BEHOLD HOW GOOD IT IS WHEN BROTHERS DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY

by Jean Packer

‘Behold! How good it is when brothers dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron. Running down on the edge of his garments’ (Psalm 133:1).

This scripture has been with me since becoming so refreshed during the past two Sundays at Golden Valley Church, especially through the worship, led by Bex and Colin one week and Paul and Helen the next. Their varied styles have brought enrichment to us. The worship has been wonderfully liberating and potent. We are constantly brought under an open Heaven and invited into the throne room to receive more of God’s presence into our hearts. The fire has fallen powerfully on both Sundays and we have been liberated to receive more of God’s touch as, one week a healing pool opened up and the second, we went through a fire tunnel individually and in family groups. Testimonies were shared firstly by Sue, of how the ladies on the Alpha Course are receiving God’s touch and through Jo showing us the miracle of diamonds appearing to her and Matt! The children also received, and were joyfully dancing and playing together. We have been blessed with such a kaleidoscope of colour and diversity!

Over these two weeks, great words have been brought to us, firstly through Penny, who shared what God has been laying on her heart through Acts 18. Paul was provoked to have compassion on people. He saw the value of a soul. He was positioned by God and spoke out whenever he could. Paul saw that ‘the fields are white and ready for harvest’. He was focussed on bringing light to the lost people around him and he gave his life for many souls. He didn’t concentrate on the difficulties and hardships that he suffered but glorified God with his life. The motivation of his heart was to this purpose. He was not alone and God positioned Aquilla and Priscilla to come alongside him and help him in his work when he needed them. He went to the Jews first and was rejected, so he went to the Gentiles. He didn’t get hung up on the rejection of others. Paul was prepared to roll up his sleeves. He was a tent-maker. His pay was in knowing he was serving God and reaching the lost.

Likewise, God gets us pointing in the right direction and He is positioning us to bring light to others. Because we have life, we can bring life to the situations that we encounter. No matter what difficulties, hardships and disappointments we are going through we are never alone. He brings us help when we need it. He can even use the devil’s agents to help us! ‘ ‘If God is for us, who can be against us!’.(Romans 8:31). We were exhorted to ask God for a download of the value of a soul because He loves each person so much wherever we are or whoever we are talking to. They are a soul-searching for God. Keep moving forward and to keep taking ground and ask ourselves the question of how can we encourage others to keep moving forward with us. The saints of England wouldn’t give up! Neither should we! Keep sowing, keep reaping and enjoy tasting the fruit! Changes happen around the seed and this will change the atmosphere. Enjoy the journey!

We then received prayer as we stood in God’s presence and individually asked “Where is my specific place to move into and take ground for our family, friends and workplaces”?

Last week Ian spoke from Acts 20: 1 -25. He shared how it was the love of God that constrained Paul to walk the path that he did. He ran the race with joy! He gave himself to serve others. When God speaks it does something in us. We become constrained. God’s will is for us to love Him first and then one another. We are urged to look after, and watch out for one another . He has made us overseers for one another. Yes. There is a cost that may be painful to us but as we raise our eyes to Him we see that it is worthwhile. Ian reminded us that we are justified by faith.

Ian specified four things that Paul gave and received and that the church cannot exist without:-

1/ Honour
2/Relationship
3/Self sacrifice
4/Unity

The church is not a building, it is a body. It is not an organisation but an organism.
The twelve disciples are the blueprint for God’s living body and we are one body related by the blood of Jesus and must love the Church as Christ does. ‘By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ ( John 13:35). We must build around what can I give? and not what I need. It’s not about me but about Him. We are to be interdependent with one another. Submission and friendship. Worship is a lifestyle and unity is the building block, being one in harmony and agreement. Paul took on the status of a slave.

Ian concluded his message by quoting scripture from ‘The Message’.

Philippians 2:1-3 (The Message)
“If you’ve gotten anything out of following Christ. If His love has made any difference in your life, if being a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart,if you care – then do me a favour. Agree with each another,love each other, be deep-spirited friends, Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

ALPHA TO RUN IN BEAUTY SALON

A new lunchtime version of the highly successful ‘Alpha’ course is due to commence at ‘Pleroma Hair and Beauty Salon’ in Churchdown, Gloucester later this month.

Alpha logoThe long running Alpha course is designed primarily for people who aren’t churchgoers and each course is open to everyone who would like to attend. Alpha courses attract a wide range of guests of different ages and backgrounds and according to the ‘Alpha UK’ organisers there  are currently over 7,000 courses running across the UK.

This isn’t the first time a lunchtime Alpha course has been held in Golden Valley Church, but it is the first in this setting. Penny and her team are looking forward to gathering their guests in the salon for a light lunch, time to chat and make friends, followed by the short talk on an aspect of the Christian faith, such as “Who Is Jesus?”, or “How Does God Guide Us?”

For further information please contact Golden Valley Church office on 01452 739442.

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!

VISION FOR MISSION

by Marjan Dekloe

originally preached in Golden Valley Church 23rd May 2010

Flags

God has a BIG MISSION HEART!!! He is not satisfied with just reaching the Jews; He wants the Gentiles as well (Acts 14:27 “… He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”) That’s good news for us! He wants everyone to come to Him. That is His heart; He does not want that anyone perish. He is the God of the Nations. He loves the nations! We can clearly see that in Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance….” This is Gods desire; He wants to give His Son all the Nations as His inheritance! All Jesus had to do was to ask. And what does Jesus do? He involves you and me! We can find that in Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the Nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Jesus wants to do it with us and through us. I find that amazing!

God has only one Son and He made Him a Missionary” (David Livingstone). Jesus had a mission mandate on His life: “And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) His call has cost Him everything. Mission can be costly; are you willing to pay the price???

When this is God’s heart, it should be our heart as well. If you will let Him, He will stir it in your heart. I think God is very clever; He knew that mission is not for one or two people who feel called to go somewhere. Mission is for the whole body! You can’t do mission on your own. You need one another. That is why no one is excluded. Maybe you can’t go. Well, that’s fine. But there are things you can do. Maybe you can give, so that others can go. Maybe you can write; when you are away it is great to get mail! In that way you can let people know that even when they are away, they are still part of the body. And how about praying? We can all pray. Ask God which part He wants you to play. Ask Him to give you vision for what you can do and how you can be involved.

In Acts 1:8 it says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That sounds like neighbours and nations are equal. We can’t sit back and say “Well hey, good for those who are called, but that’s not for me!” Mission is not a journey abroad, it is a lifestyle. “I am on a mission” is part of my life, every day. Nations and Neighbours together.

“When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion.” What is in my heart when I see the multitudes? When I see my colleagues at work? Do I have a hard heart; that is a heart without compassion… I have to ask God to soften my heart. Why? “The harvest truly is plentiful – but laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. ” (Matthew 9:36-38). Do you want to be part of that??? I do!!!

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Flags picture courtesy of Flags of All Countries used with permission.