Category: Jesus


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.

Joel 2:25 – “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm my great army that I sent among you.”

The word of God promises to restore the years the enemy has stolen.  Each one of us has a significant destiny, a glorious future in God.  The devils only objective is to sabotage our purpose and meaning but we’ve got to dare to believe again.

We have God given dreams and aspirations.  I find that when we live in those things we are the happiest and most content.  When we are fulfilling God’s plans in our life we have a sense of wholeness.  It completes us.   “Restore” means to bring back to existence, to multiply, double, to increase to more than ever before.  He is a restoring God and He does it incredibly well if you trust Him.

When we are dealt a curve ball and our life is shattered by a particular event, person or circumstance then what do we do? We crumble and fall, but then we must pick ourselves up.  The restoring power of God is at our call.  It is the resources of heaven available to us as we reach out to Him.

1. God’s restoring power is in the pages of His word.

There’s no better blue print for living than God’s word.  His principles work every time and He encourages us as we read His word every day.  Galatians 1:6 – “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should RESTORE him gently… “carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.”

2. God’s restoring power is in your belief.  It’s faith.

Trusting in God requires faith.   “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things yet unseen.”  It’s a grind and sometimes just plain difficult, but as you take little steps, day by day moving forward, you can begin to achieve what was thought to be impossible.

3. People can help you restore your life.

Some people are not interested and would be happier if you didn’t rise up to anything.  Some people are too busy and others don’t know how to or what to do.  Movements, leaders, pastors are called to restore,  but usually just ordinary people are the restorers.

It’s nice when someone puts their arm around one who is struggling and says, come on let’s do this journey together.   I believe it is our responsibility, our mandate to come along side broken, smashed up people and lift them up to a new day, a new way.  We must restore people!  It takes time and effort, but the results are those of a saved life.  A restored soul!  People might call it sloppy grace, but what you’ve done will not prevent me from showing mercy, grace, acceptance.  I will endeavour to lift you, encourage you and strengthen you out of the pit of despair and into the loving arms of Christ.

4. The greatest restorer is Jesus!

That’s why we call Him our Saviour.  He saves, restores, and makes us whole again.  He forgives and forgets. We have to get that one truth in our head. He forgives and forgets.  He is the healer of the broken hearted. Allow Him to take control!  Watch as God’s restoring power works in and through people’s lives – you will be moved and amazed at what He does.  What the devil made for evil, God will turn around and make for good.
Amen!

Remember forgiveness is not something we do for other people we do it for ourselves to get well and move on!
Restoration is about getting well and moving forward!
Failure is not final
He’s the God of the second chance!

Faith

Of recent days the sad passing of my Aunty Lorraine to cancer has brought some interesting dialogue across my path regarding the “faith issue”.  There have been some disappointing responses.  These comments have come from people a little too quick to shoot from the hip.  Unwise and hurtful!

To my way of thinking I believe this train of thought is irresponsible, immature and extremely shallow.  It also brings negatively to the body of Christ, which doesn’t help our infiltration of the Gospel to a hurting and dying world.

Simply put, faith is believing, trusting in God.  He is a God that performs the miraculous.  He is a supernatural God and as Christians we must have faith.  Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God!  We must believe.  We must believe His word. Someone put it this way, “Faith spelled is risk!”

The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen, as the author of Hebrews says.

What people have called the “hyper faith” movement I plainly describe this way: Faith people are those that are trying to put into practice what God’s word says while others doubt, waver and are tossed to and fro by every whim.

The “faith teaching”, as they call it, has it’s extremes like anything.  I understand that in some cases there has been manipulation of funds for their cause, which is wrong and sinful, but on the whole faith people are normal Christians just endeavouring to live out their faith the best way they can.  We are called to walk by faith.

The Gift of Faith has been given to some and is hard for others to grasp that kind of extra-ordinary faith.  My suggestion is: Don’t criticize what you don’t have, but thank God for what you do have.

If you were sick, I would believe with you and your family to the very last breath that God would heal.  In the sovereignty of God, we commit our ways to God as the “Great Umpire in the Sky”.  He knows the end from the beginning.

He knows best and will do what is best!  We call it “God’s Sovereignty”.  That is the “faith mentality”.

I find that some intellectuals can struggle with these points of view because it sometimes just doesn’t make sense.  Analyzing and critiquing doesn’t lead to the God kind of faith we pursue. Understanding is as important as knowledge! Let’s get both!

If you formulate your thinking and theology from the excesses in the body of Christ you will become unbalanced and lop sided.  Don’t complicate what is straight forward.  Simply believe!!!!

There’s faith that delivers and faith that endures.  I love the quote, “Beaten paths are made by beaten men but faith refuses to live among the dead. If you mix with unbelief the dust of unbelief will rub off onto you.”

Smith Wigglesworth said – ” I’m not here to entertain you, but to bring you to a place where you can laugh at the impossible”.

At the end of the day, all we have is faith in God and His Word.  Nothing more and nothing less, after you strip away all of the peripherals.  Imagine how different the accounts in the Bible would be if faith was not pursued…

–          Elijah would never have been able to ask the widow to gather empty jars that would miraculously be filled with oil

–          Joshua would never have witnessed the crumbling of the walls of Jericho

–          Moses would have never made it across the Red Sea

–          Mary would never have become pregnant with the Saviour of the world!

–          Crippled, deaf, mute and lame people would never have been healed

–          Children and adults alike would never have been raised from the dead

–          Peter would never have walked on water

–          Two fish and a loaf of bread would never have fed over 5,000 people

–          And the list goes on and on!

Can you imagine!  If we have the faith to believe the Word of God, then it seems only fit that we live with that sort of faith every day in our own lives.

How do you get Faith? Faith comes through an understanding and revelation of God’s word.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.  It always gets back to what God’s word says.  Love His word.  Understand His word.  Live in the truth of God’s word.  That is what will set you free in all these areas.

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.

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.

Ted EvansThe world is searching for happiness! People quit their secure jobs, leave their spouse and are constantly unsettled because of this search for so-called happiness.

I know of people who have spent the majority of their married life trying to please their partner, going along with every whim so as to see them content in what they desired.

I have seen husbands try to take leadership of the home to no avail because of a domineering wife pursuing her so called happiness (and vice versa).

I have seen couples break up and when asked why, the immediate answer was because, “I’m not Happy”, “I don’t love him anymore”, the latest phrase is, “He abused me.”

Well, who is happy anyway….all the time, I say?

Another question:

What is marriage?

Is it all about being happy?

Is that the criteria?

Is that the goal?

Is that why you married that person?

If all your ducks don’t line up does that mean all is lost?  Do you fantasise about someone else? Trade him/her in for a new model!  Maybe a rich millionaire will show me the world and give me the happiness I’m longing for!

After much soul searching and many deep personal experiences I have come to a very basic conclusion.  Life isn’t about being happy.  The bible talks about contentment, and joy.  Happiness is fleeting but joy is lasting.  To me it’s all about commitment and perseverance!  Overcoming obstacles together!

I believe so many worldly and demonic practises have been employed in Christendom.  We see so much ungodliness and it’s certainly not a spiritual thought pattern or process.  The bible doesn’t even come into play anymore, it seems.

Some people are so intelligent that they know absolutely nothing.  Ignorance is portrayed in their behaviour.  I’m sorry, you can tell me one thing but your action is telling me something else.  You can tell me you love God and put Him first but what you are doing each day says something completely different.  I guess the bible says it this way, “You judge them by their fruit.”  Time will tell, I say!

Let me write something to describe some wrong thinking.  Ultimately wrong thinking becomes wrong behaviour.  Wrong choices and heart breaking disappointments soon follow wrong behaviour.

Some calls it Relativism, meaning no absolute truth.  Rampant in the church of Jesus Christ!

Subjectivism

Rationalism

Post modernism, meaning there is no real truth

New age religion

Experimenting (The devil said to Eve…go on Eve, take it! Try it!

These and more describe what is going on in people’s lives, and in their thinking each day of the year.  Most times without them knowing these thought patterns are there, but the person doesn’t realize they are.

We have moved so far from biblical truth, the absolutes of the bible and then grapple with distorted truth and make excuses daily to explain ourselves away.

The truth is: Happiness comes out of being content.  The overflow or outcome of joy is a happy lifestyle and a person who is at peace with themselves, God and others. Joy=happiness.  Happiness is existential.  Joy is internal, from your spirit man.  Joy is a deep gratitude of the saving grace and forgiveness that Jesus gave through His death and resurrection.

I am filled with inner joy and peace because of my deep and real relationship with Jesus Christ.  This covers every sin committed past, present and future.  Sin will always have devastating effect on any human being, ultimately death, but because of His forgiveness I walk in complete joy, peace and happiness.

I reiterate happiness is not the goal.  Happiness is shallow.  Happiness can be a selfish pursuit never really being fulfilled.

Many people walk in hurt and bitterness which is the basis of selfishness.  Not getting what you want, maybe unmet expectations, leading to disappointment, hurt, offense and then bitterness.  The final result of uncontrolled bitterness is demon possession.

A self-indulgent, impure spirit has it basis in a self-indulgent life style.  Gimme!   Gimme!  Gimme!  Husbands are working excessive hours to provide the lifestyle and things that their wives are lusting for.  Only a few years after they have all the wants and desire they run off and take everything that has been worked for over many years leaving their partner desolate and confused to say the least.

Disloyally is rampant, some overt and some very subtle but it all stems from an independent spirit developed over many years.  This is the characteristic of an unhappy and ungodly person sometimes claiming righteousness but deep within the pages of their life is a chronic and devastating disorder.

Ungratefulness is in epidemic proportions to the point that people cannot keep up or fulfil their need for more and more.  The basis of ungratefulness is pride.  If you follow the path of pride in your life it will definitely lead to a basis of fear.

The bible says, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind.  Now, that sounds like, JOY.  That sounds like a happy person.  Love, power and a sound mind!  Content and fulfilled in every way!

When you walk the road of dishonesty and cultivate a poverty spirit, you can become extremely lazy and unproductive.

Self righteousness comes from a person who condemns themselves, beats themselves up but also condemns and judges others.  Constantly being critical of others!  This is not only a sad person but sadly a destroyed soul.  Outwardly they claim happiness but inwardly they are in turmoil, going from one purchase to another, one food group to another, one fashion store to another and in most cases relationships are severed.  One relationship to another, searching, looking, relentlessly pursuing…but to no avail!  Empty!  Wanting!

Don’t the words of Jesus mean much to us when He says “Take no thought of tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.”   In fact it implies that Jesus attends the funeral of every sparrow that falls to the ground.  “Don’t be anxious!” ”Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Isaiah says “Don’t eat food, drink and work for that which does not satisfy”.  I believe as we obey the word of God that says “To seek first the Kingdom of God” Everything we need will be provided which ensures us of joy, and happiness.

We are being changed from Glory to Glory!  Being transformed into His likeness!  It takes toughness, strength and fortitude to allow our character to be shaped and moulded into that beautiful and whole person that brings glory to God.  We are the clay, He is the potter!

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.