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i feel really small when a 6.6 earthquake hits the town where my parents live.

i feel really small when my daughter has a potentially life threatening allergy reaction.

i feel small sending my kids to school each day.

i feel small, often.

life is fragile.

this world is broken, groaning, crying out for restoration and renewal and for the return of The King.

 

but my God is big.  bigger than i can even comprehend or define.

He is the one who breathed out the stars, spoke and there was light, who created the universe and holds all things in His hands.

 

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:6

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  Colossians 1:14-16

 

He is the healer, the storm calmer, the life giver.

He knows my days, my hours, my minutes, my thoughts.

 

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:4-5

 

i am secure in His might and love.

i am safe in His grace and power.

i belong to Jesus.

i AM small.  but He is amazing.

i put my trust in Him.

 

 

 

*** worship reinforces what matters most, reminds us of truths we forget and renews our desire to live what we believe.  Rick Warren

some of my favourite worship songs that remind me how BIG and AWESOME God is are:

ANCHOR – HILLSONG

CORNERSTONE – HILLSONG

GREATER – ELEVATION CHURCH

ANCHOR – BETHEL CHURCH

 

 

 

 

#FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!

Five Minute Friday is a feature over at Lisa-Jo Bakers TALES FROM A GYPSY MAMA blog.  i first read about it on my friend Fee’s blog and thought it sounded fun!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready?

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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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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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We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

 

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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 CEV

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In communion we remember the sacrifice of Jesus and all it has won for us.

I can’t get past how Colossians 1 says it:

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)

Before we were lost.

Now we are found.

Before we were separated from God because of sin.

Now we are able to stand in His presence, holy, clean, new, innocent.

Before we were rejected.

Now we are accepted.

Before we were sinners.

Now we are family.

Not because of anything we have done or could do. But all because of what Jesus did.

At communion we remember that Jesus stretched His arms out upon the cross – after being beaten, whipped, mocked, spat on, unjustly convicted – He stretched His arms out as a declaration of Love. I Love you this much!

His death makes the way – makes us found, holy, acceptable, family.

We know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 peter 1:18-19

In Revelation 5 the elders and angels are declaring the wonder of who Jesus is, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the one who is worthy, the mighty glorious awesome powerful one… and they worshipped Him “because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

At communion we remember that Jesus died and won. That He died and won a great victory over satan and sin and death! He won the victory that sets us free to be holy and righteous! He sets us free to know our Heavenly Father and to belong with Him forever beginning right now!

Let us remember what He died for and lets LIVE in the reality of the victory! Knowing God. Being loved by Him.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, Hebrews 10:19-23

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

 

Usually communion is quite solemn as we come and Jesus’ sacrifice, but yesterday as I was praying about what to share and say a particular song was playing – and my heart was just again overwhelmed with awe and love and rejoicing at what Jesus won for us – so I invite you to come and and CELEBRATE communion with thankful hearts – with thankful lives – rejoicing in all that Jesus died for – our redemption – our restoration – our reconciliation!

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Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”  “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  Genesis 3:1-4

"Did God really say ….?"  ooooh what a question!  this one seemingly simple question plants the seed of rebellion, it plants doubt. did God REALLY say?  It is the same question that is whispered every time there is a choice to follow God’s purposes or follow your own.

did God really say? talk about sneaky and crafty… the weapon the enemy often uses – still uses – is getting us to doubt the Word of God – doubt His promises – doubt His revelation – doubt His will – doubt His goodness. our relationship with God is founded on faith and doubt corrodes that faith.

don’t listen to the did God really say?  fight back with THE WORD OF GOD SAYS… have a but God says in your heart that is ready to fight back and counter the lie. this is why knowing the truth and the Word is really important… because it plants the Word in our heart ready to defend and strike!

Why is it so important to spend time with Jesus every day? Because He will give us the exact instruction and comfort we need to handle all He sees coming our way—how to act and, even more challenging, how to react in every situation. It is the perfect measure of His peace, packaged up just for us. With great expectation, we can stick it in our pocket and carry it with us. Lysa TerKeurst

We need to read the Word and store it in our hearts – it keeps us from sinning and living selfishly and to remind us of His promises and love and kindness… 

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Jesus when He was in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil used the Word of God to rebut his schemes and devices.  each time Jesus was presented with a “did God really say?” He rebuked the devil with a THE WORD OF GOD SAYS.

“The Scriptures call the Evil One the "father of lies." We see that right away in Genesis 3:1. Our first introduction to him as a character in God’s story already includes him setting out to deceive Eve.” youversion note

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.  Colossians 1:3-6

 

as a housegroup leader i know this feeling.  i thank God often for our housegroupies and for the work that God is doing in and through their lives.  its such a privilege to be a part of their lives and an honour to be their housegroup leader.  the greatest thing, apart from that they’re awesome spunky fun cool people, is seeing them grow closer to God and step out into the plans and purposes that He has for them.  reading this it encourages me and challenges me to pray more for those i lead, expectant that God will do incredible things in their life, that they will be fruitful and mature, and know Him and make Him known.

 

i’m so glad for the people in my life that have prayed for me, that have believed in me and extended grace to me in the times when i was “learning to walk.” 

i’m so grateful for the people that came alongside me and helped me to grow and bear fruit, and bore with me in my seasons of rebellion and ignorance. 

 

what a fantastic commendation Paul gives the Colossian Christians – that they are known by their love and faith.  the hallmark of their lives is their tangible practical real love and tangible real practical faith.   

 

 

 

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones), Colossians 1:3 AMP

 

i love the way the AMP describes faith – the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness – i always say FAITH ISNT A WHAT BUT IT IS IN A WHO – faith is IN God, in His goodness, in His greatness, in His ableness and power and wisdom and glory

its not about us.  but its about HIM. 

He saves us, He rescues us, He restores us, He transforms us.

and i put my hand up and say YES PLEASE.  and even in that my response is usually because He has opened my eyes to His wonderfulness and stirred my spirit towards Him. 

 

the one universal unchangeable Gospel which was made known to you, even as it was carried throughout the world, approving itself by its fruits wherever it is planted. For, as elsewhere, so also in you, these fruits were manifested from the first day when you received your lessons in, and apprehended the power of, the genuine Gospel, which is not a law of ordinances but a dispensation of grace, not a device of men but a truth of God. LIGHTFOOT

which is present with you even as also it is in all the world constantly bearing fruit and increasing, just as it is also among you from the day when you heard it and came to know experientially the grace of God in the sphere of truth  WEUST

 

faith and love and Christian living is all about experience – experientially knowing the grace of God – more than a mental assent or head knowledge, but a heart level knowledge that is then translated and expressed in the very way we live our lives

It is important to remember that the gospel is not a stagnant system of ethics but is living, dynamic and growing truth. The living gospel is the power that transforms lives. As it does so, the witness of those transformed lives produces fruit, including new converts. So as the gospel produces fruit in individual lives, its influence spreads.  Perceptastim

 

i so like the last part of verse 6 – the day you truly understood God’s grace.  there is a difference b/w understanding and, how do i put it, thinking we understand.  true understanding results in change and response and love and transformation and fruit.  it permeates who we are and what we do.  so often we have a checklist in our head of what things good Christians do and what things good Christians don’t.  but underlying that all, the reality is that God loves us with an everlasting love and He sees not our own righteousness but Christ’s righteousness.

 

“God’s perspective on us is remarkable, almost unbelievable.  He delights in us and loves us as a caring Father.  He’s running toward us, ready to embrace and forgive us.  He’s for us in all the pain of life and can sustain us in every challenge.  as i learn to see from God’s perspective, my perspective on everything else shifts.  i realize that my failures don’t disqualify me.  i’m aware of the security i already have in God’s grace.  i trust that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ.”  Jud Wilhite

awesome eh.  that’s what grace is.  that’s what living by grace is.  when we understand it we’re free.  we can fly (okay i’m watching how to tame your dragon at the same time as doing this and totally inspired by the flying dragon!) and really live.  we live in response to God’s great love and abundant grace, lavished upon us.  that’s what inspires us to change, motivates us, from the inside out.  because God is awesome and worth it.

 

 

 

* colossians has been one of my most favourite books for a few years now.  i quote from colossians 1 usually every time i preach.  yes seriously.  so thought i would dig in a bit more…

· 1Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to take a census of Israel. 2Samuel 24:2 So David told Joab and the army officers, “Go to every tribe in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north all the way south to Beersheba, and count everyone who can serve in the army. I want to know how many there are.”

Now Job actually tries to talk David out of this – there is actually a God rule that the leader of Israel was not allowed to take a census except at the order of God. But David refuses to change his mind and sends Joab and his soliders out to number the people.

· 2 Samuel 24:5-10 They crossed the Jordan River and began with Aroer and the town in the middle of the river valley. From there they went toward Gad and on as far as Jazer. They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in Syria. Then they went to Dan, Ijon, and on toward Sidon. They came to the fortress of Tyre, then went through every town of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Finally, they went to Beersheba in the Southern Desert of Judah. After they had gone through the whole land, they went back to Jerusalem. It had taken them nine months and twenty days. Joab came and told David, “In Israel there are eight hundred thousand who can serve in the army, and in Judah there are five hundred thousand.” After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the LORD, “What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. LORD, please forgive me.”

Did you notice in verse 10 that David felt guilty about what he had done…. It took him a while to get there, but his conscience awoke and he was convicted about what he had done. He comes to God and I love how my CEV puts it… “What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. LORD, please forgive me.”

Sin is stupid and terribly wrong. It is rebellion against God. Louie Giglio says that sin puffs us up and makes God smaller in our eyes.

Sin says my way, not his ways. It separates us from God. It hurts us and it hurts others. Sin makes us dirty and unclean and unacceptable to God. Sin makes us guilty.

So…. You might be saying… this is all a bit doom and gloom sin stuff….Have you read what the bible says about sin and how God feels about it????

· Job 18:5-21 The lamps of sinful people soon are snuffed out, leaving their tents dark. Their powerful legs become weak, and they stumble on schemes of their own doing. Before they know it, they are trapped in a net, hiddden along the path. Terror strikes and pursues from every side. Starving, they run, only to meet disaster, then afterwards to be eaten alive by death itself. Those sinners are dragged from the safety of their tents to die a gruesome death. Then their tents and possessions are burned to ashes, and they are left like trees, dried up from the roots. They are gone and forgotten, thrown far from the light into a world of darkness, without any children to carry on their name. Everyone, from east to west, is overwhelmed with horror. Such is the fate of sinners and their families who don’t know God.

I think sometimes we think that God’s response to sin is a slap on the hand and a “don’t a naughty girl or I’ll have to put you on the naughty step…” But sin is sin is abhorrent to God. Sin is the greatest disease we face – but there is a cure! There is good news! Back to the David….

· 2Sa 24:11 Before David even got up the next morning, the LORD had told David’s prophet Gad to take a message to David.

The prophet went to David with the choice he had to make… the consequences of his pride and sin….

· 2 Samuel 24:15-17 So that morning, the LORD sent an angel to spread a horrible disease everywhere in Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. And before it was over, seventy thousand people had died.

The right there and then consequences of David’s sin was the death of 70,000 of his people. The end result consequences of our own sin is eternal separation from God. I always say that eternity is just like real estate – its all about location location location.

We’re coming up to the exciting bit now… Now David went to the threshing floor and saw the angel of the Lord, his sword held upward, ready to strike! He met with the owner, Araunah, and negotiated buying the land. Araunah wanted to give it to David, his king but David says this really interesting awesome quote that always inspires me · 2 Samuel 24:24″No! I have to pay you what they’re worth. I can’t offer the LORD my God a sacrifice that I got for nothing.” So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. ·

1Chronicles 21:23-28 . David built an altar and offered sacrifices to please the LORD and sacrifices to ask his blessing. David prayed, and the LORD answered him by sending fire down on the altar. Then the LORD commanded the angel to put the sword away. When David saw that the LORD had answered his prayer, he offered more sacrifices there at the threshing place,

Now – heres something really cool… did you know that the threshing floor belonging to Araunah is believed to be the where the temple of Solomon – the temple of God was built and also, wait for it, and was in time before that the mountain where Abraham offered his son Isaac, and in the future is the mountain where Jesus Christ was crucified and was the sacrifice that takes our sins away? The place where David met with God and made an altar and where God stopped the punishment for his sin is the place where God intervened into history and eternity and where Jesus sacrificed himself so that we might be made innocent and pure and holy and clean and new and forgiven and righteous!

· Colossians 1:20-22 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.

The bible says that we all sin. We’ve all fallen short of the standard of righteousness God sets. We all make mistakes and act selfishly and do things wrong – by accident and by intention. Sin is the greatest disease we all face. But there is a cure. The cure is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross and bore the punishment we deserved. He purchased the cure for us.

· John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

Because of love Jesus paid the punishment for us. Because of love God rescues us. Because of love he made a way for us to be forgiven and acceptable and innocent. You see, we are created to know God – to be his children. These are not nice words or nice ideas but real tangible reality. We are spiritual beings, not just alive to breathe. But without the mercy of God and without having our sin forgiven we are separated from God eternally, we have a criminal record according to God.

Today that can change. Today you can be innocent and forgiven. Just as God stopped punishing David on that hill so 2000 years ago he made a way for us to be forgiven. On that hill outside the walls of Jerusalem the price was paid for each one of us to know God.

My challenge to you is this… if you were to drive out of here tonight and be hit by a boy racer speeding around the corner and died – would you open your eyes into eternity and be met by a loving God that welcomes you as his child because you have faith in Jesus and believe that the only way to God is his way, by being forgiven.

Today you can be like David who prayed and came before God saying Sorry, I was stupid and terribly wrong, forgive me. There is a cure. Sin does not have to be terminal. Again…. Colossians 1:20-22 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.

To finish up, lets pray, and I’m going to pray the words that David himself penned, which we know as Psalm 51….

· Psalm 51:1-12Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I confess my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight; that You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

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