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“As long as you are alive, God wants you to go further, dig deeper, and draw closer to him. Every dream or desire you have that comes from God is an invitation for more intimacy with him.” -Holley Gerth.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably heard the new hillsong united song TOUCH THE SKY.

it even made the Today Show in the States!

the song has some incredibly lyrical lyrics and a beautiful melody that captures your heart….  it is intimate and reflects the sound of a generation hungry for God and spiritual truth.

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can’t buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it. In person he re-established the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.

~ Tullian Tchividjian

 

 

 

 

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lonely spaces can be lovely spaces.

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

 

yes i know its the semantics. 

when we often think of the word lonely we think of aloneness, brokenness, lack, sorrow.

but what if it is our perception that defines whether a space is lonely or lovely in our lives.

what if we turned that time when we’re finding ourselves relationally into time when we draw closer to God?

just as Jesus did.

what if we viewed the season as a time of growth and an opportunity to pray and read and say yes to God?

 

God is with us.  Jesus is with us.

always.

 

i think when we draw into the loveliness of God’s presence and find our security in Him then He is able to sustain us and fill our lives.

time and time again it says in psalms – YOU are my portion.  You fill me.  You satisfy me.  In YOU in find my security.

Psalm 16:5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 142:5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.

 

and the good news is God’s promise : Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

lonely spaces can become lovely spaces

 

but not to dismiss lonely feelings and lonely situations – please hear my heart here – loneliness is one of the worst feelings in the world!  when i was growing up we moved heaps, i was always the new girl.  a new school, a new uniform, a new set of people to know.  loneliness was my reality.  loneliness eroded how i felt about myself.  it ebbed away my sense of security.  that loneliness that makes you feel unwanted and unseen – thats not lovely. 

it wasnt until i became a christian that that lonely space was filled.  and my experience of loneliness makes me step out to those that are new around me, to create friendships and intentional connections.  i don’t want people to live lonely for any longer than they need to.  it stretches my boarders to invite new people into my life.  i learned from loneliness.  

 

ps i thought this post was fabulous by lisa jo : when you wonder why everyone else seems to have friends 

Read the rest of this entry »

**** 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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Remember, God must first set our hearts ablaze with radical passion for Jesus. Intimacy is what ignites revolution. Is the presence of the living God fully taking up residence in your heart? Revival starts with you! Personal transformation must precede city transformation. Let a revolution begin today-and may it begin with you! ~ J. Austin

We often try to define our intimacy with God, classify it, box it, rate it, and score it. But the truth of the matter is that God loves us, abundantly, beautifully, completely and sent His Son Jesus to die for us so we can experience real relationship with Him.

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Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.  Exodus 33:7-11

 

i want to be a face to face friend of God. 

 

As i read about Moses and Joshua meeting with God in the tent of meeting, my heart is stirred and moved that Moses SAW the form of God and spoke face to face with Him.  God says (in Numbers 12, see below) that Moses was faithful in all His house – and the reward of his faithfulness was intimacy.

 

In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).  Ephesians 3:12

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:16

i want my life to lean always towards knowing God.  i press in for this purpose, to be His child, to be His friend.

any sacrifice, any bowing of my knee and will, any refinement, any transformation, is worth it to feel His embrace and pleasure.

to walk with Him on this earth as friend is a great reward!

and i love love love that joshua stayed after Moses left… i wonder if that heart was one of the things that were credited to him as a qualification for leading the people into the promised land, a man after God’s heart, a man of God’s presence, a man of prayer and faith….

 

ps: its interesting to note, that in Exodus 3 Moses freaks out in his first encounter with God and hides his face, yet here 30 chapters later he has face to face encounters and regular relational connection.  don’t stay in the place of first encounter but develop a relationship with God!

 

“Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.

But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.

With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.  Numbers 12:6-8

read more HERE

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The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.  Exodus 20:21 MSG

Moses was the rare individual that would not settle for knowing the acts of God but he desired to know His ways. While there are many who will stand at the bottom of the mount wanting someone else to climb the mountain to meet with God and relay the information. There are few who will climb-(exert effort), press past fear and preconceived notions and disappear behind the cloud. It is there that a man meets God. All were invited but only one ascended. Only one who came back with the radiance of God still shining upon him, only one who spoke with God face to face as a friend. The mountain and the invitation awaits ….. Who will climb? Father I know how many obstacles/excuses there are for me to stay at the base of the mountain. My desire and longing is to climb to meet You. Keep that passion at the forefront of all that I do this day!  youversion note

 

its interesting to note in exodus 19 and in this chapter the limits had to be put around the mountain and how only one called man could come and approach God.  the people had to consecrate themselves but even then the mountain was off limits.  God appeared in a dense cloud with fire and thunders and lightenings.  if the people crossed the barrier they would die.

 

contrast to the reality that Jesus is God with flesh, incarnated.

  • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

  • Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  John 14:8-11

  • The Son is the image of the invisible God.  Colossians 1:15
  • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men  Philippians 2:6-7

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.

and the beautiful thing is that He came and dwelt with us, to show us the Father, to demonstrate His love and grace and power.

because of Him we have access and freedom to approach God, just as Moses did : In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

"Intimacy and discipline go hand in hand. Intimacy with God is developed by those who are consistently disciplined in their pursuit of Him."

~ Jeremy Riddle

 

 

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