Sermon Sunday July 8, 2018 – Lessons from the life of Gideon part 3

Judges 6:25-40

One of the most prevalent struggles we face as Christians is Idolatry. Adrian Rogers said, “An idol is anything you love more, fear more, value more or serve more than you do Almighty God. Fill in the blank.”

We all have things we give worth to, we all worship something and if God does not have the priority in our lives, those things we value become idols.

The children of Israel during the time of the Judges thought they were still following God, although they had added some of the idols of the Canaanites to their lives. As a result, God punished the Israelites by using the Midianite invaders. The people cried out to God for help, and God called Gideon to be a judge, a great military leader, to save the people from the oppressive Midianites. God had called and revealed Himself to Gideon, but now it was time for Gideon to do what God called him to do.

God instructs Gideon to take a bull and tear down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole and use the wood of the Asherah to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. That night Gideon does what he is instructed by tearing down these false idols and offering the second bull to the Lord. It is remarkable to note that Gideon may only have been twenty years old at this time. But he starts at home and deals with the idols in his own home first.  This is such a vital lesson for us. In our lives today, we have idols, the gods of humanism that draw our attention away from God; comfort, entertainment, peace, wealth, sport, politics and many more, all of these are not bad in themselves, but when left unbridled, they quickly become idols that we need to tear down.

When God tells you to put away an idol, it won’t be easy but whatever God is calling you to do, be completely obedient just as Gideon was obedient.

Notice that Gideon did something that no one could see at the time, it was hidden in darkness, but it had clearly visible and spiritual consequences. This is where the battle is won, not on the battle field, but in the secret place as you spend time alone with God in prayer. Never discount the time spent alone with God as waiting and marking time, it is the most valuable use of your time. Don’t for one moment think that you can live a victorious Christian life without a healthy prayer life. Prayer is where the real church growth takes place, and the kingdom of God is advanced.

The people of the town of Ophrah quickly find out who destroyed the idols and they go to the house of Joash and demand that he hand his son over for execution. Joash reacts quickly and with wisdom, challenging the people to test Baal and see if he will defend himself? Joash was convicted of his own sin, provoked by the faith and obedience of his son. As you and I step out in faith, it will provoke faith in others, others will look at your steps in faith and it will rekindle in them a fresh love for the Lord.

Never underestimate the power of obedience to the calling of God to transform the lives of those around you.

At the same time, the Midianites and the Amalekites were invading the land once more (Judges 6:33). But then we read in verse 34 that the Spirit of God clothed Gideon. Gideon became a physical manifestation of the presence of God and when he blew that trumpet, everyone could see that he was different. Jacob Myers says, “The Spirit of the Lord became incarnate in Gideon, who then became the extension of the Lord.”

We must remember that this is pre-Pentecost, and during the Old Testament God chose to clothe men and women by His spirit for specific tasks. When the Holy Spirit was given to the church at Pentecost, we all, who have given our lives to the Lordship of Jesus have this same Holy Spirit power in us.

Gideon was prepared for battle, as he blew the trumpet the tribes came together in response. What an incredible miracle. Here was a young man who moments ago was hiding and fearing for his life, suddenly filled with power, calls the nation to war, and they respond!

It all seems to be happening so fast and in verse 36 it seems that Gideon begins to waiver in his faith. He asks God for a sign of confirmation of His call. Gideon tests God, and we need to ask ourselves how often do we test God ourselves? As we question whether or not God is leading us we stand frozen in place, asking God for another sign.

The two miracles of the fleece and the dew are powerful miracles in verses 36 to 40, God confirms his presence and call on the young warrior. Gideon is now ready, and the battle is about to begin.

As we look at these few verses, we see a progression:

  • Gideon destroys the Idols. He is all in, there is no turning back
  • The Spirit of the Lord comes on the obedient Gideon and equips him for the task.
  • God confirms His call of Gideon

But Gideon would never have progressed beyond the first step if he didn’t destroy the idols, after that there was no turning back. Retreat is easy when you leave yourself an option, but God calls us to follow Him without looking back. God calls us to destroy the idols in our life and walk with Him.

What Idol is God calling you to destroy?

We make idols out of savings accounts, cars, careers, unhealthy relationships, anything that hinders you from moving forward and experiencing the very best that God has for you. As you trust completely in God for the future you will find that it is the very safest way to live your life.

The Normal Christian Life – Part 3 – 10/15/17

In the next few lines I aim to convince you that prayer is the single most powerful activity that you could possibly do in your life. And this power prayer is to be the expectation of the Normal Christian!

Many people are limping along in our Christian lives, trying to make themselves better people, trying to overcome temptation and sin in their lives and all the while the greatest power in the universe is available to us wherever we are, all we must do is to turn our situation over to God in prayer.

From Exodus 33 I want to point out four reasons why we should pray.

1. To express your need of God

Moses had a special relationship with God, he would pitch a tent outside the camp where he would go and pray. As Moses prayed, the pillar of the glory of the Lord would come and rest on the entrance of the tent.
In Exodus 33:1, God told Moses that they must go to the Promised Land, but in verse 3 God said that he will not go with them. Moses was faced with a decision would he accept God’s offer of the Promised Land without the presence of God? God promised to prepare the way, but God was going into the land with them. Would Moses take the offer? We can quite easily say that Moses would never be tempted to accept God’s offer, but we in the church, are tempted in much the same way.

Books and websites abound on how to grow the church through social media and catchy methods. We can deceive ourselves to the point that we start mistaking the presence of people in the seats for the existence of spiritual life in a church. Motions and programs in the church that look like success and the blessing of God, might not have anything to do with the Holy Spirit in the church. David Platt the IMB president recently said; “The greatest hindrance to the advancement of the Gospel in our day, might actually be the attempt of the people of God, to do the work of God without the power of the presence of God.

One of the greatest hindrances to the church being a missional force for the spread of the Gospel, is the mentality that we have got this program under control. We have all the resources and the skill to manage the programs of the church and even see the church grow, and we forget our total dependency on the Holy Spirit of God. Our church may be a small church but it can become a mighty force for the advancement of the kingdom of God, if we truly understand our desperate need for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our every step. We need to pray in desperation for God to do only what he can do in His church.

2. Pray to experience intimacy with God.

Moses would go into the tent and the cloud of the presence of God would descend on the entrance of the tent. All the people would stand in awe and worship as Moses met with God

But here is the amazing miracle of being a normal Christian, we don’t have to stand and watch some amazing leader go into the tent, we all get to go into the presence of God at any time because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit! The Old Testament saints longed for what you and I get to experience all the time.

We know that God knows everything and nothing we bring to Him is a surprise to him, so why do we pray?
As we follow that thinking we begin to realize that the primary purpose of prayer is to meet with God and to grow in our intimacy with God. To know God the omnipotent creator of the universe. Prayer is the deepest and highest work of the human spirit.

3. Pray to participate in the plan of God

In verse 17 we read that God responded and promised to go with Moses. We so easily miss the gravity of that statement because in our post-modern culture we have such a low view of the power and majesty of God. The sovereign creator of the universe, was pleased with Moses and he responded in favor to his request.

This brings up a theologically challenging question, so if God responds to the prayers of His people, does God change his mind? We know from the revelation of God in the scriptures that God does not change his mind, but rather God ordains his people to pray and God responds to those prayers. God knows all things from beginning to end, and yet, in his love for us, he involves us by our prayers in directing the course of History.

The same applies to us here at Grace Point, God has ordained that our prayers will lead to his response to spread the Gospel in our mission field, this part of the city that God has placed us in. If we only knew the awesome privilege and responsibility that we have in the process of the move of God, our prayer meetings would be so well attended that we would not be able to hold them in the chapel.

4 Pray to raise up the next generation of leaders.

The danger that we can fall into with praying for the revival of today’s church, is that we become so focused on the church today, that we miss the fact that the church is going to exist long after we have passed away. If Jesus doesn’t come in our lifetime, the church, the representation of Jesus Christ on the earth will continue to exist and move forward in proclaiming the Gospel. If we really believe that, then are we training up the next generation to be a people of prayer?

In verse 11 we read that Joshua stayed in the tent after Moses left. I believe this was the preparation of Joshua as he was praying to know the ways of God. This was the crucial difference between Joshua and the other men in the nation. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith that God would be able to do what seemed impossible because Joshua knew his God.
This faith comes from a lifestyle of prayer, a lifestyle of spending time with God.

When you have a high view of God, the problems and challenges of this world fade into insignificance. A lifestyle of faith comes from a lifestyle of prayer.

“When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people.”

Jonathan Edwards

The 4 Pillars of the Church – Part III February 26, 2017

The church by nature must be compassionate; caring for the poor, the emotionally hurt, the abused, the destitute and the unborn. In our efforts to show compassion we can easily become overwhelmed. After all, how can we possibly make a dent amongst all the pain and the suffering we see around us every day? As we begin to attempt to show compassion, we can sometimes lose focus of our purpose as the church. Our commission is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Matthew 28).

Throughout the Bible, we see God described as a compassionate Father (Psalm 103:13). The ministry of Jesus always demonstrated compassion, through his teaching, miracles of healing and the ultimate display of compassion was when he allowed himself to be crucified to atone for our sins.

Whenever we see compassion demonstrated in the Bible, it is shown as an emotion that is followed up by action. As compassionate people, we are stirred by emotion at the sight of pain or injustice and thus we are moved to action (Colossians 3:12).

The Gospel of Matthew gives us a clear picture of the compassion of Jesus. In chapter 8, the Apostle lists for us a series of miracles, then in chapter 9 we read the account of Jesus healing the paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8).

Jesus had been healing many people, but this time he did something different, he said “your sins are forgiven”.

The religious leaders were offended because Jesus was claiming to do something that only God can do, and that was blasphemy. Jesus confronts them and proceeds to heal the man after challenging the teachers.

To the bystander, it seems easier to walk up to a sick person and say “your sins are forgiven”, because no proof is required, there is no way of knowing. But when Jesus heals the man, the demonstration of his power gives credibility and proof to the fact that he can forgive sins.

Jesus saw the greater need of the man, and still the greater need of all humanity, the problem of sin. The greatest need of every human being, whether they are sick or healthy, rich or poor; is the need for forgiveness of sins. By Jesus forgiving this man’s sins, he is showing real compassion, meeting the man’s real need, not only his temporal need.

As Jesus goes through the towns, teaching, and performing miracles, we read further in verse 36 that Jesus is moved by compassion. He turns to his disciples and makes the statement that is frequently quotes in missionary circles; “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus, moved by compassion as he sees the multitudes of people who are destined for an eternity in hell, tells his disciples to pray that God would multiply the work force.

The prayer to pray for workers must be fueled by a heart of compassion.

But Jesus doesn’t stop there with his disciples, in the very next verse in chapter 10, Jesus calls his disciples, he empowers them and he sends them out. As Jesus sends them out, notice that their title changes from disciple to apostle. An apostle means someone who is sent out as an official representative.

This is an important transition that takes place; Jesus encourages his followers to pray for workers, and then he sends them out in response to that prayer. And as we pray that prayer, we need to realize that we are part of the solution.

A prayer of compassion does not excuse us from acts of compassion.

 That is true compassion, the same compassion that Jesus has for us when he stepped down from his throne in glory and became as one of us to save us.

There are two extremes of compassion in modern day Christianity:

The one is what has become known as the social gospel, where so much focus is on meeting felt needs that the presentation of the Gospel is neglected. The danger in this is that we are helping people for a short term, but neglecting their eternal condition. Sometimes the motivation behind this compassion is the desire to earn our salvation, desperately trying to do enough good things to justify our salvation. Or maybe we serve out of guilt for our past sins, and in some way, we are trying to make things right.

However, the Bible is clear; we are all desperate sinners and no amount of good works will ever earn us salvation, we are saved only by the grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Charles Spurgeon once said; “the child of God works not for life, but from life; he does not work to be saved, but because he is.”

The other extreme is the church that is so inwardly focused on their own fellowship that they ignore the needs and the desperate situations of their community. There are many possible reasons for this; one possible reason is simply that the church is overwhelmed by the needs around them and simply chose to look the other way.

Another possibility is a church that has served the community for years and helped so much out of their own strength, that they have become fatigued and burnt out in serving and trying to meet all the needs.

Neither of these two extremes are healthy, nor do they bring Glory to God. As we endeavor to be compassionate and missional, we must pray that we would have discernment in knowing what needs God would have us meet as a church. The answer to that dilemma is found by asking the Holy Spirit to give us guidance and direction.

Compassion under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit provides Temporal Relief but yields Eternal Results.

Our own strength and resources can at best provide some temporary relief to someone in need, but our resources coupled with the power of the name of Jesus, will lead to life transformation and eternal salvation. Every human being on the planet has a desperate need, a need that can only be met by Jesus Christ.

Sermon – Starting Over part 2 – January 22 2017

startingover-image1Prayer is a discipline and the most incredible privilege we have.

Jesus displayed a disciplined prayer life throughout his time on earth. He would rise early in the morning or retreat from the crowd to be alone in prayer. As His disciples witnessed this, one of them came and asked him to teach them to pray, so Jesus taught them what we know as the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11. These few lines carry all we need to know about prayer. Jesus begins the prayer with a statement that must have shaken their religious traditions; “Father, hallowed be your name.” We are invited to address God as our heavenly father, but we must never forget that he is the all holy, uncreated creator of the universe, hallowed be His name.

Then in verse 3 the prayer continues; “give us each day our daily bread”. Jesus said that we are to pray to our heavenly father asking him to the provision we need for each day and then trusting him for the day thereafter. Can you imagine your child coming to you and asking for food, and then asking for a weeks’ worth of food so that they can store it up in their room, just in case you don’t happen to be there tomorrow? Jesus encourages us to pray with faith and confidence that our heavenly father knows our every need for each day.

Looking further in chapter 11 and to verse 5, we read another parable that Jesus taught his disciples (read Luke 11:5-8).

As always, Jesus uses an example that the people would clearly follow. The friend who had the unexpected visitor is unashamed in his asking, he persists in his request and Jesus said that because of his shameless audacity the friend will get up and give him what he needs. The key is the boldness of the friend outside the door, he is bold in his ask because he is secure in his relationship with his friend.

This is the way we can come before the throne of God. We can and must be bold in our coming before our Heavenly Father (Read; Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:19). We can only be bold because of the cross. God opened the way for us to come directly to his throne and he invited us to come boldly before him, without reservation.

As Jesus concludes the short parable, he continues to teach in Luke 11 verse 9.The Greek verb tense literally means;  keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. There is an invitation by Jesus to persistence in prayer, but there is also a difference between these three verbs.

Asking is face to face communication; we can come directly, with no intermediary, petitioning God.

Seeking is taking time to find something. Spending time in prayer. Prayer is very often a searching and discovering of the will of God.

Knocking is persistence; not giving up even when we feel our prayers aren’t being heard.

We must keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking, not because God is hard of hearing but because in the process God is transforming us as we discover the plans and purposes of God.

In our efforts to become people of prayer we can easily become defeated because of the false teaching that everything in the universe is already set, and things cannot be changed (the ancient philosophy of Stoicism).

If things cannot be changed, why pray? But the Bible teaches that we work together with God through our prayers in changing the future of people and nations. The truth is that we have a tremendous responsibility to pray. Prayer changes things and we are called to change the world through prayer. Erwin Lutzer the pastor emeritus of the Moody Church wrote; “The sovereign purposes of God are uniquely connected to the extraordinary and united prayer of God’s people”.

Jesus said in John 15:7; “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” But Jesus doesn’t end there, he goes on to say; “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Answered prayer is always to the Fathers glory. God delights to answer our prayers because it is for His glory!

Children know more about prayer than we do, Children do not get confused with reasoning and theology, they simply ask their Heavenly Father for what they need. Childlike faith is the foundation of a healthy prayer life.

What are you asking God for specifically today? Do you believe that God is going to give you above and beyond what you are asking for? In your praying, are you praying persistently? If we understood the power and privilege that we have in prayer, our prayer meetings would be full and our times of prayer would be extended.

Developing the Discipline of daily prayer must be a priority for us. Prayer is a privilege bought for us by the blood of Jesus.  Through prayer marriages are healed, through prayer physical bodies are healed, through prayer the lost are saved, through prayer financial needs are met, and so much more.

4 keys to prayer,

  • Pray specifically; What is the miracle that you need from God today?
  • Pray persistently; Keep knocking, keep seeking, keep asking; persistent prayer makes a difference
  • Pray expectantly; expect God to answer your prayer because He delights to answer your prayers.
  • Pray thankfully; Sometimes part of the step of faith is to thank God for his answer even before we see the miracle. Be thankful when God answers your prayers.

Let us become a people of prayer for the glory of God.

Worship – part 2 September 11, 2016

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This past Sunday we remembered the tragic events of 9/11/2001. It is a sad reality of our world today that sometimes it takes a disaster for us to realize what is really important and valuable to us.

Imagine that you were told that your house is about to be sucked into a sinkhole and you have two hours to get your most valuable belongings out of the house. What would you find that is your most precious possession? Assuming all people and animals were safe, some people might grab their passports, personal documents or maybe a family Bible.

In an instant our lives could be changed and we are forced to think hard about what is most important to us. In this series on worship we discovered that we worship what we give value to. We are by nature worshipers, we all give value to different things, and when we give priority to anything above God, we are worshiping that thing and that is the definition of idol worship.

King David the King of Israel was known as the man after God’s own heart (see Acts 13:22). As we know David wasn’t perfect, but he had his priorities right. David found his satisfaction in God, he was a true worshiper of God.

Looking at David’s Psalm 16, we find some of his secrets to true worship. This Psalm is a beautiful picture of someone who has a warm and close relationship with God

This Psalm can be divided into 4 sections.

Verses 1-2  In the first section, David sets the correct perspective. The Hebrew word for God used here is “strong one”. David declares that God is well able to protect and keep him. David declares that God is his highest treasure, his primary joy and delight.

Verses 3-4  Then in the next two verses, David turns his attention to the people around him and divides them into two classes. The first are the saints in the land, the followers of the one true God. David loves to be in fellowship with them. The second group are those who have other things in their life more important than God. Who value other things more than God. David says he will not participate in their worship. David loves the fellowship of those who put God first, but will not even name the names of the idols that people worship.

Verses 5-6  The next two verses begin with the line; “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;” As David looks at his life he sees how God has blessed him, and he is able to say; “God you are all I need” David understood that all things come from God and that God is enough. By saying that you are my cup, David is saying that God satisfies, invigorates and refreshes him. Remember what Jesus said in John 4:13-14. Is Jesus your cup? Do you still look to other things to refresh you? If you do, you will always be thirsty again.

Verses 7-8  In these verses David takes a more introspective tone, as he praises God for counseling him.  When all the noise is gone, and he is alone with his thoughts, he praises God because he knows without a doubt that God is always with him and he will not be shaken. In the 21st century, where man has rejected God, one of the greatest fear of man is silence and being alone with one’s thoughts, it should not be this way.

Verses 9-11  In these last three verses David looks forward; he has reflected on the past, praised God for the present and now he looks ahead, and he looks to the future with joy and peace. If you are anxious about the future, and many in our nation are, it is vital to spend time in prayer alone with God’s word. As you do, you get God’s perspective on your life, and like David, you can rest secure.

The final verse is a triumphant declaration; David knows that while he is still alive, he can experience the joy of the Lord by coming into his presence, and for eternity he is going to experience the pleasures of the goodness of God.

As we see from this Psalm, God is everything to David. He looks to the past, his present situation and the future and boldly states that God is enough.

As you look at your life, can you make the same statement? Is God more important to you than anything else? Worship has to be completely God-centered. The danger is that we as a culture are so performance oriented, that we define worship in terms of songs and practices, things that we do. Our focus shifts away from God as the center and we focus on things like singing quality, instruments or worship leaders. And little by little our attention goes away from the Lord and our absolute dependence on him, and we begin to focus on the quality of our worship performances. That is idolatry.

In Exodus 34, we have an example of pure worship, as Moses is alone with God. God speaks to Moses and proclaims His name; the majestic, all consuming name of God. Moses’ response is to fall to his face and worship God. (Exodus 34:8). That is Worship, when nothing else matters and we are consumed by the presence of God.

When worship becomes more about us and our preferences then it is no longer worship at all. Worship has to be all about God and Him alone.

King David lived a lifestyle of worship, he lived everyday glorifying God through his life.

“God is most Glorified when we are most satisfied in him”

John Piper

How about you? Are you able to look at your life and give glory to God because you are satisfied that He is all you need?

Playing our Part “How we share the Gospel” June 5, 2016

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Mark 1:16-20

We all know that we live in a world that is motivated by fear, but there is a deep seated fear that drives the current generation. It is the fear that motivates social media, the reason why so many people post selfies on facebook and Instagram. It is the fear that drives people to climb high mountains, or write books.

What I am referring to is the fear of insignificance, the fear of living a life that doesn’t make an impact. Everyone wants to live a life that makes a difference in the world. This generation is driven by the fear of insignificance.

But the truth is that everyone has the potential to live a life of immeasurable significance, everyone can leave an eternal legacy.

We have a privilege, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have the greatest story ever told. This Gospel message is powerful and life changing. It is the only message that we have that can have an eternal impact on the people around us. By keeping this message to ourselves, we are withholding the news of eternal salvation.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark we read how Jesus began his ministry. Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, but he was not simply strolling on the beach.

Jesus was about to set in motion a ministry that would ultimately lead to his crucifixion, and change the entire world. He was selecting his disciples. God the Father led Jesus in this process, Jesus was not randomly calling people, he was not looking for a crowd, he was looking for the select few. Those who would follow him, ultimately paying with their lives for the Gospel message.

Jesus is still calling people today to follow him, to leave all behind and follow him to make a difference in the world.

Mark records that Jesus says three simple words; “Come, follow me” Jesus took the initiative as he called his disciples. This is the truth of the Gospel message. In our own fallen sinful nature, we do not seek God out, he seeks and calls us. Jesus was demonstrating the way of the Kingdom even as he called his disciples.

Jesus goes on to declare a promise over their lives. A promise that still stands for all the people that God calls. “I will make you fishers of men”. Jesus had “caught” them, now he was beginning the process of equipping them to carry the message of salvation. They did not know what they were being called to, but they followed in faith.

When we say yes to Jesus, we don’t know what that will lead to. For all of us, who know Jesus as our Lord and savior, we say yes, because we are called. Called to be people who leave an eternal legacy.

esus went on, and saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee, calling them they left everything without delay. They left everything, turned 180’ and followed him. Today Jesus calls us, and asks us to do the same, change the direction of your life. This is the essence of being born again, it is not a mere addition to your life. Being born again is a complete shift; a change of perspective, priorities and life goals.

Below are five practical applications that we all need to bear in mind as we seek to lead lives of eternal significance and be fishers of men.

1: You cannot share what you do not have; In order to lead others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, we need to know Jesus as Lord for our own life. This is not simply attending church or attending a life group, rather asking Jesus Christ to become Lord of your life, and growing in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

2: Know your story; Every one of us has a story, but the most important story we can share is how Jesus saved us and our lives were transformed by the Gospel. We need to be able to share our story in three minutes or less in a way that clearly demonstrates the saving power of Jesus Christ.

3: Know the gospel; The central point of who we are as a church is the Gospel message, and we need to be able to clearly articulate this Gospel message. (See 1 Corinthians 15:2-5)

4: Jesus calls us to an exchange not an addition; Unfortunately modern television evangelists and many others are preaching a message that teaches how you will have a better life if you “accept” Jesus, how you will be blessed if you “add” Jesus to your life. A little addition of some Jesus to your life and you will experience blessings, you will have the husband or wife you dreamed of, you will be able to claim wealth and health. That is not the truth. In fact Jesus clearly explained that when you become a follower of his there is a cost involved (see Luke 9:23-25).

5: let the Holy Spirit lead; This is the crucial part of evangelism that we must understand. We don’t convert anyone, we don’t have the ability to bring conviction of sins. We can make people aware of their need of a savior, but we cannot do the work of changing the very soul of a person, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. As D.L. Moody once wrote; “There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit”.

So where do you start?

You start at home. Sometimes the most difficult mission field. Very few of us can say that everyone in our extended family has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And in this challenging mission field is where we are called to start.

You can live a life of significance, you can make an eternal difference, but the only way to make an eternal difference is by telling others about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Charles Spurgeon once wrote; “Only by coming after Jesus can we obtain our heart’s desire and be really useful to our fellow men.”

Revival Part 12

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2 Chronicles 7:14; “ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We have seen that revival is God’s sovereignty on display in response to our prayers. He decides when and provides for revival. But, there is a part we have to play, we need to humble ourselves and pray, but we also need to turn from our wicked ways.

We don’t like that word, it seems very harsh in our 21st century politically correct world. Wicked means sinful and ways refers to a behavior that we have settled into and become comfortable with.

So what are these wicked ways? The Bible gives us some clear guidelines.

  • In Revelation 3:15-16 we see that the Laodicean church was wicked because of their spiritual luke-warmness. Are we neither hot nor cold for the things of God?
  • In Matthew 6:14, Jesus makes it clear that we are not to hold unforgiveness against anyone. After all we have been forgiven, it is wicked not to do the same for others.
  • In John 17, Jesus prays for unity. We fall into sin, when we create division and disunity in the church through gossip and slander.
  • By not reading the Word of God and applying it to our lives, that is a wicked way. We are neglecting the Holy Word of God to us.
  • In Malachi 3:8, we see that withholding our tithes and offerings is a wicked way, we are literally guilty of robbing from God, by not giving back to him what he has first given to us.
  • Then we have the list of moral failures, lying, indifference to evangelism, losing our tempers and idolatry (putting something before God).

Looking at this list, it makes us wonder if we will ever see revival.

We need to strive for purity and holiness, not so set anything unholy before our eyes and not to speak any unwholesome words.

The verse says that we are to turn from these wicked ways, and we will look at this in more detail in the next posting. But the key is repentance. We need to repent and ask God to forgive us of all our sin. True revival always starts with repentance.

Revival Part 11

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Continuing to look at 2 Chronicles 7:14, ; “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray… and seek my face…”

If we were truly honest with ourselves, we are more interested in seeing the hand of God than seeking His face. We want to see miracles, we want people healed, we want God to provide money and we want families reconciled. All these things are not bad if our motives are pure, but when we pray for revival, our priority must change, we need to pray for a new vision of God, a fresh understanding of who He is.

Praying for revival, is really praying for intimacy with God. When last did you get on your knees and agonize before God. Not praying for new people to come into the church or for our finances to be provided, but rather to pray to know God more deeply and to see His face. This is the prayer that brings revival.

Listen to what David writes in Psalm 27; “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4.

Oh that we would learn to pray like that.

Run the Race Part 2 February 21, 2016

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Romans 8: 1-17

Using the analogy of a race, a marathon, there is so much that we can look at that applies to the Christian life.

We are called to a new life, a life that is led by the spirit, Paul says is that we need to be led by the Spirit of God, as we run the race that God has for us.

Now human nature is that we make rules, and when we disciple new believers, we inadvertently make rules for them to follow, because of the mistakes we made when we were in their position. Sometimes these guidelines can be made to look like laws. Romans 8:2 says; “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death”. When we run the race that is the Christian life, we do things differently, we are not under the law that leads to condemnation and death, but we are led by the Spirit which leads to life and peace.

Our disciplines and our training for the race are not governed by law, but they are governed by the Spirit and this brings life. Verse 11 tells us that the same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and me! Our old way of viewing time, money, family, possessions all changes, and we see things from the perspective of heaven.

And then there is the unbelievable promise in God’s word in verse 14, we are called the children of God! I know our minds cannot grasp that, we have no idea what it means to be adopted into the family of God. We are called children of the creator of the universe. And verse 17 says that as a result of our adoption as God’s children, we receive an inheritance. We have an inheritance simply because we believed that Jesus died for our sins. He did it all, we die to our old way of life and begin to live by the Spirit, and we get to receive an inheritance from God.

But as we read verse 17 a little further we read these words: “if indeed we suffer with Him…” Suffering? That is not the wonderful Christian life the Walmart book aisle speaks about? Going back to the analogy of running a marathon, if any of you have run a long race, you will know that there are periods of suffering that you go through, occasionally you will “hit the wall”, using running terminology, when your tank is empty. But you push through, others encourage you, and you reach the finish line. Immediately the suffering becomes something you joke about because it is so small in comparison to the joy of the finish line. Verse 18 sums it up; “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us..”

Suffering and discipline are a part of the Christian race, but we must not shy away from them, they are building us and growing us to be more like Christ.

Let’s look at four Christian Disciplines that will help us run the race that is set before us:

  1. Reading and meditating on God’s word

This Bible is contains your heavenly Father’s love letter to you– it is your daily bread – it is your sword of the spirit – it is the truth that gives light to your path.

It is no ordinary collection of pages and ink. It is supernatural in its authoring, it is supernatural in its reading and it is supernatural in its application (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If you are led by the Spirit, you will need the sword of the spirit.

Do we daily discipline ourselves to read, study, meditate on the word of God?

  1. Prayer

Prayer is a discipline, it is hard work, when we don’t discipline ourselves to spend time alone with God we limp along in the Christian race, missing out on so much that God has for us. Discipline yourself to pray, it will transform your life and the race God has called you to.

  1. Tithing

Tithing is something we seldom view as a discipline, but the way we handle our finances is either worship or it is idolatry. Either God is more important than your money, or your money is more important than God in your life.

We don’t tithe because God needs our money, he already has all things. No, we tithe because it is worship. Tithing is an act of worship, because many times we look at our income and our expenses and wonder how we can afford to give 1/10 of our income to the Lords work. Well if the Bible is correct, and we know it is, how can we afford not to give to the Lord, knowing that he is our provider and that he will take care of all of our needs (see 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8). You will have all you need to do the will of God for your life.

  1. Evangelism

Evangelism is a spiritual discipline that we are all called to participate in. Evangelism that is led by the Spirit is a joy and a blessing, but we make it out to be a fearful chore.

Evangelism that is fruitful and effective is evangelism that is led by the Holy Spirit. Daily discipline ourselves to pray: “Lord bring someone into my path today who needs a touch from heaven, let me be used by you, almighty God, to bring a miracle to someone’s life” That is the discipline, being available, daily being led by the Spirit to look for the person that God wants to touch through your life story (see 2 Peter 3:15).

Notice two aspects in this verse: firstly – it starts with “revere Christ as Lord”. If Jesus Christ is truly Lord of your life, it will be evident to those around you and your life will be a testimony for Jesus.

Secondly: “always be prepared to explain the reason for your hope” – because, if you are living by the Spirit, people are going to want to know why you are different.

Remember not everyone is gifted as an evangelist, but we are all called the spiritual discipline of sharing the story that God has given us and the reason for our hope.

Remember that the Christian life is a race, it is not a stroll or a wandering along the pathway, there is a very definite end goal. And to keep us running diligently we need to develop Spiritual disciplines, Prayer, Reading God’s Word, Tithing and Evangelism are just a few of them.

But why do we do them?

Because they are good for us? Or because we become more fruitful and lead others to Christ? Yes, but there is a greater reason.

We develop Christian disciplines, because our lives will bring Glory to God.

A discussion on Revival – Part 1

What is Revival?

This is a short study on the topic of revival. This is based on the book written by Selwyn Hughes called; “Why Revival Waits”

Praying for revival is what we do every Tuesday morning here at Grace Point. It is a powerful time with the Lord and we will faithfully continue to pray each week as the Lord directs us.

We do this because we believe that this is the greatest need of the church today and it is also the greatest need of the Christian church at large.

When we think about revival and prayer, the one verse that we always turn to is 2 Chronicles 7:14; “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Most of us can recite this verse, and it was the theme verse for the great Welsh revivals and the theme verse for the Global day of prayer movement, that grew to encompass every nation in the world between 2000 and 2010.

It is God’s formula for revival.

Defining revival is difficult because it is a word so frequently used and thrown around. Some call a revival a weekend where more people than usual come to know the Lord as their savior.

But a true revival is an unusual and extraordinary movement of the spirit of God. Very different from anything previously experienced. Not just a trickle but a flood.

What revival is not.

Revival is not an evangelistic campaign – Billy graham was used by God as a tremendous evangelist, but evangelism and revival are very different.

Evangelism is the expression of the church – it is what we do – or should do.

Revival is an experience in the church.

In an evangelistic appeal, the preacher calls for people to repent and be saved.

In a true revival, the people come to the preacher and ask how they can be saved.

Throughout history there have been many revivals in the Body of Christ; in America there was the First and Second Great Awakening in the 18th century. In South Africa in 1860 there was a revival that started in a small town in the church of Andrew Murray. There was the great Welsh revival in 1904, and there have been others throughout history. All of these revivals have one thing in common; people interrupted the preacher to beg him to tell them how to be saved.

During evangelistic preaching, people come under the conviction of sin and this conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit.

In a true revival the power and presence of the Holy Spirit it so strong that people are crying out in the streets for salvation, as they are made aware of their own personal sin.

Revival is not a large number of backslidden believers coming to repentance.

Revival is not a wonderful meeting, where we felt the presence of God and enjoyed the music.

Rather revivals are often accompanied by great sorrow, crying, and grief.

So as we continue to look at this subject over the next few weeks, let’s be very sure that we know what we are praying for.