Category: hope


SUNDAY MEETINGS are an exciting time for Christians.  It’s a time of adjustment from the weekly activities.  It’s a time of focussed worship and reflection.  It’s also a time of hearing the Word and a time of fellowship.
These ingredients are to not only bless the Christian but to impact and prepare the heart of a possibly unsaved person that may come through the doors.
Sunday meetings are a challenge in some aspects as they are designed for the Christian (Believers Service, growing and maturing the body) but also must be a place where the unsaved can find God.

Here are 3 aspects of a one and a half hour “Sunday Meeting”

1. Worship

Sadly, many Christians do not come to church in the right frame of mind.  There are numerous possibilities for this – from having a fight with the spouse to the kids playing up.  There are masses of distractions that have the ability to hinder a believer from walking into the facility with a heart full of worship and praise.
We, as the singers and musicians, assist people in coming into a meaningful dialogue and adoration for God.  To make it easy, we need the songs to be simple and to the point. Complicated songs and difficult phrasing sometimes work against the worship leader as the congregation is trying to get their lips around the tune and even the key of the song.  Worship lays out the “Red Carpet” for the communion message and the preaching of the word.  Worship softens the heart of those who do and even those who do not participate in the worship or singing.  Consider also Matthew 13:  “A wise man brings from his storehouse, treasures, little of the old and little of the new.”  Sing a new song to the Lord, but don’t discard the older songs.  You’ll keep the mature/older members of your congregation in harmony with your leadership.  It shows that you value them as important members of your congregation.  We must be generational.

A.  A scripture reading in a song service is very powerful, bringing the congregation to attention to the word of God.  A carefully chosen passage stirs faith and lifts the people’s hearts to worship God.  Getting their eyes on Jesus instead of their circumstances is the goal of every part of the service.

B.  A well thought out prayer brings the God factor into the mix of a service.  Our public praying needs to be powerful, fervent and Jesus centred.  Welcome the Holy Spirit!  Invite Him to be a part of the service.  Declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Speak of His goodness and sovereignty. Proclaim the greatness and majesty of God.  Use the wonderful name of Jesus.  Always keep your heartfelt prayers based on the word of God. eg “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”  Be yourself and pray from your heart.

C.  Let there be a time of silence – don’t be afraid of allowing a time for reflection.  After a minute or two of silence, you may like to encourage the prophetic gifts to operate.  We must not lose our Pentecostal distinctives and prophecy is powerful.  Pastors need to bring instruction for each expression of worship for the least experienced member of the church – it’s important that visitors are able to understand what is happening in a service.  Bring a brief explanation to the people of what is occurring. eg “Be still and know that I am God” can invoke great peace over the congregation.  Speak peace or even sing it over them – we don’t always know what our church is going through on the inside.

D. Include the Children in some way.  Maybe get a little one to sing a verse of a song or read a small portion of scripture.  Interviews are well received and kids love a microphone.

E.  Testimonies lift people’s faith levels.  This needs to be a deliberate part of the meeting.  Good leadership pre-empts the one who is testifying, and encourages them to keep it short and sweet.

F.  If it is the beginning of a school term, exam time or graduation time, bring all the students and teachers out the front and lay hands on them.  Our teachers and students need to know they are special and we care about what they are doing in their lives.

G.  Pray for the sick!  The power of the laying on of Hands must not be underestimated. Remember you are imparting God’s healing virtue.

H.  Keep the service multicultural, bringing different aspects of the cultures our wonderful friends from other countries into the mix and including a variety of people throughout the up-front rosters.  Hold an International Day or various other events throughout the year that focus on inclusivity.

I.  The time for announcements and offerings is light hearted and up-beat.  Welcome your visitors and ensure that you have something to remind them of their visit – a welcome pack with information about the church including a contact form is a great start.
Tithes and offerings: Share an encouragement on the heart of generosity. (Don’t push tithing down people’s throats week in and week out).  Remind people that God loves a cheerful giver, it’s better to give than receive, He gives seed to the sower, etc.  Then leave it up to them and see God bless the ministry and the givers themselves.

J.  The Communion message is our central focus and needs to be placed in high priority in the meeting.  We don’t need ‘throw away’ communion messages.  Three to five minutes is sufficient to bring home the powerful message of the Cross – forgiveness of sin through His shed blood.

2.  Sermons

The Pastor’s sermon must be seen as the key word of the Lord for the week.  Pastors must create this expectation in the people.  It’s Moses (the set man) going to the mountain and bringing that NOW WORD!  The altar call needs to be as powerful as the message itself.  We need to spend a lot more time on this aspect as it is a salvation, life and death moment.  Remember PASSION is the great persuader!

Make your sermons relevant and age appropriate – you might not be 25 years old, but your message doesn’t have to be 25 years old!  The Sons of Issacher knew the signs of the times and it’s important to be able to relate to your whole congregation.

Keep your sermons dynamic – utilise all the tools available to you.  Use media, sound, people and props if necessary to illustrate and bring home your message.  We live in a society that is visual and entrenched in media – let’s not miss the boat, but rather set the pace and lead the way.

3. Fellowship

Fellowship is as important as worship.  It is just as spiritual as any other part of what we do in our lives.  The greatest 2 commands that Jesus gave us are…”Love the Lord your God (Worship) and love your neighbour (Fellowship).
I believe that we need to be deliberate about this. Create an atmosphere of fellowship with light music playing, nice food, coffee brewing and strategically appointed people that have the gift of hospitality.  Additional extras – The room maybe dimly lit with a flat screen TV if possible showing a “Hillsong, Paradise, Edge or Planet Shakers” DVD.  If you don’t have access to this, have music playing in the background instead – it creates an atmosphere that fills an empty space in a room.

Conclude the meeting with a prayer of blessing!  Speak it over the people and send them on their way with an uplifted heart.  Let them know that you value them and that you value being able to bless them.
In Dueteronomy 28 talks about the abundant blessings of God; the prayer of Jabez says “Oh that You would bless me; Jacob wrestled with God -“I’m not going to let you go until you bless me”; Matthew 5 has the Beatitudes that talk about the blessings based on who we are.

All things considered, enjoy the journey.  In other words, “Serve the Lord with Gladness!”
Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Remember it’s a journey and it is God’s Church.  He said He will build it and He does.  We just need to be sincere, authentic and obedient to His call on our lives.

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How the new, “Spirit to Spirit” CD songs came into being!

Ted Evans - Spirit to Spirit

Preparing for Spirit to Spirit - the creative geniuses!!!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be ministering and pastoring in a dusty, dry, industrial town like Whyalla, South Australia!

The church had been through some difficult times over the years and was hurting.
I was devastated from a broken marriage but supernaturally God brought Whyalla and myself together.  What an unusual but divine connection!

In the coming months and years, God was going to birth some heartfelt, moving and anointed songs.  These songs were not to be complicated in anyway nor were they musical master pieces.  These songs were, in nature, coming from brokenness and reliance on God for every ounce of breath.

These times were survival for me.  I had nothing but the Holy Spirit.

It was like the Lord brought me to a desert place to usher in a new day of revelation and refreshing.  He literally breathed life into my dead bones.  At times I was gasping for reason to live but I found solace in “The Battle Belongs to the Lord”.

What do you do when you’ve got nothing?

Firstly you better have a walk with God, a relationship with Jesus.

You need know how and be willing to learn to trust in God’s healing, mercy and grace.

I commenced Monday night “City Worship” – a one hour of devotional worship – very soon after I arrived in Whyalla.  At times during these evenings we touched incredible depths in worship.  It was in those intimate moments when all eyes were closed and in freedom we began to sing in the spirit.  It was those times that the Lord gave me songs like “Living Waters Flow”, “Surrounded by Your Glory”, “My House Shall be a House of Prayer”, “Holy Spirit, Please Come”, “Spirit to Spirit”, “All of my Days” and “You Came” just to name a few.

The CD consists of ten songs of the Spirit straight from these beautiful engagements with the Holy Spirit.

My heart is that you will be blessed and encouraged, built up and strengthened on your journey no matter what you are facing.  Many people are hurting but the great restorer is available as you reach out to Him, remembering that God is attracted to brokenness.  He is the potter and we are the clay.

Stay tuned for details for the release of this moving and spiritual project with a heart to minister, “Spirit to Spirit”.

Ted EvansPsalm 139:14

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

2 Corinthians 4:18

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

I have been known to God since before my conception!  The same with you!

Every one of my days has been accounted for and seen by God – He knows me and has known me.

He created me – fearfully and wonderfully, to become glorious for Him.

The things in our lives, people, places, encounters with God and circumstances shape us.  Ultimately, though, who we are was determined before we were born.

There have been many situations, ups and downs , hurts and joys, successes and disappointments, in my life that have caused me to grow into and become the person that I am today.

Because of the circumstances of life in the past few years, I’ve heard it said of me:

“Ted is more understanding of people and more compassionate.”

“He’s less judgmental.”

I can agree with those statements as often there are things that we don’t fully comprehend the pain or the joy of unless we have been there ourselves.

I am more understanding.

I am more compassionate.

I am less judgemental.

I can identify with peoples brokenness.
I am more tolerant.

The thing is, this should be the case with all of us.  As we grow to become more like Christ, our lives and our attitudes should reflect that of Christ Jesus.

At the same time, as a result of what I have been through and what I have seen, there have been some other changes too.

I have little tolerance with manipulative, wishy washy, weak willed Christians that try to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

That may sound anything like what I have just previously said, but, hear me out.

I have become more loving and tougher at the same time.

I’ve become a stronger person and more decisive as a leader, knowing precisely what I want and what I want to achieve.

I have learned to rely on God when He is all I have and then at that moment, I have discovered that He’s all I need.

I have learned that tough times will either catapult you to God and to strength or you’ll go the other way displaying a victim mentality and weakness in your personality and character.

This type of weakness and victim mentality is always blame shifting!

It is always self focussed and ‘poor me’ in nature.
As a leader I have a low tolerance for bad attitudes, and the cavalier living of some so called Christians.

Jesus suffered and that’s putting it mildly in anyone’s estimations.

He was battered and bruised, He was beaten and bloodied, He was accused and taunted.

And for what?  For us.

And what was His response?

They led Him like a lamb to the slaughter…He was innocent and didn’t cry out for a pity party or pass the buck to anyone walking past.

He didn’t call out, “It wasn’t me!  It was Judas, he’s lying!”

He didn’t throw a tantrum.

He didn’t have a hissy fit.

He didn’t go around bad mouthing and slandering people and making up accusations.

No.

He went through it all and because of that He knows, He understands and He loves all the same.
I know what’s it’s like to be betrayed.
I know what it’s like to have people be disloyal to you.
I know what’s it’s like to be in deep depression and think suicidal thoughts.
I know the feeling of abandonment and what it’s like to be abandoned.
I know what emotional, physical and mental abuse feels like.
I know what’s it’s like to back slide and be spiritually empty.

I know what it’s like to be slandered and lied about.

I know what it’s like to be misjudged, misquoted, misinterpreted, perceived wrongly, and accused unjustly.

I know what loss is.
I know what it’s like to be emotionally, financially and physically bankrupt.
But, I know what repentance is!
I know what forgiveness is!
I now know God’s restorative power.
I now know His peace!

Love, forgiveness and acceptance.
These things are mine!

I know His grace!
I know how to pull myself out of the pits with God’s help.

I know how to lean on Jesus and how to keep my focus on Him.

I know how to depend on God – a strong fortress in times of trouble.

This is not me having a pity party or a poor me self expression time.

This is me, sharing with you, recognising how God has worked in and through my life and how He is causing me to be more like Him.

He didn’t stand for the Pharisees or the Sadducees of the day.

He didn’t take kindly to bad behaviour – but He did love and He did correct.

That’s what I’ve learned how to do better as a result of my experiences.
I think I now make a more understanding and capable pastor of people.
I’ve been there and can help others to come through their own life’s challenges.

I’ve not just come through, but I gained a life style of victory over self, sin and the world.

I have gained a stronger relationship with Jesus and learned that He is my source and my strength.

I have learned, and am continuing to learn, how to be content and how to trust in God with all that I have and all that I am.

Ted, Kristan and Harry EvansJeremiah 29:11

There are certain things I look at in people’s lives to encourage them.  Firstly we should acknowledge the good things that God has done.  Don’t dwell on the negative.  There’s too many of those!  See how God has been working in your life through people and circumstances.  Remember God is shaping and moulding us into His image.  The company you keep is important in shaping your mindsets.  If you don’t have a friend, be friendly the Bible says.

A selfish person will not acknowledge good in themselves or in others.  Everything is “whatever”.  The “whatever” culture and attitude is so prevalent in people today that it’s destroying hope for a future.

If you’re young, see your youth as being a blessing.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  If you are studying and others seem so far in front in their chosen career, remember this is a preparation time.  You are in a season of building your foundation.  Planning and studying is essential.  Remember, “You’ll have your day in the sun”.  Your time is coming so study to show yourself approved.

If you’re old and consider yourself a senior, thank God for the experiences, whether positive or negative.  The experiences you’ve had can help people as you offer yourself as support and encouragement.  Life’s journey is a gift to help others in giving people wisdom they desperately need.  This wisdom can be shared.  You can provide people with guide lines and instruction to assist them from making the same mistakes you made in life.  See everything as an opportunity for good.

There are so many ways we read our lives.  The perception of how we are going sometimes gets clouded and we need another viewpoint.  Maybe a close friend can bring home some positive truths about our lives.  Talk to a pastor with a sensitivity to your situation.

Pick yourself up and believe the simple truth that God is a good God and gives good gifts.  Trust Him with your future.  Never give up and remember God loves you and has you’re best interest at heart.

In my darkest hours I held onto what I knew was right.  My convictions and values made me stay the course.  Even though there were a few hick ups along the way, I kept going to church.  I lifted my hands in worship even though I didn’t feel a thing.  I prayed even though it felt like the heavens were like brass.  My attitude was taken from the scriptural principle that says “Put on the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness”, “Though the fig tree does not blossom, yet will I rejoice in the Lord”, “I will” rejoice in the Lord and AGAIN I will rejoice!”

Keeping the consistencies in life was so important to me in the hard times.  Don’t run from your circumstances.  Don’t look for the bottle, drugs or the easy way out.  Face the issues and slowly pull yourself out.  Get help!  Talk to someone and pray.  Step by step, one thing and one day at a time.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

In many lives decisions have been made without counsel and research is the last avenue most go down.  Most people have made their minds up.  God hasn’t been consulted.  Pastors’ advice is not sought after and when all is said and done the pastor somewhere along the road has to pick up the pieces.

It saddens me to see people struggle and in many cases have their destiny cut short. For some, isolation subtly becomes a reality and a way of life.  Often church attendance drops away and we forget…WE NEED EACH OTHER!  If we keep to the fellowship of the believers, consistent and continual, it will keep many from falling.

Be a giver not a taker.  Faith gives when reason would say to hold on to everything you can get.  The mindset “everybody owes me something” is wrong and very selfish thinking in its nature.  The church owes me; the school should be doing this and that, the pastor should be visiting me.  People that flounder in depression are people that stay in a place of “it’s all about me”!  I, ME instead of OTHERS, and WE!  When we put in and give, we live more fulfilled and enriched lives.

Help someone, serve in the church.  Give of your time and resource.  Live for God and others.  Bake a cake, write a card, send a gift, a word of life to a struggling person.  Fill yourself up, by pouring out.  David encouraged himself in the Lord.

Sometimes the very things that we are doing are the things that will ultimately destroy us and our family.  Our selfishness leads to unhappiness.  We pursue things, careers and life style.  No one wins and God is not glorified.  Giving people are loved people.  Giving people are happy people.  Giving people are satisfied.  Giving people don’t live for themselves.  God first!  We’ve got to do things God’s way to get God results.  The true and best pattern is God’s pattern – everything else ends up in disappointment.  Live for Jesus and the things of this world will grow strangely dim.

Don’t sit helplessly in “camp containment” put on your armour, pick up your weapons and boot Satan out of your life.  The measure of your containment is directly related to how Christlike or un-Christlike you are in your daily responses to the people, events, and circumstances of life.

Let Christ be your standard in a world as busy and involved as it is.  People are bored and empty because they have devoted themselves and their lives to things that ultimately lack meaning and purpose.  The only way to fulfil your destiny is to take the first step and then next step and the next … as God leads.

Ps Ted EvansEvery year the church prepares and gets ready for some of the best meetings, best ministry, best crowds and outreach and in gathering of souls for Christ that they have seen all year.

It’s Easter time, with hot cross buns – one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns. Easter eggs for the kids and sometimes the parents, but most of all Easter is not about the name “Easter.”  It’s not about the commercial aspects.  It’s not about the particular day because we all know that Easter Friday and Resurrection Sunday is debatable and in fact is not necessarily the correct days that the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection took place.

It’s not about any of those things.  It’s about a person and His name is Jesus. You may call Him Yahweh, Yeshua. You may call Him Emmanuel, El Shaddai, Lord, Jehovah and all these names are His name, but I call Him Jesus, the Son of God, Prince of Peace. Counsellor, wonderful! Jesus said “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE” no man comes to the Father except through me! (John 14:6) “I AM the bread of Life “John 6:35, Exodus 3:14 “I AM WHO I AM….”in other words: The self existent one, just and true, loving and faithful.  I AM, HAS SENT ME TO YOU!

It just so happens that we as Christians have land marked the April long week as the time we acknowledge and celebrate Christ’s death and burial at the time that has been allocated down the years. We have communion every time we meet to also keep in step with God’s word.

I believe as Christians we should celebrate God and His goodness as much as possible.  He is good.  He is faithful.  He is just and He is full of grace and mercy. Whether you believe or don’t believe, it’s not up for debate.  He is!  As the old song says, “As the bible tells me so.”  Christians do Christian things and they don’t take away from Christ, they promote, and endeavour to make Him known throughout the world.  That is our mandate… “To go and be witnesses in all the earth!”

The enemy would want us to take our eyes off Jesus, distract us from seeing and celebrating His goodness.  The enemy of our soul doesn’t want us to spend a weekend of festivities being reminded of the work of the cross.

We celebrate, The Day of Atonement, Pentecost, First Fruits and the land marks and memorials of the Christian faith.  Easter is just another point or memorial that every Christian puts in their calendar to remember Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus, His love, His compassion, and His forgiveness.

Let me encourage you not to get caught by the weekend, the days whether they are in correct order or not, the name’s this and that… Focus on Jesus this coming Easter and let’s never stop focusing on Him.  As a pastor, it’s the only time many unchurched people enter the doors of our churches.  Invite them in with welcome arms and show them the Love of God.

Ps Ted and Kylie EvansHave you ever thought about the way that you walk?

I mean, have you considered what your feet are doing?

What your head is doing?

What your hands and arms are doing?

What about your knees and every other part of your body?

Have you ever stopped to think that the rest of your body simply follows the lead of your mind?

Your feet don’t have a mind of their own, and nor do your legs.

Your hands don’t give direction and even though your head might be looking in a different direction, it still doesn’t change your course.

Your internal organs don’t override your brain and the signals that are sent through to your feet.

It’s the same in our lives.

As the body of Christ, we should follow the mind of Christ.

Our obedience, our ability to follow His direction, should come out of a heart desire to love and serve Him.

Jesus is the head of the church, the head of the body.

We make up the rest of His body.

So, just like in our own bodies, we should, as the members of His body, follow what He tells us and what He calls us to do.

And, what does He call us to do?

Where does He lead us?

He leads us in the path of righteousness!

We are to love each other, to honour each other, not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

We are to encourage each other, we are to build each other up in the most holy faith.

We are to follow Jesus and obey His commands.

We are to be changed from glory to glory!

We are to know the truth and walk in the light!

Above all, we are to love Jesus.

If we love Him, above all and above ourselves, we will walk differently.

We will think differently about what we do and how we do it.

We will talk differently.

Walking with Jesus and walking in His truth and in His love, means that we treat people with dignity.

We treat people with love, respect, care and specifically, we treat them the way that we want to be treated.

Are you walking in a way that someone else would be eager to follow or would people be running in the opposite direction?

This week, think about how you walk.

Think about where you are going and who you are following to get there.

Think about who is following you and how you are leading them.

Love Jesus and follow Him!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

Christmas Day Service

I recently heard and started thinking about tests that we go through.

In the Bible, we see men and women of the Old Testament who walked through many different trials and tests in their lives in order to fulfil their destiny in God.

There are tests that we will face in our lives and we need to be prepared and founded on the Word of God in order to not only pass the tests, but to be able to stand knowing we have been obedient and true to our Father.

Tests will come to each of us.

No matter how peaceful and how easy you think your life is, let me tell you, church, tests will come!

James 1:2-4 tells us that we should,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We need to remember that tests and temptations will both come our way, but they are different and have different purposes.

Tests are designed to grow us and to strengthen our character.

As James said, testing develops perseverance.

In our world today, we have a generation of people growing up that do not have the resilience that many of our forefathers had.

When you think about how the modern industrial world has been forged and built, you can see that resilience was absolutely necessary.

In the Old Testament, we read stories and see the effort and the perseverance that was required in order to succeed.

When you think about the construction of towns and cities, everything years ago was built and carved by hand and what we now consider primitive tools.

Farming, for example, nowadays is done using huge machinery.

Years ago, to harvest a field took hours of blood, sweat and tears.

Resilience and determination were absolutely necessary or there was no food on the table and no money in the wallet.

Tests create perseverance if we follow them through to the end without giving up.

This weekend, Kylie got into one of our bird cages where a spoggie had somehow managed to get in.

The spoggie made the other birds erratic and crazy Kylie’s mum said.

So, Kyls got in and for over ½ an hour, she tried to catch the little bird whilst not catch one of the other 8 birds in the aviary.

Her Mum told her after a while to give up and not worry about it.

Now, Kylie is stubborn and determined.

But she was also not going to give up and eventually, after what seemed like forever, she caught the little bird.

That’s perseverance!

  • · Temptation on the other hand, leads to sin.
  • · Temptation does not grow our faith.
  • · Temptation does not develop character.
  • · Temptation does not develop perseverance.

We cannot avoid temptation, but we can turn from it and not bow to it.

A test will draw us closer to God and make us rely on Him.

A temptation will make us walk from God because it leads to guilt and condemnation and we begin to rely on ourselves.

Because we are still growing in righteousness and becoming more like Christ, and we are susceptible to the dangers that testing brings if we are not in a constant relationship with God.

Testing can cause people to become disillusioned, distraught and distracted.

Testing can also cause people to become angry, bitter and hardened toward God and other people.

We need to stay close to God always.

We need to have constant fellowship and be in relationship with Him.

Testing is inevitable.  They are a bit like taxes – you can’t avoid them no matter how hard you try!

Testing is continual – we will be tested more than once.

Testing is necessary – it produces perseverance and dependence on God.

Testing is productive – it produces and shapes our character and develops our faith.

Testing is influential – it influences our beliefs, our thoughts, our actions and the people around us.

Our lives are a testimony as we live and walk through them.

Tests are crafted and allowed by God!

He uses them for our benefit and His glory.

Today, and over the coming days, see tests as ways to be victorious and as opportunities to glorify God.

Life is not about self-preservation, contrary to what the world would have us believe.

It’s not about self-gratification, self-satisfaction or even self-discovery.

It’s about living a life that is full and based on worshipping God.

Praise.  Honour.  Adoration.  Worship.

We seem to be able to remember old songs from yesteryear, jingles from adverts that haven’t been on for years, yet the church has forgotten it’s praise language!

The old saying that there is strength in numbers doesn’t fall short when we think about the gathering together of the saints.  The community of believers that join together, in one accord, in total unison, the church, the body of Christ, is given the assurance by God that when we dwell together in unity, He will command the blessing (Psalm 133).

Even when there are only a few, even just one or two, or even when there are many, thousands even, the presence of God is such that not only blessings can pour forth, but chains can be broken, walls can come down, burdens can be lifted and hearts can be restored, just to name a few!

God not only desires our praise, and not only is worthy of our praise, but He inhabits our praise!

To know that the Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth says that He will inhabit our praises should stir us to shout, scream and holler His name and His praise!

At times we need to be still and hear the still small voice of the Lord, but there are times when it is absolutely necessary to shout the praise of God and to sing out worship that is due Him.  For too long the church at large has been ‘listening quietly’ and not singing out.

Paul said to the church in Ephesus, “Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,  singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

The Psalms say, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” (Psalm 46:4)

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Psalm 4:23)

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)

Out of our heart, the depth of our being will come rivers of living water, waters of life and rivers that will make glad the Lord, as we are founded on and filled with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Out of our heart, a heart full of gratitude and love for what Jesus has done and continues to do for us, should come words of praise and worship.

Cries and utterances from our innermost being.

Psalms, songs and spiritual songs of praise to our God.

We’ve got to learn to sing in the Spirit again.  We’ve got to be able to break forth into praise and adoration in church – in a room full of people who all believe in the same amazing God.

It’s incredible to think that people are embarrassed and reserved and feel too self righteous to bring their praises to God in thankfulness.

Out of our hearts…

What is is your heart will come out…what words are you speaking out?

Are you singing the praises of God or of yourself?

Or, worse yet, are you speaking out negativity and jeopardising the work of the Lord?

We have to learn to break out of our own inhibitions and to press through in God.

Break through the fear barriers.

Break through the self control barriers.

Break through the apathy barriers.

Even when there are only a few people, a great sound in the Spirit can be made that can shake the foundations of darkness and sin and the hearts and lives of people can be transformed by the power of Almighty God.

The church and the world need to hear the voice of praise.

We’ve got to get our shout back – shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise.

We’ve got to get our clap back – Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

We’ve got to get our praise back –

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150)

We’ve got to get our song back – Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.  Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. (Psalm 96:1-2)

God’s word does not change – not now and not ever.

The commands to praise Him are as relevant and as necessary today as they were when they were written so long ago!

It’s so important for us to get back to pure worship – loving God and expressing our love through song and singing in the Spirit – the language that God gives to each believer as an evidence that they are filled with the Spirit.

Singing in the Spirit gives us the ability to worship God as well as edify ourselves as our focus shifts from ourselves to God – the only one worthy of praise and worship.

One of the most wonderful experiences that we can have is being able to sing in the Spirit, singing out of our Spirit-man words that can only be comprehended by our Heavenly Father.

Today, spend time singing in the Spirit.  Take the opportunity in church to sing in the Spirit and see how incredibly the Spirit of God moves as He inhabits our praises and is honoured in our worship.  Let’s not lose this mysterious yet wonderful gift given by God to His children.

WHY THE CHURCH?

What is our purpose?

How do we progress forward?

Why does God use the church?

Why did He create the church?

What is the purpose of the church?

Why the church?

Why do you go to church?

Is it because it’s a habit?  A chore?  A choice?  A ritual?  Routine? The better option?

Or is it because you know, deep in your heart, in your spirit, that the church is part of your life and part of your calling?

Do you know that the church is important to God?

More important, in fact, than it is to pastors?

The church is the Bride of Christ!

The church is bigger than you and I, but at the same time, the church is you and I!

We make up the church!

You matter!

When people refer to the church being and doing in the community, we, you and I, should take that personally, because they are referring to us!

They are referring to God’s Bride, to His children!

We are the apple of His eye, the Psalms say.

We are loved and we are the church.

As the church, we have a responsibility and a calling to look after the church.

The church, like us personally, is a living organism.  It is designed to grow and to keep changing.

We are to become more like Christ!

We need to be fed, we need to be watered and we need to give out.

Plants give out oxygen after taking in carbon dioxide.

Think about that – it takes in what is bad and gives out what is good!

That’s what the church should be like!

We should take in what is bad and then give out what is good.

We should be open to repentance and turning from our sin and then walking away in righteousness – the righteousness of Christ which is humble and full of grace.

People should be able to walk into the church filthy and then walk out cleansed by God’s blood and covered with His love.

Why The Church.

Why do we come to church?

Why do we do church?

The church, at large, is bigger than us.

That’s not really difficult to see or understand, however, all too often, we seem to forget that it actually is bigger than our little worlds.

The church is represented by us and millions of others just like us, all across the world.

We represent the church in our community.

Each place we work, each place we visit, every club that we belong, every shop that we enter, every person that we meet see God and the Church in us.

On some days and at sometimes I think that could be quite a sobering thought.

On the other hand, at other times, I can imagine that we represent God and the Church as wonderful ambassadors.

In the community, we, you and I, are the church.

The church is not just when we meet on Sunday’s.

The church, in smaller ways, is when we meet together and is part of who we are.

The original Greek word for church, ecclesia, talked about a gathering of people.

It was originally used to mean the regular assembly of the whole body of citizens in a free city-state, to be “called out”by the herald for the discussion and decision of public business.

Jesus was the first person to use the word ecclesia to mean the church in Matthew 16:18.

It continued to mean the church congregation as the early church began in Acts.

There are different references to the ecclesia, the church, in scripture in the New Testament.

(1.) It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary sense as a group meeting together (Acts 19).

(2.) It refers to the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the God the Father has given to Christ, the invisible church (Ephesians 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Hebrews 12:23).

(3.) It is a reference to a few Christians gathered together in observing the principles of the gospel, often in peoples homes (Romans 16:5;Colossians 4:15).

(4.) It also refers to all the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship.

The disciples in Antioch, that formed several congregations, were known as one church (Acts 13:1); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2), “the church at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1), “the church of Ephesus” (Revelation 2:1), etc.

(5.) And lastly, the whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Corinthians 15:9Galatians 1:13Matthew 16:18) are the church of Christ.

So, why the church?

What is our purpose?

Why did God create the church?

Paul in his later letters has another use of ekklesia peculiar to himself, which may be described as the ideal use.

The church, now, is the body of which Christ is the head

Colossians 1:18

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.

Ephesians 1:22-23

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

It is the vessel through which God’s incredible wisdom and eternal purpose are to be made known not only to all men, but to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:9-11).

The church is the bride of whom He is the heavenly Bridegroom.

Because of His great love, Jesus He gave Himself up, that He might cleanse and sanctify the church and present her, us if you really think about it, to Himself a glorious church, a church without blemish, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Ephesians 5:25).
In short, God created the church to be His greatest love – to have constant and uncompromised communion and relationship with her, with us if you like.

So, what is our purpose?

We have, as the church and as individual believers, 4 main purposes.

–        Worship

–        Relationship

–        Fellowship

–        Discipleship

It’s possible to worship God yet not have an actual relationship with Him.

If this sounds a bit backward to you, think about it….

Many people worship things but don’t or can’t have a relationship with them.

People worship money, sport, celebrities, but they don’t have relationships with them.

Our worship should not just be on a Sunday morning or a Sunday night, but it should be a constant, just like breathing.

Our relationship with God should be likewise.

We should desire to be in communion with Him – to hear His voice and to spend time talking with Him.

Notice I didn’t say, talking to Him.

It’s important that our relationship is two way – we talk and we listen.

God speaks in many ways and reading your Bible is one way to know exactly what God says!

Our relationship with God should be continual and growing – changing us as we spend more time with Him and in His presence.

Fellowship is one of the 2 commandments that Jesus gave us – Love God and Love People.

Loving people, loving our neighbour as our selves, is fellowship.

We are called to share together, to encourage each other, to build one another up, to carry each others’ burdens, to love and care for each other.

As part of the body of Christ, we cannot do faith and Christianity as Lone Rangers or solitary islands in the middle of an ocean.

The body relies on each member to work as it was created and to stick together through every situation.

When you get sun burned, your internal organs don’t stop working because they got offended by your decision to stay in the sun too long.

When you cut your finger your foot doesn’t decide to stop walking because it’s not getting the same attention as it was.

Each member of the body is perfectly put together by God in order for it to function as God intended – for His glory.

Our fellowship should occur not just in a church service, but on a daily basis and in different arenas and formats.

Fellowship helps to cultivate and maintain an atmosphere of unity.

Unity is needed and essential for the body to continue to work effectively.

Unity enables the body to walk in the same direction at the same time.

Unity brings strength and love.

Out of our heart of worship and our love for God as a result of our relationship with Him, we should have a desire to see people enter the Kingdom of God – both here and in eternity.

The Great Commission was Jesus third command to us – to go and make disciples.

Being in relationship with God and fellowship with other believers is essential, but it is not the end of Christianity.

Authentic Christianity pursues discipleship out of love for God and obedience to His commands.

Paul said that our attitude should be like that of Christ Jesus.

His purpose was to seek and save the lost, to preach good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to set free the captives, give sight to the blind and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

So, how do we do this?

As a church, how do we progress forward and not only be authentic in our faith and our relationship with Jesus and the world, but how do we effectively function as the church?

The church can only exist as one body when people choose to be committed and sold out to the local church.

The global church exists as the body, also, but even then it is only going to be effective in bringing about the Kingdom of God as we walk in unity and selflessness, humbly before God seeking first His kingdom, not our own.

When we commit to the house of God, to the local church, we come under covering and under a vision that has been given by God to the local leadership.

Without vision, people perish.

Many visions cause division.

A house divided cannot stand.

No matter the obstacles, the kingdom of God still stands.

We are called to be salt and light to the earth – to a dying world in need of a saviour.

We are to compel people to know Jesus, but, in order to do this, we must first ourselves be compelled to love and worship Him.

We cannot honestly and sincerely compel people to know Jesus as Saviour if we ourselves are not totally sold out to Him.

A relationship with Jesus means that church is not business as usual.

It means that it’s not here comes Sunday, I think I might go to church today, unless I can’t be bothered getting up.

It means that we see Jesus more than we see ourselves.

It means that when we think about what Jesus said, we understand that when He said “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” He actually meant it.

It means that we don’t just give lip service to what we profess on Sundays or in front of other Christians.

It means that we honour God in all that we do, in each and every encounter that we have with anyone, from anywhere, at any time and in any place.

A relationship with Jesus and a commitment to the Kingdom means that we put the house of God in a position whereby it is not an optional extra or an alternative if nothing else is on.

It means that serving Jesus in the church is not a chore or beneath you, but rather it is an honour and a privilege to be able to be counted worthy of being counted part of His kingdom.

It means that we actually love our neighbour as ourselves – the way that we would like to be treated – spoken to, looked at, talked about, etc, would be the very way that we would treat others.

Not too many people would welcome a group of people sitting around criticising their lives and their choices in life.

Not many people would welcome a tirade of anger and bitterness and resentment being hurled at them at the top of their lungs in front of people or even in private.

Not many people would like to be stolen from, lied to, cheated, slandered, undermined, or judged.

Yet, in many of these things, we are guilty of doing them to others ourselves!

Jesus said, love your neighbour as yourself.

But, then He went further – Love your neighbour as I have loved you.

Sacrificially.

Unconditionally.

Humbly.

We can progress forward as a church by dying to ourselves on a regular basis and by seeking to be more like Christ.

We can be effective as the body of Christ in our corner of the world by walking together, by putting aside differences and seeing the Kingdom of God for what it is – God’s Kingdom, not ours.

The church is made up of people – you and I.

We are the church that the community sees.

We are the way that the church will progress and the vehicle through which the Spirit will bring growth.

We only have to be open, willing, humble and obedient and His Spirit will use us as broken vessels for His glory.

The church that God’s always wanted, the church that God sees should be the very same church that we see!

  • A radiant church!
  • A welcoming church!
  • A glorious church!
  • A safe church!
  • A house of magnificence!
  • A faith filled church!
  • A restoring church!
  • A life giving church!
  • An others focussed church!
  • A proactive church!
  • An entrepreneurial church!
  • An innovative church!
  • A church that displays the supernatural power of God!
  • A church that enables us to use our faith!
  • A church full of abundance and overflowing!
  • A church that is God’s healing agent to the world!
  • A church that honours the past, lives for today and builds for the future
  • This is the church that God sees and this is the church that we see!

Jesus said that He would build His church and that the gates of hell would not prevail.

He chose US to be His agents in this process – let’s live up to our call and our purpose!

IMG_0662

This week, I want to write about experiencing God’s love.

We know that the Bible talks a lot about what love is and the Apostle Paul details it very clearly in what is known as the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.  We know that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, His most precious Son, to die for us.   That’s the greatest expression of His love for us.

But, we’re not going to look there.

I want to take you deeper on a journey into your heart.

We talk a lot in the Christian world that our lives should not be based on feelings but on faith.

And, whilst that is true, there is a place for emotions.

God did create them after all and the Bible is filled with accounts of circumstances that affected His emotions and His responses to situations.

I want you to know that it’s alright, it’s ok, and you are allowed to be emotional.   You are allowed to be moved by God.  You are welcome to open your heart and allow the Creator of the universe to enter in and touch the very fibres of your being.

Our perceptions of God and our experiences in life are our measuring stick.

We judge God by what has happened to us and in the world around us.

Bette Midler wrote a song many years ago and said that from a distance, God is watching us.

That’s how many people feel!

You may feel that way, that God is just up in heaven on His throne watching you go about your life,

–          watching your suffering,

–          your sadness,

–          your sickness,

–          your loneliness,

–          your brokenness,

–          your hardness,

–          your success

–          your life go by as you do the motions

You may feel that God has no interest in you – you’re a speck on His radar.

He is, after all, God and we are minute, tiny, almost non-existent if you look at us in comparison to the universe at large.

You may feel that God is like an old style school head master with a big stick, ready and waiting to strike each time you do the wrong thing.

You may feel that you’re simply not good enough, you’re never going to be good enough and there’s no way God can really love you anyway.

You may feel that God is angry with you all the time because you keep making mistakes –you’ve broken the 10 commandments more times than you can recall.

You may feel that there’s no way, even though you keep trying and trying, that you’re just not good enough.

God can’t possibly love you because

– you’re not like the people on stage,

– you’re not like the people who teach Sunday School,

– you’re not like the people who walk around with their Bible under their arm,

– you don’t know your Bible like other people do

You might be someone who thinks that God only loves you when you do good things or when you keep His commands as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees did!

You might think that God will love you when you are good enough –

You know,

–          when you don’t get upset with the kids anymore,

–          when you don’t shout at your husband anymore

–          when you don’t speed through the school zones anymore

–          when you give money to street people

–          when you stop using those words that really don’t honour Him

–          when you only spend time with Christian people and never see a non-      Christian person

Your experiences in life, the way that you were brought up and the way that you were treated, have shaped how you feel about God.

The image of God as a loving Father can be horrific for some people – those who have had a bad experience or a non experience of a Father.

If your Father hurt you or members of your family, it’s no wonder you don’t understand what the love of a Father is really like – protective and just.

If your Father was absent and didn’t have time for you, you won’t understand that God’s heartbeat is for you –for time with you.

If your Father was abusive and demanding, you might feel that God expects the same as your earthly Father.

If your Father didn’t know how to share with you, to be affectionate and relational with you, you may not know that God is absolutely relational.

Our view and perception of God can range from seeing Him as a distant and angry God to a God whom nothing is ever good enough to a God who presents as a father who is not caring or even approachable.

I want to show you today that God is so much more than any of these perceptions.

God is LOVE!

It’s not what God does for us or to us, but that it is WHO HE IS!!!

Above all else, God loves you.

If you have never experienced the love of God in a personal, heart stopping way, I pray that as you read this, you will.

We all have a different understanding of God as a result of the journey that we are each on.

I want to encourage you that no matter where you are in your walk, God’s love is not absent or far from you!

God desires that you would know, that you would feel, that you would experience the fullness of His love.

Ephesians 3:14-19 in the Amplified translation says:

For this reason, seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name.

May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality.

May Christ through your faith actually dwell, settle down, abide, make His permanent home in your hearts!

May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints, God’s devoted people, the experience of that love what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it;

That you may really come to know, practically, through experience for yourselves the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!

Now to Him Who, by consequence of the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams–

To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

The love that God wants us to experience is a life changing love.

A love that is almost to much to grapple with and to comprehend.

A love that has no end to how far it will go, either in time, in distance or in effort.

God’s desire for us to experience His love is not just as a one off experience – He wants us to be rooted in His love.

He wants us to know His love so intimately, so deeply, so closely that we never have to question His love.

His love for us is never ending!

God’s love for us is real.

His love is as real as the life we live and the air that we breathe.

We need a life changing experience of God’s love – an experience that disturbs, if you like, the very core of our being.

God desires for us to have an experience that brings us to our knees and removes all of the hardness, all of the fears, all of the things that bind us up and keep us from opening our heart.

When you have been hurt, whether as a child, a teen or as an adult, you are probably more reluctant to trust people.

We are often even more reluctant to trust God.

Many people know the story of how I came to be pastoring and living in Whyalla.

I was a broken man.

I had lost everything and was desperately relying on God for everything.

I remember day after day just crying out to God and asking Him to fill my heart – my heart that had been so broken.

I knew that God loved me and that He was a good God and He gives good gifts to His children.

I knew and I’d preached it and counselled it all my life.

But, I was now living in that reality of having to totally rely on God to restore my heart and potentially give me a new life partner – somewhere, sometime, somehow.

I had no idea that moving to Whyalla for 6 months was going to change the whole course and shape of my life.

Kylie and I hit it off and we began a relationship very soon after I arrived.

Immediately, I began to feel and realise God’s love for me, through Kylie.

All the things that I had craved my whole life were suddenly being realised.

Little things and big things.

Things that I didn’t even know that I needed or wanted, or that I thought were too great to even think to ask or desire of God were beginning to happen.

God knew what I needed in a wife.

He knew I needed more than just a bride.

He knew that I needed a soul mate – someone who would love me with the kind of love that God describes

–          total

–          unconditional

–          full

–          sacrificial

–          selfless

–          trusting

God knew that my heart needed to be held very gently by someone with strong hands.

I knew that God loved me, but all of a sudden I was personally and practically experiencing His love.

His very great, deep and unending love.

God doesn’t always use people to express His love.

Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t.

Sometimes He speaks directly to us, to our heart.

Sometimes He uses His words – the Bible to reveal it to us.

Sometimes He uses experiences that we go through to show us His great and powerful love.

The Apostle Paul said that nothing in life can take God’s love from us and nothing can take us from God’s love because of the sacrifice that Jesus made.

Romans 8:38-39

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

God’s love is such that He is so moved by us, His children that He will stop at nothing to show us and to make sure that we understand fully how deep, how pure and how real His love is.

God’s love is AGAPE love.

I’m sure that we’ve possibly all heard that word before and the scripture that usually accompanies it that because God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us.

That’s true!  But it’s more than that!

Agape love, God’s love, is activated when He see, recognises, understands or appreciates the value of us, causing Him to behold us in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder and sincere appreciation.

Agape love is so great that it is irresistible for the giver not to love.

Agape love, when received, is emotional.

It does require an emotion response from us.

It requires, in fact, it causes us, to be moved.

Receiving God’s love is not like when you are moved by compassion to do something, but rather it is when you are moved to be able to receive from God.   You are able to receive without restriction, without restraint, or without reservation and without hesitation.

You are able to surrender to the immense love that God wants to lavish upon you.

Agape love, God’s love, is so great and loves so profoundly that it knows no limitations or boundaries in how far, how wide, and how deep it will go to show us His love.

God’s love drives Him to action.

He wants and desires you to know and experience so that you might be made whole and complete, and that you might know the fullness of His love.

Life still happens and being loved by God doesn’t change the fact that sometimes things don’t go or happen as we would like or as we plan.

However, God desires that we would know His great love that we might be able to walk full in His love through every circumstance.

He wants us to be fully rooted and intensely established in Him and His love.

He wants you to feel and know His love.

His love that is greater than any love that will ever come your way.

Greater than the love of any person – mother, father, child, husband or wife.

God’s love is for you to feel, for you to experience, for you to know above and beyond anything else.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

GOD LOVES YOU.