Tag Archive: faith


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Praise.  Honour.  Adoration.  Worship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cries and utterances from our innermost being.

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

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

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

Out of our hearts…

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

Are you singing the praises of God or of yourself?

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

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

Break through the fear barriers.

Break through the self control barriers.

Break through the apathy barriers.

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

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

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

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

We’ve got to get our praise back –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, we’re not going to look there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s how many people feel!

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

–          watching your suffering,

–          your sadness,

–          your sickness,

–          your loneliness,

–          your brokenness,

–          your hardness,

–          your success

–          your life go by as you do the motions

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

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

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

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

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

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

God can’t possibly love you because

– you’re not like the people on stage,

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

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

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

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

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

You know,

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

–          when you don’t shout at your husband anymore

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

–          when you give money to street people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is LOVE!

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

Above all else, God loves you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His love for us is never ending!

God’s love for us is real.

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

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

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

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

We are often even more reluctant to trust God.

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

I was a broken man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little things and big things.

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

God knew what I needed in a wife.

He knew I needed more than just a bride.

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

–          total

–          unconditional

–          full

–          sacrificial

–          selfless

–          trusting

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

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

His very great, deep and unending love.

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

Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t.

Sometimes He speaks directly to us, to our heart.

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

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

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

Romans 8:38-39

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

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

God’s love is AGAPE love.

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

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

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

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

Agape love, when received, is emotional.

It does require an emotion response from us.

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

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

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

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

God’s love drives Him to action.

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

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

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

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

He wants you to feel and know His love.

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

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

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

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

GOD LOVES YOU.