Tag Archive: life


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. People can help you restore your life.

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

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

4. The greatest restorer is Jesus!

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

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

Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–          Moses would have never made it across the Red Sea

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

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

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

–          Peter would never have walked on water

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

–          And the list goes on and on!

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

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

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

What do you do when your world falls apart?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What your head is doing?

What your hands and arms are doing?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the same in our lives.

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

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

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

We make up the rest of His body.

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

And, what does He call us to do?

Where does He lead us?

He leads us in the path of righteousness!

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

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

We are to follow Jesus and obey His commands.

We are to be changed from glory to glory!

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

Above all, we are to love Jesus.

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

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

We will talk differently.

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

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

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

This week, think about how you walk.

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

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

Love Jesus and follow Him!

Proverbs 3:5-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another question:

What is marriage?

Is it all about being happy?

Is that the criteria?

Is that the goal?

Is that why you married that person?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subjectivism

Rationalism

Post modernism, meaning there is no real truth

New age religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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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.