SHEPHERDS GONE?

Soon after I took over a church nearly 40 years ago, a number of people came up to me, and said something like this ” You are the first real Pastor/Shepherd we have had in this town since Pastor………. was here. Only recently a member from my church at that time wrote to me on FB and said, “I have not really had a Pastor since you left town” (and that is over 30 years ago).  I am not putting the spotlight on myself with these two statements, I want to highlight the fact that there are many Leaders in Pastoral roles in many local churches, who have the title Pastor, but do not have a Pastor’s heart.

Ephesians 4:11 NKJV tells that Christ has given to the Church 5 Ministry Gifts. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, In the past many Bible Colleges had a question on their Application Form DO YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A CALL TO MINISTRY? This question is often omitted now as these days it is all about academics and qualifications. A Bible College CANNOT MAKE a person a Pastor, it can only enhance and equip the Ministry Gift in the person.

I believe we need and must have large even mega churches in our cities,  their size can be such a key that God can use in  impacting our towns, cities and even states. Good business principles are required for all churches but especially large churches, so that everything can run well and efficiently.

 THE DANGER IS PEOPLE CAN BECOME  SIMPLY A NUMBER OR A STATISTIC

We must ensure that our churches are being BUILT ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN OF THE WORD OF GOD, then we can anticipate the blessing and glory of God on the church. There are many keys to the pattern, which we know including good preaching and teaching, and as parents have our children (of all ages) well catered for in the church. The bottom line though is this, most believers don’t want the Greek or the Hebrew,

THE SHEEP NEED TO KNOW THEY ARE LOVED AND CARED FOR BY THE SHEPHERD.

Some years ago I cam across an excellent article entitled :

SIX THINGS SHEPHERDS DON’T SAY

It was written by a Youth Pastor called Dustin Bell, below is the complete transcript.

The simple story of the lost lamb and the selfless shepherd has been lodged in my mind for the last month. Recorded in Luke 15, the story is told by Jesus to help us see the type of shepherd (or leader) that Jesus is to us, so that we in turn can replicate this in our dealings with people.

1. “ITS ONLY ONE”
How easy it would have been for the shepherd to shrug his shoulders and conclude that it’s not worth going to all that effort for just one sheep. Perhaps if there were 10 or 15 sheep missing it would be worth it; but one?
This shepherd is exemplary because of his passion for one sheep. Jesus was like this. He willingly stopped a crowd to connect with one crooked tax collector, or one sick woman. I’m only one, but Jesus went out of His way for me.
Let’s realise that the youth ministry of thousands which we dream of is counted like this …. One + one + one + one + one + one + one + one + one – Every one matters!
2. “I”VE STILLGOT 99”
If I can’t be bothered going after the one, the easiest way to appease my conscience is by saying, “Look, I’ve still got 99!”
As great as it is that I have 99 sheep, I need to be reminded that God entrusted me with 100. I can’t allow what I do have to quench my passion for what I should, and could, have. Thank God for who He’s given you, but seek God for who He’s giving you.
3. “IT”S THEIR FAULT”
Let’s be honest. This sheep was stupid. Seriously. He deserved to be separated from the flock; after all, he chose to wander in the first place.
True …..
But, so did I, …. Yet my Shepherd chased me down at great cost to Himself.
Let’s never become resentful, bitter or angry toward people who wander from God and separate themselves from the from our church or ministry. Instead, let’s lovingly pursue the ill deserving, just as Jesus did for us.
4. “IT”S OUT OF MY WAY”
It’s 10:33 pm on a Friday night. You’ve almost finished your pack down and all you’re thinking about is food and watching the late telecast of the AFL. Then that teenager approaches looking for a lift home …. Which is no problem, until you discover that “home” is in the opposite direction to where you’re headed. Decision time.
Great youth ministries are built by teams of people who are willing to go out of their way for others; it’s one of the most Christ-like things that we can do.
5. “I TRIED ONCE”
Notice that this shepherd looked until he found it. Surely this shepherd would have been tempted to say “I yelled out once, but there was no answer, so I came home”.
How easy it is for us to say “I tried calling that new person but there was no answer”, then we cross off a task from the ‘to do’ list and move on. Jesus never told us to knock once, he commanded us to knock until ……
6. “IT”S NO BIG DEAL”
Finally, we see that this shepherd wasn’t nonchalant about the saving of a sheep. He knew that some things were a BIG DEAL and were worth celebrating.
What are the things that your team have decided are a BIG DEAL? What do you celebrate? What is a ‘win’ for your team? If you know it, you can aim at it and celebrate it!

Jesus is our perfect example, and He has called us to “take care” (Poimaino/Shepherd) the sheep,  John 21:16 Passion Translation Jesus repeated his question the second time,“Simon, son of John, do you burn with love for me?”
Peter answered, “Yes, my Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”
“Then take care of my sheep,” 

Lord help us not to see people as numbers or statistics, but lambs and sheep Jesus has given us to disciple and nurture and feed, and if needs be we are lay down our lives for them

 

 

 

 

WE ARE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS

I am reminded of the words of Mordecai when he said of Esther, in Esther 4:14 NKJV Yet who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.  Our God is OMNISCIENT (all seeing and all knowing). He knew we would be alive in May 2018 when so many things would be happening in the world at this time, such as:

  1. The war in Syria
  2. The destruction of Damascus
  3. The conflict with Syria
  4. The developments between North Korea and USA
  5. The 70th Anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel
  6. The moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem

The list goes on and on, most of the above are clear signs of the end time, and you and I are  alive and well today and seeing these things happening. It maybe, we will NOT see the undertaker, but will see the UPPERTAKER, none other than Jesus, as He breaks through the clouds to take His bride home to our eternal destiny in heaven. Wouldn’t that be awesome. Like the Apostle Paul, I am happy to stay, but would rather go and be with the Lord forever and ever amen.

I am reminded of the Apostle John’s words in 1 John 3:3 NKJV And all who focus their hope on him will always be purifying themselves, just as Jesus is pure. This hope is the soon return of Jesus, and as we may be so close, this hope should have a sanctifying and purifying effect on our lives,  JESUS COULD RETURN TODAY, AND I  MUST WALK IN PURITY AND VICTORY BEFORE HIM. Thank God for His grace, and the glorious and awesome inheritance obtained for us by Christ’s death that we can surely do this.

So as we are often reminded us in the Word of God, let us look up, for Christ is coming soon, let us not be sleepy but ever live in the light of Christ’s soon return.

Here we are at the end of another week, may you have a blessed time over this weekend, whether you worship tonight like my Christian friends in Tel Aviv, or tomorrow when again some friends meet in Jakarta and in Singapore, or on Sunday across the world,

LET US HAVE ONE EYE ON THE CLOUDS

 

 

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WHAT IS THIS BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT? (2)

I really answered this question in the last blog, today I want to write about:

RESULTS OF BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

&

THE BENEFITS OF PRAYING IN TONGUES

I am simply going to list the RESULTS, and a Scripture, and you can do the study

  1. A new relationship with Jesus  John 16:14
  2. A new enthusiasm to glorify God Acts 2:11
  3. A new effectiveness in witnessing Acts 4:31, 33, Acts 1:8
  4. An expanded prayer life 1 Corinthians 14:15
  5. New insights into Biblical truth 1 Corinthians 2:11,John 14:26, John 16:133
  6. New Christlikeness 2 Corinthians 3:18, Acts 4:33
  7. A new assurance 2 Corinthians 1:22
  8. A new spiritual usefulness 1 Corinthians 12:7
  9. A new freedom in worship 2 Corinthians 3:17
  10. A power for miracles Romans 15:19

I will now list the benefits of speaking in tongues and you can do the study,

  1. When you pray in tongues you are uniquely praying to God 1 Corinthians 14:2
  2. It keeps you in tune with the Spirit Acts 2:4
  3. It will strengthen your spirit 1 Corinthians 14:4
  4. You will be able to pray, when you don’t know what to pray Romans 8:26
  5. It is a weapon against the enemy Mark 16: 15-18

It is the privilege of every Believer to be filled with the Spirit, and be introduced to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially having a PERSONAL PRAYER LANGUAGE.

If you have not yet been filled with the Spirit, I encourage you to:

Make a total surrender of yourself to God, and expect Him to fill your life, then begin to thank and praise God for this glorious experience, and continue to do just that, you will soon be experiencing an awesome blessing upon your life and you will begin to move to a new level of relationship with the Lord.

 

WORSHIP (2)

There are so many things stirring in my heart at this times, plus I have 2 series of blogs to complete, so have decided to conclude the “Worship” series today. I concluded the first blog on Worship with these statements.

OFTEN MUCH OF WHAT WE CALL WORSHIP IS METHOD AND PREFERENCE

TRUE WORSHIP IS THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART AND OFTEN BYPASSES THE LIPS

So, what is worship,  it comes from the old English word WORTHSHIP  Worship is telling God in a hundred different ways HE IS WORTHY, and we can’t help but want to bow down (even prostrate ourselves)  before the Lord. Rev. 4:11, 5-9.12. Nehemiah 8:6, 2 Chron. 20″18

  • the true worshipper is one who renders ALL  the glory to God, Psalm 96:7-8
  • Acknowledges and accepts God’s will without question John 9:31
  • Bows in submission to the ways of God and acknowledge Him as Lord Ps.25:5

There is no greater thing we can do but worship, for the father seeks worshippers John 4:23 Loving God is the first and greatest commandment.

Who may worship ?

  • True worshippers  John 4:23
  • Those who have no confidence in the flesh Phil. 3:3,9
  • The Angels Hebrews 1:6

Let us as a Kingdom of Priests who have the right to approach God through Jesus

How do we worship?

  • Reverently and humbly Rev. 4:10
  • With praise Psalm 103:1,2 20, 100:4
  • We come saying with words that ascribe glory to God Rev. 4:10,11

The results of worship

  • It exults God Psalm 99:5,9
  • We are changed into His likeness Exodus 24:34,29, 2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Chron. 5:13,14

What ways can we worship?

King David outlines many ways we can  worship

  • The Mouth  Audible Praise, Singing, Shouting
  • The Hands,  Lifting hands, clapping hands, musical instruments

Posture   Standing, Dancing, Bowing, Prostrating, with the Procession (March)

Is David’s worship proper for today  YES, YES,YES.

James prophesied in Acts 15  that the Tabernacle of David (the worship program King David introduced) had ceased, but God was going to restore it. We are living in that day, there are those who reject it, those who simply want excellence in the music and voice only (and miss out on the truths behind it all, then there are those who refuse to change and want to continue to “worship” according to their style and preference. Our lifestyle in heaven will be WORSHIP, some Christians will feel out of place there as they had not learned to worship in spirit and in truth down here on earth.

There is so much more I could say, and so many Scriptures that cover all these points, I trust you will do the Berean thing and “Search the Scriptures to see what is true”.

Please be open to change, learn to be a WORSHIPPER  here on earth, and keep “Falling in love with Jesus more and more every day. Please feel free to write and comment.

 

 

 

AN UPDATE 7/5/18

In my heart I would often scoff when a retiree said “they had never been so busy”, but I have come to see how true this statement is, and I am actually going to have to start prioritising my activities. In my mind they are all important, but I guess some are MORE IMPORTANT than  others.

I thank God he Has led me into a Ministry of Intercession, and this must ever be my first priority, I so enjoy visiting daily my many friends and the places I love in the Spirit, and pray for them and their ministries. My heart cries out for REVIVAL especially in S.E. Asia, flowing through those many countries the Lord permitted to visit some many times, and of course my great nation of Australia that desperately needs a major spiritual breakthrough.

Blogging is also something I really love, and to me this is also a priority, I actually have at least 6 blogs I want to prepare and submit this week, again there are literally hundreds of people across more than 10 nations who regularly read my blogs. Would you pray with me that the Lord would give me new interpreters so that my blogs can be translated into Mandarin, and Bahasa Indonesia,  my previous interpreters did a great job, but some ran out of time, and others requested payment, and as a Pensioner, I do not have spare finance.

I am also often preaching at the local church I attend which sure is a great privilege,  the theme for the year is 2018 a YEAR OF CHANGE. I also share the Word with some of the men, on the first and third Monday mornings over coffee. There is the real possibility if I have the strength, we will accept an invitation to teach in Indonesia for a week, we would then go onto Singapore (our second home) for a week of R&R and catch up with all our Singaporean friends,

I am also the Chairman of our Retirement Village Residents Committee, which also has numerous demands.

Since November last year, I have had 5 visits to hospital 4 times for minor surgery, and the fifth for a hernia operation, I am 76+ (77 in September) and now often get very tired, which I am told is the “aging process” which I am NOT enjoying, but I remind myself  regularly” He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater”, Margaret is 13 months older than me, and she is feeling the effects of the “aging process” as well.

Tomorrow, (8th May), we celebrate 53 years of marriage, and again thank God for His blessing upon us, the Lord is good, and GREATLY to be praised.

We do rejoice that our 2 children and their families are growing in the Lord ,and busy serving Him, they are such a blessing to us, even though they are 900kms away from us.

So, I am sharing this simple update with you, seeking your prayer support for us personally,  and for  ALL  of the matters I have expressed above, (especially any the Lord  lays on your heart please.My heart’s desire is that I will ever be an INSTRUMENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SERVICE  for the Lord, until that great and glorious day He calls me home, or I see Him break through the clouds.

May I conclude and say a big thank you for your love and encouragement and support to us, it is very much appreciated, please feel free to respond as often as you like through either FB or  WhatsApp or here ok?

I also want to say a BIG THANK YOU to the Lord for His blessing, and goodness to me, ever since I was translated into the Kingdom of God 66+ years ago, I can continue to say

I HAVE LIVED THE DREAM AND TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY