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See The Present

There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.” 32 They slipped away and left by sailboat for a deserted spot. 33 But many of the people saw them leaving and realized where they were headed, so they took off running along the shore. Then people from the surrounding towns joined them in the chase, and a large crowd got there ahead of them.

34 By the time Jesus came ashore, a massive crowd was waiting. At the sight of them, his heart was filled with compassion,[o] because they seemed like wandering sheep who had no shepherd.[p] So he taught them many things.

35 Late that afternoon, his disciples said, “It’s getting really late and we’re here in this remote place with nothing to eat. 36 You should send the crowds away so they can go into the surrounding villages and buy food for themselves.”

37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”

“Are you sure?” they replied. “You really want us to go buy them supper? It would cost a small fortune[q] to feed all these thousands of hungry people.”

38 “How many loaves of bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” After they had looked around, they came back and said, “Five—plus a couple of fish.”

39 Then he instructed them to organize the crowd and have them sit down in groups on the grass. 40 So they had them sit down in groups[r] of hundreds and fifties. 41 Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, gazed into heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the bread and the two fish and distributed them to his disciples to serve the people—and the food was multiplied in front of their eyes42 Everyone had plenty to eat and was fully satisfied. 43 Then the twelve disciples picked up what remained, and each of them ended up with a basket full of leftovers! 44 Altogether, five thousand families[s] were fed that day! // Mark 6

When you look at your life and your today, your present circumstances, what do you see?

The disciples saw the need, the problem and saw their lack.  They forgot to have supernatural vision despite having just been out on amazing mission adventures, despise seeing Jesus again and again change the world with His mighty power.

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Photo By Florian Klauer

 

Today I have the incredible privilege of guest blogging at THE FEARLESS EXPERIMENT.  I have read The Fearless Experiment Blog for a number of years now and are always inspired and inspired by their passion for Jesus and so when Lindsay asked me to write with them.

Their opening page mission resonates with my heart:

Do you ever wonder if there’s more to life? More than just existing, more than just wishing you had the courage to dream. Are you ready to start living? Are you ready to stop letting the word IMPOSSIBLE hold you back? Let’s start this journey together, This is THE FEARLESS EXPERIMENT, what’s YOUR impossible?

Today’s guest post was inspired by part of a message I heard recently at church.  It jumped out at me and had me off on a tangent throughout the meeting.  Since then I have used the phrase “there is a tree” several times in conversation with people to remind them that God has prepared a solution and a way when there seems no way.   Please go over to The Fearless Experiment and have a read.

 

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Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:17-19

 

1 timothy 6 begins talking about honour and greed, the love of money being for some the root of all evil but continues into v 17-19

Paul encourages us to not look to our pay cheque or our boss for our provision and security but to trust the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. We need to put our hope in God who richly provides us with everything.

He then goes on to unpack what our response should be to such undeserved favour.

 

Let them do good
Ready to give.
Willing to share.

 

The flow on from this is that we will be rich in good and storing up eternal rewards.

at The River we want to live with our eyes firmly on the prize.  We want to live with the big picture in mind.  We want there to be meaning and significance purpose in our lives. 

 

Paul says there are three things we should do:
1  Make good things happen with our money, put it to good use, get a god return for investment made.
2. Be prepared to give, prepared in mind and heart and attitude so that you’re a cheerful giver, full of faith in the greater plans of God.
3. Be willing to share, having a loose territorial hold on your money, knowing that God can use ordinary people and their willingness to share in remarkable ways.

 

God is an on purpose God.  If you feel led to give and share, here and out there, do it.

 

Last year on the street outreach oliver and I met a woman who was down on her luck in a big way. She told us her story and let us pray for her.  Tears rolled down her face.  after we left I felt we should go back and take food from our food bank… Plus a little extra the money machine gave me. We drove back and delivered love in action, not just words to her.  She cried again and using colourful language said you have no idea how much this means to us.

 

Let them do good… Be ready to give, be willing to share.

 

Each Sunday you have this opportunity.  Our church is ready and willing to do good stuff, not only that will bless and benefit you, but will reach the lost, help the broken, build the kingdom.   The offering is an opportunity for you to respond to God’s great generosity and to surrender to His Lordship and to contribute to the good things He is doing through The River.

 

You are investing in your heavenly future as well as blessing your present.

Let us pray

Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord 1 Chronicles 29:9

Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You. 1 Chronicles 29:10-14

 

 

*** key verses i used for the offering message on Sunday 14th July

In our lives we sometimes wonder if God is aware of where we are on the journey….

Exodus 17:1-2  The Israelites left the desert and moved from one place to another each time the LORD ordered them to. Once they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for them to drink. The people started complaining to Moses, “Give us some water!” Moses replied, “Why are you complaining to me and trying to put the LORD to the test?”

Did God not realize they had no water there?

Did he not check his map or google earth before stopping the cloud of his presence?

Did he forget to check the list of required “stuff” at this location?

Was God not aware of the needs of the poeple?

God sees all and knows all.

He was fully aware of where HE was and where the people were.

He totally comphended the needs of the poeople.

He knows OUR needs and sees where we are in life.  He knows the desire of our heart.

There was a bigger picture at work – a purpose for the poeople to stop at Rephidim.

God was teaching them to have faith in him and to trust him and to follow him and to see the wonders he could work.  He is the almighty God who parted the sea and provided manna and quail.  He is the God who delivered them from Egypt and slavery.

How did the people respond?  With faith and prayer?

No – they complained and dissed God.  THey did not trust him.

Where are you at in your journey?  Are you in a place with streams of water?  Are you in a dry and thirsty place?   Do you have a job?  Are your relationships going well?  Are you healthy?  Are you feeling fulfilled?

Are you trusting God?

Are you fixing your eyes upon Him and His might rather than looking at your circumstances?

Trust in the Lord Your God wth all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, all your understanding and dont rely on your own understanding of life.

philippians 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ 9 and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;

paul counted all the comfort, succes, greed and potential reward in the community – it was all counted as dung compared to knowing God and he sacificed all to that end. he gave up the status and prestige of his position to know jesus. he had one passion and one devotion and that was jesus. he laid down in response to his Lord who gave his own life on the cross that paul might truely know God.

philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I am pressing on, if I may lay hold of that for which I also was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 My brothers, I do not count myself to have taken possession, but one thing I do , forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

what is the true prize of life? knowing God. this is a day by day growing relational experience. each day we need to make conscious choices FOR God, to obey, to pray, to seek him, rather than do our own will. we press on forward in relational intimacy and holiness (the outward expression of the holiness Jesus has already given us at salvation) and doing the will of God, big picture and little picture. there are times we falter, fail – have bad hair days, but we need to get up, ask and recieve forgiveness (and forgive ourselves) and just continue drawing near to God.

philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God is the Creator of the universe, of all things. he calls the sun up to rise, the birds sing praises to him, he knows all the names of the stars. his love is everlasting and grace abundant. this is the God we serve, who cares for us. it is out of HIS riches, not our limitations, imagination or sources. his word promises us that he will care for us… his eye is on the sparrow, and he watches over me….

philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

another WOW verse. God is at work in our mind and heart to cause us to desire to do the things of God. he placs in us a desire and will not only to obey him but our desire, our dream, our want is to do that very thing. that is why when considering the big picture call of God we need to ask ourselves ‘what do i naturally lean towards and want to do’. God makes us willing to serve him.

philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings, 15 so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among these you shine as lights in the world,

as christians we are called to be demonstrations and an expression of God on earth – to be lights and witnesses. our behaviour must reflect this. our beaviour should reflect outwardly the inward fruitful working of the Holy Spirit. murmurings and disputings are mostly negative behaviours, coloured with bitterness, rudeness, pride, anger… are these things characterisics of God? no. likewise they should not be habitual characteristics of christians. we need to be people that give hope, love, grace, forgiveness and encouragement. words have power. use our words wisely, to build, not tear down. we need to ask God, and then partner with the Holy Spirit by choice and will to place a guard on our mouths, so we speak rightly, thus shinning well.

philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

great promise for building your life on. again a wow moment. that God will never abandon us or give up on us when we fail or fall short, but he holds on and keeps calling us and using us and working in us, every day, until our last breath. wow. God will complete the work he has begun in our lives…. he will shape us and mould us, refine and change us. which all in all can be hard, the process, but in the end will give us the kind of life that we hope for – a life with peace, secruity, happiness, joy, contentment, intimacy with God… no matter the circumstance around us…

Yesterday I was blessed to tag team doing the service leading for our Sunday morning service. A guy did the notices and I did the offering after the worship – so that was great – he is just starting out so they were easing him into the role. I love doing the offering segment – it is just after worship so you kinda carry that on and share about why we give and then that is that. Every fortnight we also have communion.

The last song of the worship was “Great is Our God” (Chris Tomlin) and is a faith-lifing worship song that just makes you reach up to God and say YES I LOVE YOU – YOU ARE AWESOME! I just love it. I got up after hte worshp leader had prayed and well, i was almost lost for words! I was so filled with love for God and how awesome he is! I began by saying “WOoooop! God is awesome! he is mighty to save! he is almighty god! he is awesome! lets worship him! come -on! I just cant contain it!” at that point our senior pastor got up – he is 31 – and grabbed the mike and got us to just pray/worship a bit more and sing that song again and really give our best worship to God (bigger than cheerign for a rugby game type thing!) and then back to me. taht was great – cos a man always sounds better declaring and such than a woman sometimes (as in depth of voice!) I then got everyone to sit down, and shared from Isaiah 58 about the fast that God approves of (we are in a month of prayer and fasting) and shared how I am fasting coke and chocolate and how they can fast somethign liket hat too (plus i knew they would all laugh at me and that is always a good thing…) and how the offering relates to Isaiah 58… how it isnt just for the mortgage, the seats, the staff wages, the bills etc… but those things are used to facilitate the work of God – to facilitate the work by ALL of us, not just the staff…

Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed ones go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you should bring home the wandering poor? When will you see the naked and cover him; and you will not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Our offering is a pracitcal means to starting the above – to loosing the bands of wickedness etc. It is something we can all be involved in and do. The bit we give all goes into doing the work of God. That is a good reason to give eh!

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