Saturday, 24 December 2011

Power of the birth and cross

I've previously posted about this song: The power of the cross.  I had a moment the other morning.  I was have a lie in, my sweet husband was downstairs with the boys, giving them breakfast.  I was listening to my ipod in bed.  This song came on. I listened.


I started thinking about how the wheels were in motion for the cross at the birth of Jesus.  The angels celebrated, not only the birth of Jesus in the presence of the shepherd witnesses, they celebrated who Jesus was and what He was doing.  The plan was in motion, He was beginning something so amazing, the stars announced it, the angels rejoiced over it.


He was more than a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a animal feed trough, He was a son, a brother, a rabbi, a saviour ...  He was love, bruised, bleeding, ravaged with hate. He was the greatest offering and the greatest sacrifice.  It all began as a baby.




Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.


CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.


Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.


Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.


Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.


FINAL CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.


Keith and Kristyn Getty

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

But for the Grace of God

Grace is such a pretty name.  It is actually the name of one of my ancestors.  I have a story for you, from long ago. Keep reading, this one does not constitute “In my day we had to walk 5 miles to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways” kind of flavour! This particular family story was kept secret for many, many years, out of a sense of family propriety and shame.  Rest assured I have asked permission to tell you it. It’s ok.

Years ago, a young, yet to be married women was working for a farming family.  While residing on this sheep farm, she was raped by someone who was also working there.  Not many details are known of the story or the repercussions of this crime, other than a pregnancy. In those days, there was a huge amount of shame in being unmarried and pregnant.  The resiliency of women back then, is beyond my understanding. Even more so in these circumstances. Some of you reading this will have a little more of a sense of the historical significance than I do. Most likely she would have been the main topic of gossip, with pointing and whispers. It would have been so hard for her. This young women had tremendous faith.  How do I know this? The baby arrived Jan 7th 1881 and it was a little girl. This young mother, who did nothing to cause her own shame, gave generations after her a legacy of faith, for my Mother’s Grandmother was called Grace.

You may feel a little like me in wondering whether Grace would have been the first name to enter your head after the circumstances of this conception!!! But that is grace for you. It’s not what we deserve or what we expect.

We are all in need of grace, the beloved favour.  U2 lead singer Bono has grappled with this concept and has come to a conclusion about his own needs, as we all must do. My response along with Bono is one of thankfulness. Bono puts it this way. "Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff." Haven’t we all. 

The song, Grace by U2 has a ring of my Great Great Grandmother:

Grace, She takes the blame, She covers the shame, 
Removes the stain, It could be her name
What once was hurt, What once was friction, 
What left a mark, No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

God makes beauty out of ugly things.  Things such as our sin, our shame, our hurt, our tears, our memories, our failures.  Grace is generously offered to us. The God of grace is the God of compassion.  His love forgives, offering salvation and the privilege of having our names written in the Lamb’s book of Life.  His love removes the sting of sin. His love and grace takes a hideous crime and makes something beautiful out of it.  What has happened in your life that leaves you in pain, that causes you shame? What still stings? Maybe you were sinned against. Maybe you chose to sin. Maybe you live daily with the consequences of sin.  God can and will heal your hurt, your brokenness.  He has a cure. An ointment called Love and another called Grace.  It is not a balm to relieve the pain, it is full healing. Sin may leave a mark, but the healing and blessing is full.  Listen to what the Bible says in John 1:16-17 “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”(NIV) 

We can’t hide our sin from God, He is light. When light shines in the darkness, darkness disappears.  We have all heard that before, haven’t we?  This isn’t anything new, but you know what?  Sometimes we can reread something and it is like it is brand new to us.  Verses we have read 100 times, suddenly make sense and become new to us.  Why am I saying the same-old, same-old?  Because we all ‘get it’ at different times. The Holy Spirit reveals things to us when we need them. Today, someone needs to hear this. Someone needs to hear that grace is offered in abundance. Maybe it’s you. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor 9:8. (NIV) Our healer, Jesus Christ, heals with his love, compassion and grace. So that in ALL things, at ALL times, we have ALL we need, so we will abound in EVERY good work.  This is strong language.  It’s not most things or sometimes!  The verse says all things and at all times.  This is no half hearted grace. This is abounding grace, fullness of grace.  Do you get it?  This is good stuff for our souls. We need to hear this. You and I need to understand that no matter what our sin, or the hurt from being sinned against, or what consequences we carry around with us, we can abound in grace.  That felt like such an anti-climax, but it’s not.  It’s power to change the way we live.  Some of us have never had a big hurtful event to pin our pain on. Your pain may be a gradual lack of appreciation, frequent disappointment, or hurtful words. I want to say that I am not minimising your hurt, in no way am I doing that, but I guess that is what makes Christ’s healing so understated.  He knows your pain and hurt. He knows how big, how excruciating it is, yet he promises to be all you need, in all your hurts and at all times, to be all we need.

My Great, Great Grandmother could have ignored the love and grace of God, not that she sinned, but love and grace work for those sinned against just as much.  She could have responded differently. She seemed to ‘get it’. She understood that God’s grace is sufficient 2 Cor 12:8 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  If you have a hurt that needs grace, compassion, and love, then Jesus is enough for you.  "When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again." (Mother Teresa). Within your church community find someone who you can trust. If you don’t know anyone, speak with one of the pastors or connect with someone and share your hurt and pray together for grace and so open yourself to what you need.  Grace is given in salvation, and then some.  As if salvation isn’t a perfect enough gift, God continues to lavish gifts on us. Don’t sink into your pain, sink into God’s Grace.

Grace is indeed a beautiful thing.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

2 Timothy 4:1-2

"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you thischarge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction."


Had a wonderfully challenging conversation with a friend this week.  We were talking about sharing books with our non-Christian friends, and how often times we are inclined to say something that dismisses the spiritual in a book we are sharing.  "This is a great book, so well written, I think you'll enjoy it, ignore the spiritual bits if you're not into it, it's just a really good read"  This is what I was planning of saying the a friend I was intending to share a book with this holidays.  My friend said, we as Christian should be brave enough to be ourselves.  I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, and I need to honour Him by being truthful.  I'm not talking giving a 3 point sermon.  Just being brave enough to not make excuses or overlook our faith.  Our friends loves us, they know we are believe, and they can deal with our spirituality if we are genuine.  People detest falseness, they appreciate genuineness, even if they don't believe or agree.


So, as I pass over a book to my friend, I'm going to say "I really enjoyed this book, it's fantastically written, historically well researched, and spiritually touching, it's a jolly good read. I think you would enjoy it too."


We can only tell our own stories, our own experiences, and if they include Jesus and what He's done for us, then we should tell, not preach, just tell our stories.  It's not our job to convict, it's the Holy Spirits, so we can relax and enjoy sharing our lives, all parts of them with those we love.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sojourner, Psalm 121



This Psalm is for the traveller.
Pilgrim says: "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Encourager says: "He will no let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


In less than 8 days our family travels from one side of the planet to the other.  Clearly we are not travelling by foot, nor in the scorching sun, nor under a cloud of superstition of the moons, however the LORD will be watching over us. From car journey, to check in, to day flight with 5 and 7 year old boys (on the 5 year olds birthday), the stop-over, waiting, plane change, arrival, jet-lag.  There is still risk, not as much I'm sure as travelling on foot to Jerusalem for a festival, with ankle breaking rocky tracks, bandits, fear of the moon causing seizures and running out of water.


The last time we were in the UK, the July 7 attacks happened.  I admit during that time, I had much fear.  In normal cicumstances travel does not invoked fear in me, excitement may cause butterflies in my stomach, but not fear.  I've been learning lately in a theoretical sense 'What is there to fear?', God knows the number of my days and always has, He protects and guides me, but one day he will call me home, now that will be an exciting journey.  But I don't want to get ahead of myself, as until that day, I have a 'To Do' list to get done, a purpose that needs to be fulfilled for my life, until then, the journey continues. That's assurance, God is in control. When my 'What is there to fear?' theory is faced with reality, I hope and pray I trust the knowledge of the will of God (Col 1:9).

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Gungor



Micheal Gungor:   worth a listen, don't you think?
I just played it for my husband, am now in shock as he wasn't that into it. "Bit quirky" was his comment.  Hmmm, interesting, I connected with it right away.  God created us all with unique tastes, it's a good thing too.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Crazy Love

Anyone ever read a book that others were raving about and just didn't get the same reaction.  I have heard nothing but good things about this book.  People even like it on Facebook, it has it's own page, it's that good to them.  At my church groups are studying it, it's that good to them.  So some think it's really good.  Not so much me...

I got some good nuggets from it, numerous thoughts to ponder.  But something about the style it was written in made me feel constantly reprimanded and not just me but all church goers.  If it wasn't in the title of this page, you would probably never guess that I'm referring to Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It's a surprise isn't it?   I got some good points, but mostly I felt like I was getting a right royal telling off.  Maybe I needed it!

Maybe if I'd persevered and finished the book I may have had a revelation through his words.  But I didn't preserve, I quit because I didn't like it.  I wonder how much learning I have missed through unfinished books.  I also wonder if Pastor Chans' style put anyone else off?

Time is precious, and I'm not one to condemn people for being selective, time is hard to come by for many of us, we don't want to waste many hours of our life reading bad literature.  This book I was learning from, I just didn't like the style at all. Makes you wonder what I could have learnt if I had finished it.

If you have read Crazy Love by Francis Chan all the way through, and you have time to let me know what you got out of it, and what I missed, that would be great. Maybe I will humble myself and receive the telling off and a whole bunch of learning I should have preserved with in the first place.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Meet Phil Leager

So what do you ask does a girl from New Zealand have to do with a recording artist from Atlanta Georgia?


Well more than you may think.


I meet Phil Leager at a Salvation Army summer camp in Ohio in 1996. Phil was filling in his summer doing something worthwhile for children, I was an 'international' getting an experience of American culture, and travelling. Phil ran the music program at camp and was clearly gifted on piano, we could listen to his haunting heartful tunes all day long.  The boy had some talent.  Other than a love for Jesus, Phil and I have another special thing in common.  Greenwood Lake Camp was were we both found the loves of our lives.


Phil from Atlanta met Sarah from Australia in 1996. Sarah is a wonderful, honest, caring girl who won poor Phils heart big time.
Ingrid from New Zealand met Marcus from England in 1997. I returned to Greenwood Lake Camp a second summer, in 1997, I had such a wonderful time the year before, and low and behold, there was a lovely English boy, who just so happened to win my heart (details for another post).


This is not intended to be an advertisement for summer camps being prime locations to meet and marry, but I'm happy to say it worked for us!


Why am I telling you this? Because Phil and Sarah are real people with 3 cute-as children, they are busy, they live life like you or I do, they are real.  That realness, gives way to some amazing God honouring tunes on Phils latest album.  I vouch for this guy, both summers of '96 and '97 the boy had his head in his bible, and his fingers on they keys.  He has lived life, and life has been real.  They struggle with sleepless nights, tired children, teething, demanding schedules, mess, smells and work.  They are both a testimony to a life of praise. Phil is a talented musician with a fabulous family backing him.


If you would like to hear some of Phil's music, I invite you to click here to hear


Phil and Sarah are currently living in Melbourne, Australia.  You can find Phil Leager on facebook. Phil is working for the Salvation Army and just about to record and release a new worship album, you can download the song for free here. Get to know his music, and through his music, our Father in heaven.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Psalm 40

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.
He set my feet on a rock and he have me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD."
(1-3)
"Many, oh LORD my God, are the wonder you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you.;
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."
(5)
"I desire to do your will, Oh my God; you law is within my heart."
(8)
"Be pleased, oh LORD, to save me; oh LORD, come quickly to help me.
(13)
"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say, "The LORD be exulted!"
Yet I am poor and needy; may the LORD think of me.
You are my heap and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay."
(16-17)


I know taking odd verses out of a whole chapter makes it very bitsy, for that I apologise, but sometimes life is bitsy, and as we read chapters, we can grab and hold tight to verses that touch us tenderly.
God is so good, His timing is perfect, we are often in a rush, just like David in this psalm.  Nothing wrong with asking for action, as long as we are secure in God's timing, knowing He knows best and things will happen in the perfect timing of God.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Me - My enemy

We, as believers in Jesus Christ, have three enemies, the deceiver - Satan (1 Pet 5:8), the world we live in (1 John 2:15-17) and ourselves (Gal 5:17-19).  Before I get into this, I am again reminded that insights are gifts from God. Sometimes others have received the same gift years before. If that's you, hopefully you will enjoy the reminder, or you may just enjoy the fact that I have only just ‘got it’. I like to think that I’m only just getting this because it’s the right time for me to receive it, rather than the other alternative - that I’m a little slow! 

That I am my own enemy was news to me.  I thought I was on my side., Not sure why, as we haven’t always got along so well.  It didn’t take much convincing that I am my own worst enemy. It actually makes a lot of sense, even before reading Galatians 5:17. Let me read it to you now starting from the CEV, “The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other.” Now I’m moving onto the NIV for the rest of verse 17 “They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”  Bear with me as I  spell things out to myself. If the Spirit of God (who is perfect and pure) is in conflict with my human desires, (which are sinful) then God is right and I am wrong.  Even when I want to be right, I am wrong, because of the influence  my sinful nature and my desires have  over me.  I have to admit, that’s not good news. I’m praying for a ‘however’… or a ‘but’, because that is no way to leave things. 

Good news. There is a ‘but’ … Are you ready.  You will have heard it all before, but I pray your ears will hear  this time from the Spirit himself. That you ‘get it’, whatever ‘it’ is that God really wants to bless you with today.

Paul is writing to the church in Galatia, who are struggling with falling back into the way of Law rather than the way of grace that comes through Jesus Christ.  Paul is telling them in no uncertain words, that they are being fooled.  He states that what he taught them is truth, that it came from God and they are confusing their faith by becoming enslaved to the law again. (Gal 3:1-5).  Why is this so  important?  Because we have three enemies: Satan, the world and our sinful nature.  The Galatians were being persuaded by their world, and believing their sinful nature. They had forgotten what they had been given (Gal 3:2): The Holy Spirit.  “Because you are sons (and daughters), God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” (Gal 4:6, NIV).  The Spirit of God is the key to reversing the ‘ doing wrong even when we want to do right” that we talked about before. Galatians 5 continues with the good news for the church in Galatia and for us. Verse 18 “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” 

I have to keep reading, I was going to jump down to verse 22, but then we miss out on the list  of things the  sinful natures produces.    Often times I find it hard to identify my sin, as it can seem innocuous, subtle, and not public.  Try reading out loud and slowly verse 19, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
BUT [emphasis mine] the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

There is so much to unpack in there.  I pray the Holy Spirit will touch you with a verse or two that reveals to you something new.

For me, that list is full on, because it’s not just what happens in public but what goes on in private as well.   I guess the thing to remember with sin is that it is giving into an attitude of self.  We know hatred is wrong, but do we tone it down by saying to ourselves, ‘I don’t hate them, I just don’t have time for them’.   We know selfish ambition is wrong yet we can tone it down to ‘I really want to do the best I can, I’m very motivated’. We know discord is wrong, but really ‘I just don’t like them and we can’t get along with everyone’.  We are deceiving ourselves.  Tone it down if you want but the attitude is the same. Sin is sin. Don’t excuse your behaviour by watering it down. I am so good at that. I pray for the Holy Spirit to show me my sin that I may ask for forgiveness and be able to move forward, yet the whole time I am the one trying to hide it by watering it down.   I cannot trust myself. I water down the one thing that through repentance will build a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father.

BUT, I love a good ‘but’, and boy do we need a good ‘but’ here. Verse 22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”   My Life Application Bible notes “the fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us.”  In us and then through us.  Beth Moore put it wonderfully, “Why fruit? So that others can taste and see that the Lord is good!”  Isn’t it funny in a ‘not at all amusing’ way, how we water down our sin and find it hard to identify it in our own lives, yet the sin of others is written in neon signs! Lord, that we may stop kidding ourselves and see our sin for what it is and repent. Alert us Lord to our deceptive selves.

Our lives bear testimony to the Spirit of God, if we are willing to stop kidding ourselves and realise who our enemies are and what we can do to stop believing the watered down version of life those enemies would want us to believe and live life as it was meant to be lived, in genuine worship and appreciation to our loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Yeah, Nah

I love New Zealand, I'm a patriotic person, I embrace the beauty of the place, the friendliness of the people, I enjoy rugby (when I have to), I cry at the haka, I sing loudly during the national anthem. I am so thankful to live in this great and small country.

One thing I love about New Zealand is the language, we speak English, kind of, clearly as I am typing this in English, but we also have some very unusual language of our own.  'Yeah, nah', is a prime example, you say that to a NZer and they will understand ... actually I have no idea what it means, I think it's just a gap filler, like 'um'.  But I love it.  'Sweet as', means good.  'Wop wops', means somewhere quite isolated.  'Ya reckon' means do you think. 'Sparrows fart' means up early in the morning. 'Rattle your dags' means hurry up. 'Yonks ago' means a long time ago. I could go on and on.

It gets you thinking, sometimes we in the church, speak a different language, a somewhat religious language, things like fellowship, revelation, worship, praise, blood offering, sanctification, and these are good things, we know they are good gifts from God.  It just makes you wonder how easy do we make it for folks from outside the church coming into the church. Do they feel comfortable surrounded by a language that they don't understand?  I wonder about our children too, growing up in an environment of language like this, do we explain what they are hearing.  Church, do we make it easy for others to approach us by the language we speak?

Just a thought. What do you think?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Behold the Lamb. By Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us - and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you - eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you - drink and remember
He drained death's cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, - and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King

Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

You can find out more about this song or other modern hymns from Getty Music ENJOY!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Deuteronomy 7:9

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God,  keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."

I often write my prayers down, I'm a little distractible, so it helps me stay focused. One of my most written statements when I pray is; 'You are God, I am not.'  This verse from Deuteronomy is another reminder to me of who God is, and this knowledge gives me perspective on who I am.  I need that perspective or I tend to promote myself to 'Self professed Know it All'.  Clearly, I'm utterly out of my depth in that position.  But that is the idol of Self working in my life. Wise above all, faithful, mighty, refuge, worthy, it is all attributes that I can NEVER deliver on.  God is God, he is faithful, wise, mighty, a refuge, and worthy.

I'm learning to 'know' this just as Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Idols of our hearts - Your treasures, your heart


Your Treasure, Your Heart
Sermon by Daryl Bay, Teaching Pastor at Hope Community Church. October 30th, 2011.

Matt 6:19-34
Luke 12:31-34

The Rugby World Cup is over for another 4 years, and the New Zealand  All Blacks hold the trophy until then! Better than that Jesus is alive and at work in our lives. Today we are talking about what Jesus calls "our hearts treasure".  Everyone has one.  Do you know what your's is?

Matt 6:19-22
ONE: everyone lives for some kind of treasure. (v19-22)
family, success, money, pleasure, control, approval, acceptance, love, popularity.  Some of these are even good things, but when they become your treasure they take over your life and become dangerous.  Why dangerous...because, they are not guaranteed.  They will let you down.  Loved ones pass away, jobs are made redundant  money dwindles, pleasure satisfies only for a moment, control can disappear, approval and acceptance are controlled by others, love can leave, popularity changes.
TWO: your treasure controls your heart (v21)
It's like a car and trailer, wherever the car goes the trailer follows.  Wherever your treasure is, whatever you desire most, your heart will earnestly seek it.
THREE: your heart controls your life.
Once your heart is fixated on your treasure, your life then begins to revolve around it, getting it, maintaining it, keeping it, saving it, working it, delighting in it, showing it off, wanting more of it. It becomes what you think on ... so what is it...

> Therefore, do not worry (Matt 6:25).  What we worry about indicates what our treasure is.
> You can't serve both God and money (Matt 6:24) What we invest our money into is our treasure.

Do you know what your treasure is?

Once you have identified what your treasure is; two questions for you to think on;
1. Is your treasure worth it?
2. Will your treasure last?

We need to find a treasure that lasts, a treasure that is beyond good, that is great!  That treasure is Jesus and only Jesus.  Why?  Because every treasure you have controls you, it makes me sacrifice for it, it demands of you.  Jesus is the only treasure that gives, He sacrificed for you, He gave his life, he demands nothing of you but your love, He does not seek to control and manipulate you, He works in your life to make you better. He gave everything for you.  He takes nothing but your sin.  That's better than wealth, success, popularity, pleasure, control and approval.

Why settle for good when you can have great!
To listen to this sermon click here .  As great as it is to think about others who would benefit from hearing this,  and you are free to share it, it is important that we don't forget to think how this message could be relevant to us, where we are walking today.  I hope this blesses you greatly.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Jeremiah 26:14

"As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right."

If we can trust Him that He will deliver His promises, of what is good and right, then we can endure anything, absolutely anything, knowing that in the end it will be good and right.  I may loose a limb, a loved one, or my life, but I know in the end (which is not my death), He has won and it will be good and right. Now I know it in the good times, I wonder if I will have the courage to remember it in the hard times.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Your Heart is an Idol Factory


Your Heart is an Idol Factory
Hope Community Church October 23, 2011
Sermon by Daryl Bay

This is week 1 in summary of the series on Idols.  This summary focuses on those who have made Christ Lord of the lives.  Next week will be another conclusion with a focus mostly for those who are yet to make Christ Lord of the lives. (stay tuned)

Col 3:1-6
The two key points in these verses are; set your hearts, set your minds.

Wrap-Up
Step One: Expose
How you identify your idols, exposing them is vital, three ways to expose them;
a. Your best dreams "what's your happy place?"
b. Your worst nightmares "if 'this' were to happen I could never have a full life."
c. Your out of control moments, identifying what that something is that is happening deep down underneath your explosions.
V5 talk about wanting something more than God.  The original word used for evil was out of control.  So we can see the writer talking about 'out of control' desires being idols.

Step Two: Repent
Repentance is not feeling guilty - it's having a change of mind that produces a change in life. Idols have a power  that controls and enslaves us, they deceive us by telling lies that we believe.
Repentace is less like feeling guilty about yourself, and more like getting to the place where you can look at your idol and say;
"You're a liar, you can't give what you promise, you never satisfy, I won't have it anymore!"
When idols are good things like; having someone love you, successful career, raising a godly family.  repentance is being able to say;
"I love you, You are wonderful.  But you can never be my life or my god."
When we chase after idols not only are we putting a value that is out of balance, we are also saying to Christ, "Lord Jesus, you are not enough.  This idol is more beautiful, more desirable more fulfilling than you."

Step Three: Replace
(Most IMPORTANT step)
Exposing is good, Repenting is good, but if we don't replace our idols we will keep fighting ourselves as we chase after them.
How do we replace our idols.  This is the heart of one of the biggest mistakes that many Christians make.  We define our Christian lives in a negative way.
Being  a Christian isn't about what we don't do.  It's about who we love. If we love Christ we will crowd out our love for idols.
Key 1 - Replace your love for idols by stiring up a deeper, more passionate, love for Jesus Christ.
Here are two questions that we should ask ourselves;
a. What robs you of your love, your affections for Christ?
b. What stirs your love, your affections for Christ?
Think about it.  Be very honest.
Answers to question a. might be, tv, too much time online, holding grudges, pornography, pretending your spiritually together. What is it that robs you of your love for Christ?
Now answers to question b. might be, studying God's Word, great books, sermons, conversations with good friends about God, listening to praise music. What is it that stirs your love for Christ?
Key2 - Replace you hope in idols by rejoicing in the thing that the gospel gives you that idols can't. JESUS.

Thinking back on the idols we have covered this past month:
The idol of approval: The approval God gives me in Christ is better than the approval any person could give me - boss, spouse, critic, children, whoever.
The idol of security: The security God's love gives me is so much more permanent than the security anything in this world offers me.
The idol of pleasure: The joy that Christ gives me is so much longer lasting than the temporary pleasure of this world.
The idol of control: Entrusting ourselves to a loving, wise, creator is so much sweeter than my weak attempts to be in control of my life.

If you would like to listen to the sermon by Teaching Pastor Daryl Bay click here

Friday, 21 October 2011

Idols of our hearts: Review so far


"The Rugby World Cup has started, and it's a season for spiritual growth at Hope Church! Why do we get so angry and bitter about little things? What drives us to sacrifice the most important things in our lives like family and relationships? What addicts us to things like porn, gossip and even good things like financial prosperity? The Bible's answer for this is simple: idols. Idols are so much more than little statues or a sports trophy. Idols enslave us. They deceive us and steal our joy. That's why the Bible repeatedly warns us against them (Exodus 20:1-6; Romans 1:18-23; 1 John 5:24). Join us at Hope during September and October as we expose the idols in our lives, the lies they tell us, and how the power of the gospel sets us free to enjoy and and serve the one true God." (hopechurch.org.nz)

Coming up this Sunday:
 Your Heart is an Idol Factory with Teaching Pastor Daryl Bay

A review of the weeks before:
Week One: 18 Sept 2011.
    Idols of the Heart - Exodus 20:1-6, Romans 1:18-32 by Daryl Bay
Week Two: 25 Sept 2011.
    Idol of Acceptance and Approval - 1 Cor 4:1-5 by Daryl Bay
Week Three: 02 Oct 2011.
    Idol of Security - Romans 8 by Daryl Bay
Week Four: 09 Oct 2011.
    Idol of Comfort and Pleasure by Daryl Wehner
Week Five: 16 Oct 2011.
    Idol of Control by John Frizelle

This series has had a huge impact on many folks I have spoken with.  It's a powerful, probably because if we can master our desires and insecurities, if we can identify the idols of our hearts we are half way towards breaking those strong holds.  Then ... oh boy what kind of a life would we lead?! When we idolise the Creator of the Universe rather than weak, non-sustaining, empty, worthless idols, we are in the place of our destiny. It's a good place.


If you would like to listen any of these sermons download sermons here.  It's not over, keep an eye on the next two weeks of sermons.  I will continue to post sermon notes and links.  I pray you will be as blessed as well all have been. It's a bit ouchy, confronting emptiness and pointlessness in our lives is never fun, but it's all good learning. Be Blessed.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Zephaniah 3:17

"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

The creator of the universe delights in you, cares for you, rejoices over you. He breaks out in song over you, he tenderly quiets you with his love.

YOU ARE ADORED AND CHERISHED

Monday, 17 October 2011

Idol of Control



Idol of Control. John Frizzelle
Hope Community Church 
October 15th 2011

Statements that may identify the idol of control in your life:
-          I feel safe if I am in control.
-          I am confident in my abilities, I’m not so sure of anyone else’s
-          I can’t stand it when I’m in a car but not driving
-          I rarely think I’m wrong
-          I don’t like people touching my stuff
-          I don’t take it lightly when people disagree with me
-          Other peoples messes really bother me
-          When I’m watching TV with other people, I always have to have the remote
-          I have this compulsion within me to take charge – to bring order out of chaos
-          I have lots of rules that I live by and that I demand of my family – rules to maintain order and control


If a number of these statements ring true for you, then there may be cause for reflection.

Thomas J. Schumacher concludes that “control freaks are not trying to hurt you by their behaviour – they’re trying to protect themselves.”

Biblical examples;
1. Rich business man in Luke 12:16-21
Rich man speaks of himself 16 times in those 5 verses. He thought life was all about “me”! 
The rich man focused on his own plans, controlling his business in the bountiful harvest. He was serving himself not God.  He wanted full command over his own life.
Control is seductive. The rich man placed all value on his possessions and pleasure, he elevated the value to the place above God and eternity.
2. Abraham, Gen 15
A natural leader, told by God he would have many descendents. Abraham waited, yet nothing happened so he took matters into his own hands. Suggested he adopt a servant as heir – God said no.
Sarah gave him Hagar, and Ishmael was born – God said no.
Then God gave them Issac.  When Issac was older God said sacrifice him. God was giving a big lesson in control and surrender.

God is in control
When we try control our lives, God can use the mess, the hurt and frustration to confront us with the reality that we are not in control, but He is.
We can gain no power, no control,  in this life. Jesus stood at the bow of a boat in a storm and told the wind and the sea to be still – it did. Matt 8:27
We need to move from control to surrender.  God calls us to lay up treasure in heaven, to be rich toward God, to trust Him with your future, your life.  As you do this you will beat back the idol of control and find rest in Jesus.

To listen to the sermon Click here

What a joy

Psalm 133:1 says how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.  This is a verse I have got my little boys to memorise.  I love this verse for reasons other than peace in our home.

I love this verse because I know how good and pleasant it is when I live together with my sister in unity.  I have some amazing friends, I really do, God has blessed me with some amazing woman who bless me with their friendship.  The best friendships I have are those I share with my sisters in Christ. Why?  Because we can talk about the man of our dreams, our saviour, I know that sounds cheesy, but I don't care.  My sisters in Christ, together share experiences and life that is centred in Christ's will for us and get to share together in what we are learning.  What a blessing sister in Christ are. Thank you Lord for these amazing woman I get to call friends.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Proverbs 24:3-4

"By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures."

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Power of the Cross - Getty Music's modern day hymns

I'm really so excited by the recent discovery of Keith and Kristyn Getty's modern day hymns.  Below are the lyrics of another wonderful hymn that is on my itunes playlist, and I really have to stop and listen as it plays, the words are so biblical and beautiful, can't help but pray 'thank you Jesus for the cross'.

The Power of the Cross

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

FINAL CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Idol of Pleasure

Sermon notes from Daryl Wehner
October 9, 2011

Idol of Pleasure

Pleasure is good - it's a God thing.
Deut 26:9 - the promised land was spoken of as a land flowing with milk and honey
Jer 31:11-12 - spoke of the people shouting for joy, being radiant over the goodness of the Lord, the grain, new wine and oil.
These verses talk about taking pleasure in what God has provided. We can conclude that pleasure if from God.

The purpose of pleasure is to prompt us to praise God.
a. Awareness of God
b. move us to praise God
c. helps lift us from life's difficulties

There is a boundary between healthy pleasure and unhealthy pursuit of pleasure

How do we identify an unhealthy pursuit of pleasure? There are two points we will look at today;

1. EXPOSURE BY AN ABSENCE OF PURPOSE
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.
An absence of purpose in life can leave one searching for purpose in 'things'.
v2 laughter
v3 wine
v4 projects - real estate
v5 gardens
v6 pools
v7 servants
v8 silver and gold
v9 status
v11 YET!

YET - it was meaningless.

2. EXPOSED WITH ADVERSITY IN LIFE
When we are confronted with adversity, for some, there is a natural tendency to search for comfort in pleasure.  As with the writer in Ecclesiastes the conclusion is the same, meaningless.

HOW TO RESPOND TO ADVERSITY AND LACK OF PURPOSE:
Psalm 62 - my soul waits in silence.
Exodus 14:13-14 - v14 You have only to be silent.

Keep still - be silent - stop frantically seeking.
Let someone do something for you - holy inactivity.
Psalm 46:10 - Be Still and know
Psalm 62:1 - Wait in silence

The purpose of pleasure is to prompt us to praise God.

The strategy to overcome the idol of pleasure is to be still and silent instead of frantically seeking pleasure in anything and everything and to be satisfied.

For the sermon on Idol of pleasure click here .  This week another teacher; Daryl Wehner gave an honest and gentle guide to this area of idolatry.  With a focus on the Rugby World Cup that is happening in New Zealand at the moment, idols seemed like a very poignant topic for over this time. NZ is a rugby nation, some may even say it is a religion amongst some of our countrymen. So this topic of idols of the heart is bang on at this time, even if you don't like rugby :)  I hope you find these sermons and notes encouraging and points of learning in our own life.  Be blessed.

Friday, 7 October 2011

By life or by death

This week at my faith family we lost a man of wisdom and great witness, his name was Doug Duncan.    This time last year we lost a dear woman of faith, Esma Gribble.  I feel like we had more to learn from these wonderful folks.  Their job was done, they had both fulfilled the purpose for their lives.  Our loss, heavens gain.  Not more than a month ago Doug Duncan spoke a powerful and poignant message to our faith family on Philippians 1:20-24.  Since Doug had suffered from cancer for a long while, this sermon was delivered with such relevance and experience that you had to sit up, listen and take notes. I've never been in a church service when the preacher finished he received enthusiastic, lovingly respectful applause. The power of experience and perspective when reading these verses, I'm write them out for you, so you can see why Doug was applauded;


"as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account." (Philippians 1:20-24)

May we all have the perspective of someone who could breath their last breath tomorrow. The beauty of eternal perspective. Doug Duncan had that in life, now he has that for real, in Jesus' presence. What joy and what a view - we can only imagine. Thank you Lord for your servant Doug, and your servant Esma, such encouraging witness to us of faith. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Modern Hymns by GettyMusic

Just wondering if you have heard of Keith and Kristyn Getty?  If not, you probably have heard of their work without even knowing it. Have you sung the modern hymn In Christ Alone? That's theirs and Stuart Townend's.
I love worship music, strong melody and biblical true lyrics take me places in my spirit where I can freely praise and worship the LORD.  I just wanted to share a beautiful hymn these talented folks have written.

By Faith
By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation's grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God's own hand
A place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death
And rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth

We will stand...

By faith this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name

We will stand...

Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty
& Stuart Townend.

"Keith and Kristyn Getty have been at the forefront of the modern hymn movement over the past decade, demonstrating the ability to successfully bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary."  You can find out more about their music and ministry Click here to go to their website.

I really value hearing other peoples discoveries of good worship music, great songs, talented songwriters, biblical lyrics. If you have a favourite songs or one that has really touched you, please share.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Idol of Security


October 2nd, 2011, Sermon notes from Teaching Pastor Daryl Bay.
The Idol of Security: Romans 8:31-39

Idols are not just little statues. They are anything that takes the place of God in our lives.

Idolatry is not one sin among many sins.  It is the sin under all our other sins. It is the problem under all our other problems.

Idol of Security, or the Idol of Safety.

It’s the idol that tells us:
The most important thing in your life....the highest value....is to feel like you are: danger-free and problem-less and risk-averted. 

When your heart says: I must feel safe, or to ask it another way:
What is an insecure person?  Someone who feels threatened, right?
The Idol of insecurity is a master at playing on that.

Romans 8:31-39 – is a text all about the security that God offers us.

ONE: HOW THE IDOL OF SECURITY DECEIVES US
Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to this?”
What is the “this” that Paul is talking about?
If the gospel is really true...
·         That we are saved by grace
·         Justified by faith, not by our good works
·         If the God of the universe has set his affection on us...
v31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Answer? In one sense, everybody.  In another sense, the ultimate sense, nobody.
v33: “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?”

Implication one of the gospel:
People might stand against you.  They might bring charges against you. 
But if you have the approval of Christ, then you have all the approval you really need. 

Implication two, of the gospel
v35:  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” 

“If what you most value can be taken away or destroyed, then you set yourself up for anxiety.”  David Powlison

If you really want true security and ultimate safety, you have to be able to look this idol in the eyes and reject its lies.

Questions that expose the idol of Security or Safety: 
1. When a new opportunity comes up, your most important question is: “Will I be safe?”
2. Is your dominant prayer, for yourself and for others, about protection?  
3. Do you long for the day when you will be problem-less and risk-free?
4. Do you feel the gnawing need to promote yourself in order to cover for your deep insecurity?
5. Is the love of God in Jesus Christ just an abstract, weak concept in your life?

TWO: HOW THE LOVE OF GOD SECURES US

v35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?“
v38: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

How can you learn to celebrate the security you have? 

There are three things you have to celebrate:
1.       You are joined to Jesus
You have been place IN CHRIST.  Look at the total climax of this chapter:
If you belong to him, you are safe. If you are joined to Jesus, you have all the security you need. 

Here’s the thing with the Idol of Security: Our real problems come because we attach our lives to things that are that are insecure.  We try to find our security in things that are insecure.  When they fade away, we fade away with them.

“The way to identify your idols is this: when your idols shake, you shake.”  Greg Dutcher

Solution?
Get your security - your meaning, your purpose, your significance, your life – from something lasts.  Then it can’t be taken away.  The only thing that fits that bill is Jesus.

2.      You are inseparable from God’s love
If you have God’s love, you have everything you need. 
To the degree that you sense God’s never-stopping, never-giving-up love for you.  To that degree you will feel confidence, secure and safe.

Do you and I know anything at all about that kind of confidence today?

Romans 8:15-16: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.”

3.      You have the personal, intimate ministry of the Holy Spirit
He shed’s Christ’s love abroad in our hearts.  Romans 5:5.
v37: “we are “more than conquerors.”
Not just fighters, or winner, more than ... it's won.

To listen to the sermon by Daryl, click here  to go to Hope Community Church website to download or listen to the above sermon.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My lips will glorify you



“Did you hear about Kelly?” (sorry to any Kelly’s out there) “Sad, so sad, but you know, well it didn’t have to go that way. Oh, I’m only mentioning this so you can pray for her.”   Really?  How many of you have found yourselves in situations where you start to feel really uncomfortable with conversations? I certainly have. Situations where I feel the gossip train is pulling into the station or that words are not as loving as they should be.  You know what I’m talking about? Oh come on, we girls are professional conversationalists, especially when a cup of something hot is involved. I’m sure we’ve all been there, if not the one listening, then the one talking.

I’m often challenged by author and bible teacher Beth Moore. This one story of hers impacted me; “I once attended a very prestigious lunch at a Houston country club.  All the women were God-honouring, church-serving Christians.  A lady asked me, ”So Beth, how do you feel about our president? Don’t you think he’s lost?”  I am horrified when I consider how in former years I might have dogmatically answered that question. Thankfully, I have learned a few things since then and have had a few too many peeks at my own sinful nature. I could only respond: “After the mercy it took for God to save my own sinful soul, I would be far too afraid to guess.” 

If the women in Beth Moore’s story ever got the opportunity to speak with the president, then would she ask him herself?   Isn’t that the bottom line to gossip. If we are not willing to have the same discussion with the person present, then we know we are out of line.  But for the grace of God go I … I’m not likely to be president, but I think you get my drift. There are at least three camps, that I can see, 1) the person talking freely about others, 2) the person listening and enjoying the conversation, maybe adding their 2 cents worth 3) the person not comfortable about the conversation, but not sure why or what to do, 4) the person who knows it’s plain wrong and walks away, 5) the person who pulls up everyone in the group on the conversation.  Did I say three categories?  It grew a bit just like gossip does.  What category do you fit into, or maybe you have another category option?  I’ve heard many times “Well I’m allowed to have an opinion, aren’t I?”  That is a good question, don’t you think?  Of course we can have opinions, but opinions are private thoughts, they don’t have to see the light of day

Gossiping words are crumbs of information, you don’t get the whole loaf of bread, you get scattered crumbs. Jesus gives us more in John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  Why is it we grovel around for the crumbs of gossip when we can feast on the bread of life?  We needn’t delve too deep into our psyche or faith to see what need is being met when we gossip. Know this, that need can only be met by the bread of life, Jesus.  Thank you Lord for providing all we need. Help us not to chase things of no value. Help us identify our insecurities and idols of our hearts, and replace them with you Lord.  May our words bring glory to you. Psalm 63:3 says “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” (NIV)

I confess my lips are sometimes too busy muttering things that should not be heard instead of bringing glory to God. 1 Tim 1:5-6, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.” Even if our talk isn’t ‘mean’ towards others it may be meaningless. Jeremiah 15:19 is powerful, “Therefore this is what the Lord says; “If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman.”  These verses are powerful. Repent, be restored by Jesus so that we may serve Him. The authority of God is giving us wisdom to live right, to live as ambassadors. What an honour to be God’s spokeswoman. Anyone else like to put that on your resume?  Anyone else want to know what life would be like if our words were only meaningful and worthy?

If you fear your words at times have been less than loving.  that your words have dishonoured your blood family or family of  faith, or that your words have not brought glory to God, know this; you are not alone.  Confess and find joy in forgiveness. Repent and be restored. Keep reading through 1 Tim 1 and you will find this reassuring verse “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”   Anyone else got their hands up with me on this one? Then keep reading verse 16 “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” 

Once failed, always a failure!  That is so contrary to how God sees you!  When you let your mouth run away on you, fall flat on your face in confession, then stand up and believe that Jesus’ love covers your sin, and God has forgiven you just as he said he would.  God is no liar, if you repent, He will forgive and restore.  Fact!  Believe it! Now stand up, walk on in grace, knowing that you are not a write-off, just because you are not perfect.  Perfection is Gods, and his mercy and grace make us worthy to stand up and walk on.  I just can’t help but remind you again, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:3 (NIV) That would make a good memory verse wouldn’t it?

Ingrid.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Romans 11:33-36

Doxology
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgements,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has ever been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Amen

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

My verdict

The whole of humanity is guilty of crimes against God.  It's called sin, we've all heard of it, from Adam and Eve to you and I.
It would be so much easier for me to understand someone taking the punishment for a man's crimes, if that man stops his criminal behaviour, but I can't imagine anyone offering to take the punishment of a man who continues to do the same crimes over and over again, seemingly without thought or remorse, or at best temporary remorse.
Jesus took our sin punishment even though he knew our chequered past and our inconsistent future. Jesus took the punishment on the cross knowing we would never grasp the full extent of God's grace offered so freely to us. Yet despite our sinfulness and our lack of understanding, He did it.  We sinned, He took our verdict,  He paid the price, and we get released, we get the freedom.
We got an amazing deal - not only a life fulfilled but then eternal life with someone who loves us that much.  Amazing.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Idol of Approval



September, 25, 2011, Daryl Bay Teaching Pastor
Idol of Acceptance and Approval - Sermon notes

Key Verse: 1 Cor 4:1-5
Paul speaks of his 3 key convictions of acceptance and approval;
1. I am not controlled by what you think of me.
2. I am not controlled by what I think of me.
3. I am controlled by what God thinks of me.

Now to flesh these out a little;
1. I am not controlled by what you think of me.
Paul says "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court..."
Paul wasn't controlled by human approval, are you?
Some questions that expose the idol of approval;
> Are you wondering what people might think of you?
> Do you manipulate situations so you can look important?
> Are you over-sensitive to criticism?
> Are you over-committed because you can't say no to others?
> Do you never share you faith because you fear looking stupid?
> Do you serve in order to impress others?

2. I am not controlled by what I think of me.
Paul says "I do no even judge myself"
Normally we jump to medicating low self-esteem with high self-esteem; You are wonderful, love yourself.
"My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."
In other words - we can be self-deceived.
It's not low self-esteem or high self-esteem, it's getting "self" healed and out of the way completely.
Humility is blessed self-forgetfulness
C.S Lewis says:
"Humility is not obsessed with thinking superior thoughts of yourself:
Humility is not obsessed with thinking inferior thoughts of yourself:
Humility is when you are set free to not think about yourself at all."

3. I am controlled by what God thinks of me.
Is it good news or bad that God judges us?  Because he does judge us.
v4 ..."It is the Lord who judges me."
It is good news, because ...
v5 "At the time each will receive his praise from God."
When He judges us, do we get condemned? NO, we get Gods approval.

At the cross, Jesus gots our verdict: Guilty
In the courtroom, we get Jesus' verdict: Approval

Whose verdict are you looking for? Whose approval are you seeking?

"Why do you crave the approval of the peasants when you already have the approval of the King?"

To listen to the above sermon