One in spirit & purpose
‘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.’ Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
When you spend a lot of time with someone, you can start to become like them, talk like them and act like them. Married Couples can probably be able to testify to this I’m sure!
God sees us all as unique people with individual identities and personalities. He created and formed us. He knows that we are all ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ However, God always wants us to change! The heart of God the Father is to see His Children become more like Jesus Christ every day and in every way.
During our times together as a Church
in recent weeks, God has been graciously showing us His Love and His Purpose for our lives as His Church. He wants us to not only become like Christ as individuals, but become more like Himself as a corporate body & group of people.
God is a community. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit are all equally God. Three distinct persons, but one God. Equal in importance, but unique in role & function. The Trinity is a ‘Sweet Society’, a glorious community.
Likewise, the Church is a community. The Church should be a reflection & mirror of the Godhead to the world. We are one people, with one spirit, purpose and faith. We share the comforting love of Christ towards one another in our conversations, actions and fellowship. We look to put each other’s interests before our own. We serve one another as we serve King Jesus together. We are a covenant community, a community of King Jesus, a community of the Spirit, flowing in the river of God together.
We are a powerful, purposeful people!
Labels: Church, Community, Trinity
Fathers & Restoration
"We have got to sit up and realise we are running things by the wrong values. We need to support families"
David Cameron, Radio 4 Today Programme, 16 Feb 2007
Last friday, at the end of a week where there was another fatal shooting amongst youths in South London. David Cameron spoke out in the news about families and in particular the role of fathers in helping to bring authority, respect and cohesion to communities and society.
As I listened to David Cameron on the radio, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the last verse in the Old Testament where Malachi prophecies about the role of fathers in the future promise of restoration. This restoration is only made possible by the new covenant life of Jesus Christ. This is the message of the Gospel. It is a message or restoration and reconciliation. The Gospel is a Gospel of peace.
I believe the Church has a vital role to play in this time in showing true family life based on the word of God, and His grace at work in our lives. The Holy Spirit longs to restore relationships in this world. Restoration in families, but most of all restoring those that are lost and in turmoil to the feet of Jesus Christ. Salvation in Jesus Christ is the restoring answer for every community in this world.
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers" - Malachi 4:6 (NIV)
Labels: Fathers, News, Restoration
National Marriage Week
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
This Weekend, Rachel and Myself attended a marriage weekend
that we ran as a Church. It was a great event of teaching, equipping and ministry for about 80 couples. We enjoyed great food and time together as a couple. It was fantastic to hear again the heart and purpose of God in marriage relationships. It was a really great time and coincided well with National Marriage Week
and Valentine's Day!
The teaching over the weekend reminded me of the wonderful description of the relationship between Man and Woman that Matthew Henry uses in his commentary on Genesis:
"Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him"
One of the resources that we gave out at the weekend was an excellent publication produced by Care for the Family - to read it, click here
Labels: Care for the Family, Marriage, Rachel
Crossing the Threshold of Opportunity (1)
Crossing the Threshold of Opportunity
Last week, Richard preached on a moment of opportunity, a moment that we can either embrace or refuse, welcome or turn away from, say yes to, or say no to…A ‘Kairos’ moment of great opportunity, challenge & destiny-What is our faith response to this?
As a Church, I believe that we stand on a threshold – we stand at a crossing point – We stand in a moment of opportunity. Do we allow the river of the Holy Spirit to flow unhindered in and through our lives?, Do we allow the anointing of the Holy Spirit to touch every part of our lives to enable us to reflect and demonstrate Christ to this world? – We stand upon the Threshold of Making Jesus Famous in ways we’ve never seen or experienced – What is our faith response to this? – Are we ready to take hold of all that God has for us?
As a Church, I believe that Jesus stands amongst us and he asks us whether we know him and acknowledge him as Lord of all. For the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the ultimate question of all creation and all eternity. Our response to this question defines and decides our identity, our destiny, and our maturity. The Lordship of Christ is totally linked and related to the flow of the Spirit in our lives.
'No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit'
1 Corinthians 12:4 (NIV)
Today, I believe Jesus stands amongst us by His Spirit as he did when he spoke to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-8:
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
Are we ready to cross the threshold, Are we ready to step through the open door before us? – The threshold is the point of open and closing, are we open or closed to the moment of opportunity before us?
‘The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east)’
Threshold: ‘the starting point for a new state or experience’
Thresholds are important, this came home to me when I was working on a project at Lancaster University. The threshold is the strip or junction between the outside and the inside, upon which a door closes or opens. I had designed the threshold in line with the appropriate regulations, but on the building site for whatever reason it had been built wrong…..x 25 times…..this meant that when all the doors arrived, they wouldn’t fit…..the carpet wouldn’t fit….everything was out of order and in a mess……when I first went to see it, I tripped up over it as I thought it would be flat!. The threshold was wrong so it meant that the door and house were wrong. The threshold can make or break a house in the construction industry.
In our own lives, individually and corporately, thresholds are important, they effect our whole lives and they effect the whole of the house!…that’s us, we are a ‘spiritual house’ (Hebrews 3:6), ‘we are living stones’ (1 Peter 2:5)….The boundaries and extents of our lives were always destined to be filled, equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit in every way and in every part – overflow and increase is the heart of God for the various thresholds of our lives.
We have seen in recent weeks that the river of God flows from the Sanctuary, from his presence, from the place of worship. We have seen that the river of God flows from His Throne from the seat of His government. The River of God flows in both in the Church. The River flows from the place of his Lordship & the place of his presence.
Rivers always flow from a source higher than it’s final destination – The River of God flows from God himself, The Holy Spirit flows into and out of our lives to reach and touch the world around you.
The Godhead, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are totally involved wonderful unity in seeing the river of God flow into our lives. All of God is involved in all that God is doing!
In Genesis, Ezekiel & Revelation, and right throughout scripture, we see that as Witness Lee, companion with Watchman Nee stated:
“The Father is the source, the Son is the course,
and the Spirit is the flow”
We are called to be a reflection of the Godhead in this world, the community, love, authority and submission we see in the Trinity is our blueprint and pattern for life.
· Thresholds are the point of moving from our private lives to our public lives – The Holy Spirit wants to flow in these areas.
· Thresholds are the point of opening and closing – Are we open or closed to the prompting and moving of the Holy Spirit?
· Thresholds are the point of moving from one landscape to another; it’s a point of transition and a point of change. Are we ready to allow the Holy Spirit to change us and for the landscape of our lives to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit?
· Thresholds are the point of entry and exit, of coming in and going out. Are we ready to let the Holy Spirit to flow into and enter, and go out of our lives to touch the world around us?
· Thresholds in the Bible are linked to the glory and the presence of God, We see the glory of the Lord resting on the threshold of the temple in Ezekiel 10:4 – Are we ready to come into the presence of God and allow His glory and the presence of the holy spirit to flow into and out of our lives?
· The Threshold is the first step into the rest of the world. It’s the point of moving from our comfort zone to the rest of the world.
But we aren’t too concerned about ‘physical thresholds’ – it’s the threshold of our lives that are important. 2 Corinthians 6:16 states: ‘We are the temple of the living God’ – The threshold of this temple are our very lives, our time, our money, our relationships, our jobs….the things that are closest to our hearts. Are we ready to let the Holy Spirit ‘take control’ of these areas?
Romans 8:9 states:
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ
· Flowing into and out of the garden of our lives:
In Genesis 2, we see the river sustained the Garden of Eden and it flowed out of the garden to touch the world. The Holy Spirit has been poured out ‘without limit’ so we can be sustained, strengthened and sent into this world. How does this impact the various gardens of our own lives?, How does that effect the garden of our life together as a Church?
‘In the garden of your life, whatever that garden is, whether it be your workplace, university, home or family, God wants a river to flow’
Let’s look at a few areas of our lives together that I believe God wants to touch, transform and flow through in our lives. This isn’t an exhaustive list at all, but areas that I feel that we can sometimes put barriers up, or restrict the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives together.
God doesn’t want us to ‘trip up’ in any of these areas – He wants us to be blessed, be full of His Spirit and be equipped to Make Him Famous in the world as we live out our lives in these areas.
WORSHIP – God has been stirring us in our worship together.
· Prayer – Are we ready to pray BIG prayers in this time?
‘On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer’ – Acts 16:13
· Serving – Are we ready to serve totally led by the Spirit?
‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life…The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him’ – Revelation 22:1,3
‘Serve in the new way of the Spirit’ – Romans 7:6
· Finances – Giving in Faith means waiting on God for how to use your money – testimony of Rachel and Myself.
We looked a couple of week ago about the Pishon river in Genesis 2 creating a landscape of ‘good Gold’ in Havilah. Are we ready to let the Spirit flow into and out of our bank accounts for the advancement of the Kingdom of God?
HOMES – Is your home a castle where you pull up the drawbridge at 6:00pm every night and come out to face the world again at 8:30am the next morning? – Paul’s example in Acts 28:30-31.
Deut 28:6 ‘You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out’ – Eph 1:3 ‘ Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ’
· Time – Be spirit led, not need led with your time
‘Make the most of every opportunity’ – Colossians 4:5
· Marriage – Eat together, Talk together, Be Spirit led together
‘Wife, like a fruitful vine within your house’ – Psalms 128:3
· Children – Eat together, Talk Together, Pray Together
‘Sons will be like olive shoots around your table’ – Ps 128:3
CHARACTER & GIFTS – 9 each! – Wonderful Parallel & Symmetry – he wants us to excel in gifting and character, all at the same time! – Heavenly Calculator of Increase.
· Fruit – The Fruit is the reflection of the Root – rooted in spirit
Galatians 5:25: ‘Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit’
‘Bear Fruit for God…...not fruit for death…’ Rom 7:4-5
· Gifts – These are available for all who desire to flow!
1 Corinthians 12:4-11: ‘there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men’ – Again, we see that all of God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is involved in all that God wants and sees for his people in moving in Spiritual Gifts.
· Attitudes – River wants to touch all that we are & think
Rom 8:6: ‘The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace’
WORKPLACES – Confess God’s Blessing and Kingdom Plans as you go into your office, factory or home as you cross the threshold!
· Excellence – Jesus did everything well, Excellence + Evangelism
‘Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus’ – 1 Tim 3:13
· Healing – Expect to offer to pray for people at work.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." – Ezekiel 47:12
· Salvation – Expect to share Jesus and his love & power
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations – Revelation 22:2
Are we ready to cross the threshold of opportunity?
Are we ready to change and allow the Holy Spirit to touch every part of our lives for the display of his glory and power in this world today?
Are we ready to jump into the river of God and drink deeply of his life giving, city transforming, world changing river of delights?
Are we ready to allow the life giving waters of the Holy Spirit to well and spring up and touch our streets, our neighbourhoods, our workplaces and our universities, & to ultimately touch the nations.
We stand in a moment of opportunity, a moment of destiny and decision. We stand on the threshold of something great, something truly wonderful, more than we’ve every seen, imagined or experienced.
We stand at the threshold of Making Jesus Famous in our generation. The river of God that flows in Revelation 22 flows seamlessly into the united anthem and call of the church as she joins with the cry of the Holy Spirit in ‘Come Lord Jesus’
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life – Revelation 22:17 (NIV)
Labels: Preaching, River of God
River of Life
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Revelation 22:1 (NIV)
Continuing on with some recent posts
on the River of God. Here is a quote from Witness Lee
. He was a close companion in ministry with Watchman Nee
in China for many years in the mid 1900's. Here are his thoughts on the River of God as seen in Revelation 22:
"We have seen that the river of water of life proceeds out of the throne of the Lamb-God. This river is nothing less than the flowing Spirit of God as the life-giving Spirit. In Rev. 22:1 we see the Triune God—God, the Lamb, and the river.
God, the Father, is the source; the Lamb, the Son, is the Redeemer; and the river is the Spirit. Hence, we have the Father as the source, the Son as the course, and the Spirit as the flow. Therefore, in Rev. 22:1 we see the flow of the Triune God. This is a picture of the Triune God dispensing Himself into us. He is flowing Himself out of Himself into His redeemed ones. This dispensing of the Triune God into us comes out of God’s administrating throne. This means that God’s dispensation depends on His administration.
This is true in the church life today. The dispensing of the life supply and of God’s all-sufficient grace issues out of the throne of God’s administration. Eventually, in the New Jerusalem this dispensing will reach every part of the city, and the entire city will be filled, saturated, and permeated with the Triune God. In this way the city will express God"
Life-Study of Revelation, Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1984, Pg.743-744
Labels: Quotes, River of God, Witness Lee
A Vision for Administration - Part 1
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration - 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (NIV)
Recently, I've been praying about, and looking at the whole area of ministry and administration in the life of the church in advancing the Kingdom of God. Administration should always 'add' to and enhance ministry. The very spellling of the word speaks of this. 'Ad-minister' - To administer, means to add to ministry!
I believe this simple observation speaks of something quite powerful. Administration, when done in the right way should bring increase, addition and blessing. It shouldn't restrict, delay or prevent the life of the Holy Spirit being seen in the daily life of God's people. It should always help to facilitate this, and facilitate the working of other gifts and ministries in the church.
Like the '+' sign of addition, administration should be a positive thing! You have to get the positive '+' sign aligned correctly for power to flow with batteries. The aligning of spiritual administration together with other ministries should release kingdom energy, power and life.
What a blessing it is that Jesus Christ has given such diverse and creative gifts to His Church to help her come to a place of maturity, faith and unity.
I'll go on to look at further aspects of administration in the near future!
Labels: Administration, Vision