Monday 17th September 2018  

Rising HOPE is now a Daily Journal Blog and ONE Weekly Message Summary

Just to re-iterate that I am trying to write a brief journal entry on a ‘daily’ basis now, but each week I will try and produce a summary of the weekly message for review, reflection and response as either the MONDAY or TUESDAY Daily Blog.

In this way we will try and minimise the resources to ONE message in your email box per day rather than confusing and frustrating you with multiple messages. Hope this is helpful as we step up our discipling & training resource accessibility. Thank you for your patience as we iron out any bugs that pop up in this process. We deeply appreciate your partnership with us. Here then, is this week’s message summary.

A Summary of Sunday’s message for Prayer, Reflection & Response.                         

Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest   

Theme: ‘What does it take to move from Revelation Space INTO Fulfilment Space?

Reference Scriptures – Matthew 28; Luke 1:26-38; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-20 

Preparing for the ‘Spring 2018 Campaign’ 


Jesus builds His church as the Primary agency for kingdom advancement and He gives us keys to receive revelation about it and have a go at it …. (not by might, nor by power BUT by my Spirit says the Lord)

Communities of Heaven On Planet Earth – This is what they look like – Spirit Led – Kingdom of Heaven Representing & Demonstrating – Following Jesus & as such Discipleship Focused – Community Engaging & Favour Building – Need Meeting – Glory to Jesus giving …    ”And the ‘LORD’ added to their number DAILY, those who were BEING Saved”

So …… THIS WEEK as mentioned in Friday’s ‘Bed Post’ (The Daily Blog) before we launch the Spring 2018 campaign on the platform of intentionally equipping our missionaries or first summiting team to start planting and watering new ‘Communities of HOPE’ across our spheres of influence; we need to have a chat about obediently moving from Revelation Space into Fulfilment space and the key issues that we must confront in order for this to happen. Some of this material is based upon my review and reflection on the timely input brought at the Crosslink Network Gathering this last week in Sydney. Let’s pre-prayer!!!

The revelation space is the result of dwelling in the revelation Christ has brought which has taught us … what the church that Jesus builds should look like.

Its essential nature is ‘a body’;

Its essential function is ‘to withstand and conquer the gates of hell’;

Its essential purpose is ‘to advance God’s kingdom (rule) on earth as it IS in heaven and

Its essential strategy is ‘to reproduce … that is to plant Churches / Communities of HOPE so the primary business is the body of Christ crashing down the gates of hell in the spheres of our involvement / influence, to advance the kingdom of heaven … so …

This has been a process of us putting our plans, preconceived ideas, professional knowledge and a whole bunch of other things on hold so that we could re-visit the kingdom gospel and TOGETHER, receive fresh revelation from heaven that could actually make a difference in the mission God has called us to.

OK … this is revelation space BUT to see the Lord adding daily to the number, those who are being saved … we need to engage with Matthew 28 (It STARTS with all authority being given to Jesus THEN His command which in the phraseology used indicates “as you go about the things you are involved with everyday, make disciples) which requires a KEY thing from each of us & together

It requires a YES Lord …. It requires SUBMISSION

It requires us to understand that there is a battle between kingdoms (as per our keys to the kingdom conversation) and every time God breaks into history or into our world, gives us a prophetic word or similar …war is declared and we need to be combat ready. We are NOT fighting flesh and blood. If we’re fighting people we’re fighting the wrong enemy

Why? The weapons we fight with are not of this world …. They have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Cor. 10)

To move into Fulfilment Space we need to understand these kingdom of God weapons and put on God’s armour. What do I mean then  that It requires a YES Lord …. Luke 1:26-38

What are the strongholds for Mary = family? Friends? Society?

She chose to say YES, she chose to submit

Satan has no counter weapon to YES or submission to God’s will  – e.g. Cross humanity sees it as powerless yet heaven sees it as most powerful

Auca Indians example – the 5 missionaries heard from God, went and their deaths seemingly a waste – except, it unleashed one of the greatest transformations of a nation (ethnos) ever.

Once Mary started showing …. The strongholds would have kicked in even more

(I reflected on a Documentary that was talked about at the gathering  = Kangaroo stalls a pregnancy in tough circumstances until it’s SAFE to give birth )

I believe that these last few years have been a season for the stalled pregnancy

Safe is the word we’ve been receiving from heaven in our corporate prayer that describes the kingdom of heaven, particularly for our neighbourhood in East Corrimal.

Things inside of us/you THAT MAY HAVE BEEN THINGS WE HAVE BELIEVED GOD HAS SAID TO US YEARS EVEN DECADES AGO, WILL spring forth … this is the ‘safe’ space and time for FULFILMENT/REALIZATION (realization FROM anticipation was the prophetic word we received as a church a couple of years ago).

So, if we believe we’ve been receiving revelation … Let this word form in us and through us

Let it increase – BUT be warned … A word that is actually from heaven won’t come forth without a battle. … We will have to contend

If People are getting at us .. we need to push back at what’s getting at them

We can’t create the purpose of God we can only discover it, declare it and align our plans with it. Let’s look at this more closely.

Paul … IN Christ …. Preached (declared/represented)

Therefore, the context for Paul’s teaching is how it is aligned with Jesus’ life and work (reconciliation)

There are over 400 stories in the Gospels and the Acts where Jesus and then the apostles declared and demonstrated the kingdom – contending for advance.

We’ve reflected a little on 2 Cor. 10 and in particular verse 6 which speaks about ‘when our OBEDIENCE is COMPLETE’ but let’s look at Ephesians 6:10-20 in this context …

If we are receiving a word from heaven, we need to align it against the one who represented heaven ON earth – Jesus. If we don’t do this work, we will get caught in partial knowledge like – when we are confronted with doing spiritual warfare we will just call a strategic prayer meeting … if we are honest, it is probably the first thing that we think.

(Ephesians 6:10-20) Prayer is definitely the soil that this part of Paul’s letter is planted in – vs 18 – 20.  But if we read this passage with any discernment we will clearly see that the armour is offensive + defensive … Any football coach worth their salt will tell you the best form of defence is offense and with good reason

If we know the will of God and we submit to it, we will be prepared … and the coach will also wax lyrical about the FULL armour and not playing with only parts of it.

So …. If this is how we contend, if this is how we look more like Jesus in the battle that’s not against flesh and blood … how did Jesus use the full armour as a weapon (not carnal) to contend for the kingdom?

COMMENT: the armour is a metaphor (what is it like?) and a good armour doesn’t have gaps in it so the overlap of these weapons is also important

Let me encourage you to have a look at these stories of Jesus in the context of the armour and contending FOR YOURSELF but meanwhile the following is how I reconciled the part of the armour with something that sounded like heaven

Truth (vs 14) – Making known (declaring) the unseen (kingdom) reality (aligned with heaven) and making it the primary agenda (i.e. planning around the reality)

Righteousness (vs 14) – Making the redemptive, rescuing love of God, His motives, His attitudes –  TANGIBLE

Gospel (vs 15) – Expressing the redemptive truth (word & deed) – the good news or revelation of Christ

Faith (vs 16) – Obedience to & trust in  what God is doing / has done?

Salvation (vs 17) – The fully restored relationship with the Father. E.g. all Jesus’ significance and identity comes from the Father

It speaks to my life’s journey confession: My insecurity is a stronghold for which I am battling and contending every day. My salvation IS my true identity – I am God’s child 

My identity is IN Christ today – I am NOT The product of something that happened back there – I am the product of something that comes from heaven (Want to step into this reality for YOU?)

Word of God (vs 17) – Something God spoke (Rhema) it’s easy to hear all the other voices so when God’s voice breaks through it is a weapon, It’s what God says about a given circumstance

Prayer (vs 18-20) Pray in the Spirit on every occasion with every kind of prayer and request

Let’s see how this works by aligning it with one of the over 400 stories mentioned before and witness how Jesus used the full armour of God

TO LEARN HOW TO CONTEND LIKE JESUS, we need to find the enemy presence in the story  – the stronghold if you like – what’s making people do or say what they do or say and measure it against the Kingdom of God tipping point – the battle

Start reading Luke 5:1-11 … stop when you think you have noticed the kingdom tipping point or Jesus about to CONTEND with the kingdom of this world

Verse 3 (maybe haha)

Verse 4 yes – what do you reckon the stronghold is?

Verse 5 (Simon reacts out of Professional experience at first over revelation BUT then acceptance

NOW keep reading to see what happens (you get the idea)

Does Jesus use the 7 weapons / pieces of armour in this story?

Truth   – yes, in the first few verses, he prepares and plans according to the kingdom agenda and then in verse 4 He declares the unseen .. continues to let this unseen reality to be the agenda so boats, nets for the unseen fish

Righteousness – yes, he loves them enough to sit with them, teaches them, examples the truth, he loves Simon Peter redemptively

Gospel – yes, verse 10 – the good news

Faith / Obedience – yes, no fish caught overnight = let your nets down – God calls the fish to that spot for His will and kingdom come purposes – NB: Jesus also expressed faith that Peter would overcome .. they left everything and followed Jesus (yes = submit)

Salvation – yes, Simon’s identity forged by what comes from heaven not what was in his past – he recognised he was ‘worthless’ and CLINGED to Jesus and His promises

Word –            people were listening to the word of God — teaching was tangible and practical – Jesus showed the word

Prayer – yes, his intimacy with the Father is the source (prayer) sometimes a lot, sometimes on the run …. It’s not a religious duty ITS life and death food and nourishment and energy for the task … “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me” Simon expressed that intimacy …. Cf.5:16 context prayed to ensure no deviation from the plan

There are 5 more individual stories in Luke 5 …. Have a go at this yourself or grab someone and do it with them NOW – maybe as part of that assignment, have a go at the following exercise as well …

As we prepare to launch a strategic campaign into at least some of the spheres of involvement we as a church family are engaged with and have a God imparted responsibility for … think about one of your spheres and ask yourself …..

In what ways is the enemy’s presence being felt or experienced (strongholds) in that sphere? Now, PRAY as you ask the following questions …

  1. What is the unseen Kingdom of God reality needing to be made known so that it can become the new agenda?
  2. What are God’s attitudes and motives with regard to this stronghold(s) and how can I make them tangible in the sphere?
  3. What is the gospel (good news) message for this situation and how will I make it known?
  4. What do you have faith to believe God will do in this situation and what do I need to do to be obedient and trust in what God will do/does?
  5. If my identity, significance and security come from heaven, what am I free to do now?
  6. What has God SAID about the circumstances in this sphere and how will I respond?
  7. How many different ways can I pray about this and are there still ways I haven’t prayed?

So … It requires a YES Lord …. It requires SUBMISSION

We need to contend for the word from heaven to be revealed in AND through us … the things that God has promised us in a less safe time are now coming to fruition … let’s faithfully move from REVELATION SPACE into FULFILMENT SPACE

Is the Holy Spirit nudging you to become a backyard missionary – to join a summiting team?

Tuesday 18th September 2018  (Acts 2:47)

Greetings Friends! Arriving home last night from the September meeting of the Northern Illawarra Combined Churches High School Scripture Board, I was reminded of how huge a kingdom vs kingdom battle field, public high schools are.

There is no doubt as I work alongside the terrific teachers that we are supporting, we are seeing first-hand the outworking of a word from God, a revelation given to people when this effort began a decade or so ago. This word formed in their hearts, gained favour and increase, and because it was a genuine word from heaven, it didn’t come forth without a battle. We have to contend for it and last night’s testimonies reflected that battle; stories of courage, grace, small defeats, major victories. The stuff of Acts 2 – 8 for sure

We can’t create the purpose of God we can only discover it, declare it and align our plans with it and this is what we are engaged in on the front lines of God’s primary purpose on earth. But this high school mission field is a complex and creative arena as Amanda Dunn, Section Editor Politics & Society with ‘The Conversation’ discovered.

‘It’s perhaps not surprising that few Australian teens are engaged in ‘formal’ religion and its practice (a reality across the board that a few large youth contingent churches would challenge but nevertheless). Many young people are interested in spirituality, taking a complex and broad-minded approach to the issue.’ she writes … (brackets my reflection)

Researchers like Andrew Singleton made the surprising discovery (to them), that teenagers fit into six core groups spanning those who are questioning to discover, right through to those with strong convictions.  All the while exhibiting a remarkable tolerance of others’ views on the matter.

I drifted off to sleep with the conviction that this is an important season to be discerning the Spirit about the way we collaborate across our denominational traditions to represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven in high schools. Too important to not at least explore God possible scenarios beyond the seeming security of what we’ve always done.

Please pray for us (and join us if possible) as we host the annual information sharing about Scripture in our 3 high schools at a dessert and coffee night fund raiser tomorrow night at Northern Illawarra Uniting Church, Cnr Princes Hwy & Point St Bulli from 7pm.

Thursday 20th September 2018  (Eph. 6:18-20)

Good Afternoon! It’s been a frenetic couple of days as we start to prepare in earnest for Karen’s conclusion of employment at the Greenhills Centre in the ACT and her commencing her new function with ‘YouthWorks’ at their head office in Port Hacking NEXT Wednesday the 26th September. In the middle of all of that we helped host the Annual High School Scripture Board’s Coffee & Dessert Fund Raiser where supporters get an opportunity to meet our teachers, maybe even a few High School students who have been helped, even transformed by what has been revealed to them by God through scripture classes and hear stories / testimonies from the mission. Always a privilege for Karen and I to share some music as part of the night and excited this year to have Rob make us a trio; such is the life of ‘The Elastic Band’

Since Sunday I have been engaged in a handful of conversations about being readied for battle as we approach the launch of our Spring Campaign.  Today I am sharing an exciting situation report (SitRep) that emerged this week in recognition that our Tuesday 5.30pm prayer time is an ‘intentionally’ scheduled corporate time of prayer. It isn’t  about our people being able to physically be in the room on a Tuesday evening BUT it certainly is about being committed to share in prayer, together sharing what God is speaking to each of us about and as an outflow of this, together representing the mind of Christ, indeed becoming the vessel for the manifest wisdom of God to be made known (Eph. 3: 10)

This last Tuesday our Bible Study group had an epiphany whilst discussing Acts 4. Members of the group sought us out before the prayer time to see whether we thought that praying out loud, boldly declaring the unseen reality of the kingdom, might be something we should explore – considering what the Holy Spirit did when those early disciples did something akin to that.

I suggested that we should continue to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit because in the coming campaign there may in fact be genuine opportunity to pray corporately in this way.

On Tuesday however, I felt prompted to use the opportunity presented as a way to fortify our intention to pray as a body, as one; and so I emailed / texted those who were a part of the bible study discussion that day and encouraged them to pray the words of Acts 4: 24-30 out (very) loud at 5.35pm so that in a real time sense, we were praying something God shaped, TOGETHER.

An exciting and energising prayer time ensued at the Hub and I received 2 or 3 text / email responses which indicated that those contacted had been encouraged by the symbolic opportunity.

We will keep listening and doing. So, stay tuned as we enter more fully, this important, paradigm shifting season.

Friday 21st September 2018   (Eph. 6:10-20; Luke 5:17-26)

Gidday my Friends! To wrap up this week, I wanted to finish the way I started and in the summary of last weekend’s message from our gathering I was sharing the journey I’ve been on in recent days to learn how to contend for the word from heaven we’ve received, to be revealed IN and THROUGH us.

This takes SUBMISSION TO THE WORD. Like Mary confronted by the angel, we need to hear and receive the word, THEN say ‘YES Lord, let it be as you have said’ and then go live it out with the weapons and armour Jesus imparted to us that when working together IN Christ will ‘extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one’; thus moving us from REVELATION SPACE into FULFILMENT (or completion) SPACE.

We are learning that this is the consistent message of redemption recorded throughout scripture. For example, on Sunday we connected gospel stories with Paul’s letter to Ephesians. In Paul’s letter to Philippi chapter one, the consistency is just as clear.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (emphasis mine)  

I hope you have had at least a crack at picking one of the other kingdom tipping point stories in Luke 5 and asking the following questions (words bolded in brackets are the armour/weapons/keys to the kingdom that Jesus used) as you read so we can discover together how to contend for the word from heaven, in our case, declaring, representing and demonstrating the kingdom of heaven ON earth (The Heaven On Planet Earth (HOPE) Project). Pick a story (e.g. Luke 5:17-26)

  1. What is the unseen Kingdom of God reality (Truth) that Jesus makes known so that it can become the new agenda for the disciples to make plans around?
  2. What are God’s attitudes and motives (Righteousness) with regard to the stronghold(s) you can identify (these are the things that make people say and do what they say and do); and how does Jesus make them tangible / accessible?
  3. What is the good news (Gospel) message for this situation and how did Jesus proclaim it?
  4. What did Jesus have (Faith) to believe Father God would do in this situation and how did He express obedience and trust in God?
  5. If Jesus’ identity, significance and security come from heaven (Salvation), what do you think He was freely able to express in this situation?
  6. What did God SAY (Word) about the circumstances in the story and how did Jesus respond?
  7. Did Jesus use the context of (Prayer on every occasion), that is intimate communion/communication/community with the Father in this event?

Of course, as we have noted together, the answers to these questions will probably overlap as they should because the armour is ONLY effective with no gaps.

On Sunday, I will share my answers (no right and wrong – just discovery) so we can become more equipped to apply the above exercise to the spheres of involvement and influence that God has called us to be ‘backyard missionaries’ in and to IF we are prepared to say YES, SUBMIT and move from REVELATION space to FULFILMENT space.

Love, Graeme

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