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When I was fairly newly saved a guy who prayed for me at a youth group meeting said he felt God wanted me to go home and read Acts 29.

Now you may have just gone through the files of your mind and thought, wait a minute…. there is no Acts 29.  Acts finishes, albeit somewhat suddenly and with the hint of a comma in Acts 28.

As a new Christian I had no reference and I went home, and yes, searched diligently for Acts 29.

Was this guy wrong? Was he not hearing God?

Or was he mocking me???  What was going on!

I talked to him at church on sunday following and I confess, I was kind of miffed.   I leaned more on the “he was mocking me” side of things.

And then he told me that Acts 29 is the chapter that is written by MY LIFE. That I am Acts 29. That it is the exploits that me and God do together for the sake of His Gospel and His Church. It is the adventure that God and I have together with prayer and seeking His face, and God working through me to reach those around me.

Acts 29 is the church today, you and me today, expressing and living for Jesus in power, authority and love. Read the rest of this entry »

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One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. acts 3:1-10

Peter and John are normal Christians.

They are ordinary men.  Peter and john were fishermen.   Yet the extraordinary was going on in their life.  They had encountered God.  They had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  They were living for a different reason now.

And they had something to give away – they were do havers.

They said to the man – the man who had NEVER walked, who spent his life begging and depending upon the pity of others – silver and gold we don’t have, but what we DO HAVE we give you.

What did they have?

What is that extraordinary thing that God has given YOU and how can it be released in your life to impact others?  That extraordinary thing that God has given you to be released to impact others is… wait for it – GOD!

What Peter and John had was the knowledge that God was real and that He had the power to heal that man.  They had faith that if they did what Jesus said – lay hands on the sick they would be healed.  They believed that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and that by His wounds we are healed.  They believed what Isaiah 53 said about who God is and what God can do.

They believed But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

They believed Acts 1:8 that they had received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them in Jerusalem. 

Luke 24:29 puts it as “clothed with power from on high.” 

Power is for a purpose – and The Word says – we got the power!

They believed John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

You know, Jesus said – I only do what I see the father do –I tell you the truth, he said, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. (John 5:19-20)

How do WE know what the Father does and wants to do and is doing?  We look at what Jesus did and the revelation of the right here and now by the Holy Spirit within us.  Jesus is our model, we follow Him, we do what we do, we copy Him.  Paul said that – imitate me as I imitate Christ.  Lets copy Jesus!  And Jesus challenged us – that we would DO even greater things that these because the Holy Spirit lives within us!  Now that is a challenge and a half that smacks me around – GREATER THINGS!

They believed Jesus when he called them in matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

You know, just to point out the obvious – THOSE passages weren’t written yet – they were being lived!   The things that are written in the NT are things they learned by revelation from the Holy Spirit and things they did and lived.  This is from experience, from real life!   They believed what Jesus told them and taught them and modelled to them and promised them.  Jesus taught them about normal Christian life.

They believed and they did.

And the man they spoke to immediately felt strength in his legs and ankles and jumped up and could walk and jump and dance and skip.  Which in itself is a feat because most people that have an accident and are paralysed have months and months of rehab to get just stand… he went from nothing to fully totally remarkably healed in a finger click.   Only God can do that!  Only the reality of God can do that.  Only the power of God can do that!

Only the power of God can heal a broken heart, can set someone free, can change someone’s life in an instant.  Only God can bring real joy and real hope and real peace.

Just because its 2000 years later doesn’t mean the plan has changed or that the power has run out!    In fact – we should be seeing so much more because its all multiplied.  In the start it was just Jesus – then he died and rose again and went back to heaven and then the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and all of a sudden ordinary people were filled with the extraordinary power of God – not just one Jesus – but now His followers, with the same mission as Jesus!

The plan has always been to know God and make Him known – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15-18

That’s our call.  That’s our normality.  That’s our reality.

The cool part is if you read on:

19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

What happened on the steps by the temple gate is normal Christian life.

Peter and john were DO HAVERS.  They had something within them ready.  They knew the Holy Spirit was the one with the power – but that He uses our bodies and our mouths and our prayers and our doing and our obedience and our hands and feet.

Peter and John did their part.  They reached out and declared the power of God.  And God did His part, He came and fulfilled His promises of power and healing and deliverance.  He is the power in all our doing.  He is the do have.  We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.   We believed that God would works with us and confirm His Word and our faith in Him with signs like healing and supernatural encounter.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

His power that is at work within us… its at work within us to work THROUGH us.  Immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

Peter and John took God at His word.   Jesus had told them that they were called to do this.  That this was how they were to live their lives.  As witnesses and living demonstrations of the reality and power of God.  They had faith not in their own ability but in the supernatural enabling of God through them.

Those promises Jesus made to peter and john are promises valid to us too.  They are His Word.  It’s not about any power we have – remember, we’re jars of clay.

Do you know that you’re a do haver?

Do you know that God has called you and more importantly empowered you?

 

 

So how does this work in our real life?

1:  Know you’re called.  If you’re breathing you’re called.

2:  Know the promises in The Word.  Promises are truth you can rely on.  Know who God is and how big and powerful He is.  Stir your faith in those things.  If your mind is fritzing out about praying for someone to be healed or about talking to someone about God then deal to that lie, just saying, ya hear me.

3:  Take the opportunities around you.  Do you work with people?  Go to uni with people?  Go to school with people?  Ride the bus with people?  Shop with people?   Peter and John were going to the temple like they did everyday.  Everyday you are with people.  Be intentionally aware of the reality of God wanting to bust out of you to touch others….

4:  Something interesting to consider, over in acts 4 verse 13 it reads ”When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

What made these ordinary men different was that they had been with Jesus.

I am unschooled and ordinary and I have been with Jesus.

 

The challenge for all of us is to live intentional and to redefine living and living for God, to redefine normal Christian life.  We want to live the adventure.  We hear about people doing great things – and doesn’t your heart burn to do them too?  Mine does!    Sometimes I think the only big difference between people having the adventure that I read about and my life is the DOING part… just saying…

God’s plan is to reach the people around us – our family and our friends – by using Christians.   He loves to demonstrate His reality and power – His Word says so.  Lets man up and have faith and do it!   This world wont change until we rise up and really be who God has filled us and made us and empowered us to be!  We’re stretching towards the greatness of God!

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Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." Acts 15:10-11

 

we are saved by grace.  pure simple wonderful amazing grace.

and we respond to that grace and salvation by how we live our lives.

i can never earn my salvation.

i can never pay it back.

anything i do for Jesus, do to know Jesus, do to live for Jesus, is a response to His love for me first.

bible study and personal worship – times of discipline – are fuelled by devotion

attending and being involved in church – are fuelled by devotion

sometimes those things don’t feel very inspiring or overflowing from a place of love and connection, but they’re so important

but not if you’re adding a burden to yourself to work out being a good Christian

you are rescued and redeemed, not because of anything we have done, we had done or we can do or could do

but because of the love and grace and power of God

 

 

 

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

 

God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ to me and his wrath absorbing death on the cross and his resurrection now sees me as perfect and spotless and holy, not because i am but because HE IS ~ Matt Chandler

 

The good news – the gospel – is that you and I have fallen short, we have worshiped things that are not God, we have belittled and mocked God with either our hearts, mouths or minds and God’s response to that has been to make a way for us to be reconciled to God in the person and work of Jesus Christ – so that the two-fold movement that occurs is that we get Christ’s righteousness and He takes upon Himself our rebellion and sinfulness so that when God then looks at us He sees Christ and deems us as perfect and spotless and blameless ~ Matt Chandler

 

The commands of God are given, not to rob me of joy, but to lead me into the fullness of joy ~ Matt Chandler

 

“God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. While we may theologically and intellectually understand the transaction, motivated by love, that took place at Calvary, the reality must reach our hearts in order to complete its course. We are loved. Let the words linger in our ears. We are loved.” ~ Max Lucado

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‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 14:22

 

see also E100: 33 – A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART

 

this is the commendation that God gives David.  Despite the flaws and failings he has, he is remembered as a MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART which i think must be one of the most wonderful things God could say about someone.

 

“I have done nothing morally.  My only hope, my only plea, my only confidence is in the blood of Jesus Christ. When Christians understand this, they will go to God, rather than from Him, and allow His mercy to lead them into further repentance. [This] is a mark of Christian maturity.  I stand before you … as a perfect, spotless child of God by no act of my own but by an act on the cross.  This is how we combat sin and grow in maturity – [through] an understanding of what the Gospel is.”  Matt Chandler

 

 

"For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.”  Acts 14:36

 

i want this also to be known about me.  that i served God in my generation, that i made a difference, that i was led by God, that i co-laboured with God, and that i accomplished God’s purpose in my lifetime.

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While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was upset to see all the idols in the city. He went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market. Some of them were Epicureans and some were Stoics, and they started arguing with him. People were asking, "What is this know-it-all trying to say?" Some even said, "Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That’s what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death." They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus, and said, "Tell us what your new teaching is all about. We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean."  Act 17:16-20

 

 

If we let our eyes flick just a little bit before this we see Paul, Timothy and Silas have been ministering in Thessalonia and Berea and then Paul continues on to Athens alone and is waiting for his friends to join him before they continue on to Corinth.

We next read that while he was waiting in Athens Paul became upset at the level of idolatry and lostness of the people in the city. So much so that he begins to go and speak at the synagogue and the marketplace. Did he intend to minister in Athens? Maybe…. Maybe not… but God stirred his heart – he provoked Paul and Paul had to respond by going to the market to talk to people about Jesus.

 

In our lives we must allow God to stir our hearts and then in response we position ourselves with lost people, ready and willing and sharing the message of Good News.

 

Athens is an interesting city…. Though past its glory days it was still a center for philosophy and religion, art and architecture. Idols were on every corner, incorporated into every civic building and part of the very fabric of the city. The people there were renown for their “spiritual thinking” and desire to talk about new things. They had double the feast days of any other city in their time.

Paul went to the very heart of the city, not just visiting the Jews in the synagogues but going to the marketplace. The marketplace wasn’t just where you went and brought your produce, but it was where you went to hear the latest news and gossip, to meet with friends, discuss new ideas – it was the pub or student café, the facebook of the past…

Paul had a message for the people of Athens. He saw they were interested in spiritual things but that they did not know the truth about God. He saw they were hungry to really know the truth about God, but they hadn’t discovered it yet… They had statues and idols and alters all around their city… even one to The Unknown God…

The Unknown god was not so much a specific god, but a placeholder for whatever god or gods actually existed but whose name and nature were not revealed to the Athenians or the world at large yet. Paul’s message was that he knew this God and that because of Jesus they could too.

 

Our message is the same as Paul’s – it is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of the world. We are given the work of sharing God’s message about this peace with God. We are sent to speak for Christ and God is through us begging the people to hear the truth. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask people to find peace with God. Christ never sinned but God treated him as a sinner so that Christ could make us acceptable to God. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)

In the Greek it says we are ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation. You don’t have to be a paid member of a church staff to be a minister. We represent Christ. We speak for Christ. If we read on in 2 Corinthians 6:1 it says we are fellow workers with God, some translations say we are partners with God in the work of salvation.

This is what Paul was doing. He was moved and upset by the lostness of the people of Athens. He was provoked to action – provoked to every day go to where the people were, both in the synagogue and also to the marketplace and every day he went there and talked with everyone he met. He went into the marketplace and talked to people about who God is and about salvation, how they can meet peace with God.

 

We ourselves must allow God to stir our hearts – to provoke us – to open our eyes to the lost condition of the people around us. We are not called to hide away the good news but to proclaim it – to proclaim that God is knowable and near – to be his ambassadors. We are called to make known the unknown God to those around us.

Every day we go to our own marketplace – to our schools, or our jobs, or the supermarket – every day we can follow Paul’s example and talk to those around us about Jesus. Paul was just not a minister on Sundays, but he was a minister every day of the week.

We must challenge ourselves to live intentionally, to make decisions that position ourselves with people who need to know Jesus and then to use conversation as a means of sharing the Good News.

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One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. acts 3:1-10

 

 

Peter and John are normal Christians.

They are ordinary men.  Peter and john were fishermen.   Yet the extraordinary was going on in their life.  They had encountered God.  They had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  They were living for a different reason now.

 

And they had something to give away – they were do havers.

 

They said to the man – the man who had NEVER walked, who spent his life begging and depending upon the pity of others – silver and gold we don’t have, but what we DO HAVE we give you.

What did they have?

 

What is that extraordinary thing that God has given YOU and how can it be released in your life to impact others?  That extraordinary thing that God has given you to be released to impact others is… wait for it – GOD!

 

What Peter and John had was the knowledge that God was real and that He had the power to heal that man.  They had faith that if they did what Jesus said – lay hands on the sick they would be healed.  They believed that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and that by His wounds we are healed.  They believed what Isaiah 53 said about who God is and what God can do.

 

They believed But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

 

They believed Acts 1:8 that they had received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them in Jerusalem. 

Luke 24:29 puts it as “clothed with power from on high.” 

Power is for a purpose – and The Word says – we got the power!

They believed John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

You know, Jesus said – I only do what I see the father do –I tell you the truth, he said, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. (John 5:19-20)

 

How do WE know what the Father does and wants to do and is doing?  We look at what Jesus did and the revelation of the right here and now by the Holy Spirit within us.  Jesus is our model, we follow Him, we do what we do, we copy Him.  Paul said that – imitate me as I imitate Christ.  Lets copy Jesus!  And Jesus challenged us – that we would DO even greater things that these because the Holy Spirit lives within us!  Now that is a challenge and a half that smacks me around – GREATER THINGS!

 

They believed Jesus when he called them in matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

 

You know, just to point out the obvious – THOSE passages weren’t written yet – they were being lived!   The things that are written in the NT are things they learned by revelation from the Holy Spirit and things they did and lived.  This is from experience, from real life!   They believed what Jesus told them and taught them and modelled to them and promised them.  Jesus taught them about normal Christian life.

 

They believed and they did.

 

And the man they spoke to immediately felt strength in his legs and ankles and jumped up and could walk and jump and dance and skip.  Which in itself is a feat because most people that have an accident and are paralysed have months and months of rehab to get just stand… he went from nothing to fully totally remarkably healed in a finger click.   Only God can do that!  Only the reality of God can do that.  Only the power of God can do that!

Only the power of God can heal a broken heart, can set someone free, can change someone’s life in an instant.  Only God can bring real joy and real hope and real peace.

 

Just because its 2000 years later doesn’t mean the plan has changed or that the power has run out!    In fact – we should be seeing so much more because its all multiplied.  In the start it was just Jesus – then he died and rose again and went back to heaven and then the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and all of a sudden ordinary people were filled with the extraordinary power of God – not just one Jesus – but now His followers, with the same mission as Jesus!

 

The plan has always been to know God and make Him known – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15-18

 

That’s our call.  That’s our normality.  That’s our reality.

The cool part is if you read on:

19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

 

What happened on the steps by the temple gate is normal Christian life.

 

Peter and john were DO HAVERS.  They had something within them ready.  They knew the Holy Spirit was the one with the power – but that He uses our bodies and our mouths and our prayers and our doing and our obedience and our hands and feet.

Peter and John did their part.  They reached out and declared the power of God.  And God did His part, He came and fulfilled His promises of power and healing and deliverance.  He is the power in all our doing.  He is the do have.  We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.   We believed that God would works with us and confirm His Word and our faith in Him with signs like healing and supernatural encounter.

 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

 

His power that is at work within us… its at work within us to work THROUGH us.  Immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

Peter and John took God at His word.   Jesus had told them that they were called to do this.  That this was how they were to live their lives.  As witnesses and living demonstrations of the reality and power of God.  They had faith not in their own ability but in the supernatural enabling of God through them.

Those promises Jesus made to peter and john are promises valid to us too.  They are His Word.  It’s not about any power we have – remember, we’re jars of clay.

 

Do you know that you’re a do haver?

Do you know that God has called you and more importantly empowered you?

 

So how does this work in our real life?

1:  Know you’re called.  If you’re breathing you’re called.

2:  Know the promises in The Word.  Promises are truth you can rely on.  Know who God is and how big and powerful He is.  Stir your faith in those things.  If your mind is fritzing out about praying for someone to be healed or about talking to someone about God then deal to that lie, just saying, ya hear me.

3:  Take the opportunities around you.  Do you work with people?  Go to uni with people?  Go to school with people?  Ride the bus with people?  Shop with people?   Peter and John were going to the temple like they did everyday.  Everyday you are with people.  Be intentionally aware of the reality of God wanting to bust out of you to touch others….

4:  Something interesting to consider, over in acts 4 verse 13 it reads ”When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

 

What made these ordinary men different was that they had been with Jesus.

I am unschooled and ordinary and I have been with Jesus.

The challenge for all of us is to live intentional and to redefine living and living for God, to redefine normal Christian life.  We want to live the adventure.  We hear about people doing great things – and doesn’t your heart burn to do them too?  Mine does!    Sometimes I think the only big difference between people having the adventure that I read about and my life is the DOING part… just saying…

God’s plan is to reach the people around us – our family and our friends – by using Christians.   He loves to demonstrate His reality and power – His Word says so.  Lets man up and have faith and do it!   This world wont change until we rise up and really be who God has filled us and made us and empowered us to be!  We’re stretching towards the greatness of God!

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Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:  Acts 2:14

 

i love this. 

peter, the hotheaded fast talking disciple.

peter, who rashly promised to die with jesus, but couldnt stay awake in the garden.

peter, who denied jesus.

 

peter, who jesus loved and jesus restored and jesus forgave and whom jesus called.

peter, whom the Holy Spirit filled and transformed, who became bold by the power of God and stood up as a leader amongst men and a spokesman for God.

 

your failings yesterday don’t need to hold you back.

find grace.  find Jesus.  find hope.  find tomorrow.

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When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Acts 2: 1-4

 

i love the Holy Spirit and His work in me and to me and through me and for me.  i love how God chooses and uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His fame and glory.  i live to know Him and make Him known.  i feel very blest to live in an age where the Holy Spirit was given to the believers, all believers, not just holy prophets or leaders, but common ordinary every day believers. 

 

one of my most favourite verses in the bible is 2 Corinthians 4:7  – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

 

the all surpassing power of God IS GOD – IS the Holy Spirit who lives within us!

Ephesians 3:20 puts it this way: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

 

the Holy Spirit lives in me.  wow.  that’s huge.  audacious.  awesome! 

He lives in me as a guarantee of the promises of God for eternity and He’s in me to empower me to serve God and shine for Him.  He is the potter and i am the clay and He is in me shaping me and transforming me and making me who God dreams me to be.  He’s in me to enable me to walk with God and know God. 

 

again another most favourite passage:

But as it is written:
“ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  1 Corinthians 2:9-11

i love the BUT GOD HAS REVEALED THEM TO US THROUGH HIS SPIRIT.

 

The Holy Spirit reveals to us who God is – His ways, His heart, His love, His guidance, His comfort…

 

But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.  John 15:13-15

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

 

some of us are naturally wired to connect and talk with strangers and friends about what God is doing in our lives.  but others of us are not so comfortable stepping out and sharing.  regardless of who we are and how we work and are wired we are called to be witnesses and to share the gospel, with our lives and actions and with words.  the awesome thing is that it is GOD THAT SAVES and the HOLY SPIRIT THAT DRAWS AND REVEALS but we are the SEED PLANTERS.  we are called to share and witness and be ambassadors for Christ.  and God has lots and lots and LOTS of promises that can give us confidence that as we step out His power ENCOMPASES US and STEPS OUT with us to ACCOMPLISH great things.  when you step out His power is available and He empowers us.  when we step out He can give us the right words to say.  These promises are for stepping out.  they come into effect when we step out.  you get my point. 

so be confident.  be secure.  be encouraged.  be inspired. 

God’s is ready and willing to empower you to tell the Good News of His love and grace.

 

HERE are 50 things that God promises you as you step out in evangelism today

 

 

Jesus Christ is alive. Jesus is actually alive! Jesus died for sin and rose and that Jesus Christ can take away sin. People don’t need to go to hell. They can go to Heaven. They don’t need to be disconnected from God. They can be connected to God. They don’t need to live lives of sin. They can live lives of transforming grace. People don’t need to do anything to merit the love of God. “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

The good news is that Jesus is alive and that he is seated on his thrown in Heaven. He’s ruling and reigning over all creation. That means that every nation and every city and every neighbourhood and every block and every suburban and rural area and every cul-de-sac and every coffee shop and every house is under the lordship of Jesus,

And there are people there that he loves.

There are people there that he’s willing to forgive.

There are people there that he’s willing to save.

There are people there that he’s willing to befriend.

There are people there that he’s willing to change.

There are people there that he’s willing to be with forever in the New Jerusalem, the great city that he’s created for us. So I urge you today: if you don’t know Jesus, give him your sin, receive his salvation, and get connected to Jesus.We implore you to be connected to Jesus’ mission.

“We nominate ourselves to love and serve the people here on behalf of the God who loves us so well.” Mark Driscoll Mars Hill

Bright red.  The hue of bullseyes.  The exact opposite of camouflage.  That’s the colour Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the red baron, chose to paint his warplane during WW1.  This was not the irrational decision of a self-destructive mind however, but rather the calculated intimidation of a seasoned, deadly hunter.  The Red Baron did not want to hide.  He wanted to be a beacon of arrogance in the sky.  A challenge.  A dare.

I read this at the Blenehim Airport.  It is on a sign advertising the Air War Museum thing there.

But it hit me in my spirit and I could feel God speaking to me right there, in the airport.

To wear bright red on a battlefield means you are declaring who you are that you refuse to back down and hide.   You’ve picked your side and you’re not afraid to declare it.

You are a Christian.  You are forgiven.  You are righteous.  You are a child of God.  You are loved.  You are saved.  You are redeemed.  You are the light of the world.   You are called.  You are chosen.  You are a servant of God.  You are filled with the Holy Spirit.  You are witnesses empowered by God.  You are ministers of reconciliation. You are ambassadors.  You are supernatural.  You are Christians.

Lets see how this plays out in real life.  Please turn to Acts 3.  Acts 3.  This attitude, this no camouflage living is demonstrated and lived by the disciples.

Lets put this in context.  50 days before Pentecost Jesus was arrested as a criminal and convicted and condemned and executed.  3 days later he rose again but the movement he begun with his teaching and his life still was viewed by the religious authorities as criminal and treasonous.  Before getting saved the apostle paul was hired by the jewish leaders to purge Christianity from Israel – by killing followers of Jesus.  It was unsettled crazy dangerous times.  It was all brand new.  Jesus had really JUST died and JUST rose and the Holy Spirit had JUST fallen and the church was JUST born.   Acts 1 Jesus asends to heaven.  Acts 2 is Pentecost – the Holy Spirit falls, tounges of fire, speaking in tounges, miracles, salvations, revival.

So in this brand new dangerous time we see how the disciples responded – and we should take a leaf out of their book and make this real in our lives.

Acts 3:1-10

The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in. The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!” The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.    At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.

Matthew 5:14-16  says You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

The disciples let their light shine.  They did not hide their light under the bed.  They went out into their community and shined hard and bright.   Did you notice verse 1 – it was the normal everyday usual time of prayer – their everyday day ordinary lives.   We don’t just let our light shine between 10 and 12 and 5 and 6 on Sundays (and 7.30-10 on Wednesday nights….)  we be Christians, real christians everyday and every moment.  We don’t turn it off like a lightswitch…

And just so you know – Jesus isn’t talking about a this little light of mine –  though in saying that, the light from even one match in the darkness can be seen for miles away….

Light will always penetrate darkness. It is a law of nature. It is the same way in the spiritual realm. When the light of God shows up, it literally shows up, and the darkness flees before it. It must, because that’s what darkness does when light comes. Simple.

Don’t hide your light.  Don’t hide The Light of the World, Jesus Christ!  Camouflage is for sissies.

The disciples had a choice.  They were having awesome fellowship times and prayer meetings in each others homes.  They could of hide in their homes, they could of turned their housegroups and housechurch into a place of hiding but they made the choice to get out there and to be bold and to BE Christians.  To BE light.  To be demonstrating the love and grace of God to those in need around them.  They did not hide but they shinned a bright light in a world trying to get darker.

The man was healed.  The Gospel was declared and shared.

We are called like the disciples, like the apostles to get out there and shine and to be real Christians.  To not hide away the power of God that lives within us.

BREATHER:  LOTR clip….

Lets jump forward a chapter to Acts 4….  Living a no camo life is bold and awesome… but can have its adventures on the way….

The disciples were arrested.    They were dragged before the courts and told to sit down and shut up pretty much…

Peter’s response – Peter who had JUST over 50 days ago denied he even knew Jesus Christ – “Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:19-10)

Do you think God wants us to obey you or obey Him?

Do you think God wants us to please them or Him?

Who will I live to please?

The world?  Or God?

Myself?  Or God?

My friends?  Or God?

The lukewarm Christians I know?  Or God who calls me to love him with all my heart and soul and strength?

As Christians we live our lives, not for ourselves but for our God.

We are not our own?  For we were bought at a price ;   we were rescued from the useless way of life that we learned from your ancestors. But we know that we were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever. we were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb ; so  it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

1 Peter 1:19, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 2:20

We are not of this world and we don’t cling to it.  We make a choice to live our lives in this world, living and breathing and physical, but we are citizens with a Holy Mighty King whom we serve.

Any Star Trek fans here?   The world is the borg and we reject assimilation!  Resistance is not futile!

“Do NOT be CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD (Don’t Copy the Behaviour and Customs of this World), but let God TRANSFORM you into a New Person by changing the way you THINK. THEN you will learn to know GOD’S WILL FOR YOU, which is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT.”  Romans 12:2

Live bold obedient lives.  Make the choice to follow God.  Don’t camouflage yourselves by compromising.  Don’t camouflage yourself by blending in with the world and disobeying God.  Don’t let compromise become a way of life.  Be holy and follow God.

Don’t compromise in the way you talk.

Don’t compromise in what you wear.

Don’t compromise in relationships.

Don’t compromise in what you watch.

Don’t compromise in what you do socially, in the music you listen to, in the places you go, in the conversations you have, in the computer games you play, in the things you read…

The goal is not to live gray lives but to live lives knowing our awesome amazing God that stretched out his arms on the cross, as Jesus Christ, dying to make the way for us to be saved and clean and forgiven and new.

Today the call is to live our lives knowing God and following Him and making Him known… to be bold and radical and Christian!   Christians are not called to wear camouflage.  The call is to not blend in but to stand out as lights in this world.  The challenge is to not be assimilated into this world but to be Christians in it – demonstrating the love and grace and power of God as he leads us and empowers us.

preaching notes for this sunday young adults church

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