Category: ministry


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.

Pastoring is a massive subject so here are some of my thoughts on “Pastoring Practically”.

First of all I want to establish the fact that “Pastoring” isn’t a job to be pursued as a career.  My dad used to advise me to run from “Pastoring” if I could.  If, for you, it becomes more and more obvious that the call of Pastoring is on your life, then realize there’s a massive price to pay.  You must be obedient to that call.  Prepare well.  Go to Bible College and get as educated as you can.  Pray continually for God’s guidance and His spirit to anoint you.  Without His anointing you will struggle and frustrate yourself and other people.

This calling is one of the 5 ascension gifts – Prophet, Pastor, Apostle, Teacher, and Evangelist.  It must be noted that our Heavenly Father doesn’t throw these gifts out to people like lollies.  Many have elements of these gifts on their life but few are “Ascension Gift” ministries.

I have found that when people stay within their calling, they enjoy what they do but also reap much fruit for the glory of God.  Pastoring is all about loving people.  Sometimes it requires tough love, but it is still loving people.  Shepherding people, nurturing people and leading people – these are all the roles of a pastor. Yes, there are times when we encourage, build up, strengthen and exhort but there are also times where we need to rebuke, correct and bring discipline. This is certainly not the most enjoyable part of our calling but necessary and always with the purpose of bringing restoration and glory to God.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself is that of being a “Listener”.  Be slow to speak.  Generally people just want to be heard.  Sometimes it is just to off load and get frustrations and hurts off their chest. Be quiet and allow the HolySpirit to give you a word of wisdom after they have shared their heart.

Practically speaking I have observed and found for myself that there are 3 elements to pastoring a healthy church.
1. Good, anointed worship.
2. Powerful preaching.  Not sharing.  Not conversational as this can’t be sustained week in and week out.  Dynamic preaching with a strong biblical content is essential.
3. Pastoral care.  This can be achieved through healthy small groups and great leaders.  The pastor himself/or herself may also do some visitation as required.

The Pastor’s role is to identify, empower and release people into their calling. This requires discernment and prayerful wisdom.  It is not to manipulate or control but to equip and release people. Their success will become your success.

I believe pastoring a church needs to be kept simple.  Over complicated structures and systems choke the life out of the church and its people.  Too many programs can become a problem.  You have to maintain these programs with the intensity and passion they require.  Leaders are hard to come by on a long term basis and this is a challenge for any pastor.

Keeping the ministry fresh with a guest speaker on a regular basis will inject a different perspective bringing life and excitement into the overall ministry.  The people require a balanced diet of Word and Worship.  It’s good not to be the same old same old every week.  Be creative!

The ‘shop front’ is Church on Sunday which is extremely important.  This is often the measure or value people put on the ministry.  Hospitable, warm people on the door and in the car park is a good start.  Today our society responds to different things.  The atmosphere of faith and God’s Spirit is what we hunger for.  Worship brings this great sense of God’s presence.  Faith statements from the word of God lift people’s spirit.  Powerful, well thought through prayers build people’s faith levels.  “Expectation is the breeding ground for miracles”.

Décor is important as well. A well-presented, clean auditorium is like your house when a special visitor is invited for dinner.  Get advice on this and do it well.  This can be achieved at little cost.

In my approach to pastoring, I like to address all 5 senses of the human being.

1.  Smell – coffee brewing and maybe some scented candles or plug in scents enhance dialog and fellowship.

2.  Feel/touch with a loving hand shake at the door or a warm arm around the shoulder in greeting is always nice to the recipient (being sensitive to the person on the receiving end). (The bible says to greet one another with a holy kiss!).

3.  Sight – it’s about first impressions.  It’s what people see when they drive in and walk into the facility.  Have good, strong signage out the front with a positive slogan.  Use PowerPoint presentations or worship videos before and after the service. A well-presented stage with appropriate lighting and no clutter is important.  A well-dressed pastor is a given but needs to be stated as there has been a sloppiness that has crept into the pulpit all in the name of “relevance”.

4.  Sound.  It can make or break a meeting.  Not too loud and not to soft.  It needs to punch through without ripping your head off.  Try different styles and genres but always consider the lyrics to be uplifting and God glorifying.  Have a happy atmosphere mixed with a sense of “God is in this place.”  People will leave your church and go to another church based on the music and sound.

5.  Taste – The N.T. church had food as an important part of their ministry.  We too can include this by either having nibbles after the service or once a month putting on a Fellowship lunch after church encouraging members to invite their friends.  Food is imperative, especially with children’s ministry and youth ministry.  A pizza order doesn’t go astray either.  You feed their stomachs and they be more open to be spiritually feed.

It’s important to have product to sell after or before the service as people will want to take home (value added) what they’ve heard, but also a copy to give to a friend who may have missed the service.

At the end of the day, it’s not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord.  We don’t come with eloquence and the wisdom of men, but we come in the power of His Spirit.  The greatest in the Kingdom are the servers.  We serve the people with a heart of integrity – always their best interest at heart.  I encourage people to be planted with their roots down deep and in this they will flourish and be blessed.

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!

“What the devil made for evil, God intended for good!” Genesis 50:20.

What do you do when your world falls apart?

How do you survive, overcome, and then recover the mandate that God has placed in your heart?

The call of God is a powerful thing.  No matter what you’ve gone through, God’s call never leaves.  It’s “His mandate” for your life.  You may make mistake after mistake and just like David in scripture, you may have disappointment after disappointment.  Grappling, scraping and crawling his way out of difficultly, sin and misjudgement, he has some key ingredients that we can learn from.

The call of God is that inner drive that doesn’t let up.  There’s nothing else that satisfies unless you are fulfilling that call.  It’s an insatiable desire to serve God in the capacity He has given you.

The enemy is constant in his pursuit of destroying your God given mandate.  The bible says, “When the enemy comes in like a flood God will raise up a standard.”  God will turn around the temporary derailment of your life and make what seemed to be a spent force into a fruitful tree again.  He restores what was taken and then doubles, triples and multiplies!  He increases what was so-called lost and breathes life into dead, lifeless bones.

I heard a phrase which encapsulates what I want to say: “Purpose driven to presence driven.”  This is a beautiful key in recovery.

No longer being driven by worldly ambition or success, but pursuing God and His mandate in a dependent, reliant way and at peace and rest in a God honouring way.

These kind of people are people who hunger and thirst for God’s presence.  A people who desire, hide and abide in that secret place (where the voice of God could be heard and His shekinah glory manifest).  The psalmist described it this way “dwelling under the shadow of the almighty” (no struggling, no striving).

These people are saints of God who taste the awe inspiring presence of God.  This type of person develops a NEW hunger for spiritual things and their spiritual taste buds begin to change.  These people arise from the oppression of pain and brokenness to become a person who prepares themselves for entering into God’s presence.  Hebrews 10:19 talks about “Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”.  Peter 2:5-9 “come into His Holiest by having cleansed and washed our souls and spirits in Jesus blood.”  God promises to wash us, cleanse us, speak to us, direct us and then He continues to draw us back to His original mandate for our lives.

The call that never leaves, that is relentless, constantly knocking on our door to get up and get back to that purpose and destiny.  That’s the mandate of God!

Sincere worship delights the heart of God.  As we worship, God promises the release of joy (Ps 16:11), strength (1 Chron 16:27), power (Ish40:29), liberty (2 Cor 3:17), transformation (2 Cor 3:18), refreshing (Acts 3:19) and boldness (Acts 4:13)

My encouragement to those who may have lost their way is “Stay on the bus!”  Get back to God’s purpose for your life, one day at a time.  As the old song goes, “Live for Jesus, that’s what matters.” Take your mistakes, disappointments, misjudgments, perceptions, and persecutions and turn them back to God’s plan and mandate for your life.  Keep the main thing the main thing.  Love and serve Jesus with all your heart then you will walk in His perfect plan again.

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 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 and KylieHow to get under God’s protection

As a Pastor, I am constantly concerned for people and their understanding of Kingdom principles.  It’s one thing to know them, but it’s altogether another thing to be able to correctly and fruitfully apply them.  I believe that submission and obedience to authority is a Kingdom Principle that needs to be re-established.

In a world where authority is disrespected and disregarded, our only hope is to trust what God has told us from the very beginning.  God is our ultimate authority and the Word of God is the ultimate written authority, spoken by God Himself.

We have television shows that make parents and social authorities look inferior, worthy of disdain and mockery.

We have people in rebellion in every walk of life – our own politicians, for right or wrong motives, find it difficult to submit and support their own leaders and instead publically refute their support and the loyalty due their leader.

We have people of all ages changing jobs frequently or not being able to hold down a steady job for long because the boss is always wrong and the employee knows better.

We have a generation of people that not only want their silver platter handed to them, but they want it lined with 18 carat gold, crusted with diamonds, with a money back guarantee that lasts a lifetime regardless of how poorly it is treated and then they want it handed to them only to desire that it is carried around for them too!

God’s plan has always involved authority and being submitted to authority.

We fool ourselves if we think that we can escape or that we are somehow exempt from authority.

God’s absolute authority was passed on to us in different aspects and Paul outlines this very clearly in Romans 13:1-2:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

God has instituted 4 forms of delegated authority under His divine authority.

Whether it is liked or not, there is a very clear pecking order and we can choose either God’s blessing or the consequences that result from our choice of whether to be under authority or not.

The 4 delegated authorities are:

Family

–          Husband, Wife and then the Children

Ephesians 5:22 – 6:4

Government

–          National & Local Leaders and then the Citizens

1 Peter 2:13-14

Church

–          Church Leaders and then the Members

Hebrews 13:17

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Employment

–          Employer and then the Employee

Colossians 3:22

1 Peter 2:18-19

There are very clear and basic purposes for God’s authority and the ways that He has instituted it.

The basic purposes for authority are 3 fold:

1. To Grow in Wisdom and Character
Luke 2:49-52

2. To Gain Protection From Destructive Temptations – Incomplete Obedience

1 Samuel 15:23

3. To Receive Clear Direction For Life Decisions

From those three basic principles comes protection under authority.  When we learn to submit and then actually do submit, there is protection for us under authority.  God is a good God.  He knows how things are supposed to work because He created them to work perfectly in perfect unison and harmony.  He knows that we need to lean submission in small steps which is why the very first authority that we come under is the authority of our family.

Children need to learn to submit and obey their parents.  If this first and most basic step is not implemented correctly, each other authority institution and authority figure will be a challenge for that child as they grow and develop.

If we want our children to grow up with a God instituted and healthy respect for authority and have the ability to submit and be obedient, we need to train them from birth.  Their protection in life begins with us.

We need to teach our children and those around us to understand the balance of power.  That is, we need to understand that coming under the delegated authorities means that we are coming under an umbrella of protection.  Like when we step out in the rain, if we have an umbrella we won’t get wet.  It doesn’t stop the rain, but we are protected.  If we don’t have that umbrella and we go out in the rain, we are at the mercy of the weather and we will get wet– we have no protection.

We need to discover how God is using authorities in our life

It is imperative that you determine correctly who your authorities are.  That doesn’t mean that we can pick and choose whom we submit and obey, it means to be aware of and willing to be obedient to every authority that God has instituted.

God has promised you direction, provision and protection through 4 structures of authority:

Family

Strong families produce strong churches and nations.

It’s in the family that we should learn:

Obedience

Submission

Right style of relationship

And how to appeal to authority

Government

Not only are we as Christians given instructions to honour and obey our King, but we are given illustrations on how to do it

Church

To its leadership is given the responsibility of the spiritual care and welfare of each member

Employment

Bosses and managers are in place to be responsible for the welfare of the company and the employees as well as the clients and customers.

It is important to discern how God is using authority in your life.  The purpose is to be conformed to Christ’s personality and His likeness – He humbled Himself and was obedient even unto death.

Lastly, we need to identify situations in which you must appeal to authority

Appealing to authority means that when you don’t agree with a situation or a decision, you respectfully and calmly approach your leader or the person concerned and speak with them.  This can take the form of either a verbal conversation or you could write to them.  Either way, there are attitudes that need to first be checked.

1. Do we have an Independent Spirit which is the basis of Disloyalty?

2. Do we have a condemning spirit which is the basis of self-righteousness?

3. Do we have an ungrateful spirit which is the basis of pride?

4. Do we have a lazy spirit which is the basis of dishonesty & poverty?

5. Do we have a bitter spirit which is the basis of selfishness?

6. Do we have an impure spirit which is the basis of self-indulgence?

Sometimes we can fool ourselves or be fooled into thinking that we are more than what we really are or that we know more than what our authority does.  It’s difficult to admit sometimes, but the people that are in leadership over us are there for a reason.  Children find it difficult to believe that their parents actually know what they are talking about and if this is not handled correctly, this type of attitude can go with them all through their lives.  Through their schooling years where they think they know better than their teachers, through their sporting interests where they think they know better than their coaches, through their working lives where they think they know better than their bosses and through their married life where they think they know better than anyone.

This type of attitude is very unteachable and self detrimental, often resulting in broken relationships and job changes and a poor reputation.

On the other hand, for the person that hears and learns how to appeal to authority and understands that God has put people and positions of authority in our lives for our safety and benefit, to bless and honour us not control and restrict.

God can use authority structures even if they are hard to bring change in our lives – Change into Christ likeness is our goal!

My prayer is that you will be blessed on your journey into Christ likeness and healthy and fruitful connections.

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.