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The promise of God is that He finishes what He starts.

I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. Philippians 1:6 AMP

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 MSG

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 TPT

God is at work to mature us, to transform us and to make us into the men and women of God He created us to be.  We are designed on purpose, with a purpose.

Today you can be confident that God sees you and that He loves you.  He has great plans and purposes for your life and He is fully committed to seeing His success through your life.

 

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Have any of you here done anything that scared you so much you thought you might have a I need new pants moment…. Or that your heart might stop…. Or that you might never survive???

A few years ago we went to The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise baby!

We hit the theme parks, Sea world, Wet and Wild and Movie World.

Movie world has this one ride that scared the whatever out of me but that I knew I had to get my son to do.  I knew he wouldn’t do it unless I did.  So we made a deal.  I would hold a snake if he would ride the rollercoaster with me.

So we lined up for the Superman Escape Ride.  After waiting waiting waiting about 45 minutes it was our turn.  It is at this point that my son informs me that you accelerate from zero to 100 in 2 seconds.  Yes.  What the heck!  I confess at that moment I felt slightly faint and the room felt warmer and yeah….

Now the start of the roller coaster is pretty chill.  You slowly cruise round inside an underground subway system as it tells you the story of Metropolis… and then you sit…. In front of you is the light at the end of the tunnel and you sit there… waiting…  and then WHOOSH!

As we shot out now going 100km an hour my son and I had very different reactions.  I could not scream because I was too scared.  Nor could I shut my eyes.  However my son started with some noise then closed his eyes for the rest of his short life… I mean for the rest of the ride…

At the end I stumbled off the roller coaster, we laughed and high fived because we had survived!   My fearless 9 year old niece who also rode with us was like that was the best ride ever auntie Claire now can we go on the green lantern….  Like heck no!

It took courage for me to go on the superman escape.  And the reward of my courage was bragging rights and the thrill of the experience!

 

I want to introduce you to 3 people who lived life with incredible courage.

 

If you’ve got a bible app scroll to Daniel 3.  While you’re doing that let me give you a backstory.

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abendago are 3 friends and along with their mate Daniel.  They were born in Israel and when we read about them they’re teenagers and they were taken as captives from Israel to a place called Babylon where they were assimilated and retrained and kept there as prisoners of war.

 

Babylon is everything Israel is not.   In Israel they believe in God and live by a moral code.  In Babylon they don’t.  In fact the king set himself up as a god, had a massive gold statute of himself made and when the music played da da da dahhhh everyone had to bow down to the statue in worship.  This was not some optional extra or some freedom of choice thing, you HAD TO BOW DOWN or you’d be thrown in the crazy fiery furnace aka big bad fire.

This was the world they lived in AND in some degree it is the world we live in. Read the rest of this entry »

So we all love movies where the hero overcomes the odds, scores the girl, defeats the bad guy, saves the day, right?  As of the start of the week ENDGAME has made $2.73 billion which means a lot of people have seen it including one fan, Agustin Alanis who has seen it 103 times.

It’s like there is something in our DNA that is drawn towards stories of ordinaryish people who rise up and become the hero and I think something in all of us that wonders if we were put in that position… if we were bit by the spider… if we found a droid with a secret message… if we were struck by lightning… that we would accept the challenge and be the hero.. am I right?

Well in the bible we meet about a moment just like this – a guy plucked out of obscurity, chosen by God to be king, who against all the odds defeats the bad guy and saves the day.

So Israel have this king, Saul, but he’s gone off the rails a bit and God has chosen a new guy to be king and sends Samuel, the prophet to go and anoint the new king.

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Now here begs the question… where do you find a new king?  There aren’t schools for kings, you cant go to a shop and select one off the shelf and you cant order one from the internet.  Perhaps you could do a show like the bachelor, where you give a rose to the candidates and end up living happily ever after with the king at the end…  or survivor “the tribe has spoken”…

God tells Samuel to go to visit a family in Bethlehem and that he has chosen one of his sons to be king.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The best leaders are servant leaders. However, while servanthood is embedded in their character, they also understand the importance of leadership skills. Consider the word SERVE to remind you of the importance of both character and skills.

 

The SERVE model represents the 5 fundamental skills of great leaders.  Great leaders:

See the future

Engage and Develop Others

Reinvent Continuously

Value Results and Relationships

Embody the Values

 

Leading others begins with a vision (See the Future) and enlisting someone to help you go after it (Engage and Develop Others). Then, as you begin to grow, change is inevitable. You will be required to adapt and adjust (Reinvent Continuously), and balance the tension between results and people (Value Results and Relationships). Finally, keep in mind, people always watch the leader. Leaders go first and leave last (Embody the Values).

As you work on your skills don’t neglect the importance of your heart. If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills. The most powerful weapon a leader has in his ‘lead others’ arsenal is a heart rooted in love.

 

Again let’s look at Mary and Martha in Luke 10.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It was Martha who invited Jesus for dinner, who opened her home for Jesus to come in, for Jesus to minister.  It was Martha who opened the door and said come in to Jesus and the disciples and it was Martha who then complained about all the work that had to be done.

If Martha didn’t open the door and invite Jesus in there would have been no work.  But there would have been no relationship and no reward either.

How many times do we ask to see God move, we pray for revival, we want to see great and mighty things of God, but then complain about the “stuff that has to be done”, the tasks, that service may require.  We pray God let your kingdom come, your will be done but then when it comes to do x y z we shrink back.  We sing I wanna know you more, how us your glory but our bible is dusty or our youversion app streak doesn’t pass 7…

Service is not just about our actions but more importantly about our attitude.  It’s about being motivated by our love for God and our love for others.

It’s about a I get to attitude instead of I have to.

I get to come to church vs I have to come to church.

I get to be a youth leader instead of I have to.

I get to give vs I have to give

I get to worship vs I have to

Let’s be a team that sees the honour of being able to serve a cause that is far greater than what we can see.   Let’s be a team that sees the big picture.  When we serve we need to take our eyes off what we’re doing to realise that by what we do we make a way for people to ENCOUNTER Jesus and our very actions, our very service is seen as worship to Jesus!

The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Love is not a passive word.

It is a word that bleeds example — action — effort — and generosity.

If you want to lead others well, love will drive your words and behaviour.

The driving force of the Paul as he engaged and developed others was love. Love motivated his vision to share God’s good news — impart his very life to others — work a job so that he wasn’t a burden to anyone — live as an example — care for others as a father would his own children — and encourage others to honour God in everything. In his life we see that Paul was a genuine servant leader.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God who calls you into His kingdom and glory.”

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“How we lead ourselves in life impacts how we lead those around us.” ― Michael Hyatt

The first, and often most challenging, responsibility of a leader is to lead SELF.

Self-leadership definition is: Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there.

 

Self Leadership is ‘Inside-Out’ Leadership.

Self-leaders are constantly developing: Self-awareness and Self-confidence

Self-awareness  is about knowing who God has created you to be and about being real about your strengths and weaknesses, knowing your motivations and values, as well as knowing what can ‘push your buttons’ and derail you.

To quote Thor’s Mum – EVERYONE FAILS AT WHO THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE, THOR. A MEASURE OF A PERSON, OF A HERO, IS HOW WELL THEY SUCCEED AT BEING WHO THEY ARE.

Self-confidence comes from knowing your strengths and abilities. As we take actions and develop skills, we become more confident.  As Christians it’s also about knowing that God is within us to empower us to serve Him.

 

“So, Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God.” — 2 Chron. 27:6 NASB

Jotham was not mighty because he had a great vision or a big army or an amazing leadership team or even an important position and title. He was mighty ‘because’ he did something. That something was to regularly lead himself into the presence of God and order his life. Everything flowed from his self-leadership discipline.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hey you,

God has given you everything you need, for right now.

His Presence is within you, for this moment.

He will never leave you or forsake you.  He will strengthen you inside out.  He has prepared you, equipped you, empowered you.

I often want to read between the lines of the lives of the people in the Bible.  What did they think?  How did the feel?  Did they doubt or fear?  What gave them hope and courage?

They are all like me.  Human.  Flawed.  Normal.

But God delights to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things.  He turns water into wine, loaves and fishes into a feast that feeds the multitudes.  He used a shepherd boy to fell a giant.  He used a silent army to knock down walls.

Today I take hope and courage in security that if God was with them, He will be with me.  This is His faithful promise.

Today I take hope that as I surrender and step out, that God steps in.

Today, He is with me.  For His purpose and His glory.

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You know, the bible is a little bit like the MCU.  In the MCU there are lots of big characters, your heroes, villians, people with great hair, plot twists, love stories, battles, victories, loses, and everything in between.  There are also the theories and the mythology and the easter eggs all the way through the 22 movies that belong in the MCU.

The bible is a lot like that.  Main players, heroes, villians, people with great hair, plot twists, love stories, battles, victories, loses, theories, themes and the all-important easter eggs all the way through the 66 books in the Bible.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Reblogged from:

The Answers: 30 Similarities between Abraham offering Isaac on Mt. Moriah and GOD offering Jesus on Mt. Calvary

In an earlier post that you can read HERE, I suggested that if you study the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mt Moriah carefully, you could find as many as 30 similarities between that story and the story of God offering Jesus as a sacrifice on Mt Calvary. I posed this question to our Connect Group at Hebron Church on Sunday, and here are the 30 similarities that we found.

In both stories…

  1. The father leads his son to be sacrificed.
  2. A donkey is involved on the road to the sacrifice.
  3. They leave their “homeland” to go to the place of sacrifice (Abraham & Isaac travel to the mountain, Jesus leaves heaven to come to earth).
  4. To get from where they are to the place of sacrifice requires a journey.
  5. Each son is the “one and only son” of his father.
  6. The son is a descendant of Abraham.
  7. The son had been born with divine intervention.
  8. The sacrifices take place on the same mountain (called Mt. Moriah in the Old Testament, called Mt. Calvary in the New Testament — also known as Mt. Zion, by the way)
  9. The companions that were with them stayed behind (most likely on the hill across the valley, called the Mt. of Olives) when the son went with the father for the sacrifice.
  10. The son carried the wood/cross to the place of sacrifice.
  11. The son asked questions of the father.
  12. The father knew what he was called to do.
  13. The son was submissive to the will of the father.
  14. The father was willing to sacrifice his son, if necessary.
  15. The father believed in resurrection.
  16. The father loved the son.
  17. A resurrection was prophesied (Abraham said, “we’ll come back to you.” Jesus said, “I will rise on the third day.”)
  18. The son was laid upon the wood/cross.
  19. The son was bound to the wood/cross.
  20. Abraham had a knife to pierce his son, Jesus’ skin was pierced by whips laced with bones, glass and rocks.
  21. The Lord Himself provided the sacrifice (the ram, Jesus). [Note, the word order in the Hebrew text of Genesis 22:8 could read, “The Lord will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” A foreshadowing of Jesus]
  22. Blood was shed.
  23. The sacrifice was a substitute (ram a substitute for Isaac, Jesus a substitute for us).
  24. The sacrifice was a demonstration of love for God.
  25. Men of great faith in God who were committed obediently to the will of God.
  26. The ram was caught in the thorns, and Jesus had a crown of thorns on his head.
  27. Abundant blessings flow because of the sacrifice (abundant life).
  28. Abraham was tested, Jesus was tested.
  29. The son ultimately survived the sacrifice.
  30. The son was resurrected on the third day.

Number 30 requires a little explanation. Jesus was literally resurrected on the third day. As for Isaac: Abraham heard from the Lord that he was to sacrifice his son. As far as he was concerned, Isaac was as good as dead at that point. The journey from their home to the place of sacrifice took three days. On the third day, God provided the ram so that Isaac was spared his life, i.e., he was “resurrected” on the third day. The Bible tells us that Abraham had great faith all along, believing that even if God did call him to slay his son that God would bring his son back to life!

Not sure if we got all 30 of them right? Maybe you found other similarities? Let me know.

Keep studying, and keep trusting in the will of God, the ways of God, and the Word of God.

On Wednesday I celebrated my 26th born again day – the day I became a Christian.

I was invited to youth by a friend in class who had never talked to me about God or youth group or anything before, she just turned to me and said do you wanna come to youth group.   I said yes.  Because God had been at work in my life way before then to draw me to him.

But sometimes we forget this.  We forget the power of invitation.  We forget about how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  We forget that God uses us to share the gospel and to invite people to church.

We get busy with life and family and work and doing, and we forget that Jesus Himself said that He came to seek and save the lost.  His priority mission was one of rescue.

I want to take Evangelism out of the too hard basket and help us see that this is something we can do in our everyday real lives, with everyday real people, being our everyday real selves.

It is not something for just special super spiritual people. It is not just something for pastors.  It is not even something just for extroverts.

It is the on earth mission that Jesus has given every single one of us if we are Christians.

Read the rest of this entry »

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In 1985 Clarence Duncan arrived in Africa as missionary to the solidly Muslim people called the Yao who live mainly in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi. When he settled in his village, he called for a meeting with the elders. After the pleasantries the chief asked him his name. Clarence replied, “Mr. Clarence.”

The council looked at each other for a moment and then the chief asked, “Why are you here?”

Again Clarence simply said, “I want to tell your people about Isa Al Mahsi (Jesus the Messiah).”

A couple months later, when the chief decided he could trust Clarence, he said, “Do you know why we allowed you to stay?”

Clarence said, “I never thought about it.”

“Twenty-one years ago a very old Yao man came to our village and called for a meeting as you did. When we asked him his name, this Yao man said, ‘Mr. Clarence’—which isn’t an African name at all! When we asked him why he came, he said, ‘I want to tell your people about Isa Al Mahsi.’ These were your very words. Twenty-one years ago Mr. Clarence led four of our villagers to follow Jesus. So we ran them out of the village. And we killed Mr. Clarence. The reason we allowed you to stay was we were afraid.”

That was 1985. Two years ago on a January morning 24 Muslim elders approached Clarence Duncan’s house. After a meal the leader sat in the middle of the room and said that they had come to ask questions about Christianity. Clarence said fine but that he would only answer them by reading from the Bible so they would know he did not invent the answers. So he gave each of them a Bible in the trade language. The first question was, “Why do you Christians say that there are three gods?”

Clarence said the answer was found in Deuteronomy 6:4 and gave them the page: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God. The Lord is one!” And he mentioned that Isa (Jesus) said this very thing in Mark 12:29.

The questioning went on till five in the afternoon. When all had left, the leader, Sheik Abu Bakr, stayed and asked if he could see Clarence in a week.

When they met Abu asked if Clarence knew why they came to see him last week. Clarence said he assumed it was to ask questions. But Abu said, “No, it was because the Christian church is growing so fast we knew we had to kill you. We had consulted for three days and prepared our magic. You were to be struck dumb when we asked questions, then fall on the ground paralyzed and then die. But when you kept talking, and even stood up and moved around, we knew you had a stronger Spirit and gave up.”

Then Abu said, “I want to become a Christian.” And he told an amazing story.

“When I was a teenager, in our village we were not Muslim people and we were not Christian. We were Achewa people with our own religion. Behind our village was a hill where I would often go to pray.

“One day I was on that hill praying. Suddenly all around me was a blinding light. Out of this light I saw a big hand coming toward me holding an open book. I looked at the book and saw writing on the page. A Voice told me to read. I protested that I could not read, never having been to school. The Voice again told me to read. So I did. And suddenly the book and the hand disappeared.

“I ran back to my village and all the people were looking for me, thinking I had died on that hill! They asked about a fire they had seen up there. When I told them the story, they laughed at me saying, You can’t read!

“Someone got a book and I began to read! Then people came from all around to find out more about what happened and asked questions. The Muslim authorities found out about me and I was trained in the ways of Islam. Soon all or our village became Muslim. For 15 years I was the greatest debater against the Christians.”

He paused and then said, “You remember when I asked you the first question about why Christians believe in three gods? Your answer was Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4.”

“That’s right,” Clarence said.

Sheik Abu Bakr looked Clarence Duncan in the eye and said, “That was the same passage that this Voice on the mountain showed me. At that moment I knew that the God you were talking about was the True God!”

“Then why did you keep asking me all those questions the whole day?”

“Because,” he smiled, “I wanted all these Muslim leaders to know what the Christians believe and I wanted them to hear it from you. The whole day I pretended unbelief so that I could ask more questions. Now I want to become a Christian.”

 

from https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-leading-of-the-lord-in-personal-evangelism

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