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Passionate people…

pursue God

worship

pray

take daring steps of faith

humble themselves

walk with people in life

learn

know their Word

are filled with the Holy Spirit

serve

lead

 

 

what would you add to the list?

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Have you figured this out already?  Still arm wrestling with the usual suspects over whether the return on investment is worth the cost?

 

Here are 10 killer benefits of a thriving small group ministry:

 

  1. Life-change happens best in small groups.
  2. Small groups make churches personal.
  3. Small groups provide a nearly unlimited leadership development pipeline.
  4. Off-campus small groups provide nearly unlimited space at optimum times.
  5. “Come over to my house” is a much easier invitation than ”come with me to church.”
  6. Small groups provide the best opportunity for one-anothering.
  7. Small groups can provide a sense of family for many whose biological family lives far away.
  8. I can ask questions in a small group.
  9. Small groups make it possible for more people to be cared for between Sundays
  10. Small groups provide an ever expanding network for communication and impact.

from PASTORS.COM

 

 

some specific things i’ve love about OUR housegroup this year are:

worship times

our noise level

robust conversations about the hobbit/war/english history + theology of course

its not just about wednesday

philippians with matt chandler

sex makes you stupid with mark gungor

what we believe

dessert nights

movie nights

my name is luka, i like on the 2nd floor

life app nights – oh the questions!!!

unglued

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**** notes from The Best Housegroup In The World with guest speakers Peet & Estelle

 

what makes us successful?

the world would say fame, power, money, status, recognition, = wealth

this is a trap from satan – he lies and says that success = money

 

 

how does GOD see success? 

godly success is the ratio between talents given and talents used

USE your gifts

follow your dream

bloom where you are planted

make a difference

 

1 Kings 2:3 – observe what the Lord your God requires: walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.

 

how do i become successful and what does it look like?

  • salvation – be filled with God
  • contentment
  • ability to handle problems
  • peace
  • wisdom
  • joy
  • eternal life

 

where your treasure is there your heart is

 

matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

the world spells SUCCESS with W.E.A.L.T.H
but God spells SUCCESS with P.E.O.P.L.E

 

the meaning of life is to find your gift. the purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso

 

men of success in the bible:

  • joshua / joshua 1:7-8 ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. : FOCUS ON HIM
  • david / 1 samuel 18:12-14 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. : GOD WAS WITH HIM
  • joseph / genesis 39:2-4 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. : GOD WAS WITH HIM

 

whatever the circumstances God can make us prosper, be faithful

live for an audience of One

your name doesnt have to be on a billboard but it does have to be written on the palms of His hands (isaiah 49:16) and in the book of life

 

would you rather find your success in the world or in The Word?

 

jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

 

if it is so simple – we are we struggling?  why do we feel like failures?

  • pride – we think more of ourselves than we should and try to do things in our own power
  • doubt and unbelief – do we really believe its possible?
  • rejection – self and others, we believe a lie because of hurt
  • unforgiveness – unresolved issues with others that take our joy
  • jealousy – unable to celebrate the success of others
  • unrepented sin – builds a wall between us and God

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our mums group have been watching Mark Gungor’s LAUGH YOUR WAY TO A BETTER MARRIAGE – and its brilliant.  it was recommended to me by a counsellor who spoke at our women’s conference this year.  and its so bang on.  so what our group needed.  fantastic resource. 

Mark is a pastor, and a counsellor and hilarious.  He has a way of pushing the envelope to make you think in a good way.  He is very funny and you can so picture yourself, and your marriage, in the context of what he is sharing.  He disarms us with humour but also has this thing about him that is so fatherly and pastoral that when he tells you off, you take it.  His insight into the differences between men and women is, for lack of a better word, insightful.

Our young adults have also been watching his singles series STINKING THINKING.  we watched DATING DO’S AND DON’TS (session #3) and the next session SEX MAKES YOU STUPID.  best nights ever.  mark is very black and white and uses all the right words and is straight up.  love love love it.  love that last night two of the youth leaders got their guys group to watch it.  gives comprehensive reasons to wait until married to be sexually active (in any shape or form!)

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Now the universe is built on laws. Men of science throughout history have known that everything in our universe is under the reign of law. The entire world of physical science is dominated by laws. Whether you’re talking about everything from astronomy and agronomy and biology and botany clear to the end of the alphabet and zoology, all of those areas of study are absolutely predictable, because the universe is built on absolute physical laws.

If you are driving down a road at 100km hr and get to a corner that says 45km hour – chances are pretty high that you’re going end up getting hurt because the law of physics is in operation. Even if you have a Christian radio station on. And a Christian bumper sticker. The laws of physics apply to you regardless of your salvation status.

I the same way the laws of life and living apply to us.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:7-9

 

Direction determines destination. Every time.

We have to connect the dots between the choices they make and the outcomes they experience.

Are there discrepancies between what you desire in your heart and what you are doing with your life?

Direction is everything.  Direction determines destination.  That is why we cannot afford to live disconnected lives. When we discover those subtle and sometimes not so subtle discrepancies between intent and lifestyle we should stop and pay attention. 

We should break the habit of drawing a circle around individual decisions and events and dismissing them as isolated occurrences.  These are steps.  Steps that lead somewhere.  Because life is connected.

The principal of the path is operating in your life every minute of every day.  You are currently on a financial path of some kind, you are on a relational path, you are continuing down a moral and ethical path.  And each of these paths has a destination.  My hope is that by becoming aware of this powerful principal you will have the wisdom to know which path to choose and the courage to stay the course.

The challenging aspect about picking the right paths is that the choices are NOW.  The outcomes are LATER.  The decisions you make today have ramifications down the road.

Andy Stanley

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

 

In what ways should we acknowledging God?

What does that look like in real life?

What does it look like to NOT acknowledge God?

What is the consequence of acknowledging God?

How can we connect the dots between where we are today and where we are going tomorrow?

 

Define Vision:

Vision means: “a clear sense of purpose regarding what God wants to do through your life”

How does vision affect your life?

What does the bible say about having vision?

How do we get vision and purpose?

What is one thing you can do this week to step towards that?

 

Are we exchanging a bowl of stew for things of eternal worth – like esau? (Genesis 25)

 

Behavioural therapists and others who study human behaviour will tell you there’s only one difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. “It’s all about their habits,” they say.

1. They reveal what you value least—and most.

2. They reveal where you spend your time.

3. They reveal the state of your mental health.

4. They reveal the state of your spiritual health.

5. They reveal the state of your physical health.

 

1. They reveal what you value least—and most.

A habit as simple as arriving late or constantly procrastinating can show what you rank at the bottom of your scale of priorities—and also what you rank at the top. What do you hold as important and unimportant in this life? Just take a look at your habits. They will speak for themselves—and most likely, they will speak to others as well.

If you have a habit of working hard, helping others or always being on time to work, it shows that you see a great deal of value in your future, your character and your work ethic. Likewise, if you are perpetually late, interrupt times with friends because you always answer your phone or commit initially only to back out late, it will be clear to the people around you what comes first in your life—and what doesn’t.

2. They reveal where you spend your time.

Habits don’t just happen overnight. If a habit takes 30 days to form, then those 30 days will tell you a lot about your commitments. Are you cutting down on your Starbucks habit so that you can read Scripture in the morning before work? Or are you routinely hitting snooze and falling off your exercise program 10 days in? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and have to make choices about we’re using our time. We make trade-offs based on what we deem most important at the time—for better or for worse.

3. They reveal the state of your mental health.

OUR HABITS ARE SHAPED BY EITHER A SELF-DISCIPLINED WILL, OR A POWERFUL FELT NEED—AND THE LATTER CAN OFTEN PULL US INTO HABITUAL SIN.

Some habits are internal, more than external. They live in our thought processes, our attitudes and our outlook. And if these mental habits go unchecked, it can cause us to live in a state of mental compression because our habits are living our lives for us. But the truth is, mental health is the beginning of all habitual health problems. If a habit, such as envy, lust, comparison, discontent, takes root in your mind, that mental habit is eventually going to be given the reins to the rest of your health if not taken care of.

4. They reveal the state of your spiritual health.

Your habits play a massive role in your sinful nature. Our habits are shaped by either a self-disciplined will, or a powerful felt need—and the latter can often pull us into habitual sin. If you really think about it, most sin is derived from a habit that has been formed over an extensive period of time, and then exposes itself when that habit yearns to be activated. On the other hand, forming habits of prayer and worship can also create virtuous habits that can counteract the destructive pull toward sin.

5. They reveal the state of your physical health.

We’re a society of busy people—and there’s a multitude of fast food, drive-thru options just for our convenience.

Look at your food and exercise habits: do you make late-night taco runs, put off your gym membership renewal, lounge around playing video games all weekend? Or do you make it a point to work out three times a week, floss your teeth daily, fill your cart with produce? Your habits will tell you a thing or two about your physical health.

It’s easy to go about our days as usual—with our habits and routines fixed in place without a thought. But if we do evaluate our default patterns, we might learn what we’re doing well and where we have room for improvement. And in 30 days, we might even be able to turn ourselves around.

 

 

What habits and behaviours are you trying to establish or change?

What attitudes do we need to have?

How do you determine / classify if you have a good attitude or wrong attitude? What is the bench mark? How do we find out?

 

 

How do we CHANGE our attitudes?

  1. Romans 12:2 RENEW YOUR MIND

– read the Word of God, read His promises

– act on the Word of God – resist own thoughts/attitudes and CHANGE the way you think and behave

– Neurological Change happens when we renew our mind – we make new neuro pathways

  1. Get a big person who can see a bigger perspective – meet with a mentor – be honest about attitudes and things and allow them to speak into your life

 

 

How do you define and weigh success and failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any particular situation?

Are you satisfied with where you are now?

What do you think some of the obstacles to getting to the destination?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPW3EB5U0bo

 

**** notes from the best housegroup in the world last night

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” John 11:1-7

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,  and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”  John 11:14-15

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:38-44

 

 

Whenever I read the bible I as myself 2 things : what does this show me about God and what does it show me about me?

 

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Illuminate 7

a friend of mine wrote this as her fb status today… i thought it was AMAZING!

 

Really interesting dream last night. I was looking at all these layers of things such as fire, stones, steel etc. There were many layers and at the very top was a crown. I cried out "Lord, what does it mean?" and suddenly Claire McLean appeared and started talking. She was giving a message at The River and talking about how the world gives crowns of thorns but God gives us crowns of life (It made me think of the verse: ‘He gives us beauty for ashes’). She said how we need to take off the crown the world gives and put on the crown God gives. I could see myself taking off this cloth band that went around my head like a headband (other people were doing this too) which had all these spikes which were like little needles on the inside sticking into my head. While Claire was up the front a lot of other people from The River were up there singing and dancing with her in between the bits of her spoken sermon. Then she talked about how God gives us seeds (here my sister and I were planting some in the ground) and how if they’re not called (such as God calling them forth) then they don’t germinate (I saw one seed in the ground sleeping that wasn’t called and so wouldn’t wake up). Very interesting dream!

 

 

might pinch some of it for my preach at the end of the month…!

(i am talking about Lazarus so some of it fits!)

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As a mums group we’ve been doing a dvd series by lysa Terkeurst called Unglued. It challenged us to examine our lives, the way we emotionally reacted and responded to situations and people and to choose a new normal. It challenged us to think differently and to live intentionally.

Lysa says: A moment of conflict handled the right way is hands-down one of the grandest opportunities we have to shame satan back to hell. A Jesus girl who rises up and unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise, reveals the power and the mystery of Christ at work – in her life and in the world.

I loved UNGLUED and adapted 4 of her points for my message for our Daughters Conference earlier in the year but thought it was worth sharing them again.

Here are four real life practical things we can do to live this out:

  1. Choose a REPLY over a REACTION. A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 now this one I need to practice all the time. When we did the unglued series we even kept a behaviour journal, to diary the times we “lost it”. Which I confess was a really good way to teach me to “pause” and have some self control, to reply instead going insanely mental at my children or husband. Because if I lost it… I would have to write it down!
  1. Choose FAITH over FORGETTING – how often do we forget the promises of God, we forget the things that God says about us – we have inside negative chatter instead of thoughts of faith – you know those thoughts that say, I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough, not spiritual enough. We need to eliminate the toxic thoughts and let the truth flourish. See yourself as how God sees you. Chosen. Called. Empowered. Loved.
  1. Choose GRATITUDE over ATTITUDE – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 – I can’t control the things that happen to me each day, but I can control how I think about them. I can say to myself, "I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now. I can have an attitude and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective, have some gratitude, rejoice and again I say rejoice, to help me see good even when I don’t feel good."
  1. Choose JESUS over JUNK – how often do we try and fill ourselves with something temporary instead of with Jesus? It might be food, it might be tv, it might be serial dating, it might be shopping, appearance, approval, success. In of themselves those things are not bad… they just may not be beneficial. The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.

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THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  Romans 5:1 AMP

 

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7

 

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22

 

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice fort our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1 john 4:9-11

**** preaching notes from preaching @ The River last night

 

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Disclaimer: revival starts with Jesus but you now

I respond and say YES

God is looking for a person, a youth group, a church, a housegroup, a leader, a community, a city to say YES

I don’t want to miss it, I don’t want jesus to be passing by and miss it

Blind bartimaeous heard jesus passing by and called out

The crowd shhsss him but he cries out all the more

Are we willing to lay down our reputation, our comfort, ourselves, to encounter God?

 

1 the world needs revival
2 revival must be in the church
3 revival begins in me
4 revival needs room

Revival comes through the revived.

 

And again He entered Capernaum and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.  Mark 2:1-4

 

It goes on to record how Jesus firstly heals the man inside out – getting him right with God and then heals his physical body – healing him on the outside.

I want to break this passage down to see what we can learn about it in sustaining our own personal revival – revival starts in me.

1.  Revival Begins When Jesus is in The House

Revival in our own lives is sustained when we have a daily awareness that Jesus is real and that Jesus is amazing and that Jesus is Lord – that Jesus is good and great – of who He is and what His purpose is – and that Jesus lives on the inside of me.

How do we get Jesus in the house? Firstly, you’re accepted now… Jesus died for you and now if you’re born again, He lives in you. He is IN the house.

 

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

But there is a different between Jesus being in the house and Jesus being IN the house!

When Jesus was in the house – when it was a tabernacle tent in the wilderness – the glory of God shone like a pillar of fire and a cloud of smoke and Moses would go and speak face to face with God and come out shinning like he was a giant spotlight.

When Jesus was in the house – in the temple Solomon built – the presence of God came so tangibly that the priests were laid out and could not stand or work.

When Jesus was in the house – there was sound of rushing wind, and people that had being holed up in fear took the gospel out into the streets and 3000 people got saved at the first altar call, Peter’s shadow healed people as he walked by, people got healed, set free, saved.

 

Jesus is the same today, in you, as He was yesterday in David, in Isaiah, in Daniel, in Peter, in John, in Paul, in Smith Wigglesworth, in Charles Finney, in Billy Graham.

 

There is something you get in the secret place that you can get no where else. Do everything you can to establish a secret history with Jesus.   ~ Banning Liebscher

 

I loved how Caleb put it this morning:

Your times of prayer matter
Your times in The Word matter

Your times of worship matter
Speaking in tongues matters

Submitting to leadership matters

Listening to teaching matters
Sow into the spirit, sow into your spiritual life, be intentional…

 

How do you get Jesus in the house – you invite Him in and you make room, you make time.

2.  Revival Begins When People Talk

You know, when there is stuff going in your life, people will see it and want to know more.

V3 says immediately people gathered together – they heard Jesus was in the house and they wanted to see for themselves if He was who He said He was and what He would do.

Seth Godin, a marketing guru says that people like that are sneezers – they catch onto a new thing really fast but more importantly they let everyone in their world know – they’re like an infectious bug that is then sneezed into everyone in the room so before you know it, you’re all sick. The aim of marketing is to get the sneezers excited about a product/service so that they’ll ah ah ah achooo it out into the world.

When there is a great sale on at the mall, or a new burger joint opening down the road, or a new movie opening or you’ve just had your hair cut by the most amazing hairdresser ever – don’t you tell everyone? We naturally sneeze what we’re into to the people in our lives.

How many of your friends on fb shared the clip of dustin hoffman talking about acting in tootsie?

You’re called to be a sneezer for Jesus. When Jesus is in the house, you should want the world to know.

Mission is not an add-on. It is not an optional extra. It is at the core of who we are.

Revival ignites when you have Jesus in the house – your house – when Jesus is doing amazing things in your life – and you then let other people in on the secret.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

3.  Revival Changes our life

There are so many renovation shows on tv at the moment – mitre 10 dream home, house rules, the block is coming back and if you flick through the tv guide there are probably a trillion more on a trillion other channels… this week tony and I watched house rules and there are 6 teams and they’re competing while renovated one of the other teams houses. So they’re renovating jemma and bens house and one by one each team who have all being assigned different rooms, or zones, are pulling up the floors to lay this gorgeous dark stained wooden floor…. Only to discover the house doesn’t have a concrete foundation but is laid on sand.

When Jesus is in the house sometimes things get pulled up and exposed, renovated and rearranged.

The paralytics friends ripped the roof of the house to get their friend in. They did a bit of DIY to make a new entrance. They uncovered the ceiling to allow miracles and forgiveness to flow.

 

Our God does not simply point to our sordid past and say “don’t live that way anymore.” No, our God cups our face in His nail scarred hands and says “my child, you don’t have to live that way anymore. You are free.” // Lori Wilhite

A changed life is a RESPONSE to the grace of God given to us. God doesn’t expect us to clean our life up first before He’ll accept us. We don’t whack up some new paint, get a fancy new makeover and then open the door welcoming Him in.

 

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

 

But our response to that is that we say YES to life change, that we say YES to His renovations, to things being rearranged and exposed and uncovered. We can rest in the fact that God not only won’t quit, but He’s holding our lives together & making us more like Jesus through it all.

There are times in our life when God supernaturally and sovereignly readjusts things in our lives – it can happen on an altar call, or in our bedroom, or at housegroup, wherever where BOOM you encounter God and know you walk away altered. And sometimes you have those altar moments or those times – actually every time you make time with God – and you don’t know how God is changing you but believe you me when you’re encountering God He is at work! But there are other times when we partner with God in the renovating. When we’re agreeing with Him and as Caleb said this morning, making intentional choices for change.

About 4 years ago Tony and I decided to renovate our toilet room. The wall paper had been peeling off and little fingers had helped it and it looked a mess. So we ripped all the paper off and that was about it. Since then we’ve done nothing. No sanding. No colour choosing. No painting. Every now and then I look at it and think, must do something about that. Sometimes its like that in our lives… God is putting His finger on something, stirring us, sometimes uncomfortably, towards change. But until we say YES and make intentional changes we’ve just got blank ugly walls…

 

King Josiah, in 2 Kings 23, is a man serious about revival and renovating. Chapter 23 is the most verb packed chapter I think I’ve ever read. He is serious about rearranging things in Israel so that God is followed and glorified.

He brought out

Removed

Burned

Ground idols to ashes

Threw the ashes into graveyards

Tore down

Broke down

Threw their dust into the desert

Defiled high places

Pulverised

Broke into pieces

Filled the idols places with bones

Put away

Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 2 Kings 23:25

 

Josiah was a man of revival.

There are things that God will uncover in your life that are uncomfortable. Trust issues. Stinking thinking. We might not have altars to false gods in the backyard or idols in the wardrobe but we do have to deal with what the bible describes as our old ways, with all its fears, anger, hostility, lying, lust, hate. Old ways. Old habits. The Old self.

 

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:8-10

 

He is calling you to change, to put on the new self. It would be like the paralysed man, now healed, able to walk, set free to dance, to experience life, to be well and to live life to the max, to carry round his stretcher all the time, or to remain lying on the mat.

There are things that God might be saying Pulverise that and scatter it to the wind. You don’t need to live that way anymore, you’re free. There are things that God might be saying rip out and remove, put away the thoughts of the past and the destructive behaviours – replace them with a new way of thinking, His way.

I love how Caleb said this morning that our mind is conditioned by the world to respond and react in certain ways. In a way our mind is conditioned to look else where for the answer to every question we have in any other place than God.

YOLO.

If it feels good, do it.

It’s just a white lie.

It’s the way I’m wired.

Feeling lonely? Get a boyfriend / girlfriend / new husband / new wife

A lot of people turn to food or alcohol for comfort. Others spend all their time and energy pursuing romantic love. We can spin our lives around sex or physical pleasure or escapism. Money, fame and accomplishment call to us. They look like a pathway to our best life, but when we let them displace God, they stop being good things, and become our master. An idol in Josiah’s day was a physical altar or statue or “thing” but really an idol is anything that calls to us so strongly, that we’d rather respond to that call than to God. An idol is anything that replaces the authority and position that God wants in your life. It’s the thing your life revolves around. Those are the things we’ve got to knock down and get change in.

 

The bible calls it renewing your mind: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

 

Romans 12 goes on to give us some blueprints of what that renewed renovated life may look like:

V 3 – what do you think of yourself? Do you like yourself? Do you like yourself too much? The bible says that you were paid for by the life of Jesus – that’s the price tag on your life. That the creator of the universe, the sinless perfect amazing Son of God chose to come and live and die, for you.

V 4-5 we’re in a team, we belong. We’re no longer alone but in a family with a common mission

V 6-8 we have a purpose – you are not here by accident, but you’re here by design.

V9 – choose what is good. The NKJV which entitles this passage “behave like a christian” tells us to let go of the crappy behaviour.

V 10 – love each other like family. Be kind to each other. Treat each other like we’d like to be treated. It goes on to say be humble, listen and care, be authentic and stop stirring. Your feelings are indicators, not dictators, you have a choice to be renewed and renovated or to carry on living with a hole in the floor and a leak in the roof.

V 11 – stoke the fire: Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. CEV. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. NIV.

 

Sometimes the renovation occurs when we find ourselves in situations we can’t control, or where people are difficult, or situations require a ramping up of our trust levels… the rubber meets the road when tensions are high and you cant see where to put your next step.

Or when we’re convicted to live counter culture – not following the pattern of the world when it comes to dating, to marriage, to parenting, to honesty, to whatever.

Where we have to CHOOSE trust, CHOOSE purity, CHOOSE peace, CHOOSE kindness, CHOOSE compassion, CHOOSE peace, CHOOSE humility, CHOOSE understanding.

God has been working on me a long time. I am totally different to who I was when I was 16 and got saved. But I am still a work in progress and am grateful for the grace of God, and the grace of each of you.

Personal revival comes with a personal awareness of things that need to be changed – greater conviction, greater sensitivity to the world around us and the things that please or don’t please Jesus. And with that comes the awareness that we cannot change ourselves but that Jesus has done it all, that as we continue to say YES we’re allowing Him and more into our lives, to action that which He has made provision for. Remember, Jesus forgave the man’s sin FIRST. Before he could pick his mat up and walk and do anything, before he could change anything. Grace came first.

Jesus died for your sin. Your guilt. Your shame. Your crappy behaviour. Your bad attitude. Your indifference. Your control. Your hopelessness. Your anger. Change comes with when I say YES to God.

The paralytics friends knew they had to remove the roof to encounter Jesus.

What do you need to remove or renovate so that you are more open and close to Him? What is standing in your way?

 

 

4.  Revival Begins with me

It started with:

– the person that invited Jesus to his house

– the friends who took their friend

– the people who told their friends

– the man who stood up and was healed

– with Josiah who made a decision that enough was enough

– with you and me saying YES every day to walking with God

 

 

Tonight, we’re going to make space again for Jesus to come. This is an invitation to be filled more and more, to get fresh vision and enthusiasm for knowing Him and making Him known. Its also a good opportunity to let Jesus, the master carpenter, renovate our lives, to heal us, to pour His grace upon us again.

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