Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

When the LORD calls you to do something for Him, expect opposition.

Good morning my friends, when you do a good work for the LORD you can expect opposition. If you are of the world, the world will accept you as one of it’s own, but if you are a Citizen of Heaven, working for another KING, then this world and it’s king (Satan) can never accept you and you are going to be opposed, persecuted and sometimes martyred. However, far from being in a position of weakness and fear, we’re going to be encouraged today to see that we can be God’s awesome power of LOVE in this world.

Opposition comes in many forms, but how can we react to opposition, no matter what form or guise it come in?

Let us take Nehemiah as one of our examples of what to do when opposition comes, and we’ll look at what God’s Word tells us about persecution and opposition for Him and for the Gospel.

First, Nehemiah:

An Example of how to proceed when your work for the LORD is opposed, ridiculed or hindered.

Nehemiah 4:1-23 (NIV)
1  When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2  and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
4  Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6  So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7  But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10  Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11  Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12  Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13  Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15  When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16  From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah
17  who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18  and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19  Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
20  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
22  At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.”
23  Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

INTRODUCTION:

When you get busy for God, opposition will inevitably raise its ugly head. So no matter how GOOD the thing that you are doing is; be it a service for the poor people of this world or proclaiming the Good News of Jesus or taking a moral stand. Like Nehemiah discovered, when you do something for the LORD, the world (influenced by Satan) hates it with a vengeance, and will oppose you. However, they are not really opposing you, they are coming against your God, who’s called you to that task.

But we must bear in mind what it is that’s driving any form of opposition:

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV) When Opposition Comes: Be strong in the LORD and STAND.
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13  Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Read the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD Eph 6:14-20).

We must not resort to worldly ways of reacting to opposition:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

Who was Nehemiah? His name means “the comfort of Jehovah.” His purpose and calling by the LORD really was a worthy one; He was instructed by the LORD to reconstruct the walls of the city of Jerusalem and in the process to rebuild the faith of the people of Israel. Yet, as soon as he began, Nehemiah was confronted by the dreaded opposition. So don’t be surprised by opposition, instead; expect it.

1) PRAYER:

When you get busy for God and the expected opposition comes, the first ingredient that will lead to success is PRAYER. “But we prayed to our God,” the Bible says (Nehemiah 4:9). Prayer was a key ingredient in Nehemiah’s spiritual life (1:4). When OPPOSITION came, Nehemiah looked up to Heaven first taking captive those opponents of God’s word with Spiritual weapons, before he persisted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.

2) PERSISTENCE:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the second ingredient that will lead to success is PERSISTENCE. Prayer is not a substitute for working at what you’ve been called to do. So often people will retreat and just pray, but you’ve been called to more than prayer. Instead, know that PRAYER preceeds PERSISTENCE. When opposition comes don’t just carry on regardless, get down to prayer first and then carry on regardless. PRAYER is a PRELUDE to PERSISTENCE. For the God’s Word says; “Nehemiah took their thoughts captive (He used Spiritual Weapons) Nehemiah 4:4.   “…the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6).

I don’t know who said it first, but whoever it was, this thought encapsulates the KEY INGREDIENTS when opposition comes; “I pray as if everything depended on God. Then I work as if everything depended on me.” I love that saying, we’ve got to PRAY and WORK at what we’ve been called to do. (See James Faith and Works).

3) POWER:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the third ingredient that will lead to your spiritual success is THE POWER OF HEAVEN. When confronted by the fear of the people, the fear of man, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of failure; then Nehemiah 4:14 says that Nehemiah arose and spoke to the people about the power of God, and about the purpose of their work. When we are reminded of the purpose to which God has called us, and the power with which to accomplish that purpose, then we will be encouraged to move on toward the completion of our task.

So simply remind yourself of God’s calling and purposes: To share the Gospel, to help the poor, to cure the sick, to make disciples, to follow the teachings of Jesus, to live by them and if need be to die for them. Remember also the POWER of HEAVEN, the Weapons are not worldly, we take our stand against opposition with the Armour of God in place: Ephesians 6:10-20. And bear in mind; Jesus is with you always. Holy Spirit has filled you and equipped you for this work for the LORD.

When you know and experience the POWER you will keep going at what He’s called you to do.

CONCLUSION:

Yes my friends, you will experience all kinds of opposition to what you’ve been called to do by the LORD: Demonic and Worldly OPPOSITION: Expect it, and react like Nehemiah the prophet and the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • Get down to PRAYER,
  • Get up to WORK by being PERSISTENT,
  • Get into the POWER of Heaven.

Through prayer and persistence with the power of Heaven, you will be able to overcome any of those troubling opponents.

As one great preacher has said,

“You’ll be able to turn those stumbling stones into stepping stones”

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

“Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Christian upon his knees.”

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

For most people it’s a rest day, to be with family and friends, but remember Jesus is your BEST BFF (Best Friend Forever).

So make and appointment and keep it with Him first. Then no matter what happens today, you’ll be ready. Amen!

Don.

 

Isn’t God Awesome?

bringing people to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 797: Isn’t God Awesome?

God’s Kind Of Kingdom Service.

Yesterday was a dozy of a day. I got ready for the school visit to church, set-up the OHP ready for a powerpoint presentation on the miracles of Jesus. Only to find out after setting it all up that they were not going to show. Ahh Well, that was a good test-run 🙂 LOL.

So I visited a lady in the parish who wanted a thanksgiving for her granddaughter. Then following a long conversation, in which she said, “I’ve been coming to that church longer than you”.  Which made me smile inside  because I’ve only met her once before. I’ve been at St Luke’s for just over eight years now. However, our conversation ended with one of the best Gospel encounters I’ve ever had. She was ripe and ready for the Good News. God’s timing or what? Please pray, because she wants me to share the Gospel with her daughter this morning.

Then when I was just putting my feet up for the evening I got a call from a distressed lady who was upset because a man, crippled down one side of his body, had been locked out of his apartment by the Landlord. He was sitting outside in the cold. I telephoned a few of the Emergency services, who all said they couldn’t help him. I even phoned the police, but they couldn’t legally do anything either. So in the end, we rang our resident lock-smith who came to the rescue. God sends his angels in all sorts of disguises. We got the man into his flat and he was happy, because now he could get his much needed medications. Then I got a lift back home from the locksmith and we had a little prayer…

Yesterday reminds me that serving Lord Jesus is not always going to be easy or convenient, but it always turns out to be AWESOME.

Kingdom Service:

Mark 7:32 (NIV) “There some people brought to him (Jesus) a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.

That verse today gives us some really helpful instruction about God’s Kind of Kingdom Service: Because you’ll notice in our text five things; Sweat, Sacrifice, Sympathy, Skill and Scout.

SWEAT: “They brought.” The bringing of that deaf man couldn’t have been easy, it required some effort. “They” That indicates to me we are not always to work alone in God’s Kingdom. We need our brothers and sisters to help too. But bringing him to Jesus was not easy to do, but they did it. Service for God is not always an easy task, it might require some sweat at times. However, when you sweat in Kingdom Service there’s always, always God’s rewards; in this life and in the life to come. Praise the Lord for the privilege of sweating for Him.

SACRIFICE: “They brought.” Kingdom Service often requires a price is paid by the servant. “They” had to give up their own time for this man. Time today is such a hard thing for busy people to find. It might not even be convenient, but it’s always time well spent if you are bringing someone to Jesus. The time and effort to get this deaf and dumb man to Jesus Christ, yielded a miracle for that man. You won’t really be serving very well if you are not willing to pay some kind of price and make a few sacrifices of time and effort and anything else that might be necessary in order to serve in Jesus Kingdom.

SYMPATHY: “They brought that man to Jesus.” Those who brought the deaf and dumb man to Jesus that day had to have compassion for him. They must have known what life was like for that poor man, felt his agony, not being able to communicate. Any kind of Kingdom Service means we’ll soon begin to feel God’s Compassion for the needs of others. We all know that it was God’s compassion for us, his love and mercy that moved him to send Jesus to die. No one has ever had more sympathy or compassion for anyone than God, “for God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son” (John 3:16). So it shouldn’t  surprise us that we’ve got to share in that same kind of sympathy and compassion for others to serve Him.

SKILL: “They brought and begged.” Not everyone has the same skills, talents or abilities. We’ve all got different natural and spiritual gifts, so because we’re not the same, we’ll be able to use the skills that He’s given to us. Your Skill might not be that of an Evangelist, but in your service for Jesus you might simply be able to bring people to church to hear about Christ, letting someone else use their gifts and skills to bring them to faith. My friends, just because you’ve got different skills don’t despise them or get jealous of others. Just use the gifts and skills, passion and compassion He’s given to you. Each and every skill is required in building God’s Kingdom Family.

SCOUT: However, even though you might have different skills, it’s important that you know where Jesus is and how to bring people to Him. Can you be a good Scout to lead people to Jesus? The deaf and dumb man was brought to Jesus Christ. Those people BEGGED Jesus to just touch the man. We can come to Jesus and beg Him to touch those we want to be saved by Jesus. Those Scouts did a good job that day, because only Jesus Christ could help the deaf and dumb man.

Last night, whilst we were waiting for the Locksmith to come, we got chatting with a Cafe owner across the road. Although he was just closing up for the night, he allowed us to sit a wait, he also gave the crippled man some food. It was meant for him, but he had a tooth-ache. I asked if he believed in miracles to which he said he did. I asked, if I could pray. I placed my hand on the side of his face and asked Jesus to take away his toothache. I don’t know if he was cured instantly, but he shook my hand warmly a few times afterwards and helped me across the road with the man.

There’s no one better for you to bring your friends and family. Even complete strangers need you to show Jesus kind of compassion. The Lord Jesus knows the best ways how to meet all their needs. Be a good Scout for Jesus and beg Him to come and touch your friends.

You know my friends, this world will take people everywhere and to every kind of expert, sometimes they can help, but like last night, it’s ONLY Jesus who really knows what is best for them. Be like those people in Mark’s Gospel, who made a decision that day to take a deaf and dumb man to Jesus and begged Him to touch the man. He did, and he got his miracle.

Do all you can to bring your friends to Jesus Christ: it might involve some; Sweat, Sacrifice, Sympathy, Skill and the ability to Scout out Jesus for them. However, the rewards of Kingdom Service are totally awesome. I’m sure we’re going to see so many fantastic miracles in that kind of Kingdom Service. Amen!

Be blessed today, stay close to Jesus and be filled afresh with Holy Spirit for His Kingdom Service.

Don.

 

God’s Secret Service Agents

through faith in Jesus you will become His secret change agents in this world

Daily Spirit & Word: 791: Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Fasting

How to Give & How to Pray & How to Fast & Why?

God’s Secret Service Agents.

Core Values in Kingdom Living: As Jesus’ Disciples we’re constantly Learning, we experience many Challenges, we get Curiosity to discover more about Jesus and His Kingdom, we know God wants Excellence, He encourages us to show Love and Respect to Himself and Others, He’s promised to watch our backs and be with us always on the journey through this life that He’s called us into by His Spirit through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

But How are we going to KNOW He’s with us?

And How can we KNOW we can do it?

Two Ways Today: Our Giving & Our Connection. When we get these two right, we’ll be following the Master’s way of Kingdom Living in Love and Security.

Intro: Secret Service: Like MI5 or the SAS and SBS. We’re to follow and serve the LORD from the HEART SECRETLY:

  • How we give: In SECRET
  • How we pray: In SECRET
  • How we fast: In SECRET

All are to be done secretly for Jesus and His Kingdom Glory. Then when we do these things in secret our Heavenly Father has PROMISED (God’s always faithful to all His promises) will REWARD you OPENLY (In public, in front of everyone). However, in Kingdom Living, we’ll see that our motivation won’t be because of His rewards, but because we LOVE Him. That is and will become even more our Kingdom motivation.

Today I want to see if we can come close to the CORE:

Getting to the CORE VALUES of Kingdom Living is essential for every follower of Jesus, you’ll soon see that when you put these into practice, Kingdom Living will become much easier.

 

True Christian Spirituality:

It can be found in some of the traditions of the Church.

However, if you want to fine PURE Christian Spirituality,

then we need to go to the SOURCE: To The Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

You’ll find Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom in the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Most notably in Jesus Greatest Sermon:

The Sermon (Teaching) On the Mount. Matthew Chapters 5 to 7.

 

In those Chapters you’ll discover most of what Jesus was teaching:

Matthew 5:3-12 – The Beatitudes: Be Happy Attitudes.

Matthew 5:13-16 – Salt and Light: You are Salt & Light.

Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus fulfilled the Law: God’s LAW (Revealed in Moses first five books of Old Testament (Ten Commandments).

Matthew 5:21-26 – Anger and Murder: Peace and Harmony.

Matthew 5:27-30 – Lust and Adultery: Love and Faithfulness.

Matthew 5:31-32 – Divorce and Remarriage: Staying together as husband and wife.

Matthew 5:33-37 – Oaths: Promises: Telling the Truth Always.

Matthew 5:38-42 – Eye for an Eye: Not getting even with people. Not taking personal revenge, but forgiving others.

Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies: The opposite of what the world teaches. PEACE if we really LOVE our enemies.

Matthew 6:1-4 – Give to the Needy: Not turning you back on anyone. Always being ready to be GENEROUS.

Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray: When you pray, not if you pray.

Matthew 6:16-18 – How to Fast: Why do you fast?

Matthew 6:19-24 – Treasures in Heaven: Storing up for your Eternal Future. (Not just thinking of your life here on earth).

Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry: Trust in the Father who knows all your needs.

Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge hypocritically: Use right judgement of others.

Matthew 7:7-12 – Ask, Seek, Knock: If you want something, you’ve got to ask for it.

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Narrow Gate: Finding your way to Heaven: Jesus is the ONLY WAY to Heaven.

Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets: False messages about God, Religion, Faith. Watch Out!

Matthew 7:24-27 – The Wise Builder: Getting the foundations of our Faith right.

 

Right in the MIDDLE of the Sermon on the Mount is the REAL MEAT (Just like a McDonald’s Burger has the meat in the middle, so does Jesus teaching on Kingdom Living in the Sermon on the Mount).

  • GIVING: The LORD’S GIVER (Matthew 6:1-4). Secret Service.
  • PRAYER: The LORD’S PRAYER (Matthew 6:1-15) Secret Prayer.
  • FASTING: Getting Even Closer (Matthew 6:16-18) Secret Devotion.

Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Devotion.

Today we’re going to FOCUS on just two, the most important two.

1) First, Our Giving

(Matthew 6:1-4)
1  “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
NOTE: Can you ever give in such a way that your left hand won’t know what your right hand is doing? “No!” You’ll always know, but Jesus is telling us about our WILLINGNESS / READINESS to be GENEROUS (Kind hearted towards others in need).

 

When you see a NEED: Are you ready and willing to help?

When you see a PERSON: Who needs the LORD’S help are you ready to respond?

 

My friends, Jesus has no body on Earth today except your body.

  • He has no hands today, but your hands.
  • He has no feet today, but your feet.
  • He has no eyes today, but your eyes.
  • He has no mouth today, but your mouth.
  • He has no hands to help, but your hands.

He’s called you, lives in you, equips and provides for you and gives you EXTRA in your life so that you can use it to help others.

How’s your heart of GIVING today?

  • We’re collecting for FOODBANK: You can GIVE (Time, Food or and Money).
  • We’re collecting for ROUGH SLEEPERS : You can GIVE (Money, Meals and Time).
  • We’re collecting for St Luke’s Church.: You can GIVE (Service, Time, Money and Love).

Oh my friends, let’s all be Jesus SECRET SERVICE AGENTS in the world today; his body, his hands, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his feet, his hands today. Spreading His light, His salt, His goodness, His kindness, His forgiveness, His generosity… Let’s do it starting afresh today. Amen!

2) Second, Our PRAYER CONNECTING WITH OUR FATHER:

HOWEVER: We’ll NEVER Get Jesus Heart for GIVING until we make and maintain our CONNECTION with God our Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:5-6. How We Shouldn’t and How we Should PRAY.
5  “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (OPENLY).
7  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

NOTE: Our prayer should not be like a performance for others. We’re not praying to impress people, but to connect with God.

HOW: How to MAKE & MAINTAIN your Connection with Father God.
9  “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (Recognising / Acknowledging God’s HOLINESS and Fatherly nature: We come into His FAMILY, we’re members of His Kingdom Family when we’ve trusted Jesus for forgiveness and Salvation from Sin)…
10  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Your desire to live in OBEDIENCE to God’s will: Living according to His revealed Kingdom Values).
11  Give us today our daily bread. (All your needs).
12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Forgiving us our sins as we forgive when others sin against us).
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Keep us free from overwhelming temptations).
14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

FORGIVENESS: Is Key to the Kingdom Living.

First you are forgiven when you come to Jesus.

Because you’ve been forgiven so much, you’ll be ready and willing to forgive others who’ve sinned against and hurt you. (One Christian said to me this week; “It’s amazing, because we become a bit like God when we actually get to the point of being able to really forgive others and let them off the hook or our revenge or punishment”… It really is amazing.

The LORD’s PRAYER: Song… Our Father…

(To the Jamaican Spiritual Tune)…

Get the folks into groups of four at front of Service, and point to them to say their line. (We did this yesterday, and got the congregation to join it. Old but AWESOME). <3 🙂

The Golden Nugget of Christian Kingdom Living: SECRET SERVICE for Jesus.

Giving, Prayer and Fasting (we’ve not touched on FASTING yet).

All are to be done in SECRET: Then your Heavenly Father, who sees what’s done in secret will reward you OPENLY.

Connecting with God our Father in Heaven.

Once that connection is made through Faith and Trust in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we’re in His Kingdom Family Forever. God become our FATHER IN HEAVEN.

So now we maintain that CONNECTION and become his secret change agents in this world. Amen! Amen!

We’ll get His heart of love for others.

Our HEART will be changed and we’ll desire to serve HIM first in all things…

PRAYER: Oh my friends, my prayer this week is; Father God, help us to change to become more like You, like Your Son Jesus Christ; When I look at Jesus I see what You are like Father; Loving, Gentle, Kind, Patient, Forgiving, Good, Full of Joy, Full of Power, Overflowing with awesome FAITH to move any mountain. O Father, I want to be just like Your Son Jesus. So I pray in His Name and ask for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

In Your KINGDOM LIVING:

Help me to be Giving in secret so that only You can see.
Help me in Praying in secret so that only You know.
Help me in Fasting in secret so that I can came closer to You for sustenance.
I want to be out of my depth in Your Love Lord.
I want to feel you close to me.
I want You to be in me.
I want to worship You Father in Spirit and Truth. Amen! Amen! Amen!

Through faith in Jesus, you will become God’s secret change agents in this world. You’ll be His hands, eyes, ears, head, feet and mouth. You’ll be all that the Sermon on the Mount says; Salt, Lite, Giving, Forgiving and Devoted. You’ll be connected with the POWER of Heaven and people are going to know, because your Father who sees you being His secret change agent will reward you openly. Amen!

Don.

 

Staying On Track With Jesus

How powerful you are as a Christian is determined by how close you are to Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 781: Don’t Get Sidetracked.

Staying On Track With Jesus

Over the summer we visited lot’s of historical sites, one was the Bluebell Railway. We took a trip on an old steam-train and it was awesome. So many childhood memories flooded back into my mind, things I thought I’d forgotten. Just the smell of the smoke evoked memories of the old railways in Edinburgh and day-trips to Kinghorn and Burnt Island in the 1960s and of course the Forth Railway Bridge.

On the Bluebell line, trains would sit and wait on a sidetrack whilst another train passed, we observed the old fashioned way they changed the tracks by hand, pulling a lever. It got me to thinking about our relationship with Jesus, and how when something happens it is so easy to get sidetracked in our walk with Him.

Getting sidetracked is so easy. As you begin a lifetime of following Jesus, it is important to understand that whatever you do for Him will only be a reflection of the relationship you have with Him. If you want to do great things just like Jesus’ Disciples and the Apostles, and I’m sure you do, then you need to have a great relationship with Jesus like they did. If you want to have a ministry for Jesus that is strong, your relationship with Jesus must be strong.

Getting back on track is just as easy: Jesus is only a prayer away.

Acts 3:1 (NIV) “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon…”

After Pentecost, full of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles maintained a daily routine of prayer. They were keeping close to Jesus by gathering for worship and prayer.

Oswald Chambers was a man others recognized as being abandoned to God. He was a Scottish itinerant preacher and Bible college founder. In his early forties he died far away from home in Egypt of a ruptured appendix while ministering to the troops during WWI. His meditations on the Christian life collected in the daily devotional classic “My Utmost for His Highest” have enriched generations of Christians. He deeply understood the essential nature of maintaining a close relationship with Jesus.

J.C.Ryle an Anglican Evangelical Bishop. Knew about Daily Prayer and wrote some of the most powerful books to keep you close to Jesus. I read through a portion of his works every single day whilst at Theological College. It was a tough time, because I had to read so much garbage from liberal theologians and ordained men who didn’t know Jesus personally, but this sound man of God kept me on track with my own walk with Jesus.

Selwyn Hughes: Wrote “Everyday With Jesus”. I got into reading those little daily devotionals when I was a very young Christian in the 1980s, and I can testify they kept me going on track with Jesus. Every day I’d pick up my Bible and the little booklet and read, pray, praise the Lord. Soon I realised it’s much more than reading, but listening and talking with Jesus.

How you serve Jesus is simply an overflow of your time with Jesus.

So my friends, the main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain with Jesus, and the character, power and zeal you’ll have is a by-product of that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually besieged by all the things that will try and get us sidetracked.

You’ll see, because it’s easy to justify not spending quality time with Jesus, but you’ll also see that not spending time with Him will be equally evident.

STAYING ON TRACK:

The most important thing you will ever do as a Christian is: SPEND TIME WITH JESUS DAILY.

It’s a KINGDOM PRINCIPLE, PRECEPT and PRACTICE.

Your own responsibility in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to maintain your own personal relationship with the KING. Why? Because nobody else can do it for you. The best question you can ask your brother or sister in Christ is this, “How’s your walk with Jesus?” or “Are you meeting with Jesus every day?” Nothing else really matters, because what we do for Jesus will be shown by how close we are to Him.

I’ve met many Christians who’re struggling with basic things, I’ve counselled so many, but when we take a closer look at how they are spending time with Jesus daily, we’ve found that’s the one thing they’re not maintaining, so problems come. We’ll avoid so much heartache and troubles if we just keep closer to Jesus. He’ll warn us when things are coming our way. He knows the future. He knows the past. He knows everything. You have the privilege of coming to the sourse of the best NEWS you’ll ever hear every day.

But more than that; Jesus wants to talk with you too. He’s waiting for you every day. When you get up and go to Jesus, He’s waiting for you.

How’s your walk and time with Jesus going?

Living for Jesus flows out of your relationship with Jesus.

WARNING: We often get it the other way around.

Notice that the “with Jesus” is the basis of the “for Jesus.”

So often we Christians get so caught up in what we are trying to do for Jesus that we totally overlook the source of power for anything we can do for Jesus, which comes out of who we have become by spending time with Jesus.

I’ve made the mistake so many times of forgetting Jesus. It’s as if we’re serving the LORD but forgetting to involve Him in what we’re doing. Never forget it is Jesus you are living for and serving.

YBH: Yes but HOW?

How do you spend time with Jesus?

It’s not about “Saying Prayers”… “Reading a BOOK” … etc…

If you’ve ever been in a significant relationship, then you’ll know that the strength of your feelings of love, devotion, care and concern are dependent upon how close you feel towards that other person. So many times I’ve heard from couples, “We’ve just drifted apart emotionally”… It’s so true. We stop caring. We stop being concerned about them. We begin to live for ourselves. If that’s true in our earthly relationships, then it’s also true in our Spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. You’ll notice over time that you just don’t care if you don’t spend time. A wake-up call is coming your way if you’re living your Christian life like that.

So you’ll stake everything on maintaining the most important relationship you’ll ever have in life; the one with Jesus Christ.

Make and Keep A TIME with Jesus:

Acts 3:1 (NIV) “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”

Here’s how many Christians do it:

Fix A TIME that’s right for you: I do it first thing every morning. And so did many of the powerful men of God in the past, but I’m aware that might not be the best time for everyone. But FIX a TIME to be with Jesus every day. Don’t let anything push that time with Jesus out of the way. Treat it like an appointment with the Queen or President or Prime Minister. It’s your appointment with the KING of Kings.

Pray, Read God’s Word, Pray, Praise, Sing, Pray, Listen, Meditate upon what you’ve just read; Pray in the Scriptures, Ask Jesus questions about what you’ve just read. Worship and sings songs based upon what you’ve just been reading in God’s Word. Use YouTube and Google to search out songs related to your Bible theme. (The JOY of the LORD is my strength). Read about the Saints who’ve gone before you and how they got on FIRE for Jesus, but more importantly, how they maintained that fire and stayed on-track with Jesus.

Keep a prayer / devotional journal: Write things down. It’s amazing how Jesus brings you back to a prayer you’ve written and shows you how He’s answered it.

As you spend time with Jesus you will be able to do so much for Jesus.

It’s amazing what you can learn from a trip on an old fashioned steam train, I’ll never forget my trip on the Bluebell Railway and what it taught me about staying on track with Jesus.

Have an awesome week my friends.

BTW: by-the-way, we’ve got our Monthly Prayer Meeting tonight at 7.30pm in St Luke’s Church: I’ll be sharing more about the MOST IMPORTANT THING in Christianity. Be blessed in Jesus.

Don.

 

Jesus Kingdom Increase

Kingdom Increase, from Baskets to Hampers.

Daily Spirit & Word: 772: Jesus Kingdom Increase.

You Need to Get A Kingdom: Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears.

“I’m On Kingdom Business: No Other Agenda”.

Kingdom Increase: Multiplication.

Kingdom Freedom: No Need to Worry.

Good morning my friends, what a FANTASTIC “Oh Happy Day” Community Festival we had. Five Churches committed to an joint event together for Jesus. There were so many Gospel singing groups, dancers, actors, artists, cooks, welcomers, photographers, face-painters, all gathering to make the day HAPPY for everyone. I don’t know how many hundreds came, I’m not a numbers-game-pastor 🙂 However, what I got from Heaven (revelation from Father) was that He was Happy. Happy that we His children were ONE in; Spirit, Purpose and Presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Everything was FREE for those who came, the churches all said, “This event should be free for those who come along, so we’ll commit to paying for everything”… We did, but I’m aware that there are some who’ve not had the opportunity to contribute. If you’d like to you can still do that? We will use it again for our Next “Oh Happy Day” Festival next year, the LORD willing (Get the DATE in your Diary NOW: Saturday July 2017)

Mark 8:14-21 (NIV)
14  The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.
15  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
16  They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
17  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
18  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
19  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.
20  “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”
21  He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

HOW The “Oh Happy Day” event came about, was because one man had ears to hear what the Father was saying.
He was new to West Norwood, but came with a passion for Jesus and reaching out with God’s love and joy; Pastor David Catarino (Portuguese Fellowship).
He shared the vision and dream with one of our group, Peter Day (from Lansdowne Evangelical fellowship) then Peter asked me, we met with David Catarino and prayed about it, but the vision grew along with the conviction that Father God wanted us to do this thing together. So we shared with Pastors Dennis and Richard from Worldwide Mission Fellowship and Chatsworth Baptist Church. We fixed a date, arranged a prayer meeting and committed to being involved ourselves.

When Jesus was in the Boat with His Disciples:

He’d just had another run-in with the Pharisees and must have been thinking about it because He said to them “Be careful, watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod”…

However, the Disciples, as usual, had their minds fixed on worldly things and didn’t get what Jesus was going on about. They’d moved on to thinking about their own need for BREAD instead of worrying about the spiritual battles that were on-going. “It is because we have no bread”… they reasoned in earthly terms.

Yeast: Yeast to Jewish people is a symbol of evil. Yeast spreads throughout the whole batch of dough, and so evil can infect an individual and a community. It’s the evil teaching and tendencies Jesus wanted His disciples to see, but it went completely over their heads.

Why? Because their minds, hearts, eyes and ears were still on earthly things.

  • It’s like they were worrying about a cup full of water when there’s a large lake full of fresh water in front of them.
  • It’s like worrying when our petrol tank is on empty, when there’s an OIL Well full of petrol right in front of them.
  • Jesus is the fountain of life: Jesus is the light of the world, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Jesus is the Miracle Makers who turns five loaves into Twelve Baskets full left over… He turns a few loaves into Seven Hampers full left over.

Jesus quite rightly was a bit frustrated with them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?” He asked them.

So often our minds are always on EARTHLY MATTERS; so much so, that we’ll MISS what God wants us to know about.

My friends, God is Speaking: But are we listening, are we looking, are we thinking and meditation on God’s will?

I do believe that we MISS so many of His Golden Opportunities because we’ve got a different set of priorities.

Jesus asked them pointedly: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?”

Jesus Helps Us Get Our Focus Right:

By Taking them Back: “Don’t You Remember?”

Of course they had; a head to think and a heart to care. They had eyes to see and ears to hear; but they were transfixed on temporal matters.

So, Jesus purposefully takes them back over the last few weeks of ministry:

The Miracle Feedings: 5000 and 4000…

He begins by asking; “And don’t you remember?”

My friends, it’s often very good for us to REMEMBER what God has done for us in the past. Why? Because it stops us ever worrying again. When we think back to God’s miracles of answered prayer, miracle provision, miracle guidance in our lives, then we’ll STOP being completely transfixed by temporal matters. We’ll never again WORRY about worldly things; paying bills, getting out of debt, sorting relationships, Why? Because we’ll REMEMBER how God worked in these areas of our lives in the past and sorted things out for us.

Here, in our reading, Jesus goes over the MIRACLES: To get their minds, hearts, eyes and ears ATTENTIVE TO GOD.

Mark 8:19-20 (NIV)
19  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls (small baskets) of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.
20  “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls (Hamper sized Baskets) of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”
Then he asked them; “Do you still not understand”…

Mark doesn’t tell us if they did or not. There’s a strange silence in Scripture at the end of Jesus’ questioning His Disciples. However, I think even the MOST DIM person could understand that.

What’s the difference between a small basked and a hamper?

A small basket could fit into a hamper many times.

The Difference between the Miracles of feeding 5000 and 4000 was the Kingdom Increase in what was left over.

That’s KINGDOM INCREASE:

My friends. Do you see? Do you have eyes to see? Do you have ears to Hear? Do you have a Heart to understand?

God’s in the KINGDOM INCREASE business. (No other agenda).

When we’re in the world, when we’re doing our stuff, the ordinary stuff; working, shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc etc… How’s our Kingdom Focus?

God wants to get your minds, hearts, eyes and ears OFF of Temporal Matters and onto His KINGDOM MATTERS.

What is it that MATTERS MOST to God? Kingdom Increase.

Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower:

Mark 4:8-9 (NIV) (Go back and REMEMBER).
8  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9  Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus also said, “The HARVEST is Plentiful, but the Labourers are FEW”: My friends, that tells me that not many of Jesus followers are getting His Kingdom Agenda.

Multiplying: Multiplication: Baskets / Hampers.

It’s like God is saying to all of us today: Become Kingdom Mathematicians: Think about KINGDOM INCREASE (Kingdom Multiplication)…

Multiplication is very different from Addition… Addition adds ones and twos, multiplication goes from 10s to 10000000 very quickly. (Exponential Thinking).

Do you now have minds to understand, hearts to care, eyes to see and ears to hear?

What happened yesterday at “Oh Happy Day”  when we gave away FREE Kingdom Burgers, Free Photography, Free Face-Painting, Free Music, dance and singing… It was ALL ABOUT KINGDOM INCREASE (Multiplication: NOT Addition)… You do the maths and God will do the increase.

Let’s get our own eyes OFF Temporal Matters (Stop Being Transfixed by the Temporal).

Let’s get our eyes ON Kingdom Business. God’s KINGDOM INCREASE.

David Wilson and I had a coffee in a cafe during the week: Oh we’d met up a few times: Tuesday for Fellowship, Wednesday for Morning Prayer Gathering, Wednesday Evening for Witnessing on the Streets and Friday in a Cafe for Coffee… We talked about KINGDOM Business.

We had a laugh and said, “I think we should have a T’Shirt made up “I’m on Kingdom Business” with a strap line “NO OTHER AGENDA”…

My friends, as Christians that really should become our Motto for Jesus.

“I’m on Kingdom Business” and “No Other Agenda”….

How’s your KINGDOM; mind, heart, eyes and ears today?

Let’s Get:

  • Kingdom Mindset: To Understand.
  • Kingdom Heart: To Care about God’s Agenda.
  • Kingdom Eyes: To See God’s Opportunities.
  • Kingdom Ears: To Hear God’s Calling Today.

 

Jesus did TWO MIRACLES feeding Thousands: 5000 and 4000…

We’re going to do TWO “Oh Happy Day Community Festivals”… Next July is going to be TOTALLY AWESOME (God willing). We’ll see Kingdom Increase: But only if we get our own eyes off our agenda and onto God’s agenda. His Kingdom Business…

Now, the next time, if your eyes are still on worldly matters (Disciples in the Boat: Eyes on Bread), I’m going to be a bit cheesed off like Jesus was… LOL.

God NEEDS all of us here at St Luke’s Church to get into HIS KINGDOM BUSINESS: Minds, Hearts, Eyes, Ears… So we can all say with JOY “I’m on Kingdom Business, no other Agenda”…

Will you be on God’s Kingdom Increase Business?

I truly hope so… Praying for Kingdom Increase in all of our lives today. Amen!

Get this today: “We’re on God’s Kingdom Business, with NO Other Agenda.”

Pray the LORD will OPEN Your Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears to what He’s showing you in this world, how He wants you to work for Him and His Kingdom. Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

NOTE: Those who’ve been translating the Bibles over the years have made a mistake or at least not given us the full picture. Size Matters to God: Kingdom Increase is a theme running throughout Scripture. Go back to the GREEK TEXT and you’ll see the difference in size of the baskets used in the miracles of feeding 5000 and 4000; it’s in Matthew and Mark and… When we see that Jesus first miracle there was 12 small baskets full of broken pieces left over… In the miracle of the feeding 4000 there were 7 (Seven) Large Hampers of broken pieces left over…. That’s KINGDOM INCREASE: minds, hearts, eyes and ears to see….

GREEK WORDS:

5000 (12 Baskets: Kophinos (Kof-ee-nos). = Small Baskets.

4000 (7 Baskets: Spuris (Spoorace) = Hamper Basket… Like the one Paul was lowered down the wall in Acts 9:25.

How many small baskets would fit into just one of those Seven Hampers? Kingdom Increase.

How many people will you, who are the ‘good soil’ hearers, lead to Christ in your life? How much fruit will you produce; 30, 60 or 100 times what was sown?

YEAST: Of the Pharisees and of King Herod:

Remember to the Jewish people, yeast represented evil, and the way yeast spreads it’s influence throughout the whole batch of dough, it can spread it’s influence on the un-suspecting and un-aware, that why Jesus said, “Be on your guard”, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

Doubt, Suspicion, Hatred, Murder, Distain, Jealousy, Questioning, Plotting, Planning: Evil worldly trans-fixation. Worring about worldly matters instead of God’s Kingdom Agenda: Kingdom Business with no other agenda…

Get this today: “We’re on God’s Kingdom Business, with NO Other Agenda.”

Pray the LORD will OPEN Your Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears to what He’s showing you in this world, how He wants you to work for Him and His Kingdom. Amen!

 

A Mighty Power Faith Filled Factory

Becoming a mighty power faith filled factory producing new believers devoted to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 745: Supernatural Natural Devotion

Will lead to the building up and expansion of God’s Kingdom Family.

Your little fellowship can become a mighty power faith filled factory; producing Devoted followers of Jesus.

Good morning my friends, AFTER PENTECOST what happened in the lives of those who’d committed their lives to Jesus, had been baptised and filled with Holy Spirit? Answer they GOT DEVOTION.

It’s not a word you hear much these days, ‘Devotion’, is it? But just after Pentecost we hear in the book of Acts about what happened with the 3000 who began following Jesus.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44  All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47  praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

From this little passage we can observe at least five things in the lives of the first Christians who trusted in Jesus, were baptised and had received the Holy Spirit.

They Devoted Themselves:

Nobody told them to do it, it was a natural or supernatural new inclination, to do these things. When the Holy Spirit indwells a person they’ll want to do these things too.

  1. Devotion to Teaching: They became learners of all that Jesus taught.
  2. Devotion to Fellowship: They got closer to each other. Meeting in Temple and Each other’s homes.
  3. Devotion to Breaking of Bread: This is a reference to Holy Communion: Remembering Jesus’ Sacrifice and to Eating together.
  4. Devotion to Prayer: When the Holy Spirit is in you, then you’ll automatically want to pray regularly. It’s not an obligation any more it’s a complete change of desire within.

When we’re DEVOTED like this, some things are going to be happening.

e) Many Signs and Wonders: were done by the Apostles. If you are devoted as an ordinary person to Jesus and all of the above, not because you have to but because you want to, then watch out, because WONDERS are going to be normal for your fellowship.

f) Common Concern: In verse 44 we learn that they shared their possessions and even sold some of them to help the needy amongst themselves. When Holy Spirit takes up residence within a person’s heart, there’s a new love for the brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family.

g) MEETING TOGETHER REGULARLY: Since I’ve had the Spirit, I’ve never thought meeting just ONCE a week was enough. Most, the majority of Christians today only want to meet once a week, life’s just too busy the meet up more than that, right? WRONG: when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart, you’ll have a LONGING to be with brothers and sisters on a very regular basis. They did it every day, but in reality that’s not practical, because we’ve all got other things that need to be done: tending sheep, planting corn, digging fields, and that’s just the farming community, what about the City Workers? However, there’s still going to be a STRONG DESIRE for more regular FELLOWSHIP than just once a week. So we learn to be very CREATIVE in how we get fellowship.

h) Worshiping God: With glad and sincere hearts they praised the LORD! Worship is an integral aspect of any gathering together. We’ll want to sing our hearts out to the LORD!

How To BE CREATIVE: in getting fellowship more regularly:

SMALL GROUP: Either join of start a small group at work: To meet a lunch times to read God’s Word (Apostles Teaching) and to Pray together. I did this on every ship, establishment and submarine I served on after becoming a Christian in the Royal Navy.

FELLOWSHIP GROUP: There will be fellowship groups in your church, either get the Minister’s permission to start one or join an existing group. The strong desire will never go away, so start as soon as you feel it. Meet up REGULARLY: Once a week is good to start with, but don’t wait to long to add extra meetings for coffee, chats and Evangelism together.

What About Young Mothers: How can they possibly get FELLOWSHIP with young kids running around? I can’t think of a better group to get together even more regularly than those who’ve got toddlers to care for. It’s natural to meet for chats and coffee or tea, but just add the extra dimensions of Bible Study, Prayer, Fellowship, Evangelism, Breaking Bread and Ministry…

No matter what you do or where you work, there are good reasons to FORM or JOIN a SMALL GROUP: It keeps you very sharp as a Christian, you’ll be filled with HOLY SPIRIT DESIRES every day: You’ll want to do what He prompts you to do together. It’s much easier to share you faith with someone else. You’ll make excuses to keep inviting your NON-CHRISTIAN friends along to be with you and your friends. Just say, “I’m off during lunch break to read some of the Bible with a few friends, do you want to come along?”… “We’re learning all about Jesus teachings, do you want to come?” Don’t make the mistakes that I did, sometimes I only asked people once, but then I learned a secret, it took a long time before I myself said YES to Jesus invitations. So just keep asking your friends, but in different ways. “I’m meeting up with some Christian brothers, you should meet these guys, they’re filled with Holy Spirit POWER”…

When you get back from lunch, those who didn’t come will be intrigued to discover what you’ve been up to. I had so many questions when news got out on the Submarine that I was having fellowship in the SINS room on-board HMS Tireless. “What do you do in there?” they’d ask or “We heard you singing hymns” they’d say. “What’s that all about?” they’d ask… People are NATURALLY NOSEY: They want to know, they’re interested. So some will ask you when they know you are attending a small group, “What’s that all about?”… Always be prepared to give them an answer and an invitation to come and experience it for themselves.

Give An Answer and An Invitation.

Devotion is not a POPULAR word with the world, but it still is with EVERY person who’s been baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.

So a good question to ask right now is: “How is my own DEVOTION going?” and “Am I so full of the Holy Spirit that I have these burning desires to be devoted in these ways?”… If NOT, then there’s a problem. You NEED more of God’s Spirit, because it’s supernaturally natural to want or desire DEVOTION to; Jesus teachings, the Apostles teachings, breaking bread, fellowship, prayer, meeting each other’s needs, meeting together, doing miracles, winning others to Christ. The Holy Spirit replaces our own natural desires with His Supernatural Desires to Build God’s Kingdom Family. IF NOT: You’ll become like the seeds sown on rocky soil or the hard path or among the thistles; your faith will wither and die quite soon. You might keep up the semblance of Christian attendance for a while, but it will never be fire filled or full of faith and fun. Devotion is what Holy Spirit longs for in the life a new follower of Jesus. If your an old follower and you are not devoted like this, why? What’s stopping you doing what God wants you to do? START AGAIN!

The LORD added to their number DAILY those who were being SAVED. Non Christians were attracted to this kind of DEVOTED fellowship. You are going to see this too when you get even more DEVOTED to Jesus Christ, His mission and His teachings. When we follow Jesus teachings, we’re going to see Father God’s Heart is to win thousands into His family. He’ll do it through you’re own little fellowship, which will soon become an awesome mighty power filled faith factory; producing even more DEVOTED followers of Jesus.

I’m praying you’ll get this kind of DEVOTION: Pray for me too: I need to cling to Jesus every day and get fellowship just as regularly as the next Christian, it’s a supernatural natural longing within my heart, but I’ve learned we’ve got to make it happen or it won’t. Nobody else is going to make it happen for you, your inner desire will make it happen: So seek out fellowship and be the devoted follower the Holy Spirit makes you want to be.

Don.

 

After Pentecost What’s Next?

After the Pentecost Prayer Week, National Evangelisation, Power to SAVE

Daily Spirit & Word: 745: After Pentecost: The Power to SAVE Souls.

WOWzer! WOWzer! What an awesome Pentecostal Open Air Baptism Service we had.

IMG_1488 IMG_1490 IMG_1491 IMG_1494

Good morning my friends, it really was awesome. I got up early yesterday so that I could both write and get the Baptism pool ready. I wanted to encourage you before I went out. Oh my friends, I feel so blessed by the Lord. You know, we’ve got an AWESOME family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone came together yesterday to make it so special for those taking steps of commitment to Jesus. Thanks so much to David, John and Ben who got up very early and came to help me sweep, clean and build the baptismal pool. It was a sacrifice of pillow time 🙂 Thanks Amanda, who’d prepared song sheets and Bible notices in advance. Thanks to Robert, Celestin, Isaac and the worship team, even Abi and Rebecca joined in…. every one of you are AMAZING. But you all know who I’m most thankful for: The LORD Jesus Christ, He was with us. It was a costly service for us all in terms of time, talents and treasures, but even more so for Him.

Because before PENTECOST, there was a cost: Someone had to die before we could experience heaven in our hearts.

Jesus died upon the Cross for us.

He didn’t stay dead though, Jesus rose again back to life from the dead. He’s alive NOW! Enthroned in Heaven, but you can receive Him into your life today.

He sends the Holy Spirit upon everyone who believes that His death was for their sins, who repents of their sinful rebellion against God and turns in faith towards Jesus Christ to receive Him as Lord, then in faith and obedience gets baptised into the Name of; Father Son and Holy Spirit, to become a Follower of Jesus, a Disciple who seeks to live from that day forward in obedience to Jesus’ Commands and Teachings.

Did you know that Peter explained all this to the Jews and converts to Judaism gathered in Jerusalem that day: He told them HOW TO BE SAVED from their own corrupt generation.

Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
36  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?
38  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40  With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

On that first Day of Pentecost, when  the Holy Spirit fell on all the Followers of Jesus, it was Peter who stood up and preached. What Peter said to them broke their hearts and they were convicted and pleaded with Peter and the other Apostles to tell them what they should do next, how they could be saved from God’s wrath and anger because they had killed the Messiah. Peter explained, and told them how to be saved: they had to repent of their sins and believe on Jesus Christ. They would give proof of the sincerity of their repentance and faith by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, publicly doing so identified them with their Messiah and Lord and Saviour; Jesus Christ. That baptism would signal that their trust in Jesus death was for their sins, their sins would we washed away.

My friends, it was on the first Day of Pentecost that a person could be saved ONLY by repenting and believing on Jesus Christ. Only then could they too receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves (Gal. 3:2, 14), and this promise was for both the Jews and the “far off” Gentiles (Eph. 2:13-19). For ALL whom the Lord our God will call. He’s calling ALL Peoples, all over the Earth to have faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He’s pulling men to Himself through the Holy Spirit, even before you go out and witness to them. Do you believe that’s the Father’s Heart?

The Promise of the Holy Spirit is FOR ALL:

You, your children, your family, your friends, everybody who knows you: Your OIKOS.

My wife’s getting tired of me going on about OIKOS. She said, “If I hear it once more I’ll OIKOS you”… LOL.

But that’s the Father’s HEART: To save your complete family and bring in the whole company of those who know you follow Jesus, He wants to SAVE Them ALL.

Do you believe it’s the Father’s HEART: To SAVE everyone who knows you are a follower of Jesus? Everyone, you love, your Father in Heaven loves even more than you.

So What’s NEXT?

We’ve finished our Week of Prayer: But please DO NOT STOP praying for all those who’ve yet to trust in Jesus.

Keep praying for your OIKOS List; until they are ALL SAVED. God wants to SAVE your friends and family.

Who’s ON Your OIKOS List?

  • List them again by name before Jesus.
  • Think about their lives: What’s going on with them? What’s their problems? What’s their heart-desires? What’s their deepest need? And talk to the LORD for them.
  • Next: Do something LOVING for your OIKOS: give them a gift, do a good thing they are not expecting, show them Jesus’ LOVE is in your heart.
  • Next: Purposefully bring up something about Jesus, don’t ASK their permission, just share something. Even if they’ve rejected it before, do it again. Shown them that you are NOT going to give up on them, even if they’ve given up on God.
  • Finally: Remember, it’s their ETERNAL wealfare that you are most concerned about, their DESTINY is not looking good if they don’t trust Jesus. Get a handle on Hell and that will motivate you to endure rejection. Remember, anyone who’s not trusted in Jesus yet is BLIND and DEAF, they don’t know what they are rejecting, they can’t hear yet, because Satan has both blinded their eyes and deadened their ears. However, Holy Spirit POWER can break through into their darkness and let them see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Keep going back for more: You didn’t put your faith in Jesus the first time you heard the Gospel, so give them LOTS of opportunity. Even if they reject it three or four times before they come to faith. Share a little bit more of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be drawing them to faith and trust in Jesus.
  • PRAY: For yourself that you’ll STAY FULL of Pentecostal Power to reach out and SAVE others for Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit every day, you need Jesus presence and power in you, so ask Father God to fill you afresh every day in order that you can live in His will to save others.

Be blessed my friends, and live every day in Pentecostal Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, knowing that Jesus is with you always. Entreat your Heavenly Father for your friends, family and followers. Be obedient to Jesus commands and tell them HOW to be SAVED in this, their own, corrupt generation.

Don.

P.S. Pray for me, I’m shattered now 🙂 But I want to keep going for Jesus.

I’m also praying for everyone on my own OIKOS.

P.P. S. SEE more of the Baptism pictures here at St Luke’s Church Facebook Page. I’ll be posting some more awesome shots that my wife Julie took as well.

 

 

How to follow Jesus Daily

living sacrifices crawl off the altar, but with Jesus all things are possible

Daily Spirit & Word: 732: How To Follow Jesus Daily.

Christian, when you think you can’t, remember, in Jesus you can.

Say out loud today a few times: “In Christ I Can”…

Good morning my friends, It’s my day off today, so I thought I’d reflect upon my week so far.

What a weeks it’s been: hard, good, brilliant, tough, sad, moving, challenging, encouraging; and it’s only Thursday  😎

First, it’s a privilege and a joy to serve the Lord, but do we really get a day off?

As a Christian, we don’t want to spend any time away from Jesus, but we all need time off from our labours. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, it’s better to loose a little bit of money and have a decent amount of time with friends and family, than it is to be rich and exhausted. If we don’t take time to be WITH folks, then our relationship with them will drift apart. We’ve got to MAKE the effort.

Second, it’s a privilege and joy to serve the Lord’s people.

We are more family with them than than our blood family. Out eternal family are closer kin than blood relatives. Why? Because we’ve got the blood of Christ sacrificed for us flowing through our veins. We’re members of God’s holy household and heirs together of His Kingdom. So when we give to our Kingdom Family; time, talents, treasures and loving service, we’re building God’s Kingdom and making those bonds even stronger.

I was reminded about this by our Administrator Amanda, who said, “I’m closer to my Christian family than my earthly family”… Our Christian family will last longer than our earthly family too, because we’ll be together in Heaven.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my earthly family much more now that I’m a Christian than I ever have: How do I love them more? Because I try to demonstrate 1 Corinthian 13 love with them. It’s not always EASY: we need to be patient with ourselves as much as with them.

Third, I’m learning afresh that Sanctification is instant, but transformation takes a lifetime.

We are daily being transformed into the likeness of Christ, but that’s a whole lifetime’s work and we’ll never get there, but should always strive for it, by allowing the Holy Spirit access and inviting His presence to bring it about. We’re made Saints the instant we’re born of the Spirit. Regeneration, like Creation was instant: God spoke and the universe came into being. It was instantaneous. We said “Yes” to Jesus, “I repent of my sins and receive You as my Lord” and instantly we’re born anew of God’s Holy Spirit. However, the old nature dies hard and needs to be put to death every single day.

There is a continual discovery of how we need renewal in our mind: I need my own mind renewed daily, because I can see how my old ways of thinking are not quite put to death.  Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There’s STRONG PRESSURE from the world to conform to it’s ways of thinking, to it’s ways of doing, to it’s ways of being. So I need to STAY CLOSE to the LORD Jesus Christ every single day. Only then will I see HOW the world is pulling, tugging, teasing and tempting.

How to stay close to Jesus: Prayer, Word, Praise, Worship, Service, Fellowship, Ministry.

When we get ALL of these in balance in our life, DAILY, then we’ll be able to maintain a close and consistent walk with the LORD. It does take personal effort and daily sacrifice, but it also takes a willingness to allow Holy Spirit access to do the TRANSFORMATION for us, in us and through us.

A wonderful insightful phrase is doing the rounds again. “Living sacrifices crawl off the altar”… i.e. the natural man doesn’t want to die.

Romans 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Oh yes Lord, “but living sacrifices tend to crawl off the altar”… We make the excuse don’t we? We tell ourselves, “But I’m just human”, well we’re not just human, as Christians we’re both; human and divine, because we’ve been born again into God’s family, that means we’ve got the Holy Spirit living in us, so we are HOLY. We’re not the same as the rest of the people in this world any-longer, we’re transformed into members of God’s own family now and are daily being made new into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said it like this; “Take Up your Cross Daily and follow Me”.

Luke 9:23 (ESV) “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

We have a daily choice, even on our day off, to follow Jesus or live for self. It’s a daily denial if selfishness or of living life just for Donald.

A thought, which arose at Alpha this week. “If I die to myself, won’t I be lost, won’t I just be some kind of robot?” No my friends, when we die to self and allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in our life today, we’ll become more of the person God created us to be.

When you think you can’t do it, when you can’t make it, then remember Jesus’ cross. He did it for YOU! Because He loves you. He’s got ALL you need and more to be a wonderful, successful and vibrant light for Him in this world today.

So dear brothers and sisters in Jesus’ Kingdom family, when you think you can’t do it, remember Jesus Cross and what He’s provided so that you’ll be able to declare boldly; “I CAN DO ALL THINGS (not in my own strength, but) THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME”…

Come afresh to Jesus every single day and you’ll KNOW this truth my friends, “In Christ, I CAN”…

I’m going to worship Him NOW! Enjoy your day my friends.

Don.

Some Verses From God’s Word:

These may be helpful for you today:

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Ephesians 3:16 (ANIV)
16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
12  I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

Falling In LOVE with Jesus:

Some Verses From God’s Word:

These may be helpful for you today:

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Ephesians 3:16 (ANIV)
16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
12  I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

 

Encouragement: Seeking The LORD: Falling in Love with Jesus.

Being Jesus Disciple Today

moving from knowledge to experience

Daily Spirit & Word: 727: The Sending.

Jesus sends out the Twelve with Authority.

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. It’s a wonderful journey into the Lord Jesus’ ministry and life, his teachings and miracles, but today marks a turning point, because the focus is not upon what Jesus is doing so much as what He’s asking others to do for Him.

He’d already chosen the 12, designating them Apostles (Mark 3:13-19) that they might be with Him, learn and then be sent out to proclaim the message and perform miracles as well. However, one thing I think we (the Christian Church) has missed, not seen or overlooked is that those disciples were not with Jesus for very long at all, before he sent them out on their first mission.

We imagine that people require so much Discipleship / Training before they can be useful in Kingdom Service, well my friends, thankfully, Jesus didn’t think or operate like that. No! As soon as someone had received a TOUCH of God in their lives, they were then encouraged in some way to spread the good news about God’s Kingdom.

Mark 6:7-13 (NIV) The Sending of The Twelve.
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
8  These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belt. 9  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10  Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
12  They went out and preached that people should repent. 13  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Notes: Mark recalls Jesus’ instruction and calling of the Twelve in just SEVEN verses, where Matthew gives us the whole of chapter 10 and goes into much greater detail about what He (Jesus) said to them. It would be very beneficial to have a look now at Matthew 10. NOTE also check out LUKE 10 (72 sent out, they return rejoicing).

What is the overall thrust of Matthew 10? Answer: That when you (the Disciples) went out in the Name of Jesus, you (The Disciples) will have to FACE OPPOSITION / Rejection. (Their message would cause an overwhelming NEGATIVE reaction: In society and in families. The Disciples would face persecution, rejection and false accusation).

This is indicated in Mark’s account too, but his primary objective or focus is that the Disciples are being sent out UNDER Jesus’ AUTHORITY. It would seem to me that God knew Matthew had taken care to witness the negative reactions to the Gospel, but He had a different focus for Mark, who was to focus in his Gospel upon Jesus’ Authority. They’ve received head knowledge by what Jesus taught and did, now it’s time to put what they’ve seen and heard and learned about the Kingdom into action and experience for themselves.

NOTE: We NEED More than mere Head Knowledge to Develop in our Discipleship / Walk with Jesus.

Jesus way of Discipleship was EXPERIENTIAL, i.e. A Disciple is called, observes, sees and hears Jesus working miracles and teaching about God’s Kingdom, they also get a chance to ask their own questions when alone with Jesus, they are learning by observation, but then they are EXPECTED by Jesus and commanded by Jesus to go and do the same things he’s been doing and teach the same message he’d been teaching. My friends, if Jesus Disciples were expected to do that, then surely if follows logically we are as well.

IF our FAITH and what we’re LEARNING as followers of Jesus Christ is not TRANSFERRED / COMMUNICATED / SHARED by the EXPERIENCE of teaching and instructing others, it will be WASTED and LOST… We forget what we’ve learned by mere head knowledge very quickly.

Why? Because, it’s not long after you’ve been taught something for it to be forgotten, unless it is embedded in the fabric of your being. Until it becomes a part of who you are. There are so many things I’ve learned along the way in my own Christian walk, that I’ve forgotten, but the things I remember best are the ones I’ve been given by the Lord to share with others.

Jesus Disciples: Were now about to be TRAINED in a very different way, than just listening and observing. Jesus was going to thrust them all into EXPERIENCE.

NORMAL DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING:

(In Modern Evangelical / Bible Believing Churches).

A person get’s converted, is encouraged to attend Discipleship Class (Fellowship Groups / Discipleship Explored). In FELLOWSHIP: Bible Study, Home Groups, Fellowship Groups: They are INSTRUCTED (i.e. they gain HEAD knowledge) about Jesus and living the Christian life.

The sad thing about MOST PEOPLE: is that they just keep going on and on and on getting more and more HEAD KNOWLEDGE and very little of it is TRANSLATED into EXPERIENCE OR EXPERIMENTAL PRACTICE… They don’t observe what they are learning being modeled for them. Therefore it gets forgotten quite quickly along the way. So they begin to think, I must just get more training, more head knowledge, then I’ll be ready. Never quite getting to the point of being ready, because nobody involves them in the PRACTICE of Jesus ministry.

EDUCATORS: Those involved in the retention of information know: That when you tell a person to do something, they’ll remember it only for a very short time. So they’ll show them how to do it and then get them involved in the LEARNING process. They’ll remember it for much longer if they are doing the learning themselves. Then what modern Educators have discovered is that when they get their STUDENTS to TEACH what they’ve been learning to others: (EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING), THEY NEVER FORGET IT.

My friends, that’s what Jesus was doing with His own Disciples: That’s what Biblical Discipleship has always been: Conversion, Instruction, Experience of Sharing with others what you’ve just learned.

This PRINCIPLE / PRECEPT: is communicated hundreds of times throughout the Bible.

King David: As a boy learned to TRUST in the LORD: many times… Now, when just a mere youth, he faced a GIANT: Goliath. He’d learned many times that if a Bear or a Lion was threatening the flock, he, the good shepherd, would do something about it. Now he reasons something the seasoned soldiers had overlooked, “Why does this man mock Israel, the flock of the Lord, I’m going to do something about it”… Goliath to King David was nothing more or less than a big bear. King David later wrote Psalm 23 “The Lord’s My Shepherd”…

King David’s LEARNING was Transferred into EXPERIENCE.

When King David sinned and was brought back to repentance, he (Psalm 51) would then TEACH others (transgressors) the way back into holiness of life.

His LEARNING was Transferred into EXPERIENCE.

NOT HEARERS ONLY: The Apostle James teaches this principle.

James 1:22-25 (NIV) NOT JUST ABOUT HEAD KNOWLEDGE.
22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

NOTE: The Blessings from our LEARNING comes when we DO IT.

GOD wants to transform you into the LIKENESS of Jesus Christ.

  • Your Discipleship Class has NOT even begun to be completed until you move from LEARNING to EXPERIENCE.
  • From learning all about; Jesus, the Bible, the Apostles, church life, etc…. to DOING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED.

NOTE: The Disciples DIDN’T KNOW IT ALL: 

Many people think that they need to know SO MUCH before they’ll even BEGIN to Share what they’ve learned.

There is a real danger in that kind of thinking. We’ll become “KNOW IT ALLs” I can tell you from many years of experience of sharing the Good News (The Gospel) that the one thing that puts people off more than anything else is A KNOW IT ALL witness.

WHY? Because a KNOW IT ALL is very scary to people. Most people are put-off from saying anything in front of a KNOW IT ALL for fear of looking a fool. So the Disciples didn’t know it all, they only learned a few basics and were then sent out to do it.

YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW IT ALL.

The Disciples didn’t know it all, they only learned a few of the basics and were then sent out by Jesus with specific instructions.

The Disciples were sent out with AUTHORITY: That authority was confirmed by what they said and did.

The Disciples DIDN’T HAVE The Indwelling Holy Spirit. (Pentecost had not happened yet)… But because they went out in OBEDIENCE in FAITH and UNDER CHRIST’S AUTHORITY: they healed the sick and cast out demons. (As James would later teach, “they heard and did what Jesus instructed and were blessed because of it”.

So my friends, you don’t NEED to KNOW IT ALL: If you did know it all, you would become self-reliant rather than waiting, watching, listening and seeking God’s will as you go. (Prov 3:5-6)

It’s not what you know: But WHO you know that counts.

NOTE: Discipleship Learning: Is very important. Every Christian should be getting a deep knowledge of the Bible and Christian Theology: Knowing all about Jesus, the Bible, Christian living, service in Church etc… It’s all very important indeed, but let’s not do all of that thinking we’ve arrived or that we are mature Christians just by the accumulation of knowledge or theory, because we can do all of that and still not really have BEGUN our Basic Discipleship Training.

The SAD THING: The sad thing is that thousands of good Evangelical churches are like a Sardine Tim: All the fishes caught by Jesus are tightly packed together. Churches crammed full of people who are sitting in the pews week by week, acting like SPONGES sucking up the TEACHING: Then those poor Christians are drained during the week and need to keep coming back to be soaked in the Word again next Sunday. However, very FEW of those good churches are TRAINING their Disciples in the EXPERIENCE OF GOING OUT with what they’ve been learning in church or fellowship group and transferring it into the world in which they live during the rest of the week. WHY? Because it’s not being modeled for them as Jesus modeled it for the Disciples He was training. Jesus, the Master, showed them how to do it, explained it and then sent them out to do it, to gain experience for themselves.

UNIVERSITIES:

Our Churches have become like UNIVERSITIES:

Three year Degree Course / Masters / Doctorate… Head knowledge for many years…. then once they’ve gained their ‘Degrees’ they’ll go out and give others MERE HEAD KNOWLEDGE: Because they’ve NEVER moved into EXPERIENCE or putting into practice what they’ve actually learned. It’s ALL just theory and head-knowledge.

Once a wonderful, sincere Christian lady I knew had just completed a six week intensive training course in Biblical counselling, afterwards I met with her and asked her, “What are you going to do now?” I thought she’d say, “I’m going to begin some counselling sessions with people in need” Instead she said, “Oh there’s another course I want to attend, it’s called, “Bereavement Counselling””… She finished that course after SIX MONTHS. I met with her again and asked her, “What are you going to do now?” She said, “Oh, I’ve booked myself into an Evangelism course”… Yes my friends, you’re getting the gist now, she finished the evangelism course and booked herself into another course… She NEVER got to the point, as far as I know, of translating her learning into the experience of practice. Sadly she was a perfect example of HEARING but NOT DOING.

APPRENTICESHIPS:

Learning on the job. Apprentices Don’t know it all, but they are learning as they go. An Apprentice is under the instruction, care, devotion, love and skill of a SEASONED CRAFTSMAN: Someone who’s served his apprenticeship as well, knows how to do the work and how to instruct others.

The SAD THING: Too many of our contemporary churches are excelling in head knowledge rather than apprenticeships.

  • WE NEED: To get back to BIBLICAL BASICS: Do what Jesus did: Convert, train and send.
  • WE NEED: To abandon WORLDLY METHODS: University types of churches: Adopt & Adapt to Apprenticeships: Experiential Colleges: That’s what Biblical Discipleship has always been about.

Let’s Do What Jesus Did: He; Called, Converted, Trained and Sent.

Let’s Do What Jesus Commanded: Call, Convert, Discipleship Experience Training, then Send.

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) The GREAT CO-MISSION (i.e. Jesus is with them).
16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17  When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

What’s that CO-MISSION?

  • Go: The Disciples of Jesus are being sent. How? Under Authority: The Authority of Jesus. We are HIS MESSENGERS.
  • What to do?: Make Disciples (Not converts, not fill up their gatherings with people who committ their lives to Jesus, but Disciples).
  • BAPTISE: Baptism is much more than a mark of belonging: It’s DEATH to SELF: LIVE for GOD… Under the water in your old way of life, die and then rise up out of the water to live a new kind of life.
  • TEACH: Teaching them what? Obedience to EVERYTHING Jesus had commanded (instructed) them.
  • Co-Mission: Another GREAT REASON we don’t NEED to be KNOW IT ALLs is: “And surely I AM with you always”… Jesus is with us when we go out in His Name. He is the ONE who DOES KNOW IT ALL. He accompanies us as we begin to train and equip those who get converted and baptised. As we teach them and train them to do what Jesus was doing whilst He was on the earth: He is with us all the way.

 

The ONE who does KNOW IT ALL is with us: Jesus.

The person you are sharing the Gospel with: Jesus knows all about them.

The person you are leading to faith: Jesus knows how to reach them.

The person / people you are trying to win: Jesus knows just what will touch their hearts.

However: You’ll NEVER SEE IT: Until you become like Jesus Twelve Disciples: Like the 72 Disciples (Luke 10): Go out under His Authority. Not knowing it all, not feeling especially gifted or skilled, but being obedient to His instruction to GO… Be filled and go… We’ve now got the Holy Spirit Power IN us for the journey as well.

Just like the Disciples in Luke 10: You will return: Full of JOY.

When you see and experience Jesus at work through what you are doing for Him with other, then your heart will be blessed and you too will rejoice.

CONCLUSION: SO WHAT?

To START: You don’t NEED to KNOW IT ALL. (You need very little: Mark 6:8 “TAKE NOTHING WITH YOU” i.e. Don’t Depend Upon Yourself: Depend instead upon God’s Provision).

Let us become Disciples (Apprentices) of the LORD Jesus. Learning as we go from the MASTER who has promised to come with us and show us what to do (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Let’s become experts at taking ordinary people and giving them on-the-job EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE of Kingdom Service.

Let’s move our focus away from: Mere HEAD KNOWLEDGE to BOTH: knowledge and EXPERIENCE.

  • KNOWLEDGE LEAKS: It’s like water from a sponge. (Hold Up The Sponge).
  • EXPERIENCE: Solidifies: Like Cement: It creates a solid FOUNDATION upon which to build God’s Kingdom.

IT’S NOT “WHAT YOU KNOW” BUT “WHO YOU KNOW”…

You ARE:

  • Jesus called,
  • Jesus trained,
  • Jesus equipped,
  • Jesus sent,
  • Jesus provision,
  • Jesus accompanied.

Why? WHY has Jesus called you? It’s For HIS Mission we are Co-Missioned. We go with Him together.

What could possibly STOP us?

TIME: Most people are over-committed, over-stretched and over-burdened already. So why would we ever want to take on more. Answer: We wouldn’t.

TIME: Priorities: TV, Family, Reading, Work, Hobbies, Church (fellowship, worship, bible-study, discipleship, evangelism, outreach, service, ministry). How can we possibly fit Apprenticeship / Discipleship into all that?

Be honest what’s the highest priority in your life at this moment in time?

So HOW can we fulfill God’s GREAT Co-Mission?

The vast majority of Christians are not called to full-time Ministry like the Apostles, Disciples of Jesus: Leaving everything and travelling the world to share Jesus Good News.

The majority are like the man that Jesus delivered from Demons (Mark 5) “Go back home to your family and friends who know you well”…

He calls us to come and follow Him, but He sends us (most of us) back to our family, friends and neighbours. We’ve been; changed, transformed, filled and equipped to TELL of the Great things God has done for us and how He has had mercy upon us.

We’re called initially to TELL of the Great Things: Forgiveness of sins (God’s mercy). New Life: that we get when we come to Jesus; new hope, new life, new beginning, new start, etc….

Everyone has at least 8-15 people, who know you well, that you are a Christian who worships Jesus Christ. These are the ones we should FOCUS like a laser upon to bring to Jesus. OIKOS:

That’s HOW we can move from what we’re learning week by week in fellowship and worship into our daily lives, by sharing with others what we’re learning as we go. We don’t need to know it all, but we do need to begin to share what we do know and have learned. As we do, we’re going to see such awesome blessings, because we’ll become DOERS of the WORD, rather than hearers only.

Imagine the scenario: An old lady across the street has a garden she can’t maintain by herself, you know that she can’t afford a gardener, so you, because you are a Christian, go and offer her your services. You don’t know a lot about gardening, but you can help keep her weeds down. As she asks you, “Why are you helping me?” Then you have a golden opportunity to share something about the Lord Jesus with her: “It’s because God has been so good to me, that why I want to help as many people whilst I can”. LOVE is the motivation. I can guarantee that it won’t be long before you’re having deeper Spiritual conversations with that old lady.

Now it needn’t be gardening; what about baby-sitting, taking someone shopping, offering a harassed mother a cup of coffee or tea to give her a break, letting someone go in front of you in queue, it’s being and demonstrating the fruits of the HOLY SPIRIT in your life as you go: exhibiting that fruit for all to see: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. As you DO THE WORD: You are letting your light shine in the darkness. You are being the SALT of the Earth. That’s Apprenticeship Discipleship: The Master is with you as you go.

However, don’t neglect this ONE THING: Be prepared always to give a reason for the HOPE that is in you. They will not know WHY you are being so nice unless you SHARE something of Jesus with them. They might then reject you or the message, but at least you’ve tried. That’s the most important thing. Oh and don’t TRY just once, because do you remember how many times it took you to give your life to Jesus after hearing the Good News? I’ll put my best pair of socks on it, that it took more than just once. If you are that stubborn, then don’t be surprised when people initially reject Jesus. Be PATIENT, God is calling them.

Share The A,B,C-R of the Gospel:

A: Accept you are a sinner. (Show HOW everyone has sinned by breaking God’s Commandments).

B: Believe and Trust in Jesus: His death, resurrection, ascension. Died on the Cross for your sins.

C: Confess your sins to Jesus and Repent: Turn away and let go of sin.

R: Receive Him as your Lord and Saviour: Repentance and Faith in Jesus. (Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved).

We may, in time, be called to FULL TIME service in the Kingdom.

However, until we are, let’s BE Jesus Apprentices / Disciples: Learning as we Learn: Sharing as we Learn: Being and Fulfilling His GREAT Co-Mission together: Because my friends, if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are being SENT OUT into the World to Make Disciples of All Nation.

It’s my hope and prayer that you keep being filled afresh every day with God’s Holy Spirit, drink deeply of God’s Word and share with others what Jesus is teaching you.

It’s also my hope and prayer that your gathering with other saints is full of great worship, praise and instruction, but then translated into glorious KINGDOM practice as well.

Don.

 

Living The Jesus Way

how to live like Jesus, be the SERVANT of all like He was

Daily Spirit & Word: 720: Living The Jesus Way.

Having a SERVANT Mindset.

 

Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV) If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

So in the light of the above passage today, followers of Jesus Christ, when you are UNITED with HIM: In all your relationships with one another, have the same MINDSET as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8

We SHOULD WANT TO BE;

  • Doing NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vein conceit.
  • Considering OTHERS better than ourselves.
  • Not ONLY thinking or looking out for ourselves, but also the interests of others. i.e. we are to look after ourselves as well, but ALSO others.
  • Having the ATTITUDE OF JESUS: The Nature of a Servant: i.e. how can we SERVE: God and Others.

So much of what we call ‘Church’ these days is all about ME rather than the Jesus ways we’re meant to emulate, copy and model.

How often have you thought to yourself: “I didn’t like that worship song”… “That Sermon just didn’t feed me” … “I’m not the one God’s calling to serve on the cleaning, tea making, Sunday School or welcoming rotas” …

Are these the thoughts of a self-sacrificing servant?

THINK AGAIN

  • Perhaps the majority liked that song.
  • Perhaps that Sermon spoke to someone on their way to faith in Jesus.
  • Perhaps God’s bringing someone to church that day, that only YOU can reach by welcoming them.
  • Perhaps you make tea in just the way that a first time visitor really likes.
  • Perhaps you’ve got just the message or personality that a child can relate to.

When we’ve got the SAME MINDSET as Jesus, we’ll not be thinking primarily about what BEST FOR ME or What I LIKE or Prefer, but how we can SERVE both God and Others in such a way that the whole body of Christ can be UNITED, built-up, strengthened, encouraged and brought even closer to the Lord than they’ve ever been before.

So this coming Sunday, come to worship the Lord Jesus with His ATTITUDE and MINDSET.

Think to yourself,

“What can I bring to fellowship that will make EVERYONE happy and full of joy?”

“What can I do that will make someone’s day on Sunday?”

It might be something SMALL to you, but it could be the most significant EXPERIENCE of genuine love that someone needed at just that moment in their life.

Your hands, your feet, your mouth can be used to serve Jesus every day. Not just in Church gatherings. How can you SERVE like Jesus at home, work, family and in the community? When people see you every day, do they KNOW you are a follower of Jesus because of your MINDSET of Jesus? Is your ATTITUDE the same as that of Jesus with people outside fellowship?

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, as we get ready for PENTECOST again this year, and remember how you filled the first followers with Your Spirit, please so fill me with your Holy Spirit today, that I may be more like Peter was on that day, help me Lord to think less of myself and my likes or dislikes and think about You and others and how I can serve them in such a way that their lives will be transformed and set of fire with love for You. Help me to be SALT and LIGHT that brings JOY to You and Others. Amen!

It’s my wife’s birthday today, Lord help me to make it SPECIAL for her. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus,

Don.

Jesus Washes The Disciples Feet

John 13:1-17 (NIV)
1  It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2  The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
3  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
4  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist.
5  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.
6  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7  Jesus replied, “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8  “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10  Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
11  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12  When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.