Faith – Hope – Love

Faith – Hope – Love

Emma Wilson | 28 June 2020 | Sunday Celebration Testimony

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” – 2 Cor. 3:17

During this time in lockdown, I came across a song called “Be kind to yourself” by Andrew Peterson. I would really recommend listening to it if you struggle to cut yourself some slack every once in a while.
A little while ago, we heard a lot about kindness and the need to be kind to others, because we often have no idea what they are going through, what their story is. In this life we can often feel heavy and pressured, so let’s be on one another’s side, show each other kindness.
But I want to take that a step further and encourage each of us to show that kindness to ourselves, too. Often, we are our own worst critics, the least loving voice in our own minds.

But, before I go further in this train of thought, let me paint you a different picture of my mind and experience, particularly over the last few months.

As lockdown began, I felt quite shaken in many ways. A lot of uncertainties and a lack of point of reference quickly led me down a spiral of feeling pressured, incapable of balancing different things without a feeling of failing or coming short in one area or another – or all at the same time. As well as that, I felt this weight of expectation for this time of lockdown to be such a God-given gift of time for Him to speak, to reset priorities, to go deeper in my relationship with Him, to do a new work. It felt like all around me, there were people who now had this extra time on their hands to fix their house, their garden, resurrect new passions, invest in godly disciplines, and more. Having a 2-year old and being 6 months pregnant, I didn’t feel like I found myself there at all. And that was eating me from the inside. This comparison and feeling of not doing enough to see God do something in this time.

On a different page, I was being confronted with parts of my heart and mind that were not very pretty at all – parts that pointed fingers, parts that fear, hurts and insecurities, parts that were driven by performance and comparison, parts that felt so overwhelmed and anxious. Having less time to be distracted by or busy with other things left space for lies to sow seeds and my emotions to water them. In my head I was desperate to put things into place to see God do something, to do the “right things” to become closer to Jesus and more like Him in this time. There was this striving to stand pleasing before God in how well I spent my time or how much I did to pursue Him. But in that, there was no space for grace. No space for kindness towards myself. No space for love for myself.

A couple of weeks in, in various circles, we looked at the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:17 says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” I knew that was what my heart was longing for, but didn’t know how to get there (once again…). Each day, I woke up saying, “Holy Spirit, I can’t do this myself. I want more of You. I know You have more for me and for my life than this. Fill me. Help me.”

And He did. Bit by bit, I could see how these heavy weights were taken out of my backpack, as it were, and replaced with freedom:

  • Freedom to do what I can and not push myself silly; to give myself grace and time to rest.
  • Freedom in knowing that God will complete the work He has started in me – Phil. 1:6. It is His desire and His doing and He won’t let me miss out when my HEART is postured towards Him.
  • Freedom that this season is not a reflection of me as a whole person nor will it last forever.
  • Freedom in knowing that God is not finished; and He is not finished with me.

Freedom on the other side of FAITH, not works.

From different platforms, the Holy Spirit highlighted all the ways He brings freedom. He showed me the Father’s heart that cares for me, that desires to carry my burdens, that abounds in grace and kindness and LOVE. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, I don’t have to earn my standing before Him each day; I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, including God actually. He sees my heart; He made it and knows what beats within. In Jesus, there is rest and freedom to learn from Him each day, to walk each day by His side, in His power, in His finished work.

So, in conclusion I want to encourage you:
When we look around us, it is easy to feel burdened by how we perceive others’ lives to be and how far our own is removed from that.
When we look within ourselves, we can feel the need to sort things out ourselves and make a plan to ease the feeling of guilt or fear or failing by doing “the right things”.
But when we look to God, we inherit a freedom on the other side of FAITH – faith in the work that Jesus has completed for us; faith in the Father who fully sees, fully knows and fully loves us; faith in the Spirit who searches the heart of man and desires to draw it closer to a gracious God.

My prayer for you is that you find this freedom that truly does set free from all heavy things and that brings life to the full instead.

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Number 40

Number 40

Dave Cape | 21 June 2020 | Sunday Celebration

“YOUR HEART WILL DETERMINE EVERYTHING.”

We live in a day when almost everything is being redefined. Your thinking, your attitudes, your social interactions and your views. Yet, we as mere mortals find ourselves trying to navigate paths we often never thought we would have to, whilst trying to fathom what we should be making of it, or how we should be responding to it.

Your timing in God will be determined by your level of obedience.                                                                                                             

“The greatest enemy to God’s will for my life, is MY will, for my life!”

God moves in space and time.

Space and time are not “one and the same”. Space and time are distinct. Space is what you move in. Time is something that elapses or “goes by”, by which movement and change are defined.

God compacts His Omniscience, His Omnipotence and Omnipresence into one action – when we are obedient and cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
E.g.: Acts 8:26-40: Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip is then transported from Gaza to Azotus.

God compacts time.

There are things which only God can explain. He can hasten – and be God of the suddenly.

Acts 12: Peter in Prison:
He was in maximum security. 4 squads –  bound between two soldiers.
Bound in stocks, fervent prayer was being offered up and the next thing they are free.He was so shocked he thought he was seeing a vision.

Sometimes we are free, but we still act as if we are bound. Sometimes we can become so distracted with our circumstances that we lose sight of where we are going.

But God is able to override our circumstance in an instant no matter how complicated or bleak it may look. It all depends on how deeply we are prepared to allow Him access to our lives.

He turns 40 years into 40 days.

What took the children of Israel 40 years in the wilderness, took Jesus just 40 days. God compacted time.

Luke 4:1-12:

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, He was hungry.

The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, “To You I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
And he took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’” and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
‘” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

All by the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. He conquered the devil, embedded God’s word, and established His Kingdom, conquering all temptation, in 40 days.

Jesus’ grounding carried Him though. He knew the word and was prepared in advance.
We have to be prepared before the battle, so we can draw it out in the battle. It’s no good in the heat of the battle or when you are suddenly confronted.

The enemy will always challenge:
– Your credentials or integrity – “If You are the Son of God”
– Your authority and power – “I will give You all this domain and glory, if You worship me.”
– Your security in God – “Throw yourself down. Nothing will happen. He will give His angels charge over You.”

Your response to the trials or the test will determine your destination. E.g.: the children of Israel could not enter into the Promised Land. But Jesus emerged and His ministry was launched.

You might think there’s no way out. No one understands.
Luke 4:13: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him”.
Jesus was tempted in every way; He understands your situation and your pain.

That relationship, financial situation, business or job crisis, addiction. God can break in an instant.
E.g.: Joseph went from being in prison with no hope of being released to being Prime Minister in 24 hrs – Genesis 41

40 minutes and 4 hours

1 Samuel 17 – David and Goliath

Sometimes we can feel so locked in and even stumped, discouraged or fearful. Yet by the Holy Spirit, God can alter it in an instant.

Goliath taunted the Israelite army for 40 days, morning and evening, yet when a young teenager led by the Holy Spirit got the word of the Lord, it took just 40 minutes to sort out the situation and have the Philistines on the run.

David responded with boldness, filled with the Holy Spirit, when he ran towards the Philistine: “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” (1 Sam. 17:45)

V52: “And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.”
It would take a soldier 4 hours to run this distance.

The leading of the Holy Spirit compacts time in God’s economy.

The army endured Goliath’s taunting for 40 days, yet in 4 hours, by the Holy Spirit leading David, the Philistine army was totally defeated.

Conclusion

So, God has a 40 zone for each of us. It’s up to you, which zone will it be and how deeply are you going to allow God to access your life and how ready are you to respond. Don’t be like the children in the desert. Don’t be like the armies of Israel. Be ready to run, like Peter or Joseph.
You can either believe your situation is locked in, or that the Angel is waiting at the door to lead you by the Holy Spirit.

Are you grounded in the word and prayer and ready to respond and move?

For the full message which includes Dave’s stories and real-life testimonies, click here.

One New Community

One New Community

Andy Faulkner | 14 June 2020 | Sunday Celebration

Ephesians 2:11-22

“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself is our peace. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations.

He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.”

Introduction

We have all been affected by the events of recent weeks following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent outpouring of public anger around the world demanding racial justice. We as a church were profoundly affected by Siji’s testimony and sharing last weekend on this topic. I have felt God draw me to this passage during the last few days and I want to share some specific thoughts from it with you. I am troubled as to what I, a white, middle-class man, can do to speak into this situation. What do I have to contribute to this conversation when I have never faced discrimination simply because of my skin colour or sex?

My only answer is to share with you the gift that God has given me of expounding His word to speak into this present age. As an eldership, we believe that God’s call to us as His people is to demonstrate a different lifestyle that shines like a light in these dark times. The church, as we will see, is the jewel in God’s crown; the apple of His eye. She is meant to shine with a brighter light and speak of a different way of living, the way of love enabled by the power of the cross.

The beauty of the church lies in her diversity. She is the manifold (variegated, multicoloured, polupoikilos) wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10). She is the statement, above all of the statements that men could make, of God’s abhorrence of division and hatred, of racism, sexism and discrimination. On that great and final day, when we are gathered around His throne, a great cry will go up:

Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.Revelation 5:9-10

I want to say to every one of my brothers and sisters this morning who is from a different tribe or language or people or nation to me, “We stand with you. We celebrate all that is positive and delightful about your culture and your heritage. We love the colour that you bring to us. We love the variety of God’s brilliance that you reflect. We are thrilled and proud to have so many nations represented in Jubilee and we hunger for more.” 

I want to use these verses from this passage to inspire us to live differently and reflect the beauty of the diversity with which God has blessed us and to root out every form of injustice that does not measure up to God’s standard of love as reflected in these words.

Exposition (v19-22)

No longer foreigners and aliens

  • Once you were foreigners and aliens; without hope and without God in the world
  • Christ-less, stateless, friendless, hopeless, and GodlessHendriksen
  • Excluded/separated from God, and excluded/separated from others (N.B. contrast love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself);
  • Individualism was our creed and our lifestyle.

Fellow Citizens with God’s People

  • Now we are included; now we are in fellowship with others.
  • We are not just individuals; we are a community of God’s people.  Consumerism is the shaping influence behind much modern expression of Christianity: me, my, mine… (e.g. songs, books, sermons).
  • We are no longer defined by reference to our individual styles, tastes, or preferences.  
  • We are part of a one another community. The “you” most often used in the N.T. is plural, not singular; e.g. in French: “vous”, not “tu”.
  • No Christian bubbles of me and Jesus! It’s all about us.
  • No division based on race, or education, or wealth, or intelligence – we are one new community 

Members of God’s Household

  • We are also not separated from Him. Once were excluded from Him but now we are members – we’re a living, active, organically joined part of His work and His way. His Spirit is in us; we are spiritually joined to God.
  • His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are His children.

Built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets

  • We have a foundation. That foundation is doctrine, but it is not documentation.  
  • What we are founded on is a living ministry of the Spirit, not a set of words on paper. The word of God is alive; one of the ways in which it lives is in the hands of those who preach and teach and disciple it into others.
  • We welcome apostolic and prophetic ministry in the form of people such as Dave Cape and Tony Fitzgerald. The preaching and teaching of God’s word like this. 

Christ Himself as Cornerstone

  • Underpinning everything and supporting everything is Christ Himself.  But note that He is supporting the church, not individuals!  He is supporting the collective structure and not simply individual needs, wants, preferences and desires.
  • Christ is the beginning and the end; the keystone and capstone; He is the one in whom “all things now hold together” (Col. 1:17).

In Him the Building Rises

  • Christ’s intention is not simply individual salvation or personal holiness. Of course, a personal relationship with Christ is the entry point, but what we are discipling and building people into is a corporate structure – the church of Jesus Christ.  All the wonders of the truth of individual salvation serve to underpin the greater purpose: a people for His own possession (Eph. 1:14).
  • Christ is the common ground; the glue that binds us together; the energy that causes growth and life.
  • The expectation of what we’re doing should be growth: the building rises to become a temple (literally a dwelling place) of God.

A Dwelling of God by the Spirit

  • The means by which all this is made real in our lives and experience is the Spirit.
  • We are committed to building a Spirit-filled church: not a modern church; not a contemporary church; not a lively church.
  • The centrality in work, worship, guidance, preaching, salvation, teaching, training, planning, strategising, and discipling is always the Spirit. We must be men and women who are full of the Spirit, and who live Spirit-filled lives.
  • A key qualification for leadership is the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3-5). We should be able to see in our own lives and the lives of those we lead the evidence of Spirit-baptism. Ask the question…
  • We are looking to see a dwelling of God (God’s manifest presence) by the Spirit (the dynamic, in breaking, empowering, experience of God).

Conclusion

  • God has smashed forever the dividing walls between us and Him, and us and one another.
  • The church is the multicoloured wisdom of God revealed.
  • We are committed to seeing that community of the Spirit in all her beauty built here at Jubilee.
  • It’s about community in diversity not individual Christianity.
  • We’re going to celebrate our diversity in coming weeks.

Click here for the video and audio podcast of our Sunday Virtual Gatherings.