Tag Archive: church


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

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

1. Worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Sermons

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

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

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

3. Fellowship

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

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

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

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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.

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.

Hunger and thirst after righteousness!

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Hunger and thirst after righteousness!

Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 that those who HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL BE FILLED!!!

God promises a in-filling beyond your dreams.

What does righteousness look like?
– right living
– living Gods way
– doing God things
– dying to self/John said I must decrease!

Less of me my wants, my desires.
– dying to the flesh/lusts of the flesh
– dying to the world and it’s system
– being right with man
– having no offences
As a deer pants for the waters, so my soul longs after You!
Paul says I want to know him!
-Paul was stoned
– Paul was ship wrecked
– Paul was chained, beaten and bruised gaoled
It’s NOT a feel good gospel!
It’s NOT your “Best Life Now!”
It’s NOT “Get a life!”
It’s he who want a life must loss his life!

For Gods sake!

When you’re in a battle!
When you’re in a storm!
When your buffeted!
When your backs against the wall!
When you’re misquoted!
When you’re misinterpreted!
When you’re judged wrongly!
When all matter of evil is thrown at you what do you do?
Can you say “having done all stand!
Those that can be shaken will be shaken!

How’s your appetite for God?
What sort of Christian are you?
– do you love the house of God?
– do you read your bible?
– are you a worshippers?
– are you a giver or a taker?
– do you tithe to the Lords house?
– what are your convictions?
– are you wishy washy in your faith?

We must realise that Christianity will never be a friend of this world.

Christianity holds out the only arm of salvation to this world.

Christians and the world will never be friends.

Christianity will never cross over but demands that the world cross over.

The Bible says what so ever things are pure, lovely and of good report think on these things!

Fill your mind with wholesome, up right and God inspired things.
Bring everything captive!
Bring every thought captive!
Bring everything into the obedience of Christ!

Carnal thoughts or stinking thinking will bring you down!
It destroys people.
It will sabotage your future.
It will cut you off from God’s best.
– some of you think yourself into being sick
– you’re always sick
– hypochondriacs
– why don’t you start to trust God with your life?
– God’s trying to shape you and mould you.

BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT!!!!!!
Who wants to be filled with the Holy Spirt?
He has anointed me to preach.
To be “filled” means to be overflowing with the divine nature, character and life of Christ.
Having ALL of Him in you.
When you’ve got Him you’ve got His will purpose and understanding operating in your life.
“No longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me!”
“I am crucified with Christ”
More of you Jesus!!!!!!

I encourage you, pursue righteousness.

You may have to make a stand against the status quo, but at the end of the day, who are you wanting to please and be led by?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.

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.

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!

Friends and horsesYour connections in life are incredibly important to your future, your emotional stability, the line that you travel between success and failure.  The relationships that you subscribe to can either build you up or pull you down.  They can encourage your growth in God or push you towards a mediocre, negative and a critical existence.  The relationships that you foster can tend to run your life!  Sometimes these people can influence you and even overtake healthy decisions.  Our priority should be to encourage each other to make Godly and Kingdom focus decisions.

We need to consider who we spend time with.  Ask yourself – What do you talk about when you get together?  What mindsets are infiltrating your family culture?  Are they God inspired and Christian in their nature?

I have heard a couple of sayings that I find interesting…Birds of a feather flock together! Like minds find other like minds.  This is a positive if the outcome is to love, build and strengthen but extremely harmful and destructive if it is of a critical nature.

The other quote I have heard over the years is “The lowest form of communication is talking about other people!” Why don’t we discuss Kingdom advancement anymore?  Why don’t we talk about reaching lost souls anymore?  Why don’t we discuss the state of our heart, or the love we have for God and our family?  Why don’t we build up the church and find the positives rather than pull the church down and have roast pastor over Sunday lunch.  Look for the good, look for the noble; look for heart intent rather than outcomes, whether good or not so good.

Gossip is a terrible thing.  It’s like a cancer that spreads and takes hold of people.  Biblically it is one of the 7 deadliest sins.  Dissension!  It’s divisive in character.  This is major in importance to me as a Christian wanting to pursue Christ likeness.  I love the passage that encourages us think on such things…what’s so ever thing are pure, lovely, of good report etc think on these things.  As the mind goes, the heart and mouth will follow.  Do not be deceived, the Apostle Paul says, bad company corrupts good character.

I find the start of a new year a great opportunity to make adjustments to our thought life, our speech and our actions.

Hurting people, hurt people! Whole people hunger for a whole and safe community where love abounds and grace is evident in all.

I believe this article will help someone in their Christian walk.  I believe it will shake someone into a fresh approach to their relationships.  Don’t pretend to be a Christian.  Don’t give lip service to your aspirations as a believer.  Don’t call yourself something that you’re not.  Don’t go to church and put on a show if you’re living differently with your speech and attitude during the week.  Many folk are in communication with people who are not in church, are very critical, not submitted, not under any kind of accountability, and are fruitless.  Unrepentant, prideful and arrogant are some words that come to mind in describing these people.  They refuse to seek forgiveness and restoration in any way.

Be careful to allow these people to continue to be a part of your circle of friends.  The word of God says… “Have nothing to do with them.”  They will harm you and your family.  These kinds of people will destroy themselves and their family, any job prospects and sometimes can take a hold of a congregation rendering it unproductive and sick.

On the other hand if they repent the future is amazing.  Productivity, fruitfulness and blessing can be the result.  Safe and healthy relationships and connections should be our pursuit and desire.

The atmosphere of your life is made up of a couple of things.  One very important ingredient is the type of people you spend time with.  Be inspired to search out Godly influences and if need be make the changes in your life as I do mine every day.

The second ingredient is your walk with God.  It’s impossible to have a deep relationship with God and tear down, criticize and speak against the church for which Jesus died.  The closer I get to God the more my life portrays a Christ likeness that is full and rich in Godly character, love, joy and peace, kindness, gentleness, meekness, self control, patience.

There is a place for having people in your life that you are called to reach out to and embrace so as to lead them to Jesus and a transformed life.  However, we should be the ones influencing others in a positive and encouraging manner – we should represent Jesus to everyone that we meet.

Look for the best in each other and keep your relationships healthy!  Remember always, how would you like to be thought of and treated?  Go and do likewise!

God Bless you on your journey!

WHY THE CHURCH?

What is our purpose?

How do we progress forward?

Why does God use the church?

Why did He create the church?

What is the purpose of the church?

Why the church?

Why do you go to church?

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

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

Do you know that the church is important to God?

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

The church is the Bride of Christ!

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

We make up the church!

You matter!

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

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

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

We are loved and we are the church.

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

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

We are to become more like Christ!

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

Plants give out oxygen after taking in carbon dioxide.

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

That’s what the church should be like!

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

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

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

Why The Church.

Why do we come to church?

Why do we do church?

The church, at large, is bigger than us.

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

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

We represent the church in our community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, why the church?

What is our purpose?

Why did God create the church?

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

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

Colossians 1:18

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Ephesians 1:22-23

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

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

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

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

So, what is our purpose?

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

–        Worship

–        Relationship

–        Fellowship

–        Discipleship

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

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

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

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

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

Our relationship with God should be likewise.

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

Notice I didn’t say, talking to Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fellowship helps to cultivate and maintain an atmosphere of unity.

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

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

Unity brings strength and love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how do we do this?

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

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

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

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

Without vision, people perish.

Many visions cause division.

A house divided cannot stand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said, love your neighbour as yourself.

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

Sacrificially.

Unconditionally.

Humbly.

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

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

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

We are the church that the community sees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

P9130215Jesus is building HIS church!

Over the years of my time in ministry, I’ve come to realize a few things about people and church life, Christianity and the world. These are a few observations I’d like to share with those who are willing to read and maybe take on a new way of approaching life and ministry.

1.) Don’t stress or worry especially if you cannot control the situation. Give it to God. Sleep on it. Time is a healer. 12 hours makes a huge difference and it gives an opportunity for God to move. People panic and I put myself in that category in the past, but what for? Why do it? Why allow yourself to go through all that pain? Isn’t life itself a gift? Look for the good in little! I find most people operate their lives on rational, most times making choices out of an irrational and an emotional mind set.

2.) People will do what people will do! As a pastor you can preach till the cows come home or till you’re blue in the face, but in most cases nothing changes except for a Holy Spirit encounter or revelation. Crisis does not even guarantee change in people’s lives. Counselling doesn’t change people unless they choose to change and adhere to the advice given.

3.) Church attendance! A pastor can visit his flock and can encourage them to be in church, but even then I have found that people will do, what people will do. Sunday morning comes and depending on how they are feeling at the time, a decision is made not to go or to go! Values are not considered anymore and children will be the recipients of our values, or lack of values, as parents. Incomplete obedience will be the next generation’s disobedience. On any given Sunday a third of your congregation may be away. People come into church and go! Should I say people grow or people go! Anything can set people off from a misperception to a pastor not shaking their hand at the door. It’s time for the church to grow up and develop some backbone! Maturity must be a priority! Paul said meat, not milk!

4.) We want the church to provide this program and that program but do nothing about it ourselves. Instead of getting motivated and involved with church life people get involved the clubs and activities the world offers. Where is the desire to come together to worship and have fellowship? Where are Kingdom values instilled? It must come from firstly the family then the church. You’ve got to get your family there if those values are to be taught to your children.

5.) Some times as a pastor you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I have come to the conclusion that you can’t please everyone! Pleasing God should be our aim.

Through many years of ministry, watching and relating to people I have come to the realization that “Unless God builds the House we labour in vain”.  The scripture is so true!   You can have all the bells and whistles, good preaching, beautiful worship, a coffee shop experience after and before church but some will come and some will stay at home. The sleeping giant needs a shaking. An awakening! A revival! You can have the best programs in the world but people are led by their feelings. Sadly they feel their way out and think their way out of their destiny! There is a permissive will but people should desire and seek after the perfect will of God! The permissive will tends to be average and mediocre. God has so much instore yet we are happy with the status quo and just getting through. Too many people are just making it and call themselves survivors rather than living in the best God has got to offer.

Some final thoughts.

Be faithful to what God has called you to do! Make every post a winner! Look for the best in people. Be an encourager! Remember to see the glass half full and make a way to help fill it right up! God is on the throne. He hasn’t stepped off and He’s not having a sleep. He is intently interested in you and is constantly reaching out to us. Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your might! Let God be God and “Seek 1st the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you”.