GET REAL!

Sunday 20th March 2011

by Jean Packer

Penny brought us a refreshing word through Acts 23 this week. She spoke about how Paul was a humble man. He apologised for speaking against a ruler, yet he cared enough to speak the gospel message to all who would listen. He was bold and stood up for what he believed. He was an honest, God-fearing man. He was full of the Holy Spirit and fully himself! He trusted God completely and stepped out boldly in obedience. Signs and Wonders followed!

How much do we long to have this purity of heart? To see that the fields are ripe for harvest and be able to gather in the harvest freely and joyfully! What stops us? Penny expressed this as fear of man. What would others think of us? Fear that we may become stumbling blocks if we wavered in our own opinions in order to accommodate others? What would happen if the way things are, changed? We worry about being contaminated? We want to be in control of how things should be… the list could go on and God can show each one of us our own personal fears if we ask Him to.

Yes people watch, and criticise us sometimes. Yet we need to grow up in these times, weigh up what is said, and discard what is not true. Die to what people say about us otherwise we will just go up and down in our emotions. We are loved and protected by God. Jesus died on the cross for our, and their sins. The Pharisees spoke against Jesus (Luke 6:7), yet we are urged to speak boldly (Luke 6:22). Lets not be man pleasers but God pleasers. Luke 6:26 actually says “Woe to you when all men speak good of you”! Lets stand bold and trust God! Don’t compromise our faith… get into His intimate presence to hear His voice… and step out in obedience to whatever He tells us. Know what we carry inside us and reach out to people and share His love.

Jesus spent time with outcasts! He was comfortable with them! He fitted in and accepted them… just as they were, and they knew it! They felt loved! God wants to change our theology, which is sometimes religious… He wants us to be available to Him whenever The Holy Spirit prompts us to act. In whatever ways that may be. These may not fit into our mindsets and expectations and we may worry what others may think, but He wants us pliable and open. He wants us dead to our reputations! It doesn’t matter what others think or say. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all accusations! He wants our whole hearts….minds and soul for Him and for others. It is love that convicts … we don’t have to do anything else but love one another as He first loved us.

Lets get real! Be fully ourselves through Him! Love ourselves as we are… He made us… love one another… let’s be open and transparent, like Jesus. The world sees who we are. We are called to be mighty warriors for Him – Fearless in all we do and to step out in faith and trust. We need to get rid of poverty mindsets and trust that all our provisions will be met as we need them. God wants to remove our limitations. We can do all things in Him!

HEIRS OF A PROMISE

by Jean Packer

Sunday March 6th

What an incredible worship time we had this morning! It was truly very special, particularly today, as we shared in the dedication service for Nathan and Nahid’s children Noah and Sophia. It was such a privilege to be part of this beautiful time in their lives and commit ourselves as the body of believers to uphold and encourage them in their walk with Jesus. It is so special when parents dedicate their children to the Lord and we heard how ‘Hannah’ dedicated her son to God (1 Samuel 1:11). Wes shared from Matthew 18: 1- 5 when the disciples asked “Who is greater in the Kingdom?” and Jesus told them that we should humble ourselves and become as little children. Jesus also went on to tell the parable of the lost sheep Matthew 11-14. God is not willing to let the smallest of his sheep perish. He loves each one so much.

The pastoral team came forward to release blessing and to prophesy over the family that wisdom from heaven would be downloaded into their hearts and that God had plans to prosper and give them hope. Blessing would be within their home and that it would be a resting place. This was a special day for a special family and God would protect them throughout their lives. They are Heirs to a promise and rich in Him! God has presented them to us to pray, think and care for!

We were also very pleased to celebrate with coffee and cake afterwards! It was very good to mingle, chat and catch up with one another during this time and when we came back to our seats

Ian continued the meeting by bringing the word to us from Acts 21:21-37. Through showing us Paul’s interpretation on life we heard again the call to go deeper in God and to follow Him wholeheartedly. God is able to do all things and meet all our needs. God’s choice in Paul is amazing! He was a Pharisee, persecuting Jesus! Yet God chose him. Likewise He has chosen each one of us. If God is for us! Who can be against us? (Romans 8:28-31).

THE LIVING BREATH OF GOD

10.10.10

By Jean Packer

There has been much prayer sent forth. The word of God has been spoken over our community through our faithful prayer teams that have gone out walking, cycling and driving around the area. Decrees have been spoken and  are reaping fruit!  Penny gave us testimony of the wonderful response from clients that she has received recently in her work at the salon. She testified that during one week  clients were very receptive to the gospel message and responded warmly and positively to these truths. It turned out that this particular week was when prayers were being prayed for her salon and the surrounding area!

Bex has invaluable roles in church and it was her turn to speak out a very clear word that God had put on her heart through Acts 17:16.  Paul was provoked to speak to the people in Athens when he saw that the city was given over to idols. He was moved by God’s compassion and spoke to them whenever he could. He saw the statue with the inscription ‘ to the unknown God’, and used this illustration in order to speak Gods truth and proclaim Gods word to them; which is sharp and His word never falls to the ground! As a result of hearing these wonderful truths, some of the people believed and were saved.  Praise God!

We were then taken to Genesis 2:7 where we saw that God breathed His life into man. His breath of life was given to us! This was a moment of intimacy between God and man, when Heaven touched earth! This makes us different from other creatures on earth. God calls us sons and daughters. He spoke and all things came into being and He breathed His very own breath into us and gave us life. Isn’t that awesome! We were then taken to Ezekiel 37. This chapter illustrates the valley of dry bones. When Ezekiel prophesied over them bone came to bone, sinews and the flesh came upon them and the breath of God came into them and gave them life! How amazing is that?

We are made in his image! We have the living breath of God in us! and what we speak out has cause and effect as the power of life and death is in the tongue! Because we have His life we can bring His life! Just like Paul in Athens, when we line up with the Holy Spirit we can prophesy into the situations that we are in and see them change for the better. We can prophesy over our loved ones, our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues and see God work in their hearts. Also, we can prophesy over our communities and see changes for the better happen – there are no limits to God’s power if only we believe, trust and act in obedience.

We shared communion together this week and it felt very special.  Muriel shared about a powerful time when she felt the breath of God move through a meeting in Toronto, touching the hearts and lives of the congregation that was present.To conclude the service we were invited to soak in God’s presence and experience His intimacy and love. It is out of our relationship with our loving Father that we live and work and bring His bidding into the world.

It’s significant that this Sunday fell on 10.10.10. What an amazing date! It only happens once a century. It means completion and new beginnings! So full of Gods promises for us to take hold of and run with! Are we ready? Praise changes the atmosphere! Lets see the power of God increasingly released amongst us!

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

by Jean Packer

We are now well into our season of contemplating the Acts of the Apostles in-depth. Throughout this time various speakers; Wes, Sharron, Ian, Muriel, Penny, Bex and Marjan have each opened up the scriptures to us. Each speaker has had different perspectives because of their diverse calling, gifts and talents. They have brought us a rich spectrum of insights into the life of the early church in order that we can discover what the Holy Spirit is saying to us individually, and corporately as the body of Christ. This article is my attempt to summarise the amazing words and truths that have been brought to us. I do not feel that I can do justice to the knowledge that the speakers have but hope that I am generally on track!

By progressing through the book chapter by chapter, we have seen how relevant it is for us today to reach up and take hold of the same power of the Holy Spirit that the apostles had so that we too may demonstrate signs, wonders and miracles to the world around us. The acts of the early church shows their transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit to become bold witnesses. We cannot do anything in our own strength but we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We, (the body of Christ in Golden Valley Church), are being exhorted to take hold of this truth and step into the God’s slipstream.

We are called to be supernaturally powerful. The early church were ordinary men and women who were fearful and timid until the Holy Spirit came upon them. Sound familiar? Yes, we often feel that moving in the power of God is for others, more mature than us. We forget that It is through faith that we please God. If only we believe His word, which is living and active, take hold of it, then God will bring us focus to see what He is doing, fortitude to endure any hardships and the fragrance of Jesus to carry with us wherever we go. We are being encouraged to step out into new things. Look for them and allow God to take us into His heavenly realms. We too can enter in, like Esther (5:1-3). We are inspired to daydream our hopes and desires and see what is happening, then reach up into the heavenlies and bring down the glory of God into our world, to recognise the opportunities that we come across in our day-to-day lives and seize the moment and share the kingdom! (James 4:3) tells us that “You do not get because you do not ask”. We need to boldly ask and believe that we have what we have asked for. His promises are yes and amen. Or, (James 4:2) says “You do not get because you ask amiss”. Sometimes He won’t give because it’s not His heart for us, not good for us. We cannot put God in a box because He is beyond our comprehension but we can know that He knows best and can be trusted completely. As we seek intimacy with God in relationship our will becomes submitted and we receive His heart.

We have heard that it is through God’s grace that we are transported to another place in our lives, a place of security and peace. God’s grace is like wings that lifts us up and out of any persecution, the things of the world that try to pull us down and ensnare us. Acts shows us how a diverse people came together in unity. Unity was established (Acts 4:32 – 35); tested (5:17-40); triumphs (5:41-42). This allowed God’s power to be verified, realised and legitimized. We are in God’s hands and fear has no room when we have this assurance. There are five foundation stones that Christ is building into His church. These are: Calling-our testimony of salvation. Vision- to send and to go. Obedience- to do what He has called us to. Preaching- the building block of the church that imparts the audible heart of Christ. Power- when the Holy Spirit comes upon us to do His will.

Our times together are becoming increasingly powerful as we learn to walk in the heavenly glory realm. We have entered into this realm of the Spirit through worship, ministering to God, and to one another. Prophecy has increased and people dance in freedom as the spirit moves. There is a sweet warmth and fragrance of Jesus that overwhelms us corporately. As the body of Christ we are interdependent upon one another and our lives are enhanced. God’s kingdom is multiplied amongst us. We have been drenched with the oil of His manifest presence and we can carry this out and take it to others. wherever we are, in the supermarket, at work or play, as ordinary men and women who love God. Through the power of God that we are experiencing in the life of our church, people are testifying to the change of circumstances in their lives, and the lives of their families. We are more aware of His nudges to step out in faith and trust, and are seeing God move increasingly in our daily lives. New things are being brought into life. Our community is responding and a new group is springing up.

We all have our faults and flaws and are a work in progress, but God uses us anyway. He loves us and delights in us. He loves the world that we live in and wherever we go and whatever God asks us to do, we can do in His strength. We are His hands and His feet. He wants us to move Him to act. We are all on mission and can start simply with what we have, and give it away. The more we give, the more we will receive to give away. There will always be enough and the pot will never run dry! Step out! We are entering into a new wave of the Spirit. One that the world has never seen before. A Tsunami is coming! Lets ride the wave!